Saturday, 3 January 2015

7 Albums: Rocking 2014

So this is my first article in a very long time, a lot has happened since 20 January 2013 (Wow that's also almost 2 years, that just shows how incredibly fast time flies) lots of films have been watched, many games have been played, and thousands of songs have been listened to, which is what I want to turn my attention to for this (comeback) article.

I was sat in my office the other day wondering what albums had truly hit me sideways. So I decided later that evening, at home, that I would look through my Itunes that night and see what albums had stood out, to be honest, there wasn't a great amount (hence the title is sat at 7 and not at 10 or 15), I have been listening to a lot of remixed tracks and a lot of different genre's, ranging from Chillstep (which is becoming one of my favourite genres) to Hardcore Rock to Classical Music and Opera, Individual tracks, rather than albums, so some may think that this article is unfair as I haven't listened to many albums this year, but I wanted to share with the people that do look at this blog, what music I did enjoy this year.

So here it is in no particular order, my rocking 2014 album selection:

Royal Blood - Royal Blood (Released 25th August 2014)

Favourite Track of Album: Out of the Black

This duo (that sound like a quartet) hail from Brighton and have been around since 2013, they put the meteoric in meteoric rise, what they have accomplished in a year some bands struggle to produce in 20 years, it is simply put, incredible how they have managed to achieve such status in such a short space of time. After hearing a few of their early tracks on the E.P they released before this, I was extremely excited by them, as soon as you hear them play, you can feel your pulse elevate and want to jump around like a looney (maybe it’s just me). Critics are stating they are the bringing back the British Rock ‘n’ Roll scene, which after listening to this album, is something I believe in. It is nothing short of brilliant, brilliantly produced, brilliantly sung and brilliantly recorded. The best thing about Royal Blood is that they have mastered the art of sticking to simplistics, simple rhythms, simple riffs and simple choruses, for me it works excellently and it’s a real testament to Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher’s talent. If you just want to rock out and not have a care in the world, this is the album for you.

 Royal Blood - Out of the Black

Slipknot - .5: The Gray Chapter (Released 21st October 2014)

Favourite Track of Album: The Devil In I

After Paul Gray’s tragic death, Slipknot’s freight-train came to an almighty stop and everyone including themselves were left questioning if the band could get past this tragedy. If they were going to continue without Gray’s creative genius, they were going to have to turn a new page in their already stellar career. I can confirm that this album is something different, something very dark, I have been very fortunate in my short time on this planet not to have lost anyone truly close to me, I can’t begin to imagine the pain that has been left behind in his “brothers” hearts, and this album goes someway to showing how they feel. There is a raw emotion throughout this album that is like no other album I have had the pleasure of listening to, you can truly feel their pain, through the lyrics and the instruments used. I must say that this is the most accessible and listenable Slipknot album since they released their very first album Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat. Corey Taylor’s voice is as gravelly and brutal as ever, but the massive roars and rally cries that come out of his mouth are as every bit integral to the feeling of this album as the instruments are. I would say to any hard rock fan that this is an absolute, must buy and is without doubt, one of my favourite albums of all time. Here is to many more years at the top for Slipknot and the Maggots!

 Slipknot - The Devil In I

The Madden Brothers - Greetings from California (Released 16th September 2014)

Favourite Track of Album: We Are Done

Most people will think that this is a new band, with a great fresh sound, and you would be correct with this assumption….partly. The Madden Brothers are in actual fact a founding part of a relatively largely followed group called Good Charlotte *queue the massive ooooohs and ahhhhhs* Indeed the 2 brothers who hail from Los Angeles have decided to go with a different sound than Good Charlotte, and they have done so extremely well, the reason I started to listening to this album was because I listened to We Are Done on FIFA 15, so I thought I would listen to the rest of the album to see what it was like, (little did I know that the Madden Brothers were in actual fact THEE Madden Brothers and had come under a new alias, Good Charlotte were one of my favourite bands growing up). There is a really fresh Pop Rock sound to this album, and it flows really well from the start with Dear Jane to the finish with Empty Spirits, unusually the brothers decided to use a 2 Disc set up rather than sticking all the songs on 1 CD, which I still have no Idea why they did, but it’s a somewhat unique feature. I really liked this album because it felt like the band that I loved in my younger years just with a significantly different sound. I wouldn’t say it was a must buy, but a definite YouTube search would suffice so you could see what you think. I personally enjoyed this new venture for the brothers and will certainly look forward to future releases with them.

The Madden Brothers - We Are Done

Linkin Park - The Hunting Party (Released 17th June 2014)

Favourite Track of Album: All For Nothing

Anyone who knows me personally, or anyone that has read any of my articles, will know that Linkin Park are one of favourite bands, I have every one of their CD’s and this one was pre-ordered the day it was announced. I have to be honest this entry maybe slightly bias as this isn't one of Linkin Park’s strongest album’s. Hunting Party definitely goes back to Linkin Park’s roots of heavy riffs and brings in some new features like the Guitar solos which are cleverly crafted to help bridge some songs and end some others. It is a good entry into their discography without doubt. Allowing other famous faces into this album was also a very clever move that looks to of paid off, Page Hamilton, Damon Malakian, Tom Morello and old school Rap master Rakim all play their part in this album. If you are a Linkin Park enthusiast like me then this is an absolute must buy regardless of the fact that it isn’t their strongest album, but if you’re a newcomer to the scene then I would definitely start at the beginning of Linkin Park’s discography with Hybrid Theory, a strong entry and definitely one of the highlight’s of 2014 for music.

Linkin Park - All for Nothing

 Switchfoot - Fading West (Released 14th January 2014)

Favourite Track of Album: BA55

 Like Linkin Park, Switchfoot are one of my favourite bands, they are one of the few bands that when I listen to them, regardless of my mood, they bring out the happiness inside of me, and that is something I truly admire about them. The thing with Switchfoot is that they an absolutely amazing band, but whether through their own choice or just the fact they are based in a different continent they are not very well publicised which I find extremely hard to understand, if they were given the right stage they would be one of the biggest bands in the world. Anyway, about the album, it is the usual Switchfoot, that beachy feel and massive sense of warmth within their songs, they are an extremely experienced band and this record shows, it has a traditional sound of Switchfoot with a twist and a softer tone. For people that haven’t had the opportunity to listen to this band, please, I urge you to go and listen to their music; it is nothing short of stunning. I cannot recommend them enough and this entry into their discography is an excellent one at that, an absolute must buy for any surfer that enjoys their rock.

Switchfoot - BA55

Of Mice and Men - Restoring Force (Released 28th January 2014)

Favourite Track of Album: Break Free

I bought tickets to Linkin Park for November 2014, and Of Mice & Men were supporting them, so I thought I would research the group as I had heard their name just not any of their music, I youtube’d one song, and it actually scared me how heavy they were (said the slipknot fanboy) it completely turned me off musically and I was dreading there performance before Linkin Park. When they started at the O2, their first song, was just a barrage of noise with an awesome drop, the bass just smashed straight into my heart, and since that moment, my opinion of them completely changed, although some of their earlier staff is extremely heavier they have matured as a group in this latest addition. Restoring Force is exactly that, a Tour De’ Force of musical brutality, it is excellent; it really gets the blood pumping and is definitely something to be marvelled at by metalcore enthusiasts. Parts of it aren’t as heavy (Break Free) than others (Public Service Announcement which was the first song they played at the O2) but it is an extremely well balanced record and they are a band I will definitely be keeping an eye on for future releases.

Of Mice & Men - Break Free

Yellowcard - Lift a Sail (Released 7th October 2014)

Favourite Track of Album: One Bedroom

Yellowcard are the final piece to the trio of bands that I consider my favourite bands, they have been around since 1997 with their first album being Midget Tossing (odd name right?) and have excelled ever since, the Californian band are now extremely experienced and know exactly what their fans want. For me Yellowcard have always been able to effortlessly go from one album to another, creating a new feel to their music while keeping what makes them awesome in the new album. This album in parts can be a complete disconnection from previous albums of Yellowcard; however this isn't a bad thing as it shows their diversity and their willingness to create something new and fresh. This is one of my favourite albums of Yellowcard, along with Ocean Avenue and Southern Air and I would urge any newbies to the genre to go and get this, its slow in parts and has some wicked guitar solo’s in others (One Bedroom). I have seen this band live once and am going to see them again in February 2015, which I am really looking forward to because they are born performers. On a side note, I and my fiancĂ©e have also chosen One Bedroom as our first dance at our wedding, its something different, and is everything we want to say to each other, so we are both super excited about that moment. GO OUT AND BUY THIS ALBUM!

Yellowcard - One Bedroom

So there you have it my best albums of 2014, like it, Share it, Comment on it. Let me know what you think. I must say it feels good to write an article again.


Sunday, 20 January 2013

Cloud Atlas

I was extremely lucky to obtain a copy of this film. Directed by some of the most intelligent people in Hollywood, The Wachowski Brothers (although they aren’t  brothers any more, they are more Brother and Sister now due to Larry having a sex change to Lana, which I congratulate him on his braveness, and wish him all the best in the future).

Neo Seoul 2144 - Cloud Atlas Poster
I normally get really excited by anything the Wachowski’s do, The Matrix and V for Vendetta being some of my favourite films. (Maybe it’s the Joel Silver/Wachowski mix that helps the films develop into brilliant films). When I watched the trailer for this film I felt no differently than the others, this certainly has a “Matrixy” feel to it with the different timeline’s and the Dark environment of 2144 Neo-Seoul (one of the six timeline’s in the film).

This film has a multitude of talent on show, Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Jim Sturgess, Hugo Weaving, Susan Sarandon and Hugh Grant. These are just some of the names on show in this film.

So what’s it about I hear you say? Well, like I explained earlier this film is set across 6 timelines:

South Pacific Ocean - 1849
Cambridge, England & Edinburgh, Scotland - 1936
San Francisco - 1976
United Kingdom - 2012
Neo Seoul - 2144
The Big Island Of Hawaii (Dated 106 after “The Fall”) Year 2314

Might I add that each of these storylines is extremely interesting, and they support each other very well. The whole film shows people’s lives intertwining and each of their actions making consequences for the future after they have died.

Each of the actors/actresses are in each of the timelines as different characters and this is where the re-incarnation idea is born. They each play several characters in the film, but don’t let this put you off the costumes and make up are simply unbelievable and some of the best I have seen, this certainly helps with storylines because without this it would be extremely hard to follow.

All the actors/actresses give powerhouse performances throughout, Tom Hanks especially; it reminded me of his performances in Forest Gump and Castaway.

I’m not going to go into great depths on what character each person plays because I want you to experience this film totally blind, all I can say is, that it is completely and utterly beautiful and somewhat a visionary piece, I can only thank the Wachowski’s for constructing such a masterpiece and certainly puts them back on the map, if anyone was disappointed by their sequels to the Matrix (I personally wasn’t annoyed by the sequels but I know a lot of people were).

DO NOT expect an action film; EXPECT top class acting, world class makeup and special effects, brilliant storyline, excellent script.

Please, Please go and watch this film at the cinema when it comes out, it has already hit the states about 2-3 months ago, but is out in Europe on the 22nd February.

Absolutely Brilliant!

 Cloud Atlas Trailer

Saturday, 7 July 2012

The Amazing Spiderman

The Amazing Spiderman Poster
To be honest I wasn’t that excited about this film as I was extremely annoyed that they were remaking what was my favourite Marvel superhero, however what made me watch it was “Andrew Garfield” and “Emma Stone’s” inclusion, I watched “Boy A” a couple of years ago and really enjoyed “Andrew’s” performance as “Jack”, and I have enjoyed most of “Emma Stone’s” films to date, most recently being “Crazy Stupid Love”.

Before you start to read my review I want everyone to know that I am by no means a reader of comic books and I don’t know any of the origins of “Spiderman”, however I did know his first love was “Gwen Stacy” instead of “Mary-Jane Watson” so it was always a little strange that they changed that in the original film with “Sam Raimi” directing.

I always found it quite hard to believe “Tobey Maguire” playing a geek for some reason, but I was wondering how “Andrew Garfield” would change the role of “Peter Parker” and make it his own? Well he does do an excellent job of making the role his own; you can always tell when an actor is going to have an exceptional career by the small movements he makes in films, from hand gestures to the facial expressions he conveys to the audience. “Andrew Garfield” has everything to be a brilliant actor in my personal opinion; I hope he is around long to prove me right, because he is one “helluva” prospect. He makes “Peter Parker”, a much darker character, not so innocent and just the right amount of “geekyness” , along with this, you don’t always feel like “Peter” is chasing a lost cause with trying to be with “Gwen”, the chemistry between “Emma Stone” and “Andrew Garfield” is excellent probably because of their off screen relationship, however I never felt like “Gwen” was above “Peter” which was a nice touch, where as I always got the idea that “Mary Jane” was too good for “Peter”.

So the acting as I have said is of an excellent standard, and just for this alone it needs to be watched, the way in which it is filmed is very good too, it’s a much darker version of “Spiderman”.

There is one thing that did disappoint me about this film, and it’s the lack of feeling that they didn’t even try to break away from the 2002 version of “Spiderman”, especially with “Uncle Ben” being in the film, I won’t say what happens just in case someone hasn’t seen either of the films, however if you have seen the 2002 version you know what happens. Which is obviously keeping in touch with the comics however it just feels like there is a lack of thought gone into trying to change the outcome, thus the film feeling a little same old “Spiderman”, in other words it lacks effort in breaking the mould.

The CGI in places is a tad ropey obviously and especially on “Dr Connors” (Played expertly by “Rhys Iffans” when turning into the  “The Lizard”, in parts in laughable for a high budget movie.

Overall the film is a good reboot, however for me, 
just felt like a remake rather than a reboot, which is a tad disappoint because had this been their first attempt at making “Spiderman” movie, this easily would have been my most favourite Marvel film. However it never seems to break the mould which leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. It’s almost like they have wasted “Andrew Garfield” and “Emma Stone’s” talent, like they were a second thought as such. All I have to say is where are “Kirsten Dunst” and “Tobey Maguire” now?

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Drag Me To Hell

Drag Me To Hell Post
Since this film was released, I had heard a lot of good things about it. Being directed by Sam Raimi (Spiderman Series) I must admit, I enjoy his directorship (along with Tony Scott and M Night Shymalan as my favourite directors.) So I was looking forward to watching this horror film, with parts of it showing a touch of classic-ness with certain camera angles and the old school use of shadows, rather than ridiculous CGI.

Basically the film, is about a young Loan Advisor “Christine Brown”  who tries to impress her boss “Jim Jacks”, for the assistant managers position, by declining a loan for an old gypsy lady “Sylvia Ganush” to keep her home, however what she doesn’t realise is that she is about to be cursed by the gypsy because she has rejected her loan.

And so the horror starts, Christine is stalked by a powerful demon called the “Lamia” who will stalk her for 3 days, and then finally dragging her literally into hell, however Christine tries to stop the “Lamia” in many ways, but does she have enough time to stop him? Well you will have to see and find out.

Justin Long is plays the worried boyfriend, Clay Dalton, who is also a professor which adds to the depths of the story with his parents annoyed that he is going out with a farmer girl. Dileep Rao plays “Rham Jas” who tries to help with ways of getting rid of the demon from her life he is also a shoulder for Christine to lean on because he is the only one that understands the curse.

There are many good things about this film, and it certainly did its job in making me jump, it returns to the roots of horror, by having quick panning shots making the audience wonder what is going to happen in the next shot.

The soundtrack is extremely creepy and definitely adds to the scariness of the film. I don’t really have anything negative to say about the film but its not amazing or genre defining, its just a good ol’ horror, which will definitely make you, laugh, jump, be scared, and just ask WHY!

Its definitely worth a watch and one of the better horrors this decade, it doesn’t take itself too seriously and this helps it out. Its very cool and very slick. Go Watch It NOW!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Drive Angry

Drive Angry Poste
Recently I have signed up to “Netflix” which allows you (the audience) to watch a large database of movies over the internet for £5.99 (however I have the first month free, after noticing the advert on TV). So I took it upon myself to start with Drive Angry.

I saw the adverts plenty of times when going to the cinema in early 2011, however, the cheesy script and sub-par acting really put me off of going to see this at the cinema. It some ways I made a good decision but in others, I made a bad decision because its one “helluva” ride.

From my point of view, Nicholas Cage in recent years hasn’t made very many good films, a lot of people slated “Knowing” but I quite enjoyed it until the end. “Bangkok Dangerous” I heard was awful, I didn’t particularly like either National Treasure (Even though my other half absolutely adores them). “Next” and “Season of the Witch” were supposed to be awful, alongside “Ghost Rider” which was truly awful (and they are still making a sequel!)
Anyway, as you can see from above, I did not have high expectations for “Drive Angry” what so ever, especially with the ridiculous title. So what’s it all about?? Well its basically about “Milton” (Nicholas Cage) who breaks out of hell, because a sadistic satanic cult have kidnapped her, and he has broken out of hell, to get her back safe and sound, along the road is Amber Heard’s character “Piper”, she is not your typical blonde girl. Although very pretty she is also a bit of a “hard nut”, she is “Milton” helping hand. There are a few peripheral characters such as “the accountant” played by William Fichtner and The cult’s leader “Jonah King” who is played by Billy Burke.

Story is a little on the weak side, it’s not original and it’s not fantastically portrayed, but I did have a bit of an epiphany while watching the film. I notice that the whole demeanour of the film is cheesy, so I came to the conclusion that the whole film is SUPPOSED to be cheesy.

The acting is sooooo cheesy that it is something you will find back in the 80’s in a B movie, it really is that terribly cheesy. However, it does redeem itself on the action factor, there is quite a bit of it and this makes up for some of the way in which the film is executed.

Nicholas Cage plays a typical “Bad-Ass” quite well; he always has played very good villains, such as “Face-Off” and “Con-Air”. He has some very cheesy one liners. Amber Heard, plays the part of a tortured girl quite well and also has some cheesy one liners, she supports Nic Cage very well.

The music is very old-school and very rock and roll especially the last song at the end of the film.

Overall it’s a good ride, but sub-par In many categories, very enjoyable, but wide of the mark. The best thing I can suggest is, rent it and see what you think, I certainly wouldn’t buy it.