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The Quantum Enigma
The Quantum Enigma
Price: 11.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Their best album so far, 5 May 2014
This review is from: The Quantum Enigma (Audio CD)
If I were to recommend any Epica album to someone to show them what they were all about The Quantum Enigma would be that album. Everything about their music this time around is balls to the wall, nothing held back.

The music is very well produced, crisp clean production. Simones vocals are the best they have ever been and an improvement over their previous album. Mark’s growls are stronger than ever, harsh and angry. At times in the past I have felt that his vocals were a bit weak here that is not the case. This is in part helped by the fact that this is Epica’s heaviest album to date. The riffs are heavy, the drums fast, Arien provides some great fills throughout and Isaac has some good solos, though I would like to have heard a few more from him as he is a talented guitar player (this is one of my few small complaints).

The orchestra is very well scored, very beautiful at times and compliments the metal elements perfectly. Neither pushes the other into the background. The Choir is also, it complements the music and more importantly Simones vocals brilliantly.
Lyrically the album is about the subject matter they usually discuss, politics, society, philosophy etc.

Picking put standout tracks is hard; they are all very good not a single one jumps out as could have been better. Though my favourites are "Originem" – "The Second Stone", just the way it works its way from the intro track into the first proper song is beautiful, as soon as the guitar riff and melodies hit at the beginning of "The Second Stone" your hairs jump up. "The Fifth Guardian" is a beautiful piece of orchestration and though it has no metal elements at all it suits Epica perfectly and also sounds like something you’d hear in the film How to Train Your Dragon, their best instrumental interlude since Indigo. The title track "The Quantum Enigma" is also another favourite of mine and this has a lot to do with the vocals from simone as well as the song progression towards the end is incredible.

In my opinion this is Epica’s best album eclipsing "Consign to Oblivion" and "The Divine Conspiracy" simply because this album is those 2 albums in one, the more melodious parts of CtO and the harsher parts of TDC just with some added steroids.
I think this is going to become one of my favourite Symphonic Metal albums because it does everything well.

If I had a few complaints they would be I feel I would personally like a few more guitar solos from Isaac as I already mentioned. I also would have liked the bonus tracks to have all been included as they are as good maybe even better that some of what is on the main album. "Mirage or Verity" and "Banish Your Illusion" are phenomenal tracks. I suppose that though is the ultimate compliment…. They leave you wanting more, and I want a lot more.

Truly well done Epica

Note: I bought the limited edition Earbook 3cd version and I strongly suggest if you can to get a hold of that version. The acoustic bonus tracks are gorgeous, the instrumentals very nice and the book that comes with it has some great art work and some great pictures of the band


Retrospect (Bonus Blu-Ray)
Retrospect (Bonus Blu-Ray)
Price: 22.38

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lights, lights, too many danm lights, 11 Nov 2013
Finally Epica have released a live dvd accompanied by a full orchestra and choir. It has taken too long as they have been deserving of such a show for such a long time. Hell even Nightwish haven't released a live dvd with an orchestra and they were one of the pioneers behind the symphonic metal growth seen in the past 20 years. They are arguably the biggest and most well known band for this genre and yet Epica have beaten them to it and fully deserving Epica are of such a show.

However let's get straight on with the major issue this release has.... Whoever was in charge of the lighting for the show went and f****d up. The lighting is horrible and it ruins the entire show from a visual stand point. Throughout the whole show the lights glare on the cameras in a way extremely unpleasant way. The majority of the time you can't see the band as they are obscured from view. and other times they have lighting that would be better suited to a dance concert and is very out of place, during the Phantom Agony for example they have green lasers that would more at home in a nightclub. There are times when the lighting tones down, during softer orchestral parts and this is how the lighting should have been throughout the whole show

This is a real shame because the actual music is fantastic, everyone performed very well and everyone for the brief moments you can actually see the band seems to be enjoying it immensely. Appearances from past members of the band and Floor Jansen were great and added a great emotion to the experience as it really brought the last 10 years together

The set list is huge and gives 3 hours from a huge catalogue. From a personal stand point I was disappointed they didn't do Mother of Light fully and only included it in the orchestral medley and I would love to have heard Tides of Time as Simone's vocal performance on the studio version was phenomenal , but complaining and marking the show down based upon set list when it was so long anyway would be too harsh.

There is good behind the scenes footage and interviews with the band which is a welcome addition, Simone is awesome as ever <3

Ultimately if you get this you will I think love the CD's because as I said the sound is great and listening to it in the car is great, the dvd's have let the band down tremendously though. Whoever decided on this lighting should never ever be allowed to make any decisions ever again with regards to live shows for this band.

What could have been Epica's crowning achievement has instead finished as a huge disappointment of what could have been. They may never release another live dvd like this again. Hiring a full orchestra and choir isn't cheap and there was a time when the band said they weren't even going to release a live dvd at all because the costs involved weren't justifiable for the size of the band.

It is with a heavy heart I have to rate this only 3 stars. As a huge Epica fan I am disappointed and hope sincerely they have a chance in the future to set right the wrongs of this show

5 stars performance
5 stars set list
5 stars extras
1 star lighting
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 13, 2013 8:29 PM GMT


Ironbound (Ltd. Digi)
Ironbound (Ltd. Digi)
Price: 18.08

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ironbound, 12 Mar 2010
This review is from: Ironbound (Ltd. Digi) (Audio CD)
Overkill have become known as one of the most consistent and enduring bands in the world, this has more to do with their stubbornness in not really altering their style than actual consistent musicianship. Over the last 2 decades Overkill albums were plagued with fillers and only a couple of good tracks. They also inherited groove elements into their music in the early 90's which have remained ever since. Horrorscope was their last brilliant album but that was 20 years ago, can a band really still have it after so long. Well the simple fact is Overkill have delivered what will probably go down as a thrash classic, every song is brilliant obviously some are better than others but none are bad.

Blitz is as powerful as ever, he seems to get better with age and whereas people like James Hetfield are a shadow of their former selves Blitz is awesome. D.D Verni provides a powerful bass back bone and new boy Ron Lipincki is phenomenal on the drums his intensity is neck breaking. Derek Tailer is pretty weak on rhythm and is carried along by D.D and Dave Linsk who puts in his best lead performance ever, his solo in the soft part of the title track is fantastic. Overkill would really benefit from 2 leads where they could trade of one another Al Pitrelli or Jeff Waters maybe? Still even with that glaring weak point in the band they have still put together a great album.

I won't review every track but the best are the title track, the change of pace at about 3 mins in is nothing other than awe inspiring, it's brilliant; Overkill should have done this more throughout their career. Bring me the night is powerful as anything and Killing for a Living is just so cool. The goal is your soul has some nice eerie guitar picking. The G&B is the longest song here but feels no longer than 5 mins and is a yet another great opening track.

Choice cuts:

Ironbound
Bring me the Night
The Green and Black
The Goal is Your Soul

When other bands have fallen away and are now producing the kind of crap that Metallica are, Overkill remind you why you love thrash. Is this better than Horrorscope, not quite and it may even be behind Years if Decay too but it is one hell of an album and definitely worth it for any thrash fan. This may well be the best metal album of 2010, unless Iron Maiden come up with their 15th album this year, until then this is the album to beat


Monsters Inc. [2002] [DVD]
Monsters Inc. [2002] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Billy Crystal
Offered by Sent2u
Price: 8.25

5.0 out of 5 stars Second to none, 9 Feb 2010
This review is from: Monsters Inc. [2002] [DVD] (DVD)
Over the past decade computer animated films have become more popular because of the simple fact that adults can enjoy them as much as children. Monsters Inc is no exception with a beautiful and original story and some very loveable characters that bring the story to life. Over the 90 minutes you really become attached to Sulley, mike and especially the little girl boo who is one of the cutest and most adoring characters ever created. There are plenty of funny gags throughout that aren't to grown up that kids won't get them and not too childish that the more grown up audience will get bored and overall is very funny. The animations are very good well thought out and just as good is the voice acting which is top notch. Overall this is in my opinion better than Shrek and Finding Nemo which are themselves very good. The ending of the film is very sad, it is very well written and down to the fact that the bond that is built up between the characters makes you really feel for them especially the almost father daughter bond that develops between Sulley and Boo. The film ends happily like you would expect but it does appear not the case at first. The last scene is beautiful and simply ends with the word "Kitty". One of my favourite ever endings, now I don't consider myself weak but this film really connected with me and brought motion out of me, something that has only happened with such films as Forrest Gump and Green Mile. Greatest Animated film ever, highly recommended!

The only bad thing is it is unlikely there will ever be a sequel which is a huge shame

Update 29th April 2010: A sequel has been announced for release 16th November 2012 best movie news in a while!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Ironbound
Ironbound
Price: 12.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ironbound, 5 Feb 2010
This review is from: Ironbound (Audio CD)
Overkill have become known as one of the most consistent and enduring bands in the world, this has more to do with their stubbornness in not really altering their style than actual consistent musicianship. Over the last 2 decades Overkill albums were plagued with fillers and only a couple of good tracks. They also inherited groove elements into their music in the early 90's which have remained ever since. Horrorscope was their last brilliant album but that was 20 years ago, can a band really still have it after so long. Well the simple fact is Overkill have delivered what will probably go down as a thrash classic, every song is brilliant obviously some are better than others but none are bad.

Blitz is as powerful as ever, he seems to get better with age and whereas people like James Hetfield are a shadow of their former selves Blitz is awesome. D.D Verni provides a powerful bass back bone and new boy Ron Lipincki is phenomenal on the drums his intensity is neck breaking. Derek Tailer is pretty weak on rhythm and is carried along by D.D and Dave Linsk who puts in his best lead performance ever, his solo in the soft part of the title track is fantastic. Overkill would really benefit from 2 leads where they could trade of one another Al Pitrelli or Jeff Waters maybe? Still even with that glaring weak point in the band they have still put together a great album.

I won't review every track but the best are the title track, the change of pace at about 3 mins in is nothing other than awe inspiring, it's brilliant; Overkill should have done this more throughout their career. Bring me the night is powerful as anything and Killing for a Living is just so cool. The goal is your soul has some nice eerie guitar picking. The G&B is the longest song here but feels no longer than 5 mins and is a yet another great opening track.

Choice cuts:

Ironbound
Bring me the Night
The Green and Black
The Goal is Your Soul

When other bands have fallen away and are now producing the kind of crap that Metallica are, Overkill remind you why you love thrash. Is this better than Horrorscope, not quite and it may even be behind Years if Decay too but it is one hell of an album and definitely worth it for any thrash fan. This may well be the best metal album of 2010, unless Iron Maiden come up with their 15th album this year, until then this is the album to beat.

UPDATE:
Iron Maiden did release their new album this year and it was a big disappointment iron bound is therefore my album of the year
Ironbound (Ltd. Digi)


A Matter of Life and Death
A Matter of Life and Death
Price: 7.98

4.0 out of 5 stars the Irons prevail, 28 Jan 2010
Maidens 14th studio album is their best in about 20 years and is their most progressive album thus far. The best things about this album are the guitar melodies/solos which are as always superb, the time changes are constant and well thought out. The second best thing is the lyrics which are some of the best in recent years, especially `The Legacy' which is one of Maidens best ever songs. It's as good as `Hallowed be thy Name' as far as epics go and praise doesn't get any higher than that. It amazes me that a band can continue too write such good lyrics after 30 years, many bands run out of ideas and end up like COUGH `Metallica' COUGH, but these lyrics are as good as anything they have ever written. `The longest Day' is a very descriptive song about the D-day landings everything about this song is perfect. AMOLAD continues Maidens theme of war songs and every song here is in some way or another related to that subject, it is a concept album as far as song theme goes, although all the songs are stand alone songs and aren't linked in any sort of story. The songs also touch of other things such as religion. The 2 most radio sounding songs are `Out of the Shadows' and `Different World' but they kick as much arse as anything else here. lord of light is proberly the worst track here but still ok, could have been a bit shorter. The opening verse to `The Greater Good of God' it fantastic. The reason I didn't give this album 5 stars is that I feel the production is poor, I think Kevin Shirley dropped one here, the guitars at times are pushed too far back in the mix and other times the vocals are too far up the front, the back end seems uneven at times it all seems a bit smudged together, one things for sure he ain't no Martin Birch. The only other minor problem is a couple of the songs are a bit long for what they contain.

Choice cuts:
- Longest Day
- The Legacy (One of Maidens best ever songs)
- Out of the Shadows

Overall this is easily one of Maidens best (production aside) and proves that Eddie ain't going away anytime soon. Up the Irons!


Horrorscope
Horrorscope
Price: 7.38

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Rings like a nail in the head", 12 Jun 2009
This review is from: Horrorscope (Audio CD)
In 1990 Overkill released their 5th album Horrorscope, their greatest album to date although I am eagerly awaiting Ironbound. The songs here are more to the point than on Years of decay (their 2nd best album) and the production is a lot better. The guitars have more crunch to them and for the first time Overkill have 2 guitarists, after solo guitar player Bobby Gustafson left the band, they recruited Gant and Cannavino. D.D Verni is one of metals best bassists and here his performance is brilliant. Sid Falck on drums is brilliant and he smashes the hell out of his pedals, Lars Ulrich could learn a lot by listening to this album. Finally Blitz's vocals are superb as always, I love the rasp in his voice and he screams better than anyone else in metal, Blitz is the best vocalist in metal..... (oh crap I forgot about Bruce Dickinson), ok 2nd best. Every song on the album is good and there are no fillers, something which would plague Overkill for the next 20 years. The opening track coma is one of the best opening tracks ever and kicks slayer in the nuts for speed. the title track is a slow song but unlike Skullrusher from Years of decay is very interesting. The thrash ballad Solitude is a personal favourite and is almost as good as Fade to black and One. The Cover of Edgar Winters track Frankenstein is surprisingly good and fits into the album well. New Machine is a track I feel could have been huge, there is no solo which is stupid and there is easily room for a really cool breakdown like in Metallica's Creeping Death, still good song if unfinished. Blood Money and Infectious are brilliant and the intro to Bare Bones is really cool.

Overall the album is very strong, it is a bit unbalanced in that the fastest songs are at the beginning and the slower ones appear later maybe mixing and matching would keep it more interesting but I don't care.

Best moments
- End Scream in Coma
- Intro to Bare Bones
- When Solitude picks up in speed

Favorite Tracks
- Coma
- Blood Money
- Horrorscope
- Solitude
(In all honesty they are all good though)

A must have for any fan of thrash or metal in general, Overkill show how it should be done.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 2, 2010 11:09 AM GMT


Shogun (Special Edition) (CD/DVD)
Shogun (Special Edition) (CD/DVD)
Price: 10.00

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As good as their old material, which was great to all you haters!, 2 Oct 2008
Trivium are one of those bands that you either love or hate, there is not much middle ground. One reason for this is that many people criticize them for not sounding original. I won't go into the reasons behind this because if you care you will know already, but I myself don't agree with that group of people. I like Trivium and think they are original and by far the best band that the Metalcore scene has to offer.

On this effort Trivium bring back the screaming that was on Ascendancy but have kept the clean vocals as well. The guitar riffing is much heavier than it was on The Crusade and is more similar to the Ascendancy album. The drumming is fast and consistent as always and the bass is good as well. The solos aren't as plentiful as I was expecting even though there are a decent amount and they are very good. The lyrics have never been Trivium's strong point, although they are the best yet from the band. It has to be said that Matt is no Dave Mustaine but what he does write is acceptable.

I have the special edition which has three bonus tracks which are decent and include a cover of Iron Maidens `Iron Maiden' and a behind the scenes documentary, plus the band show you some of the riffs on the album and how to play them which for any guitar players out there is an interesting feature. The special edition with all these extras cost only an extra 1 so it is well worth it, in fact you would be stupid not to get the special edition.

Track ratings out of 10:

1) Kirisute Gomen- 9.2
2) Torn Between Scylla and Charybdis- 8.7
3) Down from the Sky- 8.9
4) Into the Mouth of Hell We March- 9.1
5) Throes of Perdition- 8.7
6) Insurrection- 8.4
7) The Calamity- 8.1
8) He Who Spawned the Furies- 7.9
9) Of Promethius and the Crucifix- 8.5
10) Like Callisto to a Star in Heaven- 8
11) Shogun- 9.2

Bonus Tracks:
12) Poison, the Knife or the Noose- 8.2
13) Upon the Shores- 8.1
14) Iron Maiden- 8.4


Mandrake
Mandrake
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 11.85

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mandrake, 2 Sep 2008
This review is from: Mandrake (Audio CD)
Most Edguy fans consider this to be their best album their `magnum opus', I think this is a very accurate description as this is truly genius. Edguy's best ever song appears that song that being `Tears of a Mandrake'. I find this to be a very strong album with few weaknesses, but then again it can be argued that no album is without some weakness regardless how small. So with this in mind `Mandrake' is probably as close to perfect as a song gets. I would have liked a cover song just for even more variety and brilliance such as Iron Maiden's `The Trooper' or Metallica's `Fade to Black' as well. This is definitely the best of Edguy's Pure Power Metal albums, because after this they changed their style to more Hard Rock orientated. There isn't a real weak song although `Wash Away the Poison' could have been stronger especially the solo, and although `The Pharaoh' is good as an epic IMO it is out done by `Eyes of the Tyrant'. `Golden Dawn' is the fastest here, and `Fallen Angels', `Jerusalem', `Painting on the Wall', `All the Clowns', `Devil and the Savant' and `Wings of a Dream' are all brilliant well above averages songs with interesting arrangements. `Nailed to the Wheel' is the only real Hard Rock/Metal song here and is a sign of what is to come on `Hellfire Club'. `Save Us Now' is a silly song with a nice drum solo and a vocal part that sounds like Tobias on Helium.

Ratings out of 10

1) Tears of a Mandrake- 10
2) Golden Dawn- 9.2
3) Jerusalem- 9.3
4) All the Clowns- 9.2
5) Nailed to the Wheel- 9
6) The Pharaoh- 9.1
7) Wash Away the Poison- 8.3
8) Fallen Angels- 9
9) Painting on the Wall- 9
10) Save Us Now- 9.1
11) The Devil and the Savant- 9.1
12) Wings of a Dream- 9.1

Superb album and well worth the money to any fan of Edguy or Power Metal in general. The greatest Power Metal album ever created!


Hellfire Club
Hellfire Club
Price: 14.11

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to the Freak show...!, 30 Aug 2008
This review is from: Hellfire Club (Audio CD)
Now I only discovered Edguy about a year ago and therefore am in a better position than long term fans to judge their new material compared to their older stuff as I haven't got caught in a pre determined mind set to what Edguy became known for up until Mandrake. Hellfire is their 6th album and the first to stray from their power metal roots and adopt a more hard rock approach whilst it does keep some power influences. The guitars are more heavy and not as fast in melody as previous outings, there are also fewer solos but the ones that there are pretty good and more hard rock sounding. Hellfire is a strong album although not perfect; no song here matches their best which IMO is `Tears of a Mandrake' and parts of some songs sound as if they could have been much better e.g. the solo in `King of Fools'. Tobias is strong on vocals and has more attitude than ever before and Jens is good on lead guitar although you feel as if he could have done slightly more during some parts and Felix Bohnke is great on drums. The other 2 are just as usual the foundations but nothing overly spectacular from Dirk or Eggi.

Ratings out of 10

1) Mysteria- 9.1
2) The Piper Never Dies- 9
3) We Don't Need A Hero- 8.9
4) Down to the Devil- 9.6
5) King of Fools- 9
6) Forever- 8.4
7) Under the Moon- 9.2
8) Lavatory Love Machine- 9.7
9) Rise of the Morning Glory- 8.8
10) Lucifer in Love- ? (Weirdness)
11) Navigator- 8.7
12) The Spirit Will Remain- 8.5

Overall this is a good album, better than the following Rocket Ride but maybe not quite as good as Mandrake, my opinion on this changes regularly but the best 2 are `Mandrake and `Hellfire Club'.


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