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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Criminally misunderstood, 7 Jan. 2006
Clearly, this is not a film the majority of people will enjoy, or even understand. Disturbing and highly emotional, this is a piece of brilliance which is sadly being judged too harshly on it's surface material.
Suicide is filmed in a style similar to the Dogme 95 directors of legend, this is probably due to the complete lack of budget Raoul Heimrich had to work with, but the effect is no less stark. The vast majority of scenes are done in a single, continuous take, with no editing tricks or special effects coming between the viewer and the naked performances. Cutting is kept to a bare minimum, typically used only to change from one scene to the next, and the shooting is (naturally) all hand-held. No attempt is made to disguise the prescence of the camera, indeed, the plot not only requires but also benefits from the involvement of the largely invisible cameraman.
Of course, the less visual trickey a film has to work with, the more it leans on the actors to hold your attention (for example, the fact that Daniel Radcliffe cannot act is largely irrelevent in the sea of breathtaking CGI that is Harry Potter. No such luxuries here). Whilst I don't believe for a second that the actors were so emotionally involved they could only do their respective scenes once, as the box proclaims, the performances are utterly spellbinding. On paper, the measured pace and lack of dialogue sound catatonically sleep-inducing. On film, it works. Although some of the scenes are more memorable than others, each one is acted to perfection and the end result is as moving a piece of cinema as you will ever see. The stand-out performance, a true gem, lies in the slow, pill-induced attempt at suicide of two young girls. Containing only two words of dialogue, the scene is utterly engaging and powerful, as we see the horrors of despair laid completely open. The camera barely flinches as one of the girls begins vomiting, whilst the other slowly drifts out of reality, eventually laying her head down to die. Utterly bleak, yet still compelling, this is fearless portrayal of the end of two people's downward spiral.
Elsewhere, the film keeps up a similar standard of fearless quality. There is a loose plot connecting the various deaths, and the ending is a genuine shocker, but the five stars are earned purely by the power and morbid beauty of the actors and their moments in the camera's eye. On the side, for those more interested in the messages contained in great pieces of cinema, it's a frank exploration of the theory laid out by Slavoj Zizk and the relationship between voyeur/voyee. We see the subconscious desre of human beings to be watched in everything they do, even the final moments of their life, shown particularly by the scene in which a Satanist attempts suicide, with the camera present, surrounded by candles and burning incense. We are witness to his self-serving theatrics, a dramatic speech, and on the first sight of blood, he backs out and demands the camera be switched off. Almost a spoof, this scene is a highly intelligent observation on the human desire for an audience.
Calling this film 'dangerous' is to do it an uforgivable injustice. For those considering suicide, I would suggest this film not to find ideas for taking their own lives, but as a wake-up call. Seeing the depths of emotion portrayed in this film is enough to scare anyone off suicide forever.


With Teeth
With Teeth
Price: £5.99

12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A release that runs hot and cold, 8 May 2005
This review is from: With Teeth (Audio CD)
Before beginning properly, I feel I should point out that the score above is intended to reflect this album as a stand-alone piece, as to rate it based on Trent Reznor's impeccable back catalogue would simply be unfair. However if you want a rough guide, I suggest the following-
If you wish to compare this album to 'The Fragile', knock a point off the given rating.
If you wish to compare this to either 'Broken' or 'Pretty Hate Machine', knock two points off the given rating.
If you wish to compare this to 'The Downward Spiral', just give up completely.
For all the expectation, inevitable given the waiting period we had to endure, this is by far the weakest Nine Inch Nails release to date (not counting the virtually unlistenable 'Fixed'). The feeling from listening to it is simply that Trent has run out of good ideas, and is attempting to rework a whole series of old ones into something new. The saving grace is, of course, that his original ideas were all so good that they bear a considerable amount of repeating.
So how does it work? What you essentially have is a collection of new songs that incorporate the best elements of previous NIN outings, which makes for some interesting moments spotting where the influences lie. Opener 'All the love in the world' bears a noticeable resemblence to the beautiful 'I'm looking forward to joining you, finally' from 1999's 'The Fragile', with sampled drums playing over a slow, dark bass groove. 'Every day is exactly the same' opens with a piano line that instantly recalls 'The frail', and the industrial masterpiece that is 'Eraser' (possibly Trent's finest moment) rears its crushingly powerful head throughout the album's heavier moments.
Where the album fails is in its frequent repetition of the same themes. seven of the 13 tracks (15 if you include the bonus material) begin with the same 'industrial drums into vocals' style of opening, and five have choruses that consist of the same line repeated throughout (with the odd swear word dropped in, in the case of 'Only'). The intention here is clearly for these songs to work in a live context, and being one of the lucky few who caught NIN at the London Astoria in march, I can assure you that they do. The simplistic nature of the choruses means that they stick almost instantly in your head, making for great fist-pumping moments at a concert, but listening to the album on your own frequently leaves a feeling of something unfinished. Trent can create wonderful harmonies in his songs ('Even deeper' springs to mind), so it's a mystery why he fails to make use of this in 'With Teeth'.
This simplicity has extended, at least partially, to the music as well. However here it works far better, with an almost punk undertone to the mayhem of 'You know what you are' and 'Only'. Minimism is a strong element of all the songs, with the desolate soundscape of 'Right where it belongs' the finest example of this, and also the albums true stand-out track ('The hand that feeds' being the obvious, but horribly misguided, choice for that accolade). However, whilst previous NIN albums have included this less-is-more approach, for example the classics 'Piggy' and 'Something I can never have', it has always been balanced by the complex arrangements that made other tracks such a joy. There is very little of that here, and also a lamentable absence of the experimental twists and turns that established Trent Reznor as such a vital artist in the first place. There are no instrumentals, and nothing truly unexpected happens. Even the sudden piano breakdown in the title track has 'Mr self-destruct' written all over it. Although, that said, 'With teeth' the song is one of the few to recall the multi-layered epics we know and love.
Much of the above is nitpicking, none of the songs on this album are bad and the music still rocks as hard as ever. However there is one real weakness on display which, at least for me, spoiled many otherwise fine moments. The lyrics. Trent has always suffered from 'cat, sat, mat' style rhyming in his songs, but previously much of his genius stemmed from an uncanny ability to spin grand emotions and imagery from this simple method. Unfortunately, none of that is on display here. The best thing you can say about the lyricism on this record is 'cliched', and the worst is 'nu-metal'.
Yes, as painful as it is to accept, NIN has taken the road of aimless angst that proved such a hit with Korn and Linkin Park. Although Trent does it better than either of the above examples, it's still horrifying to hear such lyrical monstrosities as 'you better take a good look cause I'm full of shit!' ('You know what you are') from the same man who wrote the exquisite 'La Mer'.
However in music the words are always simply icing on the big, down-tuned cake, so the album is still hugely enjoyable. In fact this record would make an excellent starting point for any new NIN fan (and, given the band's recent appearance on CD:UK, probably will be). Unfortunately there is simply nothing here that can rival the lofty heights Trent once scaled, although when your worst song in fifteen years is the industrial-rap stomp of 'Where is everybody?' this is really nothing to be ashamed of......
Nine Inch Nails still rule. With rumours that a follow-up is already being planned (rumours I take with a pinch of salt, I must admit) we can only hope that a return to form is on its way. In the meantime let's just sit back and recall the past glories, with 'Wish' playing nice and loud in the background......


Once
Once

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A landmark release by a landmark band, 4 July 2004
This review is from: Once (Audio CD)
To put it simply, this is the best Nightwish release since Oceanborn.
After Wishmaster it seemed that Tuomas and his band had taken a new musical direction. With 'Over the Hills' and 'Century Child' it seemed the songwriting had taken a leaner, more direct approach. The beautifully complex song structures had been simplified in favour of a collection of more straight-up metal anthems. Whilst this new material was almost all excellent, it simply wasn't what Nightwish do best.
Now it's gone even further the other way.
This album is closest to Oceanborn in it's style, each song going through complexly interwoven melodies and time changes before rising up to a chorus sure to leave it's imprint on your heart. But everything on this CD is simply bigger and more epic than anything this awesome band have done before. Whatever their musical limits once were, everything on here smashes through them.
Opener 'Dark Chest of Wonders' is a piece of soaring metal genius. The first minute is almost a song itself, a deluge of power metal riffing overlayed with Tuomas's wonderful keyboard genius (not to mention the addition of an entire symphony orchestra and choir) before Tarja's voice, possibly the greatest in metal at this time, sweeps you away. It's hard to explain how much the vocals on this have improved since the early days of the band until you've listened to each diverse track and every mind-blowing chorus.
The addition of a choir and orchestra has given this CD a richness and texture that was sadly lacking on earlier releases (although this will undoubtedly create difficulties when it comes to performing the songs live, a pity as this album has just the kind of rousing, fist-pumping action that works so well live) and, as always, the musicianship is superb. Tuomas's arrangements sound like the soundtrack to the best Hollywood epic ever and every instrument fits together beautifully to create a single, flowing entity. The song 'Ghost Love Score' is a perfect example of this. This track, perhaps more than any other, demonstrates an incredible band at the height of their powers. Tarja's vocals float angelically above the backing choir whilst the music rolls and blasts below.
Whilst the epic material is wonderful, theres plenty here that takes a more direct approach to your ears. 'Wish I Had an Angel' is a fast-paced 'Dead to the World' style anthem whilst single 'Nemo' is a beautifully crafted masterpiece. 'Wish I...' is also one of several tracks that use bassist Marco's gruff voice to counter the ethereal Tarja (fans of Century Child will remember how much he added to the sound). 'The Siren' in particular will blow away all fans of dual vocals in songs.
If there is a criticism of this album, it's that the songs can occaisionally get a little bit TOO indulgent. 'Creek Mary's Blood', with it's native American chants and ethnic instrumentation, is perhaps pushing things slightly. However this is a minor gripe since 'Creek...' is as awesome in parts as anything Nightwish have ever done. Also, Tuomas has yet to explain why he chose to portray himself as a nemo.....
Aside from that, this is genius. Sheer genius.


Oceanborn
Oceanborn
Offered by Smaller World Future
Price: £28.24

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The finest album by one of the worlds finest bands, 6 Mar. 2004
This review is from: Oceanborn (Audio CD)
Now that Evanescence has made 'gothic' music not only acceptable, but openly desirable, again, perhaps the bands that influence the million-selling GothLite of Amy Lee and co will finally get the attention they deserve.
Musical heroes in their home country of Finland, and with a rapidly growing European and American fanbase, Nightwish are in a position to become a massive rock force in their own right and it's a position this band truly deserves after so many years releasing stunning albums of scope and diversity. Oceanborn is one of the earlier items in their back catalogue but the band have yet to come up with anything that can match it. Here the opera is grander, the metal heavier and the music just plain better than anything that came before or since.
Opening straight into the crunching 'Stargazers' with a power that turns your head, the album spirals up and down until the closing seconds of 'Sleeping Sun'. Tarja's voice is as beautiful as ever as it floats above the murky metal undertones (Sami and Jukka make up one of the tightest rhythm sections in the world) and Tuomas's melodies are constantly inventive, surprising you with sudden changes of pace and direction but never becoming confusing. Although many people may be put off by the sheer lack of raw emotion on display, they have no idea of what Nightwish is about. This is not a band who write weepy self-pitying emo ballads, this is a band who write soaring metal songs and nothing else will do.
Although on a large scale Nightwish change their style little (each song follows the same ethereal vocals-synthesised orchestral arrangements-heavy metal guitars and rhythm pattern) within the confines of their chosen style the inventiveness on display is incredible. Each melody and riff is unique in it's own right and every song is distinct from the last. Thats not to say that every song is built in the same way though, 'Swanheart' for example is a touching work of slowed-down beauty. A special mention must be made here of Emppu's guitar work, always breathtaking but never overpowering, here he lets rip with one of the most underrated guitar solos of all time. Also, keep an ear out for the solo in their cover of The Snowman's 'Walking in the air'. Both these songs are true demonstrations that a fast guitarist is nothing without a sense of melody. Of course, Emppu still manages to grind out some classic metal riffing on 'Devil and the deep dark ocean' and the the instant classic 'Passion and the Opera'.
Perhaps the most notable thing about Nightwish's music, however, is how little any of the individual instruments stand out. Everything in the band works together so well it's almost impossible to imagine any of it on it's own. I could not, for example, see the synths at the beginning of 'The Riddler' sounding half as good without the crashing guitar chords backing them up. Or 'Moondance' (the albums only instrumental track) working without Jukka's incredible drumming driving it along. And above it all, Tarja's voice flys like a watching angel, the calm focal point among all the heavy metal chaos.
If you want to get into Nightwish, buy 'Century Child' first, although this is their best album, it's also by far the hardest to get into if this kind of sound is new to you (and no, Evanescence does not count, this is a FAR richer kind of music). However, if you want to jump in at the deep end, and be rewarded for doing so, this album should be first on your list.


The Golden Age of Grotesque
The Golden Age of Grotesque
Price: £5.87

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What it lacks in emotion it makes up for in arrogance, 23 Aug. 2003
Lets face it, everyone who's been following Manson since before this album was released could tell that the ACSS days have been long dead and buried (a true tradegy, bring back 'tourniquet'!!) and Manson has moved comfortably on into the territory of the true rock star, with nothing to lose and prepared to take any risk. So why does this album seem so commercially impersonal?
Ok, it's a good CD, and in places it's a GREAT CD ('Ka-boom ka-boom' and 'Para-noir' especially) but whereas ACSS, Mechanical Animals and (to a lesser degree) Holy Wood dripped with feelings of negativity and depression, the only emotion I can feel on most of the songs here is simple arrogance and maybe a little anger. What happened to the man who wrote 'the last day on earth'?
Thats my only major gripe with this CD, and I've got it out the way so lets look at the positive aspects. This is the first Manson album to use a seperate track intro since POAAF and 'thaeter' is an interesting, if slightly pointless, way to open the CD. So, once you've got over the shock of how little feeling the album has, how do the songs measure up? Surprisingly, most of them are very good. Strong beats and more of the classic, catchy riffs that were scattered throughout Holy Wood make this a fantastic rock record with enormous live potential (although I have to admit when I saw Manson live shortly after the albums release I was dissapointed by the quality of the performance, everything was just average going-through-the-motions instead of the blazing live show you come to expect from the man). Tracks such as 's(AINT)' 'Ka-boom ka-boom' and 'slutgarden' have a punch that very little of Manson's earlier material can rival, and although mOBSCENE is as horrendously commercial a release as anything the band have ever produced, and shamelessly rips off Faith No More's classic oral sex anthem 'Be agressive', it is still a thumping singalong masterpiece with one of the best choruses of anything from Manson's back catalougue.
The only other major problem with this CD is the quality of some of the songs, notably in the latter section of the album. Up as far as the humourously dark 'Para-noir' (with John5's soloing still very much from the Nine Inch Nails school of guitar) the songs all have a fair whack of quality about them but after the 6-minute journey of twisted love, the songs that follow are all very much fillers rather than proper works of musical art. You get the feeling that the band had finished writing and were told the CD had to have more tracks, so they simply recorded some extra songs to tack on the end. 'The bright young things' in particular stands out as one of the worst songs Manson ever recorded, although the closing track 'Vodevil' redeems this tiring part of the album somewhat, being an excellent song that sums up the new MM 'style' perfectly. And thats what this album is, the beggining of a new era for our favorite Antichrist.


Over The Hills And Far Away
Over The Hills And Far Away
Price: £25.69

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good enough to make you feel guilty, 28 April 2003
Nightwish are from Finland, and that in itself should tell you all you need to know about their quality, but for those not familiar with Amorphis, HIM, Insomnium et al (in short, those who dont know the impeccable quality of Finnish metal) read on....
Classical genre labelling doesn't work well with Nightwish, gothic metal? Possibly, black metal? Hardly, simply Metal? Not descirptive enough, in fact none of these genres work well here. Nightwish to me are Opera metal, nothing less.
But enough bandying around with names, and onto the music. All the elements of great metal are here-distorted guitar riffs and powerful solos, excellent drumwork (and for once not overdooing the double bass) and speedy bass. But this particular band make more (and better) use of keyboards than most. The best example I think comes in the title track, following the excellent drum-led intro and first verse comes a cracking keyboard interlude that sounds decidedly Irish in nature, and none the worse for that. In fact everything about the opening song reeks of class from the flawlessly heavy opening through to the final guitar solo as the song fades. But as good as this title track is, it's only getting you ready for the real treasure of this CD, the stunning '10th man down' which is truly Nightwish at their opus. Opening with sound of battle before dropping into a low, pulsing first verse, you know you're in for a treat here, and this is confirmed as soon as the chorus kicks in, words fail me. After a repeat of this, suddenly everything changes and the song spirals down to a dark (but heavy) story of a lone soldier. This soldier (the band making good use of male vocals here, as if Tarja's voice wasn't enough on its own) and our heroine swap songs back and forth like a battle for words, before the chorus explodes into our faces again, and suddenly it's over.
'Away' and the beautiful remake of 'Astral romance' help wind us down after this, before the live section offers us 6 classic Nightwish numbers as they should be, live and real. The band are, naturally, on top form with every riff and note lovingly captured, particulary in the guitar solo to the excellent 'walking in the air', definitely one of the underrated classics in the history of all things guitar. The 6 minute epic of 'Beauty and the beast' (again with its brilliant use of male vocals) is the final glory of this album, followed only by a sub-standard performance of 'wishmaster', a song I was never particulary fond of. Still, this small jape aside still leaves us with 9 tracks of pure classic Finnish opera metal, and thats really 9 tracks more than we deserve, this is the kind of music you should have to beg to hear.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 14, 2011 2:00 PM GMT


Beyond The Valley Of The Murderdolls
Beyond The Valley Of The Murderdolls
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £4.94

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, fascinating, fantastic, 7 Mar. 2003
I bought this album after hearing the (unreleased, sadly) track 'lets f*ck' and 'dead in hollywood'. The murderdolls, as everyone knows, are a glam/goth/humour band with Slipknots drum machine Joey Jordinson as their main feauture and Tripp Elsen of static-x as his six-stringing contempary (sadly, Tripp left after completeing the album). But as has been pointed out time and time again, this is not slipknot unmasked.
The murderdolls are a reasonably unique band, although their elements are not hard to identify (take a pinch of Alice Cooper...stir in some Marilyn Manson....). However what makes them a proper stand-out band is their use of solos, in every song. Solos are something I have a huge weakness for, and although these aren't the best examples in the world, they're still very good, and it shows that the band cares about what they play rather than simply stringing some riffs together (other modern bands, take note). Wednesday 13, previously of Frankenstein Drag Queens from the Planet 13 (and incidentally, some of the Murderdolls songs ARE lifted from the aforementioned band) puts on an excellent vocal performance, suiting the lyrics perfectly whether he puts on a deathly shreik or a low growl, or anything in between. The lyrics themselves range from the provocative to the ludicrous, but always manage to be hilarious (assuming you have a somewhat morbid humour) especially 'people hate me' which satirizes nearly everything metal stands for ('now I'm singing out of key, the god of your TV, and all your children worship me......). Worthy of a mention also is the stomach-turning 'grave robbing USA' which had me in stitches straight from the start.
But enough of the lyrics and more on the music. Aside from the aforementioned solos, the riffing is of the highest quality, sometimes going so far as to recall Metallica at their opus. The bass, although hard to hear (like bass always is) is actually very accomplished, not amazingly technical, but better than some (unnamed) examples. As for the drumming, I feel sorry for anyone drumming in a band with Joey (perhaps the best drummer to get big in the last 5 years) but anazingly, Ben (I think its Ben anyway) manages to do a fantastic job, especially with some short drum intros to certain songs ('love at first fright' being my particular favorite).
The 'dolls were voted best band of the year in a recent magazine poll and it isn't hard to see why, combining crisp production with real musical talent and a bucketload of sick sick humour, this is a band to watch. So much so that it's even possible to forgive the one low point-the dreadfully poor lyrics on 'twist my sister' which would have any self-respecting songwriter gritting their teeth.......


Iron Maiden: Rock In Rio [DVD] [2002]
Iron Maiden: Rock In Rio [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ Iron Maiden

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good but could have been better, 5 Mar. 2003
Reviewing this DVD is going to be hard, for the simple reason that how do you fairly review the first DVD by a band that, in terms of talent at least, quite seriously be considered to be the best in the world?
But fortunately, this DVD has enough flaws to constitute a fair review without just going on about how good Maiden are (although there will be plenty of that as well). The DVD, recorded in Rio before a crowd of 250,000 and lasting 2 hours, is every bit as explosive as you'd expect. Opening with the operatic 'arthurs farewell', you can literally feel the energy of the crowd as the lights shine on Nicko (drums), before Adrian (guitar) strides on and begins to blast the intro riff to set opener 'the wicker man'.
The sound quality, although not perfect, is still excellent, you can place each and every note as it is played. Although this is a review of the DVD, a word must be spared for the amazing quality of the show itself. Maiden are, as always, on top form since the return of Adiran and Bruce (vocals) after their prolonged absence, and it shows. Maiden have never been about fancy, emotional sets (how different from bands trying to be 'dramatic' and looking stupid) they just go for pure rock-your-socks-off metal, no themes (beyond maybe a picture at the back) just the most powerful metal this side of titanium alloy. Blistering solos have always been Maidens trademark, and with the return of Adrian, it just gets better.
But enough praise (for now), this DVD is by no means perfect. The editing was all 'in-house', done by Steve (bass and band leader) and it is, at times, excellent but equally, at times it is shoddy. The shots naturally focus on Bruce, but all the musicians are represented and there is no notable bias (in fact Steve often seems to delibrately keep the camera off himself) even Nicko the sticksman gets a good amount of camera time, something that most DVDs seem to be missing. The editing is often a bit over-the-top when it comes to shot changing. Most notably this is in the opening track, where the cameras change almost every second in places. Another good example is in the track 'Wrathchild', the post chorus camera changes are synched with the drums which really makes your head spin. This is the DVD's major criticism, but also, the sound editing sometimes plays up and the volume levels waver, which tends to ruin the experience somewhat. The feeling is that if Steve had left the editing to a proffessional, the experience would be more enjoyable.
That said, there are massive amounts of enjoyable moments in this DVD. As said before, the music itself is superb, blasting out a wealth of new material from the top class 'Brave new world' (Blood Brothers-most emotional solo ever?) as well as old favorites from years gone by. But of special note is the closing performance of 'run to the hills' which was performed impromptu and unrehearsed after not being played by the band for years, and it was every bit as energetic as the sets opener-testimony to the power and strength of a band who can play 2 hours without flagging (also look for Bruce's reference to Hamlet during the closing chorus). The songs are littered with moments both great and funny, and yes, Eddie is there, stumbling onstage during 'the evil that men do' to get in a fight with Janick (guitar). Every member of the band adds something to the show, from Nicko's constant face-pulling (and chuckle inspiring highland dancing during 'the clansman) to Adrian's effortless and constant cool as he stalks the stage. Bruce, of course, is his usual crowd pleasing self with his between-song comments and little sideliners ('shall we burn our little wicker virgins, how shall we have them, nice and crispy?' is a particular favorite of mine).
There are an infinite number of more things I can say, but I wont since I've said all that needs to be said and you'll either buy this or wont, hopefully, you will. Finally, a freind of mine saw this DVD and pointed out one final thing. 'all the sets are pretty much the same, isn't that a bit boring?'. But isn't this the joy of Maiden? No complications, no special track order, just metal, all the way through. The tracks can be played in fairly much any order and sound perfect, you can skip straight from 'the wicker man' through to 'run to the hills' and still feel the same energy, the same power that was there at the start. Buy this DVD, and you can watch it all the way through and marvel at some of the worlds best music. Or skip straight to your favorite song, and it works. The extras are interesting, but only a divertion from the main feature. Although my favorite moment of the whole package was the sight of Bruce standing in a hotel room, chair in hand, turn to the camera with a questioning eye and saying 'rock and roll?' before slamming the chair into a table and walking off.
Moments like this, not to mention the sight of Dave Murray (guitar) pulling of that classic solo from 'number of the beast', are enough to make you want to cheer at your TV.


Guns, God & Government [DVD] [2002]
Guns, God & Government [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ Marilyn Manson
Price: £10.83

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 5 for the DVD but 4 for the show, 3 Mar. 2003
And since it's the show thats important, 4 stars it is.
Marilyn Manson, one of the most well known names in music, has released his third major live recording, this being the second 'visual' release. And a damm fine one it is too, with good production and quality sound.
First, the gripes with the DVD itself. The sound quality is excellent, with the feeling of realism not lost for the sake of a crisp aural effect, but one of the DVD's most irritating feature is the 'showswapping' effect. That is the DVD continuously swaps between the different legs of the tour from which it was recording, so you have a shot of Manson singing in Japan, which will suddenly change to a shot of Twiggy playing in say.....Moscow, with the same soundtrack over the top. This often ruins the effect of the show as it appears at several points that the band is miming. Although it does give the viewer the chance to see all the different aspects of the tour, it could have been done better. Perhaps one song from each show would have worked better.
The major gripe however, is the show itself. The band Marilyn Manson are all expert musicians, and this comes through as they hammer out spot-on versions of each song. But where it falls through is in the song mix. The CD concentrates far too heavily on the more rock/metal songs leaving out the slower songs, including some of my personal favorites. Leaving a particular hole in the setlist is 'the last day on earth', perhaps Manson's most beautiful song. 'Great big white world' has its place, but doesn't make up for the considerable lack of lighters-in-air moments.
In all, this is a good addition to any music collection, but if you want to hear Manson at his live best, I reccomend 'the last tour on earth' as a starting point.


Commencement
Commencement
Price: £17.05

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating 'art rock', 3 Mar. 2003
This review is from: Commencement (Audio CD)
Without Jonathon Davies guest appearence, it's almost impossible to beleive that the Korn frontman had a hand in this, the only traces of his presence that I could identify being the guitar tuning from album opener 'the key to gramercy park' which sounded somewhat similar to Untouchables. But here for the first time in years is a truly new sound. The typical 'Deadsy' sound is almost dreamily melodic, layed alongside crunching guitars and some powerful bass work, beauty and the beast working together at last. The album opens with vocalist P.Exeter Blue's (incidentally, the offspring of famous singer Cher) stuttering line 'I got the key-the key to gramercy park' and from there, each song offers its own twists and turns. This first track is a rocky number which makes less use of the magic keyboards (hats off to Dr Nner, synth/keyboard artist for Deadsy) that appear in other key tracks. The guitar work, also courtesy of Mr. Exeter, is crunching, the only real line that can be drawn between this band and Korn, but it never tries to be overly heavy and draw the band into the metal sphere. The vocal style is also fresh, if a little bland, but it suits the music perfectly. The second (and best) track 'winners' is a complete U-turn from the rockiness of the opener, an eathreal soundscape gives way to a descending guitar/keyboard track, with Exeter's singing sounding decidedly dreamlike. The two cover songs are both perfect, 'brand new love' manages to improve on the original version.
This CD is definitely a worthy purchase for anyone who wants something a little different and alternative. DONT buy this if you're expecting to hear Korn with keyboards, but do if you plan to hear something new and fresh. If you want to try before you buy, look for 'winners' 'they key to gramercy park' and 'she likes big words', then BUY THE ALBUM.


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