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Here to get things off my chest! (Not my nipples.)

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since 31/10/2017


Final Frontier - Iron Maiden 19/11/2017

The Fifteenth Frontier

Final Frontier - Iron Maiden The final frontier is not easy to get into. At 76:34 long with 1 sub 5 minute song it is lengthy listening. But opener 'Satellite 15... The Final Frontier' should have been 2 tracks for the listener, and the indulgences at the beginning and end of the sole single 'El Dorado' could have been cut In 'Satellite 15' the initial frantic bass is complex machinery gone haywire whilst dread is the sparse guitars and the drums become urgent. And then there are the vocals with that dramatic delivery - and they need to be: stranded, and about to face 'The Final Frontier'; the riffing rocking. Another favourite track is 'Mother of Mercy' - the notes added in between the rhythm section riffing at about a minute and a half-in followed by the low end taking up the gallop raises interest. I think my favourite riff on this album however has to be those in 'Starblind', and I am all-ears for the back-phrasing of vocals and guitars. I listen to tributes play the oldies and I am still Olde Maiden.

International Velvet - Catatonia 14/11/2017

The Last Of The Famous International Velvet

International Velvet - Catatonia Had I known Catatonia to have a song named 'Mulder & Scully' I'd have been on their case sooner! It is a name-drop - Cerys Matthews is no X-phile; the opener has jerking guitars, conflict in trying to go it alone. Highlight of the album however, are the "do-do"s and "na-na"s being partnered over Mark Roberts' ascending guitar line in follow-up 'Game On' - it is the song I'd want to hear most if they ever got back together. Of the acoustic numbers I prefer 'Don't Need The Sunshine' over 'Johnny Come Lately'. The songs sandwiched between them are not too exciting, but I'll remember 'Goldfish & Paracetamol' for its drum and brass, and the title track for which, aside from the chorus is sung in Welsh and I am not Welsh. International Velvet ends strongly: 'Strange Glue' is lighters in the air, 'My Selfish Gene' heartfelt.

Weezer (Green Album) - Weezer 08/11/2017

Weezer Go Green

Weezer (Green Album) - Weezer Mike Welsh's only Weezer album - Matt Sharp had departed; opener 'Don't Let Go' is "woo-woah-ooh-woah" not pushing limits - a band finding its feet after a 5 year hiatus? The tone is set for most of the album, and I would listen for the drums breaking away at the song's closure. The green one is formulaic and highly polished - vocal melodies repeated in guitar solos, and harmonised to the state of being saccharine. But by far the best songs are 'Hash Pipe' and 'Island In The Sun'. The former a guitar riff that is dread freed to rock as Cuomo's falsetto tips, and it is energy (and also a sumo wrestler music video to boot), the latter chilled-out guitars and laidback vocals ("hip-hip"). I'd hear them live.

Frogger (PlayStation) 05/11/2017

He's Back, But Not For Good

Frogger (PlayStation) Q: Why did the frog cross the road and then the river? A: To get to the other side! I was surprised to discover that the original is by Konami, and that there are speedruns of this game out there - just goes to show that all kinds of people exist! In this update you can rotate the camera around Frogger however the new zoomed-in view means you can't fully anticipate the obstacles ahead. And then there's the timer... The PC version of the game gives you 5 lives instead of 3 to collect the 5 frogs which is still too few, though there is a cheat for infinite lives. Beyond the Retro levels the camera is even closer, and Frogger becomes a frustrating game of trial-and-error.

Newman Haas Racing (PlayStation) 02/11/2017

Newman Haas Room For Improvement

Newman Haas Racing (PlayStation) Using the engine that runs the F1 games by Bizarre Creations, it's surprising that the car setup does not offer the same fine-tuning as the older FORMULA 1 '97. Instead they're the same as in the preceding FORMULA 1 and also cannot be changed mid-season I don't think. NEWMAN HAAS RACING is easier than the aforementioned titles - despite what appears to be rubber-band AI, SuperStar difficulty isn't difficult. Presentation-wise, the menus are clunky, and Danny Sullivan haas had finer gaming moments (check out INDY HEAT for the NES). It's nice to see your pit crew (what does the middle man actually do?) but when colliding with a car the camera zooms out and there is what sounds like pins struck by a bowling ball. Bizarre.

Rat Attack (PlayStation) 01/11/2017

Mouse Trap, Rat Attack

Rat Attack (PlayStation) I quite like that catching a rat is akin to dragging a mouse on a computer to create a box. Aprat from that the only other thing I like about this game are the levels where the hazards such as a toy car and lawnmower can actually take out the rats. Rat Attack disappoints: after every few levels of 'eraticating' there's a boss battle which I find are poorly designed. For example, in the 2nd you have to lure the boss into thrashing the trash can - this noises up the neighbours into throwing things at the perpetrator, and it's easy to get caught by these objects as they appear out of hedges... And it's frustrating when you cat continue and you have to start the stage all over again.
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