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M. Turner
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Open
Open
Price: £6.80

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vastly underrated., 6 Oct. 2008
This review is from: Open (Audio CD)
Having browsed the internet to a certain degree, specifically hard rock and AOR sites, I've been unable to help noticing a trend when it comes to Gotthard, namely the idea that after their first three albums they went 'soft' - read 'bad'. This is so very, very far from the case.

This is, in my humble opinion, the single best Gotthard album. Better than their first three (which aren't lacking in quality, songwriting or punch). Yes, for the most part the gain has been turned down, the solos fewer and less gratuitous. But the quality of the songwriting has shot up between this and 'G.', their previous release. 'Free and Alive' opens the album, markedly different from 'Standing in the Light', 'Higher' and 'Sister Moon' but no less brilliant. While fellow grammar sticklers will find some complaint in the lyricism ("Too busy making money to notice that the sun has rised again"), this is still a great reflective piece, creating a nice thematic circle as the album closer, 'Peace of Mind' returns to the ideas addressed here. The band's tendency towards by-the-numbers power ballads has been dropped to a large extent, a change that is greatly in the album's favour.

The only really weak track here is 'You', trying to balance the line between rock and pop and not quite managing it. There's a surprisingly pleasant Southern Rock feel to some of the songs, most notably on 'Tell No Lies'. IF anything, this album is a showcase for the more seasoned, melodic side of hard rock and works well as a companion piece to TNT's 'Transistor' in terms of trying to do something different with a genre that has a tendency towards limited thinking. Call it Gotthard's grown up album. Either way, give it a chance. This is one of the strongest rock albums I have in a collection of very strong music and this holds its weight with every single listen. Gotthard may not have the stature of more well-known hard rock bands, but in terms of consistency and quality, these five men from Switzerland are rubbing shoulders with the best.


True Colors (Star Wars: Republic Commando)
True Colors (Star Wars: Republic Commando)
by Karen Traviss
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A warning for all..., 8 Feb. 2008
If you buy this book expecting and wanting a typical Star Wars novel, look elsewhere. On the other hand, if you want a heartbreaking morality tale cleverly disguised as science-fiction, then there is no possible circumstance in which this will be a waste of money. This is the first Star Wars story I've bought since the Legacy of the Force series started that I haven't felt was a waste of time (though Traviss' contributions to that series stand out despite the awful, rehashed Ep. III plot line). The key here, I think, is that for once the Jedi are placed on the sidelines, the focus being purely on the clone army and the Skirata clan. Why George Lucas missed the potential for exploring the moral implications of the clones is a mystery. Without going into depth about the plot, some questions are raised about the long-term treatment plans of severely injured troops and what exactly happens to those who decide the Republic isn't worth fighting for. Perhaps it may just be the context of the times we live in, but this book could easily be a commentary of contemporary society. It's such a wonderful feeling to find sci-fi that reaches the highest level of potential the genre has to offer, and this novel stands with the best.

I salute you Karen Traviss. Vencuyot!


Legend of the Bone Carver
Legend of the Bone Carver
Price: £14.69

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A strong effort, 6 Dec. 2007
My interest in this band was first piqued several months ago when I learned that former Iced Earth vocalist Matt Barlow was joining them. At first listen I wasn't overly impressed with this album, although on repeat listenings the sheer quality of the material really shines. Lance King is an extremely capable vocalist, although he wears the perennial Geoff Tate influence a little too clearly on his sleeve. The concept is also an interesting one; a man born to restore the balance between good and evil by resurrecting all those whose lives were taken unjustly. What backs it up, and what makes concept albums such a pleausre to listen to, is that you become absorbed in the music. Many of the tracks feature some interesting arrangements, as is fitting for a progressive band, although the album lies closer to power metal (which isn't a bad thing). Overall, I would highly recommend Legend of the Bone Carver, and I greatly look forward to seeing how Barlow makes his mark on the band's style.


Creative EP-630 Noise Isolating Earphones (Black)
Creative EP-630 Noise Isolating Earphones (Black)
Price: £22.33

3.0 out of 5 stars Good while they last, 6 Dec. 2007
But, unfortunately, they don't. While I was extremely impressed with the sound quality, waking up one morning to discover that the left earphone had stopped working despite being fine the night before leads me to say simply this - treat these as an intermediate option while finding a pair that will last longer than a couple of months.


Black Sun
Black Sun

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Let's see., 16 Oct. 2007
This review is from: Black Sun (Audio CD)
It is impossible to truly describe just how good this album is.

That is not a joke. This album is so good that it hurts. There aren't words in any language to do this album justice. Just buy it, and bask in the glory of a group of German men in leather playing music the way it should be played, so far over the top that it reaches other galaxies.


New Religion: Limited Edition
New Religion: Limited Edition
Price: £22.29

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing entry from a previously inspired band, 30 Sept. 2007
Having been won over by Primal Fear based on one listen to the spectacular 'Black Sun', I have to say that 'New Religion' is likely to live on as a very bad memory for the band. They seem to be in the same situation as Sweden's HammerFall, the more albums they release exposing their lack of inspiration (or, perhaps, limited musical ability). There are elements to be found here that have potential but, frustratingly, are not explored. For the most part the songs are very same-y (one in particular sounds far too similar to 'Seven Seals' 'Carniwar' for its own good) and lack the sense of passion that used to characterise this band, whereas 'Everytime It Rains', featuring Simone Simons from Epica is, quite frankly, utterly interchangeable with any female-fronted pop goth-metal turgid crap. It's hard to believe a band that once wrote songs like 'Revolution' and 'Magic Eye' could possibly think that this was a good direction to take.
If you are a die-hard fan, then this record is, at best, simply for completeness' sake. If you are new to Primal Fear, 'Nuclear Fire' would be a better choice for your first listen. Perhaps it's time Mat Sinner and the rest took a break from this to try and figure out how to breathe some new life back into their music.


Framing Armageddon (Something Wicked Part 1)
Framing Armageddon (Something Wicked Part 1)
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: £7.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something Wicked it certainly is., 10 Sept. 2007
Having had a not unreasonable level of anticipation for this release, given the subject matter and my desire for vindication for 'Ripper' Owens, I am extemely glad to say that 'Framing Armageddon' more than exceeded my expectations. The opening track 'Overture' is a beautiful percussion/cello instrumental that segues perfectly into brutal riffing, smooth lead lines, the best drumming I've ever heard from Brent Smedley, and (everyone's favourite), ear-splitting vocals from the aforementioned Tim Owens. Stand-out tracks include 'The Clouding', a ballad-esque epic detailing the awakening of man after their collective mind-wipe from the Setian race that concludes with one of the most vicious, bitter lyrics and music that I've heard from this (or for that matter, any other) band - 'Never trust in the motives of man/ They failed to evolve in Mother Nature's plan / And though they seem safe in this newly clouded state/ The nature of their heresy has proven quite innate' - as well as my personal favourite 'When Stars Collide (Born is He)', the multi-layered vocals of which show the influence of Jon Schaffer's some-time collaborator Hansi Kursch of Blind Guardian.
What is most notable about this album is how free Schaffer sounds, embracing the epic bombast of European power metal that he used to such great effect on the Gettysburg trilogy from 2004's 'The Glorious Burden', while his narrative lyrics prove to be his best yet. My only real gripe is that the final track, 'The Awakening', feels as though it would be better suited as the introduction to the second album, and that 'When Stars Collide' is the logical endpoint. This is all purely speculative, however, until next January.
So, in conclusion... thank you, Iced Earth, for proving the nay-sayers wrong and bringing new life to a band who consistently bring fantastic material to an increasingly dull and lacklustre music industry. Armageddon is truly here - roll on January and 'Revelation Abomination'!


Firefly - The Complete Series [DVD] [2003]
Firefly - The Complete Series [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Nathan Fillion
Price: £9.89

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honestly..., 16 Jan. 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Where on earth can I possibly begin? It's probably best to start by saying that this, more than any other example of television or film that I have seen, shines in a way that goes beyond good writing, acting directing and producing. For those who have seen the Serenity film, Mal's closing speech that 'Love keeps a boat in the air when she should fall down' is the only way to sum up this disgracefully cancelled series. Watching the episodes and the various making of documentaries truly reveals the depth of the love that everyone involved in the show (with the obvious exception of the money obsessed cretins at 20th Century Fox) had for what they were doing. I fully agree with another reviewer that there are some utterly dire shows on television that run for decades, and then a little piece of perfection like Firefly comes along and what happens - "Sorry, because we refused to show the episodes in their intended sequence, this show isn't paying for our holiday homes on the wage-slave filled Marianas Islands, so we're going to cancel it for another vacuous, poorly written sitcom/teen soap opera/'drama'."

Perhaps American networks should remember that Van Gogh rarely managed to sell any of his paintings, which today are considered to be masterpieces. Or a more recent example being Only Fools and Horses, which didn't become a success until after its second series. Firefly is a perfect example of modern society; for every person inspired to create something new and magnificent, there are ten bitter, creatively and spiritually unfulfilled bureaucrats to decide that, in their opinion, the potential results don't justify the expense. And, unfortunately for all of us who have had the privelege to experience a thing of beauty in this series, we will likely never see any more of Mal, Inara, Book, Simon, River, Kaylee, Zoe, Wash and Jayne now that the Serenity movie has come and gone.

Just remember. Every person out there who has never seen Firefly is simply a lifelong fan who hasn't had the chance to see it yet.


V for Vendetta [DVD] [2006]
V for Vendetta [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Natalie Portman
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £2.94

1 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 25 Jun. 2006
This review is from: V for Vendetta [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
From various reviews elsewhere I had high hopes for "V for Vendetta". I was greatly disappointed, however, as the wealth of content and political message packed into the original graphic novel has been eschewed in favour of an audience-pleasing, bleak-future movie. The subtlety and depth of Alan Moore's writing has been lost - the adaptation is a faintly enjoyable 2 & 1/2 hours, but the potential of the film to deliver a powerful message in a negative political climate has been lost. The Wachowski's script is little more than a rehashing of the Matrix, without even approaching any serious issues, such as the surrender of liberties to untrustworthy governments in the face of fear-mongering and sensationalist media hysteria. The changes to the plot add little (in fact, they subtract) from the story, making a literary classic into average Hollywood fodder.


Final Fantasy VII Platinum
Final Fantasy VII Platinum

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reunion, 29 May 2006
Without simply repeating what other reviewers have said; this is the best, by far, of the Final Fantasy series. Sephiroth is Final Fantasy's Darth Vader - a villain you have to love, and I still look at Cloud's Buster Sword and wonder how on earth anyone is supposed to fight with a weapon that is bigger than they are.


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