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Amnesiac
Amnesiac
Offered by megahitrecords
Price: $9.32
209 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Less than perfect, but still fascinating, January 26, 2002
This review is from: Amnesiac (Audio CD)
Expectations were high for this one - after creating 3 classic full length albums in a row, anything less than brilliant just won't cut it anymore, and Amnesiac does not disappoint. I'm just glad it isn't the "return to rock and roll" everybody was predicting; as shown by this album, Kid A in fact wasn't just an excuse to sound like large mammals stomping on drum machines, but rather the artistic direction toward the avant-garde that Radiohead finally developed the guts to pursue. It has come to the point where a typical "5 guys with a guitar and some drums" sound is considered a departure for the band (witness "Knives Out"). Radiohead's key element is innovation. While most of the songs aren't as "out there" as "Kid A", "National Anthem" or "Motion Picture Soundtrack", they're still far from straightforward. The most successful tunes are the paranoid, pulsing "Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors", the slightly jazzy "I Might Be Wrong", the loungy "Dollars and Cents" and the piano-drenched "Pyramid Song". The album admittedly gets a bit tedious near the end, with the instrumental "Hunting Bears" going nowhere, "Like Spinning Plates" sounding like it was recorded backwards, and the jazz section of "Life In A Glasshouse" just sounding dull and grating, much unlike the energetic, free-wheeling noisemaking of "National Anthem". The work before this trio of songs, however, is Radiohead at its best. "Pyramid Song" is possibly Radiohead's finest song to date, while "Dollars and Cents" also deserves to be a Radiohead classic. Overall, you won't be disappointed.


Wipeout 3
Wipeout 3
Offered by Douse Store
Price: $32.97
24 used & new from $1.30

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the king, January 21, 2002
This review is from: Wipeout 3 (Video Game)
This may not be a gigantic leap over the near-flawless Wipeout XL, but as they say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. In fact, with the addition of Challenge modes, as well as the return of the Tournament mode, Wipeout 3 is the most complete game of the 3. Graphics are incredibly smooth and fast, as usual, with little to none of that background "pop-in" that plagued the first two. The ships look a little like Lego though. Wipeout's claim to fame (other than vomit-inducing speed) has always been its pulsing soundtrack, and this time around, it can be the best of the 3 (Chemical Brothers' Influence and Sasha's Xpander) but it can also be the worst (an uncharacteristically weak tune from Orbital and the rest of Sasha's contributions). No fear, though, because the gameplay has been relatively untouched. The biggest new feature is the hyper-thrust. The R1 button sacrifices shield energy for a little extra speed, which minimizes the loss of speed from hitting the wall (believe me, you WILL hit the wall). There are some new weapons, including the force wall and energy drain, but no turbo boost(sob...). It's also important to mention that combat plays a much larger role in this outing. It can mean the difference between 1st and 6th. I haven't stuck with it for exceptionally long, but I've noticed that it is much harder to win in this game, except on Vector (which isn't how you should be playing anyway). I find that a good thing though. I'm now at the point where I'm winning the Venom circuits, but still struggling to win gold with the Rapier Class. I also like the idea that you start with 4 tracks and 4 ships, but if you win enough races, you'll end up with 8 tracks (check out the Manor Top) and 8 ships (Icaras is a treat). It can be frustrating finishing 4th all the time, but the reward of finally winning is worth the effort. If you're a fan of the Wipeout series (you probably are if you're reading this) then Wipeout 3 is just as good as any other. If Wipeout has never really appealed to you, then you should save your money this time around too (for a shrink).


NHL 2002 PS2
NHL 2002 PS2
Offered by Media-Recovery
Price: $10.99
190 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lebeau le but!!!!!!, November 4, 2001
This review is from: NHL 2002 PS2 (Video Game)
This would be my 4th purchase in the indestructible NHL series, although the first since NHL '97 for the PC. Upon seeing that and Super NES versions of the series, I expected the fast-paced gameplay, loads of stats, and top-notch presentation that is included here. But those pesky EA developers weren't satisfied with making an improved version of previous installments. This game is light years beyond any other hockey game I've ever played. Let's start with the options - this game, to go along with its create-a-player option, has a create-a-face option as well. This means I can create a player with my build, height, weight, even signature goatee, (or that of Kovalchuk's, Dopita's or Huselius') and throw him into a pit of Dale Purintons, Georges Laraques and Andrei Nazarovs. It's a thrill seeing your name in the same category as Joe Sakic at the top of the goals list, as well as Tie Domi and, unfortunately, the less-than-goonish Mike Peca at the top of the PIM's list. The cards feature is a nice touch too. It allows, among other things, many of your key players to become super-skilled for a period or 2 or 3, or allows for neat animations after a goal is scored. The best feature of them all, however, is the fantasy draft option. This is how I am navigating my career, and its just twisted seeing Mario Lemieux in a Colorado Avalanche jersey, as well as the top St. Louis Blues line in my Maple Leafs uniform. And then there's the graphics, which couldn't be sharper. The faces are usually lifelike, although there are a few (Doug Weight and Ryan Smyth in particular) that aren't even close, if you wanna be picky. Even the crowds are 3D and animated as well, which is a huge step up from the pixel-fests of other installments. The commentary is also worth noting. Although not exactly what you'd hear on a CBC telecast, the commentary is always with the play, and even says the first names of your created players. The colour commentary is stupid, but for the first time, that's intentional, and its actually quite amusing. The gameplay is not too different - blazingly fast, with crisp control, many moves, and quite challenging on the most difficult level. The beginner mode is insultingly easy (I beat it 10-1 the first time I played it), but on medium and difficult, it's a nice challenge. Although scoring on medium is still too easy (especially with Pavel Bure's wicked dekes and insane wrist shot - I'm sure he finds beating Cujo too easy in real life), the computer opponent is pretty good at creating pressure in your own end. The fights are a dull experience, and some of the stat categories are still inflated (especially penalty-related categories), but it's still the best mix of realism and entertainment value around. If you have any interest in hockey, this is an essential own.


High Heat Baseball 2002
High Heat Baseball 2002
Offered by novatrol
Price: $16.49
59 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of fun, but could use more polish, September 2, 2001
To be honest, this is the first baseball game I've played since the first Triple Play that appeared on the original Playstation, so naturally I didn't know quite what to expect. Now that I've had the game for a while, I'm pleased to say that I am very impressed with this game. The physics are very real, with most infield hits resulting in outs, except for the really weak ones to third. And unlike most other games I've played, a smack off the wall almost never results in a single, unless if it was Darrin Fletcher hitting. Still, if you want to get really picky, you can complain about how difficult it is to get a triple, even for Cristian Guzman. The scores are usually in the 5-4 or 6-4 range, like in real baseball, although you do get those 2-0 games, just as you get those 17-11 games as well. The pitching interface is intuitive and easy to learn, as is the batting interface. The players in the game act just like the really do - Nomar Garciaparra has a much easier time making contact than Russ Branyan, Luis Castillo gets tons of steals etc. The greatest thing about this game is that although it combines many of the smaller nuances of real baseball, it is remarkably easy to pick up a controller and get into right away. A 9-inning game has plenty of action, as well as lead changes, and just whizzes by. You can finish a 162-game season with 9-inning games in surprisingly little time. One thing that freaked me out though is that even though he hit .355 last year, Darin Erstad was hitting .220 in the middle of May, just like he actually did this year. How did the developers know he was gonna start the season on a stinky note? A couple complaints I have about the game - the statistics interface includes all the stats you could possibly care about, and even includes a qualify option, but is rather clunky to use; the stadium graphics are accurate, but a bit blocky; the player animations sometimes have some frames missing; the announcers can really get on your nerves when they say really obvious points like 'all he wants to do is get the ball into the outfield' 3 times in the same at-bat; in season mode, human-controlled teams are never given credit for saves (or blown saves); most importantly, there is no create-a-player feature. I say 'most importantly' because of a few obvious omissions, such as Ichiro Suzuki and strangely enough, Rick Reed. I've tried doing that Matt Lawton for Rick Reed trade that happened earlier this year, and to my surprise, guess who I couldn't find! Still, these complaints are insubstantial, as the gameplay is excellent. It's a great 1-player game and an even better 2-player game; High Heat 2002 is a great baseball game that is fun for people who don't enjoy the sport, and awesome for people that do. At the worst, its worth a rental.


Gran Turismo 3 A-spec
Gran Turismo 3 A-spec
Offered by Media-Recovery
Price: $9.99
988 used & new from $0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So so so so sweet, August 19, 2001
This review is from: Gran Turismo 3 A-spec (Video Game)
I bought the PS2 just for this game, and it alone is worth the price. For starters, the graphics are way above anything I've previously seen. All the cars look 100% like their real life counterparts, and at a very high resolution as well. The road textures are impeccable and the environments are lush and lovely. Also, the soundtrack is awesome. Ranging from hard rock to energetic techno to hair metal, each song perfectly accompanies the blistering speed of the game. The control and physics of the game is awesome. The cars handle responsively and realistically. If you're on dry pavement for the whole race, you won't have too much difficulty, but as soon as you hit the mud, prepare for your car to slip and slide all over the place. A memorable moment for me is the frustration of your opponent trying to see past the cloud of dust your rally car leaves behind. The gameplay is much more than pick a track, then try to beat the computer. You also have to tune your car, obtain a steady cash flow to buy new parts and better cars (which are numerous, to understate), and - this is my favourite part - obtain licenses (timed drills) to be permitted to race the more advanced tournaments. The B licence drills are relatively easy, and receiving a gold or silver medal is very obtainable. But the Super Licence will have racing experts scrounging to shave off thousandths of seconds off their previous times. I've been at it for 3 weeks and I've still only acheived bronze on 5 of the drills. No matter how frustrated I've become, I keep coming back to these drills, because of the reward that is felt when I shaved 2 or 3 seconds off of a previous run that I thought could not have been improved. The sense of reward for faring well in the game, the number of cars, as well as the incredible number of races and tournaments, adds up to a game that will keep you busy for months and months. I've played this game for a month and a half, and I'm still only 38% complete. If you're a fan of racing games, this game is an absolutely essential own. The flawless presentation, the eye-candy graphics and the spot-on gameplay can't be missed.


Blue Lines
Blue Lines
Price: $10.99
150 used & new from $0.04

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Offers the best of everything, June 13, 2001
This review is from: Blue Lines (Audio CD)
Being the chronologically backwards guy I am, I listened to Mezzanine before I listened to this, and I loved every single song on it. In my collection of about 100 albums, Mezzanine would easily rank in the top 10, possibly top 5. It was the single most immaculately produced CD I have ever heard, the vocal performances were out of this world, and the songs were great too. Massive's debut 'Blue Lines' also features the great vocals and wonderful genre-twisting, moody, soulful songs of its latest album, but being 7 years behind Mezzanine, it isn't quite as perfect in the production department. Not that this is a complaint - when the music is this original, melodic and milk chocolatey smooth, the CD isn't dependent on superior production. The music contains the raw emotion of retro-70's soul, the mellow quality of reggae, and the strong beats and vocal exchanges of hiphop, all melded into one seamless, natural, unique sound. The album, only 9 songs long, has created its own genre of "trip-hop", which is a commendable achievement. My only complaints - the title track doesn't quite grab my attention, and the repetitive beats and bass line of track 8 'Lately' just sounds kinda cheesy to me. Still, 7 of the 9 songs are works of art. Standouts include the strong opener 'Safe From Harm', the R&B influenced 'Be Thankful For What You Got', the strings-drenched 'Unfinished Sympathy', as well as the Horace Andy-led 'One Love' and the profound 'Hymn Of The Big Wheel'. But best of all is what is possibly the mellowest hip-hop song ever written in 'Five Man Army'. The vocal exchanges are superb, and Daddy G is always a treat for the ears. The flow of this song is unmatched by artists that are strictly hip-hop. And there is no vocalist quite like Horace. Believe everything you've heard about this album - it is truly a work of art (save for 2 tracks). This is Massive's crowning achievement, if only because its their debut, and deserves a spot in everybody's music library. If you don't like this, you don't like music.


White Pony
White Pony
Price: $7.99
100 used & new from $2.79

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "We are the leaders of it all", June 3, 2001
This review is from: White Pony (Audio CD)
If you wanna be closed-minded and call them nu-metal, the Deftones are one of the most unique, eclectic and passionate nu-metal bands out there. My main problem with metal in general is that it's so miserable - the lyrics are so rife with pain (usually contrived) and self-pity that it's almost desensitizing. You stop caring about the lyrics because the same themes pop up every 30 seconds. And that's why White Pony is such a welcome breath of fresh air; not that they aren't angry (check out 'Korea', 'Elite'), but it's just great to hear a so-called 'heavy' band show their sensitive side so naturally and confidently ('Passenger', 'RX Queen'). Here are some thoughts on each individual song:
Back To School - 8/10 - a slightly conventional but very catchy tune. The only tune not found on the 'grey' White Pony, but worth several listens.
Feiticeira - 9.5/10 - possibly the best tune on the CD. Very unique rhythmic and melodic structure. This tune never seems to get old.
Digital Bath - 8.5/10 - another excellently crafted tune; nice haunting atmosphere and very impressive vocal range from Chino.
Elite - 6/10 - probably the tune that most closely resembles old-school Deftones. Good for fans of the first 2 albums, but not really a step up from the works of other bands.
RX Queen - 8/10 - still has a chance to be a single. The syncopated beats and electronic textures work in the song's favour, although the lyrics are a tad pretentious.
Street Carp - 4.5/10 - not up to par. Chorus is somewhat catchy, but overall insignificant.
Teenager - 9/10 - the biggest surprise on the CD. Never thought the Deftones would write this song, and that's partly why it works so well. Love the textures.
Knife Prty - 9.5/10 - the must-hear track of the CD. The imagery of the lyrics is wonderfully gothic, and the female in the background is a complete trip.
Korea - 8/10 - another track suited for old-school fans. The guitar sounds a bit like Korn, but Chino's screams have an edge that most others can't match.
Passenger - 7/10 - a fan favourite, thanks mostly to Maynard's incredible voice, but the song itself is a bit slow-moving and musically pretty standard. The piano at the end is a gorgeous touch though.
Change - 8.5/10 - the song EVERYBODY has heard by now. It has that bombastic 'arena-rock' charm that would go over well at a live show.
Pink Maggit - 9/10 - another personal favourite of mine. The chorus is basically a slowed down version of 'Mini-Maggit', but I prefer it in the less radio-friendly horror-movie context presented here.
Overall - 8.0/10


Mer De Noms [Explicit]
Mer De Noms [Explicit]
Price: $13.20
122 used & new from $0.34

9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A perfect half-album, May 10, 2001
This review is from: Mer De Noms [Explicit] (Audio CD)
This is kind of sad, but this is the only work of Maynard I own. I've never heard a full Tool album in my life, so I can't compare this to any of those. That means I have to judge this album on its own merits. And its an absolutely killer album - for the first 6 songs.
'The Hollow' opens things up with a catchy guitar riff and nicely shaped chorus. 'Magdalena' is a solid tune with great lyrics, while the outstanding 'Rose' is probably the most sophisticated song on the album. Its percussion sounds and original melody helps it hold up very well to repeated listens. The intense 1st single 'Judith' follows, with its crisp guitar sounds and heavy lyrical themes, and is followed by the stunningly beautiful 'Orestes'. This and 'Rose' are the tunes I keep going back to. 2nd single '3 Libras' is also rock-solid, if not as devastating gorgeous as 'Orestes'.
It's after this song where the CD starts to slip a little bit. 'Sleeping Beauty' creates a good atmosphere, but is pretty forgettable, while 'Thinking Of You' and 'Over' don't really add anything to the overall package. 'Brena' and 'Thomas' are listenable tunes, but fall just short of the heights set earlier in the CD. Overall though, a very well crafted CD that is capable of doing what few side projects can do - create a fanbase that expands past those fans of Maynard's original band.


Greyest of Blue Skies
Greyest of Blue Skies
Offered by Cowkittymedia
Price: $19.99
35 used & new from $0.98

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good, April 18, 2001
This review is from: Greyest of Blue Skies (Audio CD)
I remember way back when I first heard 'Above' on the radio. I also remember reading a lot of BAD reviews for Tip, even though 'Above' wasn't that bad a song. Then I heard 'Quicksand' not much later, and it too wasn't a bad song. The thought that came to mind is that critics are right 0.0001% of the time and that their 1-star reviews are actually bold endorsements for the product. So I didn't let a couple bad articles stop me from buying. It turns out they were right. Tip sucked - an unoriginal, obnoxiously angsty, one-dimensional display of heavy guitar sounds with no structure or variation. Later on in life, I eventually heard that Finger Eleven released another album, and when I heard the first single, 'Drag You Down', my first impression was that they learned nothing from their first album; it was also a watered-down, droning piece of non-descript noise. It was 'First Time' - a soulful, melodic, and musically accomplished tune - that convinced me to give the band a second chance. Good thing, because The Greyest of Blue Skies is as massive a step up as one could imagine. Instead of distorted guitars droning endlessly, this album is more textured and eclectic than Tip. From the screeching of 'First Time', to the quieter, more subtle textures of the passionate 'Broken Words' or 'Sick Of It All', Finger Eleven have expanded their musical repertoire, and it shows, as these are the best songs. Also good are 'My Carousel' and the hooky 'Suffocate', but 'Bones and Joints' and the aforementioned 'Drag You Down' don't measure up. Overall, they're still in the same camp as other musical crimes against humanity such as Creed and Bush, and still leave something to be desired in terms of creativity, but they certainly have improved their songwriting since their last album. It also helps that the production is top-notch. If you tolerate today's alternative rock scene, this is a great place to look.


Black Market Music
Black Market Music
34 used & new from $0.32

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A huge step down for Placebo, March 17, 2001
This review is from: Black Market Music (Audio CD)
What the hell happened? These guys used to be amazing. Their first album was cool, but their 2nd CD 'Without You I'm Nothing' was just an awesome listen from beginning to end. This one, is, for lack of a better word, crap. As long as they still keep the standard Placebo guitar tuning and crisp tone, they'll never be a 1-star band, but both musically and lyrically, this just doesn't cut it. 'Taste In Men', 'Haemoglobin' and 'Days Before You Came' are weak and incredibly forgettable, 'Special K''s "duhdum dum dum dum dahdum" hook is layered with fromage, while the rap-rock crossover 'Spite and Malice' makes me cringe every time I hear it. Brian Molko should stick to his glandular singing, cuz he's on par with Vanilla Ice in terms of "flo". Don't consider Placebo dead yet though, cuz there's a pair of fantastic tunes to be found underneath the mediocrity. 'Slave To The Wage' has some of Placebo's best guitar work yet, and is incredibly catchy; and 'Narcoleptic' still shows that Placebo is as amazing as ever with the slow ballads, comparing favourably with previous songs such as 'Ask For Answers' and 'My Sweet Prince'. If only there were more of them. These are the only tunes that aren't either forgettable, or memorably bad. Beware - even if you loved the first two albums, it's hard to deny this pales in comparison.


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