Judas Priest - Angel of Retribution Review

Judas Priest has a new album? They are touring? Rob Halford? What happened?

I’m not sure how or why the group got back with singer Rob Halford, but it took about fifteen years for it. A lot has happened in that time. One thing is for sure, Judas Priest still has what it takes to pump out quality metal.

The album opens with a killer guitar entrance. As the music fades up it is joined with a vocal scream. As if to signify, we know what you want, and we’re going to hit you with it full force. “Judas Rising”, the albums opening track, is a perfect entrance.

From there song after song is well done and I found myself turning up the volume of my stereo. At track seven though, “Angel”, the band slows down for a mellow metal moment. Instead of trying to blend this into the rest of the album, they kind of let track six fade down, and then when I was expecting another song like the rest “Angel” comes on. It didn’t feel like they forced it on the album though. They let it play out, and then with track 8, “Hell rider”, they use another great guitar solo entrance to bring us back to speed. As if saying “here we go again, are you ready?”

But the album is winding down to the end. How much more could there be? Well, “Lochness’, the tenth and final track, is a thirteen minute song and worth every second.

All and all it felt like the band put a lot of effort into this project, and it shows. If you’re a Judas Priest fan you will love this album. If you’re a metal fan this is a great album to pick up. It doesn’t stop there though. If you have a friend that thinks they are a metal head and “have never heard of Judas Priest” (like a few people I know) then this is a perfect album for them to cut their teeth on. Even if someone just kind of likes metal music, this is worth a listen.

Judas Priest didn’t have anything to prove. They\'re Rock Legends. It felt like they wanted to prove a point though. Maybe they wanted to show the world that after all these years, all the “internal conflict”, they’re here and not going anywhere. Reunited, they are going to remind everyone just who Judas Priest is.

What ever it was, this album exceeded my expectations. I can’t wait for the next one. Well done guys. Well done and welcome back!

If you don’t know who Judas Priest is please visit http://www.judaspriest.com/

Feb
25
2005

Exorcist: The Beginning Review

Well I didn't expect much of this movie when I first heard of it and saw the previews. I mean making a prequel to a movie like The Exorcist 30+ years later seems like a stupid idea and one that you could pretty much count on being messed up. Let's face it, the last few years prequels and sequels haven't been so kind to us. However I was pleasantly surprised by Exorcist: The Beginning.

Anyways, the story isn't too bad; it follows Father Lancaster Merrin years before he appeared in the original Exorcist as he investigates a hidden church in the middle of Africa. At this point Merrin quit the priesthood after being continuously haunted by memories of the murdering of the people of his parish during World War II. He is now an archaeologist who is paid to go find an artifact at this hidden church, however as you could imagine he finds a lot more than that. Eventually he comes to find out this church is where evil was born and he must find his faith again to fight it.

Besides the basic story, the movie is alright as they do build a good foundation of Merrin's character as they explore his past before his appearance in the original exorcist movie. I'd imagine they didn't give the movie a huge budget, but the CGI was lacking for some scenes which was a bit disappointing. The dialogue was also a bit weak, but it can be overlooked as most people don't pay super close attention to it anyways,

Overall this wasn't too bad of a flick. I think I had such low expectations that it really makes me think this was great, though I know it wasn't. It has some decent scary parts for the horror junkies out there and a storyline which will keep you into the movie throughout most of it. Nothing spectacular here, but don't write it off as another awful prequel. I think it's worth the rent if you're into the genre.

Feb
25
2005

Celly Cel - Itz Real Out Here Review

Celly Cel is from the Hillside of Vallejo, Califoria, home of such artists as E-40, B-Legit, Suga T and D-Shot. If you\'re not familiar bay area rap or Celly Cel you might know him for his singles \"Hot Sunny Day\" or \"It\'s Going Down\" both which had videos played on BET.

Celly Cel, who is way overdue for an album, finally delivers his anticipated album \"Itz Real Out Here\" which features artists such as; Stress and Doonie Baby from The Federation, Jay Tee of N2Deep, E-40, Juvenile, W.C. and more.

If you\'re not familiar with any of Celly Cel\'s previous work you probably won\'t find this album appealing to you. To me I thought it was a pretty good album. 17 tracks and none are below average. There are some that are just \"okay\" but none that I would say aren\'t worth listening to at all.

The most standout track to me was \"D-Boyz\" with E-40. The beat for the song is good and they both deliver lyrically. Like I said if you like bay area rap or Celly Cel I\'d recommend picking this CD up. Celly Cel has a lot to offer and I hope he keeps it up.
Feb
23
2005

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Chaos Theory Review

"What if an algorithm could crash the stock markets, black out New York, and hijack ballistic missiles?
THIS IS 2007. THIS IS REALITY.
The one programmer who has the key to this algorithm has vanished.Find him at any cost. Bring the battle closer to the enemy - bring itto their soil before the chain of chaos becomes unstoppable.
You are Sam Fisher.
You are a Splinter Cell.

Iam probably going to get lynched by all the Halo fanatics for sayingthis, but its true so it has to be said.....Splinter Cell: Chaos theoryis the best game out to date for the XBOX, there I said it. If you haveever played any of the Splinter Cell games before you know the story,You are Sam Fisher an elite member of the Paramilitary group SplinterCell, taking on the jobs that no one else can, if your captured, yourgovernment will deny your existence, if your killed no one will come toclaim your body. But its a job that has to be done, and your the bestperson to do it. This is more than a worthy part to the Splinter Celllibrary, in a time when most follow ups are sub-par and seem to just beout to make more money, this shatters that image and says that sequelscan be great...nay better than the ones that they have followed.

Graphics- Wow that’s the only adjective that I can think of todescribe them, the lighting is as always very dynamic. If you watchyourself interrogating someone you will actually see life like faces,and mouths that actually move with the words. The AI also noticeschanges in the shadows, if you move to a lighted spot one moment and anAI notices a shadow pass, they are going to go and investigate. All thetextures are really well done, from the trees to the uniforms.

Sound:
Another high point, as with the other Splinter Cells, soundplays a big role, if you walk to fast then you might alert thatsleeping guard, so it’s best to take it nice and slow. Shooting outlights will not only bring the guards out because the lights are gonebut also because of the sound it makes. I have never been so proud tobe the owner of a surround sound system.

Controls:
Very easy to learn, if you have never played the otherSplinter Cells, And if your a Veteran of the series then it will nottake you any time to pick up the few changes that have been made.Instead of having a separate gadget to disrupt electrical devices yourpistol can do the job with just a tap of the left thumb stick. Themovement is of course pressure sensitive, so if you push hard yourgoing to run and make alot of noise but if you push a little your goingto move slower and quieter.

GamePlay:
Again amazing, AI for the most part are not stupid, if you shootout a light they are going to go investigate, if you are seen they aregoing to chase you. A great new feature is the ability to hang off apipe and grab someone and Fishers dark since of humor really adds allotto the game play.

Overall:

Just a great game, I really enjoy the fact that you canchoose how you want to play, do you want to be super sneaky and takepride knowing that none of the enemies saw you (my personnelpreference), or are you going to go in with guns blazing. This is agame that I would recommend buying, the replay value is even prettygood, and the online is by far some of the best on XBOX. Even splitscreen Co-op is great, cant find a ladder to get to that pesky ledge,no problem use your buddy. Bottom line great game, well worth the price.

Feb
23
2005

Black Label Society - Mafia Review

Are you a SDMF? If so then you’re not going to read this review. Your going to rush to the store as soon as the CD is released and buy it. If for no other reason then to say you own it. SDMFs will probably get upset when there is a reviewer out there that dares not give this CD a four point five or five out of five stars. Trust me, it hurts not to give this CD a higher mark.

The CD opens up with a “unique” bass line and vocal track. After a while it grew on me, but the first time I heard it I went “WTF is this”. After that the CD is exactly what one would expect from BLS, Great Metal. That is until track five, “in this river”. I wouldn\'t be surprised if this was their second single after “Suicide Messiah”, if there is a second single, but this song took a while for me to like. I wasn\'t a huge fan when I first heard it, but the song grew on me. I am a big fan of the guitar solo in the middle, but still, it slows the pace of the CD down to a crawl. Almost like them where fully aware they had a good song that didn\'t really fit, they fade track 6 in slowly and come back with a really good song. “You must be blind” is a good song, minus the fade.

Track 8, dr. Octavia, is an awesome guitar solo! I wish the CD would have opened with it...

The opening of Track 10, “Too Tough to Die”, instantly made me think of “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” by Iron Butterfly. At least I think that\'s what it was, but that\'s where the similarity ended. I liked this song as well, but it was more of the same.

The rest of the album was exactly what one would expect. The last track, “Dirt on the grave”, is a perfect ending. It has an addictive guitar line; it uses many musical talents, and is something people will put on repeat a few times to hear it again. At least I did. The first time I heard it I replayed it three times.

I started listening to this CD wanting it to be a five, but because of certain things I just was unable to do so. Is it just enough for a band to meet our expectations with every CD release? For the fans yes, they never want the experience to end. SDMFs will love this CD because it\'s more of a band they love. For everyone else, I believe it will be just a good album they don\'t mind listening to. Perfect for their MP3 player and able to blend in easily with the rest of their collection. For those that want to pick up a new CD and don\'t want to be disappointed, this is great. But it\'s not a must have. There isn\'t anything new and innovative. There isn\'t anything real special about it, except its Zakk Wyldes Black Label Society.

I don\'t think Zakk Wylde cares much anyway. He put this CD out for his fans. The rest of us can shove it. Just like I expect to hear in the forum.

If you know nothing of this band, please visit http://www.blacklabelsociety.net & http://www.zakkwylde.com/
Feb
22
2005

The Kidcrash - New Ruins Review

The Kidcrash a fairly new band out of Sante Fe and are more than your typical band labeled as “emo”. They are influenced by bands such as Sunny Day Real Estate, early Jimmy Eat World, and Cursive. So if you are a fan of any of those bands these guys are for you. “New Ruins” is their first national release and they definitely have put out a solid debut.

A few things that make this cd standout from the slew of other emo bands are their lyrics and playing style. Their sound is definitely uncharacteristic for the genre and has a more classic feel than all the new emo bands of today. It seems they also gave their lyrics some attention and didn’t write them like every other band, they show some real thought.

The song that stands out on the album is called “Scalpel Cuts Concrete”. Lyrically it stands out on the album as well as musically. The music has a catchy beat and great guitar work I think, as through the whole album.

My only criticism for this album is that at times the songs seem to have too much of a similar sound and the vocals could be a bit cleaner and I look forward to their next album to show a bit more growth in that area.

Without a doubt these guys have a chance to become big (in the emo/rock genre at least) if they keep at it and continue to spend the time making quality music. If your into more classic emo music, I’m sure you will find The Kidcrash to your liking.
Feb
22
2005

50 Cent - The Massacre Review

At first the album sounded lame, but after a few times of listening to it you come to realize that it\'s just... different. The lyrics to songs change as the lifestyle of rapper\'s change (ie. Ja Rule). However, 50 cent tries all that he can to keep himself from transforming into one of those rappers by taking shots at rappers: Fat Joe, Nas, Jadakiss, Ja Rule and Shyne in a hott track entitled, \"Piggy Bank.\" The whole thing behind the beff with Fat Joe and Jadakiss was that they backed up Ja Rule\'s - \"New York\" song. \"Got a hundred guns a hundred clips, Y I dont hear no shots?\" If you heard \"New York\" you\'ll understand it. He jokes at the end of the track with Yayo and basically calls out all the rappers.

\"(50 talking) Yea! yeaa hahaha, Yall niggaz gotta do somthing now man, or shoot all that sh*t yall been talking, you gotta do sumthin baby! I mean, I mean common man everybodys listening, Nigga everybody listening hahaha, I know you aint gon just let 50 do you like that, I mean damn rep yo hood nigga, Nigga you hard right? pop off, Yayo get ?? niggaz on the phone, tell them niggaz I said clip up, Niggaz gotta green light on these muthafuckaz haha\"

Beats:
With beats produced Dr. Dre, Hi-Tek (Just a lil\' bit), Eminem, J.R Rider, Needlez... 50 Cent\'s new CD comes out with a variety of bass booming beats.

Lyrics:
Besides \"Piggy Bank\" 50 cent doesn\'t really take shots in any of the other songs. The usual 50 cent style of lyrics come out in this album. Some of the other featured songs are \"I\'m suppose to die tonight\" \"Outta Control\", \"Just a lil bit\", and \"My Toy Soldier.\" Definately a must buy for any 50 Cent or G-Unit fan.
Feb
22
2005

Over It - Silverstrand Review

“Silverstrand” is Over It’s newest release and is quite a treat to listen to. Punk rock fans will definitely enjoy this release. Lead vocalist Peter Munters did a great job with the cd producing some really great sounding vocals. That along with the rest of the bands great guitar riffs and bass lines and you have quite the album. The lyrics were also well written spreading a sense of emotion to the listener. I think they have gone a bit more mainstream with the sound of this album, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, although I’m sure some will criticize them for it. I’m not one of them.

There were two tracks that really stood out to me on this album. First the song “Shine” stands out to me for its excellent lyrics and vocals. It’s well written and really gives out a real feeling. Although the topic may be a bit typical for the genre, the execution of the vocals and lyrics make it atypical. The other song which stood out was the final track on the album entitled “Partner in Crime”. After your first listen I’m sure you’ll agree it stands out from the rest of the tracks. The verses are sung extremely quickly and then the chorus is slowed down. I think creates a cool sound and is one of the better songs on the album.

Over It has been around for awhile now and they continue to put out meaningful albums and for that they deserve the support. This album is no exception and is a good addition to any punk rock fans collection. Even if you’re no big into punk rock, like I mentioned in the beginning it does have a more mainstream feel and think it could appeal to more than just your average punk fan. I give it a 7.5 out of 10 and hope Over It continues to put out great albums.
Feb
20
2005

Hitch Review

Will smith plays a date doctor named Alex Hitchens a.k.a. Hitch. His whole job is to help men get the girl of their dreams. The one thing that he never counted on was falling in love himself. Eva Mendes plays his love interest Sara. Her distrust of men and Hitch's pursuit of her drives the story line. One of the funniest characters in the movie was Albert played by Kevin James. Albert is Hitch's current client. As Hitch successfully helps Albert win the love of Allegra Cole, played by Amber Valletta, a very famous and rich woman whom Albert works for. The story between Allegra & Albert could have been a movie by itself! The scenes between those two were almost better then the main story line. I thought this was a well written, playful movie. The cast seemed to play off each other's energy, and during serious parts of the movie still managed to make the audience smile.

A lot of the humor in the movie comes from Will Smith. Watching the Doctor fail in his dates with Sara over and over again was just funny. I'm unsure about the rest of the audience, but a mix of jealousy and envy of his characters smooth ways boosted the enjoyment of watching his careful planning turn into a train wreck.

The movie seemed to avoid a blah, cookie cutter approach as much as possible. I didn't feel at any point of the movie like I had seen it before. When I knew events where going to happen, I wanted them to happen. The few twists and turns that where in the movie just added to how well acted and thought out this movie was.

This movie gets my "Perfect Date Movie" award for being funny, entertaining, and for having the ability to give that warm fuzzy feeling. Watching this movie in the theater I swear I even heard couples kissing.

I can't say I want to watch this movie over and over again, but like all great date movies it’s one that I wouldn't mind seeing again. Especially if the girl I'm with hasn't. With that in mind, I can't wait for the DVD. I'm sure the extra features will be just as good as the movie itself.

If you don't have a date for this one, then this can wait as a rental or for one of those movie channels. A person wouldn't miss much from not seeing this in the theater.

Feb
18
2005

The Machinist Review

The Machinist is yet another small virtually unheard of film which I think really deserves more attention. Before I dive right into the plot, I just have to say that I think Christian Bale delivers an excellent performance and has proven himself as a dedicated actor. Just for the film he lost an incredible 63lbs. dropping down into the 130lb range. He looks almost skeletal throughout the film and it really adds to the whole story line and character development.

Now for the story. The Machinist is the story of Trevor Reznik (Christian Bale) who is a worker at a machine shop who is suffering from a severe case of insomnia. Although this isn't your normal case of insomnia; Reznik hasn't slept for a year now and his life is quickly spiraling downwards. The loss of sleep takes its toll and Reznik is involved in a serious accident at his job which starts to unravel his life. His life starts taking bizarre turns and throughout the film he tries to figure out who he is and why certain things are happening.

Although this movie may not be for everyone as it's on the edge of bizarre, if you like movies like Memento or Fight Club and films that while they may confuse you at first they keep you interested throughout this is the film for you. Director Brad Anderson does a brilliant job creating a creepy mysterious feel throughout the film while not revealing too much. The script was also well written and the soundtrack throughout added to its eerie feel. As I mentioned before Christian Bale delivered the best performance I've ever seen from him and really brought his character to life.

While The Machinist may not be for everyone, it's definitely a great movie in my book and I plan to purchase the DVD as soon as I can find it. If you like movies you have to think about and movies which are confusing at first, but then reveal it all by the end this is for you. 9 out of 10 stars for this one, leaning towards 10 out of 10, but I understand not everyone will enjoy this one.

Feb
18
2005


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