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WWE: Ultimate Warrior - Always Believe [DVD]
WWE: Ultimate Warrior - Always Believe [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ultimate Warrior
Price: £9.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great set with a few grumbles, 4 May 2015
If last years 'Ultimate Warrior: The Ultimate Collection' was Warrior's point of view on his career and the WWE setting history straight ahead of his induction to the HOF, then 'Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe' is Dana Warrior and the WWE's posthumous tribute to Warrior the man outside the ring and a celebration of his career as a pivotal wrestler in the history of sports entertainment. Overall this is a superlative set with a few minor/significant complaints. The content comprises of four sections- documentary, matches, promos & extras. Let's take a look at them...

The documentary 'Always Believe' is a beefed up version of the doc 'Warrior: The Ultimate Legend' which aired during Warrior Week last year on the WWE network and now features at least 30 minutes of extra footage of Warrior during WMXXX weekend and stuff from this year with his family as they talk about life since his passing. How I feel about this is that it's a great documentary but it feels a little bloated and like a bit of a Frankenstein job since it's one doc narrated by Warrior from last year for the most part, then toward the end it's mostly new footage of the Warrior girls talking about life after Warrior and following them around WWE HQ this year.

I loved seeing all that stuff with them, but I would have preferred to have seen this footage along with the Warrior girls related extras edited into a separate doc and have 'Warrior: The Ultimate Legend' presented in its original form. Anyway, that aside its still a great watch and you can see that filming these new segments was cathartic for Warrior's family which was important.

Matches- there's some great stuff on here, my favourites being an Andre match from 1989 I'd never seen before (I loved that feud, so Iconic), his first WWF title defence against Haku (regarded by many as the toughest guy who ever wrestled) and his 1996 Raw matches against Isaac Yankem (Kane) and Owen Hart (final WWE match). Why his 1996 KOTR match against Goldust is absent is anyone's guess. But on the downside there are no PPV matches.

I was really hoping this set would include some more of his illustrious main event PPVs, but but I'm a afraid not. I really wanted to see his WMV match against Rude when he drops the IC belt, SS90 cage match against Rude, SS92 against Macho in old Wembley in front of 88 thousand- what a setting! And the crap yet iconic WCW Hogan rematch from 1998. I can only assume the reason they are not on here is because they are gonna milk this and give us another blu ray at some point.

Promos- excellent collection ranging from Dingo Warrior to the WCW. I would have liked a few more from 1990, my favourite Warrior year, but you can't complain here. Extras- again excellent. The full HOF speech is a treat (although annoyingly WWE have bleeped Warrior's swear words out), some cool matches are included, Dana and the girls tell entertaining stories about the man and there are a few deleted scenes from WMXXX weekend where Warrior talks about the stories behind stuff like the iconic 'Crash The Plane' promo. Very cool.

To conclude this set is definitely worth buying if you're a fan. The documentary segments more than validate purchase and there is a ton of rare matches and awesome vintage promos. If they had included the aforementioned PPV main events this would have been a truly outstanding collection, but if their absence means we end up getting more Warrior matches released in the long run I guess that's a good thing.


WWE: Macho Man - The Randy Savage Story [Blu-ray]
WWE: Macho Man - The Randy Savage Story [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Macho Man Randy Savage
Price: £10.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been a lot better, 15 Jan. 2015
Well this was disapointing.
This collection, whilst containing some great matches and rarities like the WWE Championship main event at SummerSlam92 in Wembley Stadium, London England, misses out a lot of classic matches which is quite strange.

There is no sign of the following-
-Macho Vs Steamboat at WMIII (WTF!)
-Any Mega Powers matches
-The career vs career match against the Warrior at WMVII
-The wedding ceremony with Miss Elizabeth is not included, only briefly mentioned in the doc
-Any Ultimate Maniacs matches
-Any matches from 1998-2001 when Randy combed his hair back and got all roided up...
-And not even one promo from Savage, himself one of the greatest on the mic in the history of the sport.

The Ultimate Warrior Blu ray had all his big matches and 5-6 promos...
It seems if the talent has a hand in creating the DVD it's decent, but if not (Macho, Goldberg) the end result is distinctly lacking.
Also worth noting is that the documentary included does not even explain the main character arcs Macho went through in his ring career.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 21, 2015 10:11 PM GMT


From Wisdom To Baked
From Wisdom To Baked
Price: £15.17

4.0 out of 5 stars From Blunted to Baked, 13 Oct. 2014
This review is from: From Wisdom To Baked (Audio CD)
Formed in 1999 but soon put on hold till the mid Noughties, Phil 'Landphil' Hall & Josh 'HallHammer' Hall's weed & retro styled Death Metal assault Cannabis Corpse have been pumping em out since 2006. And in case you were wondering, yes they got permission from their namesake. But whilst their album & song titles ape genre classics it would be a mistake to dismiss them as mere parody. Cannabis Corpse have released some quality Death Metal in their own right and you don't have to be a pothead to enjoy it (personally I can't stand the stuff). So if you're new to the band and looking to pick up one of their CDs, here's a guide to their back cat culminating in a review of this years fourth full length 'From Wisdom To Baked'.

Blunted At Birth (2006)
Cannabis Corpse's debut consists of seven tracks of fun, if unspectacular old school Death Metal with guttural vocals that wear their influences on the sleeve. The title track tells the story of a weed baby's incubation and birth, spawned from green spunk who comes out all crispy and 'doomed to die soon, crawling back towards the womb'. 'Force Fed S***y Grass' is about forcing a nerd to get stoned, resulting in a videogamed waster, and 'I Cum Bud' ... you get the picture. Of course the joke will be lost if you are unfamiliar with the Cannibal Corpse song titles they lampoon. A somewhat amusing parody album with a nice chunky production but relatively simple stuff compared to subsequent releases.
6/10

Tube Of The Resinated (2008)
Kicking off with the immense 'Chronolith' it's immediately evident how much the song writing has evolved and coupled with the razor sharp production this now sounds like some quality early 90's Death Metal. 'Mummified In Bong Water' starts with a nod towards 'Disfigured' but then speeds off on it's own frantic path. This one absolutely crushes, the lyrics detail billions of tons of bong water drowning everyone and turning them into weed fuelled zombies and just when you think it's all starting to sound a bit too much like Cannibal, - they veer off into eerily melodic guitar solos proving they do have their own sound. 'Every Bud Smoken', 'F**ked With Northern Light's'...Just like the album they are parodying this is solid Death Metal all the way through. Highly recommended.
10/10

The Weeding EP (2009)
Not only are these four songs faultless examples of CC but they crystallise the bands unique sound distinct from their influences and contain a lyrical depth not seen in previous work. 'S**t Of Pot Seeds' exemplifies this new vision combining the hallmark brutality of the band with lyrics that deal with the regret of misguided episodes that can arise from drug addiction. Musical innovation is evident on track two 'Vaporized' which in the first minute features middle eastern sounds & a high scream which together form a blast beat whirlwind unlike anything you've heard before. 'A Skull Full Of Bong Hits' is a creepy slow one with lyrics about being killed whilst stoned or maybe just weed induced paranoia, whilst 'Sickening Photosynthesis' rounds it out with a mesmerising mix of gutturals and high screams from Weedgrinder and a tale about huge weed spores killing off the human race, perhaps a metaphor for the dangers of weed itself.
10/10

Beneath Grow Lights Thou Shall Rise (2011)
The last album to feature the original line-up (following this release vocalist Andy 'Weedgrinder' Horn & drummer Nick 'Nikropolis' Poulos would depart) 'Beneath Grow Lights...' is another solid entry in the CC canon and this time they also parody Deicide & Morbid Angel song titles. Among the highlights 'Lunatic Of Pot's Creation' expertly combines palm muted riffs and manic time changes, 'Blame It On Bud' switches between steamroller riffs & wild solos and 'Immortal Pipes' sounds like Six Feet Under with added blastbeats. I can't stress enough how great this record sounds; the guitars seem to be in the same tuning as those on 'The Bleeding' whilst Weedgrinder does a masterful Chris Barnes impression throughout. But as the second half of the disc progresses it becomes apparent that unlike Cannibal's forth album, after the violent charge of the first half, there is a distinct lack of memorable riffs.
7/10

Splatterhash EP (2013)
A split release with Ghoul, Cannabis Corpse here serves up two tracks- 'The Inhalation Plague' & 'Shatter Their Bongs' featuring the new line-up of Landphil on vocals and new recruit Brent "Robert E. Legion" Purgason on axe duty (AKA Pustulus Maximus from GWAR). Perhaps intended as warm-up for the new album, neither track is particularly great but as Landphil's vocal debut, it is a consummate performance and with a style very similar to Weedgrinder the switch is as smooth as you could hope for.
7/10

From Wisdom To Baked (2014)
And so we come to their latest effort (think Gorguts 'From Wisdom To Hate') this one also contains plenty of Death references and the bands heaviest production to date. 'Baptized In Bud' is a convincingly propulsive opener on which Landphil's layered vocals (highs and lows together) add a new dimension to the bands sound, whilst on 'Zero Weed Tolerance' his gutturals just sound devastating. 'Individual Pot Patterns' features non other than Chris Barnes on vocals in his love letter to weed which seems to be modelled on 'F**ked With A Knife' and 'THC Crystal Mountain' features bizarre lyrics about stoners lost inside a maze within a mystical summit. You get the idea, it's a big old school Death Metal, weed & beer party and everyone is invited. Final track and perhaps the best of the album 'Medicinal Healing' tells the story behind the macabre cover art... An inbred family of deranged drug addicts grind up human bodies to feed into the hydroponic machine, which pumps liquid flesh into the corpse of the grandfather who now serves as a cannabis factory as the spores grow out of him. You can't say these guys aren't creative.
8/10


ART OFFICIAL AGE
ART OFFICIAL AGE
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: £7.50

6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Art Official Age, 29 Sept. 2014
This review is from: ART OFFICIAL AGE (Audio CD)
The Purple Yoda - his Royal Badness - the artist formerly known as an unpronounceable symbol is back with his first studio album in four years, and for the first time since 1995 back on Warner Bros. The most musically gifted and prolific artist of a generation who in the space of 32 years released 32 albums spanning almost every genre under the sun including but not limited to; Funk, Rock, Soul, Hip-Hop, RN'B, and of course Pop.

From that incredible run of albums beginning with `Dirty Mind' (1980) through to `The Gold Experience' (1995), The Revolution, The New Power Generation, the acrimonious split from Warner Bros, his difficult relationship with the internet, his difficult personality, from the hyper sexual Megastar of the 1980's to the spiritual conversion of a Jehovah's Witness and his return to prominence in the Noughties... The man who can play guitar like Hendrix, dance better than James Brown and who possesses a vocal range that puts most singers to shame... Every thing that could be said about Prince Rogers Nelson has already been spoken and by writers far more eloquent than me.

So what's new? Well since `20Ten' Prince hooked up with Canadian Donna Grantis (guitar), Dane Ida Nielsen (Bass) and American Hannah Ford (drums) AKA 3rdEyeGirl. Together they brought the Funknroll to arenas around the globe and he finally acquired the rights to the masters of his 1980's albums as part of a new deal with WB (expect a series of special edition re-issues in the future). In 2013 a bunch of new studio tracks were made available to buy from 3rdEyeGirl.com amid speculation that at some point they would unleash the album `PlectrumElectrum'. That disc and `Art Official Age' are both released today. It's a great time to be a fan but rather than just preaching to the converted, if you are new to Prince here is why you should buy `Art Official Age'...

What we've got is thirteen tracks of funky electro and slow jams featuring a slick modern Pop production that harks back to his classic mid 80's era (The Minneapolis Sound). The albums concept seems to be about Prince reviving from cryosleep into a spiritually awakened world as he muses about subjects such as ego, fame, romance & personal growth. If that sounds too complex for the short attention span of the average Pop listener in 2014 don't let it put you off. On track two `Clouds' such concepts are seamlessly incorporated into an elegantly simple groove before Prince sings about giving his lady a `kiss on the neck, when she doesn't expect' & `Every time you catch her singin' in the shower, you should go and get a flower, don't matter the hour, and rub it on her back, rub it on her back'. What can you say, it's unmistakably Prince.

Track three, the keyboard/bass heavy `Breakdown' is a funky ballad featuring space age sound effects where Prince reflects about his wild youth and former materialism. As the track climaxes his vocals burst into wild falsetto, which satisfyingly contrast the tranquil backing vocals. Other memorable cuts include `The Gold Standard' which is built from the ground up on programmed drums & NPG style horns and the up-tempo funk workout `Funknroll' (a song previously made available for purchase online and one he's been playing live for some time with 3rdEye). This new version is a sparser and more rhythmic with a production not unlike something Pharrell Williams would turn out.

So how does Prince fit into Pop in 2014? Are we gonna see any music videos to accompany this release? Does that even matter? The truth is at this point he is just out there on his own; - spearheading a unique musical revolution from another universe. And whilst I highly doubt he is going to challenge Katy Perry for youtube hits anytime soon, I expect this release to make waves in the billboard top 10. `Art Official Age' is an often-laid back but very self-assured record perfect to get funky to or just kick back and relax, whilst the lyrics contain a perspective and depth rarely seen in Pop that perhaps only comes from age. It's not the best thing he's ever released but it's better than 90% of anything on the radio right now. In truth a mere review can't give you an idea of the listening experience, to get that you have to click `Add to Basket'.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 30, 2014 7:16 PM BST


A Skeletal Domain
A Skeletal Domain
Price: £5.99

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Legacy of Brutality, 22 Sept. 2014
This review is from: A Skeletal Domain (Audio CD)
It's almost impossible to talk about Cannibal Corpse without acknowledging their legacy. More than any other band they have been the flag bearers for Death Metal since 1990. Never taking a break, consistently releasing new albums/touring, being the highest selling and arguably most influential band of the genre. For those solely interested in my review of 'A Skeletal Domain' head to the bottom. For the benefit of the uninitiated I present an overview of their discography.

Cannibal Corpse Demo (1989)
Described by Chris Barnes as `a crude snapshot of the concept of the band', the original Cannibal Corpse demo still bore potential and charm through its demented riffage and haywire energy. Limited to 100 white sleeve & 100 red sleeve cassettes, it contains five tracks later re-recorded on EBTL served up in crappy low-fi with thrash style vocals. Worth checking out of you're a hardcore fan, it was the song title `A Skull Full Of Maggots' that caught Brain Slagel's attention at Metal Blade and lead to them getting signed.
7/10

Eaten Back To Life (1990)
Cannibal's first album is a classic of the genre. But rather than strict Death Metal this is more like a DM/Thrash hybrid with growled vocals fused to a chaotic runaway train style of mayhem. From the first song `Shredded Humans` the template is set for the next two albums- explicitly gory and disgusting lyrics that would increase in depravity with each release. The lyrics on this album at least, have a bit of a cartoonish vibe to them. A consistently brilliant debut throughout; my standout picks are the aforementioned opener, `Mangled' & `Born In A Casket'.
8/10

Butchered At Birth (1991)
In the words of Chris Barnes,- this where Cannibal Corpse really began. `Butchered At Birth' is full on brutal Death Metal- blast beats, pounding rhythms and the first appearance of Barnes guttural growl, which along with the twisted lyrics (which describe acts such as consuming the contents of corpses bowls) would go onto influence countless Death Metal acts to this day. The rough production creates a creepy old school vibe and from the opener `Meat Hook Sodomy' to the closer `Innards Decay`, the album punishes your eardrums with previously unheard level of sonic brutality. Vincent Locke's cover art is probably the best of the bands discography.
9/10

Tomb Of The Mutilated (1992)
The last to feature the original line-up, this is CC reaching the apex of their initial direction - each release getting faster/heavier/tighter/deeper vocals & more vile lyrics. Tomb features a noticeable increase in musicianship (the band for the first time hinting at the technical complexity of their later albums), tracks feel like fully formed songs instead of just musical workouts and since Jack Owen laid down all the rhythm guitars it sounds much tighter than their last release. The production is also significantly improved and the bass stands out in the mix as do the vocals. This is Barnes most guttural and inhuman performance and TOTM also contains his most depraved lyrics on tracks like `Necropedophile' and the infamous `Entrails Ripped From A Virgin's C**t'. Super heavy but at the same time very catchy and it all kicks off with the immortal anthem `Hammer Smashed Face'.
10/10

Hammer Smashed Face EP (1993)
Released during a year of heavy touring that would take CC as far as Russia for the first time, `Hammer Smashed Face' EP kept the momentum going as an international buzz was starting to build around the band. Consisting of five tracks (three ripped from past albums) this release was perhaps specifically aimed at introducing CC to new fans. Aside from `Shredded Humans', `Meat Hook Sodomy' & the classic title track this EP also featured two newly recorded cover songs on which Chris Barnes revisits his TOTM vocal style. Possessed's `The Exorcist' is good but Black Sabbath's `Zero The Hero' takes the cigar.
8/10

The Bleeding (1994)
For their fourth album, as it would turn out Chris Barnes last, the band takes a U-turn- slowing down the music to mostly mid pace tracks often built around grinding tremolo riffs whilst Barnes lyrics become less over the top and the vocals get dialed back to a mid range growl. Written in a haunted house, every song on `The Bleeding' is practically a classic and it's often regarded as CC finest hour. There's still the occasional track about zombies but generally the songs are more about the psychology of serial killers and since the lyrics are more easily decipherable; this serves to create a more scary, if less intense experience than TOTM. Although the first four albums were all recorded in the same studio (the legendary Morrisound) and produced by Scott Burns, they all feature a distinct production; 'The Bleeding's being the most polished of the four. `Return To Flesh' is a personal fav but for pure stereo destruction it doesn't get any better than `Stripped, Raped And Strangled'.
10/10

Created To Kill Demo (1995)
Ever wondered what `Vile' would've sounded like with Barnes on mic duty? Well, wonder no more. First released on CD as part of the '15 Year Killing Spree' box set (2003) and later made available on itunes via the 'Digital Box Set' (2009) this demo consists of seven roughly mixed tracks for the upcoming 5th album due to be titled `Created To Kill'. All songs feature vocals/lyrics by Barnes that were scrapped after he was voted out by the rest of the of the band and three have different titles; - `Unburied Horror' (Disfigured), `Gallery Of The Obscene' (Orgasm Through Torture) & `To Kill Myself' (Eaten From Inside). Compared to `Vile' Barnes vocal patterns are slower and much less rhythmic. Depending on your taste you may or may not prefer this less obvious approach but he sounds a lot more brutal here than Fisher does on `Vile'.
9/10

Vile (1996)
The highly anticipated 5th album was a game changer; in accordance with the bands desire to have a singer who could growl super fast and really scream, enter George `Corpsegrinder' Fisher. Vile also pushed the envelope in terms of speed and technicality. The result was another Cannibal classic although the change of singers is a bit jarring; George's growls not feeling as powerful as Barnes on this album, his screams however make up for this. What can't be denied is how well the vocals and the music interlock- creating the unified aural assault the band had sought for the last few years. And with an abundance of great songs such as `Blood Lands', `Mummified In Barbed Wire' and of course `Devoured By Vermin' you can't go wrong with this one.
8/10

Gallery Of Suicide (1998)
Album No 6 came at a time when Death Metal had all but died compared to the glory days of the early 90's. In the second half of the decade many of the genres great acts either disbanded or began to release sub standard albums as DM itself no longer seemed to have the same vitality. None of this affected CC and on `Gallery Of Suicide' they continued to evolve their sound. Musically the band is a bit more experimental here; whether on lengthy instrumental `From Skin To Liquid' or the subdued title track it's clear they are not willing to rest on their laurels. But on the more straight forward blasting stuff- `I Will Kill You', `Blood Drenched Execution' & `Headless', the material does not hit with the same force as tracks on `Vile', or the subsequent `Bloodthirst'. Also notable for Jim Morris' crappy wall of sound production, Gallery is not one of CC best. It did at least yield one anthem- `Sentenced to Burn'.
7/10

Bloodthirst (1999)
Just when you thought Cannibal were starting to stale they come back and smash you in the face with this one. Produced by Colin Richardson- giving it all a crystal like sheen, 'Bloodthirst' is truly an album worthy of being their last of the century. From track one, the incredible `Pounded Into Dust', Paul Mazurkiewicz practically sounds like a different drummer- such is the intensity of his playing and tightness of the rhythms. This is also the album that validates Corpsegrinder; from here on out he is phenomenal- barking with such speed and ferocity you forget all about Chris Barnes. `Coffinfeeder', `Blowtorch Slaughter', `Hacksaw Decapitation'... No prior release delivers this level of technical precision and each song is so good it feels like a greatest hits album. Nuff said!
10/10

Live Cannibalism (2000)
Recorded 16/2/00 @ The Rave in Milwaukee/Wisconsin during the US tour in support of fan favourite album `Bloodthirst', the guys serve up a pulverizing set of 18 tracks to a rabid audience. No album is left unturned, Corpsegrinder's introductions to various songs became fan favourites themselves (`This next song, is about shooting blood out of your cock!') and as he introduces `F**ked With A Knife' he sounds truly terrifying. Masterfully mixed, produced and with no overdubs for those who had yet to see the band live this was a good introduction. It would have been nice for them to include a second disc from a Barnes era show but Cannibal have never been ones for dwelling in the past. As far as live discs go considering the quality of sound and audible interactions between the crowd and the band, this is a top-notch example.
10/10

Gore Obsessed (2002)
Initially `Gore Obsessed' feels slightly disappointing after `Bloodthirst', which was possibly the zenith of Cannibal Corpse. On repeated spins you will appreciate it's greatness. Beginning with the mechanical precision of `Savage Butchery' before switching to the brutal hooks of `Hatchet To The Head', `Gore Obsessed' is the album where CC really begin to stretch themselves in terms of complex arrangements (as if they hadn't done that on the last album). Prime examples of this being `Pit Of Zombies' and other album highlight `Mutation Of The Cadaver' which features a bone chilling 13 second scream from Corpsegrinder. Elsewhere `Dormant Bodies Bursting' satisfyingly mixes blast beat segments with eerie protracted screamed sections whilst `Sanded Faceless' is just straight up brutality reminiscent of `Raped by the Beast'. Another quality release.
8/10

Worm Infested EP (2003)
Cannibal's second EP is basically a compilation of odds and ends from 1996-2001. `Systematic Elimination' & `Worm Infested' are leftovers from the `Gore Obsessed' sessions, - the former being all blastbeats and fury, the later featuring sexually orientated lyrics that recall Chris Barnes twisted horror stories. Both are good if fairly unspectacular, but the re-recording of EBTL track `The Undead Will Feast' (Vile' sessions) is a treat for long time fans. The EP is rounded out with three covers, - `Demon's Night' by Accept (Gallery Of Suicide), Possessed's `Confessions' (Bloodthirst) and by far the best, final track- `No Remorse' by Metallica (Gore Obsessed).
7/10

The Wretched Spawn (2004)
The last one to feature founding guitarist Jack Owen (who swapped CC for Deicide) and a truly sick album cover from Vincent Locke. This is perhaps the most technically complex of their discography without losing any of the trademark heavy/catchiness. Whether it's Corpsegrinder's inhumanly fast word delivery of `Severed Head Stoning' or the -only played live once because it's so difficult- `Frantic Disembowelment' it's clear they are pushing the limits of their abilities. But it's not all about technical showmanship and there is a great mix of styles including mid paced headbanger- `Decency Defied', slow/atmospheric- `Festering In The Crypt', merciless blast beats- `Blunt Force Castration' and crazy time changes- `Cyanide Assassin'. Every track absolutely crushes & the lyrics are wonderfully perverse (Blunt Force Castration). It's also worth mentioning that Corpsegrinder's highs on this disc are unparalleled, one is reminded of this as he ends the album with a 15 second scream on `They Deserve To Die'.
10/10

KILL (2006)
Often cited by Alex Webster as the band's best work, eschewing the traditional gory cover art in favour of the word KILL blown up in huge text and sporting a rejuvenated line up courtesy of Rob Barret, there's no doubt Cannibal's landmark 10th album feels a little more special than the last couple of releases. The first of a trilogy produced by Erik Rutan- granting the band their most heavy production so far, this is probably the best of the three. `The Time To Kill Is Now' kicks things into high gear and from the first few seconds you know your in for a treat. The lyrics detail the decimation of the enemy on a battlefield and by the time the track reaches the `time to kill is now' refrain, you will be yelling along like a maniac. `The Discipline Of Revenge' is a methodical story about the planning and execution of a murder and `Brain Removal Device' just plain rules. Everything you could want from a CC album is here except maybe for the super disgusting lyrics of the early releases.
10/10

Evisceration Plague (2009)
Of the three Erik Rutan produced discs this one is probably the weakest. That's not to say this is not another solid album full of incredible musicianship, which it is, but it's the least distinct. If anything this is like KILL 2.0 except not as fast. It also happens to feature the weakest cover art in the history of the band. On the positive side `A Cauldron Of Hate' sounds like a tank rolling over everything, Rob Barret track `Shatter Their Bones' rocks in an old school CC kinda way and `Carrion Sculpted Entity' for me at least, is the most musically interesting cut and features an impressive performance from Mazurkiewicz which he nailed on his first take. Another solid offering, but perhaps one for the completists only.
8/10

Torture (2012)
A step up from `Evisceration Plague', on `Torture' the band put in great effort to serve up a batch of songs that are as individual as they are heavy. Early tracks like `Demented Aggression' & `Sarcophagic Frenzy' are fun if unspectacular but as the album hits its stride at the midway point, great song after great song hit you in rapid succession. `As Deep As The Knife Will Go' is probably `Torture's most anthemic offering, but the technical brilliance of `Intestinal Crank' & `The Strangulation Chair', which includes an Alex Webster bass solo, are some of it's strongest cuts. Final track `Torn Through' is pure Cannibal Corpse perfection- relentless blast beats, riffs that are at the same time crushingly heavy and equally catchy and Corpsegrinder laying waste to all with a devastating vocal performance. It simply does not get any better than this.
9/10

A Skeletal Domain (2014)
Recorded at Audiohammer Studios / Florida and produced by Mark Lewis `A Skeletal Domain' is the 13th studio album from the immortal Cannibal Corpse. This time around longtime guitarist Pat O'Brien contributed the most to the song writing process to help create what the band describe as a dark sounding record. `High Velocity Impact Spatter' kicks it off with a uniquely ferocious layering of drums / guitars and subtle vocal effects. Listening to this track you can tell the album features the bands clearest production since Bloodthirst, needless to say every track is heavy as f**k. Next up is `Sadistic Embodiment' which actually sounds like something off their 7th album, except even louder- like getting your face ripped off by a jet engine. Corpsegrinder is monstrous on this track as on the rest of the album and if your not singing along with the line `To obliterate all that is good in this world' you just don't like the band.

Other memorable tracks include `Kill Or Become' with the refrain `Fire up the chainsaw', the ferocious title track and `Asphyxiate To Resuscitate.' Detractors will argue CC have been releasing the same CD for the last 10 years and whilst it's true their output of the last decade lacks the variation of their works from the `90's (a natural result of reaching the peak of one's musicianship), to this day no one else does heavy/catchy/violent Death Metal as well as the gore obsessed quintet from Buffalo. 'A Skeletal Domain' is another masterpiece from a band 26 years into their career who are now enjoying a well-deserved surge in popularity. Ladies and germs- this is the end of my career spanning Cannibal Corpse circle jerk; I hope you enjoyed reading it. I rate 'A Skeletal Domain' 9/10 or five stars.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 28, 2015 5:17 PM GMT


Spider-Man: The Graphic Novels
Spider-Man: The Graphic Novels
by Gerry Conway
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £25.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spider-Man: The Graphic Novels, 11 Oct. 2012
I've been reading Spider-Man comics for 20 plus years but my collecting did not really gain any kind of cohesion until the mid-late 90's, by then the graphic novels reprinted here for the first time were long since out of print. For years I had wanted to read 'Hooky' and 'Spirits of the Earth' so when browsing my local comic store last month I happened upon this hardcover, I couldn't buy it fast enough.

Hooky (1986) written by Susan Putney and illustrated by Bernie Wrightson is an odd one. Webhead follows a young magician through a portal into the 'dimension of Cloudsea' to help her overcome an enemy unto which she has been cursed. The beast- a morphing monstrosity called 'The Tordenkakerlakk' can never be defeated the same way twice and regenerates after every defeat Spidey inflicts bigger and stronger. This makes for some cool splash pages but it also means the story feels rather one dimensional. For me this was a case of style over substance and even the visuals are occasionally ropey with Spidey's mask being rendered rather poorly. Little things like that bug me.

Parallel Lives (1989) Gerry Conway / Alex Saviuk is a classic, but one that splits opinions as it details how MJ discovered Peter's id and how this affected their relationship through the years (as when it was revealed she knew in ASM#257 a lot of readers felt she had never displayed and prior indiction of this knowledge). Depending where you stand on that what can't be denied is how well constructed this story is. Conway brilliantly weaves the tales of MJ's and Peter's formative years together so for the first time you really get an understanding of who MJ is, before whizzing through a greatest hits of Spidey's costumed career including a memorable showdown with Doc Ock. Also worth praise is the work of Alex Saviuk- in a career defining best the whole book is beautifully illustrated in a classic Romita style way above his work on the lengthy Web of Spider-Man run.

As good as Parallel Lives is, it's Spirits of the Earth (1990) that stands as the centrepiece of the collection. Born out of writer/illustrator Charles Vess' affinity for the Scottish highlands this tale sees Peter and Mary Jane taking a second honeymoon in Scotland after MJ learns she has inherited a cottage from a recently deceased relative. I won't spoil what follows, but can tell you the story is satisfyingly slow in building, perfectly letting PP/SM adapt to his new environment, beautifully painted and overall is unlike anything else in Spidey comics before or since.

Fear Itself (1992) Don't let the shiny Joe Jusko cover fool you, despite being created by some big names- Gerry Conway, Stan Lee and Ross Andru this one is the weakest of the bunch. When megalomaniac the Baroness steals the fear inducing `cassidy crystals' from Osborn industries, it's up to Spidey and Silver Sable to infiltrate her Bavarian castle and redeem them. The story starts off well as Sable recounts the Baroness' ties to WWII nut job Baron Zemo, but after that the whole adventure is pretty routine stuff and aside from one twist late on you know how it's going to end. To summarise this collection is definitely worth picking up for the avid Spider-fan. Parallel Lives and SOTE are both excellent and along with the other two stories comprise the only in-print versions of these comics.


Ninja Gaiden 3 (Xbox 360)
Ninja Gaiden 3 (Xbox 360)
Offered by Retro Online
Price: £23.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Lame, 4 Oct. 2012
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As you will be aware this game marks a number of significant changes in the series for the worse. Here's whats wrong with it...

Firstly the beautiful fluidity of the gameplay of NG1 & NG2 has been changed for the worse so that often whilst hacking down enemies, slow motion sequences will occur and the player will be given QTE prompts to finish an enemy off. This change in gameplay is much less satisfying than in the first two games making the experience feel a bit on-rails and classic moves such as the Flying Swallow have been removed. Boss encounters also suffer from QTE heavy gameplay.

2) No Muramasa shops appear in the game meaning all weapons and power ups except for the dragon sword and a bow have been removed and we now only have one type of ninpo at our disposal. This also means enemies no longer release different types of energy when they die, some previously being shop currency, as their is no need for it and the players ninpo and health bar refills after every small battle, leading onto another one of the main problems...
3) This game is way too easy. Ninja Gaiden games have always previously been some of the hardest games available, that's what made them so great, but this entry is very much Ninja Gaiden-lite.
4) All the dismemberment and decapitations of NG2 have been removed. Yet another illogical regression for the series. Now all that happens when you strike someone is that blood sprays and they die. When you hit someone with a sword you should be carving them into pieces and chopping bits off. If nothing gets sliced off you may as well be hitting them with a stick. This aspect is made more bizarre by the fact an emphasis is often put of slicing through enemies via QTE sections where afterwords they remain whole.
5) Throughout the game the player will often be given prompts as to how to progress through the level or what to do next, thus removing the need for the player to think for themselves.
6) The Kunai climb (wall climb) is not fun and often tricky to get the right rhythm going.
7) The game is only 8 levels long and the level design is for the most part very bland compared to the previous games.
8) The story is seriously lame (Ryu now works for the system) and involves Ryu removing his mask.

To conclude the combat has been altered for the worse, the challenge is non existent, all the customisation and depth have been removed, the gore is gone and it's all way too easy. Such a shame for what was imo the greatest action series out there. There are still some gruesome TN enemy designs and occasionally you do get a buzz out of hacking down a crowd of enemies but it's nothing like the thrill of the previous games where you were fighting against hordes who would kill you in seconds if you were not on your A game.

The boss fights also suck, but there is one good one (level 7). If you are new to the series you may enjoy this, but for anyone other than newbies this is a huge disappointment. I really hope they get Itagaki back or someone else who can return the franchise to it's former greatness for a next gen instalment. They really need a new in-game engine tho, it's all begining to look a little bit last gen and if they can animate facial patterns why not the way muscles contract and lengthen in Ryu's arms? Those deformed oversized biceps are starting to look really weird.


Torture
Torture
Price: £5.99

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfected Aggression, 13 Mar. 2012
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This review is from: Torture (Audio CD)
On 2008's career retrospective `Centuries of Torment' George `Corpsegrinder' Fisher (vocals) observed when they finally call it quits he is likely to have neck problems from all the years of head banging. Cannibal Corpse have been in existence for almost 25 years and there is no end in sight. Like the undead they seem destined to forever roam this planet, slowly evolving their sound with each new album. In the last decade CC has gone from strength to strength. 2003 saw them become the first Death Metal act to reach sales of over one million discs, album No 10 `KILL' (2006) took the band to new levels of critical acclaim and 2009's `Evisceration Plague' entered the billboard 200 at #66 their highest ever position.

Of course album sales do not equate to music quality and while it's arguable if they've since released anything as essential as `Tomb of the Mutilated' or `The Bleeding' this is a band that has made a career of producing albums of ever increasing quality. Recorded late 2011 at Sonic Ranch studios Texas (Gore Obsessed, The Wretched Spawn) as well as Mana Studios Florida (KILL, Evisceration Plague) album no 12 `Torture' is the 3rd to be produced by Erik Rutan. In recent interviews Alex Webster (bass) explained that a lot of effort had been made to ensure each song had it's own unique identity and compared to the two previous albums this is indeed the facet of Torture that defines it above anything else.

As album opener `Demented Aggression' kicks in the first thing you notice is the rich production and depth of sound. This one has a thrashy feel. It's not quite CC at full force- not quite `Hammer Smashed Face' or `The Time to Kill is Now' but it's a nice warm up. Second track `Sarcophagic Frenzy' is mid tempo with more interesting riffs than the opener and smatterings of blastbeats. But it's track 3 `Scourge of Iron' where Torture really comes to life. This is a slow grinding song, the lyrics tell the story of mass of prisoners having the flesh beaten and torn from their bodies and the song itself sounds like the soundtrack to the gates of hell. `Encased In Concrete' is next and full force from the start kicking off with a rabid Pat O Brien solo. This one is classic CC with multiple time changes, riffs that get seared into your brain and Corpsegrinder barking out the vocals as only he can.

`As Deep As The Knife Will Go' is a straight up anthem and possibly the best song on the album- super catchy riffs, blastbeat sections and a chorus you can't help but sing along to. It makes you want to ram knifes into peoples eye sockets, in a good way. `Intestinal Crank' is another classic with churning rhythms giving way to groove sections & wild solos before dissolving into some awesome time changes to end the track. As the great songs pile up it soon becomes clear CC have produced yet another masterpiece in Torture. `The Strangulation Chair' is a virtual eargasm filled with `The Bleeding' styled riffs and an Alex Webster bass solo. Final track `Torn Through' is pure Cannibal Corpse perfection- relentless blastbeats, riffs that are at the same time crushingly heavy and equally catchy and Corpsegrinder laying waste to all with a devastating vocal performance. It simply does not get any better than this.


Lioness: Hidden Treasures
Lioness: Hidden Treasures
Price: £7.01

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag, 5 Dec. 2011
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Considering the impact of 2006's instant classic Back to Black I don't think many would have thought they'd still be waiting for a follow up in 2011. In the years between the two albums Amy became a drug user and by 2008 at age 24 was diagnosed with emphysema as a result of smoking crack cocaine, cannabis & tobacco. Images of Amy on drugs from 2008 onwards were grim. Weight drained with sunken cheeks she looked like a completely different person to the happy curvaceous Frank singer of 2003.

Amid stories of bar fights and substance abuse eventually reports of new music trickled through. In October 2009 Island Records co-president Darcus Beese claimed- `I've heard a couple of song demos that have absolutely floored me', while Amy stated in July 2010 that a new album similar in sound to BtB would be released by 2011. Throughout 2010 Universal had kept several London studios open around the clock incase Amy would want to record. However following her death most reports indicated studio sessions had been sporadic and the bulk of new material left behind consisted of demos. Although Amy's passing was not a surprise it was a shock and ultimately disappointing as we'd never get a third album from this prodigal songstress as intended.

For the release of Lioness: Hidden Treasures Salem Remi, Mark Ronson & co have compiled a career spanning collection of material consisting of Frank/BtB demos, multiple covers and a couple of new tracks. In short this is not the mock up third album of all new material fans were hoping for, although it appears only two new songs were completed so perhaps this is as close as we're going to get. Being a shameless cash grab aimed at the Christmas market, it is as you would expect a mixed offering, but more than anything this collection highlights the diversity of Amy's music both vocally and stylistically.

'Between the Cheats' (2008) a Doo-wop inspired number and one of the tracks most likely to have appeared on a third album is an undisputed highlight. It shuffles along in somber/soulful fashion with an awesome chorus you can't help but sing along to. You get the sense the vocals could have been a guide track as some of the lines seem slightly muffled. That aside BTC ranks alongside anything off BtB. 'Tears Dry' (2005) on paper looks like an needless addition but with a slowed tempo and original arrangement in lieu of the Gaye/Terrell sample it's effectively a completely different song and arguably better than the 'original' version.

Other highlights include new song 'Like Smoke' (2008) which finds Amy swapping verses with her favourite rapper Nas, 'The Girl From Ipanema' (2002) a startling showcase of a 19 year old talent & 1930's Jazz standard 'Body and Soul' recorded in March of this year with another of her musical heros- Tony Bennet (originally appearing on his Duets II album). On the flip side demos of BtB tracks we've all heard a million times such as 'Wake Up Alone' & 'Valerie' are unessesary and feel like they're included to make up the numbers while Mark Ronson's posthumously added production to tracks such as 'Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow' feels forced and ham-fisted.

The final song is a cover of the Leon Russell classic 'A Song For You' made famous by Donny Hathaway. Recorded by Salem Remi in 2009 at Amy's home while she was reportedly under the influence of heroin. This is not Amy at her best but the performances' failings actually add an extra layer of emotion that elevate this to become one of her most powerful songs, and it's inclusion while somewhat controversial paints the full picture of who she was within the scope of her music by showing her at her best And worst. To conclude If you're a fan this is an essential purchase full of rarities and gems which occasionally rival Frank & BtB.


Sonic Generations (Xbox 360)
Sonic Generations (Xbox 360)
Offered by Game Trade Online
Price: £10.61

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two hogs are better than one, 4 Dec. 2011
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Following on from last years platforming masterclass Sonic colours, Sonic Team returns to celebrate 20 years of the blue blur with Sonic Generations. Here Modern Sonic (the long quilled, homing attacking, boosting trickster from Sonic Adventure onwards) teams up with his former self Classic Sonic (the short, tubby, Spin Attacking, Spin Dashing hog of the 16-Bit era) via a time travelling plot involving an outer space beastie know as the Time Eater. As a 20 year celebration each of SG's nine stages have been selected from nine previous games in the series spanning three eras- Classic, Dreamcast & Modern. All redesigned with entirely new layouts. Acts 1 are played with C Sonic as strictly side scrolling 2D levels (albeit stunningly rendered using the hedgehog engine) and Acts 2 are played with M Sonic were you will mostly be running into the screen at ridiculous speeds. A game for every Sonic fan then, genius. The nine stages are unlocked three at a time once you have cleared all acts of the current era as both Sonics in addition to a few of each stages' own Challenge Acts (more about them later).

Classic Sonic Overview

This is what all the old fans have been waiting for. Ever since the release of last years craptastic Sonic 4 Sega fans worldwide have been clamouring for a return of the original hog from the early 90's. C Sonic can run, jump, roll, Spin Attack, Spin Dash and that's it. In the original games Yuji Naka's expert coding created an unrealistic pinball feel to Sonic's physics were he could build momentum bouncing from one enemy to another. For SG C Sonic uses the Havok engine to create a more realistic feeling of momentum and as such the player can no longer build momentum chaining enemy attacks. Also C Sonic's jump is slightly gimped- he can't quite jump as far as he could in the classics after a small run up. But the main area in which ST have dropped the ball is the rolling. The roll friction is too high when going downhill causing Sonic to slowdown when he should be speeding up. Bizarrely this problem does not occur on flats were he can travel in a ball for some distance. To accommodate this deficiency the Spin Dash has been souped up and levels tend to be platform orientated. One noticeable exception to this is Chemical Plant which like the original is a mass of ramps and loops but to get him rolling at the correct speed he is sent through a series of boosters. Another anomaly are the invisible boosts at the top of most ramps throughout the game which overshoot Sonic into the air by meters. You more than build up enough momentum to clear them all without the unnecessary boosts (especially when using the overpowered Spin Dash) so why they exist is a mystery. Overall this is a valiant attempt at re-creating the Classic Sonic gameplay. The speed is there (the running itself improved over the originals), the physics are correct and veterans will get a big kick out of playing as the short spikey once again. But next to the classics? The gameplay is nowhere near as good.

Modern Sonic Overview

Modern Sonic's gameplay is the best it's ever been in Generations. As fusion of the Unleashed & Colours play styles Sonic primarily sprints into the screen but every so often switches to a 2D perspective to hop platforms. 3D sections revolve around the boost (built up by collecting rings and performing air tricks similar to Colours), the quick step (a lightning fast side step used to avoid obstacles), and of course the homing attack which can be used in either perspective to lock onto and destroy enemies. Due to their incredible speed M Sonic's acts are often more exhilarating than C Sonic, the downside to this being they also feel a lot more on-rails and linear despite the equal amount of branching routes due of the numerous choke points and fixed 3D angle camera making it difficult/impossible to backtrack. If C Sonic's acts are built for exploration M Sonic's are all about speed. The difference being you can also speed run the classic levels but the Modern Acts do not offer the same flexibility if you want to travel in any direction other than forwards. When played as the developer intended the Modern stages are a blast and there is nothing like executing a perfect run through Green Hill Act 2 (probably the greatest Modern Sonic level ever created) chaining boosts/homing attacks/air combos to achieve your best time. Boss/Rival battles of which there are six in the game are mostly handled by M Sonic with only the first two (from the Mega Drive era) played with the little guy. Once you have learnt their patterns Boss/Rivals are quite easy and best played on hard mode. Taking on Sonic Adventure's Perfect Chaos to the tune of 'Open your heart' by Crush 40 being a particular highlight.

Negatives

Aside from C Sonic's roll being broke there aren't too many. On the whole level design is of high quality but both acts of Planet Wisp are a letdown. In Act 1 the player only gets access to the Spikes Wisp, and in Act 2 we only get Rocket. This removes the puzzle element of the original Planet Wisp (Sonic Colours) were the player could use all eight Wisps to find secrets and access faster routes and because the same two Wisps are spammed they're not as fun. Another disappointing aspect is the stage selection. Of the nine stages we get four cities and two 'Hill's and while the cities are all very different a more diverse line up would have been nice. I really could have done without Seaside Hill and Rooftop Run in favour of something more distinct such as Hang Castle & Chun Nan. My final gripe concerns the Challenge Acts. Each stage once complete unlocks a series of challenges that range from races with doppelgangers to treasure hunting. They're a nice extra to help pad out content but being forced to backtrack and complete a few for each stage before the next era unlocks disrupts the flow of the game and feels like a chore.

Conclusion

Negatives aside Sonic Generations is a spectacular anniversary title the likes of which have never been seen. Making both Sonic's playable was a masterstroke and to finally play as Classic Sonic again, now in glorious 2.5D is a joy to behold. Sonic Team have out done themselves with the level design which often surpasses the Mega Drive games. Standout levels include City Escape Act 1 in which the pursuing GUN truck actually alters level geometry depending on how fast you are and the maddening Crisis City Act 1 which requires precision platforming skills but once mastered provides great satisfaction. S Ranks are easier to attain here than in previous outings and rely on memorising routes. The cut scenes also deserve mention as another highlight where C Sonic's distinct personality comes through despite the fact he is mute. There is a wealth of extra music, artwork & character upgrades awaiting those who unlock all achievements, all stages provide huge replay value and there is a great final boss battle which I won't spoil. Do not listen to negative reviews about this game. Framerate issues are barely noticible and do not affect gameplay at all. If you're a Sonic fan of any era, or even just a casual Platformer fan you can't afford to miss this one. Happy 20th Sonic!


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