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Derek Draven
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War Eternal
War Eternal
Price: CDN$ 20.00
24 used & new from CDN$ 11.94

5.0 out of 5 stars Arch Enemy strikes back!, June 10 2014
This review is from: War Eternal (Audio CD)
'War Eternal' sees Arch Enemy going through a number of changes, perhaps most notably the absence of Angela Gossow as the band's death-puking front-woman. As Gossow settles into her new role as Arch Enemy's manager, her shoes are filled by Canuck death metal vocalist Alissa White-Gluz of The Agonist. It's hard to tell the two singers apart, given the nature of death metal vocals (this isn't like comparing Tarja Turunen to Floor Jansen, after all), but Gluz is every bit as powerful and capable as her iconic predecessor, while bringing enough subtle difference to her own performance to stand on her own. The album also introduces Nick Cordle on guitar, who replaced Michael's brother Christopher, who has since pursued a more in-depth solo career. We're sad to see him go.

Bearing these significant changes in mind, this is the best Arch Enemy album in years! The band seemed to have trouble delivering with 2007's 'Rise of the Tyrant' before taking a safe path with 'The Root of All Evil,' a re-recording of songs from the band's first three albums, which finally led to 2011's great-but-not-magnificent 'Khaos Legions.' 'War Eternal' draws upon all of Arch Enemy's strengths while injecting a newfound fire into the songwriting and presentation process. Michael Amott is in fine songcrafting shape, mixing the deathgrind he helped perfect with Carcass with Arch Enemy's more melodic flavour. It's a perfect blend of neoclassical sonic evisceration, though it does run the risk of alienating fans who are more interested in sheer musical brutality. I'd tell them all to shut up and go listen to Cannibal Corpse (or early Carcass).

1) Tempore Nihil Sanat (Prelude in F Minor): Arch Enemy takes a note from Cradle of Filth's penchant for classical/orchestral album openers, though it's not nearly as intricate. Still, it sets the mood well enough to move straight into....

2) Never Forgive, Never Forget: Wailing guitar cue-notes ride Daniel Erlandsson's thundering blastbeats into familiar stock-Arch Enemy territory, and serve to introduce Alissa White-Gluz's sensual harpy-shriek for the very first time. The song adheres to a rather rudimentary death metal template, however.

3) War Eternal: The title track also served as the band's single and accompanying video, and for good reason. Here, Arch Enemy continues to shout their lyrical creed of "always rise up, and never surrender" atop a rather majestic sonic steed, complete with a catchy and melodic chorus that shifts into an abstract bridge section. If you don't feel a spike of pure, positive high energy when you hear Alissa's powerful "Remember Who You Are!", then you're probably in need of psychotherapy.

4) As The Pages Burn: Slower. Catchy. Memorable. And it reminds me an awful lot of 'Savage Messiah.'

5) No More Regrets: A healthy dose of melodic elements accompanies the song through both verse and chorus without drowning in them. Arch Enemy adds a signature layer of brutality to the pre-chorus sections, but isn't afraid to open up with near-radio friendly guitar solos. It's clear that the band is far more interested in broadening their sonic palette.

6) You Will Know My Name: A soft neoclassical string element builds into one of Arch Enemy's softest songs, without losing its intensity. More a straightforward classic metal song than a death metal fatboy, it mixes some arena-rock elements into the final production, but never manages to reach a very memorable status. I do love that soft outro at the end, however. Quite fitting.

7) Graveyard Of Dreams: Arch Enemy revisits the soothing gentleness that they've previously explored with 'Snowbound' and 'Marching On A Dead End Road,' and it's a welcome intermission from the brutality.

8) Stolen Life: After catching a breath, the band is back into full-blown metal warfare with one of the more aggressive songs on the album. It's got one hell of a catchy chorus amidst its mid-tempo double-bass delivery.

9) Time Is Black: I consider this the absolute standout song of the entire album! It's neither Arch Enemy's most brutal, or fast song, nor does it adhere to all of death metal's standardized elements, but it's both melodic and heavy, while at the same time breaking the band's mould and transcending what they were previously capable of. Symphonic and orchestral elements join into the chorus section and immediately sink into the brain, lying there to plague you maliciously with a tune you just can't stop humming to yourself long after the song is over. It's still frantic enough to please hardcore metal enthusiasts, though it may be the one song which is capable of diving Arch Enemy's core fanbase down the middle. I don't care! I love the song's powerful mix of glorious, uplifting symphonic elements, plugged directly into the band's furious death metal gut-punch! I could listen to this song forever.

10) On And On: Here, the band does a 180 and heads for more bleak territory, without losing out on the melody they've built through the first half of the album. It doesn't last for long, however. Around the mid-mark, the song becomes a show of metal dexterity and simmering guitar work, before slipping back into it's dark chugging territory.

11) Avalanche: Arch Enemy again flirts with neoclassical elements, but 'Avalanche' is nevertheless one of the heaviest songs of the entire album, preferring to slow-chug its way to the finish, instead of blazing through it with blastbeats and furious guitar scales. And who can resist the traditional metal CRUNCH of the verse sections? Mwah! Magnifiqué!

12) Down To Nothing: If 'Avalanche' was one of the heaviest songs on the album, then 'Down To Nothing' is certainly T-H-E most brutal of them all. Amott conjures Carcass like never before, and the result is a rapid-fire deathblow that slows itself down only for a moment to give the listener time to breathe. Then it's back to beating you over the head all over again with sheer, unadulterated death metal aggression. This is the kind of song that will immediately alienate the casual (or wimpy) metal fan. It won't rank high in the hallmark of most brutally heavy death metal songs, but it's enough to cross the line and ditch plenty of the album's previous melody for good old-fashioned neck-injuring headbanging.

13) Not Long For This World: Daniel Erlandsson's drum work introduces the final (and most sombre) song of the album, an instrumental cool-down tune that sounds as if it should belong on the end credits of a bittersweet combat film. It's also a brilliant and emotional closer that sounds like a personal "Thank You" to the listener for putting up with the change in Arch Enemy's lineup, as well as its leaning towards more melodic elements.

Rest assured, 'War Eternal' is one of Arch Enemy's strongest albums. It's not a return to the band's form, but rather...a moulting of its outer shell for the purpose of becoming something bigger, riskier, and a bit more complex. For the first time, Arch Enemy is painting with colours other than white, black, and the occasional baby blue. I hear purples, yellows, greens and even pinks in 'War Eternal,' and that's just fine with me. If this new shift in Arch Enemy's sound isn't to your liking, then I suggest picking up Carcass' 'Surgical Steel.' You'll be far happier.

X-Men: Days of Future Past (Bilingual) [Blu-ray]
X-Men: Days of Future Past (Bilingual) [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Hugh Jackman
Price: CDN$ 19.44
8 used & new from CDN$ 7.99

24 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The single-greatest X-Men film of the entire franchise, May 25 2014
The first X-Men film served as the launchpad for a slew of high quality comic book adaptations from both Marvel and DC Comics. It took the source material and adapted it for a real-world feel, while sporting some wise casting decisions, the greatest of which is Hugh Jackman's portrayal of fan favourite Wolverine, a role he has kept for close to 15 years now. No small feat! Its first sequel is frequently lauded as the best in the series, while the third entry X-Men: The Last Stand is considered its stumbling moment. The latest addition to the franchise takes its cues from arguably the most popular X-Men comic book story arc ever printed: the Days of Future Past, and it single-handedly puts the series back on track while introducing plenty of new room for future sequels.

The film deviates a bit from its comic book source material, but the premise is the same. In a dark and terrifying near future, mutants have been hunted to near extinction by fearsome creations known as Sentinels; giant robots capable of adapting to, and thereby negating mutant powers. Only a handful of mutants remain, including the X-Men under the leadership of Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and his one-time nemesis Magneto (Ian McKellan), who have since joined forces to combat this new threat. Knowing that it's only a matter of time before they are found and slaughtered, Charles and Magneto formulate a daring plan to change the future by altering the past. This ability is achieved through mutant Kitty Pride (Ellen Page) aka Shadowcat who, besides being able to phase through solid matter, is also capable of psychically sending a person's consciousness back through time into the body of their younger self. Realizing that not even Charles Xavier is capable of surviving such a process without irreparable brain damage, it is decided that none other than the Wolverine himself will undergo the process. The mission is simple: Wolverine will wake up in his younger body during the 1970s to find and locate the young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and his younger counterpart Magneto (Michael Fassbender) before brilliant scientist Dr. Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) is capable of enacting his infamous Sentinel program, designed to create heavily armed robots capable of identifying individuals who carry the X-Gene, and either incapacitating or slaughtering them. But the real threat lies in a single mutant, the shapeshifter Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) who is fighting a personal battle on behalf of her fellow mutants, and has a personal bone to pick with Trask that will inevitably bring about the very future that Charles and Magneto are trying to prevent. But time is running out on in both timelines, with the indestructible Sentinels closing in on the remaining future mutants, and Mystique's goals so close to completion. In the end, one single choice will either change the course of an entire future, or guarantee its dominance.

What a brilliant film! Director Bryan Singer returns to helm the franchise that he began, and wisely chooses to reference the most popular X-Men source material available for his goal. The result is an electrifying story with a rightfully heavy hand. DOFP is one of the darkest comic book movie adaptations in memory, and the stakes have never been higher. Singer doesn't shy away from shock in the film, either. Deaths are sudden, cruel and tragic, and only serve to reinforce the necessity of the mission's success. The classic X-Men characters are used less this time around in order to focus more on the newer and younger cast, but the film balances them better than I had first anticipated. It's nice to see Storm (Halle Barry) back (and in full effect) as well as Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), Colossus (Daniel Cudmore), and Kitty, and it's just as cool to see comic book favourites like Bishop (Omar Sy) get their silver screen treatment as well. On the younger side, Jennifer Lawrence is a stand out as Mystique, who plays the character far more deeply than she (or even Rebecca Romijn) managed to in the past. Michael Fassbender plays Magneto with the same sense of urgency as all his roles (which is to say, totally genuine), while James McAvoy brings an immediate sense of sadness and despair to the usually steadfast and confident Charles Xavier. There are several subtle thematic elements at play here, told against the backdrop of world events at the time, most notably the end of the Vietnam War and the rampant paranoia of the time, which fits perfectly with the perceived threat of the emerging mutant populace. Hugh Jackman slips easily back into the role of Wolverine as if he'd never left it to begin with, and it's interesting to see him handle himself in his pre-Weapon X state. He's the linchpin between the two generations of actors, and the film franchise had better hope that Jackman doesn't intend to retire his claws anytime soon. Those are some BIG shoes to fill.

There are some gripes, mostly related to the flow of events. Several pressing questions have NOT been answered by this film, including the mysterious resurrection of Charles Xavier following his death at the hands of Jean Grey in X3, as well as the "mutant cure," which doesn't seem to have panned out in the long run. Sure, fans can guess at the reasons for the latter, but I want to know what happened to Xavier! The post-credits hospital scene from X3 isn't nearly enough of an explanation, and the post-credits scene from last year's "The Wolverine" didn't explain anything, either. There's a lot of talk of restoring deleted scenes to the DVD and Blu-Ray release of the film, so here's to hoping they take but a brief moment to tell us just what happened with all this.

It's a fantastic film with killer visual effects and a picture-perfect mood. It's the most serious and dark of the X-Men films, but not without its comedic relief, stemming mostly from Evan Peters' entertaining portrayal of the super speedy mutant Quicksilver in what is perhaps the most riotously hilarious scene ever filmed for a comic book movie. Nagging questions aside, this is a perfect X-Men film, and it will be interesting to see what Singer has in store for the next installment of the franchise due out in 2016.

Godzilla [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
Godzilla [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Aaron Taylor-Johnson
Price: CDN$ 10.00
11 used & new from CDN$ 5.00

12 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The King Kaiju at his absolute best!, May 21 2014
For over half a century, Godzilla has stood as the most iconic monster in cinematic history. Known throughout the world for his ferocity, unstoppable power and signature roar, the King Kaiju has starred in a seemingly endless string of Japanese sequels which have seen him go up against equally memorable monster foes, human military forces and malevolent aliens. He has even been possessed by the angry spirits of the dead to rampage across Japan unabated.

The West took a stab at their own version of Godzilla in 1998 with Roland Emmerich's ill-received movie of the same name, starring Matthew Broderick. Audiences loathed the campy humour, poor acting performances, and the sharp deviation from the original Godzilla creature. Japanese filmmakers even took the opportunity to poke fun at Emmerich's Godzilla by putting him into 2004's riotously fun "Godzilla: Final Wars," where the true Godzilla dispatches his Western counterpart without breaking a sweat.

Fast-forward to 2014. No one is laughing, now! Director Gareth Edwards made the decision to reintroduce Godzilla to international audiences with a dark, dangerous film tinted with just the right amount of fun. "Godzilla" is a brilliant return to form, brought back at the best time to reboot the franchise and start fresh by taking advantage of today's advanced effects.

The film opens in Japan, where Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) and his wife Sandra (Juliette Binoche) experience severe seismic activity at the Janjira nuclear plant, which triggers an explosion that threatens to release lethal radiation into the city. Brody is forced to seal his wife behind the protective doors to seal the radiation in, killing her in the process. Though filled with anguish, Brody manages to escape long enough to see the entire nuclear plant collapse in utter disaster. The film fast-forwards 15 years into the future, where the Brody's son Ford (Aaron-Taylor Johnson) returns home from a tour in the military to his wife Elle and son Sam. The reunion is short-lived however, when Ford receives news that his father Joe has been taking into custody in Japan for trespassing in the Janjira quarantine zone. Joe manages to convince Ford of a possible government cover up regarding the Janjira disaster 15 years prior, and sets out to enter the quarantine zone illegally to find important data discs left inside their long-abandoned home. Upon arrival, Joe learns that radiation levels are completely normal, and Ford begins to suspect that his father may be onto something. Before they can escape, both are taken into custody by security forces and brought to a secret facility built within the ruins of the nuclear power plant. There they discover an ancient object humming with incredible power, and studied by Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and Vivienne Graham (Sally Hawkins), two scientists who have been hot on its trail since before the Janjira disaster. Seismic activity begins to build once more, and Ishiro orders its destruction. This single act awakens the real threat inside: a horrifying winged monster of incredible size and power which hatches from the object and lays waste to the base. Dubbed "MUTO" (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) by the military, the creature sets out on a path of destruction from Japan to the coast of Hawaii, absorbing all sources of radiation to grow in power, while simultaneously projecting violent EMP blasts which render electronics useless, thereby crippling the military forces who rush for a counterstrike. Things seem hopeless, until Ishiro reveals the existence of another monster which he believes has reawakened in response to the MUTO presence: an ancient and terrifying apex predator which he calls "Godzilla." Realizing that human weapons and tactics are ineffective, Ishiro suggests the only course of action that truly makes sense. "Let them fight!"

Lots of criticism has been levied on this version of Godzilla for making the titular creature a supporting character in his own film. What most fail to realize is that every Toho Godzilla film did precisely the same thing, putting the focus on the human element instead of Godzilla himself. Depending on whom you speak to, this is either a blessing or a curse. I sat somewhere in the middle, wishing that Godzilla would show up more often, but finding myself interested in the human story. It's not without a drawback, though. *SPOILER!!!* - Bryan Cranston's performance practically carried every theatrical trailer, and for good reason. He's a bloody amazing actor with an incredible screen presence as Joe Brody, but unfortunately his character checks out way too early in the film, leaving Aaron Taylor-Johnson to pick up the slack. As you might expect, he's no Bryan Cranston. He's not even close. He's not strong enough to carry the film's human narrative. Without Cranston, many of the human characters seem like wooden stand-ins, save for Ken Watanabe, who is always in brilliant form (even if his dialogue can be a bit flat at times). Had Cranston stayed through till' the end, "Godzilla" would have been much more electrifying. *SPOILER ENDED *

That minor caveat aside, this is one amazing film! Godzilla has NEVER looked so good. This is the definitive version of the King Kaiju, even if his head is a bit too small for his tree-trunk body. He looks like the logical progression to the classic Toho monster, banishing the "man in the rubber suit" effect while still maintaining its brilliant personality. I thank my lucky stars that Godzilla isn't jumping up and down with one arm in the air, clapping excitedly after a beat-down, executing goofy drop-kicks, or some other admittedly silly nonsense present in some of the Japanese offerings (I'm looking at YOU, Godzilla vs. King Kong!!). Here, Godzilla is lethal, powerful, sleek and terrifying. He's got personality, right down the eyes. And that roar....oh yes! The audio team did an absolutely masterful job of retaining the classic Godzilla roar, whilst amplifying its terrifying might in a logical way. This is the sonic equivalent of the Empire Strikes Back. Bigger, and better in every way. I find it necessary to speak about the level of energy in the theatre during this entire film. Godzilla's first full appearance (a slow vertical camera pan) culminates with the classic roar, and the build up is so powerful that the entire theatre burst into applause! This happened a further FIVE TIMES before the final credits rolled. It's been a long, long time since I've experienced anything like that, and suddenly I had fun going to the movies again. Purists needn't worry, either. I won't spoil it, but Godzilla has retained everything from the original character, and I do mean everything! Be prepared to smile at that chill racing up your back.

If there's one gripe I have (albeit minor) it's the level of destruction. Personally, I've never seen a better on-screen depiction of a major catastrophe in my entire life. Choking smoke and dirt billows from collapsing skyscrapers, sending plumes of ash and jet-black smog into the air, choking out the sun. Entire city blocks are decimated, and hundred-floor buildings crack like toothpicks under the might of the unstoppable monsters wreaking havoc on the city. It's a bleak film that could have benefited from just a BIT more humour to lighten the tone. There are some funny parts, mind you, but they're rare, keeping the focus on the gripping panic and fear of having to contend with creatures that are completely unmanageable, and unstoppable. Gareth Edwards took every good thing from the original Japanese films, and jettisoned everything else, but some of the fun got chucked out of the airlock in the process. Here's to hoping that subsequent sequels (the first has been green-lit, by the way), will take the opportunity to lighten the tone just a little bit. By the time the curtain falls, Godzilla has firmly re-established his status as the absolute king of the monsters, and rightfully so! It's been 10 years since "Final Wars," which was the last great Godzilla film from Japan. Now I'm anxious to see what the West can do, and if international audiences will embrace it. Personally, I see nothing but a labour of love from director Gareth Edwards, who pays respect to the source material without falling into its goofy comical trappings.

Long live Godzilla!

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 1  [Blu-ray] (Sous-titres français)
Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 1 [Blu-ray] (Sous-titres français)
DVD ~ Patrick Stewart

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning and remarkable collection, Feb. 6 2014
Paramount's Blu-Ray reissues of this fine show have been going on for quite a while, and I'm late to the party, but that doesn't mean I can't chime in. When I was 8 years old, my parents sat me down for the premier episode of a show they had watched when they themselves were young. I had no idea what to expect, but there I was, wide-eyed and in awe at the spectacle before me. According to my parents, Star Trek, a very popular sci-fi TV show, had returned in a completely new form, called 'The Next Generation.' At the time, I had no familiarity with Kirk, Spock, McCoy, the Enterprise, phasers, tribbles, or vulcan neck pinches, so I truly was entering my own personal final frontier. This gave me a fresh 'in the moment' perspective that carried me through the wondrous combination of attractive visual and special effects, soaring music, and a truly uplifting story. I immediately fell into my own time vortex, going back into the past to uncover the original series, while reading up on the lore of the Star Trek universe. I never became a full-fledged "Trekker," as the diehard fans demand to be called, but I did rank ST:TNG in my top 3 favourite sci-fi shows of all time.

After circling the big green DVD collector's box set of the show for years without pulling the trigger, Paramount caught my attention with the announcement of the Blu-Ray releases. What could have been a shamelessly opportunistic attempt at a cash-in soon turned into one of the most painstaking works of love I've ever seen. ST:TNG has landed on Blu-Ray, becoming the best and most definitive way to watch this classic series. The first thing you'll notice is the jaw-dropping remaster of every single episode. Given the nature of how the show was filmed in the 1980s, it's near-impossible to imagine it looking this crisp and sharp all these years later, on a high-def medium. Paramount's team implemented a technically complex process (which you can see on the Blu-Ray special features section) to re-scan the original film in preparation for the transfer. They went one step further, however, and worked to correct the color and detail imbalances that plagued the original first season run. Fans will notice that the strawberry-red hue is now gone, and each shot mirrors the color grading of subsequent seasons. Flesh no longer glows pinkish-red, but gives way to subtle injections of green that bring perfect harmony to the color palette, which is especially noticeable on any scenes that involve the Enterprise Bridge. Glorious! But naturally, there's more. The visual effects have been completely remastered and/or remade, taking a cue from the original series' remasters, though less obvious. Fans of the show will find themselves waiting for the next familiar visual effects scene, just to see what Paramount has done, and they will (or at the very least, should) be wildly surprised at what they see. Season 1's two-part pilot episode 'Encounter at Farpoint' serves as the perfect introduction to these new effects sequences. The Enterprise itself is flat-out gorgeous, and bursting with detail that was impossible to notice on a standard television run, or even the DVD releases. Having watched the show repeatedly for years, I found it amazing that I could now actually see the word "Enterprise" on the side hull of the ship, or the running lights at the rear. Brightness and contrast has been tweaked to make the Enterprise seem like a real object in space, rather than a superimposed model. It gets better. Everything from Q's quilted force field to phaser beam effects look new and exciting. Every single planet now looks like a fully detailed planet, instead of a blurry gas ball. The sight of the jellyfish-like alien creature that rises up from the surface of Farpoint station to join its mate in orbit caused me to choke up just a little bit.

Naturally, this beauty stretches out across every single episode of the season. There are only a few instances of scenes that did not undergo an HD transfer, for one reason or another. Although noticeable, they're usually only a few seconds in length, and nothing to really get upset over. Time, as they say, is not always kind. The new 7.1 Surround track won't blow the doors off of your house, but it's spacious and bright enough to be a significant step up from watching it on television. Center-channel dialogue can be a little tinny at times, mostly due to the source material, but I'm unwilling to hold that against Paramount.

NOTE: There is a bug present on several discs in the collection where the sound seems like its being channelled through a wind tunnel. This is due to incorrectly mapped sound channels in the mix, which make it sound as if your stereo is totally off. It isn't. It doesn't effect every episode on the disc in question, and it doesn't always affect the entire episode, either, but it's an irritating flaw that should never have been allowed out the door. Thankfully, Paramount has set up a painless disc replacement service. Simply call 877-335-8936 between 8AM and 6PM PT and the support team will ask you to read the code on the back-ring of your Blu-Ray disc. Once you do, they'll mail out your replacement discs to the address of your choice within 5 business days. The only headache you'll have to endure is actually reading the code itself. I have 20/20 vision, and even in bright light, I had to struggle to read the code while the young woman with the VERY sexy voice remained patient with me on the other end of the phone. You'll have to tilt n' turn that sucker a few times to get the whole thing, and the numbers are quite small, so don't be afraid to get a magnifying glass. Seriously.

I will be purchasing subsequent seasons within the next few months, but if this debut collection is any indication, I'll definitely enjoy adding the Blu-Ray TNGs to my collection. You shouldn't hesitate, even for a moment. This is the way ST:TNG was meant to be seen.

Akira (25th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray + DVD]
Akira (25th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray + DVD]
DVD ~ Katsuhiro Otomo
Price: CDN$ 15.96
33 used & new from CDN$ 15.96

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The hallmark of Japanese Anime, Nov. 22 2013
Few anime films are as groundbreaking, mystifying, or head-scratching as Akira. For years, it's been the benchmark which all other anime films are measured against. Its scope and ambition is far beyond most films, anime or otherwise, and it serves as a figurehead for mature, intellectual stories built on unique concepts that nobody has really ever attempted to replicate. Now we have the 25th Anniversary Edition on Blu-Ray, which could very well be called the definitive version of this wonderful classic.

Akira takes place in a dystopian Tokyo circa 2019, 31 years after a massive explosion decimated the city and triggered the onset of World War III. The city is rife with political corruption, civilian protests and biker gangs, one of which is the Capsules, led by a young boy named Kaneda. The Capsules are at war with a rival gang known as the Clowns, who they routinely battle for control of territory. During one particularly violent skirmish, young Capsule gang member Tetsuo is severely injured when he nearly runs over a young disfigured blue-skinned boy. Tetsuo's motorcycle explodes just before impact under mysterious circumstances. Military forces arrive at the same moment as the Capsule gang, and Kaneda witnesses Tetsuo being taken away for medical treatment. The disfigured boy, known as Takashi, is taken back to a secret military research facility that has been conducting experiments on he and two other children. The hospitalized Tetsuo begins to manifest telekinetic psychic powers brought on by his close encounter with Takashi, but he also experiences severe headaches and psychological trauma in the process. Tetsuo escapes the hospital and begins to manifest antagonistic and antisocial behavior, the former of which is directed at his close friend and rival Kaneda. When Tetsuo is captured by the same military forces that took Takashi, Kaneda sets out to find Kei, a young woman who is part of an underground revolutionary group with knowledge of the dangerous experiments being conducted by the military, led by the gruff Colonel Shikishima and his aid, Doctor Onishi. The two launch a daring break-in to find Tetsuo, who has become more unstable as his powers grow beyond comprehension. Tetsuo learns of the existence of a being called 'Akira,' who may hold the answers to his terrible psychological trauma. Disregarding his friends, Tetsuo launches a one-man campaign against the military to learn the secret of Akira, no matter the cost. While the military scrambles to stop Tetsuo's horrible rampage through Tokyo, Kaneda decides to confront him one-on-one, which only fleshes out his inferiority complex more. This, combined with his growing psychic powers makes Tetsuo a massive, uncontainable threat that could spell a repeat of the same disaster that took place 31 years before.

What a fascinating film! Akira succeeds on so many levels that it has become one of the pillars of sci-fi cinema. To this day, the detailed artwork and visuals are nothing short of awe-inspiring, and only films like "Ghost In The Shell" have managed to approach its level of detail and inspiration. The sprawling cityscapes of Neo Tokyo are an artist's dream come true, both beautiful to behold, yet ominous in the fact that they represent a society teetering on the brink of total upheaval. Several themes run through the story at high pressure, including the dangers of genetic manipulation, political corruption, lack of military restraint, class wars, and social divisions between governments and their citizens. The story zooms in closer, however, and puts the human psyche under a mesmerizing microscope. Tetsuo is a multi-layered character who suffers from feelings of inferiority thanks to consistent abuse throughout his childhood. Though he is desperate for acceptance, Tetsuo's friends, particularly Kaneda, frequently belittle him for being the smallest and weakest of the group. This amplifies his rage and anger, distorting reality, and masking the heartbreaking truth of just how much he is actually loved by his friends. "What-if" questions abound as to the nature of what one would do if such tremendous psychic powers were suddenly bestowed upon a person, and how their psychological standing would affect their handling of the situation. Akira is a difficult movie to understand. Most people will throw up their hands in complete confusion after their first initial viewing, and unless they watch it a few more times, they will never quite grasp the heavy weight of the story, or the message behind it. The film's ambitious storyline is mind-boggling in every aspect, with no direct center plotline to drive it. As such, viewers need to keep their eyes and ears open, and never look away even for a moment. Dare I say, Akira is best viewed as a singular experience devoid of any distractions. If you like to watch movies with a group of friends who are prone to chatter, or have short attention spans, do NOT watch this film with them. Do it on your own. Let it sink in. Appreciate it for the work of sheer genius that it is. You will never see anything like it, and I doubt you ever will again.

The 25th Anniversary edition gets it right on the very first shot by including the Kodnasha and Pioneer English dubs of the film. I don't care what anyone says; the 1988 Kodnasha English dub starring Cam Clarke is the definitive and superior version of the two. The 2001 Pioneer dub (created for the tin-case DVD special edition) attempted to sound more contemporary in its translation, but has frequently been denounced as an inferior attempt by purists, who instantly cried foul. There's a reason: it's just not as good. The only drawback is that Kodnasha's Dub is presented in a meager Dolby TrueHD 2.0 format, while Pioneer's gets the TrueHD 5.1 (blah!). From an audiophile's standpoint, however, both dubs pale in comparison to the thundering Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Japanese track, which overshadows both with spectacular 192kHz fidelity. Akira has never sounded better, but if you're a subtitle Nazi, then you'll probably settle for an English dub. Just make sure to make it Kodnasha's version.

Don't argue.

The Blu-Ray restoration process is beautiful, make no mistake. The picture has been cleaned up tenfold from previous releases, and the new color balance is rich and inviting. Akira was never intended to be a "sharp" picture, but you'll be hard-pressed to see it look better anywhere else. This release also tosses out the picture-box effect that plagued the last Blu-Ray release in 2009. Get ready for true widescreen immersion this time 'round. When it comes to bonus features, this release is respectable, focusing largely on a handful of featurettes, most notably one that focuses on the 2001 remastering process. Then there's the obligatory storyboards, trailers and TV spots, etc. It's worth noting that a few of the Special Edition DVD extras have been axed for this release, which is a bit confusing. In short, there's little in the way of "new" material for such a landmark anniversary release. You do get a DVD copy of the film, for whatever reason you'd need one. Akira has always been about Akira, however; the movie itself. Special features are never going to be nearly as fascinating as the actual movie, and that's a testament to its iconic status. Only a handful of anime films can claim to come close to Akira's pedigree (most notably "Ghost In The Shell"), and even fewer non-animated films can manage the same. If you're one of the few sci-fi nuts who hasn't seen this masterpiece, then there's never been a better time to pick it up. The only people who wouldn't be fascinated by Akira are those with horrid attention spans, shallow imaginations, or the foolish who think that it's "just a stupid cartoon." Don't worry, we won't try to change your mind. It's your loss entirely.

Riddick [Blu-ray] [Import]
Riddick [Blu-ray] [Import]
Offered by importcds__
Price: CDN$ 16.94
17 used & new from CDN$ 10.94

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Formulaic sequel, Nov. 22 2013
Few on-screen antiheroes are as engaging as sociopathic convict Riddick, played once again by Vin Diesel in the film of the same name. The killer with the shining eyes is back once again, doing what he does best: surviving in hostile environments. The film picks up after the events of "The Chronicles of Riddick," where the character killed the Lord Marshall and took control of the Necromongers, a devout religious cult dedicated to finding the mysterious Underverse, a collection of dark stars believed to hold life through the promise of death. Riddick's only goal is to return to his home planet of Furya, once decimated by the Necromongers during their zealous campaign of destruction and conversion. He strikes a deal with the ambitious Vaako (Karl Urban) to return him to his planet, in exchange for giving Vaako control of the Necromongers. When Riddick arrives on a desolate planet, he quickly learns that it is not Furya, and that he has been betrayed by Vaako and his team, led by the formidable Krone. Riddick kills his would-be assassins just moments before Krone causes a landslide which sends Riddick plummeting off the edge of a cliff, and left for dead. Marooned on this hostile and barren planet, Riddick is forced to survive by analyzing his environment, learning its dangers, and taming its threats. When Riddick notices that a severe storm front is moving in, he travels away from it and inadvertently locates an empty mercenary station where he is able to activate an emergency beacon which alerts several mercenary groups to his presence, who scramble for the chance to apprehend him for a massive bounty. Two antagonistic teams arrive at the station in competition against one another; a fact that Riddick plays on to great advantage. Riddick attempts to strike a deal with the mercenaries for the return of stolen power nodes from both of the merc ships, which are necessary if they ever hope to leave the planet. The meeting is a ruse concocted by one of the merc leaders, Boss Johns, the father of the late William Johns who Riddick battled in "Pitch Black," and now has a severe score to settle. Before the merc teams can agree on what to do with Riddick, the storm front moves in, covering the area in darkness and rain, which allows tens of thousands of dangerous creatures called Mud Demons to emerge from their hiding spots and hunt en masse. The mercs are forced to team up with Riddick to survive, but with frayed tensions and itchy trigger fingers, it may be harder to survive and escape than first thought.

"Riddick" abandons the greater scope of "Chronicles..." for the smaller, more self-contained tension of "Pitch Black," but it copies the latter way too much to stand on its own two feet. "Pitch Black" was an exercise in small-scale character tension and claustrophobia in the face of a terrifying environmental change, and that's been lifted note-for-note for this film. As such, the story is totally predictable from the ground up, and there's no real sense of surprise, even at the end. To compensate, "Riddick" relies a lot on nasty humor (there are some very funny scenes) to spruce things up. Riddick's manipulation of the merc forces carries a large part of the story, until things shift to the point where they all have to join forces, and then things become very formulaic and straightforward with little elbow room to expand characters. The Riddick character has always been a fascinating antihero, but he's showing signs of repetition, and just isn't the scene thief that he used to be. His beef with Boss Johns (and vice versa) plays more on convenience in an attempt to give the story some sort of moral grounding, but it was done better in "Chronicles..." when Riddick showed signs of regret at the death of the young Kyra. Here, it seems more like an excuse for Riddick to get off-planet by making a friend. The creatures themselves aren't nearly as menacing as the ones in "Pitch Black," but their design is cool enough to stand alone. I would have chosen a different monster to take center stage, however. "Pitch Black" built its tension by giving only small glimpses of the creature until the big terrifying reveal. "Riddick" introduces this monster within the first 20 minutes of the film, in its full glory, so there's really no sense of dread when the proverbial excrement hits the fan. Still, it's a fun film that introduces a new chapter in Riddick's life, but there's absolutely nothing new that you haven't seen before. At best, it's a knock-off of a previous installment. I enjoyed it, but I wouldn't be interested in seeing it again. It just doesn't give enough reason for me to come back.

Killing Is My Business...And Business Is Good! (Remixed / Expanded)
Killing Is My Business...And Business Is Good! (Remixed / Expanded)
Price: CDN$ 14.77
29 used & new from CDN$ 10.56

4.0 out of 5 stars Ultra heaviest, ultra furious thrash metal, Nov. 11 2013
Dave Mustaine's unceremonious and ugly departure from Metallica in the early 1980s is the stuff of heavy metal history books. Mustaine's heavy drug and alcohol use fueled his loose-cannon temperament; itself fueled by the seething rage and angst of a messy childhood, an abusive father, and an inferiority complex. In short, the perfect cocktail for manic, terrifying heavy metal rife with lyrics certain to anger Sunday churchgoing parents and left wingers everywhere. 'Killing Is My Business' was the first aural delivery by Megadeth, the band Mustaine formed for the sole purpose of getting revenge on Metallica, and it has stood as a vital pillar of the early thrash metal movement to this day.

Low production values and frequent spats with Combat Records meant that the original version of 'Killing' never lived up to the band's original vision. The Expanded Remix edition rectifies all of these issues, right down to the album artwork, making it a better, stronger, more cohesive record. The new remix is much more full, and sounds wonderful, with Gar Samuelson's thundering drums in the middle of the frantic guitars, instead of wedged in the background. Samuelson's fluent jazz fusion skills marry perfectly with the remix, creating a sense of fluency within Mustaine's psycho-violent song structure. David Ellefson's bass guitar hangs like a dark canopy over the cacophony of aggressive riffs and screaming solos, never intrusive, yet never far away. Then there's the tag team of Mustaine and Chris Poland, both of whom bounce back and forth between skin-shredding rhythm work and blazing solos, each attempting to outdo the other. Where Mustaine is a chaotic wrecking ball of rhythm genius, Poland is far more diverse, and able to hit notes and scales that most other guitarists would be unable to do, thanks in part to a finger injury endured in his past. 'Killing's' songs are just as you remember them. 'Last Rites...Loved to Deth' is a trip into possessive madness on the rails of rapid-fire double bass kick and noisy riffing with an off-time verse and sloppy (on purpose) lyrics that serves as the launchpad for the entire album, propelling its frantic vertical pace at the speed of light, and serving as one of the album's strongest tracks. 'Killing Is My Business' is a tongue-in-cheek ode to the Marvel Comics character The Punisher. The song jumps back and forth between biker rock and speed metal, sticking to a straightforward approach right up until the end. 'The Skull Beneath The Skin' tells the tale of Megadeth's mascot, Vic Rattlehead, giving insight into the dark occult ceremony that turns him into the being which would later shift his attention towards political and social issues. 'Rattlehead' is a blindingly fast anthem that glorifies the sheer fun of rock n' roll music, while 'Chosen Ones' pays goofy tribute to the killer rabbit from Monty Python's Holy Grail. This double-dose of snicker is traded for a much more somber tone with 'Looking Down The Cross,' Mustaine's own interpretation of what Jesus Christ might have felt at the time of his death. 'Mechanix' is a re-working of Metallica's 'Four Horsemen,' ditching the latter's fictional elements for a focus on sexual double entendre. The album closes with 'These Boots,' a cover of Nancy Sinatra's original song, but with portions of the lyrics bleeped out due to legal red tape. Mustaine goes into detail in the liner notes regarding the reason for this approach, but unfortunately, it ruins the song. Because of this, the Remix album falls short of 5 stars to a respectable 4.

Sonic purists tend to cry the blues whenever a Remastered or Remixed version of their classic albums is released. Personally, I want to hear albums the best way possible, with full sonic range and dynamic quality enhanced. You can't get that on the original version of 'Killing,' but the Remixed edition is the best you're going to hear this landmark thrash metal classic. Turn it up, shatter the windows, and irritate your neighbors.

Charlemange: The Omens Of Death
Charlemange: The Omens Of Death
Price: CDN$ 21.58
22 used & new from CDN$ 13.72

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Triumph For Christopher Lee, Oct. 8 2013
At 91 years of age, Christopher Lee should, by all accounts, be enjoying the quiet life in the countryside without a care. Instead, the charismatic thespian-turned-musician is busy cranking out his second heavy metal album, "Omens of Death," a follow-up to "By The Sword And The Cross," detailing the events in the life of Charles The Great of the Carolingian Empire. This second offering abandons much of the symphonic and theatrical elements of the first album in favor of a more straightforward mix of power, thrash, and death metal, with just a hint of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest tossed in for good measure.

Upon first listen, it's hard to tell if Christopher Lee is trying to craft a new approach to metal, or if he's simply too unfamiliar with the structure of the genre to make it work perfectly. Because of this dilemma, Lee tends to sound as if he's singing overtop of an instrumental track that was never meant to contain lyrics in the first place. The musical compositions are the work of Richie Faulkner (Judas Priest) with Hedras Ramos Jr. (Guns N' Roses), Ramos Sr., and Ollie Usiskin on drums, and it shows. The musicians wisely avoid sticking to one type of metal structure, and as the album progresses, it begins to open up into new sonic territory with Lee's booming, commanding vocals paired with a total of seven (!!!) other singers in a collaborative effort. There's nothing really new, however. Chances are that you've heard exactly this kind of heavy metal before, but certainly not with someone like Christopher Lee taking center stage. Lee is an excellent storyteller, and he's able to recount Charlemagne's history in the vein of a concept album, where even veteran metal bands can stumble and fall flat on their face. I dare say that Lee sounds out of his element on a few songs, most notably "Charles The Great," and "Massacre of the Saxons," whose vocals are almost borderline-silly when fronted against the music. Still, there's a great degree of melody and harmony in the album, even when things do get heavier in songs like "The Devil's Advocate." Unfortunately, the album closer "Judgement Day" isn't quite the send off that it should be, but it does leave the gates wide open for a third album in the future. If anything, "The Omens of Death" sounds majestic, even if though it stumbles here and there. It's nowhere near a perfect metal album, at least by traditional standards, and it's a jar to the system to hear Christopher Lee's vocals for the first time, but I can't think of many metal vocalists who have this much charisma.

Christopher Lee does a remarkable job of proving that not all people of advanced years are a bunch of miserable old farts who complain about the music being too loud. It also proves that when Lee wants to accomplish something, he will do just that, and have a ton of fun in the process!

Canon EOS 70D 20.2 MP Digital SLR Camera with Dual Pixel CMOS AF and EF-S 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 IS STM Kit
Canon EOS 70D 20.2 MP Digital SLR Camera with Dual Pixel CMOS AF and EF-S 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 IS STM Kit
Offered by ZooomElectronics
Price: CDN$ 1,529.95
9 used & new from CDN$ 1,529.95

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome To The Revolution, Sept. 25 2013
Canon's EOS 70D represents a huge paradigm shift in mid-range DSLR cameras, combining a bountiful assortment of bells & whistles, with some of the best technology underneath the hood. The first thing one notices about the 70D is its focus on ease of use. While cameras of this particular class can be downright confusing for beginners and novices, Canon has taken a lot of the guesswork out of the game by making all its features oh-so-easy to least in the right shooting mode. It sports a 20 megapixel CMOS sensor with a Dual-Pixel CMOS autofocus, which Canon claims (rightfully so) to be one of the best on the market. Provided you've set the camera up for the right situation, the 70D can focus in the blink of an eye with a straightforward "quick" mode, while offering absolute control of focus with 19 individual points that can be hand, er...finger-selected on the fly. Shooting through the viewfinder offers a heads-up overlay, but one can also access many of the features on the 70D through the flip-out LCD capacitive 3" vari-angle LCD touchscreen. Its accuracy is as spot on as an iPhone, and not once did I mis-tap anything on the screen. The only issue I did see was when pinching to zoom on a shot I had just taken. The 70D can sometimes mistake a pinch for a swipe, and end up jumping back and forth between photos. It didn't happen nearly enough to cause frustration, however. The ease of use continues with Canon's built-in wi-fi system, which can stream content to a nearby computer, wireless network, or even a cellphone, and allow said phone to actually control the 70D remotely with the use of a free app, which is perfect for those who demand perfect stability for every shot. The LCD screen can also be set to a touch-to-shoot mode, allowing pictures to be taken by a single finger-tap. However, this "live shoot" feature did cause a number of issues for me, including the inability to swap Focus modes, ISO modes, or activating my remote hotshoe censor which triggers my Elinchrom lights. When I went back to view finder mode, these all became non-issues. Since I'm not the most knowledgeable photographer in the world, it may be a testament to my inexperience with cameras of this particular magnitude, and therein lies the point. The 70D is a monster that is meant for seasoned photographers and professionals. The budding photographer will have to undergo a steep learning curve, but at least Canon has made it easy to gain a solid footing on the first try.

When it comes to still shots, the 70D performs wonderfully. It outshines its nearest competitor, the Nikon D7100, with much better clarity at higher ISO modes. Indeed, the camera can shoot beautiful photographs with very little noticeable grain up to 6400, which is no small feat in and of itself. The D7100 simply cannot match this in a head-to-head, but there's a tradeoff. In terms of contrast, color saturation, and HDR capabilities, the D7100 does have an advantage over the Canon 70D, which is unusual. Thankfully, Photoshop nuts need only make a few adjustments in post to achieve the same result, especially with plugins like Topaz Adjust (which I highly recommend).

Video is another matter. The 70D outclasses the Nikon D7100 by a huge margin. It shoots with greater clarity, while tracking its subjects with amazing autofocus precision and less judder. It can also shoot in 24, 25, 29.776, 50, or 60 FPS modes, but the latter two are only possible when shooting in 720P, which is rather a disappointment given the wealth of features already included. The inclusion of All-i intra-frame and IPB inter-frame shooting modes is a nice choice, but users would be hard pressed to notice much of a difference between the two, and therefore, IPB is strongly recommended for smaller file sizes at the cost of more CPU usage during video editing. The built-in mic does a remarkable job of picking up most audio, but naturally, it's no substitute for a professional sound rig if you happen to be shooting an interview or other commercial-class footage. Naturally, video recording is a write-intensive process, and for that reason, users would be wise to pick up at least a 32GB SD Card with a class 10 write speed, preferably UHS-1 (trust me on this). The 70D records clips at a maximum size of 4GB, but immediately begins shooting a brand new file without any interruption, which is quite nice. My only gripe is the lack of a secondary SD card slot which the Nikon D7100 sports. Not a huge loss, but another VERY cool whistle that I can't blow. Finally, the D70 shoots in .mov format using an H.264 codec, which is absolutely beautiful news.

I'm still learning this mid-range beast, but I feel smarter and more professional every time I do. Since my background is extensive in Photoshop, it's only natural to pair my skill set with a camera worthy of my talents. The 70D may be too much camera even for me, but I'd rather have a stronger, more advanced weapon in my hands, than an inferior model. For those looking to test the waters with an adequately affordable mid-range DSLR, it's either the 70D or the Nikon D7100. Both have advantages over the other, and both are great products, but I kept gravitating towards the 70D for the sheer amount of technical gadgets built into the unit which make my life SO much easier when I'm shooting. Purists may opt for the D7100 for the extra bit of clarity and color depth, but since I can fix all these issues in Photoshop, the choice was quite clear for me. There's simply no feasible way one can be disappointed with the 70D.

NOTE: The $1649 kit comes with an 18-135mm lens, and I'm happy to report that it's a great combo. The lens is perfect for shooting pretty much anything except for extremely small objects (switch to a macro lens for that), and its focus abilities are married perfectly to the 70D's built in AF technology. Perfect for those who want a great setup straight out of the box.
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Warrior on the Edge of Time:Expanded Edition
Warrior on the Edge of Time:Expanded Edition
Price: CDN$ 48.40
31 used & new from CDN$ 22.26

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Iconic Classic Gets Its Overdue Treatment, July 27 2013
'Warrior on the Edge of Time' represents a pivotal moment in Hawkwind's career. It was the last of the band's albums to focus on hypnotic mystical space rock material, and the last album to feature Lemmy Kilmister before his subsequent firing and creation of seminal heavy metal band Motorhead. The album is a hodgepodge of lyrical material derived from various sources, from Michael Moorcock to Henry Wadsworth, and features a slightly more medieval/folk sound overlaid on top of aggressive chanting hard rock anthems. Hawkwind's highly experimental nature shines through on the record with album opener 'Assault and Battery,' with an infectiously beautiful synth laid on top of a twirling bassline, sloppy drumwork and hypnotic lyrics, before fading into 'The Golden Void,' a slower, more introspective chug-rocker. Michael Moorcock takes the stage on the spoken 'The Wizard Blew His Horn,' before drifting into the addicting 'Opa-Loka,' a repetitive instrumental paced cleverly by Dave Brock's attention to timing. Things slow down with the dreamily introspective 'The Demented Man,' with its haunting vocals, before firing back on full cylinders with 'Magnu,' a fast-paced, epic piece of thundering chug-rock that takes bridge experimentation to entirely new heights. It's abundantly clear how much Hawkwind just loves to jam, and they do jam so very well. Nik Turner jumps into the fray with another spoken track, 'Standing At The Edge,' before leaping back into Hawkwind's classical space rock territory with 'Spiral Galaxy 28948,' a beautiful almost-tribute to LSD and higher states of consciousness. Michael Moorcock once again returns to speak on 'Warriors,' signaling the closing of the album. It begins with 'Dying Seas,' a very quick and altogether haunting rock number with near unintelligible distorted vocals, Nik Turner's chaotic saxophone and swirling oscillators. The album closes on a completely different note with 'Kings of Speed,' a track one could possibly mistake for a Lemmy tune, but was actually co-penned by Dave Brock and Michael Moorcock. The song is one of the few Hawkwind tracks to focus most primarily on a traditional, stripped down classic rock formula with no space rock elements at all. And of course, there's the first iconic recording of Lemmy's own 'Motorhead,' the song which would serve as foreshadowing to his future band, and which would be re-recorded for the band's original debut album.

There's a lot of history on 'Warrior,' and most of it is known only to die-hard Hawkwind fans, and those who kept their ears close to the ground during the time period which the album was recorded. It's also incredibly difficult to describe the album's sonic richness, both from a creative standpoint, and a technical one. Hawkwind are a band all their own, and nobody sounds quite like they do, especially from this particular period in the band's history. The casual music listener would pick up Hawkwind's first five albums and either be pleasantly amazed, or flat-out confused at just what the hell is going on. However, 'Warrior' is the most easily approachable of the band's five original albums. I would dare to call it the band's best work, and a melancholy farewell to the type of sound that Hawkwind never again tried to duplicate. Future albums like 'Levitation,' 'Sonic Attack,' and "Chronicle of the Black Sword' would focus more on traditional hard rock/heavy metal motifs with tracks dedicated to Hawkwind's swirling, chaotic synthesizer works, but 'Warrior' merges those elements into each and every song.

The Expanded Edition is LONG overdue, and boasts not one, but two separate remasters. The first contains a remaster using the original master tapes, while the second contains a stereo mix taken from the multi-track master tapes. It's difficult to tell which one usurps the other. While I am fond of the second stereo remaster, I did notice that many of the more purposely shrill and dramatic elements were tucked more into the background of the track, lessening the impact of the original. Either way, both are a significant step up from the original version of the album which has been in circulation for God-knows-how-long. This is the definitive version of 'Warrior' to place in your collection, by far. There's also the 5.1 DVD surround mix using a 24-bit flat transfer of the original tapes, but it's notoriously difficult to gauge properly, since everyone's stereo setup is so different. I'm not fond of reviewing 5.1 mixes. Pick it up and see for yourself. Rest assured, you won't find a better collection. There's also a fascinating photo book and a host of amazing extras for the discerning Hawkwind fan. All of those elements give a rare glimpse into an oft-overlooked period in rock history.

'Warrior on the Edge of Time' deserves its praise and accolades. Plenty of musical review sites have given the album an average rating, and even Lemmy Kilmister has been vocal about his dislike for the album, but I vehemently disagree. There's a strange aura and power to the album which sets it atop a completely different cloud in the Hawkwind heavens, and repeated listens only serve to drive home this point. It came out at a turbulent time in the band's career, and signaled a series of schizophrenic shifts in the sound of Hawkwind's future albums; not to mention a mammoth listing of roster changes. Hawkwind was never quite the same after this album came out, but it certainly caught them at the height of their inspiration and creativity.

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