Peace At All Costs Is Well Worth The Cost

Courtesy:  Century Media Records/Another Century

Courtesy: Century Media Records/Another Century

Las Vegas, NV-based hard rock band Otherwise surprised a lot of people in 2012 when it released its Century Media Records debut album True Love Never Dies. The album was such a surprise among audiences because like label mate Girl On Fire, Fozzy, and Adrenaline Mob, the band’s more mainstream sound wasn’t exactly within the mold of the bands that have made Century Media one of the leading labels in hard rock and metal. That album was met with relatively positive reviews from audiences and critics alike. Now two years later, Century Media has responded to the success of that album by releasing the band’s new release (it’s second for the label and third overall) on its fledgling label Another Century. The new label is the sister label of sorts to Century Media. It serves to focus on the likes of Otherwise and its previously noted label mates. Audiences will agree in hearing Otherwise’s new album Peace at all Costs that the re-assignment of sorts to Century Media’s new label is quite the well-deserved vote of confidence in the band. Peace at all Costs takes the melodic hard rock sound established on the band’s Century Media debut and has built on that sound here, musically speaking. Lyrically, the band covers a range of topics, too. From personal relationships to overcoming one’s own personal demons, and points in between, the album’s lyrical content makes the album just as solid of a listen for fans new and old alike.

Otherwise covers a number of topics throughout the course of its new album. The most prominent topic covered across the album is that of personal relationships. Most of the album’s songs that center on personal relationships deal mainly in the issue of broken relationships as is evident in the album’s first full length song, the aptly titled ‘Love & War.’ The song is a full throttle fist pumper that will have audiences singing along from start to finish. The dual guitar attack from Ryan Patrick and Andrew Pugh set against Corky Gainsford’s drumming provides the song with so much of a punch. The song’s infectious chorus of “Love and war/It’s all the same to me/No use fighting/Lie some more/It’s all I ever need/So why you hiding/Love and war/It’s all the same to me presents a situation to which so many people can relate. The manner in which it was written is especially because it doesn’t necessarily specify if this is being sung from the standpoint of a man or woman. And the sarcasm in front man Adrian Patrick’s voice as he sings, “Lie to me/It’s all I ever need” is perfectly clear. It makes the chorus in whole all the more powerful of a statement. The talent of Patricks’ band mates not only in the song’s chorus but throughout makes the song in whole a solid re-introduction for the band’s older fans and an equally solid first impression for those that might be new to the band’s body of work.

Otherwise could not have possibly opened its new album in a better way than with the aggressive, seemingly relationship based song ‘Love & War.’ Rather than take the standard oh-woe-is-me approach to the issue of a troubled and/or broken relationship, the band takes the polar opposite approach to such a topic, making for a song that deserves consideration as another single to promote the record. The topic of relationships is not the only topic tackled on Peace at all Costs. The band also offers its listeners some music therapy of sorts in the pummeling ‘Wake Up (Coming for the Throne).’ Just as ‘Love & War’ could be used as a single, so could this song. It could be used as a single as both its musical and lyrical content will have audiences singing proudly along, horns high in the air. It comes across as a song promoting self-empowerment. [Adrian] Patrick sings in this song, “Hey kid/Who you fightin’/Fight yourself so you can stand united/With the voices that are screamin’ loud inside your head/Hey kid/Get it together/Every second doesn’t last forever/You could be the president/Or you could end up dead/Take control of the monster inside of you/Focus the rage/All the answers are right there in front of you/Just turn the page/Wake up/When you’re burning inside/And everybody’s gone and lost their faith in you/Wake up/You’d better open your eyes/Look around/’Cause there’s so much love to lose/Heavy is the heart of the one who walks alone/Let ‘em know that you’re comin’ for the throne!” The song’s second verse carries just as much power and is just as infectious. It goes without saying that this song is one of the best additions to this album. Sure, Patrick sings, “Hey, kid” in the song’s versus, seemingly singing to younger listeners. It would make sense. But even older audiences can take something from this song as even adults struggle with feelings of self-loathing, depression, etc. So there is a value even to those audiences. Add in an infectious chorus and some really pummeling guitar riffs and audiences get in this song a work that is one of the highest of highs throughout the album.

‘Love & War’ and ‘Wake Up (Coming for the Throne)’ are both prime examples of what makes Peace at all Costs such an impressive new effort from Otherwise. One song tackles the standard relationship fare that is prevalent on so many records from so many genres. What sets the song apart from those other works is it doesn’t take the standard oh-woe-is-me approach to the topic. It takes that road less traveled. And the empowering, almost anthemic ‘Wake Up (Coming for the Throne)’ is certain to become a fan favorite thanks to its combination of hard rocking music and equally powerful lyrics. Both songs are sure to have audiences talking for both their musical and lyrical content both by themselves and as whole works. There is at least one more song among the album’s fourteen total tracks and forty-five-minute run time that will have audiences talking for a wholly different reason. That song comes late in the album in the form of ‘For The Fallen Ones.’ Patrick and his band mates sing in the song’s chorus, “Raise your glass/For the fallen ones,” leading listeners to think that perhaps the song is a tribute to America’s men and women in uniform. However, the song’s verses paint a somewhat different picture. Patrick sings in the song’s second verse, “Now nothing feels the same/Picking up the pieces/ Color in the secrets/And I don’t feel ashamed/Now that I am older/Another fallen soldier.” It’s tough to figure out if Patrick is using the soldier as a metaphor or if he is directly mentioning a soldier. A look at the song’s opening verse leaves one wondering scratching one’s head, but not in a bad way. Patrick sings in the song’s opening verse, “I don’t need to blame/The scent of my father/The scars of my mother/For the beast that I became/Now I shine the light on my sisters and my brothers/It’s all I needed/To feel alive/We’ll never have to say goodbye.” One could see how this song would be in reference to America’s military personnel. It could be argued that it’s sung from the vantage point of someone that joined the military and became a better person considering his or her past life in turn. It would be interesting to hear from the band itself the exact meaning behind the song. If it is in fact a tribute to the military personnel past and present that made the ultimate sacrifice, it wouldn’t be the first song from the band to have done so. That’s not a bad thing, either. Regardless, the very fact that it could generate so much discussion on its topic all while entertaining audiences with its musical side says plenty of why this is another guaranteed hit, regardless of whether or not it is used as a single. And it is one more example of why audiences will enjoy Peace at all Costs whether they are new to the band’s work or are more seasoned fans.

Peace at all Costs boasts a total of fourteen tracks. Interestingly enough, the album in whole comes in at less than an hour long. To be exact, its total run time (TRT for any media people out there) is roughly forty-five minutes. That’s a shocker to be honest. One would think fourteen tracks would equal out to a much longer run time. That aside, audiences that pick up this latest effort from Otherwise will agree that each of those tracks offers something that every listener will appreciate. The songs noted here are just a few examples of what makes the album work as well as it does. They are this critic’s own personal favorites from the whole thing. Audiences can pick up the album and pick out their own favorites now as the album was officially released yesterday in stores and online. It can be ordered via iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/otherwise/id164633854 and via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Otherwise/e/B001LHTTN0. Audiences can also pick up Peace at all Costs at any of the band’s live shows as the band is currently touring in support of its new album. It is playing a trio of dates in Wisconsin this week today through Friday before making its way to Michigan Sunday and Indiana next Monday and Tuesday, September 22nd and 24th. Audiences can check out the band’s current tour schedule and keep up with all of the latest updates from the band online at

Website: http://www.weareotherwise.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/otherwiseofficial
Twitter: http://twitter.com/wearetherwise

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Eagle Rock Releasing Another New Archived Deep Purple Concert Next Month

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Eagle Rock Entertainment will release another new archived live recording from Deep Purple.

Deep Purple With Orchestra Live in Verona will be released Tuesday, October 21st.  The concert was recorded in 2011 at the Area di Verona.  The Arena di Verona is a Roman amphitheatre that was originally constructed in 30 A.D.  The concert features the lineup of Ian Gillan (vocals), Ian Paice (drums), Roger Glover (bass), Steve Morse (guitar), and Don Airey (keyboards).  The band was joined by the Neue Philharmonie Frankfurt for the concert, which includes performances of some of Deep Purple’s greatest hits.  Those hits include: ‘Smoke on the Water,’ ‘Lazy,’ ‘Strange Kind of Woman,’ Perfect Strangers,’ ‘Highway Star,’ ‘Woman From Tokyo’ and many others.  The concert’s complete set list is included below.

TRACK LISTING

1) Deep Purple Overture

2) Highway Star

3) Hard Lovin’ Man

4) Maybe I’m A Leo

5) Strange Kind Of Woman

6) Rapture Of The Deep

7) Woman From Tokyo

8) Contact Lost

9) When A Blind Man Cries

10) The Well Dressed Guitar

11) Knocking At Your Back Door

12) Lazy

13) No One Came

14) Don Airey Solo

15) Perfect Strangers

16) Space Truckin’

17) Smoke On The Water

 

Along with the concert’s primary set list, two extra tracks—‘Hush’ and ‘Black Night’—are included as bonuses in the concert’s upcoming release.  Both songs were part of the night’s set list.

Deep Purple With Orchestra Live in Verona will be released both on DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday, October 21st.  The DVD will retail for MSRP of $14.98 and the Blu-ray for $19.98.  More information on this and other releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt
Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

 

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Born To Race Fast Track Keeps Pace With Universal’s Fast And The Furious Franchise

Courtesy:  Anchor Bay Entertainment

Courtesy: Anchor Bay Entertainment

One part The Fast and the Furious, one part Need for Speed and one part Top Gun, the second installment of Anchor Bay Entertainment’s Born to Race franchise is a movie the surprisingly enough holds its own against its bigger-named counterparts.  There’s no getting around the fact that the franchise, which started with Born to Race back in 2011, is not the first of its kind.  Universal beat Anchor Bay to that punch with its massively popular Fast and Furious franchise.  That aside, there is still plenty to enjoy in this latest installment in the Born to Race franchise.  The central point of the movie’s success is its script (I.E. its writing).  Unlike so many other movies backed by major studios out there, the script for this movie rips off neither its predecessor nor its bigger-named brethren.  Another reason that this movie works as well as it does is its pacing.  The movie moves fast.  But it doesn’t move so fast as to leave viewers struggling to keep up with the story.   And last but not least to consider is the movie’s casting.  The movie’s heads wiped the slate clean with this movie, casting a while new list of actors to fill its lead roles.  But those actors still get the job done well enough to keep the movie believable.  These three factors together make Born to Race: Fast Track a movie that despite being an independent release, is a movie that any fan of its genre should see at least once.

The central point of success in Born to Race: Fast Track is its script (I.E. its writing).  There’s no getting around the fact that it is not the first movie of its kind within the race-based action subgenre.  That aside, it actually holds its own surprisingly well against Need for Speed and Universal Studios’ Fast & Furious franchise.  Unlike so many bigger-named movies out there across the genres, Born to Race: Fast Track doesn’t attempt to rip itself off.  Nor does it try to be just another of the aforementioned bigger-named movies in its genre.  The only movie that one could even begin to say it does copy is Tom Cruise’s hit 1986 fighter jet flick Top Gun.  It goes so far as to put lead actor Brett Davern in a pair of aviator sunglasses alongside co-star Beau Mirchoff late in the movie, in a scene that almost directly mirrors one well-known scene from Top Gun.  Even with that blatant lifting, it doesn’t take away from the movie’s overall enjoyment.  As a matter of fact, one could even go so far as to argue that paying such homage to such a classic film without any sense of hamming it up only gives this movie even more credibility.  It would have been so easy for that moment to go overboard.  But it didn’t.  That combined with the fact that the movie’s writers opted to develop a story that didn’t blatantly rip off the Fast & Furious movies makes the movie’s script all the more enjoyable.

The script behind Born to Race’s latest installment is the central point of the movie’s overall enjoyment.  While it obviously does bear quite the semblance to Top Gun in terms of its plot, it doesn’t go so far as to try and be just another Fast & Furious or Need for Speed.  It does at least try to be its own story to a point.  Adding to the movie’s enjoyment is its pacing.  The writing team behind the movie wastes no time setting up the movie’s plot.  And once the plot is established, the writers keep the story moving.  They do so without missing a beat, too.  Most impressive of all is that as fast as the story progresses, it doesn’t move so fast as to leave viewers in its own proverbial dust (bad pun fully intended), wondering what they experienced by the end of the movie’s roughly ninety-minute run time.  It switches gears at all of the right points and never finds itself idling, either.  And yes, both of those bad puns were fully intended, too.  The end result of that smart pacing is a story that movies fast, but not as fast as the cars that take center stage throughout the movie.  Alongside the movie’s solid script, the pacing helps to make Born to Race: Fast Track that much more enjoyable for any fan of all of the racing movies out there.

The pacing of Born to Race: Fast Track’s story and the story itself work together to make the movie one that fans of fast cars will enjoy even with just one watch.  Both elements are important to the movie’s overall success and enjoyment.  There is still one more factor to consider in the movie’s enjoyment.  That factor is the movie’s casting.  The production’s heads wiped the slate clean with this second installment of the franchise.  None of the actors from the franchise’s first movie returned for this installment.  The reason for this happening is anyone’s guess.  It could have been the movie’s heads.  It could have also been that the cast didn’t want to return for a second movie or simply couldn’t due to other commitments.  Regardless, the cast tapped for this movie does its own part to make the movie work.  The new cast members are all quite young.  And most of the cast members are quite well-known in their own right, too.  Lead actor Brett Davern is best known for his time on MTV’s hit series Awkward alongside co-star Beau Mirchoff.  He also has dramatic experience, having acted in bit parts in CSI: Miami, In Plain Sight, and Cold Case.  Mirchoff has also filled roles on CSI: Miami and CBS’ other hit crime drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.  Younger viewers might also recognize him from his work on Disney’s Wizards of Waverly Place TV movie The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex.  The movie’s other cast members have their own extensive resumes, too.  That collective experience shows through quite well here.  They are actually quite believable in their roles.  That the cast would take its roles with such seriousness even on a flick from an indie studio shows a great deal of respect both for the studio and for audiences.  It also makes suspension of disbelief that much easier for viewers. And in turn, it makes the movie even more worth at least one watch.

The casting of a group of up-and-coming stars for Born to Race: Fast Track and the cast’s seriousness with its roles goes a long way toward making the movie worth at least one watch.  The movie’s script and by connection its pacing add even more value to the overall presentation.  All three factors together make Born to Race: Fast Track a movie that while being an indie release, is one that any fan of movies with fast cars and young stars will enjoy even with just one watch.  It is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct from Anchor Bay Entertainment’s online store at http://www.anchorbayent.com/detail.aspx?ProjectId=d3c94bf6-38e7-e311-877b-d4ae527c3b65.  More information on this and other releases from Anchor Bay Entertainment is available online at

Website: http://www.anchorbayent.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AnchorBay
Twitter: http://twitter.com/Anchor_Bay

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Eagle Rock To Release New Alabama Live Recording Later This Month

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Eagle Rock Entertainment will release a new live recording from veteran country act Alabama later this month.

Alabama & Friends At The Ryman will be released Tuesday, September 30th. The concert features the veteran country act performing alongside some of the biggest names in country music today at the famed Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN. Among the names that joined the band on-stage for the once-in-a-lifetime concert are the likes of: Jason Aldean, Trisha Yearwood, Luke Bryan, Jamie Johnson, Florida Georgia Line, and the Eli Young Band. The show features the acts performing his such as ‘Tennessee River,’ ‘Love in the First Degree,’ ‘Dixieland Delight,’ ‘If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band,’ ‘Song of the South,’ ‘I’m in a Hurry (And I Don’t Know Why),’ and ‘My Home’s in Alabama.’  The full track listing for the concert is noted below.

Track Listing:
1) If You’re Gonna Play In Texas (You Gotta Have A Fiddle In The Band)
2) Tennessee River featuring Jason Aldean
3) Dixieland Delight
4) Song Of The South
5) One In The World
6) Forever’s As Far As I’ll Go featuring Trisha Yearwood
7) Dancin’, Shaggin’ On The Boulevard
8) Born Country
9) All American
10) Love In The First Degree featuring Luke Bryan
11) The Closer You Get featuring Eli Young Band
12) High Cotton
13) Take Me Down
14) I’m In A Hurry (And Don’t Know Why) featuring Florida Georgia Line
15) That’s How I Was Raised
16) My Home’s In Alabama featuring Jamey Johnson
17) Mountain Music

Alabama & Friends will be presented as a stand-alone DVD presentation as well as a DVD/2-CD combo pack, stand-alone 2-CD presentation, a limited edition double-disc vinyl, and in various digital formats. The stand-alone DVD presentation will retail for SRP of $14.98. Along with the central concert, the recording’s stand-alone DVD presentation features a number of bonuses for viewers. Bonus featurettes “The History and the Night,” “The Making of Alabama & Friends,” “The Songs and the Stories,” “Influence and Inspiration,” “The Magic of Alabama Live,” “Performing at the Ryman,” and “Alabama Is…” serve as the central bonus material for the concert’s stand-alone DVD presentation. There are also interviews with the bands and guests included as bonus material, too.

The concert’s DVD/2-CD presentation will retail for MSRP of $24.98, while the stand-alone 2-CD presentation will go for MSRP of $17.98. The limited edition 2-disc vinyl will retail for MSRP of $29.98. these prices will of course vary from one retailer to another. Alabama’s fans can order their copy of Alabama & Friends at the Ryman online right now via the direct-to-consumer store at http://www.myplaydirect.com/alabama-friends. The direct to consumer store offers not only the listed formats but also special audio/video bundles with an exclusive t-shirt.

More information on this release and others from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt
Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews.

Alabama’s fans can keep up with all of the latest news and more from the band online at
website: http://www.thealabamaband.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Alabama
Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheAlabamaBand

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Eagle Rock Announces Upcoming Re-Issue Of Classic Genesis Concert Recording

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

2014 is slowly winding its way down. But don’t tell that to the people at Eagle Rock Entertainment. That’s because the company that rightfully wears the crown as the leader in live recordings has announced that it has yet another new release on the way before the year is out.

Officials with Eagle Rock Entertainment announced Monday that the company will release Genesis: Live Three Sides on Tuesday, November 4th. The concert was recorded originally in November of 1981 on the band’s North American “Abacab” tour. It has previously been released on VHS to coincide with the audio portion of the concert and as part of the band’s limited edition box set The Movie Box 1981 2007. That means that the upcoming DVD and Blu-ray release of this concert will be the first time that it has ever been released as a stand-alone DVD and Blu-ray. The DVD will retail for SRP of $14.98 while the Blu-ray will retail for SRP of $19.98.

Genesis: Live Three Sides was originally recorded on 16mm film. The concert itself focuses primarily on songs from the band’s 1980 album Duke and its follow-up Abacab (1981). The concert features the lineup of Tony Banks (keyboard/backing vocals), Phil Collins (drums/Lead vocals), and Mike Rutherford (guitar/bass/backing vocals). Also on board for the show during this tour were Daryl Stuermer (guitar/bass) and Chester Thompson (drums). The track listing for this recording is included below.

TRACK LISTING

1) Behind The Lines

2) Duchess

3) Misunderstanding

4) Dodo / Lurker

5) Abacab

6) No Reply At All

7) Who Dunnit?

8) Medley: In The Cage / The Cinema Show  / The Colony Of Slippermen

9) Afterglow

10) Me & Sarah Jane

11) Man On The Corner

12) Turn It On Again

 

More information on this and other releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt and http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Denver The Last Dinosaur The Complete Series Was Well Worth The Wait

Courtesy:  Cinedigm/VCI Entertainment

Courtesy: Cinedigm/VCI Entertainment

Children’s programming today is nothing like it was in its golden era.  One quick scan through any carrier’s channel lineup proves that.  Children’s programs of the 80s and 90s actually had heart.  They had substance, too.  By comparison, that heart and substance is nearly nonexistent in programs aimed at tweens and teens today.  Thank goodness some companies out there have stepped up and released those classic cartoons from the golden era of children’s programming to show today’s youth what real kids’ shows look and sound like.  Mill Creek has stepped up and released most of the original animated Dennis The Menace series.  Shout! Factory has more than stepped up in its own right with planet of classic kids’ shows.  And now Cinedigm and VCI Entertainment have stepped up and added their own contribution with the release of Denver The Last Dinosaur: The Complete SeriesDenver The Last Dinosaur didn’t last too long in its original broadcast.  It ran for a grand total of fifty-two episodes.  But even in that short run, it offered audiences so much enjoyment.  And audiences of all ages will see that for themselves when Denver The Last Dinosaur: The Complete Series is released September 16th on DVD box set.  The main factor in the overall enjoyment of this series is its writing.  As with so many children’s series of that era, the writers mixed fun adventures with subtly placed lessons for young viewers.  Also worth noting of this box set is the original presentation of the episodes.  And last but hardly least of all that makes this set so enjoyable is the companion booklet.  The booklet includes not only a full episode listing, but also a short summary of each episode from start to finish.  The companion booklet works alongside the full, proper presentation of the episodes and the episodes’ writing to make Denver The Last Dinosaur: The Complete Series an absolute must for viewers of any age.  That isn’t to discount the set’s packaging, its bonus interviews, or its bonus cartoons.  They are all well worth noting, too.  They round out the whole presentation to make Denver The Last Dinosaur: The Complete Series one of the definite best new box sets for children and families this year.

While it might not have lasted nearly as long as some of the other cartoons that made the 80s and 90s so great, Denver The Last Dinosaur was still an enjoyable piece in its own right.  The central reason for its success lies in tis writing.  WEP president Ted Koplar puts it best in his bonus interview that what really makes Denver The Last Dinosaur work so well is that presented here is a fish out of water story.  Denver is for all intents and purposes, an outsider trying to find his place in the world with all of its technology and its mores and values.  Even with the series being as old as it is, that theme of finding one’s own self and one’s  place in the world is one to which even today’s young audiences can relate.  And as Bob Koplar, WEP VP notes, kids can also relate to Denver because he is this figure that gets into so much trouble yet he gets away with it every time.  Koplar notes in his interview that every kid wishes that he or she could get away with Denver’s antics.  That couldn’t be more right, even today years after it ended its original run on television.  Add in the fact that these episodes have been endorsed by the National Education Association (NEA) for their nonviolent themes and general story, lines, and audiences see even more why the writing behind this series is so important and successful.  This is extremely important to consider especially when comparing this classic series to so much of what is available for younger viewers today.  Hopefully other parents out there will take all of this into consideration and give Denver The Last Dinosaur a try for the first time or for the first time again when it is released later this month. If the bonus interviews included in this set are any indication, the writing behind this series may very well entertain today’s younger viewers just as much as those other programs if not more so.

The writing behind Denver The Last Dinosaur is a solid starting point in the discussion regarding what makes the series’ new box set so enjoyable.  No discussion on the series is complete without a note on the set’s presentation.  A slate is included before the episodes noting that the episodes have been re-mastered for this presentation.  Those charged with re-mastering the footage are to be commended for their painstaking efforts.  That is first and foremost because their efforts resulted in no footage being lost in the process.  This means that every single episode from the series’ original broadcast has been included in this box set.  And every episode is presented in its original video format, too.  They haven’t been squeezed down.  And they are just as bright and vibrant as ever.  The audio is just as clear, too.  To some the re-mastering of a show’s video and audio is a minor issue.  But the reality of the situation is that there are some companies out there that don’t put the necessary effort into properly re-working various shows to make them appear as they appeared in their original broadcasts.   The end result is a product hardly worth the purchase. VCI Entertainment and Cinedigm are not among those companies in this case.  It’s one more factor that makes the set in whole all the more enjoyable for viewers of all ages.  There is still more that has gone into this set making it worth the purchase by any now grown-up child of the 80s, including the companion booklet.

The writing and re-mastering work undertaken by those at VCI Entertainment and Cinedigm are both equally integral parts of the whole that is Denver The Last Dinosaur: The Complete Series.  Eve having taken these factors into consideration, VCI Entertainment and Cinedigm didn’t stop there.  They paid great tribute to the series’ original fans in so many ways with this set.  Those are two a couple ways in which they did so.  Another way in which the companies paid tribute to the show’s original fans is in the inclusion of a companion booklet.  The booklet outlines the series’ entire episode list from start to finish.  It shows the set includes the episodes here are presented exactly as they originally ran on television.  It also gives a short summary of every episode.  This allows viewers to look back and say, “Oh, I remember this episode” or “that episode.”  So not only does this allow audiences to decide which episode(s) that they want to watch, but it even helps maintain that sense of nostalgia already full established thanks to the full, proper re-mastering of the episodes and the inclusion of every episode.  It still isn’t the end of what makes Denver The last Dinosaur: The Complete Series such a hit for audiences.  There are the bonus interviews, which have been noted in small part already.  And there are even bonus episodes culled from other VCI Entertainment collections included as bonus material.  They give a glance into other series with which some viewers might or might not be familiar, adding even more of a sense of nostalgia.  It makes the set complete and a complete joy.

VCI Entertainment and Cinedigm have gone to painstaking efforts to make Denver The Last Dinosaur: The Complete Series the release that fans of this classic series have wanted for so many years.  Needless to say, their efforts were definitely not in vain.  The writing proves even to this day to be enjoyable and relatable for audiences of all ages.  The painstaking efforts taken to bring back to life every episode of the series makes things even better.  And the full, proper episode guide included in the set’s companion booklet is a fitting final piece to the presentation.  That is not to discount the in-depth bonus interviews and the bonus episodes of other releases from VCI Entertainment.  They add their own enjoyment to the set in whole, too.  All things considered, Denver The Last Dinosaur: The Complete Series proves in the long run to be a wonderful alternative to all of the material claiming today to be children’s programming.  It is everything that the series’ original fans have waited for so long to hold in their hands and watch on their televisions once again.  Simply put, this box set proves itself in the end to be one of the best new box sets for children and families this year.

Denver The Last Dinosaur: The Complete Series will be available on DVD, Tuesday, September 16th.  It can be ordered online direct from VCI Entertainment’s website at http://www.vcientertainment.com/DENVER-THE-LAST-DINOSAUR-COMPLETE-SERIES/Film-Categories?keyword=denver.  More information on this and other releases from VCI Entertainment is available online at http://www.vcientertainment.com, http://www.facebook.com/VCIClassicMovies, and http://twitter.com/vciclassicfilms.  All the latest news from Cinedigm is available online at http://www.cinedigm.com and http://www.facebook.com/Cinedigm.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Digital Dream Sequence Is A Dream Come True

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Trioscapes’ new album Digital Dream Sequence is—pardon the pun—a dream come true.  This album, the second full length studio release from the band, has also officially taken the top spot on this critic’s list of the year’s top new albums overall.  The band has taken the prog-metal/jazz fusion sound that it established on its breakthrough 2012 debut Separate Realities and stepped it up another notch on this record.  While Digital Dream Sequence is comprised of only five tracks, those five songs collectively comprise an album that will both entertain audiences and leave them thinking.  Audiences should be warned, however.  This album is not one for those with short attention spans.  The shortest track on the record comes in at three minutes and forty seconds.  The album’s longest track clocks in at just over fifteen minutes.  The remaining trio of songs written for the album each tops the five minute mark.  The album’s opener and title track comes in at just over seven-and-a-half minutes.  ‘From The Earth To The Moon’ and ‘Hysteria’ come in at 8:47 and 6:40 respectively for those that might be wondering.  So it goes without saying that this album is not one for those looking for a quick, easy listen.  That having been stated, there is quite a bit to note that makes this album so great.

Trioscapes’ new album is not one for those with short attention spans.  The depth of the songs written for this album and their run times requires a full investment from listeners.  This is evident right off the top in the album’s title track.  ‘Digital Dream Sequence’ can best be described by two words:  controlled chaos.  At times, it sounds like the band—Dan Briggs (bass), Walter Fancourt (tenor sax, flute), and Matt Lynch (drums, electronics)—is all over the place.  But a close listen reveals that there is a method to the madness of these musicians.  As the song’s companion video reveals, all three men are fully focused on their parts even as free flowing as the song sounds.  The song’s foundation is based on Briggs’ own bass work.  Fancourt and Lynch take that foundation and build a song that throughout its two movements.  And it goes without saying that both Fancourt and Lynch exhibit quite a bit of talent.  Lynch’s ability to handle such wild, polyrhythmic patterns all while keeping up with his band mates is a statement in and of itself.  And even Fancourt, with his flourishes, adds his own important touch to the song in whole, especially in its final seconds.  His is the last part that listeners hear on this song.  After all of the wildness of the song, his gentle, flowing performance almost paints a picture of a figure coming out of the “dream.”  It’s a fitting final statement from an equally fitting opener for this album.

‘Digital Dream Sequence’ was the perfect way for Trioscapes to open its second full length album.  The near eight-minute song immediately re-establishes the band, showing that it has definitely evolved from its first album.  That evolution is shown even more in the album’s third track, ‘From The Earth to the Moon.’  This song has a slightly more defined structure about it than the album’s title track.  Yet, that ability of the band to weave together multiple separate lines into one cohesive composition remains.  It’s nice to hear that that hasn’t been lost even through what feels like constantly changing time signatures.   Even more interesting is that within those seemingly constantly changing time signatures, there is one line that remains mostly constant from start to finish.  That line is shared between all three musicians throughout the song on a number of instruments including a marimba.  The inclusion of the marimba adds just one more great touch to the song that along with Fancourt’s musicianship on the flute and Lynch’s drumming puts this song over the top and guarantees it to be one of the best of the album’s opuses.

Briggs, Fancourt, and Lynch close out their new album fittingly with the album’s longest piece in the form of ‘The Jungle.’  This song comes in at a little more than fifteen minutes long.  And despite its extended run time, the trio paints a picture with the song that mirrors its title quite well.  It opens gently with what sounds like a table set against Briggs’ bass and then Lynch’s drumming and eventually Fancourt’s work on the sax.  The fast paced sixteenth note runs played by Lynch on the snare alongside Fancourt’s urgent sax line gives an image of a busy jungle scene.  It creates thoughts of birds flying around in the jungle canopy and perhaps a big cat or two on the hunt, chasing its prey through the jungle in question.  Other listeners might get something entirely different from this standout song.   And that is perfectly fine.  This is merely one critic’s personal interpretation of the song.  The energy exuded by the band early in the song never lets up at any point throughout its fifteen minute, ten second run time.  The band keeps that energy flowing right to the very last second, leaving listeners breathless and blown away by the musical journey on which they embarked at the song’s beginning.  Taking into consideration the effect of this song and those that built up to it, the musical journey undertaken in whole on this record proves to be one that is well worth taking by any truly open-minded music lover and any musician looking for musical enlightenment.  The end product proves to be an album that more than deserves the title of the year’s best new record overall.

Audiences can hear all of the tracks noted here and the remaining pair not noted now as Digital Dream Sequence is available now in stores and online.  While the band currently has no tour dates planned, audiences can keep up with the trio’s latest tour schedule updates and news online at http://www.metalblade.com/trioscapes, http://www.facebook.com/trioscapes, and http://twitter.com/MetalBlade.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.