• Edguy - Monuments (2017)

    One can always discuss the necessity to release a compilation but Edguy's first and last greatest hits collection was released thirteen years prior to this release and the band has released five studio albums that hadn't been included on Hall of Flames. In this case, I would say it's acceptable to come around with such a release to celebrate the band's twenty-fifth anniversary.

    Monuments offers twenty-two songs covering twenty-five years. Obviously, the band had to make certain choices regarding the songs that might disappoint some fans. I was surprised this record didn't include the powerful first single from the last record "Sabre & Torch", the band's best epic in form of the Savatage-inspired symphonic power metal anthem "Sacrifice" or the band's overlooked first epic "The Kingdom" with a narrative part involving Grave Digger's Chris Boltendahl. On the other side, the compilation covers power metal tracks from the band's early years such as "Key to My Fate", hard rock and heavy metal fun athems of the middle years such as "Lavatory Love Machine" and more epic recent material like the folk-inspired "Rock of Cashel". Despite a few essential tracks missing and the Kingdom of Madness album being completely ignored, the overall mixture of old and new material, short and epic tracks, power metal anthems and hard rock party tunes is balanced and represents the spirit of the band very well.

    To make things more interesting for faithful fans of old date, this compilation even includes a respectable six unreleased tracks. Five are completely new songs with lyrics inspired by the band history. These songs also represent the band sound very well as they vary between up-tempo European power metal in "Ravenblack" to slightly slower and more grooving and rocking hard rock anthems such as "Wrestle the Devil". These five songs aren't particularly great but solid and typical material for the band. Ironically, the most interesting unreleased tune is a song recorded during the Savage Poetry recording sessions twenty-two years ago when the band members were still unknown teenagers and not famous rock Icons. "Reborn in the Waste" is a little bit darker and more rhythmic than the usual Edguy sound and Tobias Sammet's grounded vocals sound surprisingly variable. This song shows what stunning potential the band already had back then and this outtake sounds much better than many regular songs on this compilation despite its demo sound.

    In addition to the two CDs, this release also includes a DVD that might be the most interesting part for old fans. Edguy had recorded a live show in Brazil back in 2004 but due to some technical problems, the live show had never been fully released. The first three songs of the show had been included on the Superheroes DVD. The audio version of the ballad "Land of the Miracle" was included as a bonus song on the limited edition of the Rocket Ride album but all other songs haven't been released so far. Instead, the band decided to record another show in Sao Paulo two years later which was released as "Fucking with Fire". The Sao Paulo show from the Hellfire Club tour in now available in its full length. The band performance is energizing, the crowd is enthusiastic and the set list includes a few great rarities such as André Matos' guest appearance during the Avantasia song "Chalice of Agony". The image quality of the show is slightly below average, the camera work is a little bit blurry and shaky at times and there is a weird cut with some missing sounds in the opening "Mysteria" but otherwise the concert is of very good quality. The DVD also includes all eight official Edguy video clips including the unreleased "Two Out of Seven" video clip which isn't very original though.

    To keep it short, Monuments is a very good introduction to the band for new or occasional fans. It's also an above average release for faithful fans thanks to the six unreleased tunes and the bonus DVD. The booklet with numerous pictures is also quite entertaining to go through. Don't hesitate to purchase this collection at a reasonable Price.

    Final Rating: 80%

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  • Twin Peaks 2017

    Tenth episode: Laura is the one / The Return, Part IX

    Content: Richard Horne confronts Miriam, who tells him she has written to Sheriff Truman about the hit-and-run. He kills her, turns on the gas and lights a candle in her trailer, then has Deputy Chad intercept the letter. The Mitchums see a news story about Ike's arrest, and recognize Cooper as "Mr. Jackpots". After noticing Cooper's new physique, Janey-E has sex with him. Nadine Hurley watches Dr. Jacoby's latest broadcast from her drapery store. Richard attacks his grandmother Sylvia in her home and robs her. She calls Ben and demands money from him. Duncan Todd orders Anthony Sinclair to frame Dougie for the denial of an arson insurance claim that lost the Mitchums $30 million. Gordon has a vision of Laura. Albert informs him that the FBI has intercepted a text message from Diane informing someone of Hastings' arrest. Tammy shows them a photo that places Cooper's doppelgänger at the location of the New York murders. Hawk receives another call from the Log Lady, who tells him "Laura is the one.".

    Analysis: This episode manages to relate different characters and events from Buckhorn, Las Vegas, New York City and Twin Peaks and slowly prepares for this season's final showdown. Some questions are answered but others emerge. It seems obvious to me that Dale Cooper's evil doppelgänger has manipulated, still manipulates and will continue to manipulate people across the country to eliminate Douglas Jones or the real Dale Cooper. It also seems obvious that the villain Richard Horne must be Audrey Horne's son. This isn't precisely stated but he calls Silvia Horne his grandmother and must therefor be Johnny or Audrey's child and since Johnny is severely mentally disabled and he doesn't react to him when he sees him, it seems more probable that he is Audrey's son. Since his behavior is so mean, I think it's probable that Dale Cooper's evil doppelgänger could be his father and that he may have raped Audrey Horne when she was at the hospital after the explosion of the bank witnessed at the end of the second season. Concerning Diane Evans, she seems to be quite manipulative. It's hard to believe that her fear regarding Evil Cooper's doppelgänger was only faked but maybe he has information to pressure her and make her collaborate with him because of something that has happened in the past. Maybe he had made Diane Evans break the law in the past and now uses that undiscovered crime to increase her dependancy upon him.

    Description: After a transitional ninth episode that had too many lengths, this tenth episode quickens up the pace. This episode starts with one of the third season's most brutal scenes and develops Richard Horne and Chad Broxford as intense main villains in Twin Peaks. Meanwhile, the Mitchum Brothers as well as Duncan Todd and his associates are developed as manipulative villains in Las Vegas. A few more light-hearted scenes such as Albert Rosenfield's date with Constance Talbot as well as the hilarious sex scene between Douglas Jones and Janey-E Jones make this Episode even more diversified, fluid and gripping. This episode also includes two minor twists when the FBI realizes Diane Evans seems to collaborate with Dale Cooper's evil doppelgänger and that this same doppelgänger seems to be connected to the brutal penthouse murders in New York City. Overall, there are a lot of things going on in just forty-six minutes. This episode is only fifty-three minutes long and the last six minutes are dedicated to a new band performance at the Roadhouse and the credits.

    Favorite scene: There were many great scenes but my favorite one was Richard Horne's conflict with a helpless Silvia Horne in front of a desperate Johnny Horne. This scene was intense and represented a new negative peak for this gripping family who even uses and abuses his own family members. 

    Rating: 9/10

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  • Garyeojin Shigan / Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned (2016)

    Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned is a South Korean fantasy drama that convinces with an intriguing story mixing fantasy and reality with great acting performances despite a few minor lengths in the middle section. The film has a lot of depth as it deals with the topics of friendship, life and trust in a gripping way. The two main characters are authentic, dynamic and sympathetic and most viewers will care about their fates until the very end. The camera work is accurate and slow, the light techniques add a lot of atmosphere, the Locations are mysterious and original, the soundtrack underlines the movie's atmospheric parts and even the special effects are gorgeous yet down-to-earth which is a perfect mixture most Asian fantasy movies fail to achieve.

    The story revolves around the friendship of two young outsiders that most viewers might identify with because they are both profound, sympathetic and resilient. Su-rin is a teenage girl whose divorced mother died and who has moved to an island with her stepfather. She doesn't really get a long with her busy stepfather, fails to make new friends and is often seen as weird because of her interest in the occult. She's a creative, emotional and smart Girl who even develops a secret sign language. Sung-min is a joyful, optimistic and quirky orphan boy who has a crush on the mysterious girl that is so different from all the others. He works very hard to get closer to her and gradually develops an intense friendship and even romantic relationship to the older Girl despite his friends' negative comments. One day, the young couple and two teenage friends discover a mysterious cave in a forest where they find a shining egg in a hidden lake. When Su-rin returns to the cave to look for a lost hairpin, the three boys break the mysterious egg and provoke a supernatural event that will have immediate, short-term and long-term consequences for everyone involved as well as for their families and the island's small community. Telling you anything more would take away from the creative plot.

    While the event that kicks the story off is a supernatural one, the rest of the story is particularly realistic and has a strong emotional, philosophical and psychological touch. Heart-breaking moments and thoughtful passages meet brief moments of hope and joy. The story remains interesting until the end that some might see as a happy and others as a sad ending which makes it even more interesting depending on your point of view.

    Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned is a particularly great movie for intellectual teenagers because of the two brilliant main characters but anyone who likes profound dramas or thoughtful fantasy movies should give this clever film a fair chance. Once again, South Korean cinema has managed to create a profound teenage movie that easily beats Hollywood's current wave of teenage movies around the Hunger Games or Insurgent franchises.

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  • Orden Ogan - Gunmen (2017)

    If the genre actually existed, I would call Orden Ogan's new record Gunmen chill metal. Ther German quartet offers relaxing melodic power metal with smooth melodies. Even the choirs and vocals have an appeasing touch and are quite catchy and epic in a peaceful way. The harmonious production without any edges blends in perfectly as well. Some people might think that relaxing is a synonym for boring but that isn't true in this case. Orden Ogan really have found their very own niche. They are not as numbing as Epiclore or as fluffy as Freedom Call but they are also miles away from the rocking sound of Edguy, the orchestral ecstasy of Rhapsody of Fire, the complexity of Blind Guardian, the speed of DragonForce or the grit of Iced Earth. Orden Ogan compares to nothing and nobody else and this is a rarity these days.

    The obvious problem with such a homogeneous sound is that several tracks sound alike and take a few too many spins to stand out and unfold their true potential. On the other side, the record has a smooth flow, clear guiding line and doesn't include any filler material. The most remarkable song might be the opening quasi title track ''Gunman'' that convinces with an unforgettable and epic chorus and really cool lyrics. If Quentin Tarantino is going to direct another western, he should pick this song for the soundtrack. I also liked the half-ballad ''Come with Me to the Other Side'' that features Liv Kristine. I'm not the biggest fan of her voice but her smooth performance fits perfectly to the album in general and this track in particular. If she is going to start a new band after her departure from Leaves' Eyes, she should focus on smooth melodic power metal with some folk influences because her voice seems to fit perfectly to this type of music.

    To keep it short, I highly recommend Orden Ogan's Gunmen to people who like melodic power metal with a charismatic touch. Those who think power metal should literally be powerful might find this record too soft though. Personally, I liked the band's creative take on the genre. I couldn't listen to this type of music all the time but it unfolds its true magic if you want to feel relaxed.

    Final rating: 77%

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  • Hallo zusammen!

    Der letzte Tag meiner Reise fuhrte mich von Owen Sound nach Gatineau. Nachdem ich morgens noch Owen Sound und ein paar nahe liegenden Wasserfalle besichtigte, ergaben sich fur meine Ruckfahrt drei Moglichkeiten. Ich hatte erstens in den Suden Richtung Toronto und von dort uber den Highway 401 Richtung Ottawa fahren konnen. Allerdings ware dies ein leichter Umweg gewesen und vor allem hatte ich auf die diversen Baustellen und den grossen Verkehr um Toronto keine Lust. Die zweite Moglichkeit ware gewesen in den Norden zu fahren und uber den Algonquin Park im Bogen bis nach Ottawa zu gelangen. Auch dies ware ein leichter Umweg gewesen und zudem war ich diese Strecke erst im April komplett gefahren. Ich entschied mich also fur die dritte Option: quer durch die Pampa und das Zentrum Ontarios. Mein Weg fuhrte uber Barrie, Orillia, Minden, Bancroft und Renfrew bis zum Ottawa-Fluss, wo ich dann nach Quebec ubersetzen konnte. So sah ich auch auf dem letzten Tag meiner Reise noch einmal komplett neue Landschaften und schlug so zwei Fliegen mit einer Klappe.

    Beste Momente des Tages:

    - Die Stadt Owen Sound hat mir sehr gut gefallen. Auch hier gab es eine Uferpromenade und ich sah viele Enten, Kanadaganse und sogar einen Fischotter.

    - Die Inglis Falls im Suden von Owen Sound waren einen kurzen Umweg wert und man konnte dort viel spazieren gehen. Die Beschilderung war allerdings suboptimal.

    - Besonders gut hat mir auf meiner Ruckfahrt der Ort Meaford an der Georgian Bay gefallen. Dort gab es einen schonen Park, mehrere kleine Strande und einen kleinen Hafen. Der Ort wirkte fur einen kurzen Sommerurlaub perfekt geeignet.

    - Die Fahrt durch die Walder im Zentrum Ontarios gefiel mir auch sehr gut. Besonders schon fand ich die Ortschaft Kinmount mit einer Wassermuhle, einem grossen Park und einem kleinen Staudamm (naturlich). Allerdings lernte ich die Stadt nur durch Zufall kennen, denn eigentlich hatte ich mich kurz zum ersten und letzten Mal auf meiner Reise verfahren und bin so etwa vierzig Kilometer umsonst gefahren.

    - Der Ubergang von Ontario nach Quebec in Portage-du-Fort hat mir besonders gut gefallen. Er fuhrte uber zahlreiche Inseln im Ottawa-Fluss und entlang einiger Staudamme (naturlich). So konnte ich auch ganz geschickt den Hauptstadtverkehr umfahren.

    Negative Punkte des Tages:

    - Kurz war meine Strecke nicht: Ich fuhr mittags in Owen Sound los und war mit einigen kleinen Stopps etwa gegen zehn Uhr abends in Gatineau. Am liebsten hatte ich noch einmal etwas fruher irgendwo eine Nacht Pause eingelegt, vielleicht in Bancroft.

    - Da ich noch nicht zu Abend gegessen hatte, fuhr ich in Gatineau noch kurz zu McDonald's, wo jede Menge larmende Jugendliche fur Unruhe sorgten. Da habe ich mich direkt wieder nach den Weiten der James Bay bei drei Grad Celsius gesehnt.

    Road Trip 2017: Owen Sound - Gatineau

    Dieses Foto zeigt das Tourismusburo in Owen Sound - naturlich mit angrenzendem Zugmuseum.

    Road Trip 2017: Owen Sound - Gatineau

    Dies ist der Blick auf einen Arm der Georgian Bay, der weit bis nach Owen Sound hineinreicht. Der Name der Stadt hat auch einen selten damlichen Hintergrund. Einer der ersten Siedler, die dieses Fleckchen Erde entdeckten, hiess mit Nachnamen Owen und als er in diese Bucht hineinfuhr, rief er aus Uberschwang laut die Namen seiner wichtigsten Familienmitglieder. Daraus entstand der Name Owen Sound. Gut, dass der Typ nicht Wladyslaw Sczepczinski oder Abdelkader Iqbalah hiess. Am Rand noch ein Tipp zu Kanadagansen: vor Menschen haben die keinerlei Angst, aber Hunde sind sehr effektiv und lassen die Vogel schnell ins Wasser fluchten.

    Road Trip 2017: Owen Sound - Gatineau

    Hier noch ein weiterer Blick auf den Arm der Georgian Bay, der weit bis in die Stadt Owen Sound hineinreicht.

    Road Trip 2017: Owen Sound - Gatineau

    Dies sind die Inglis Falls in Georgian Bluffs, unweit sudlich von Owen Sound. Trotz diverser Insekten und schlechten Beschilderungen war dieser Ort einen Umweg wert.

    Road Trip 2017: Owen Sound - Gatineau

    Hier sieht man das Rathaus von Meaford mitsamt Kriegsdenkmal.

    Road Trip 2017: Owen Sound - Gatineau

    Ebenfalls in Meaford sieht man Rapunzel auf dem Balkon dieses Hauses. Wer hatte das gedacht?

    Road Trip 2017: Owen Sound - Gatineau

    So sieht der Hafen von Meaford aus, wo man lange spazieren gehen konnte. Eigentlich wollte ich dort gar nicht anhalten, aber der Ort hat mir so gut gefallen, dass ich nicht einfach weiter fahren konnte.

    Road Trip 2017: Owen Sound - Gatineau

    Dies ist eine Aussicht auf den Simcoe Lake in Orillia - abgesehen von den Aussichten auf den See gab es in der Stadt aber nichts zu sehen.

    Road Trip 2017: Owen Sound - Gatineau

    Dieses Bild ziegt die Bibliothek von Norland, mitten im bewaldeten Zentrum Ontarios. Landschaftlich waren die Strecken sehr schon, schlangelten sich aber auch sehr und fuhrten uber viele Umwege.

    Road Trip 2017: Owen Sound - Gatineau

    Hier sieht man das Zentrum von Kinmouth, wo man auch sehr schon spazieren gehen konnte.

    Road Trip 2017: Owen Sound - Gatineau

    Ebefalls in Kinmouth befindey sich diese altertumliche Wassermuhle in einem schon agelegten Park am Burnt-Fluss.

    Road Trip 2017: Owen Sound - Gatineau

    Dies ist eine Kirche in Renfrew. Nach stundenlanger Fahrt durch die Walder Ontarios und relativ kleine Ortschaften wirkte dieser Ort fasst schon wie eine Ruckkehr in die Zivilisation.

    Road Trip 2017: Owen Sound - Gatineau

    Hier sieht man ein altertumliches Tourismusburo in Portage-du-Fort, direkt am Ottawa-Fluss am Grenzubergang zwischen Quebec und Ontario.

    Road Trip 2017: Owen Sound - Gatineau

    Hier folgt noch ein Bild vom Sonnenuntergang uber dem Ottawa-Fluss. Von hier aus musste ich noch gut siebzig Kilometer bis nach Hause fahren.

    Road Trip 2017: Owen Sound - Gatineau

    Nun folgt das allerletzte Foto meiner Reise: mein Nissan Sentra 2016 bei Sonnenuntergang vor einem Hinweisschild in Portage-du-Fort. Insgesamt bin ich wie bereits im letzten Jahr etwa 5000 Kilometer gefahren. Mein Auto liess sich richtig gut fahren und die Reifen haben sogar den derbsten Schotterpisten Paroli geboten und mich nirgendwo in der Wildnis stranden lassen.

    Hier folgen noch drei Erkenntnisse aus meiner Reise:

    - Jeder zweite Ort in Kanada hat einen Staudamm.

    - Jeder Ort in Ontario hat ein Kriegsdenkmal.

    - Jeder Ort in Ontario hat ein Zugmuseum.

    Zum kronenden Abschluss folgt noch eine Liste der Klangkorper, mit denen ich die kanadische Wildnis beschallt habe:

    Annihilator - Feast

    Avenged Sevenfold - The Stage

    Black Sabbath - The Complete Albums 1970 - 1978

    HammerFall - (r)Evolution

    Igorrr - Savage Sinusoid

    In Extremo - Sterneneisen Live

    Metallica - Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité, Metallica!

    Rammstein - Made in Germany

    Red Hot Chili Peppers - The Getaway 

    Spock's Beard - The First Twenty Years

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