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Agma (UK)

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cyber metal masterpiece., 9 Aug. 2015
This review is from: Genexus (Audio CD)
Fear factory are a truly trailblazing band. They're sound is unique, and since the days of the nu-metal explosion they have remained an essential perspective on alternative metal. The futuristic and cyber oriented dynamics are a throwback into the future with the seamless and increasing roles that technology will play in our lives. This translation into metal music has mostly been a seamless one if slightly uneven. Turbulence however did rock the band unexpectedly during the early 2000's, when Dino Carares dropped out of the band, which ultimately resulted in a brief musical hiatus.

Classics however, include "Soul Of A New Machine, Demanufacture and Obsolete" and perhaps a few other minor efforts:- such as "Archetype and Mechanize". The rest generally did not live up to these four albums; with especially "The Industrialist" being widely regarded as below par in melody, atmosphere and execution. Then, along comes "Genexus", and the prior problems are quickly rectified in a convincing format and performance. It is simply the best and most focused album produced since "Obsolete", and the songwriting quality is among the best yet.

Inside, expect the usual cyber atmospheres with innovative crushing riffs and sublime guitar overtones, with perhaps a renewed emphasis on heightened melody. This is a disturbingly satisfying release from a band with occasional progressive tendencies and it is a success from start to finish. The truly natural heir to "Obsolete" in every conceivable way. Buy it!!.

VII:Sturm Und Drang
VII:Sturm Und Drang
Price: £7.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An ensemble of metal richness., 26 July 2015
This review is from: VII:Sturm Und Drang (Audio CD)
This is sheer -cutting edge stuff from this reliable bunch of Americanos. I first hopped on board the LOG train of madness from the moment I heard 'Ruin' from their "As The Palaces Burn' album. To this day, I continue astounded by it's devastating power and unparalleled heaviness; and as I say, I become part of the growing brand. Things really took off though once we hit 2006, with Sacrament. "Redneck" was such a standout from that CD that I think it was partly responsible for lifting the band up to the current pedestal of stardom.

...So 2015 arrives of the back of a great predecessor in "Resolution". Frankly, evidently superb songwriting in-combination with intertwined melodies, rhythmic leads and essential riffs make this an album of triumphant metal. This is not just simply a opportunistic CD of spur-of-the-moment inspiration; more likely it's the result of invigorating and cohesive crafting, from earliest inception to final product. This is an album of rounded material, an album in the mold of'.. we knew what we wanted from this and this is it.

There is always some new small element of addition to LOG's sound of late, which is most wonderful; this, whilst still remaining utterly Lamb Of God. This is music that most bands typically aim to do. Slight progression, but with a keen nuance of connections to the past. I rarely hear the results of that vision translated on to CD as well as this. I also notice that the most extreme components of Lamb, is becoming rather more levelled with each album, this is perhaps likely due to the band gaining ever more awareness about they're maturity going forward.

The music is;- no doubt, becoming richer with each album, and so too is the variety and versatillity. Never-the-less, this is a metal album as genuine and focused as any. If you're into this genre you have to own it, simple as that.

Fav songs:- 'Footprints' and the fabulously laid back 'Overlord'.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 26, 2015 10:10 PM BST

To Dust
To Dust

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ....To Dust., 23 July 2015
This review is from: To Dust (Audio CD)
As part of my final piece of praise for this band. I have to give "To Dust" an ample and glowing review. After, "Pray" went under the radar in 1995, activity went silent in the solstice camp for 13+ years before this beast of an uprising:- smashed through the walls of silence back in 2009. In comparison then, with so many other jaded and below-par comebacks in the arena, you must be prepared to give this one a chance; it thoroughly deserves it. This is inspired and convicted modern death metal with all the tricks and nifty old school sounds desired.

This is an absolutely brutish hurricane of an album. If you thought anything that's come out that year was heavy, I would strongly advise to think again. Against a backdrop of gritty, dark and ultra down-tuned guitars, sludgy and grinding riffs, and crushing rhythms this is music that absolutely and mercilessly is guaranteed to knock even the most ardent metal fans of they're well supported stools. Together with some small input of melody such as a nice short solo; this is one of the best modern death metal albums I have heard this far in my fifteen years listening to the genre.

Mind you, this is like "Solstice" or "Pray" ratcheted up to Mach 5, a strong influence of thrash still prevails, but with doubt this is an altogether much more powerful and disciplined album. It also leave's the likes of modern Malevolent, obituary, Morbid and other Floridian death metals, ...to dust!.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 26, 2015 12:23 PM BST

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is, is that a stone?., 22 May 2015
Lithops are a stone-like succulents from the barren and hot rocky deserts of NW South Africa and SW Namibia. I have been growing these strange but wonderful looking devils for a few years now, and can confirm that they are easy to grow; if, if, the balance of water given to them is right. Lithops are low growing plants which seldom reach a height equal-to, or greater than 4-5cm, and usually terminates at a maximum of 3. Grown in a mixture of sand, stone, and cactus compost they will typically flourish:- but the key thing is that drainage of the soil medium must be 100%, and the retension of water a bar-minimum.

Mine currently reside in a terranium in a south facing window. This gives the plants plenty of morning sunshine throughout the summer and virtually all day during the winter, as this ensures some shade is given during the more intense summer months. Under testing of several hot weeks in June, temperatures inside my terranium have soared above 40C at times. Only one has a touch of sunburn, and a few wrinkles:- these are extrordinary plants designed to deal with high temperatures and of that you can have no doubt. Slight underwatering of perhaps once every three weeks with a short spray is probably ample enough. Overwatering is a killer:- and Lithops simply won't survive any depth of wet conditions no matter what time of the year it is.

As a general rule of thumb, only one or two waters between autumn flowering and spring leave shedding, is sufficient. Do not water during leaf shedding as I can guarantee you will loose the plant. The best is to keep bone dry, more so than even a cactus!; you will be fine, as long as the plant is left alone and receives a lot of sunlight they will enjoy themselves. I personally don't fertilise my plants and have no idea what effect this may have on them. Certainly for busy people such as office workers or a working person these are ideal plants to have on the windowsill as they have a great tolerance for drought and have the ultimate low maintainence needs!.

Price: £13.47

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's the last of the old guard,... we should be grateful!., 21 May 2015
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This review is from: Obliteration (Audio CD)
With another round of strangulating and gritty Swedish death metal. Entrails release what is now they're fourth studio effort, in what is a late, but up and coming career for this grouping of veterans. I must admit that I was not too impressed with the previous album "Raging Death", as it seemed to lack the intricacies and ominous sounds that typically come part an' parcel with the genre. With bands like Dismember - disbanded, Entombed - no longer what they were, Fleshcrawl - silent, and other reliables like Evocation - which have since moved into the more melodic death metal sector. Only these guys and Grave, are really still making this stuff. New and upcoming bands often show promise, but too often try to mirror some of the old greats and classic albums, which sometimes culminates in a mixture of results.

Enough. Is "Obliteration" any good?. Well the answer to that is certainly a solidly founded one. This is an album of pure swedish death metal with nice touches of dark soundscapes. You really can't go wrong can you?, did you honestly expect anything different?. By picking this one up, you can be sure to have an enjoyable enterprise on your hands, albeit a straight down the line effort. By docking a star I feel that I'm perhaps doing this new opus a modicum of injustice:- there isn't actually anything wrong with it, quite the contrary. It's just that the bands grip on the songwriting wasn't quite as monumental as I'd have hoped; I do have unquestionably high expectations to say the least!. This is quite simply a rock solid album as a bare minimum; as nobody who truly enjoys Swedish death metal could be alarmed by this collection. It is another excellent album, and it is probably on a par with the band's second album "The tomb awaits", albeit-perhaps with a little less "Entombed" worship present.,

With a plethora of better riffs and better production than "Raging Death", this is another welcome album that needs to be seized upon by fans of the genre. In getting this, you can expect an album with content well over the 50 minute mark, and that includes a nicely done digipak from Metal Blade. With 10 songs central to the album there is another two bonus songs present of "Berzerk and Dreaming", which are nice touches to close out the album. *Fav song here is definitely "The Grotesque"....., Hell yeah!.

Blasphemy Made Flesh
Blasphemy Made Flesh
Price: £12.73

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ....Devastating debut - now back in print., 19 May 2015
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This review is from: Blasphemy Made Flesh (Audio CD)
Vicious, brutal and head crushing first enterprise from the French Canadian outfit- Cryptopsy. These guys assemble quite a feasty extravaganza of continent moving metal; laced with incredibly effective riffs, solos, blast beats and barking mad vocals. This is what you came to hear in this genre, and this is all presented in a straight-shot and cannonfire style interpretation, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise!. Technically proficient and absurdly evil in all aspects; it stays always centered on the extreme front, and never once does it deviate from its one deranged purpose of total obliteration!.

As a team of five crazy humans consisting of the legendary Lord Worm, Jon Levasseur, Steve Thibault, Martin Fergusson and Flo Mounier, they all play they're respective musical components with the upmost accuracy and passion. As a result, there is a cohesive mountain of iconic classics to choose from, including the likes of the dangerous opener of "Defenestration", the simply mad "Open Face Surgery", the devastating riffage of "Born Headless and Mutant Christ", or the rather disturbing "Pathological Frolic". Out of all the highlights, Flo Mounier's drumming is simply one of sky-defying quality, just who could deny a sound and demonstration of this level?.

......So what is one to make, of such convicted absurdity.? Certainly from this point of view, this is an absolute sonic monster of the finest form:- easily one of the better albums to emerge from the closing chapter of old school death metal age. It remains a shame that the slightly cloudy production was not improved upon at it's original inception. Indeed, it's only a minor flaw and it can easily be got used-to after a few spins. Never-the-less, extreme metal fans must own this CD, and at least a couple of others from Cryptopsy too while they're at it.

This latest reissue you see before you, is a simple digipak transmission of the original album with no obvious sign of any further remastering. It also thankfully disposes of the later, frankly garbage artwork presented on some earlier issues (both of which I refuse to buy). Hammerheart, release this item with the original artwork as true as was intended, and I would suggest you get round to buying it soon, as it is still a mindblowing death metal album more than 20 years on.

Where Stories End
Where Stories End
Price: £12.63

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, passionate and sincere-prog!.,, 3 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Where Stories End (Audio CD)
Has it really been five years since we were last treated to this superb second item?..., whilst I can say that the progression from the first album is evidently natural and professionally done, I truly think that this band have far more to bring in forthcoming albums and I think that this will all come with time and experience, (like many other great bands!). Even so, there just isn't much present here that can be knocked, thats for sure. Songs like "Breathe" are probably on the more linear and slipstreaming side for a band of Darkwater's growing-ambition; but its opening arrangement is just perfection.

The album itself is chock-full of undeniably stunning tracks, with wonderfully convicted passages and thoughtful inspired undercurrents. This is assisted by an-also very confident and unformulaic grip on songwriting, as it grows with momentum and travels wonderfully. Likeable choruses and a exemplary vocal from Tobias also serve as uplifters, as the net results just continue to amaze. Frankly, this is the best effort of darkness-in-melodic prog since Evergrey; even of-course weighing the fact that the two bands style and approaches are very different.

Production and sound hit the spot perfectly too. Perhaps it's a tad too generous on the bass side, but again truly excellent. This ultimately leave's the highlights-left to examine and I could name you a few personal favourites; "Why I Bleed, Fields Of Sorrow and Without A Sound" certainly add alot of value to the proceedings, but the truth is, is that any of these nine cuts are plausable candidates. This is an album of genuine musical application and immaculate presentation:- nothing patronising just authentic craftmanship.

...and there is so much other quality In progressive metal but this is one is an undeniable gem, and you simply can't miss it. But why then only the four stars you may humbly ask?. Well, the debut was probably a little deeper and richer by comparison, and I confidently think that the next album will be even better when it is eventually confirmed and shipped. Together with the Norwegian bandwagon and chariot of "Circus Maximus", scandinavian prog is going somewhere and long may it continue!.

Bloodred Massacre
Bloodred Massacre

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Savagery and excruciation., 28 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: Bloodred Massacre (Audio CD)
This album is the 4th staple of headcrushing, pulverizing death metal from this german band, and it is a radical departure from the first three albums in that the same Swedish death metal is soaked in a plethora of melodic and tuneful aspects which gave rise to the Fleshcrawl that we still have today. Nearly 20 years on, this formula has remained as Fleshcrawl's principle driving sound in the most recent two-thirds of they're career and perhaps the most convincing of those is Fleshcrawl's 'Bloodred Massacre' album.

The bedrock of they're music remains true to the ultra buzzsaw distorted guitarwork of the few albums and a slight sprinkling of industrial tinged themes. Obviously there is a more focused display of melodic themes overlayed with the usual servings of growling vocals. The drumwork from the iconic axeman of Bastian Herzog is perhaps not as tight as the first two albums. Overall, this is probably in the more accessable vein than they're very earliest albums.

This album is still very much an extreme beast from any angle. It remains one of they're best albums to date and' together with much of they're catalogue, is in a state of deep obscurity.

Offered by westworld-
Price: £9.25

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The future's out there, the future's mine!., 27 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Obsolete (Audio CD)
Fear Factory are a band that play mechanical industrialized metal of the sort that futuristic sci-fi machines could be employing in future years to come. The reality is, that ever since Fear Factory arrived onto the metal scene in the mid 90's it had instant appeal becouse it was different and yet seemed a very acceptable alternative to the heaps of identikit nu-metal bands parading around. "Obsolete" which came out in 1998, shows the band continuing the futuristic storyline started by its predessessor "Demanufacture" and blows it out of the water.

This remains Fear Factory's best album. The album itself is jammed full of effective riffs, stringent melodic moments and positive use of sound effects; this is however a balls to the wall album of brazen metal, and with it, a mercilessly heavy production. Excellent songwriting from a futuristic standpoint is hard to ignore. The surreal realism of a song like Securitron (police state 2000) is enough said already. In future years the output has varied in quality from the also excellent "Archotype" to more subjective and recent misfires like "The industrialist".

'Dino Careres and Burton Bell' are the likely motivators for this epic album of inspired tech metal. Somewhere along the line, the constant band disruption and line up changes have invariably swayed the band of-course. That said, it doesn't subtract from the quality here in any way at all.

Carnivorous plant - midget jug - Cephalotus follicularis - 9 cm of pot - rarity
Carnivorous plant - midget jug - Cephalotus follicularis - 9 cm of pot - rarity
Offered by Exotenherz
Price: £17.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Carnivorous Gem., 27 Feb. 2015
Stretching along the beaches of Esperance and Albany (SW Australia), are small, quite sporadic communities of the Cephalotus follicularis carnivorous plant, and they are specifically endemic to this part of the world. In addition, they are the only species in they're particular biological group and this makes them a very attractive plant to collectors and growers alike. Coming from first hand experience over the last two years, Cephalotus are very challenging plants to grow indeed, more so even than the Venus Fly Trap!.

One thing that should be noted is that these plants enjoy a fairly narrow and stable set of conditions to flourish. These are absolutely not bog plants and should be kept consistently moist; they also do not tolerate overwatering or drought of any kind so this must be monitored otherwise the plant will shrivel or achieve crown/root rot. Temperatures should be relative to sub tropical conditions of the kind that might be experienced in Auckland NZ for example. A slightly lower temperature in winter of 10-21C is advisable and a summer temperature of 21-35C should be perfect. Frost is likely to kill Cephalotus so should be protected in temperatures below 4C!.

Light should be full sun during the winter and partial shade during the summer. Soils can be a various mix of sandy peat:- Cephalotus are not to picky about the mix provided there is not too many rocky present within the medium. Provided then that the plant is re-potted only very very occasionally it should do well. Young plants should never be re-potted:- Cephalotus hates its roots being disturbed or exposed to the air, so if re-potting is to be done it should be processed as quickly as possible to avoid stress. Water should also be mineral free rainwater or a de-ionised form.

Provided these conditions are adhered to the plant should do well.

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