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Alter Bridge, led by quality frontman Myles Kennedy, return with an album equally as good, if not better, than their previous two. The guitar work is epic beyond belief. Marc Tremonti does not put a foot wrong. I would normally list songs which I would recommend you listen to. However, I cannot single out any song on this album that is better. Isolation is slightly heavier, with Wonderful Life taking the opposite route as a heartfelt slower song. I Know It Hurts is a message we can all relate to at one point or another, as is Fallout. Myles Kennedy goes from strength to strength. It takes a special man to be invited to front Led Zeppelin on a tour. He is out there to rival the best and, with the right recognition, will be acknowledged as a legend of our time. I'd recommend this album to any music fan, especially fans of heavier rock or even metal.
Only Revolutions is the newest album from Ayrshire trio Biffy Clyro. Although it may be more commercial than previous albums, it still holds some of the fundamentals which make Biffy so unique. The odd time signatures and off-key endings remain along with the guttural Scottish vocals of Simon Neil. The heaviest song on the album is That Golden Rule, one which was released as a single. It is joined by songs which seem a little more 'pop' in style such as Bubbles and The Captain. God and Satan deals with the everlasting question of eternity and an afterlife, Born on a Horse is a cheap dig at American culture, Mountains is an epic struggle between two powers and Many of Horror is a song so heartfelt that it was chosen for X-Factor winner Matt Cardle's first single under the name 'When We Collide'. There is no one that should be unaware of Biffy Clyro. If you are curious about what all of the talk is about, and why Biffy have such a huge fan base, give this album a try. You are guaranteed to like something on it.
My review is going to be from a slightly different perspective. I was completely new to the Madden franchise of games. I only really got interested in NFL after the Superbowl this year (2011). However, because of this game, I now know almost all I need to know about the rules of the sport. This may be explained by the 'dumbing-down' described in other reviews. I found this very helpful, and would have found it off putting had I been thrown straight into a game I couldn't learn about. I have not really found any faults in the gameplay. Aside from the annoying sponsor jingles , limited commentary recordings (you will hear the same recorded name over and over, I am now sick of the name Ochocinco) and a fairly complicated draft system, I believe it is a very good game. I would recommend this game to anyone who is interested in learning about NFL, or even to experts in the field.
Heavy Rain, like LA Noire, follows a very different gameplay route. It is more like a movie. However, your choices will affect the ending of the game. Myself, my sister and my friend all got a different ending. You start as Ethan Mars, the first real victim. His son, Jason, dies prior to the game, leaving Mars in a coma and without his wife who leaves him. He then is thrown head first into the investigation to find the Origami Killer when his other son, Shaun, is captured. He then becomes the main suspect while trying to find his son. You will go on to control three other characters who are involved in this case, insomniac Madison Paige, retired police officer Scott Shelby and member of the FBI Norman Jayden. The killer will always be the same. However, the choices you make as the characters will determine which of them live and die, whether they manage to catch the killer or save Shaun. This game is set in the style of a Film Noir, similar to LA Noire. The facial animation is great, it is modelled on actors or models. I would recommend the game because it last for quite a long time and is worth the money.
I admit, I only went for the HTC Desire S because my flatmates had an iPhone 4 and a Blackberry and wanted to be different. This turned out to be a great move! iPhones advertise great Apps. You will not be missing out on Android. The Android Market is just as good. You will already have such apps as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and more. I have since downloaded Google Sky Map, QR Droid, Sky News, Sky and BBC Sports News and Shazam along with great games like Paper Toss. Videos on YouTube are clear and the sound is sharp. The music player is also a hit, even if the memory to begin with is only 8GB. This can be rectified with a memory card similar to that of a camera. Speaking of cameras, the HTC Desire S does not lack this, in fact, it excels in it. The camera is particularly sharp, as is the video recorder. Texting has also never been easier. All texts can be saved, making it easy to find any past ones. Contacts can be linked to the phone via Google or Facebook, meaning that you have their number, email address, Facebook page and even Twitter page right there on the contacts list. The only real downsides to the HTC Desire S are the battery life and the touch screen keypad. The battery life lacks any real longevity. It can sometimes run out in a day if you use apps or the music player for long enough. The keypad is quite small, meaning a lot of spelling errors and misplaced full stops. All this means is that I've had to slow my typing down a little! All in all, I am very glad I got the phone. Once you get used to it, it is a great gadget to have, a digital Swiss army knife if you will. It is so good that the flat mate who had a Blackberry went out to get a HTC!
This was my first real electric guitar, and I was very lucky to have such a beautiful one. At the time I was playing in a pop/punk band, although the guitar would sound great in any metal, indie or classic outfit. The black finish was immaculate, adding to the beauty. The only real downside I found was that it was quite heavy. However, it was a great guitar to play. It includes volume and tone dials which allow for changes to be made instantly without having to move to the amplifier. It also has a toggle to change between the 3 sets of pick-ups. I personally used this to turn one pick up completely off and the other on full, meaning I could quickly shift the toggle to give the effect of silent breaks in my playing. I would recommend this guitar to literally anybody who wants a guitar. It is great for beginners and experts alike.
I am a student, so a laptop is vital to my work. This one is perfect. Mine came with Windows 7 inbuilt and has just about everything you'd need to be getting on with work or indeed with play. I am a gamer too. I have 3 games installed, pretty big (and new) games at that, and they all run very smoothly. I am also a musician and have used the inbuilt camera and sound recorder to help memorise and to market myself on the internet. Saying that, if the sound recorded is too loud, it will distort, which is troublesome. The sticky notes application is very useful, provided you are on the laptop enough for it to remind you of events or deadlines. The only thing you may need is some antivirus software. The laptop is light and mobile and will connect to wi-fi at a fair distance. I'd recommend this laptop to anybody, especially students.
I was a guitarist before moving into the realms of bass. I had a pretty good idea of guitar makes...but not bass. I admit, to begin with, I was only looking at colours that I liked. That was until I found the Fender Precision bass. I got it in a deep red. It played like a dream, couldn't have asked for more from a first bass. It has quite a long neck (in my experience anyway) but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. The frets are big enough, which is expected on a bass, and the sound is great. Of course, if you aren't with the sound, you can always use the toggles to deepen your sound or make it more treble orientated. I was in a three piece band, so a lot relied on me and my bass. It didn't disappoint and stood up to the task perfectly. I would recommend this to anyone, beginner or otherwise, who is needing a new bass.
The television advert for LA Noire promises something new. It doesn't lie. The facial animations of the characters are beyond anything I have seen in any game. Even in-game, outside of a cut-scene, just when your character is walking along, they will be moving their face in reaction to the surroundings. The gameplay itself is great. You start as Cole Phelps, arresting suspects and gathering evidence at the scenes of crimes. You then use the evidence to question the suspects and eventually deliver a verdict on whether or not the suspect is guilty. Some may say that the collecting of evidence and questioning becomes tedious. I, however, did not find this, and instead found that, even at the very end of the game, I was marvelling at the wonderful animations and the fact that I was taking part in something completely new in the gaming world. This is a game not to be missed, it may well be a one-off.
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is by far and away one of the best games I have played. It is a continuation of Assassin's Creed 2's story, featuring Ezio Alditore de Fiorense. Whereas 1 and 2 may have felt a little tedious or samey towards the end, what with assassinating, climbing, assassinating some more and then climbing again, Brotherhood seems to get away from this. The graphics are as stunning as always, Italy revelling in its glory. The added extra is also very fun, the ability to build the Brotherhood, hiring set NPCs as assassins and sending them out on missions or calling them to fight by your side. Not only does this add to the strategy of the game, it also maintains your innocence, provided you don't get involved in the brawl yourself. Besides, on which other game can you claim to have seen the Pope, climbed the Colloseum and run along an aquaduct which you have just rebuilt? I would recommend this game to literally anyone with any degree of skill on any console. I guarantee you will not feel as if you have wasted your money.
Smackdown vs Raw has both delighted and disappointed. Unfortunately, 2011 is no different. The first thing I noticed about SvR2011 are the graphics, which seem to have got worse since the last game. Whether this is because there are more wrestlers, I am not sure. The walk to the ring seems almost jagged. Also, there is still no return for General Manager mode or a really great Story Mode. There is a Road to Wrestlemania mode, but no real choice in the way it ends (except for turning Rey Mysterio into a bad guy, which I enjoyed immensely). It is frustrating that every exhibition match that you play counts towards the new WWE Universe mode, which is sort of like a running year of shows. Titles cannot be put on the line as and when you like. You have to build up the superstars to deserve the right to fight for the title. Having said all of that, I still sat for hours with friends playing SvR2011. The improved methods of throwing people onto the steel steps and through tables, for example, was very fun. Roll on WWE '12! More improvements please.
This is the first release of Essex then-three piece band InMe. It is a grungy, anxious, adolescent story of break-ups and self-doubt. Having been an InMe fan for years and listening to the albums which succeeded Overgrown Eden, there is definitely a difference in Dave McPherson's vocal approach. On this particular album, he is a little more guttural, a little more unsubtle if you will, in his approach to the words he uses. For a fan of music like Nirvana (which may have touched a nerve with some readers, for which I apologise), this album may be just what you are looking for. However, I personally think that InMe have grown with age. White Butterfly was a classic, housing arguably their greatest hit to date, Faster the Chase. Daydream Anonymous saw a band reshuffle, with Greg McPherson replacing Joe Morgan on bass. As a result, I believe live performance improved because Greg's voice is so similar to Dave's in the delivery of backing vocals. Herald Moth is a lot more technical and heavy with the inclusion of Ben on guitar. It is a joy to look back on what InMe once were and to see the improvement. That is not to detract from this album. Such songs as Underdose and Crushed Like Fruit are still played live and are still a huge crowd pleaser.
I don't like hardback books...which says a lot for Heartstone, the latest in the Shardlake series of books by C.J. Sansom, which I went out to buy as soon as it was released, hardback or not. If you are new to the Shardlake series, here is a brief summary; Matthew Shardlake is a hunchbacked lawyer, working his way through the ranks of the bar. He begins working for Thomas Cromwell before his demise. After having worked through several cases which would almost always become more complicated with murders and such, Shardlake is entrusted with a case by Queen Catherine Parr herself in Heartstone. He has had to overcome adversity, even a grilling from Henry VIII in York, and competition from other lawyers like Richard Rich. Heartstone follows on from the fourth in the series, Revelation, and sees him not only working the case for the Queen but following a personal one too, to find out more about Bedlam inmate Ellen Fettiplace who he believes may have been wronged and may not even be 'mad'. There are not many books which have captivated me as much as Heartstone. Sansom has a way with words. He will encapsulate you. You will find yourself helplessly empathising with your protagonist. You will be left until the very end wondering who the wrongdoer is. Once you pick up Heartstone and become embroiled in the story, you will not want to put it down. I am an avid history fan, especially of this particular part of history. The words are so vivid that you will almost feel as if you are stood in Chancery Lane with Shardlake. This is my favourite of the series so far, not to take anything away from the rest of it. If you, like me, like historical fiction or a murder mystery novel, this book is definitely one for you.