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A Day to Remember is an American rock band that I first came into contact with about 5 years back when the band covered Kelly Clarkson's 'Since U Been Gone'. Upon checking the band out further I became instantly hooked, and would now consider myself a big fan of the band. 'Homesick' is the band's third studio album and was released through Victory Records in 2009. The album consists of 12 tracks in total, including collaborations with members of the bands The Devil Wears Prada, The Acacia Strain, and VersaEmerge.
The album kicks off with 'The Downfall of Us All', and instantly the band has you hooked with its blend of post-hardcore and pop punk. Combining incredibly catchy vocal melodies with harsher screamed/growled vocals, A Day to Remember shoots through this track with incredible style, and if you're a fan of either pop punk or post-hardcore then it's most definitely worth giving this track a listen, even if not the full 'Homesick' album as a whole. It's a very catchy song, and A Day to Remember frontman Jeremy McKinnon really does have an absolutely brilliant voice, not just on record but also when you see the band live. 'The Downfall of Us All' kicks off the 'Homesick' album in fantastic style and for me at least is an absolute highlight of the album. Next track 'My Life for Hire' is not such an impressive one, with third track 'I'm Made of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?' the band gets back on track however, and just like 'The Downfall of Us All', this is another very impressive track that combines pop punk with post-hardcore.
'I'm Made of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?' has an absolutely pulsating drumbeat throughout, and it's hard to listen to this one without tapping your foot along to the beat. This is a very impressive piece of music, and once again the supreme vocal flavour of Jeremy McKinnon really does put a smile on the face here. This track features Mike Hranica, lead vocalist of metalcore band The Devil Wears Prada, and his vocals combine very nicely with Jeremy McKinnon's to provide for an absolute aural delight. Out of the three collaborative tracks on the album ('I'm Made of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?', 'Welcome to the Family', and 'If It Means a Lot to You'), I would have to say that 'I'm Made of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?' is most definitely my favourite of the three, 'If It Means a Lot to You' is also a very strong track though and works very well as the final track on the album.
'If It Means a Lot to You' showcases the band's more melodic side, there are no traces of the band's post-hardcore tendencies here, with the band instead opting to close out the album with a very mellow number. Sierra Kusterbeck of VersaEmerge's vocals really do work well here, and it's good to hear the dual vocal presence here, with Jeremy McKinnon's vocals coming together very nicely with Sierra's impressive female vocal styling. Instrumentally the band is impressive as always here, it's the vocals that really strike you about the music here however, with the vocals really making the track and making you want to come back for more. I've lost count of the number of times I've listened to this track over the years; it's one that I just keep on coming back to, as are many of the tracks on this album in fact, and 'If It Means a Lot to You' is a track that I'd wholeheartedly recommend to all, regardless of your musical preference. Whereas other A Day to Remember tracks may be targeted at a slightly more niche market, 'If It Means a Lot to You' is most certainly one of their tracks that I feel to be accessible to all.
'You Already Know What You Are' and 'Have Faith in Me' are further highlights from the album for me; 'You Already Know What You Are' I feel has a very impressive instrumental progression, and although because it's quite heavy on the growlier side vocally and quite heavy instrumentally also it may not be for all, personally I absolutely love it. Although it's only 1 minute and 28 seconds long, the band seems to pack a lot into this small amount of time in order to provide for an extremely impressive piece of music. It's by far the shortest track on the album, nonetheless is still one of my favourites however, and is a good track to listen to if you're looking to let off a bit of steam sometimes. 'Have Faith in Me' meanwhile is double the length of 'You Already Know What You Are', and has a simplistic guitar presence at the start which makes me think of Blink-182 (perhaps one of the reasons that I initially warmed to this track so quickly, what with Blink-182 being my favourite band). 'Have Faith in Me' was actually one of the tracks released from this album as a single, and it's really not hard to hear why; this is an impressive, pop heavy track, is a catchy piece of music instrumentally and once again has the very impressive vocal presence of Jeremy McKinnon.
In my opinion, Jeremy McKinnon is absolutely the best thing about the music of A Day to Remember, ands on the 'Homesick' album one of the things that really strikes me is his supreme quality as a vocalist. With many bands you'll find that they have a lead vocalist that really excels in one area whilst lacking in another, or you'll find many bands that have multiple vocalists in the band to achieve various different vocal styles; Jeremy McKinnon has an absolutely superb voice when singing his clean vocals however, as well as a stunning voice also when providing the shouts and growls. Jeremy McKinnon is a vocalist that can do it all, and do it all extremely well. 'Homesick' is an absolutely brilliant album combining elements of pop punk with elements of post-hardcore, it is instrumentally sound and there really is a lot to love about the instrumental side of things, often a singer can make or break a band however, and in the case of A Day to Remember, Jeremy McKinnon most definitely makes the band.
A Day to Remember's 'Homesick' is most definitely an album that I'd recommended checking out if you're a fan of either pop punk or post-hardcore music, and if you are a fan of either of those genres then I definitely think that you'll like this album a lot. If you're not a fan of pop punk or post-hardcore however then still take my advice in giving 'If It Means a Lot to You' a listen though as I really do feel that this is a track that everyone would enjoy listening to at least once. 'Homesick' is a great third studio album from a brilliant band, and 'Homesick' is absolutely an album that takes pride of place in my music collection; quite often you'll find me listening to tracks from this album, and having already been listening to this album for a few years now, I can most certainly see me listening to this one for many years to come.
Blood Bowl has been around as a board game since 1987, in June 2009 the game was adapted and released by Cyanide as a PC title however, and as of November 2009 the game has been available for the Xbox 360.
If you're a fan of the Blood Bowl board game then there's a good chance that you'll thoroughly enjoy playing this title for the Xbox 360, if you have a PC that meets the minimum requirements for the Blood Bowl PC game however then you'll probably want to buy this game for the PC rather than the 360. The reason I say this is because when comparing the Xbox 360 version of the game to the PC version; the Xbox 360 game suffers in key areas. Whereas the PC game offers you the ability to compete in online leagues and you can build up your team as you play against fellow human gamers; with Blood Bowl for the Xbox 360 there is only the option to play one-off games against other human players, and in terms of online gameplay you therefore don't get anywhere close to the same experience that you'd get with the PC game.
With that out of the way, whilst the online experience may not be the same, the actual quality of gameplay is still quite strong for the Xbox 360, and although the occasional glitch may be experienced; Blood Bowl board game fans should be able to get many hours of fun out of this video game. As an Xbox 360 title you would perhaps expect a little more in terms of the quality of graphics and sound, if you're a fan of the board game looking to play a good few games of Blood Bowl on your console though then the game should surely satisfy.
If you're not someone that is familiar with the Blood Bowl board game then this may not be for you. Blood Bowl is a turn-based strategy game, and whilst it may be loosely based on the game of American Football, this is definitely not a pick-up and play title for fans of Madden NFL. Don't assume that because you like Madden NFL you will also enjoy Blood Bowl; you may well be someone that will enjoy both games, it's definitely not a given though, and if you've never before played the Blood Bowl board game then this is a game that may take some time to really get, particularly given the fairly sub-standard tutorial that is offered. A greater tutorial would definitely be of benefit here, Cyanide is clearly hoping mainly to target those that are familiar with the board game however, and this can be seen as the reason as to why the tutorial is not as in-depth as it perhaps might have been.
The game has eight playable races; Humans, Orcs, Wood Elves, Dwarfs, Skaven, Lizardmen, Chaos, and Goblins, and if you're planning to play this one as a single-player title then there's definite fun to be had in watching your team level up after each match. If you were hoping for an online mode to rival the PC version of the game then as previously stated you're going to be left sorely disappointed, and although Cyanide has done a decent job in porting the game to Xbox 360, the PC game is still superior, and if you want to purchase the game then it's worth checking those specifications to see if you're going to be able to run the PC version on your machine.
Blood Bowl for the Xbox 360 is far from perfect, it does still remain a very playable game however, and whilst the PC version offers more for the gamer, this is still a title to look to if you want to play Blood Bowl on the screen as opposed to the table.
Directed by Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel, 'Deadgirl' is an impressive horror film which presents some very interesting ideas. The film shows two best friends, both of whom react very differently to an incredibly unexpected situation. A lifetime friendship is broken by the way that the two teenage friends respond to the situation they find themselves in, and the film presents a very clear battle of wills. The two friends appear to respond very differently to the situation, just how different are they though when it ultimately comes down to it?
'Deadgirl' tells the story of Rickie and JT, and how skipping school one day changes their lives forever. Heading to the old abandoned mental asylum, Rickie and JT wreak havoc as they drink, smoke, and just generally trash the place. Deciding to explore, the two friends come across a dog deep down in the asylum, and as they get away they end up running into something that they'd never, ever expected. There's a naked woman, chained up to a table and covered in plastic, deep in the depths of the asylum, and both friends have very different ideas about what they should do. Rickie's immediate reaction is to inform the authorities of what they've found, JT meanwhile isn't so certain that's the best option, and whilst Rickie decides to leave; JT remains alone in the asylum with the deadgirl.
What happens beyond this point is what makes 'Deadgirl' so interesting, and never is the film in the least bit predictable.
'Deadgirl' will at times make you cringe, and at certain points you just won't be able to stop yourself from looking away. It shocks, it scares, and it's just a very interesting look at a strange situation, and people's different responses to it. A seriously disturbing film to watch, 'Deadgirl' has some very impressive qualities as a horror, with the only real weaknesses of the film perhaps in the factor of the unrealistic nature of the situation, the freeness with which certain people adapt to it, and what some of the characters resort to here. It's certainly a strong film, but what many of the very greatest horror films tend to have in common is the fact that they really could happen.
Some of the acting quality is supremely strong here, with Shiloh Fernandez (Rickie) and Noah Segan (JT) in particular putting in some hugely believable performances. They play their parts well, with their characters developing powerfully throughout the film. Wheeler, played by Eric Podnar, is the stereotypical teen stoner character, and the jocks also are fairly generic horror favourites; the performances of Shiloh Fernandez and Noah Segan are both brilliant though, and theirs are the characters that we spend the most time with.
Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel are both relatively new to the world of directing, watching 'Deadgirl' you can tell that both have a clear passion for film though, with the film always packed full of energy and excitement. You really do feel that the directors believe in their work here, and full credit must also go to Trent Haaga for being the film's writer.
'Deadgirl' is a film that plays out well on screen, and although it takes it's time to really get going; once the action gets started, never does the film let up for a second. The beginning of the film serves to show us Rickie and JT's status as the high school outcasts, and we're then treated to some fine horror display as the true action of the film unfolds. It's a quality effort from the directorial duo of Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel, and although not perfect; 'Deadgirl' is a film that is definitely well worth watching for fans of horror. It's not your typical throwaway teen horror, but instead is a film that will no doubt stay with you for a long time to come.
If you have a LoveFIlm account which includes the watch online package then you can currently stream this film completely for free.
Having long wanted to own a rhythm game such as Rock Band or Guitar Hero, I certainly wasn't disappointed at the end of 2009 when I finally decided to invest in Guitar Hero World Tour. Having bought the game mainly for vocal/drumming gameplay, I was really quite surprised to find just how addictive the guitar mode is also, and everything about the game really does impress.
Featuring 86 playable songs included on the disc, there is also the option to download further tracks online from the Guitar Hero Store, providing you with an absolutely fantastic selection of songs. Whatever your taste in music, Guitar Hero World Tour is sure to feature a number of songs that will appeal, and the game is bound to provide for absolute hours of gaming fun.
In order to take advantage of the whole host of this game's features you'll be needing:
- A USB Microphone
- A Guitar Hero/Rock Band Plastic Guitar
- A Guitar Hero/Rock Band Plastic Drum Kit
The game can be bought on it's own, with the Guitar Hero guitar, or as a full band bundle featuring the game, a Guitar Hero guitar, the Guitar Hero World Tour drum kit, and a USB microphone. Rock Band instruments are also compatible with the game, and if you own Rock Band instruments already then you don't need to go out and buy the Guitar Hero ones also in addition to this.
If you're familiar with Rock Band then you'll probably be aware that the Rock Band drum kit has four pads, but you'll find here that the Guitar Hero World Tour drum kit has five pads. If you have the Rock Band drum kit and are wondering if they'll work with Guitar Hero also though this isn't a problem as when you plug in a Rock Band drum kit for use with the game it will adjust the drum patterns accordingly, and four pads will be set out on screen rather than five. You may wish to invest in a Guitar Hero drum kit, the game is perfectly compatible with the Rock Band drum kit however and purchasing a Guitar Hero drum kit if you already have a Rock Band one is certainly not a requirement.
Guitar Hero as a full band experience was in the past quite an expensive game to get into, as rhythm games have been around for quite a while now though the price has definitely come down from what it was, and if you search around at a variety of different shops then its highly probable that you'll be able to bag yourself all the instruments for a reasonable price.
Once you've got all the Xbox 360 instruments then you'll be all set, and you can then focus on buying other games such as later Guitar Hero games to have been released and the Rock Band video games also. Guitar Hero World Tour is a very fun game to play, it certainly doesn't end there though, and with a variety of different rhythm games now on the market and the ability to download additional tracks through Xbox Live, this game is just the start and opens up a whole new world of rhythm game fun.
The great thing about Guitar Hero World Tour is the choice that it provides. With the ability to sing, play drums, or use the supplied plastic guitar for guitar and bass mode; there are plenty of options here, and depending on where your interests lie you can focus on the area/s that most appeal. Not everyone will see themselves as a superstar drummer/singer, and I'm sure there are some people out there that will ignore the guitar/bass elements entirely, if you're a fan of music there's bound to be something about the game that you'll enjoy though, and the game really does cater for a wonderfully broad range of people.
With difficulty levels of Easy, Medium, Hard, and Expert, there is room for progression within the game, and whilst you may find to begin with that the Hard and Expert levels are a little too advanced for you to master, you can start off with the lower levels and ease your way into the game until you're eventually able to hit all the notes at the game's hardest settings.
If you fancy a quick game of Guitar Hero you can either play along to tracks singularly and select the specific song/s that you wish to play, or you can enter into the Career Mode and play groups of songs at various different venues within the game. Although some tracks are available at the beginning of the game, you'll not be able to play along to all of the tracks when you're just getting started, and will need to play the career mode once through with at least one of the peripherals in order to unluck all of the game's available playlist.
The drumming element of this game I feel is a good way for a person to get into drumming as it teaches you the basic coordination required for playing the drums. Obviously this game alone cannot teach you to become some kind of superstar drummer, it can certainly teach you the basics and give you the basic idea of how to play a few songs though, and could easily be utilised by a person to help with the learning of the instrument.
As well as excellent gameplay options, another quality feature of Guitar Hero World Tour is its 'Music Studio' which allows you to create your own songs and share them with others through Xbox Live. Once you've played around with the game for a while this is definitely a fun area to access, and some real top notch tracks can be created using the game instruments which you can show off to your friends when finished.
In terms of graphics, things are kept pretty simple here; there are computer generated musicians thrashing away on their instruments in the background as you play and they look fine, the game's not really about it's graphics though, it's a game in which your primary focus is on bashing the right buttons at the right time and therefore the graphics are always entirely secondary to the gameplay.
Guitar Hero World Tour is not a game that's ever going to be applauded for its revolutionary graphics, what matters here though is that the game plays well, and it does, so although pretty simple the graphics more than do their job and leave you with a smile on your face.
Playing your friends at Guitar Hero World Tour is pretty simple; you can either invite them around and you can all play along on the plastic instruments at the same time together, or you can play online and form online bands with others, not necessarily people that you know, just other people from around the world that happen to be playing the game online.
Having never played the game online as I don't have an Xbox Live account, I can't really vouch for the quality of the online multiplayer function, I can tell you that it's great to have mates over and play a few songs with them though, and nothing beats belting out a few verses of 'Sweet Home Alabama' and 'Pretty Vacant' with a couple of your best friends.
-Sound and Song Selection-
With the game featuring 86 master recordings to play along to, there's therefore a strong choice of songs, featuring artists from the 1960s right through to the 2000s. The primary focus is rock music here, and there are a good number of tracks that all the family should be able to play and sing along to.
You can play/sing along to classic tracks such as 'One Way Or Another' and 'Purple Haze', show off your stadium rock credentials with 'Livin On A Prayer', or kick it a little more contemporary with the likes of Paramore's 'Misery Business' and Blink 182's 'Dammit'.
Guitar Hero World Tour is most definitely a game that I'd recommend, and if you're into your rock music particularly then this game is absolutely perfect. If pop music is more your thing then take a look at Band Hero, for the younger generation there's always Lego Rock Band, and with a number of band specific games now out there and available such as Guitar Hero Metallica, Green Day Rock Band, and Beatles Rock Band, there really is a great musical variety available and people of all ages can enjoy rhythm games.
With the release of Rock Band 3 in October 2010, it appears that rhythm games are taking a turn towards real instrumental play with the implementation of 'Pro' mode which allows you to connect electronic drumkits, midi guitars, and midi keyboards up to the console with a focus on playing tracks note for note as they're played by the real artists in the master recordings. Although rhythm games appear to be heading in this direction however, even the latest games released allow you to play the game as it is here, and continue playing 'guitar' and 'bass' on the plastic guitar using the five coloured plastic buttons.
Guitar Hero World Tour is a superbly fun game to play, and if you own an Xbox 360 but don't yet own this title then you should definitely look to change that sooner rather than later.
Having been hooked on WWE wrestling games ever since the Smackdown series first hit the original Playstation back in 2000; always when a new WWE game is released I look well and truly forward to playing it. THQ took time away from the Smackdown series here with Legends of Wrestlemania, and decided to put together a game where you can compete as some of your favourite wrestlers from the eighties and nineties such as Andre the Giant, Bret Hart, and Mr Perfect.
When I first sat down to play Legends of Wrestlemania on my Xbox 360 several years back, I was excited to get involved in matches with some of my favourite wrestlers from years gone by. It's fun to see your favourites in pixel form, and the game allows you to recreate/change history in some of the most high profile wrestling matches ever to have taken place.
Legends of Wrestlemania is a bit of fun for nostalgic value, when it comes to the actual quality of the gameplay however the game is seriously let down. The game is just far too easy, and although the simplistic arcade nature of the game may appeal to some; if you're an experienced gamer looking for a challenge then Legends of Wrestlemania is definitely not going to provide you with that. The graphics are nothing special here, particularly revisiting the game several years after originally playing it, and whilst Legends of Wrestlemania definitely isn't a bad game; it's certainly not a very exciting one either.
It didn't take me too long at all to get bored of playing Legends of Wrestlemania, and although it's nice to be able to play as some of your former wrestling favourites; the novelty of the game is quick to wear off, and the game does little to make you want to keep playing.
The sound quality is pretty reasonable here, nothing groundbreaking though, and definitely not the best that you'll find in a wrestling game. With the game as easy as it is, and the graphics as average as they are, the sound does very little to raise up the overall quality of what is a very lacklustre offering of a wrestling game.
If you were a wrestling fan in the eighties/nineties then you'll probably want to rent Legends of Wrestlemania in order to relive a few happy memories; I wouldn't recommend investing in the game though as it's unlikely that you'll be wanting to play the game for more than a couple of hours once the initial novelty of playing as some of your favourite wrestling legends has worn off. I've definitely played worse wrestling games in the past than Legends of Wrestlemania, the arcade style and incredible ease of the game doesn't sit too well with me at all though, and in terms of gameplay it just doesn't come anywhere close to matching the quality of WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 for instance, a game that was released around about the same time as this one.
Given that you can currently pick up the most recently released THQ wrestling game, WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011, for £13.98 on Amazon; I see very little reason as to why anyone would want to fork out for Legends of Wrestlemania, particularly when Legends of Wrestlemania itself is £10.18 for a game that will provide you with far less entertainment, and undoubtedly get cast aside a lot more quickly also.
Legends of Wrestlemania is by no means a must have THQ sports title, if you were a fan of wrestling in the eighties/nineties though then playing the game at least once is probably worthwhile, albeit unessential. Put it on your Lovefilm rentals list by all means if you're a big fan of wrestling, don't expect much from this game though as if you do then you're bound to be disappointed.
Having not played a Championship Manager title since Sports Interactive split with Eidos back in 2003 and Sports Interactive went on to form the Football Manager series; going into playing Championship Manager 2010 I really wasn't sure what to expect. Tempted into purchasing the title due to its £2.51 price tag, the game was always likely to represent fantastic value for money, quite how the game would play however was to me an absolute mystery.
Starting out a season with Oxford City in the Southern Premier League, what instantly struck me about the game was how bad it made football look at this level. Players were unable to remain on their feet, falling over at every kick of the ball, with a passing style that was bizarre to say the very least. The football at this level just didn't look right, starting up a new game and playing as Manchester United in the Premier League soon sorted things out however, with the 3D match action then looking a lot more natural and true.
My fun in football management titles tends to come in taking on small teams, attempting to get them promoted as far up the footballing system as possible. With the ugly style of lower level play in Championship Manager 2010, this seemed to take much of the fun out of managing a non-league football team, and this I feel is something that could affect quite a lot of people's overall enjoyment of the game. This is by no means a ruining factor of the game, it's certainly something that has affected the way that I play the game however, and it may well have an impact on your Championship Manager 2010 gaming experience also.
Managing a team from the top-flight, Championship Manager 2010 is a good, solid football management title, and one that is without doubt great fun to play. The screen set-up took a little getting used to at first having played with the Football Manager system for so many years, the controls feel quite natural after a while though, and definitely aren't particularly difficult to deal with.
The graphics of the 3D match action in Championship Manager 2010 is pretty impressive, and the crowd sound also works well within the game. When in the middle of the match it is easy to get your team to change tempo, take a more attacking/defensive approach when necessary, and the tactics also can quickly be altered at any point in the match.
Bugs in the System
Where the Championship Manager 2010 team has seemingly failed in getting this game released is in ironing out the creases; taking out the small bugs and making the game as problem free as possible. One problem I have personally come across in the game is the matter of the match day team talk loop. Having been sacked by Manchester United and moved across to Middlesbrough; I was into my third/fourth friendly with the club, was winning 2-0 at half-time, and found myself stuck in the half-time team-talk, unable to get into the second-half of the match. This is a problem that has been officially identified by the Championship Manager website staff; this is a problem that really should have been removed before the game was released however, and it's quite frustrating to say the least when you do get stuck in a team-talk halfway through a match. When this happens it is not possible to save the game and exit, and you just have to bite the bullet and close the game down. What made this issue ten times worse for me was that I hadn't saved the game for several in-game months, and therefore lost several hours of gameplay as a result of the bug. Admittedly I should have been saving the game more often and then this wouldn't have been so much of a problem, alas I was not though, and several hours went to waste.
In terms of longevity, I found that I played this game for about a month or so before getting bored, which although seems pretty reasonable when you consider that a lot of games fail to retain my interest for more than a week; when you consider that Football Manager keeps me entertained all year round then we have a clear winner in what's the best football management game. To put this in footballing terms, I'd say that Football Manager is the Manchester United of football management video games, a title winning game that's an absolute force to be reckoned with, whilst Championship Manager is more of a Derby County, languishing in the Championship.
Championship Manager will have difficulty ever overtaking Football Manager in terms of popularity, and given that there was no PC release of Championship Manager for the 2010-11 season, merely a Championship Manager 2011 iPhone game, I fear that Eidos may have already thrown in the towel and accepted the fact that Football Manager will always reign supreme as the number one football management sim. It's a shame if Eidos has indeed stopped competing with Sports Interactive for the PC/MAC crowd, if Championship Manager 2010 is the last game in the series as a PC title however, then at least Eidos went out on a high with a game that they can most definitely be proud of (even if it's not a rival beater).
Championship Manager 2010 is quite an impressive football management sim, and whilst it's not without its problems; Championship Manager 2010 is still a game that is well worth playing. It was definitely worth the £2.51 that I personally paid for the game, and if you can find the game for under £10 (current Amazon price at the time of writing this is £7.80) then I'd definitely recommend investing in this one. Admittedly, Championship Manager 2010 is not as good a game as Football Manager 2010 and certainly not as good as Football Manager 2011, as a Football Manager alternative though it's a rather nice title to have in your collection and I personally am glad that I own this game.
The choose your own price promotion at the time of Championship Manager 2010's release was definitely a masterstroke in gaining back the fans that perhaps deserted Championship Manager after the Eidos/Sports Interactive split; in not releasing a PC/MAC title for the 2010-11 season I definitely feel that Eidos missed out on a trick though, as had a game been released then I'm sure there are plenty of people that would have checked it out.
Championship Manager is definitely a game that I'd recommend for fans of football management games, don't expect it to be a Football Manager beater though, just expect it to offer something a little different.
In real life I have trouble winning a game, let alone a set or a match; tennis games have always provided me with a fine opportunity to impress on the tennis court though, and for that I thank them.
Developed by Indie Built, Top Spin 2 is a very entertaining tennis game, and one that can be incredibly fun to play. Although certainly not perfect, Top Spin 2 still has a lot to offer, and playing the game in Career Mode definitely provides for some strong entertainment.
Career mode is the main attraction with Top Spin 2; you create and name your own player, and can spend as much or as little time as you like getting the player to look just the way you want them to. Everything about your player is customisable, from their gender right through to the length and colour of their hair. You can make your player as tall or as short, as fat or as thin, and as muscular as you see fit. Specific facial features can be determined, and you can therefore make your player look just like yourself, or even like your favourite singer/celebrity. There's plenty of fun to be had before your on-screen tennis career has even begun, but the strength of the game certainly doesn't stop there.
Starting the game ranked 200th in the world, you have to take place in regional tennis competitions and training practices also in order to build up your player and get them experienced enough to enter major tournaments. The more regional competition matches you win, the higher your world ranking will rise. Complete the training games and you'll be provided with attribute points which can be used to increase the many different talents of your tennis player. Some of the training games can be quite tedious; others are great fun though, and it's all part of the gaming experience to build success, rise through the ranks, and ultimately earn big money in winning major tennis tournaments.
Career mode with Top Spin 2 really is fantastic fun, and watching your player rise up through the ranks is always excellent to see. It's a hard graft participating in all the different training games and regional competitions, it's worth it all in the end though as you watch your player improve, gain experience, and rise towards the top.
Although Career mode is the main feature of the game, there are also several other game types you can take part in; you can play Party Games, take part in a Tournament, or even enter Exhibition mode. In Exhibition mode you take part in singles or doubles matches whereby you choose who'll be playing who, Tournament mode is pretty self-explanatory in that you enter a tennis tournament, whilst playing Party Games requires company. There are three party games (Time Bomb, Wall Breaker, and Splash Court), and the Party Games just provide a fun way to kick back with friends, relaxing into an activity that isn't too serious and stressful.
All in all the gameplay is excellent, and with so many different options; there's certainly plenty to keep you entertained with Top Spin 2.
The game's graphics are reasonable, certainly not pushing the boundaries of the XBOX 360s capabilities, but nonetheless the game can still be quite nice to look at. The attention to detail with tennis professionals facial features is not great, overall the game's graphics work well though, and when given the full view of the court the match action always looks incredibly slick. The quality of animation is strong, and in this respect Top Spin 2 most definitely can't be faulted.
In terms of sound you get everything here that you'd expect from a tennis game; the thump of the ball hitting the racket, and of course the grunts of the players as they run across the court smashing shots at their opponents. It's all pretty standard sound, nothing too spectacular, and nothing to get too excited about; it does the trick though, and the authentic sounds of a tennis match are provided.
I've no problems with the sound that is provided in-game, what I do take issue with however is the background sound that features in the games menus. When playing the game for sustained periods of time the music in the menu can become quite frustrating, and I definitely feel that more variation could be provided. It'd just add a little more energy to the gaming experience, whilst as it stands the sound provided with Top Spin 2 is just a bit bland.
Conventional multiplayer action with Top Spin 2 is of course excellent; there's nothing better than beating your friends at video games in the flesh, but online is where multiplayer action is generally at its best these days.
There are only two options in online play; to perform in ranked or non-ranked matches. With ranked matches you'll only be able to play as your own created player, in a non-ranked match however you'll have the option to perform as one of the game's many tennis professionals. More than two options would be a welcome addition to the online multiplayer function, although options are limited though the actual quality of online play is strong, and games will generally run without lag so long as you have a semi decent broadband connection.
All in all I'd have to say that Top Spin 2 is a very good quality tennis game, and whilst it does have its faults; it's still a lot of fun to play, and it's Career mode is certainly very extensive. A lot of work has obviously gone into the creation of the game's Career mode, and this is something that has worked out well for Indie Built as this element of the game truly is excellent. More online options would be beneficial, single player mode is brilliant enough in itself with Top Spin 2 though, and this is most certainly the main focus of the game.
The fact that the game was released back in 2006 has both an up and a down side; the plus side of the game being five years old is that you can pick it up from eBay for about £2.50 or so including postage, the downside however is that the game is obviously going to be rather outdated. If you're not a massive tennis fan and are picking up this game purely for purposes of game playing fun then that probably shouldn't be much of a problem, if you're big on your tennis and are looking for an up to date, modern tennis game however then you're probably best investing in the 2011 title Top Spin 4.
Creating a career in tennis is simple with Top Spin 2, and if you're a fan of sports games then Top Spin 2 is definitely a game that is well worth owning for its Career mode.
Ever since seeing Set Your Goals at Slam Dunk Festival back in 2010 I have had a massive love for this band; Set Your Goals played with a lot of energy when I saw them, and this is most certainly something that comes through on CD also.
The first track from this album that had me hooked was 'The Few That Remain', a track featuring guest vocals from Paramore's Hayley Williams. It's an extraordinarily catchy piece of music, and when I first listened to the band this was pretty much the only track I listened to as I was convinced that it must have been the best that the band had to offer; as good as 'The Few That Remain' is though, and as catchy as it is, the 'This Will Be The Death Of Us' album most certainly has a lot more to offer than this one.
Featuring twelve tracks in total, 'This Will Be The Death Of Us' is an absolutely stunning album from start to finish, and there's not a single bad track that features here. The duel vocal approach that the band has to offer is truly brilliant, and the way in which the band fuses pop punk with elements of hardcore really does work well here. The album kicks off with title track 'This Will Be The Death Of Us' and instantly the band has your full undivided attention; the bass drum is thumping, the vocals are soaring, and everything just comes together delightfully. Ex The Movielife vocalist Vinnie Caruana even makes an appearance here, as if the track wasn't already awesome enough without the need for any guest appearances; it's the perfect introduction to a truly awesome album, and never for a second does the quality let up here.
'Equals' has to be my favourite track from the 'This Will Be The Death Of Us' album; the vocals I just feel are catchier than ever on this one, and this is a track that I find myself frequently going back to listen to. Set Your Goals is a band that really does know it's pop punk well, and this is something that comes through strongly with 'Equals', a track that any fan of pop punk would no doubt adore. It has a slight tinge of hardcore thrown in which adds extra depth to the track, and more so than at any other point on the album here I feel that the vocals really do shine through strongly. 'Gaia Bleeds (Make Way For Man)' follows straight on from 'Equals' and offers up something a little heavier. The band really shows its diversity here as it goes from two relatively poppy tracks ('The Few That Remain' and 'Equals'), straight onto something a whole lot more hard hitting. The band makes full use of its dual vocal attack with this track, and once again a massively catchy offering of music is provided. There's some powerful guitar work here, and this guitar power combined with the vocal strength of the band is really what makes the track stand out.
There are a lot of songs that you can sing along to on this album; it's pop punk at its bounciest, and this is something that I always love to find. After only a few listens I found myself singing along to such tracks as 'Summer Jam' and 'Flawed Methods of Persecution & Punishment', and this is something that continues to remain true with repeated listens to the album. 'This Will Be The Death Of Us' is a real feel good album for the summer, and given the absolute fun that this album exudes, I'll no doubt be blasting this one out plenty of times throughout this summer and beyond.
Just as this album starts off in style with title track 'This Will Be The Death Of Us', it also closes out with an awesome number as 'Our Ethos (A Legacy To Pass On)' kicks into action. The track has a great guitar introduction, a powerful drumbeat, and some of the finest dual vocal work I've ever heard. Right from the outset you know that this track is going to be something special, and as it unfolds it's certainly not one to disappoint. New Found Glory's Chad Gilbert provides guest vocals on this track, and having always been a big fan of New Found Glory it's great to see him making an appearance on what has come to be one of my favourite pop punk albums.
'This Will Be The Death Of Us' is an album that comes with a good number of guest collaborations which is always a fun thing to see, cameo appearances aside though, Set Your Goals is an absolutely brilliant band with a fine knack for penning top notch pop punk tunes. The band had been together for five years when this album was recorded, and there's a tightness surrounding the release that makes it feel like the band's members had all been playing together for a lot longer than even this. Set Your Goals is a superbly entertaining band, and this is something that is seriously showcased strongly with the 'This Will Be The Death Of Us' album.
'This Will Be The Death Of Us' is without doubt an album that I'd recommend adding to your collection, and if you happen to be a big fan of pop punk and don't already own this release then I seriously suggest you seek to change that right now. Pop punk is one of my favourite genres of music and I've therefore listened to a lot of albums of this ilk; having listened to a great deal of pop punk though it's a rarity that I've come across albums of a similar quality to that of 'This Will Be The Death Of Us', it's a real rare breed of an awesome pop punk album.
'This Will Be The Death Of Us' can currently be found on Amazon for £8.97; invest in this album now and prepare to be impressed.
When it comes to toast toppings I always have to have a decent selection available. Marmite is an absolute must, and Nutella also is something that you'll very rarely not find in my cupboard.
Packed with over 50 hazelnuts in every 400g jar, Nutella has an absolutely delicious taste of hazelnut with a slight hint of chocolate. The hazelnut is by far the most dominant flavour here, you can slightly taste the cocoa coming through though, and the overall Nutella flavour provides for an absolutely amazing eating experience.
Nutella is of quite a thick consistency, it won't pour out if you tilt the jar like honey would, and it can be quite hard getting the right amount out for spreading. If you're a big fan of Nutella then spreading a lot on your toast won't be too much of a problem, it can be a little sickly if you overdo it though, and as big a fan of Nutella as I am; I have found in the past that I have put too much Nutella on, and my toast has sometimes beaten me.
Nutella tastes delicious eaten straight from the jar with a spoon, can provide the perfect sandwich filler, sits very nicely on toast, and I also find that if you chop up a banana on top then Nutella will taste even more delicious than it already does so. Nutella truly is an excellent product, and if I do ever run out of any in the cupboard then I'm usually pretty quick to replace it.
£1.15 for a 400g jar in Tesco right now (saving you 53p), I feel that this represents excellent value for money, and actually makes the 400g jar cheaper than the 200g pot at the moment. It's certainly not a bad price to pay for something so delicious, and if it's been a while since you had your last Nutella fix then I'd definitely recommend investing in a pot.
Ingredients: Sugar, Vegetable Oil, Hazelnuts (13%), Fat-Reduced Cocoa (7.4%), Skimmed Milk Powder (6.6%), Whey Powder, Emulsifier (Soy Lecithin), Vanillin
Written and directed by Robert Hall, 'Laid To Rest' is a slasher horror about a serial killer called Chrome Skull. He stalks and kills his prey whilst wearing a metal mask, making recordings of the murders on his video camera which he later sends to the police. We learn that he's done this in several states throughout America, and that he's a 30/40 something Caucasian male; that's roughly it though, that's about all the background that we have.
The film starts with our main lady (Bobbi Sue Luther) trapped inside a coffin, and almost from the very second she escapes from the coffin she witnesses Chrome Skull in killing action. She makes her way to the road, and a man named Tucker (Kevin Gage) picks her up, taking her back to his home where he and his wife Cindy (Lena Headey) offer her shelter for the night. She doesn't know who she is or where she's from, all she knows is that there's a killer on the loose in the area, and she therefore wants to get to the police to tell them about it. The station's some way away, and they all intend to make the trip down there in the morning after some breakfast; things don't quite go as planned though, and before long it's time to take off and run again as Chrome Skull has tracked them down.
Whilst watching 'Laid To Rest', I wasn't really too sure what to make of the film at times. The death scenes are pretty gory and gruesome, there's no real substance to the film though, and even when the killer claims another victim there's no real emotional attachment there. The acting quality is okay on the whole, no one puts in a show stopping performance however, and Bobbi Sue Luther is quite weak as the film's leading lady.
Director Robert Hall obviously has a passion for horror, and this is something that comes through here, the 'Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles' makeup artist should perhaps stick to his day job though, as I'm not too sure that directing is really his forte.
If you like your gore then you should be fairly impressed with the death scenes in 'Laid To Rest', the film doesn't build particularly well though, and whilst it may be gory; none of it is hugely memorable. 'Laid To Rest' is lacking in substance, and whilst it's clear that Robert Hall is pretty clued up on his slasher horror films from the past; this is by no means a slasher classic.
If you're a fan of slasher horror then it's probably worth renting 'Laid To Rest' for a one-time viewing, after you've seen it once the chances are that you won't want to be watching it again though, so it's probably best not to invest in this one. I've seen worse at the cinema than the direct-to-DVD slasher that is 'Laid To Rest', and didn't feel that it was a complete waste of 90 minutes; whilst it could be worse it's still no classic though, and not a film that I'm ever likely to be viewing again in the future.
Director: Robert Hall
Genre: Slasher Horror
Runtime: 90 mins
BBFC Rating: 18
Current Amazon.co.uk Price: £7.98
A low budget film from director Jim Mickle; 'Zombie Virus On Mulberry Street' has finally come to DVD in the UK, three years after its completion back in 2006. Originally titled 'Mulberry Street', Mickle's debut feature has definitely proved to have been well worth the wait, and despite its low budget; Jim Mickle has here put together a very impressive horror film indeed.
The basic premise here is that an infection is spreading throughout New York City, and when bitten by rats, people are slowly turning into oversized rodents, and feeding on the flesh of others. Once bitten by either a rat or the infected; a person will become one of them, and join the growing population of rat people that is currently taking over the streets of New York City. The infection has been contained within Manhattan, and all bridges and tunnels to the island have been sealed off. For those that are left alive in Manhattan; staying alive is becoming an increasingly more difficult task.
Clutch (Nick Damici) is our main man here, and is expecting his daughter Casey (Kim Blair) to return home anytime soon. He braves the infected streets of New York to help his friend from downstairs Kay (Bo Corre) arrive home safely from work, what he doesn't yet know however is that at the same time as this; his daughter Casey is also fighting her way through the infected streets of New York, attempting to arrive home at 51 Mulberry Street. They're both battling hard against the infected, but will they be able to survive?
'Zombie Virus On Mulberry Street' truly is an absolutely brilliant horror film; Jim Mickle is here able to put together a film that is incredibly tense from start to finish, and the film can certainly never be accused of being dull. You're left guessing all throughout the film, and right up until the very last scene; you're still never sure just what will happen next.
The film has been supremely well shot, and an incredible amount of excitement has here been packed within the film. The acting quality is high from all of our key protagonists, and although you can tell that the budget was low; this merely adds to the appeal of it all, and makes the film all the more enjoyable to watch.
For the entirety of the film's 84 minute runtime; 'Zombie Virus On Mulberry Street' most definitely had me hooked, and everything about the film really does provide for a very entertaining viewing experience. The film ends very abruptly, and when the film does finish it's actually quite unexpected; the great thing about 'Zombie Virus On Mulberry Street' though is that is leaves you wanting for more right up until the very last second. It keeps you on your toes at all times, and is most definitely one of the very best horror films I've seen in a long time. You actually care about the characters here, you want them to survive from the infected, and feel a genuine connection with them. The idea of the film is excellent, and the way that it has been carried out in all areas truly is absolutely sensational.
It's not often that you'll come across a low budget horror film as high in quality as 'Zombie Virus On Mulberry Street', this really is a very impressive horror film, and Jim Mickle certainly shows supreme strength here as a director. This may be Mickle's first feature film, but hopefully there'll be many more to come from him in the future.
Director: Jim Mickle
Runtime: 84 mins
BBFC Rating: 18
Current Amazon Price: £7.98
Directed by William Friedkin (The Exorcist), 'Bug' is a psychological thriller which builds suspense strongly throughout, with Friedkin always displaying his fine talent as a director here. 'Bug' builds and builds, becoming darker, and increasingly more disturbing as the film progresses.
Agnes (Ashley Judd) is a lonely waitress that lives in a motel in Oklahoma. Her friend from work R.C. one night introduces her to a man named Peter (Michael Shannon), a troubled soul who used to be in the army. He spends the night sleeping on her sofa, and as time progresses these two trouble souls develop a rather interesting friendship. They have sex with each other once; it's not a romantic relationship that they share though, but instead a rather bizarre connection on a pretty disturbing level. They both become convinced that there's a bug infestation in the hotel room, and as time progresses they become more and more convinced of the existence of the bugs, and increasingly more paranoid about what it is that the bugs are doing in the motel room.
Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon gel well with one another here, and their supreme quality of acting really does stand out strongly. We spend much of the film with these two actors, and their success as actors here is therefore crucial to the overall outcome of the film. The way they speak to each other is certainly not conventional; the only conversation they share tends to be on the subject of bugs, they're drawn to one another though, and the way they interact together is not just disturbing, but also incredibly interesting to watch and observe.
'Bug' is an odd film which focuses in on two seriously disturbed people; their increasingly fragile state of mind is brilliant to watch played out on screen, and never for a second is the film in the least bit boring. Friedkin directs the film beautifully here, and the intense nature of the film really does come across incredibly well.
Right from the word go there's an inevitability here that the film is going to become incredibly dark, and this is something that makes the film or the more compelling. The film is forever building, and as it all progresses; Friedkin's fine thriller certainly doesn't disappoint.
'Bug' really draws you in, and the quality of acting is at all times absolutely sensational. It's the acting that really stands out, and although the script and quality of directing is excellent here also; it's really the connection between Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon that makes the film feel so real.
'Bug' is an incredibly high quality thriller, and a film that I'd most definitely recommend watching.
'Bug' can currently be found at Amazon.co.uk at a price of £3.98.
'Take Off Your Colours' is the debut album from the Surry based pop-punk band that is You Me At Six. The album was released through Slam Dunk Records in October 2008, and consists of a total of thirteen tracks.
'The Truth Is A Terrible Thing' is the first track here and kicks things off well, and included on this album are a number of hugely impressive tracks. There are many catchy choruses to sing along to, and if you're a fan of upbeat pop-punk music then you really can't go wrong with this fine album from You Me At Six.
Highlights for me include 'Gossip', 'Save It For The Bedroom' 'You've Made Your Bed (So Sleep In It)', and 'If I Were In Your Shoes'; there are very few tracks that don't impress here in fact, and many of these tracks could easily be released as single's.
'Gossip' is probably my very favourite track from the album, and right from the thumping drumbeat in the opening you just know that this is going to be something truly special. The guitar sound is supreme, the vocals incredibly well sung out, and the chorus is just so catchy. 'Gossip' is fantastic track to sing along to, and once you've heard the track once you'll definitely find it very hard to get it out of your head.
'Save It For The Bedroom', 'You've Made Your Bed (So Sleep In It)', and 'If I Were In Your Shoes' all have excellent choruses, and the vocals of lead singer Josh Franceschi are consistently brilliant all throughout the album. Josh Franceschi really does have an amazing singing voice, and his incredible vocal performance is definitely key to the success of the 'Take Off Your Colours' album.
There are a few tracks here that feel a little flat, most of the time the music does much to impress however, providing for a hugely enjoyable overall listening experience. The album isn't perfect, there are a lot of excellent tracks on display here though, and as a huge fan of pop-punk I really do enjoy listening to the 'Take Off Your Colours' album.
If you enjoy listening to pop-punk music and don't already own You Me At Six's 'Take Off Your Colours' album then you should definitely see about investing in it.
'Take Off Your Colours' can currently be found at Amazon.co.uk at a price of £5.98.
From director Paul Andrew Williams (London to Brighton), 'The Cottage' is a comedy horror film which originally achieved a UK cinematic release in March 2008. This dark British film stars Andy Serkis, Reece Shearsmith, and Jennifer Ellison.
Brothers David and Peter come up with a master plan in order to bag a large sum of cash between them. The plan is that they'll kidnap the daughter of a big time gangster, hold her hostage, and demand £100,000 ransom. It all seems so simple, it doesn't quite go according to plan however and before long everything starts to go wrong for the two brothers. As the £100,000 looks increasingly less likely to become theirs, things go from bad to worse and the brothers, along with their hostage Tracey find themselves to be in a very sticky situation indeed. This bungled kidnapping gets incredibly messy as our key protagonists find themselves fighting for their lives.
Never does 'The Cottage' ever seem to really get going, it paces along and is mildly amusing in parts, on the whole however the film just fails to impress and there's a lot of time spent here merely waiting for things to happen. The jokes are few and far between, the horror aspect is often incredibly predictable, and whilst I did enjoy the film a little in places; overall I'd have to say that I wasn't really that impressed by 'The Cottage'. There were elements that I quite liked about the film, not enough to ever keep me completely entertained however and frequently I found myself wondering when the film was going to come to its end.
In the original Paul Andrew Williams script, hostage Tracey was meant to be a 40 year old woman; in the film Tracey is played by Jennifer Ellison however, and according to Paul Andrew Williams himself, in order to get finance for the film he was asked to cast someone young for the part. I don't feel it would have made much difference regardless of who had have played the part of Tracey; there wasn't much to the film really, and although Jennifer Ellison was quite weak in her role - the script didn't really allow for any real depth of performance anyway.
The plot line is quite ropey, the jokes on the whole unfunny, and what I enjoyed most about the film was probably its brief moments of tension. Suspense was built well in parts, had me on the edge of my seat a little, really making me feel as though I was watching a 'real' horror movie. I feel that had the film trod a more horror based line then the film perhaps would have been more successful, the suspenseful horror parts were more enjoyable to watch than the comedy elements, and had this been the key focus of the film then 'The Cottage' could well have been a reasonable British horror film. As it turns out though, the film was never really too much of either, and whilst there were a few funny moments and some excellent elements of suspense; all in all there's a lot about this film not to like and many moments where the film just doesn't really work.
In terms of quality of cast I feel that Paul Andrew Williams did quite a good job with 'The Cottage'. I always enjoyed watching Reece Shearsmith in the League of Gentlemen, and it was quite nice to see Andy Serkis present here also, a man probably best known by most for having played Gollum in 'The Lord of the Rings' films. As for Jennifer Ellison though? Well, as Paul Andrew Williams wanted her role to be played by a 40 year old we'll ignore that one. The casting of 'The Cottage' wasn't at all the films problem, more the quality of the script and the general flow of the film.
'The Cottage' is certainly not one of the worst films I've ever seen, it had its positive aspects and there were times when I did quite enjoy what was going on on-screen. On the whole the film is not great, better than some I've seen though and watching the film was not a complete waste of time, just not an entirely enjoyable experience. Would I watch 'The Cottage' again? Well, quite frankly no, that's not to say I hated the film though, just more to the point that I found the film to be not very good.
Paul Andrew Williams is a decent director and 'The Cottage' is not a complete disaster, it has its merits and I know for a fact that there are some that do enjoy the film (it has a Rotten Tomatoes overall freshness percentage of 71% for instance); I'm not one of the films fans however, and stand by my point that I feel Williams would have had greater success had he made 'The Cottage' an all out horror film. 'The Cottage' has not put me off the future films of Paul Andrew Williams, merely removed my wish to ever watch this particular film again. 'The Cottage' has its fans, personally I don't rate the film but if you are a fan of the comedy horror genre then by all means obtain a copy of 'The Cottage' on rental and see what you make of this 2008 Paul Andrew Williams directed dark comedy horror.
The Cottage can currently be purchased from Amazon.co.uk at a price of £5.98.
Director: Paul Andrew Williams
Runtime: 91 mins
BBFC Rating: 18
'Black Sunday' is the super second album from the American hip-hop group that is Cypress Hill. The album was released in 1993 and consists of a grand total of fourteen tracks; it's a great little album from Cypress Hill and one which comes complete with a high number of top tracks. I'm not exactly a massive fan of hip-hop, I do however have a great appreciation for the genre at times and when I'm in the mood for the music there are a couple of albums that I almost always reach for; 'Black Sunday' is one of those albums.
Beginning with 'I Wanna Get High' the music immediately makes its impact, the beat is absolutely infectious and the vocals always are excellent to listen to here. The chorus is brilliant, the track just works and in every area is just absolutely fantastic to listen to. 'Insane in the Brain' is the next excellent track that the album has to offer, coming third on the album the music once more impresses massively here and I have in fact loved this track right from the very first time that I heard it. The beat is powerful, there's some fine mixing present here, and vocally again the music is always exceptional. The words hit hard, they're powerfully sung out and always the music has much to offer here. It's a great track to relax to, a fine piece of music and one which I'd recommend all to listen to.
'Black Sunday' is such a terrific album to relax to, the music is incredibly laid back and always the beats are excellent and the vocals powerful also. There's not a single bad track present on this album and with all fourteen the group always grabs your full undivided attention. The music is incredibly raw and it is this that really strikes you when listening to the album; listening to 'Black Sunday' provides for a fine 44 minutes of music and never does the groups raw edge fail to impress.
'A to the K' is a great track from this album, 'Hits from the Bong' another; when listening to this album there's top quality at each and every turn; never does 'Black Sunday' leave you in the least bit disappointed and at all stages of the albums progression in fact the music is absolutely masterful. The tracks often lack lyrical depth, you don't listen to Cypress Hill for lyrical supremacy however; you listen to the music for an incredibly relaxing, chilled out listening experience. When you play this album you can forget about your worries and for 44 minutes just let the beats roll, the vocals flow, and enter the care-free world of Cypress Hill. Listening to this album is a great way to relax, and whenever you're feeling a tad stressed you can't beat a good Cypress Hill session.
Closing track 'Break 'Em off Some' leaves you well and truly wanting for more, it's a terrific track and a fine way for the group to end the album here. It's a busy track, very raw, and always full of fun to listen to. The beat is brilliant, the vocals excellent as ever, and it just brings the 'Black Sunday' album to an absolutely excellent end. It's a thoroughly enjoyable piece of music and marks the end of what has been a brilliant album; a perfect closing anthem.
If you like your hip-hop then the chances are that you'll love this album; it's a great fourteen track release of hip-hop, and with beats as excellent as these it's really very hard to find fault with it. Obviously the lyrics could perhaps offer a little more, that's not the Cypress Hill style however and the group merely keep it real and rap purely about what they know. 'Black Sunday' is a great fun album to listen to; it provides for a supremely relaxing listening experience and is an absolutely perfect album to chill out to. 'Black Sunday' is an album that I recommend listening to 100%.
'Black Sunday' can currently be purchased from Amazon.co.uk for the mere price of £2.98; an absolute bargain in my opinion and at that sort of price there's really no excuse not to own it.
Label: Ruffhouse Records
Release Date: July 20th 1993