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Ben Bottle (Gloucestershire)

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LIVE Momentum
LIVE Momentum
Price: 26.28

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Same old, same old?, 18 Mar 2013
This review is from: LIVE Momentum (Audio CD)
I have a feeling that I'll get some stick for this review, but I'll wear it!
Neal Morse - great bloke, prolific musician with prodigious output.
Here he is - again, surrounded by even more great musicians; including, of course, his old cohort, Mike Portnoy.
BUT - that is what needles me. This "prodigious" output is getting tiresome - in my very humble opinion.
This tendency to put out these large and quite pricey sets tests his extremely loyal fan base.
Well, it tests me and I am, or have been, a loyal fan.
I cannot criticize the performances or quality of the product; but one gets the sense of another repetition, a feeling of deja vu.
I suppose if you crave all things Morse then you'll grab this. I borrowed it and soon gave it back!
"Momentum" is a great album and I thought "Flying Colours" was superb, however 27 (or so), on this lot is very much surplus to requirements.
Sorry - but I'll take the stick!!!


Live At The N.E.C.
Live At The N.E.C.
Price: 18.33

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Okay - I do not have a problem with this. I like it!, 11 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Live At The N.E.C. (Audio CD)
I was very struck by the "Same YES money grab" review.
I don't think Yes are grabbing anything per se.
I have felt, in the past, the the endless stream of Yes Friends & Relatives spin-offs were getting a bit much, but I'm quite content with this - and, I have the 'original' "Evening of Yes Music Plus".
The main thing for me, is the change in dynamics. This has Tony levin on bass, whilst the first set had the no lesser, Jeff Berlin; both very fine bass players!
Personally, I think this set has the edge. For a start Levin had a lot more time to rehearse as he played on the AWBH studio album. Jeff Berlin was thrown in at the deep end due to Tony's illness!
You know what's in the box. AWBH stuff with a liberal sprinkling of Yes standards.
The sound is "okay" but not exceptional, but it doesn't appear to have been messed around with much.
The band, (unsurprisingly), is on fine form as they comfortably trawl through their "classics".
One mustn't forget Julian Colbeck supporting on keyboards and Milton McDonald on guitars as they fill out the sound.
The set I bought (from Amazon) for a rather tasty 10.99 is 3 discs, the third being an "Off The Wall" DVD documentary.
At the end of the day, you either do or you don't? Certainly repetition here and it's nothing really new, but I've no beef. As always, you pays your money . . . . . ?


The Last of the Mohicans [Blu-ray] [1992] [Region Free]
The Last of the Mohicans [Blu-ray] [1992] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Daniel Day Lewis
Price: 7.20

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars GREAT film - bad transfer?, 8 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I love this film - it has many stunning vistas and an very fine cast.
I assume that if you are buying this - you "know" it. It is a well told story.
Good production and direction do credit to the story. As do the actors and locations.
BUT - in my very humble opinion, it is a p**s poor Blu-Ray transfer. Quite frankly, I expected better!
The film alone would be 5 stars but I found the Blu-Ray a bit of a let down.


You That Way I This Way
You That Way I This Way
Price: 10.04

3.0 out of 5 stars Fun, bouncy and captivating - but . . ., 31 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: You That Way I This Way (Audio CD)
Trust me to buck the trend after so many glowing reviews.
Generally speaking, I quite agree with other reviewers - this is a real breath of fresh air!
A joy and pleasure to listen to - light, airy "pop" (sorry) music.
But - the but is my issue with the running time; just a tad over 38 minutes! That leaves a lot of "empty space".
Surely something extra could have been added? I'd have been happy with a bit of extra filling!
So - please take the three stars in context - the content is excellent but I felt short changed.


The Fusion Syndicate
The Fusion Syndicate
Price: 6.93

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fragmented Fusion, 29 Dec 2012
One looks at this and sees a glowing list of luminaries.
Well - despite what is no doubt good intentions, this gets a bit messy.
To be honest, there are times when it is just a "noise".
I do get disheartened when masters of their art lend themselves to this sort of thing.
Led by the ubiquitous Billy Sherwood, who wants to make tribute albums to everybody - this fall short.
One might think - wow! Billy Cobham, Jerry Goodman, Jimmy Haslip, Billy Sheehan, Steve Hillage (Steve Hillage????) - et al; must be great?
Well - I am left feeling more than a little let down by my "heroes".
Yes - there are moments and some fine playing, but it just seems disparate and messy.
Of course this is just MY opinion.
I can't see anyone doing a Billy Sherwood tribute somehow!!
3 stars - it's okay - just.


Tales from the Four Seasons
Tales from the Four Seasons
Price: 11.93

4.0 out of 5 stars Gentle and soothing, 21 Dec 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a new "realization" of The Four Seasons a la Flood.
He plays all and fundamentally does all!
I suppose the most obvious comparison is Mike Oldfield and it is of that ilk.
A gentle and quite relaxing musical venture; it is pleasing to listen to.
Some may find it a little mundane and tedious as the four lengthy sections roll into each other.
The playing time is just a tad under 80 minutes!
For myself, I find it pleasant and agreeable; it does have quite a "classical" feel.
Perhaps not everyone's cup of tea; but then again I don't drink coffee!!!!


Covered Mirror 1
Covered Mirror 1
Price: 20.33

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mmmm? Difficult!, 10 Dec 2012
This review is from: Covered Mirror 1 (Audio CD)
I really rate this wonderful band from the far side of the world.
But only 3 stars?
Well - I just do not feel that enamoured with this offering.
It has its moments and it certainly is not awful.
It is a selection of covers - as suggested in the title. They are reliving some of their influences.
Yes, Genesis, Marillion, Supertramp, Led Zeppelin and The Carpenters!!! Yes - "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft". Actually, it was originally done by Klaatu in 1976 and covered by The Carpenters a year later.
The music has an "unplugged" feel; the performances are relatively low key, BUT do not suffer from this per se.
Why am I not smitten?
Well - "The Garden", "Artificial" and the very underated "More Than A Dream" were so inventive and inspiring. This, by comparison, seems almost superfluous. Perhaps that is rather harsh?
It isn't disagreeable, it just doesn't "grab" me.
They obviously felt the need to do this and I hope it is a breather before their next opus.
It does nothing to affect my liking for the band; far from it, I do not doubt their ability and feel sure that normal service will be restored.
It's . . . . okay!


Speak
Speak
Offered by ProgRock Wales
Price: 10.55

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant and enjoyable enough., 2 Dec 2012
This review is from: Speak (Audio CD)
And that it is - pleasant and enjoyable enough.
There's nothing to get really excited about in my humble opinion, but if you think Renaissance, you'll be in the ball park.
I would not call it "essential progressive rock" and find the comparisons with Genesis, Pink Floyd, Renaissance, Yes, Marillion, et al a little misleading. Having said that, I guess there are 'elements' of such influences? It's a question of perception, I suppose?
By and large it is a fairly gentle and pleasing outing and I not mean that to sound demeaning.
It is fairly laid back with a lovely melodic feel and a few periods that take a more "upbeat" route.
It's quite keyboard laden - acoustic and electric; but the instrumentation is fairly subtle and all the better for it.
Nice vocals and the emotional voice of Steve Hogarth on the final track blends beautifully.
The other review, (there was just the one when I submitted this), was pretty comprehensive and informative; although, as indicated, I am not in full agreement with it.
However, it does make for a very reasonable guide.
I like this!! You can "listen" to it or just have it as something nice in the background.
A very creditable 4 stars!


A Proggy Christmas
A Proggy Christmas
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 12.71

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Festive fun from the Prog Elite., 9 Nov 2012
This review is from: A Proggy Christmas (Audio CD)
Right - in the first instance, don't take this too seriously. It's a bit of fun!
However, having said that - the music is quite serious in that these guys, even when feeling whimsical, they do not compromise on musical excellence.
Neal Morse, Steve Morse, Mike Portnoy, Roine Stolt, Randy George, Pete Trewavas and, none other than Steve Hackett.
There also brass and strings to give some of the songs added depth.
There is some full on stuff here - the most notable (perhaps), is a frenzied "Little Drummer Boy" wherein Mike Portnoy lets fly and delights in playing the "little drummer boy" with a big drum kit!
Remember Edgar Winter's "Frankenstein"? Well it is revisited here and called "Frankincense" - another fast and furious outing with the song interspersed with more traditional themes.
Then there's a slightly funky trip with "Carol of Bells".
It's not all "rock" - there are some much gentler moments with the likes of "O Holy Night" (really lovely!), "The Christmas Song" led by some really smooth bass guitar, apparently played by Neal Morse! "Home for the Holidays" is a very playful ragtime style number. It all ends off with a pleasant version of "Silent Night", this is laced with the theme from Transatlantic's "We All Need Some Light" and it works so well.
Predominantly instrumental, I REALLY like this. They are classic Christmas songs with a very different edge - the interpretations are inventive and entertaining.
Good fun but not a joke!!!!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 29, 2013 4:02 PM GMT


The Calling
The Calling
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: 12.00

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back to the nitty gritty!, 3 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Calling (Audio CD)
I rate Neal very highly as a guitarist. From his early days with Santana when he nearly overthrew the maestro through to his amazing (and continued) tenure with Journey.
However, his solo output has been a little unreliable in many ways.
I love "Electric World", an eclectic collection but surprisingly focused and "Beyond The Thunder" a fine album.
With the likes of "I On U", "The Voice" and "Piranha Blues" - he seemed to waver. These still have some excellent fret work but do not seem to have the same impact.
I had some doubts about "The Calling" until I noticed the drummer!!! He is reunited - once again, with old Journey partner; the amazing Steve Smith. I didn't hesitate - I went for it!
Smith is a superb drummer - now better known for his exquisite Jazz drumming, he is able to revert to rock with ease. Here he steams away, with perfect timing and pure power!
As for the man himself, I have rarely heard sound better. Although, interestingly, he also plays bass. Nothing remarkable, but a good solid bass to support Smith's onslaught.
This is largely "rock instrumental" with a little bit of variety here and there to add extra flavour and a little extra spice.
Keyboards are provided by Igor Len(?) who seems more than able and keeps them subtle - AND, another former cohort; none other than Mr Jan Hammer!
I did wonder whether or not 5 stars might be a little OTT, but I LIKE this! My doubts were swept aside!
Neal is great - his guitar work here is superb, but the icing on the cake here, (for me), is Steve Smith.
At the end of the day, YOU must decide; but I am pleased with my buy. Pennies well spent!


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