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Got Your Six [Deluxe Edition]
Got Your Six [Deluxe Edition]
Price: $17.19
40 used & new from $13.98

7 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Got Your Receipt? (so you can get a refund...), September 8, 2015
Serves me right. I was late joining the party, and once I finally did, “Got Your Six” is my punishment.

A bit of background. I fought liking FFDP for years. At first, I thought they were just another wannabe nu-metal band that was (for some reason) getting more attention than my beloved Mudvayne and Mushroomhead. Then, probably three years ago, a friend of mine loaned me “The Way of the Fist,” and I was blown away. Slowly, I began collecting their albums, though I was too embarrassed to admit that I now enjoyed a band I once ridiculed. To date, the only album by FFDP that is not in my collection is “The Wrong Side of Heaven, Volume 2,” and I don’t have that album, because it sounded like B-sides from Volume 1 that weren’t quite good enough to make the final cut.

Until “Got Your Six,” I bought all of my FFDP albums used, but when I heard the single “Jekyll and Hyde,” for the first time, I knew I would finally contribute to the band by buying my first store copy.

Excuse my surprise, but really, what a disappointment.

I don’t know if the band just ran out of ideas or simply picked the wrong producer, but this album is awful. Other than “Jekyll and Hyde,” each song sounds pretty much the same. They’re all formulaic, radio friendly, predictable and uninspired. And don’t give me **** about how they’ve ‘evolved’ or they’ve ‘matured,’ because there is nothing original or mature about this collection of 3:30 minute stinkers. Try to convince me that anything on this LP is as good as “The Way of the Fist,” or “The Bleeding” or “Meet the Monster.” Those of you giving this album five stars are only doing so because it’s new, so it hasn’t yet settled in this album is a steaming pile of horse apples. Either that or you’re hoping the band will read your review and send you a T-shirt. Good luck with that.

Nothing on this album is great – not even “Jekyll and Hyde,” so nothing is worthy of five stars. Five stars should be reserved for mind-blowing, ground-breaking, can’t-miss classics. At BEST, this album is below-average, even by today’s Kanye West/Miley Cyrus standards.

Point #1
Point #1
Price: $13.96
60 used & new from $4.30

4.0 out of 5 stars Debut albums are genuinely the best, August 13, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Point #1 (Audio CD)
Clearly Chevelle's best album. Ignore the abysmal production quality, and instead enjoy the creativity and unique sound of Point #1. While the band is more commercially successful now that they've allowed themselves to fall victim to the radio-friendly formula, Point #1 was written from the heart by a group of guys who wanted to play the kind of music they liked. It's always fun to check out an artist's early work when it was genuinely imagined and passionately performed.

Caotica Ana [Jocelyn Pook]
Caotica Ana [Jocelyn Pook]
3 used & new from $26.85

2.0 out of 5 stars Chaotic repetition, August 13, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Unfortunately, this is the weakest album I've purchased by Ms. Pook. Caotica Ana contains 21 tracks, only one of which tops four minutes, and a large majority wrapping up well under two. While the quality of a song cannot be measured by its duration, this is a clear warning that (much like her other soundtracks) this music was written to tell the story she was scoring, not the story that Jocelyn Pook tells when given free reign to take off the gloves and stretch her imagination.

As individual songs, each track is pretty good, but nearly every song carries the same theme as its predecessor with only minor variations, and by the time you get to the tenth track, you've already heard it nine times, and you won't be terribly interested in hearing it another eleven. One of the tracks (I won't say which one, because the title was changed to protect the guilty) was even recycled from one of her previous albums.

As a movie soundtrack, Caotica Ana is fine, but as an album of music, it doesn't compare to Desh, Flood or Untold Things.

Then We Came to the End: A Novel
Then We Came to the End: A Novel
by Joshua Ferris
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.49
360 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars If only we made it to the end, April 3, 2015
Based on reviews from reputable sources from Stephen King to The New Yorker, I took a chance on Joshua Ferris's "Then We Came To The End." I too work in a cubicle infested water-cooler environment similar to the one described here. The idea is sound: Showcase how hilarious and hypocritical the world of big business can be. Unfortunately, Joshua Ferris has turned out a mess that is so bad that I am astounded ANYONE calls this entertaining. This is a disaster on monumental levels. I'm sure Ferris had to take English courses while attending school, but you'd never know it based on the numerous rules he routinely breaks. It's like reading a first grader's attempt at describing, "Who is my daddy, and what does he do." I imagine some readers are claiming this to be a 'literary' novel, but since when does 'literary' equate to 'unreadable'? Ferris regularly pumps out run-on paragraphs that span multiple pages with five or more characters speaking at once within the same rambling paragraphs. The writing is so jumbled that the reader has no idea who's speaking (or what's going on for that matter). I'm literally stunned that anyone can call this 'prose' with a straight face. Unfortunately, I can't say this is the worst book I've ever read, because it was so bad that I was unable to finish it. Sadly, I can only offer two unenthusiastic thumbs down. If I had more thumbs, I would definitely use them for this stinker.

Black Widow
Black Widow
Price: $10.04
72 used & new from $5.48

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Another casualty of Rob Zombie, December 9, 2014
This review is from: Black Widow (Audio CD)
Remember when White Zombie broke up, leading to a host of really bad Rob Zombie solo debacles? Each album got progressively more mainstream and continued to stray further and further from metal to whatever it is you would describe the `music' he's releasing today. Well, that seems to be happening to ITM. They haven't broken up, though to listen to `Black Widow,' you'd think it was a different band. Their last album launched ITM into the national spotlight. `Blood' seemed to be the right mix of metal, industrial rock and conceptual design to keep the majority of their fan base around while attracting a new base of listeners. `Black Widow' has taken the next step - stepping away from their roots entirely. In fact, one would argue they've left the metal/hard-rock scene altogether, having been Rob Zombie'd into making music more akin to pop rock. Candidly, I wouldn't have been surprised had I seen a song title accompanied by "Featuring Taylor Swift."

Going mellow isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I fall back on the argument I always use when a band changes direction. The music still has to be good. It has to be innovative and original. It has to hold your attention. `Black Widow' is over-produced, nearly drowning in industrial electronics. It sounds like Skillrex meets Evanescence, and despite my willingness to give a new sound a fresh listen, the music here is not groundbreaking. It's a collection of so-so songs that fail to take off.

With that said, it's not a terrible album. It's just not very good either. I expect more from a band with this much proven talent.

The Endless River (CD+Blu-ray Casebook Edition)
The Endless River (CD+Blu-ray Casebook Edition)
Offered by iooo
Price: $18.70
66 used & new from $15.89

15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And when you feel you're near the end..., November 10, 2014
Please excuse the flow of this review. I was taking notes as I listened to the album for the first time. These thoughts are as raw and unfiltered as they can be without being censored by the word police. :o)

Side 1:
Things Left Unsaid - As any Floydian fan would expect, the opening chords to “Things Left Unsaid” are hauntingly atmospheric, ambient and try maybe a bit too hard. However, you know it’s Pink Floyd when “Things Left Unsaid” melts into “It’s What We Do.” Rick Wright’s signature organs bring back 1970, lending itself nicely to a smooth transition from Meddle to 1976’s Wish You Were Here and what feels like “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” Part X. Gilmour’s solos are on target, though much more melodic than they were when he was a young man. It’s “Shine On” for a more mature audience. “It’s What We Do” transcends a decade of music, but stays true to the era it transcends.
“Ebb and Flow” is an relaxing mixture of Rick Wright’s last solo album and the instrumental tracks offered from Division Bell. Not bad, but not great either.

Side 2:
• Sum - straight off of Ummagumma, “Sum” offers a very old-school Floydian sound. The pace eventually picks up and gives Nick Mason a chance to do a bit of personal showboating—something we haven’t seen from him since Dark Side.
• Skins - The drums on “Skins” actually remind me of “A Saucerful of Secrets,” and there is some trippy interpretations not unlike its counterpart, without actually redoing or over-doing it.
• Unsung - “Unsung” brings back immediate memories of “Echoes,” but again, for a more mature audience. The sound is far more polished, and that’s not necessarily what we want to hear. It’s perhaps too smooth, but given the similarities to a sound created 40+ years ago, I’m okay hearing a return to their roots.
• Anisina - “Anisina” becomes “Us and Them” with a bit of Division Bell’s simplicity mixed in. This song is the first track that I can do without.

Side 3:
• The Lost Art of Conversation – A quiet Richard Wright piano piece with the soothing sounds of rain in the background.
• On Noodle Street – A lot of Wright’s influence with some nicely layered strings and some fairly bland drums to keep the tune moving.
• Night Light – Another combination of “Shine On” and “Cluster One”. I haven’t decided if this is an intentional bridging of two starkly different time periods.
• Allons-Y (1) – This will immediately remind you of “Another Brick in the Wall.” I love the original, but I can do without this track. It sounds too close to Dave’s instrumental work off his About Face album circa 1984.
• Autumn ’68 – My god, yes! This is a tribute to 1968 and Rick’s dominating organs. Dave layers in some guitar work, but they take second seat to the powerful organs that pretty much own the song from start to finish.
• Allons-Y (2) – “Another Brick in the Wall” revisit. Kind of the same. I guess that’s fitting since “Another Brick in the Wall” had parts I, II and III.
• Talkin’ Hawkin’ – A beautiful piece. I can’t really compare it to anything the Floyd has done in the past. We are treated to more words of wisdom from the great Stephen Hawking, and this song doesn’t sound like anything the band has released before. Just a powerful, gorgeous piece.

Side 4:
• Calling – This is definitely trippy, much like the opening track “Castellorizon” from Gilmour’s 2006 On An Island. And interestingly enough, there’s a bit of Vangelis mixed in here too. (Bonus points for those of you who know who Vangelis is.)
• Eyes to Pearls – I can definitely sense a shift in momentum. The tension is ramping up, almost as if leading to some grand finale. Nick’s drums add a reverberating heartbeat, complimenting Dave’s chords.
• Surfacing – A return to “A Great Day for Freedom” from Division Bell. Not that I’m complaining, but you can definitely hear the Division Bell studio sessions percolating throughout the entire album. They’re just more prominent here. I’m not crazy about the placement of this track. I think “Eyes to Pearls” should have been placed here as a natural lead in to what is ultimately the final track.
• Louder than Words – The same church bells that led us into “High Hopes” launch the album’s (and the band’s) final track. Ever. Unfortunately, the lyrics lack the punch we’ve come to expect from a Roger Waters penned poem. Fortunately, Dave’s voice is as strong and as beautiful as ever. ‘High Hopes’ would actually be a more fitting send off for a band spanning nearly five decades. The lyrics are repetitive and not all that deep. Fortunately, it still manages to fit with the motif our boys carried through the entire 4-side record. It won’t go down as one of their better tracks, but it won’t be remembered as one of their worst either.

Overall, The Endless River feels very much like a Pink Floyd album. It is not as erratic as some of the 'professional' reviewers would have you believe. It flows quite smoothly, and while it may not wind up the bands most popular album, it's a fitting tribute and lasting send off to a group of guys who will go down in the pages of history.

Lucy [Blu-ray]
Lucy [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Scarlett Johansson
Price: $11.99
75 used & new from $4.33

2 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Uh...We already saw this movie. 22 years ago., November 1, 2014
This review is from: Lucy [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
"Luc Besson's "Lucy" is a startling and thought-provoking exercise in What-If science fiction, masquerading as a summer action blockbuster. It presents a powerful and compelling vision of what evolution, enlightenment, and eventual human ascension might look like."

I plagiarized that opening synopsis from another reviewer as I found it to be a well-written description of what this film attempted to accomplish. I rarely take time to review movies, despite some real stinkers I've seen this year (i.e. Noah), but "Lucy" warranted special attention as Luc Besson has accomplished a rare feat. He made an 89 minute movie feel like four hours. The fault does not lie with Scarlett Johansson's emotionless performance. She does the best she can with a disaster of a script, and she brings the only highlight this film has to offer: A very attractive young woman running around in a short dress.

The movie itself fails in every other category, but I want to emphasize that the real disaster that nobody seems to have picked up on is that this idea entirely mimics the 1992 virtual reality sci-fi classic "The Lawnmower Man". Granted, Jeff Fahey didn't look as good as Scarlett Johansson, but the premise is entirely the same right down to the very last scene when the protagonist of each story become energy and are absorbed in every electronic device around the world. The plagiarism couldn't be more obvious if Luc Besson entitled his rendition "The Lawnmower Woman." Fortunately for Besson, people have a short memory, and they came out in droves to see this clunker. It has grossed over $430 million dollars worldwide, which means we have more Luc Besson disappointments to look forward to.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 10, 2014 2:03 PM PST

The Paradigm Shift [CD/DVD Combo][Deluxe Edition][Explicit]
The Paradigm Shift [CD/DVD Combo][Deluxe Edition][Explicit]
Price: $21.01
74 used & new from $10.76

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Paradigm Plunge, October 16, 2014
I commend a band's willingness to evolve. I am not bothered when a band known for one style is gutsy enough to adapt their sound to their tastes as they mature. For the Paradigm Shift, Korn welcomed back Head after a lengthy absence, and I was as excited as anyone to chalk the last two Korn albums up as an experiment gone wrong. Head and JD both indicated in separate interviews that this is the album they've always wanted to write. If they believe that, good for them, but honestly, I doubt they do.

For all the blind (pun intended) Korn-thirsty fans giving this record 5 stars, I dare you to revisit your own review six months from now and reaffirm that The Paradigm Shift is on the same level as their early work. And for those of you who think I am merely saying this because The Paradigm Shift isn't nu-metal and/or isn't as hard as their early work, that is NOT the case. I don't care if a band goes from releasing music in the hardcore range of Slipknot to the softcore soothing sounds of George Winston. If it's good music, it's good music. The problem becomes when it is no longer good music, and there is nothing good about The Paradigm Shift. The songs are formulaic, bland, emotionless and predictable. JD sounds bored out of his skull while singing, and the riffs are elementary. The music is well-produced -- obviously the output of a senior band with a ton of talent -- but it's uninspiring. It's like they wanted to release something before the rest of the world forgot they were back together again. If the name KORN did not appear on the album, nobody would be listening to this.

The Paradigm Shift is nothing more than a tired band riding the coattails of their early successes, and good for them. If I had enjoyed that kind of success, I'd ride that gravy train into the ground as well. But don't get blinded by the cool artwork. Don't get caught up in the hype of a reunion. And don't tell me these songs are worthy of 5 stars.

Blood for Blood
Blood for Blood
Price: $11.00
68 used & new from $6.94

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tight, hard, raw, but incomplete, June 13, 2014
This review is from: Blood for Blood (Audio CD)
4 stars still means this is a must-have in your collection. 4 stars makes this a better release than most of the new work being released this year. 4 stars also means there is still room (however slight) for improvement.

Now that the band has brought on a legitimate producer and moved out of Vinnie's basement into a professional studio, the production quality towers over their previous releases. This album doesn't hesitate to fire out of the gate. Blood for Blood, their first single (and title track), isn't the fastest song, but it's probably their best shot at radio-play. From there, the band rips into nine more songs of cleverly written, well-produced, typical 'Hellyeah'. They are smart enough to balance the tempo by introducing a couple of ballads. But fear not, tracks 8 and 9 are the hardest on the album, so the guys don't lose sight of a promise they made to their fans.

After a shakeup of the lineup a few months back, the band announced they are abandoning the southern sound and indicated a yearning to return to their Pantera/Mudvayne roots.

In my mind, this is a great album, but lacks the stand-out tracks we heard on "Band of Brothers". The music is perhaps their tightest, but it sounds much more like Mudvayne's final album than their early work. Additionally, there isn't a lot of Pantera influence here, and I don't see these songs withstanding the test of time.

4 stars still means this is a must-have in your collection, but there is still room for improvement. I'll be curious to hear the direction the band takes with their next release.

The Righteous & The Butterfly
The Righteous & The Butterfly
Price: $8.58
42 used & new from $7.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 Righteous years, May 17, 2014
It's starting to feel 'old hat' to give MH albums 5 stars, but aside from "Beautiful Stories", every release they've put out has redefined their footprint in the metal industry. No two albums sound the same, and that certainly holds true for "The Righteous & The Butterfly." This marks the 8th studio release, though most fans aren't aware of the albums pre-dating XX. Ironically, the new album sounds closer to their self-titled release than any other subsequent record. It's not as experimental as their self-titled, and certainly more mature, but I can definitely hear ties between "Qwerty" and "Casualties in B Minor". I have to believe this is intentional.

These guys put out a brilliant product with each record, and the only reason I didn't give "Beautiful Stories" 5 stars was because of their opening track, "Come On," which I found to be beneath their talents musically and lyrically. Beyond that, I've always been happy with how their sound has progressed with and ahead of the times. MH doesn't conform to the day's standards. They define the day's standards. This means they don't get trapped in a rut and play the same song 13 times in a row on a single record (think 'Disturbed'), but they also don't listen to the Bob Rock's of the world and produce something they 'think' the fans want. They create music they like, and while it's an evolution, (revolution?) it's inventive and strangely new, as though we're hearing a band's debut album, full of all the angst that makes a band great. At the same time, the fans are treated to the familiar talents and patterns of a group of misfits we've been bonding with for the past 20 years.

Of the few complaints I've seen so far, the common theme is that this record isn't 'hard' enough. Since when does 'hard' equate to the end-all greatness of an album's stand-up to time? I will agree that "Righteous" is not as 'hard' as XIII, but that doesn't mean it is any less important or enjoyable. It's still 'hard' enough to hurt your neck to, and the music is so completely different than XIII that, again, it's like discovering a new band for the very first time.

A new OLD band, that is.

JMann is back. This album marks the return of one of the band's most beloved members. It prominently features JMann and Jeffrey Nothing. But let's not forget about Waylon, the guy who stepped in when JMann stepped out and promised to keep this band going until they're old enough to need to be wheeled onstage. Waylon loves this music and loves this band, and he's prominently featured as well. This is what makes this band so unique. Two percussionists. Three lead vocalists. Two keyboardists. Water drums, cool costumes and a REAL connection with fans. This is not Metallica playing at the far end of some enormous stadium, collecting their millions and sounding bored. MH still love what they do, and they play to an eccentric family of fans that connects with their music. This truly is one of the most talented, down-to-earth bands you will ever have the pleasure of experiencing with your righteous ears.

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