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Reviews Written by
Carsten Doig (Hamilton, Scotland)

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Price: £9.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Post-Metal Collaboration, 15 April 2016
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This review is from: Mariner (Audio CD)
In Julie Christmas, Cult of Luna have found the perfect artist to collaborate with and take their sound forward. On some of the tracks Christmas shares vocal duties with the band, on others she is lead vocals. The guys in the band deliver their metal growls and Christmas' clean vocals act as a nice counter. I say clean, but her vocals go from haunting whispers to tortured wails, all the while conveying a sense of doom, despair and bleakness.

There are traces of the city theme of their previous album Vertikal and the heavy guitars that define this band but there is also a new theme prevalent in this album, one of a journey into outer space.

Although there are only five tracks, they are quite long as befits the post-metal genre, ranging from 8 mins up to 14 in length which allows the instrumentation to build and build. Opening track 'A Greater Call' is very powerful opener with shared vocals but then things calm down a bit on 'Chevron' before my favourite track 'The Wreck of the S.S Needle'. 'Approaching Transition' is the mellowest track on the album before it closes with the album's magnum opus 'Cygnus'.

Five Children on the Western Front
Five Children on the Western Front
by Kate Saunders
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A book for nostalgic adults and not the modern youth., 1 April 2016
I read this as it was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal which is usually a good barometer for Children's literature but I couldn't help but feel that nostalgia had placed this book on the shortlist at the expense of other good books.

Essentially, this is the author's homage to a book that she had enjoyed in her youth, 'Five Children and It' by E. Nesbit, and whilst some may hail that as a classic of children's literature, I can help but feel that children's tastes have moved on and will struggle to relate to characters called Cyril who talk in a twee early 20th century manner. They want cutting edge fiction like Patrick Ness and Sarah Crossan who also feature on the shortlist.

Aside from feeling dated in it's style, the book also felt disjointed and plotless just a series of mini adventures with an annoying fantasy character with a loose connection to the First World War. It was difficult to find any empathy with the characters, even when one is injured during the war.

As well as being an adult who read this, I also speak for the Carnegie Shadowing Group in my school who just didn't go for this book at all.

Simple Silent LCD Digital Large Screen Alarm Clock Snooze/light function Batteries Powered with Silicone Protective Cover (Pink)
Simple Silent LCD Digital Large Screen Alarm Clock Snooze/light function Batteries Powered with Silicone Protective Cover (Pink)
Offered by WE-PRO
Price: £4.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars i liked this at first, 19 Nov. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
i liked this at first, especially the alarm sound but after a month it malfunctioned. Every time I switched the alarm off the screen would malfucntion and I would have to take the batteries out and reset it all over again for the next time.

The Ophidian Trek
The Ophidian Trek
Price: £11.87

5.0 out of 5 stars Experience the intensity of a Meshuggah gig in your own home!, 22 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: The Ophidian Trek (Audio CD)
In 2012 I saw Meshuggah on the Ophidian Trek tour and it ranks as the most intense gig I have ever been to. The setlist on this DVD (recorded in 2013) is different but the performance is just as good.

I listened to the Cds first in the car and the first few tracks were solid performances but then it goes up a gear with Do Not Look Down and The Hurt That Finds You First, with Tomas Haake's drumming standing out in particular. I hate people who dismiss this music as just noise for if you look at the guitar players throughout the performance, you can see the technicality of their playing. Jens Kidman is on fine form vocally and there is little difference between his studio and live performances. Although the DVD didn't seem to have any close ups of Jens' famous eyes rolling in the back of his head look, there are some members of the audience doing their best to replicate it.

The big difference between this DVD and Alive is that the venues are bigger (one being a festival) and the sepia tone that the entire film is bathed in. The use of headcams in the mosh pit is brilliant and really captures the feeling of a Meshuggah gig.

They save the best for last with Dancers To A Discordant System, which debuted on this tour, and the Catch 33 medley of Mind's Mirrors/In Death - Is Life/In Death. Although fans have heard all the songs before, buying this set for these two alone is worth it.

Cycle of Lies: The Fall of Lance Armstrong
Cycle of Lies: The Fall of Lance Armstrong
by Juliet Macur
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The full story, 2 April 2014
When I saw this was coming out I thought `Does the world need another book about Lance Armstrong (LA) and do I need to read it?'. Initially I said no but when I saw it in my local library I thought I would give it a go. Having read it, I can now say that this is worthy addition to the catalogue of LA books, especially given that he granted interviews with the author after his uncovering. Whilst the main story of Armstrong's uncovering has been known for several years now, Macur is the first to bring it all together into one volume and so it does deserve the tag `The Definitive Story'.

Whereas Tyler Hamilton's book The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups, and Winning at All Costs is from inside LA's circle and is very dramatic in places and David Walsh's Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrongis his personal battle with LA, Macur tells the full story from Armstrong's childhood days to his interview on Oprah. Crucially, Macur also brings to the story the insight of former teammates who had not been mentioned very much in other articles and books such as David Zabriskie and Jonathan Vaughters of the Garmin team.

The first half of the book is slow paced as it deals with Armstrong growing up and the relationships he had with his mother and adoptive father. Even his cancer and supposed victories in 7 tours are only dealt with in brief as the author focuses more on the allegations which then grow apace when he retires. The suggestion of doping then becomes a snowball as another team- mate and disgraced Tour winner Floyd Landis accuses Armstrong of doping.

Armstrong returns from his retirement and Macur really paints this as Armstrong's hubris; he still believes that he can win, even in light of the growing evidence and his waning star. It's almost tragic when she asks him in 2010 "Why do you keep crashing?" as he struggles to find the composure to even stay on the bike.

One thing that we hadn't seen in 2013 was Armstrong's disintegration and Macur details interviews LA had with Travis Tygart of USADA and how he turned up dishevelled and argumentative, arguing that only he could save cycling. The most profound statement from LA was "I couldn't let them get away with it", a reference to those like Walsh, Landis, Tygart, Emma O'Reilly, and the Andreus who chased him down. He believed that as they sought to uncover him, that it was his duty to persist with the doping and continue to win because his victories, and his role as a cancer spokesman, were more important that their attempts to uncover his cheating. Macur asks the reader the question "Get away with what? Revealing the truth?". It's the final tragedy, and Macur certainly paints LA as a tragic figure that who still believes he didn't cheat and that he can go on to compete in triathalons.

One small issue that I had with the books was where she referred to the UCI by it's English translation of International Cycling Union and not it's French name Union Cycliste International. Most cycling fans would be happy with the French and I am sure the casual reader could have coped with the original French. Perhaps it was done to satisfy the American market?
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 17, 2014 1:30 PM BST

+++ (Crosses)
+++ (Crosses)
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £11.16

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The seductive, dark sound of Chino Moreno, 15 Feb. 2014
This review is from: +++ (Crosses) (Audio CD)
I was led to this band on account of being a big fan of Deftones and vocalist Chino Moreno. You might think that after two other side projects (Team Sleep and Palms) that Chino had nothing new to offer but he is a man who clearly chooses his collaborations carefully, thinking of a new sound that will be different to anything he has done before. He has described the sound himself as Sade meets Depeche Mode.

Chino's vocals are the highlight and very recognisable but there is very little of the angst and screams that you may associate with Deftones and instead Chino's vocals are sexy and seductive. There are no crunching guitars either and instead some dark synth sounds, beats and guitar effects (courtesy of the other members Chuck Doom and Shaun Lopez).

Many of the lyrics are clearly about discovering the love of his life and the cautious steps that a couple might be making towards each other and dare I say it, is romantic. It's therefore a wonderful album to play late at night with the lights low or driving through the city with that special person in your life.

The Catalyst Fire
The Catalyst Fire
Offered by Great Price Media EU
Price: £8.89

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Confident and powerful second album, 30 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: The Catalyst Fire (Audio CD)
The second album from Australia's Dead Letter Circus is a highly energetic effort that rarely lets up during it's course. It is similar in sound to their debut album This Is the Warning but has greater consistency from start to finish, something that their compatriots Karnivool failed to achieve with Asymmetry

The sound is big and although the production is polished, there is a lot of raw energy coming from this band. There are lots of guitars ringing out at a high tempo and the rhythm section is versatile, laying down some amazing drum patterns and pulsating bass, particularly on lead single Lodestar.

But what truely defines this band is lead vocalist Kim Benzie's powerful falsetto vocals which are a perfect compliment to the frenetic sound that his bandmates are playing.

The lyrics are also informative and reveal a band who are very conscious of political struggle and environmental concerns. Thankfully it's a bit more subtle than U2 and if you want to just rock then this album does just that.

Kindle Fire HD 7", Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers [Previous Generation]
Kindle Fire HD 7", Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers [Previous Generation]

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for what I need... but not a perfect tablet, 26 Oct. 2012
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I went for the HD version because it was only £30 more and wanted to avoid the regret of buying the cheaper version only to discover that I would have been better off with the one with enhanced display and sound.

The name 'Kindle' is a bit of a misnomer as it really doesn't compare to the kindles that friends and family have. Reading an ebook on theirs is much easier on the eye than the Kindle Fire. I still like having a Kindle so that I can get some of my books in this format but I will stick with regular books for the most past. The Kindle Fire is more of a tablet computer and it does exactly what we want of it.

We have apps for facebook, twitter, BBC news and email and it means we can check these without booting up the laptop. I am a bit disappointed that they don't have a lot of apps that I use such as the met office one which I use regularly to check the weather . The Kindle HD supposedly has superior sound than the regular Kindle Fire but after playing some music on it, the sound still doesn't compare to an ipod.

This isn't a problem as I will use the ipod when out of the house and the CD player when in the house. What is useful is the Amazon Cloud, the storage space provided by Amazon on their servers. Not only does it save all my amazon music that I have downloaded (which accounts for about 90% of my downloads) but you can also upload more music (and other files) like that which I have got from friends and therefore don't have original CDs.

The unlimited streaming from Lovefilm is good and although they don't have everything, there is plenty to keep us occupied such as series 1 of The Killing, all three seasons of Sons of Anarchy and lots of other great films. The Kindle has two wireless receivers so even if the wireless drops out on one frequency whilst you are streaming, the other one backs it up. The picture quality is superb but I have an SD to HDMI cable which allows us to connect the Kindle to the TV and watch on that.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 31, 2012 1:24 PM GMT

Between the Lines: My Autobiography
Between the Lines: My Autobiography
by Victoria Pendleton
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An average biography of a great athlete, 8 Oct. 2012
Pendelton was a great cyclist - there is no doubt about that. Her fragile mental state was also clear before this book was published (see the BBC Documentary) and it does delve into that side of her character as she talks about her development as a cyclist and the eventual success that followed.

However, although it was insightful and interesting in places, it was let down by a cliched writing style, for which I blame co-writer Donald McCrae and not Pendleton. Before I read this, I wanted to empathise with her as she struggled with the burden placed upon her first by her father and then her mentors at British Cycling but I just didn't feel it. It read in the way it was probably written, with her dictating to McCrae through recorded interviews.

As much as I respect her as a sportswoman, my admiration for her also declined throughout the book. She didn't come across as arrogant but I did feel she had an over inflated opinion of herself and her place in the cycling world. She was critical of the infrastructure at British Cycling and some of personnel involved but seemed happy to lap up the success that they were largely responsible for helping her to achieve. Her personal relationship with Scott Gardener was fraught with difficulty because of the working bond they had but she was came across as selfish in the way in which she expected everyone to bend to her will and let it take proceed smoothly.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 16, 2013 10:28 AM BST

The Dark Side Of The Moon [2011 - Original Recording Remastered] [Experience Edition]
The Dark Side Of The Moon [2011 - Original Recording Remastered] [Experience Edition]
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: £18.78

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it for the live Version, 28 Sept. 2011
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First thing to do was to play the start of Breathe from my older version (Shine On Box Set) just to get an idea of how things used to be. I then put the same segment on from the 2011 remaster and to be honest, there was slight difference in the treble but I don't think there is much in these so called remasters that makes them any better than those done in the 90's.

The second disc is a live recording of DSTOM from 1974 and showcases a band at the height of their collective power.

Breathe starts off with some nice guitar work from Gilmour that really did make me sit up and say `Oh that's nice'. On the Run was excellent as was Time, with Rick in fine vocal form.

The Great Gig in the Sky was certainly very well done but it doesn't compare to the original, especially the vocals. On this recording it became something of a jam session with Roger's bass seeming to dominate the mix, which does show us what a competent player he really was.

After hearing David singing for most of the album it was quite a contrast to hear Roger singing the last two tracks. I had never found the difference as profound on the studio version so it made for an interesting listen. The gap between the end of the song Eclipse and the `There is no dark side to the moon really' speech is abrupt, almost as if the band wanted to stop and go for for a cup of tea.

In conclusion, the live version of DSOTM is well worth the money and I am likely to play it in preference to the Pulse version.

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