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Thursday, 22 April 2010

Album of the Month: April

Dragonforce – Inhuman Rampage

Though this album may have been out for several years, I feel it is time for me to give it the journalistic  coverage it deserves. Inhuman Rampage is, without exception, amazing. From it’s inception of Through the Fire and the Flames (yes, many of us are sick of hearing this track from the repeated times we tried to play it on Guitar Hero III) right through to the softer ending with the outro track Trail of Broken Hearts. The outrageous speed and complexity that Dragonforce have achieved acclaim for with TTFTF is not a one off, and remains a prominent factor of the album and lingers all the way through to the second-to-last track The Flame of Youth (track 8). inhuman_special

This album is by no means easy to digest without time to understand how power metal works, and admittedly it may just be a bit too manic for some listeners. However, with the ability to keep up with the 100 metre dash that this album is (in both speed and adrenaline) then you’re in for one hell of a ride. Once experienced, the talent of the members in Dragonforce (whether you like their personalities or not) can not be denied. I’ve heard many objections to metal that doesn’t contain ballsy gruff voices and how unappreciated high pitched male voices can be in this overall genre as well. However, ZP Theart (who has since departed the band) doesn’t hog the musical light; which in honesty would be difficult as every track on the CD stretches beyond 5 minutes, most surpassing the 7 and a half minute mark with Cry for Eternity reaching an impressive 8 minutes and 13 seconds before it’s climactic close, leaving plenty of space for intense displays of instrumental mastery and progressive stages that lead to extensive guitar solos.

Unfortunately, this is where the album falls down a little, as sometimes it feels as if the tracks have a lack of direction and seem to just stem off into a world of their own just for the sake of it. Many first time listeners may get completely lost as to what is going on and the very samey sound of each track may leave some asking “is this the same song?” – however the fact that the same sound throughout gives the recording an all-in-one-go hell ride of metal and excitement, you don’t really need to know which track you’re still on. The best way to approach this album is to just sit back and listen through; soaking up the obvious time and effort put into it.

On a personal note…
Another thing to be proud of is the fact that Dragonforce are British. I’ve only seen the kinds of music that they are producing from the mainland European stage, and admittedly some members of Dragonforce stem from further afield than here, but they are nevertheless known as a British band and that makes me a proud man and will remain a fan of them for the rest of my life. Inhuman Rampage is an album that never gets old for me and always puts a huge smile on my face, a definite desert island disc!


Reno Rating: 9/10
Best track: Cry for Eternity

Check out the Dragonforce back catalogue at Amazon.co.uk

 

 

Sunday, 18 April 2010

The Who Review - S5E03

Victory of the Daleks? Not really.

Okay so, the Daleks are back. Despite being wiped out entirely under the will of Kaan and somehow avoiding the dalekanium reverse thingy majiggy that the half Doctor put into action (not that it really makes any sense). Oh well, the point is the they’re back, they’re making tea and they’re now all new. To an extent, when looking back over the episode, it made a lot sense to 'evolve’ the look of the Daleks as it were, because a lot of effort has been made to reinvent the new Moffat era of the Who and thus leaving the Tennant/RTD look behind continues this theme – and we can enjoy a whole new exciting look to the galaxy’s biggest villains from now on… the problem is it’s not very exciting at all. Okay, the voices are kinda cool and the idea of colour co-ordinating the daleks into a new functional colour system, but there are a lot of rumours that this is just a marketing ploy just to sell more merchandise.

juicier 

Unfortunately, the new designs look tacky and they’re way too fat!! What’s with this random fat arse stuck on the back? They look hunch back! Admittedly in the picture above they look far more menacing because of their size over the older versions on the right. Still, not hugely impressed.

Amy Pond, whether this should be the case or not, is far more interesting than the Doctor in this episode, just as she has been throughout the series so far. She’s interesting, silly, ditzy and indirectly more intelligent than the Doctor in achieving desired results. Still, that last point is always the objective of the companions, so there’s an inevitability for you. Without going into too much detail, I’m still not feeling Matt’s version of the Doctor. Every person who has taken on the role of our cunning Time Lord has had his own style, but Smith is yet to stand out. Admittedly, we thought Tennant was a bit like this at first, but he only took an episode or 2 to get into the swing of things – we’re now 3 episodes in and he’s still nothing special.

For the sake of balance here’s some of the best bits of the show; The visuals were fantastic! Churchill may not have looked especially convincing, but he was played well enough and we could believe it was his character if we detached reality from fiction for the sake of enjoying Saturday night telly. The war rooms were very realistic, cinematography, lighting, continuity, makeup and costume were all perfect. The space battle was amazing, some of the best CGI I’ve ever seen in a British TV series. Another great part was the ending of the episode, seeing these cracks in the walls as a recurring theme is something we’re used to, which will obviously lead up to the end of the series and it’ll all make sense then, on top of the fact that Amy doesn’t remember the planets in the sky; what the hell is the deal with that?! Either way, this episode wasn’t enough to stop me watching in the future (I don’t think anything would) - so faith still remains there for me.

The problems with this episode were as follows; the story arc, even if the Daleks return later on, was just too short! When I watched the trailer for this episode, I saw it as a definite 2-parter; I mean it had to be! It was the return of the Doctor’s biggest enemy after what we thought was their end. Because of the fact they were only given the one 45 minute episode for their return, it seemed very rushed and all of the plot developments (which were potentially gripping and enthralling) just seemed rushed and almost too easy. If they’d spaced it out over 2 episodes we could have had the brand new Daleks coming out of their chamber (which also made no sense) at the end of part 1 and then the massive battle part in the second part. Shame. Cant argue that the battle wasn’t good, but again it was rushed and too easy to end.

One last thing, the title of this episode was Victory of the Daleks, okay, but why? In what way was it a victory? They killed about 2 people and then ran away. Admittedly they managed to reinvent themselves and escape, but that’s possibly the smallest form of victory they could have achieved. This = fail. Would have been better to call it “Cowardice of the Daleks”.

So to round up, the visuals were great but the story was just too short. It was rushed and lacked substance. Emotional involvement? Yeah it was there, but not deep enough. Character development? Not really. Endearing end? Yes yes yes!! Oh, and yeah, still dissapointed with Matt’s Doctor – just not filling Tennant’s boots yet.

Reno Rating: 5/10

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

General life update – April 14th

Wow, so there’s a few things I want to update you guys with; and most of them are moans – apologies in advance. I’m currently at my Mum’s house, taking a break from the bullshit that is Stoke-on-Trent and it has to be said that once again, I’m disgusted by the quality of the travel conditions I put up with on the way to Kettering was ridiculous. Sitting on the floor in the food carriage wasn’t what I had imagined when paying £35 for my ticket. I can understand trains being busy, but this isn’t the first time it’s happened – which frustrates me – but what really takes the biscuit is the fact the train had 4 normal carriages and 3 first class carriages. As the train pulled in to Derby I watched the first 3 carriages pass me and saw that almost all the seats were empty. Now I can appreciate that some people want to pay £70 for the sake of a slightly bigger chair and a free cup of tea, but there are a lot more of us who want to sit in regular class and therefore East Midlands trains should get their carriage priorities right, thanks.

So moving on to a more positive note – I’m voting Lib Dem. After debating my choices and having had support for the Tories due to the endless watching of Prime Minister’s Questions for the last 5 or 6 years, I’ve suddenly had a turn for the underdogs. I could sit here and try to justify what I know about politics and what in particular I prefer about the Lib Dems, but there’s no need for me to be self righteous – I wouldn’t want to sway your opinion, it’s your choice who to vote for, but do your research, choose the party who represents you best. I’ve found over the last few weeks that the Tories and Labour just get  buried in their own squabbles and attempting to look more aggressive at each other without facing real issues.

I will say this though, if your vote is more about numbers than policy; a lot of people think that a vote for Lib Dem is a wasted vote, as there’s no chance they’ll get into power. It reminds me a lot of the old Revolver days during uni, where nobody wanted to go because “no-one goes” – this is an automatic defeatist cycle, which is stupid. A lot of people have faith in their own beliefs, well have faith in turning the tide. Remember that RATM campaign I was sooo fond of? Well the mac-daddy of that campaign Jon Morter has launched this…

Pretty cool huh? Click the picture and sign up for the awesome cause!! :D

There’s one last thing I want to moan about – when people have a completely lack of regard for knowledge and manners, on top of spelling ability and grammar. When I saw the comment below on the Lib Dem Facebook group I was literally outraged.

wtfmate 

You may not like the fact that Prime Ministers Questions is broadcast on TV (oh no, 30 mins of BBC 2 broadcasting lost once a week!) but having a total disregard for the importance of politics or even being able to spell and construct cognitive sentences makes this person an utter moron. People who use the word ‘yous’ automatically get written off as morons in my mind, but within the context I found it, I had to make special recognition of it.

Done for today, thanks for reading!! Don’t forget to press the BECOME A FAN button over there >>>

Reno :)

Welcome back to the end of the start…

So I fell a bit behind with my blog posts, but I’ll try to rectify that once more. Cre8 Radio, which some of you may have heard me on, was absolutely amazing. It’s funny how everything went, but in the end I had a regular slot for myself and the second week was just amazing. The whole experience was awesome, eye opening, mind expanding and of course humbling. It was great to hear from regular Stokies as well as being joined by international regulars and newbies. Thank you very much for joining me during the 2 weeks and all your input. Below is a screen grab of my listeners who held on to the end of Thursday’s show, amazing to see you all, thanks for being involved.

Life goes on though, and just as Cre8 Radio goes off air, One Media Radio returns. Catch me back on the internet airwaves after little hiatus this week – I’ll be on air this Monday coming (19th) with a nice re-branding of Reno Explains it All. Stay tuned for updates, and remember you can always join the Facebook group for my show and blog here :)

Catch y’all soon
Reno