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Gerry Watts (Bristol, UK)

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Vortex [2CD]
Vortex [2CD]
Price: £13.91

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's great to hear Neal, 21 July 2015
This review is from: Vortex [2CD] (Audio CD)
After the disappointing instrumental album The Calling, this is Neal back on form, in the sense of classic Schon. Many of the tracks for me evoke his earlier solo albums such as Electric World, I on U, and in some cases Beyond The Thunder. There are even echoes of early Journey in there (IMO). It's great to hear Neal, Jon Cain and Steve Smith together on Triumph of Love. There's also a beautiful solo piano track that I initially thought was Jon Cain, but its Igor Len. Even Jan Hammer sneaks in on a few tracks. This is a really good classy double album from one of the best guitarists in melodic rock, along with a top notch drummer in Steve Smith, dishing out a variety of sound and styles from hard rock to a little jazz to acoustic ballad....and the production sounds awesome, if a little touch heavy on the bass. Definitely recommended.


Making Sense of the Millennium
Making Sense of the Millennium
Price: £2.10

5.0 out of 5 stars Concise and Informative, 30 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The basic premise of this book is that certain elements of the two major eschatological views of the Christian church, namely Premillennialism and Amillennialism, can be fused together to form a reasonable, cohesive understanding of biblical prophecy from a Preterist perspective. I am very much in agreement with the vast majority of what Doug has to say here, although I don't agree with his 'dualistic' interpretation of the millennium in Revelation 20. He presents his case in a very clear and orderly manner, with fairness to other views, dealing carefully with the major topics of biblical eschatology (including the nature of the resurrection). In the process he cites many biblical scholars and theologians from church history, including modern writers, building his case from biblical sources and historical sources. For a small book, it contains a lot of useful information on the topics considered. I personally would have liked to see some footnotes/endnotes with reference sources, but that's my only criticism really. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in biblical prophecy.


Age Of Reason
Age Of Reason
Price: £17.97

4.0 out of 5 stars AOR - An Improvement, 20 Feb. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Age Of Reason (Audio CD)
I would say that this new offering from Strangeways is definitely superior to their previous album Perfect World. The overall production is far better, being more punchy with more clarity, particularly with the guitar sound. I think the quality of the songs are an improvement, though I personally miss the more up-tempo melodic rock of their earlier days from albums such as Walk In The Fire and Native Sons. I'd like to hear some new songs with a nod in that direction. Terry Brock's vocals are as good as ever, and it's good to see that every band member now is from the original line-up from their classic 80's days.

For some, the overall feel of the album may be a little slow and relaxed, but there's plenty of good material here to reflect on, both musically and lyrically. I hope Strangeways continue to improve on each album, with hopefully a nod to some classic melodic rock from their earlier days thrown in.


The Fire That Consumes: A Biblical and Historical Study of the Doctrine of Final Punishment. 3rd edition, fully updated, revised and expanded
The Fire That Consumes: A Biblical and Historical Study of the Doctrine of Final Punishment. 3rd edition, fully updated, revised and expanded
by Edward Fudge
Edition: Paperback
Price: £30.60

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic, 30 Aug. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This has to be one of the best works on this whole subject. Very thorough, very scholarly & deals also with the three major historical views of the Church, namely unending conscious torment, annihilationism and universalism. Invaluable!


The Christ Has Come, the Second Advent an Event of the Past: An Appeal from Human Tradition to the Teaching of Jesus and His Apostles (1895)
The Christ Has Come, the Second Advent an Event of the Past: An Appeal from Human Tradition to the Teaching of Jesus and His Apostles (1895)
by Ernest Hampden-Cook
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.98

4.0 out of 5 stars Complements 'The Parousia', 30 Aug. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a really good reprint of this old book. For those who largely agree with the classic work by James Stuart Russell 'The Parousia' this is a good complementary addition to that book. This 'digital copy' reprint is virtually flawless.


The Calling
The Calling
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: £8.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed Bag!, 5 Nov. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Calling (Audio CD)
As a long time Journey/Neal Schon fan I was looking forward to this new effort from Neal, particularly as drummer Steve Smith was hitting the skins. I have to say, though, I'm a little disappointed overall. It's good - and Steve Smith is excellent - but I expected much better. I just don't get the 'new' style of playing that Schon is using at times (or maybe it's the effects he's using). Occasionally it sounds like he's intentionally playing out of tune while slurring the notes like a warbled strangled cat! I just can't take to it. It's really noticeable on the title track, but thankfully it's not on all of them. He did something similar on the last track of Journey's Eclipse album, called Venus. I'm sorry, but as much as I like good hard-rocking electric guitar and all sorts of styles and gutsy riffs, Neal can produce far better melodies than this. Some of his solos in concert have been better. Maybe I've just got sensitive hearing that likes hearing all the right notes in the right place!


Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, Part 2[Blu-ray] [2011] [Region Free]
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, Part 2[Blu-ray] [2011] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Daniel Radcliffe
Offered by MusicnMedia
Price: £4.45

18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Blu-Ray picture stuttering (WITH UPDATE), 5 Dec. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is not about the film itself, which is great, but the quality of the Blu-Ray disc. On viewing the movie, there are many glitches throughout the film where the picture stutters or judders, although some are so quick you could easily miss it (as my wife did to begin with). It has nothing to do with my player, as all other BD's work fine. On closer examination, in slow-motion fast forward it reveals that these problems are caused by the film jumping ahead 2 frames and then back 1!! They always occur in the same places. It's such a shame because everything looks fantastic otherwise, and the Maximum Movie Mode is excellent. I don't know if anyone else has had this problem. I'm sending it back for a replacement, and I just hope that this is not a transfer issue that applies to a whole batch of them! It's totally unacceptable for what should be a high quality Blu-Ray disc.

UPDATE: Well, Amazon were great and I received my replacement within 4 days. I tried out the Blu-ray and......it was still stuttering in the same places! I couldn't believe it. THEN I thought I should check whether my blu-ray player needed a firmware update...and it did. I was still sceptical, but I updated the firmware via an upgrade disc downloaded from the net. Amazingly, the 'stutters' or glitches now appear to have disappeared! I certainly don't understand the 'mechanics' behind this, but it seems as though bizarre things can happen to BD's due to player firmware. Modern technology eh!!!! Anyhow, problem solved. I've yet to watch the whole film again though!
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 29, 2011 2:44 PM GMT


Eclipse
Eclipse
Offered by produXa UK
Price: £5.98

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Daring to Boldly Go.....!, 4 Jun. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Eclipse (Audio CD)
I've always looked forward to a new Journey release since the early 1980's.....and yet listening to Eclipse for the first time was like a whole new experience, and to tell the truth, I wasn't quite sure what to make of it all. I had previously purchased the mp3 single 'City of Hope' (radio edit, which is a little shorter than the opening album track), and I loved it! A great uplifting song with very spiritual lyrics (it's the New J of Rev. 21 to me). I even noticed that the bridge portion of the song had echo's of 'Lovin' You Is Easy' from 'Evolution' - like a fusion of old and new Journey.

Like other reviewers have noted, this album certainly requires a fair few spins to really appreciate what's on offer here. I think the production is really good, probably with more depth than Revelation, especially in the bass (though I have to say that Deen's toms-toms sound a little muffled and tame at times---I'm an ex-drummer!). Arnels' vocals are on top form...incredible power and range, and with occasional Steve Perry'esque nuances (which I'm glad are there). All of the musicianship is excellent - period! There are many layers to the songs - and the lyrics/theme of the album (which may not be to the liking of some) is very spiritual, intellectual and rather mature-sounding for rock music!! I love it!

And just when you think you know something about where some of the songs are going....they take a left turn into somewhere else! 'She's A Mystery' is a great example. This is a wonderful acoustic-style song - until near the end, when the acoustic goes out the window, and then it becomes a crunching rock song!! Excellent!

Classic Rock AOR mag made a song and dance about the fact that 'shock, gasp, horror, it's a Journey album without a single ballad on it!' Well, I would say maybe not in the usual sense of a Journeyesque 'Open Arms' kind of ballad, but there is some beautiful Jon Cain style piano music on here which could be viewed as balladesque. Take 'Tantra' and the intro to 'Chain of Love' and 'To Whom It May Concern' as some examples.

Yet on the other hand a number of tracks are bordering on Prog Rock territory - like Neal Schon is trying to hark back to the very early Journey years. Take 'Chain of Love' and 'Venus'. Neal's guitar work in general is very fast on this album on virtually every track, and some may think it's a little too much, a bit too full on maybe. Most of the time I personally don't mind it, but I have to be brutally honest about the last instrumental track 'Venus' which closes out the album - I think it's probably one of the worst tracks I've heard on a Journey album! It's just a showpiece for Neal to play 100 MPH screaming guitar and for Deen to go absolutely nuts on the drums! For me, it's just a monotonous noise and I don't think that'll change no matter how many times I listen to it! Neal could do way better than this in writing an intrumental track - one that has classic Neal Schon melody and variety that is evident on many of his solo albums, and on Journey tracks such as 'The Journey (Revelation)' from Revelation; 'Majestic' from Evolution; 'Departure' from Departure; and 'Skylight' from the Revelation concert DVD. This would be my only gripe! My advice is don't let your listening experience end with 'Venus!!'

The majority of the album sounds epic and in some respects it covers a number of different musical genres interwoven throughout. Overall though it's a hard rock/AOR album (maybe a little too hard for some). 'Human Feel' wouldn't have been out of place on Def Leppard's Hysteria album! 'She's a Mystery' reminds me of some early Heart in some ways. And I think a little Led Zeppelin is in there in 'Chain of Love'. I think the highlights of classic melodic Journey rock are 'City of Hope', the slower 'Anything is Possible' (with echos of 'I'll Be Alright Without You' from Raised on Radio in Neal's guitar), 'Ritual' and 'Someone'. Most of the music and lyrics are very uplifting and heartfelt, yet there is a mix of light and darkness in there as well.

I would conclude with saying that this is a classic Journey album that I'm sure will grow even better over time. Nevertheless, I can understand why some may find it hard to digest at first. But if you let it, it will take you on a journey (oooohh! couldn't resist) you'll never forget. I don't think there are many albums out there like this one right now.


Live in Japan
Live in Japan

5.0 out of 5 stars Journey Live in Japan Escape Tour '81, 24 May 2011
This review is from: Live in Japan (Audio CD)
I don't know any of the background to this release. It doesn't appear like an official Journey release, although it is possible that Steve Perry or other members of the band (past and present) maybe behind it. Either way this is a welcome addition to any Journey fan's collection.

I remember the days of bootleg tapes in the 1980's, some of which had appalling sound. Nevertheless, this double cd live album is akin to a very pro sounding stereo 'bootleg' with very good packaging along with it. There are a few 'mistakes' though. For one, this is the Escape era line up of Journey with Jonathan Cain, yet he is nowhere to be seen in the photos! Gregg Rolie is there instead.

Also of note, the 'Guitar Interlude' listed on CD 1 track 6 is actually an instrumental track from the Japanese import album 'Dream after Dream' entitled 'When the Love is Gone.' Also, 'Lights' is missing from the listing on CD 2 (it should be track 1) and there's another brief guitar interlude near the beginning of CD 2 as well which isn't listed.

The track 'Turn Around in Tokyo' on the end of CD 1 is an interesting rock and roll number that I'd never heard before. Apparently it was a Jon Cain penned song from his days with The Babys. A nice little addition, with Jon Cain on lead vocals and Perry backing him!

All in all, this is an album every Journey fan (especially of the Perry era) should have. Steve Perry's vocals are on top form throughout, and apart from a few slight tuning problems, the band sound great. The solos are really good too. In a similar vein to the album notes, this is a great way of 'capturing' Journey live in the early 80's and is a nice addition to the 'Live in Houston' CD/DVD set.

I can't comment on the DVD accompanying this release, as I haven't seen it. The CD album is definitely worth buying though. Classic Journey from a Classic era.


DIAMOND BLUE
DIAMOND BLUE

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Melodic Rock Excellence, 27 Jan. 2011
This review is from: DIAMOND BLUE (Audio CD)
This has to be one of the best AOR/melodic rock albums that I've heard for quite a while (dare I say it, it even gives the new Journey a run for their money!) This album has great songs which rock (with a few meaningful ballads), great guitar licks and solos, and Terry Brock's vocals are on top form. 'Face in the Crowd' would be a great single - very uplifting! The unsung hero here I think has to be Mike Slamer - excellent guitar work and production, not to mention that he co-wrote all the songs with Brock. It's worth mentioning that the track 'Jessie's Gone' was also co-written with Ian Stewart, guitarist of Strangeways. I was hoping that the new Strangeways album Perfect World, with Terry Brock back on vocals, would have sounded more like 'Jessie's Gone' but that was not to be. (It's not all bad news though IMO; see my review for Perfect World)

All in all, anyone who likes melodic rock should definitely get this album. Could be a classic in years to come.


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