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Reviews Written by
Dominic Goulding (Manchester)

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5.0 out of 5 stars The album that got me into Saint Vitus, 2 July 2014
This review is from: V (Audio CD)
For my money, the vast majority of Saint Vitus' output is fantastic (the only real blip I can think of being "C.O.D" with Christian Linderson on vocals - no disrespect intended to Christian, he is a fantastic vocalist and his work with Lord Vicar has been amazing... it is just the combo of Vitus' music and his vocals did not work for me). The problem, for a listener who is new to Saint Vitus, is that because their output is so good, but also so extensive - it can be hard to decide where to start. Personally, I think you could do worse than to start here (although any of the first five albums would make good starting points really), so how does it sound...?

Music? Slow, slow, SLOW. If you are new to Doom metal this may shock you - the fastest paced songs here would probably still be considered slow to most rock and metal fans, and the slowest songs could be downright agonising (if you are into Doom I assume you know Vitus... if you don't, for shame! And also, the speed will not shock you :P). However, this slow pace is very beneficial to the music as a whole - big heavy guitar riffs, crushing drums and mournful vocals; the pace helps to set the mood, and to make the whole thing seem heavier. Riffs are the order of the day and there's plenty of good ones to be found here - think a slower, less groovy and more simplistic Black Sabbath (that sounds bad... but it's not, trust me)

Vocals? Scott "Wino" Weinrich is something of a legend in the Doom scene these days - I am unsure if this is because of his long stint with Vitus or just for the sheer amount of awesome Doom bands he has fronted, but he is. His voice is very unique so I can't draw many comparisons, sometimes (especially on the song "Ice Monkey") he sounds like Lemmy, occasionally there are traces of Ozzy to be found, but mostly he just sings in a clean, slightly nasal and soulful way (nasal is not bad, just the best descriptive phrase I could think of).

Lyrics? The lyrics here are MISERABLE. This is very commonplace for Doom Metal but it could be off-putting for some; tales of social isolation, unrequited love, attempted suicide and drug abuse are abound. The lyrics for the most part are well-written and enjoyable in their own way, but I'd definitely say steer clear if you don't like gloomy subject matter.

Recommended? Yes, to the majority of rock and metal fans, and especially to anyone looking to explore the wonderful world of Doom Metal - this is one of several albums I could recommend as a great jumping on point - accessible and catchy enough to be listenable to casual fans, but slow and heavy enough to convey a real old-school doom feel :)


Omens
Omens
Price: £10.12

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great starting point for those new to Monarch, 26 Oct. 2013
This review is from: Omens (Audio CD)
I love this album and, as the title of the review suggests, I also feel it to be Monarch's most accessible work to date.

Don't get me wrong - "Monarch's most accessible work" is perhaps a misleading statement, as it is still incredibly obscure and abrasive; just less so than their earlier releases.

If you are new to doom metal entirely, than I'd say save this one for further down the road and start off with the classics. However, if you are relatively well-versed in your doom, and particularly if you appreciate extreme sludge and drone like Burning Witch and Khanate, then you could definitely do worse than to give this a whirl.

So how does it sound then? Well, bleak and oppressive are definitely two adjectives that spring to mind. To briefly describe Monarch's sound generally; think walls of thick, low end bass and guitars sometimes playing really slow riffs and other times just droning, drums playing at 10bpm, occasional subtle noise and electronic elements, and a (rather attractive) young lady just absolutely losing her s*** over the top of it. Special mention to Emilie Bresson's vocals, actually - if you like your Alan Dubin (Khanate) and your Edgy59 (Burning Witch, Birdeye) tormented howls, then Emilie should do you a treat. It's actually so strained and painful, it kinda gets past the point of doing it for cool scary metal effect and just seems like genuine agony, however, she does have a lovely clean singing voice in addition to this.

Track by track then (I wouldn't normally break an album down into each track, but this only has 3...) :

Blood Seeress sets the mood well for the album, and is quite a standard sort of Monarch composition (although I personally find it a bit more musical and easier going than their earlier endeavours); absolutely punishing guitar riffs pummel away forever, drums do the same, and Emilie screams her lungs out for the vast duration - again, the screaming is extremely strained and painful sounding on this one.

Transylvanian Incantations is basically either an extended outro for Blood Seeress, or an Intro for Black Becomes the Sun - it is both foreboding and ponderous at the same time, and is mainly eerie slow synth and reverb drenched effects. Keeps the mood and is a nice addition to the album, if only for variety's sake.

Black Becomes the Sun is my favourite track from this album. It starts off with a really cool slow riff with a little bit of melody and harmonised guitars - it reminds me a bit of Forest of Equilibrium-era Cathedral actually (so, praise indeed!). The riff changes, but stays melodic and Emilie pops in with clean vocals on display this time which are an absolute treat - distant, ethereal and actually quite beautiful; like a doom metal Kate Bush (she actually sings in a similar high register).

Around 7 minutes in the music drops out and builds back up into a different beast altogether - but the 10 minute mark we have droning feedback and raspy harsh vocals - different from the clean vocals, and from the shrieking - this is now sort of grim and black metally. The guitars build up into a pummelling riff as per Blood Seeress, and Emilie's vocals build with them until she almost sounds like Nathan Misterek from Graves at Sea with the absolute agony she is expressing. The riff becomes funereal and melodic, and the vocals remain really harsh for a while until the clean vocals rejoin the mix for the close of the album.

Overall it actually turns out to be a really varied album for this style of music; the first track shows the brutality and anguish, the second one the atmospherics and the third rounds the album out nicely with the melody and beauty, with a reminder of the brutality that the album kicked off with.

Definitely recommended to fans of doom - especially sludgy and droney doom :)


Smurfs' Village
Smurfs' Village
Price: £0.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars addictive game, 15 Aug. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Smurfs' Village (App)
Brilliant game very stress relieving after a hard day at work but can't always load friend's village or receive their gifts


Deadpool (PS3)
Deadpool (PS3)
Offered by Trade-N-Go Gaming
Price: £13.99

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deadpool Perfected, 3 July 2013
This review is from: Deadpool (PS3) (Video Game)
To start I will just set the background that I am a huge deadpool fan - I own (and have read countless times) every book from his original run, Cable & Deadpool, and the newer Daniel Way run. With this said, I would hope to have a good understanding of the character - and I was absolutely delighted with the way he has been brought to life in this game.

The character of Deadpool is obviously the first reason anyone would be here - fans will not be disappointed: the insane and hilarious plot and the way in which Deadpool would react to things are nailed perfectly, and he is voiced by long-time Deadpool voice-merchant Nolan North, who (as always) does a perfect job. In short, Deadpool's actions, the way he speaks and the jokes he tells all ring true to the comics (and are all brilliant).

If you are a Deadpool fan, you will be aware that he has an enormous supporting cast (of course, some of these are other Marvel characters with their own books... but they are supporting cast to DP in his books) - my immediate concern was that, unless the game was 30036873265487568482586423 hours long, there would be no way to include all of them and do them justice - therefore some may be disappointed. His best buddy Cable (Super Soldier from the Future) makes the cut of course, alongside some X-Men (Wolverine, Rogue... and Gambit kinda features), Death, Mr Sinister and of course various other D-List Marvel villains (as is DP tradition). I could gripe about some of my faves not being featured (Alex Hayden, Taskmaster, Weasel and Blind Al to name a few) but I feel that this area is so subjective and opinion-based it would not be fair to score the game lower due to this (I was very happy with Cable, Sinister and Wolverine).

Plot-wise I will not say anything other than it is hilarious and very much Daniel Way's style of Deadpool writing - therefore fans of semi-serious plots rooted in reality (ala Circle Chase & DP and Cable) may be disappointed, however, I knew Way was writing it so I was prepared and I thought he did a bang up job - great gags and character interactions; I was genuinely in stitches many times whilst playing.

So let's cut to the gameplay then - my main fear before I bought this was that the gameplay may not be particularly well thought-out or polished, and that the team would put all their efforts into just making Deadpool's characterisation awesome. I needn't have feared - level designs are huge (though linear, which is good in a beat-em-up style game) and varied, and all beautifully rendered. Fighting mechanics are brilliant and reminded me a little of the Batman Arkham series of games (not quite as nifty as Batman, but still good) - the controls feel very intuitive and the fights are a joy to be a part of (side note: if you don't know Deadpool and just know Marvel, steer clear of this one for young kids: 'Pool is very violent and fights are always bloody... and feature dismemberment and such... plus there's lots of swearing and some sexual content)

On the whole I absolutely loved the game and can't wait to play through it again - as a long-time fan of all the comics I have to applaude the team for the job they've done condensing the best of 2+ decades of comics into one video game.

Recommended to DP fans definitely, although I would also see it as a good jumping on point for non-DP fans too; whilst it is written by Daniel Way (a writer some people resent for his owness on the "wackiness" of Deadpool to the detriment of a plot) it does a great job of summing up the things I have always liked about Deadpool in all his books - Over the top slick-action, punchy one-liners and a completely demented sense of humour. If you don't know the character and would like to, I suggest getting hold of this game, Deadpool Classic 1 and Cable & Deadpool 1 and you will have all you need to enjoy the wonder of 'Pool.


Thy Kingdom Scum
Thy Kingdom Scum
Price: £10.70

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Church of Misery's best album (so far), 20 Jun. 2013
This review is from: Thy Kingdom Scum (Audio CD)
Before I get into the actual review I will start from two different perspectives:

A) You already like Church of Misery or at least like some other Stoner/Sludge/Doom bands and are aware of Church of Misery = You will love this album, without doubt - hop to it!

B) You know nothing at all of Church of Misery, you have never heard a note, and are possibly not even familiar with any Stoner, Sludge or Doom music = Assuming you do indeed like some heavier rock/metal bands, this would be a great place to start exploring the doomy stonery world; a great gateway album for you. In short, you will still love it!

So, how does it sound? Well, if you're familiar with Church then business as usual, just on absolutely top form. If you are unaware of their music it is very "groovy", think Black Sabbath style riffs but with heavy use of Wah Pedal and all manner of psychedelic effects. Mostly mid-tempo with some slower sections pounding, groovy, straight-up rock'n'roll... and that's about it, in a nutshell.

Vocals? This could be a deciding factor for some people, and it is a difficult aspect of the band to describe. The vocals here (as with most official CoM releases) are sort of half-sung and half-screamed, and vary in their intensity on either side of this spectrum. The first track with vocals, "Lambs to the Slaughter" (as opposed to the actual first track, "BTK", which is an instrumental) showcases this odd, but good, style very well - the verses are, sort of, sung (but are largely indecipherable), then the chorus erupts into a Phil Anselmo-esque shriek... later in the song we are treated to a wobbly "Whoa Yeah" to keep the Stoner vibe alive (I love all that). If the idea of the vocals very roughly traversing these styles sounds like your bag then you should love this. It is probably worth noting that even whilst "singing" the vocals are still quite rough and slurred, so understanding more than a handful of lyrics in each song is pretty much impossible.

Lyrics? The band have stopped printing their lyrics but have always been very upfront that every song is written about a different (real life) serial killer (each track has a name in brackets to denote this). I couldn't possibly tell you if the band are looking to glamorise (presumably for shocking "rock'n'roll" effect), condemn or simply impartially document these individuals because, as I say, the lyrics are no longer printed and the vocals are quite impenetrable for the most part. What I would say is that if you take it all in good humour (as I'm sure these wacky stoners do) and this isn't likely to offend you then definitely don't let this put you off the album or the band. It is far from the focal point of the music.

Overall? I really would recommend this to any rock music fan in a heartbeat. If you like your rock music rough, raw and balls out, then you really can't go wrong here. Stoner fans already have this, but rock and metal fans need to jump on-board too for sure, they'd love it.

I have always liked Church of Misery and every release gets better (with this being the most recent, and strongest to date).

It is official; with the release of this album I now love them :)

Enjoy!

Dom x


Silent Hill: Revelation [DVD]
Silent Hill: Revelation [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sean Bean
Offered by HarriBella.UK.Ltd
Price: £3.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I don't know what people were expecting...?, 10 April 2013
Right off the bat, I'm a big fan of the Silent Hill game series and have been since the first game was released back in the bad old 90s. I also like both films; of the two, I enjoyed this one more.

I won't go into the story in this review and will simply focus on the style and what I liked about it. In terms of story, it uses the key plot of Silent Hill 3 as it's basis (albeit loosely), so if you have played that you will have an idea what to expect.

What most impressed me about this film (and the first film) was the way the actual town of Silent Hill has been realised- from the foggy and foreboding "normal" version of the town to the dark and hellish "Otherworld" rendering, the team have succeeded in crafting a very faithful representation of both, with it feeling both dreamy and realistic at the same time. As an aside, I was also very happy to see Brookhaven Hospital make an appearance in this film in it's "Otherworld" version, and again it is done very well.

The acting is far from a tour de force but it does the job for the most part (save Sean Bean's appalling American accent, and cheesy dialogue at times); Malcolm McDowell appears (Briefly) playing Leonard Wolf, and does a damn fine job of it I thought.

In summary style/visuals are great, acting is OK and story is fairly good.

Whilst I can empathise to a degree with some of the negative reviews I have read, for the most part I am unsure what these people expected? One of the main criticisms I have seen is that the story doesn't make any sense; personally, I did not have any difficulty following it and would have actually criticised it for the opposite; that, for Silent Hill, it is a bit too straightforward and simplistic. Apparently cheap attempts to tie the two films together were made but I didn't really notice (having not watched the first film since it came out, I don't remember much about it).

Another criticism that comes up time and time again is the hammy acting and corny dialogue. If this concerns you I have to wonder if you have played any of the games, as much of the acting and dialogue was fairly hammy in all of them - I realise that this does not necessarily mean they should not try to improve this element for the sake of the film, but I also don't really mind that they did not.

I would recommend this film without hesitation to fans of the games as, if nothing else, it is a treat to see the mood and style of the game brought to life on the big screen. However, for the average cinema-goer who just simply wants a good psychological horror, I would recommend films like Session 9, Madhouse, Deadbirds and Dark Water before I would go anywhere near this - certainly not the finest example of the genre, but a great homage which fans of the games should love!


Dead Words Speak
Dead Words Speak

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good My Dying Bride style Doom with room for improvement, 1 Mar. 2013
This review is from: Dead Words Speak (MP3 Download)
I'm a big fan of this album so I'll get straight to the review (This band is a sideproject of one of the dude's from Draconian, but I have never listened to them and so can't draw any comparison):

How Does it Sound? As I suggested in the title, I got a bit of a "My Dying Bride" vibe from this album, but that simply may be because I can't claim to listen to a lot of Death/Doom (I find alot of it boring) and therefore that would be my nearest parallel. Anyway, the order of the day is heavy, slow and atmospheric; a bit sombre (as you would probably expect from any Doom Metal) but not crushingly depressing (which is a plus in my book).

Instruments? Guitar, Bass, Drums, Keyboard. All played competently and slowly- the riffs are mostly single note funeral doom type riffs with occassional chordy bits with keyboard backing and very occasionally something resembling very slow death metal riffs- plus some nice acoustic parts. Drums and bass do what they do- it's doom metal so not massive room for maneouvre but what there is, is all good.

Vocals? A mix of deep, but fairly coherent, death metal grunts (think Mikael Akerfeldt from Opeth) and melancholy clean vocals (think Aaron Stainthorpe from My Dying Bride). All the vocals are handled very well and all work effectively. I particularly like the clean vocals as they make for some very enjoyable choruses and act as a bit of a "hook" (or as much of one as you can have in this genre). The only way you could improve this album for me would be more clean vocals; they are excellent and they simply aren't used enough. The growling is good but an even mix would be even better.

Lyrics? I can't claim to have sat and read through every line of every song but I have had a glance and most of the time you can understand what the dude is singing/growling. No real suprise to any doom fan that the lyrics are all about loss, isolation and loneliness. From what I recall they are relatively well written but I can't says I paid massive attention- all that moody introspection is not really my bag.

Recommended? Definately recommended to any fans of Death/Doom Metal looking for something new. Anyone new to the Sub-Genre could probably do better with Turn Loose the Swans (My Dying Bride) or Gothic (Paradise Lost). If you don't like Slow, Heavy or Moody music then probably steer clear of this one... it isn't going to do much to change your views on it.

Dom x


Documents Of Grief
Documents Of Grief

5.0 out of 5 stars Un-Be-Freakin'-Lievable, 9 Feb. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Documents Of Grief (Audio CD)
I haven't written a review in quite some time but I felt compelled to when I saw this little beauty had no reviews for it!

I'll keep it short and sweet; I was only introduced to this band by a friend of mine on New Year's Eve just gone (2013)- I was pretty wasted and he put the track "Praise the Witch" on; from the opening riff and vocals I knew I would love this band. So, on to the descriptions then:

Music? Every riff sounds like an alligator sliding down the banks of the Mississippi. Clearly a NOLA-style Sludge band (riffs sound like Down, Crowbar, Haarp etc); all of the riffs are down-tuned, fuzzed out and bassed-up to buggery. Think low, slow and groovy... but HEAVY and you've got it :). The bass is crushing and punishing and the music is so low the guitars and bass kinda blend into one big noise. As with most doomy sludgly music the drums don't have much opportunity to shine, however the drumming here fits perfectly- it is slow, disciplined and has an pccassional little flair: not going to win awards but fits the music to a tee.

Vocals? For me, the highlight of the band is Nathan Misterek's vocals. Don't get me wrong, the music needs to be good for the vocals to shine but they are really what get me. He isn't doing anything new, he is just doing it very well. It's a torturous mix of Black Metal type screams (ala Johnny Morrow from Iron Monkey crossed with Edgy59 from Burning Witch) and low Death Metal style grunts. As I say, nothing special on paper; but to hear them executed is truely agonising (in the best possible way). On their latest release (Split Album with Asunder), the vocals get even better and at times it sounds exactly like Burning Witch (which I suppose could be great or terrible depending on if you liked them... but I did).

Lyrics? Standard doomy fair about suicide, misery, alcoholism, misanthropy and witches. I sincerely doubt the lyrics are supposed to be a serious statement of any sort; I think it was just some cool s*** to scream over a pummelling riff (and that's the way I like it).

It's worth saying that Graves at Sea also have a short EP/Single (Cirrhosis/Atavist Arise) which isn't bad, plus the aforementioned Split Album with Asunder which is their best work to date, and can be found here (Amazon lists it as an Asunder album, but Graves at Sea did tracks 1 and 2; Asunder only did track 3):

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Split-Asunder-Graves-At-Sea/dp/B0024RIMAM/ref=sr_1_8?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1360442700&sr=1-8

All in all, I would obviously recommend it to any Sludge and Doom fans, particularly those who like Burning Witch, EyeHateGod, Thorr's Hammer etc particulry to fans of the NOLA scene (Down, Crowbar etc) who can stomach something slightly heavier, and also to Black Metal fans who want something... groovier :) (or just anyone open minded who wants some good heavy s*** to groove on)

Enjoy it, kids!

Dom x


Elder
Elder
Price: £16.55

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An instant classic in the genre, 23 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Elder (Audio CD)
This is an excellent record. If you like any early metal stuff like Black Sabbath and Motorhead then you will probably like this; the actual music herein may be heavier and more experiemental, but it captures that mood perfectly.

How does it sound? Well it sounds like any other sludge/stoner type release really. Electric Wizard is a good parallel in terms of production and heaviness and groove. Bags and bags of awesome riffs to be found here; great construction, great songs.

Vocals? Quite throaty and harsh, but it works very well. Think somewhere between Lemmy and Max Cavalera, in a High on Fire type of style and you've about hit it. Fits with the style of music and sounds good.

Lyrics? Varied from Spacey Stonery stuff to medieval warriory stuff. It all works and it's all good (in my opinion)

Recommended? Yes, to any rock or metal fan, if you like your Sabbath-esque stoner music then you'll love this.

Dom x
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 21, 2011 2:27 PM BST


Voice Of Saturn
Voice Of Saturn

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Diluted Potential, 23 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Voice Of Saturn (Audio CD)
This album could have been an absolute blinder, however, it has actually turned out as something less. Why? Let's review:

How does it sound? Very good really; nice crunchy production; heavy sharp guitars, all the levels are right and everything is nice and clear etc. The songs? Excellent... when there are songs there. Allow me to elaborate; this album contains 4 full songs, out of 7 tracks. The outro is a little piano piece which then goes into an extended drum piece, very nice and I have no complaints with it. The intro is a spacey reverby drone, and so is the title track. In fact, there tracks are practically identical in terms of what they actually contain; as such I felt that this was a waste. The songs that are there are all excellent, like a slowed down Mastodon/High on Fire, with occassional experimental touches i.e. piano interludes, backwards looped guitars etc. But it all works well were it should. There simply isn't enough of it.

Vocals? Very good; standard grunty sludge fare ala Earthride, High on Fire etc but fits well and nicely executed.

Lyrics? I must confess I haven't had a chance to look at the lyrics really and I have no idea what the songs are about just from listening; some of the structures appear to be very repetitive though.

Recommended? I would love to recommend this album as I feel it really should be great, however, it isn't. I still feel there is a lot of good stuff worth having a listen to here but you should probably try before you buy because I found myself a little disappointed with how thin some of the content is.

Dom x


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