The Gorillaz: Demon Days

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HalfSwiss was here, have a party with Afifan and the Gorillaz.

The Gorillaz have earned their fair-share of fans and infamy these days. I found that me being a big fan of alternative music meant that I had to be open to all types of Alternative style, including cartoons. Yes, these characters may not physically here, but musically, they couldn’t be any better. The gorillaz have released songs that have reached the bottom and top of charts, and this can also be said about Demon Days, their most recent release. the album features Alternative hits and catchy hooks that you’ll find yourself humming throughout the day.

The album’s opener, “Intro” features the more electronic side of the record that is actually a real great success. The song feels right for an intro, and doesn’t seems overdone, especially considering the fact that the song is just a bit over a minute long. It’s very nice, and is one of the best on the record. Then the record takes you to Last Living Souls, a more rock-oriented song, but still has much electronic influence. The song has a beat that you’ll find yourself snapping your fingers or whistling to constantly, in a good way. The record then goes on with a great, even flow.

the record has it’s ups and downs though. the vocals are sub-par, and are no where near as great as the inspirational debut album, Gorillaz. But honestly, that’s my only complaint.

The Gorillaz are a band that have changed the alternative music scene. They’ve combined rock with hip hop, jazz influences with pop. The Gorillaz, and Demon Days, are a success. If your a love of rock, hip hop, or just music in general, I suggest picking up this album, or at least giving it a listen. you’ll thank me in the longrun.

Overall Score:    92% (Outstanding!)

All Time Low: Nothing Personal

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These pop-punksters have been rocking out since early 2003, and they were the kind of band that you thoguht would record one record, fight, and break up to create five other pop-punk bands that sound exactly alike. The scenario is not the story for these punk rockers. Although they have created a name for themselves in the pop-punk scene as being “blink-182” posers, or “The guys who just got lucky”, All Time Low have proven that they have something to say through their music. This whole, “every band sound the same” thing in the pop-punk scene didn’t really start until Panic! released their first album, and it all went downhill from there, with pop-punk wannabes like Forever The Sicket Kids, Hey Monday, Boys Like Girls, Cobra Starship, and more. But All Time Low’s debut album “The Party Scene” proved that they weren’t like all the other pop-punk fakers out there.

This album says the same.

The album starts with the “Weightless”, a song with a damn catchy tune that you’ll find yourself humming every now and then. The approach with Weightless starts off with a fade-in, which isn’t exactly the most original concept for an opener, but All Time Low proves to pull it off without having to linger the song on for 2 minutes without singing. Right off the bat, lead singer Alex Gaskarth sings his heart away that keeps the fans screaming the lyircs, and the critics pleased.

The rest of the album is also pretty straight-forward to say the truth. the major dissapointment soon crawls in though. Although I’ve stated many positive things about All Time Low and this record, the album was close to being another geneirc pop album that just wasn’t going to cut, and let me tell you why. the album features tracks that sound strikingly similar to each other. Although I don’t know if this was true, information was released that the rocks went into the studio in January 09, and left early February.

Only a month of work on this album?

It’s apparent really, because the album feels like it was rushed. Although their prior album, “So Wrong, it’s Right” was released in 2007, which leaves a 2-year gap between albums, this album doesn’t seems to have a consistent flow of genre. Sticking to one genre isn’t a bad thing at all, but when every song sounds the same on a record, it just won’t cut it in the industry. This was NP’s biggest mistake. The album tracks sound much to similar to each other, and the only track that differs on the record is “Too Much”…and it’s a bit too much on the different side. The track leaves the band hanging as to where to go, and the electronics stray too far from the albums core, leaving it at an unorganized disadvantage.

But overall, the albums was extremely pleasing. Sometimes sounds the same isn’t the worst approach, and it’s definetely one of the best pop-punk albums I’ve listened to in a long time, in fact, it just might be up to par with blink-182 material, although it didn’t leave the same effect as the trio did and does today (yay!). the album is a total pickup if your an ATL fan or a lover of pop-punk music in general.

Scores:

  • Weightless: 8/10
  • Break Your Little Heart: 7.5/10
  • Damned if I do Ya, Damned if I don’t: 7.5/10
  • Lost in Stereo: 7/10
  • Stella: 7/10
  • Sick Little Games: 6.5/10
  • Hello Brooklyn: 7.5/10
  • Walls: 7.5/10
  • Too Much: 5.5/10
  • Keep The Change, you Filthy Animal: 8/10
  • A Party Song: 7/10
  • Therapy: 7/10

Overall Score:  86/120  =  72% (Passable)

Batman: Arkham Asylum

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Yes, I played it. 2 days ago to be exact, and to say the truth, I couldn’t get my hands off of it. My friends, this is the best superhero game of all time, the best fighting game of the year, and quite possibly the best game of the year yet. Although it’s not perfect, this game is really great with only a few noticeable flaws that keep it from being probably the best game I’ve played this year and in a long time. Lets begin our quest through Arkham.

I’m going to start off the review by telling you guysabout the storyline. You see, Joker issent to Arkham yet agin, but this time, him and his goons have decided to take over the place. Your job, as Batman, is to control and defeat Joker and ALL of his goons before Joker destroys Arkham and then Gotham in its place. The storyline is not really all that new to hardcore Batman fans. You come in, fight the Joker, and get out. But something about the storyline is this game is justso addicitve, you can’t help but get pulled in. It’s also very reminecent to past Batman comics. The Joker looks, sounds, and feels like the Joker we would all remember and love. He’s funny, yet deadly. Witty, yet gruesome. A genius, yet a menace. This Joker has it all. Batman also has a bit of an attitude in this game, but I feel that he can act abit too much like the Batman we see on all those cheesy cartoons. Although Batman has always been quite q serious fellow, he has cracked a few jokes here and there in the comics. Here…nothing. He has no emotions except for anger, and a lot of Batman fans will love that. But me…no, I really found that dissapointing. Overall, the storyline is nothing new, but it’s not at all bad. the farthest from bad actually.  And after you beat the story mode, you have plently of challenge rooms to keep you busy. At least 40 hours of gameplay I’d say.

The combat systems is actually one that takes some growing into, but once you have, it’s a fun system to control. You see, you’ve got your square button that inflicts a normal punch attack, and if you hit the square button more at one time, you inflict a combo move. Simple, right? then you have your triangle button, which can be used to do various things throughout the game, but during combat is used to counter enemy attacks. The circle button is used like the square button, andyou can also combo with triagnle to inflict a takedown move. So that covers the hand-to-hand combat portion of the game.  Then you also have the battarang, nightvision / heat vision sensor controls, and much more. The overall combat system and control scheme is very vast, too vast to get fully into. But you’ll love it.

The voice acting was quie nice to say the truth. Sometimes Batman’s voice would be saying something, and his mouth would be saying something else though. A lot the voice acting in my opinion was off-key and somewhat mediocre when compared to what the character is trying to mouth-out. And to me, that was a very large let-down. It was robably the largest disspaointment in the game. Although I love the cast of voice actors, the game wasn’t doing them justice.

Character designs varied from excellent to just plain stupid. Batman and Joker had excellent character designs. Batman looking like a muscular hero, and Joker looking like a menace to behold. The true essence to both characters. But the largest con about the character designs came when you began to see Joker’s henchmen. These guys were more ripped tan Batman, they almost even resembled Killer Croc! Their designs were also completely un-imaginative. I mean, a couple guys with shaved heads, mohawks, and masks? And all wearing basically the same exact clothes? They could have done much better in this field. But I guess the characters that actually are seen most in the game are done nicely, or the main characters.

The graphics and physics engine was phenomenal. The game runs on the Unreal Engine 3, the same engine that runs Unreal Tournament, you know, one of the best looking games that ever existed? Yes, this game looks and feels fantastic. The graphics are phenomenal. You can actually see the sweat on Batman’s face, you can actually see the paint wearing off of Joker’s face, and you can actually see single strands of hair, pebbles being kicked on the ground, and individual water droplets coming from the ceiling, or when you run through a puddle. the physics were amazing. You punch someone, their face gets messed up. You hit someone with a battarang, blood flies and stays there. You hit someone so hard they fly, their body twists and turns. I was fantastic. The only thing I didn’t like about the grahpics were that sometimes the graphics looked a bit bland and out of there, like the wall texture looked exactly like the floor. But hey, not everything is perfect..right? But something that was really nice was that Batman gets beat up and scarred as you gradually procede in the game. Which was pretty cool. The game also sounded great.

Overall, the game was an achievement. Like that many have said, the game did what The Dark Knight did in the film univesere. It was near perfect, with only few flaws. It’s a great game that any batman fan needs to pick up.

Scores:

  • Graphics: 9.5/10
  • Gameplay: 8.5/10
  • Story: 9.5/10
  • Sound / Music: 9/10
  • Voice Acting: 7.5/10
  • Realism / physics: 10/10
  • Lasting Appeal: 9/10
  • Replay Value: 9.5/10

Overall Score: 72.5/80  =  91%  (Outstanding!)

Demos, Demos, Demos!

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I had a fun day in Wal-Street today. Yes, I was able to get me hands on two demos of some of the most impressive Playstation 3 games out there. First, let’s take a little stroll down to Arkham Asylum and see how The Joker’s doing.

Batman: Arkham Asylum Demo Review

                     Well, this is probably the most anticipated game of the summer, and me not owning a PS3 deprived me from the demo’s intensity and pure fun. The demo is just was fun as playing the game, well, I can’t really say that since the game hasn’t really been released yet, but you get the picture. This demo featured Batman at a challenge room, with 4 different rounds needed to be passed. The first, with four henchmen ready to fight. After you’ve defeated them by dealing some awesome hits and combos, the number of enemies increases by two in every round until you eventually finish off ten opponents in round four. The gameplay is very nice and responsive. There’s really no lag. If you press square and then combo with triangle and circle, you’ll punch and then takedown in a second gap. The game’s graphics are phenomenal. It’s remanecent of cel-shaded graphics, with the amazing graphics you gain from the Unreal Engine. I honestly think the game is going to be awesome, and there’s no reason why you fans out there shouldn’t think so either.

                  One thing that i was disappointed with though were the character designs and the art direction. Although Eidos did their best to make it look like an insane asylum, I think they tried a bit too hard. It looks like they took Batmna and put him in a Resident Evil game or something. it just wasn’t batsy…at all. And the henchmen looked horrible. The body structures made them look like they were on steroids or something, and the clothing was almost as worse. One thing that I did like about character designs though were the henchmen’s faces. Some of them had Joker painted faces, which was pure win.

               The physics engine is quite nice as well. Bodies actually twisted and turned depending on how hard Batman hit them. Sometimes enemies would bounce off of walls as well. Hair stood up when enemies were electricuted, and when you fight, you could see individual pebbles being kicked around as you ran. It was just wonderful. Overall, this game is going to be really nice, and I can’t wait to pick it up, if i plan on getting a PS3.

Overall Demo Score:  90/100  (90%) Outstanding!

The other demo review will be up soon! Stay tuned!

Alkaline Trio: From Here To Infirmary

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Well, seeing as though I’ve already reviewed the first two Alkaline Trio albums, Godammit! and Maybe I’ll Catch Fire, I thought that it would only be customary to review the thrid one, and the remaining ones so that I could complete the collection of reviews for my favorite Chicago punksters.

Well, although I loved the first two albums, and they have a place near and dear to my heart, I can’t really say the same when it comes to this album, their thrid installment. Alklaine Trio have been known to be one of the most talented punk bands out there, with their catchy riffs, almost-perfect lyrics, and aggresive drum and bass beats. But what happened during the recording of this album?

Alkaline Trio, in the day, would release Albums yearly, and it was only apparent and reasonable to believe that they would have a slump eventually. This is it. Although the album features super catchy tunes like “Mr.Chainsaw” and “I’m Dying Tomorrow”…it just doesn’t feel like the Trio we knew and loved before. This album feels a lot more soft, and it seems that they tried to spend more time polishing the album, rather than making it their next best hit, and a favorite for the fans. Alkaline Trio seemed to have been losing their edge…fast.

But, although all these negative things came up with the record, it wasn’t a total baddie. In fact, I still enjoyed this album quite a bit. Although it’s a bit softer, songs like “You’re Dead” and “Bloodied Up” can really sound like hits, and songs that you could listen to over and over again. Even if they are a bit softer.

They also didn’t stray too far from their aggressive core. Songs like “Steamer Trunk”, “Crawl”, and “Private Eye” all have a hard, fast punk beat. And I really can’t complain at all with those songs, I really love them.

Even though the album wasn’t their best, it was still good. I would recommend picking it up if your a Trio fan.  

Tracks With Scores:

  • Private Eye   :   7/10
  • Mr.Chainsaw  :  8/10
  • Takes Lots With Alcohol  :  8/10
  • Stupid Kid  :  4/10
  • Another Innocent Girl  :  7.5/10
  • Steamer Trunk  :  10/10
  • You’re Dead  :  10/10
  • Armageddon  :  6/10
  • I’m Dying Tomorrow  :  8/10
  • Bloodied Up  :  8/10
  • Trucks and Trains  :  8/10
  • Crawl  :  10/10

Overall Score  :  94.5/120  ( 79% ) = Fair

Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince

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It’s been too long since I wrote a review.

Harry Potter has always had a record of being one of the most famous, fan obsessed, and critically acclaimed Film Franchises of all time, and this new installment into the Harry Potter Universe, Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince, is not a failure, not at the slightest. In fact, I would go as far as to say that this is one the best movie of the whole series, and let me tell you why.

Harry Potter movies have been known for having stunning special effects that leave you in awe after every scene. There are crazy things in the world of Harry Potter, and I don’t imagine it to be very easy to render and create special effects for these films, and it totally evident that a lot of effort went into not only the acting, special effects, and story, but everything in between as well. The special effects in this movie are the best yet, with realistic renders that are just too awesome to even comprehend. And to think that there’s more to the movie than it’s special effects, the effects alone garners the movie a four-star rating in my book. but the acting is simply superb.

All old cast have been returned in this installment, not one actor was replaced, and that’s the way I like it. the actors did a splendid job of portraying they’re HP characters, it was a great show, really it was. Daniel Radcliffe did a splendid job as Harry, Emma Watson great at doing Hermoine, and Rupert Grint couldn’t have been bettwer as Ron. Another thing that I loved about this movie was it’s strong focus on the relationships found in the Harry Potter universe.

The movie is based soley on Harry and Dumbeldore trying to destroy the horcrux that Voldemort sealed a part of his soul into, but there are many different twists and turns in this movie that will just keep you glued to the screen the entire time. The relationships are humorous and pleasing to watch, at the best, but the movie really shined when the darker side of the film showed it’s gruesome face.

Althought there were many laughs on the way, this was darkest, and saddest movie from the whole entire series. The movie relies heavily on the corruption that Tom Riddle leaves behind at Hogwarts, and the dark secrets that he passed away. I’m not going to reveal too much in this review, but the movie can’t get any darker than what it has already achieved. Of course, manny say that it is the lighting, and that’s definetely a contributor, but the movie has a dark plotline that can really get to you, and it also brings back horrible memories from Albus, Harry, and the newly added character, Slughorn. All these memories have a vast effect on the turning poin of the story, and if you haven’t already read the book, I suggest you don’t read it before the movie. the movie is vastly different from the book, and very the same at the same time. It contains a multitude of references from the book, more than any movie has shown, but at the same time, it is it’s own movie in itself, rather than an adaption if you ask me, which in this case is very good.

If you have alread read the book, then you already know about the gruesome ending. Although that it wasn’t the happiest moment in the Harry Potter series, I think that the movie portrayed the moment beautifully without any flaws at all. The production values for this moviem although not suprising, were wxtremely high. Too much effort was put into this movie, I can’t believe they finished it in time, but I’m glad that they did. There was one part, though, that they left out. A huge part. So huge, that it wasprobably my only real letdown for the movie, and I can’t beleive that they had the audacity to not include it.

Overall, the movie was simply wonderful. There were many laughs on the way, but the delightfully dark mood of the movie captures the book’s mood very well. It doesn’t matter if your a fan of Harry Potteror not. If you love great movies, your going to adore this one. It was simply spectactular. Except for that one part that was missing, the movie was just amazing. A legend to behold.

  • Sound: 9/10
  • Acting: 9/10
  • Action: 10/10
  • Story: 10/10
  • Humor: 9.5/10
  • Visuals: 10/10
  • Unique Taste: 9/10
  • Tilt: 8.5/10
  • Lasting Appeal: 10/10

Overall Score: 85/90  =  94% (Outstanding)

Money Masters

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