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Wishmaster (Cardiff, UK)

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Ghost Stories for Christmas - The Definitive Collection (5-DVD set)
Ghost Stories for Christmas - The Definitive Collection (5-DVD set)
Dvd ~ Sir Michael Hordern

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chilling tales of the unexpected., 20 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Lonely men discover that they are not so alone.This is the gist of the plot of most of the tales presented here. This is the first time I have ever watched this series(can I call it that?) and I have to admit that I found them a bit formulaic especially if you watch more than two in one sitting. However, they have fantastic atmosphere of dread which slowly builds up and sometimes becomes unbearable.You won't find many jump scares in this collection. This is old-fashioned haunted house horror and if you find that sort of thing outdated then this collection is not for you. What I don't understand however is why they haven't done any sort of remastering on the originals. They look incredibly grainy on my 37-inch TV and for what is basically a repackaging of old DVDs, this is quite expensive.


Imaginaerum
Imaginaerum
Price: £11.24

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nightwish reborn, 13 Jan. 2012
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This review is from: Imaginaerum (Audio CD)
After the disappointment that was Dark Passion Play here we have a band that is back to full form. This is the Nightwish that I fell in love with when I first listened to Nemo and the album Once. Imaginaerum makes for a complete, varied listen where no song feels out of place. There are a lot of surprises for the Nightwish fan, but this is still a veritable Nightwish album. Tuomas seems determined not to make the mistakes of the previous album. Gone are the overblown orchestrations, the depressing lyrics, the boring song titles(Sahara, anyone?)and the hate towards Tarja. Instead, we have an almost light-hearted, life-reaffirming collection of songs with imaginative use of the keyboards, the choirs, a return of the Uilleann pipes, and generally the brooding melancholy of all the previous albums is exchanged with a general folky feel, a sense of drama and theatre and an overall feeling of optimism with some light horror touches.

Anette deserves a special mention. One of the most unlucky singers to have ever existed, she had the misfortune to replace the legend that IS Tarja Turunen. She sounds on top of her game in Imaginaerum, confident and playful, she knows exactly what she is doing. She is amazing in Scaretale and Slow,love,slow and breath-taking in Turn Loose the Mermaids. Now we can all see what Tuomas initially saw in her.

This will stay in my cd-player for a long time.


Oionos
Oionos
Price: £15.04

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful mourning, 2 Feb. 2011
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This review is from: Oionos (Audio CD)
This CD will not appeal to all. It contains some exceptionally depressing music that is, however, very well done. While listening, I visualised large foggy wastelands, abandoned towns slowly rotting away and people mourning next to the grave of a loved one. After a few listens, the songs started feeling very personal to me, bringing back memories of loss and unhappy times. Yes, it does get a bit too much at times and yes the tone of the songs does not vary much and it can grind a bit towards the end. However, this album rewards repeated listens: as you listen you find out subtle variations in instrumentation, inventive use of keyboards and sound effects and most of all, how amazing the lead singer's voice is: it has got warmth and soulfullness and he conveys a vast array of feelings(mostly sadness, depression, longing...and then more sadness!)without sounding sentimental. I can't get "Outsiders" out of my mind. It's all very well done and I would definitely reccomend this to fans of the doom metal genre; otherwise approach with caution.


Abrahadabra
Abrahadabra
Price: £10.61

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Despair but with a ray of hope, 4 Nov. 2010
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This review is from: Abrahadabra (Audio CD)
This album blew me away. I don't think of myself as a black metal fan and therefore, I am not a purist when it comes to this type of music. To be honest this is the first Dimmu Borgir album I could actually listen to from start to finish.I find the constant growling and grunting a bit off-putting at times that's why I am always flirting with subgenres of black metal: pagan black metal, symphonic black metal, ambient black metal etc. Maybe this is why I like this record so much. The use of the orchestra and the choir is absolutely mesmerisisng: you can listen to a track ten times and still discover different layers of orchestration. This however, does not drown the band sound: there is an amazing balance between the two which was only hinted at in their previous album. Dimmu Borgir are the true masters of the symphonic metal sound, breezing past Epica and leaving Within Temptation way behind. And let's not even consider bringing the new Nightwish in this debate.
Gateways is beautiful and magestic and Dimmu Borgir could easily be the soundtrack of a Lord of the Rings battle scene. This album is relentless and demands your full attention and repeated listenings to be appreciated fully.
The lyrics have a more positive and optimistic feel than your usual black metal songs;I find it a welcome change and it fits the whole turning point that Dimmu Borgir are at the moment. The whole album has an unusual uplifting feel about it. Again, fans of the genre won't be happy with this.
A lot of purists will hate me for mentioning Dimmu and Nightwish in the same review; I dont care, I don't believe in genre boundaries. Buy this, if you can keep an open mind.


What Lies Beneath
What Lies Beneath

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tarja outside the box, 23 Oct. 2010
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This review is from: What Lies Beneath (Audio CD)
This album is an impressive tour-de-force. Tarja wanted to dazzle us and she did! The opener "The Anteroom of Death" has such an imaginative orchestration and vocals, it will soon start conjuring up pictures in your mind. "Until my last breath" is so catchy you will be singing it in your sleep and "Falling Awake" has the most beautiful melody! I won't go into every track as this album is better heard as a whole. It rewards repeated listenings as I am always finding out new details in the songs that I hadn't noticed before.
Tarja's voice is constantly improving and the songs showcase her voice perfectly. For all of us Tarja fans it is a joy to have a whole new album of new material with her voice but this album is so much more. If you like Tarja, you can't be without this. If not, then this will not make you a fan. Better though it is, Tarja does not vary her singing style that much. If you found that irritating in the past, there is not much chance that this will convert you. That's why I am only giving her four stars. I was surprised but I am expecting more surprises in the next album.


Vast Oceans Lachrymose
Vast Oceans Lachrymose

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tonight, we wil sail away, with open arms and eyes ablaze!, 3 July 2010
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This review is from: Vast Oceans Lachrymose (Audio CD)
I don't know about you but buying an album because solely on the strength of the title, the band name or the front cover does not sound like such a bad idea to me. I saw this advertised in Classic Rock Magazine and the general feel of this made me think that I would like this. I wasn't wrong. First of all the title says it all: this is vast expansive heavy metal with the right ammounts of acoustic passages thrown in for good measure. The "lachrymose" element is served well as the atmoshpere the whole album(including the lyrics) evokes,is one of brooding melancholy. I really enjoy the instrumental passages where the music slowly builds up to the main melody and the chorus. This is music that is allowed to breathe and really establish the aforementioned mood of dark melancholy. The singer has a fantastic voice eventhough he sounds familiar and, therefore, not very original but he serves the music very well. The music itself is difficult to categorise. I would call it progressive metal but at times this sounds very much like power metal and at other times like...well, Mike Oldfield which to me are not bad things but I am sure to other listeners they probably are. I can't get enough of this cd at the moment and it stuck on my car cd player for weeks. I am not familiar with the band or their previous work so I can't say whether this is a disapointment or not. I will be looking up the rest of their albums soon.If I have to complain about something it will definitely be the very short running time of the cd. At about fourty-three minutes it feels like it finishes too soon. People used to prog-rock albums expect at least seventy minutes of music. You could be forgiven for thinking this is an EP. Apart from that, this album is well worth a listen.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 30, 2010 3:34 PM GMT


Dark Passion Play
Dark Passion Play
Price: £12.95

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nightwish are finished., 4 Jun. 2010
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This review is from: Dark Passion Play (Audio CD)
This was a big dissapointment for me. After all the hype about the new singer, is this the best that Nightwish could do? Honestly, what were they thinking? I do not want to focus so much on Annette, but let's be honest: she is the biggest nail in Nightwish's coffin. Her voice is too weak: She needs the backing of a full-blown choir (or Marco)to sound half decent and I bet she is out of tune in places, as well.(Sample Cadence of her lasr breath, and Seven days to the wolves to see my point)
Then there is the orchestra thing. I thought that in Once the balance between the riffs and the orchestra was perfect. I think Once(the song) is the best Nightwish song ever because of that. However, in Dark Passion Play the orchestra is drowning every other sound(including the vocals)Remember, guys, it's called symphonic METAL for a reason. Every single song has been embelished with orchestral flourishes; it is unecessary and it eventually makes the album monotonous.
Then there is the lyrics thing. All that praise fot Tuomas's lyrics has clearly gone to his head; here he wven outdoes himself in pretensiousness and pompousness and also weirdness! (I am afraid...so afraid of being raped again and again and again, anyone? This must be the most disturbing lyric there is) I am sorry but I just don't buy it any more.
Then there is the filler thing. A lot of songs in this album should not have been written:I won't put Master Passion Greed(a series of poor attempts at death metal growling by Marco Hietala that don't really make up a song) in the list but boring tracks like Meadows of Heaven, Sahara, Islander, Whoever brings the night(why the obsession with whores?)shouldn't really be in the album. It doesn't have to last 79 minutes to be good.
All in all, I would still buy the album because I am a Nightwish fan. Iyou are too, you can't be without it. Otherwise don't bother. The three songs I find myselg returning to are Eva, Poet and the Pendulum and Amaranth. The rest of the album I usually skip.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 21, 2010 8:45 PM BST


Oceanborn
Oceanborn
Offered by Smaller World Future
Price: £51.04

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nightwish as they used to be, 1 Jun. 2010
This review is from: Oceanborn (Audio CD)
After everything that has happened with this band it would be interesting to look back to their early work; it will help us remember why we liked this band in the first place.

1. Tarja's amazing vocals: Tarja is at her most operatic here and she is amazing. A lot of opera heavy songs like Passion and the Opera will never be played again as it would be impossible for you know who to sing them.

2.The combination of heavy guitar based songs(Sacrament of Wilderness, Stargazers) with completely orchestral number like Swanheart. I always find the fact that this band can sound so good in both these types of songs, fascinating.

3. Fantastic, and slightly...bonkers at times, imagery. There are wolves, stars, moondancing, pharaohs, snow, even Gesthemane is thrown in for good measure. What more could you ask for.

4. Imaginative keyboard playing courtesy of the band leader Tuomas Holopainen. The opening of Sacrament of Wilderness and The Riddler spring to mind.

5. Tasteful, non-pretentious cover art. OK not everyone will agree with that but I like it ok?

All in all, this a great album that I never get tired of listening to. If you want to find out how Nightwish started off give this little gem a go.It might not have costed five million euros and it might not feature the London Philarmonic but it bursts at the seams with creativity and imagination.


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