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Product Reviews

40 (57% helpful)

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  1. The Fabled City

    The Fabled City

    The Nightwatchman (Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine) - CD

    5 New from  £5.31  Free delivery

    Available  used  from  £8.33



    On One Man Revolution, Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello debuted his alter ego, the Nightwatchman, with a well-intentioned set of lefty-folksinger blues. But with not much more than his voice and acoustic guitar, he had little to offset ham-fisted lines like "I crossed the frozen wasteland/And in the bitter cold did freeze." On The Fabled City, Morello augments his acoustic guitar with stirring arrangements on piano, mandolin, cello and drums, as well as backup vocals from System of a Down's Serj Tankian and outlaw spawn Shooter Jennings. The new dynamics complement Morello's voice, which is more nuanced here, moving from the melodrama of Nick Cave ("The Lights Are On in Spidertown") to the minimalist purr of Leonard Cohen ("Rise to Power"). Lyrically, Morello still goes over the top, piling on biblical references and Dylanesque nonsense like "one-eyed crow, tappin' on the windowpane." But with a solid band behind him, he seems much more confident in his new role as a modern protest troubadour.

  2.  Fantastic


    Like other QOTSA albums, guest musicians are paraded in and out, but here it's impossible to tell if Mark Lanegan contributed anything or if that indeed is the Strokes' Julian Casablancas singing lead on the lethal "Sick, Sick, Sick," because Homme has honed Era Vulgaris so scrupulously that it's impossible to hear anybody else's imprint on the overall sound. QOTSA retain some of the spookiness of Lullabies -- there's a ghostly hue on "Into the Hollow" -- but this is as balls-out rock as Songs for the Deaf, only minus the mythic momentum Dave Grohl lent that record. But Era Vulgaris isn't designed as a monolith like Songs; its appeal is in its lean precision, how the riffs grind as if they were stripping screws of their threads, how the rhythms relentlessly pulse, and, of course, how it's all dressed up in all kinds of scalding guitars, all different sounds and tones, giving this menace and muscle. If the songs aren't pop crossovers -- not even the soulful seductive groove of "Make It Wit Chu" qualifies it as a potential pop hit -- they still have hard hooks that make these manifestos even if they aren't anthems: "Misfit Love" digs in like a nasty Urge Overkill, "Battery Acid" is metallic and mean, blind-sided only by the gargantuan, gnarly "3's & 7's." It's hard to call Era Vulgaris stripped-down -- there's too much color in the guitar, too much willful weirdness to be that -- but this is Queens of the Stone Age at their most elemental and efficient, never spending longer than necessary at each song, yet managing to make each of these three-minute blasts of fury sound like epics. It's exhilarating, the best rock & roll record yet released in 2007 -- and the year sure needed the dose of thunder that this album provides.

  3.  Great, but over-hyped


    Certain people would have you believe that Queens of the Stone Age's third album, Songs for the Deaf, is the return of real rock -- a bonecrushing work of boundless imagination, the cornerstone in a new era of great rock, much like Nevermind was a decade beforehand. These people, coincidentally, happen to be in the same group that criticizes the Strokes and the White Stripes, claiming that those two bands are nothing but hype, while shamelessly indulging in breathless hyperbole whenever they speak a single word about QOTSA. Anybody who heard Songs prior to its release claimed it was the greatest rock album in years, at least the greatest since Rated R, setting up expectations impossibly high for this very good album. To begin with, this ain't accessible -- not because the music is out-there or unfamiliar, but because it is so insular, so concerned with pleasing themselves with what they play that they don't give a damn for the audience.

  4.  No Lullaby


    Before heading into the studio in early 2004 to record the fourth Queens of the Stone Age album, Lullabies to Paralyze, the band's guitarist/vocalist/chief songwriter, Josh Homme, kicked out bassist Nick Oliveri for undisclosed reasons. Since Homme and Oliveri were longtime collaborators, dating back to the 1990 formation of their previous band, Kyuss, this could have been a cause for concern, but QOTSA is not an ordinary band, so ordinary rules do not apply. Lullabies lacks the manic metallic flourishes of their earlier work, and the gonzo humor and gimmicks, such as the radio DJ banter on Deaf, are gone € but it all sounds like an assured, natural progression from the tightly wound, relentless Songs for the Deaf. That album contained genuine crossover pop tunes in "No One Knows" and "Go With the Flow," songs that retained QOTSA's fuzzy, heavy neo-psychedelic hard rock and were channeled through an irresistible melodic filter that gave the music a serious sexiness that was nearly as foreign to the band as the undeniable pop hooks. Homme has pulled off a surprise of a similar magnitude on Lullabies to Paralyze € he doesn't walk away from these breakthroughs but marries them to the widescreen art rock of R and dark, foreboding metal of Kyuss, resulting in a rich, late-night cinematic masterpiece. One of the reasons QOTSA have always been considered a musician's band is that they are masters of mood, either sustaining tension over the course of a six-minute epic or ratcheting up excitement in the course of a two-minute blast, all while using a familiar palette of warm, fuzz-toned guitars, ghostly harmonies, and minor-key melodies.

  5. Rated R

    Rated R

    Queens Of The Stone Age - CD

    26 New from  £4.95  Free delivery

    Available  used  from  £2.52

     Rated R


    The second Queens of the Stone Age album, R makes its stoner rock affiliations clear right from the opening track. The lyrics of "Feel Good Hit of the Summer" consist entirely of a one-line list of recreational drugs that Josh Homme rattles off over and over, a gag that gets pretty tiresome by the end of the song (and certainly doesn't need the reprise that follows "In the Fade"). Fortunately, the rest of the material is up to snuff. R is mellower, trippier, and more arranged than its predecessor, making its point through warm fuzz-guitar tones, ethereal harmonies, vibraphones, horns, and even the odd steel drum. That might alienate listeners who have come to expect a crunchier guitar attack, but even though it's not really aggro, R is still far heavier than the garage punk and grunge that inform much of the record. It's still got the vaunted Arizona-desert vibes of Kyuss, but it evokes a more relaxed, spacious, twilight feel, as opposed to a high-noon meltdown. Mark Lanegan and Barrett Martin of the Screaming Trees both appear on multiple tracks, and their band's psychedelic grunge -- in its warmer, less noisy moments -- is actually not a bad point of comparison. Longtime Kyuss fans might be disappointed at the relative lack of heaviness, but R's direction was hinted at on the first QOTSA album, and Homme's experimentation really opens up the band's sound, pointing to exciting new directions for heavy guitar rock in the new millennium.

  6.  Epic


    So, the inevitable finally happened. Those who have followed the life of System of a Down and its lead vocalist and lyricist Serj Tankian have wondered for years when he would finally issue his debut offering. Tankian, whose political and aesthetic activity keep him wildly busy, has become an identity that cannot be contained by the trappings of a band.

    Tankian plays virtually everything on the set except for drums and strings. The opening cut, "Empty Walls," comes roaring out of the box with pulsing guitars hammering everything in sight before the verse slows to a crawl, full of layered vocals, and a delivery that is not unlike Gordon Downie's from the Tragically Hip! But the music couldn't be more enigmatic. It twists and turns, running down big hooks and riffs and turns them inside out with beautifully lush draperies of sound, spaces worthy of an empty room, and near operatic recitative melodic lines. The political and personal are interwoven tightly in Tankian's lyrics. He challenges his own poetry and his assertions of social, political, and spiritual belief continually. It becomes difficult to know what it is he actually means, or if he contradicts himself -- especially if you listen to songs like "Saving Us" while looking deeply into a mirror. Irony, cultural and political and economic indictment are the other side of the coin in songs like "The Unthinking Majority." On this latter tune, just as hardcore punk chanting and industrial metal riffs tear at one another for dominance, pianos open up in unexpected places. Lithe lines add air and a breath to the supercharged anger, and one wonders why, until "Money" comes literally screaming out of the box with its near perfect meld of gothic classicism and raucous, blind speed hardcore. "The Sky Is Over" melds everything from acoustic rock, industrial metal and Queen-like opera cadences and winds it all into something so addictive it's irresistible. It's so heady that it becomes a welcome relief to hear "Baby," a broken elegiac love song -- that doesn't sound like any other broken love song you've ever heard -- and cracks the seam of the disc wide open. The rest of the album follows in similarly dramatic suit. There is barely time to grasp one idea when another is thrust upon the listener. Coming to grips will take several listens. Perhaps countless listens. In other words, this is no mere egotistical solo release. It's an ambitious egotistical solo release, and one with the chops to pull it all off. The well placed spaces and lithe textural moments of delicate instrumental engagement and interlude prevent Elect the Dead from going by in a blur. Truth of the matter is that if you will only open yourself to it, you'll be able to hang on to those words, debate them, hold them in your heart, in your mind, and all the while have a cathartic emotional experience. The pretentious prog excesses in these songs pay off abundantly, because they are rooted in the craft of songwriting, production, conviction, and tough, serpentine rock & roll by someone who actually has something to say. Elect the Dead may a rather curious title for a recording as wide ranging and savvy and committed as this one, but from seeming paradox and contradiction a brave new musical vision, one that makes it completely OK to take chances with the form again, emerges.

  7.  Don't Listen to the Philistines


    Ignore the other two reviews of this album. One man revolution and the nightwatchman are not about awesome guitar playing! They are about raw political upheaval. That the whole reason morello created his 'the nighwatchman' alter ego, so he could get his political message heard by the world. To be perfectly frank, this is some of morello's best work to date. The lyrics really make you think about our current political climate but are entertaining at the same time. Frankly, this is a masterpiece.

  8.  Objection!!!


    This is a fantastic game and is well up to the standards of the "Ace Attorney" series. It brings new things to the table, but still keeps the things what made the original great. However I didn't give it 5 stars because of the lack of a bonus 5th DS exclusive case that featured in the original.

  9.  Broken


    The instruments just feel broken. they are cheap, tacky and aren't nearly as good in terms of ease of use and quality to Red Octane's guitar hero guitars. Also, hitting the drums slightly too hard results in a plasticy bang and falling apart. Not Worth £100!

  10.  The Best


    This third installment in the Die Hard series is the best of them all. It's got great acting, directing and effects, plus there's an explosion within the first minute. The inclusion of Samuel L. Jackson as Zeus was a good choice too.