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Reviews Written by
Alexander J. Dunn "alexjdunn" (UK)

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Maximum Overload
Maximum Overload
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: £9.50

5.0 out of 5 stars The Music Sounds Like The Cover Looks!, 18 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Maximum Overload (Audio CD)
I was nervous when ZP Theart left the band and was still nervous during the whole period of 'The Power Within' even though I could tell instantly that Marc Hudson had a great voice technique. However, with 'Maximum Overload', he seems to have really come out of his shell and flaunted his stuff to great effect!

After a very short while, I fixated on the track 'Three Hammers'. It's probably now my favourite Dragonforce song. Perfect in every way and, what's even more amazing is that Hudson can be heard producing a very strong performance of the song live in almost every bootleg available. Very impressive!

The whole of the album is very strong and seems to mix the best of all the facets of Dragonforce together in one. Not an easy task and another task that is not going to be easy is them to produce an album to follow this that is as strong. Well done all round!

In A Silent Way
In A Silent Way
Price: £3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The Calm Before The Storm., 18 Mar. 2015
This review is from: In A Silent Way (Audio CD)
This album was released 15 years before I was born but I hold it as a great record that stands up very well against the best of the best today. I feel the album's title is very profound as this album seems to have been the calm eye of the storm that stands between the increasingly rocky albums such as 'Filles De Kilimanjaro' and the explosion of avant-garde works like 'Bitches Brew' and 'On The Corner'.

It is very tightly put together in two long movements. Each one is quite minimalist and easy on the ear even though musically it is quite complex and sophisticated. It could so easily have been like muzak but, in the hands of the Dark Magus, Miles Davis, it's a lovely-sounding masterpiece that can lull you to sleep and off to sweet dreams.

Delicate Forever
Delicate Forever
Price: £12.07

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wellspring Of Beauty, 3 Nov. 2014
This review is from: Delicate Forever (Audio CD)
This is a lovely album from Steve Roach, one of my very favourite recording artists. What's particularly nice to hear is that the album is subtly different from all his other releases but still firmly in the territory which makes him unique.

The centrepiece is the title track, 'The Delicate Forever', which opens the album. It's a very long piece at 24 minutes but it's a beauty. It must be one of the most still tracks Steve Roach has produced in a while and one of the most minimal. It takes a truly great talent that has been well honed to pull something like this off without the result being boring.

'The Delicate Forever' then fades into the second half of the album which is comprised of significantly shorter tracks which are more busy in texture and more dissonant. I think this contrast is a masterstroke of album track ordering.

This album is absolutely fantastic and is worth buying even if you already have a lot of Steve Roach albums. It would also be a great album for a newcomer to Steve Roach's music or ambient music in general.

Open Sky
Open Sky
Price: £12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Composed In Heaven, 16 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Open Sky (Audio CD)
I think from the moment you hear the first track 'Woven Cord' fade in, you can tell this album is deeply spiritual and coming from a place of profound artistry. If you were ever worried about it being a cheesy Christian rock album, I think these fears could never have been more effectively allayed so quickly! Then the drums kick in and you just can't help but go 'Wow!'. This is proper music with the added bonus of it being inspired by the endlessly uplifting Christian story.

I won't attempt to go through all the tracks on this album as there is so much amazing content packed into each and every minute but I will pick out a few special moments as a teaser. The whole of 'Woven Cord' is incredible with a fantastic set of melodies, chords and drum beats. 'A Million Stars' is haunting and becomes truly mystical when what starts as just a violin solo is joined by unbelievably distant synth pad chords. And then we have the three part 'Songs Of Ascent'. Perhaps the last part is a part too much but the first two parts are, for me, the highlight of the album. They mix ambient, progressive rock and folk to create a truly unique blend.

This, for me, is Iona's greatest album by far. The other albums all have their great songs but 'Open Sky' is a continuous musical journey that seems like it was indeed composed in heaven and given to the band as a free gift they simply had to show up and record.

Dance Into the Light
Dance Into the Light
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.16

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sun, sand, and Phil Collins., 14 Sept. 2014
This review is from: Dance Into the Light (Audio CD)
This album is definitely a grower and perhaps one for the slightly older music fan or at least a fan of somewhat more mellow music. It still has all the Phil Collins trademarks - big drums, great rhythmic horn arrangements and soulful treble-heavy vocals - but the songs are full of the laid back contentment that only comes with a certain number of years on the clock. There's certainly nothing like the dark hit 'In The Air Tonight' here.

The opening track, 'Dance Into The Light' is fantastic. It has a great introductory drum fill that leads perfectly into a strong, upbeat track that can stand against any of Phil's hits from the 80s like 'Sussudio' or 'Something Happened On The Way To Heaven'. Other highlights include the African-influenced story-song, 'Lorenzo', the very funky and contemporary sounding 'Just Another Story', and the closing Bob Dylan cover, 'The Times They Are A-Changin''.

There is a good range of styles on this album, a greater range than on any other Phil Collins album to date. At first, this is a little hard to take but, as I said, the album does grow over the years, and, eventually, it opens up to show itself as a very stirring mix of material that does have an order of sorts to it. Check out the seamless transition from the track 'The Same Moon' to 'River So Wide' - it's a brilliant musical moment.

Overall, this album is very sunny and can be played during the Summer months to provide a nice background atmosphere to car drives, BBQs or whatever. My fiancee loves this album because it is so positive. I would recommend it to anyone.

Darktown (Re-Issue 2013)
Darktown (Re-Issue 2013)
Price: £13.38

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Take a trip, take a ride through Darktown - don't be shy'., 12 Sept. 2014
This is a fantastic album from Steve Hackett which showcases everything he is good at. From full-on guitar rock instrumentals to delicate classical-infused ballads - it's all here. Also the album is perhaps notable for featuring a number of very advanced studio production techniques. Happily, none of these strange sounds and effects ever overshadow the essence of the material - it's all in service of the overall composition.

Although the first half of the album is great, I think the second half is where this album really comes into it's own. 'Twice Around The Sun' is an outstanding instrumental with a soaring lead melody being played by Hackett's signature screaming solo guitar tone. 'Jane Austen's Door' is a beautiful vocal ballad with fantastic lyrics sung very well by Hackett himself. It also has a has lovely end section which features a lovely guitar solo over very anthemic chords.

The final song is astonishing. 'In Memoriam' is the longest song on the album but still a manageable eight minutes. There's really no other song I've ever heard that I could compare it to. If I had to assign it a genre it would be gothic-prog. Perhaps there's a slight inspiration from King Crimson's 'Starless' off their 'Red' album. Same dark, deathly atmosphere. Anyway, when I heard an audio sample of 'In Memoriam', that was what convinced me to buy 'Darktown'. I've never regretted it, that's for sure!

Fragile [Expanded & Remastered]
Fragile [Expanded & Remastered]
Price: £5.87

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fragility never sounded so strong., 1 Sept. 2014
This is one fantastic album by Yes coming from a time when they had yet to fall into the excesses of their double album 'Tales From Topographic Oceans'. The epic songs on this one are only just over ten minutes and very manageable to listen to in contrast to padded out twenty minute plus songs.

'Roundabout' is a great opener and one of the band's best ever tracks. It's a beautiful blend of Yes' elegant instrumental complexities and straight ahead rock approach.

The album is also notable for featuring a solo track from each member of the band - a very nice idea tastefully done here as none of these tracks last too long but give just a taste of each member's special talents.

Aside from 'Roundabout', the main course of this album is found in the form of two lengthy tracks, 'South Side Of The Sky' and 'Heart Of The Sunrise'. Both of these tracks are brilliant and feature a mix of catchy melodies and intricate instrumental work.

Pop Art (Colour Library)
Pop Art (Colour Library)
by Jamie James
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pop Art Beyond Andy Warhol., 13 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I love Andy Warhol and it was through his work that I came to love Pop Art and buy this book. However, this book provides so much more information than just that about Pop Art's most famous exponent. It shows the development of the genre from its very origins right through to the stuff we know most about.

What I liked most of all is how the second part of the book takes the form of a comprehensive gallery with commentaries. I have come to be aware of so many different artists involved in work that encroaches on the Pop Art style through this section of the book. Also, perhaps more importantly, I have come to be aware that it was the work that defined the movement rather than the other way round. Many of the pieces are very different from, say, the famous Campbell soup cans by Warhol or the comic book paintings by Lichtenstein.

This book was a pleasure to read and look at. In addition to being simply a pleasure it also provided me with an opportunity to learn. You can't say fairer than that!

Yol Bolsin
Yol Bolsin
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lilting sonic sanctuary., 24 April 2014
This review is from: Yol Bolsin (Audio CD)
I can still Sevara dancing sensually in the middle of Wembley Arena during her support gig for Peter Gabriel's 'Growing Up' Tour. Both she and her music are captivating in a way that is completely unique to her. There's no-one like Sevara.

In essence, this album is a lilting fusion of traditional Central Asian music with contemporary electronica - a style I had never heard before this album arrived. It's a fascinating blend that just works so well. It seems to slow time and allow you to enter a kind of sonic sanctuary for an hour or so.

The individual tracks are good as stand alone songs but I feel the album works best when listened to as a piece - it just has that ambient feeling to it.

After this album, Sevara definitely made a point of exploring other musical areas. Her follow up to 'Yol Bosin', 'Sen', is much more biased towards modern electronic music and the next one after that is completely grounded in Central Asia traditional music. I think this is a mark of a true creative artist and it makes each album more special.

'Yol Bosin' is definitely a special record and I would recommend it to open-minded fans of music in general or fans of either electronic or Central Asian traditional music who are looking into the results of various fusion experiments.

Blue Leather Bookmark
Blue Leather Bookmark

4.0 out of 5 stars Quality bookmark great for peaceful reading or books about technology., 25 Mar. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A really nice quality bookmark that gives the special experience of reading a beloved book a final finishing touch. I ordered this blue one along with other colours because I actually find the colour of the bookmark contributes a lot to my reading experience. For me, blue goes well with relatively peaceful subject matter or material that is concerned primarily with technology.

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