• Annihilator - Triple Threat (2017)

    Triple Threat is a package made for faithful fans and with some reserves also for potential new followers. It introduces the current Annihilator line-up that has been around for less than a year. This release exists in different versions but the most complete ones offer three different auditory and visual experiences. This package offers a regular concert recorded at Bang Your Head!!! festival consisting of eleven tracks and a running time around one hour. The second threat comes in form of an acoustic set filmed and recorded at Jeff Waters' home studio close to Ottawa with guest singer Marc Lafrance and guest guitar player Pat Robillard who played ten tracks for a running time slightly below forty-five minutes. As an additional gimmick, there is also a comment section where Jeff Waters discusses each of the ten acoustic tracks for about thirty minutes in total. The last chapter offers a documentary including interviews with former and current band members, friends and musicians as well as fans from all around the world for a running time around one hour.

    Let's take a look at the three different parts of this release. The regular concert is what you can expect from such a festival recording. The cuts are a little bit too fast in my book but the sound is overall massive apart of a section in the final track ''Phantasmagoria'' where the sound is off for a few short seconds on two occasions. It's possible that this is only the case for my copy but since I have read about the same issues concerning the same but also other songs in other reviews, I guess it's a general problem that couldn't be fixed. That definitely rates this section of the release down as it is a lack of attention, professionalism and quality but since it's only a minor problem, it will not reduce the overall quality of an overall strong concert. The new line-up has great chemistry and the four musicians clearly enjoy themselves on stage but still manage to play very professionally and nearly technically perfect. Rich Hinks and Aaron Homma are running around the stage like there's no tomorrow, Fabio Alessandrini nails his performance on the drums and Jeff Waters delivers his own triple threat by entertaining the audience, playing the guitar and singing all songs. The German festival audience is audibly enthusiastic which makes the show even more immersive. The set list focuses on the band's first four and current two records only but is rather satisfying for such a festival appearance. However, those who already have the special edition of Feast including the band's festival appearance at Wacken Open Air three years earlier, don't really need this new recording. Half of the set list is the same, the atmospheres are equally great and the bands delivered the goods on both occasion. A recording of a full regular Annihilator concert with some rare material would have been much more interesting. My final verdict is that this part of the package is very solid but not essential.

    The acoustic set is something Annihilator has never tried out so far in its long career. The band chose ten calmer tracks which consist mostly of ballads or half ballads. While all these songs are great in their own way and performed very well, they also end up sounding quite alike and the set gets a little bit redundant after a while. It would have been interesting to transform a few of the heavier tracks into acoustic cuts to have a more diversified selection. The performances of the bass and guitar players are compelling and guest singer Marc Lafrance, who does lead vocals on all songs, are appeasing and enchanting. On a few occasions, he struggles with some higher notes here and there but his overall performance is surprisingly solid. It's questionable whether this experience needed to be filmed. While the audio version makes sense to me, it's not exactly entertaining to watch five guys sitting on chairs in a basement for forty-five minutes. The additional comment section by Jeff Waters proves two things: Jeff Waters is a sympathetic guy who has been through a lot of interesting things but he also talks way too much. While some of his comments were interesting enough, others were repetitive and could be skipped. In the end, this section delivers outstanding music with boring visuals and an ultimately unnecessary comment section.

    The last part consist of a documentary that is all over the place. We get to hear interview segments with current and former band members, colleagues and partners of old date as well as fans from all around the world. Jeff Waters also answers fan questions in between and takes us on a ride through parts of his home town from downtown Ottawa over Dunrobin to Constance Bay. While Canada's capital region looks gorgeous and this documentary inspired me to go swimming at Constance Bay next summer, I wonder what the point of this documentary is. Jeff Waters probably wanted to put as many different aspects and ideas as possible in a running time of about one hour but the final product is lacking structure and includes both quite interesting parts as well as less compelling sections. Even the quality varies from cheap and shaky webcam sections with fans to very professional interview sections with the three new band members where images and sounds are crystal clear. After all, this documentary section is for very faithful fans only and has many ups and downs. On the other side, its unorthodox approach also has a sympathetic side to it.

    To keep it short, Triple Threat is an above average package with several highlights such as the acoustic songs and the energizing festival performance, some average material in form of the documentary and an unnecessary part with comments on the acoustic songs. Faithful fans should absolutely get their hands on this overall entertaining package. Occasional or new fans should only purchase this release for a low and reasonable price and should otherwise stick to one of the band's numerous compilations included as bonus discs on several regular albums or purchase the excellent Japanese greatest hits release Welcome to Your Death which came out less than three years ago.

     Final rating: 72%

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  • Eastern Conference Playoffs – First round:

     

    Regina Pats (E1) vs. Calgary Hitmen (W2)                                                                                     4:1

    Moose Jaw Warriors (E2) vs. Swift Current Broncos (E3)                                                            3:4

    Medicine Hat Tigers (C1) vs. Brandon Wheat Kings (W1)                                    4:2

    Lethbridge Hurricanes (C2) vs. Red Deer Rebels (C3)                                          4:3

     

    Eastern Conference Playoffs – Second round:

     

    Regina Pats (E1) vs. Swift Current Broncos (E3)                                                                           4:2

    Medicine Hat Tigers (C1) vs. Lethbridge Hurricanes (C2)                                                          4:1

     

    Eastern Conference Playoffs – Final / Third round:

     

    Regina Pats (E1) vs. Medicine Hat Tigers (C1)                                                                              2:4

     

    Western Conference Playoffs – First round:

     

    Everett Silvertips (U1) vs. Victoria Royals (W2)                                                                           4:1

    Seattle Thunderbirds (U2) vs. Tri-City Americans (U3)                                                               4:1

    Prince George Cougars (B1) vs. Portland Winterhawks (W1)                                                     3:4

    Kelowna Rockets (B2) vs. Kamloops Blazers (B3)                                                                       3:4

     

    Western Conference Playoffs – Second round:

     

    Everett Silvertips (U1) vs. Seattle Thunderbirds (U2)                                                                   3:4

    Portland Winterhawks (W1) vs. Kamloops Blazers (B3)                                                             4:2

     

     

    Western Conference Playoffs – Final / Third round:

     

    Seattle Thunderbirds (U2) vs. Portland Winterhawks (W1)                                                        4:3

     

    WHL Championship: 

     

    Medicine Hat Tigers (C1) vs. Seattle Thunderbirds (U2)                                                             3:4

     

    Seattle Thunderbirds - WHL Championship winners 2017

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  • Ladies ans gentlemen,

    Here is my squad for the German national football team for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. Even though I disagree with several experts who think that this tournament has become unnecessary , I have to respect the fact that Joachim Low has already mentioned that he won't take his biggest stars to the tournament in Russia. Therefore I didn't pick any players from Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and FC Schalke 04 and only player from Borussia Dortmund. In my opinion, the Confederations Cup is one of the most interesting and prestigious tournaments as it unites the best teams in the world, it's a rare occasion to participate in it and it's the only important football tournament the German national team hasn't won yet. That's why I tried to think of a squad consisting of a few experienced players, numerous young talents and a few players who deserve a first or a second chance to get Joachim Low's attention. Without any further ado, here is my squad for the tournament that is going to start in less than three months.

     

    Goalkeepers:

    Timo Horn (GK)

    Bernd Leno (GK)

    Kevin Trapp (GK)

     

    Defensemen:

    Shkodran Mustafi (CB)

    Antonio Rudiger (CB)

    Niklas Sule (CB)

    Matthias Ginter (RB / CB) (Captain)

    Jeremy Toljan (RB)

    Sebastian Rudy (RB)

    Marvin Plattenhardt (LB) 

    Benjamin Henrichs (LB)

     

    Midfielders:

    Emre Can (CDM)

    Christoph Kramer (CDM)

    Maximilian Arnold (CM)

    Hany Mukhtar (CAM)

    Julian Brandt (LM)

    Leonardo Bittencourt (LM)

    Patrick Herrmann (RM)

    Levin Oztunali (RM)

     

    Strikers:

    Serge Gnabry (ST)

    Mario Gomez (ST)

    Sandro Wagner (ST)

    Timo Werner (ST) 

     

    By the way, my bet is that Portugal will win this tournament. Why? It's because the Portuguese coach takes this competition seriously and said that he will obviously chose the very best players for this tournament. Since this is the respectful and right attitude, I wouldn't have any problems with Portugal winning the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.

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  • Eastern Conference Playoffs – First round:

     

    Peterborough Petes (1) vs. Niagara Ice Dogs (8)                                                                            4:0

    Mississauga Steelheads (2) vs. Ottawa 67’s (7)                                                                              4:1

    Oshawa Generals (3) vs. Sudbury Wolves (6)                                                                                 4:2

    Kingston Frontenacs (4) vs. Hamilton Bulldogs (5)                                                                      4:2

     

    Eastern Conference Playoffs – Second round:

     

    Peterborough Petes (1) vs. Kingston Frontenacs (4)                                                                      4:2

    Mississauga Steelheads (2) vs. Oshawa Generals (3)                                                                    4:2

     

    Eastern Conference Playoffs – Final / Third round:

     

    Peterborough Petes (1) vs. Mississauga Steelheads (2)                                                                 4:3

     

    Western Conference Playoffs – First round:                         

     

    Erie Otters (1) vs. Sarnia Sting (8)                                                                                                     4:0

    Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (2) vs. Flint Firebirds (7)                                                                 4:0

    Owen Sound Attack (3) vs. Kitchener Rangers (6)                                                                        4:2

    London Knights (4) vs. Windsor Spitfires (5)                                                                                 4:2

     

    Western Conference Playoffs – Second round:

     

    Erie Otters (1) vs. London Knights (4)                                                                                             4:1

    Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (2) vs. Owen Sound Attack (3)                                                     3:4

     

    Western Conference Playoffs – Final / Third round:

     

    Erie Otters (1) vs. Owen Sound Attack (3)                                                                                      4:2

     

    OHL Championship: 

     

    Erie Otters vs. Petersborough Petes                                                                                                   4:1

     

    Erie Otters - OHL Championship Winners 2017

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  • Hallo zusammen,

    Da ich mittlerweile ja nun auch nicht mehr der Allerjüngste bin, habe ich mir gedacht, dass ich mir mal überlege, welches Lied denn für jedes meiner bisherigen siebenundzwanzig Lebensjahre meine liebstes ist. Herausgekommen ist diese beeindruckende Liste voller Lieder, die ich nur herzlich empfehlen kann. Ich wünsche euch viel Vergnügen damit. This is the soundtrack of my life!

    2016: Unbeing – Ceres

    2015: Ghost – Deus in Absentia

    2014: HammerFall – Hector’s Hymn

    2013: Orphaned Land – All Is One

    2012: Thormesis – Türme des Schattens

    2011: X Japan – Jade

    2010: 末裔 - 见茉莉 (The Last Successor – See Jasmine Again) 

    2009: Sexto Sonar - Visiones

    2008: Eluveitie – Inis Mona

    2007: The Old Dead Tree – The Water Fields

    2006: Edguy - Sacrifice

    2005: In Extremo – Raue See

    2004: Green Day – Jesus of Surburbia

    2003: Puddle of Mudd – Away from Me

    2002: Red Hot Chili Peppers – By the Way

    2001: Amorphis – Alone

    2000: Ayreon – The Dawn of a Million Souls

    1999: Red Hot Chili Peppers - Otherside

    1998: Septicflesh – Brotherhood of the Fallen Knights

    1997: Judas Priest – Burn in Hell

    1996: Apoptygma Berzerk – Non-Stop Violence

    1995: Adiemus - Adiemus

    1994: Stratovarius – 4th Reich

    1993: X Japan – Art of Life

    1992: 唐朝 - 梦回唐朝 (Tang Dynasty – A Dream Return to Tang Dynasty) 

    1991: Mike Oldfield – Heaven’s Open

    1990: Depeche Mode – Enjoy the Silence 

    1989: Ария - Игра с огнём (Aria – Play with Fire) 

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