“The Yogi Bear Show” Re-Issue Is A Welcome Addition To Any Fan’s Library

Courtesy: Hanna-Barbera/Warner Brothers Home Video

Yogi Bear and company are back again.  Everybody’s smarter than the average bear returned last month thanks to Hanna Barbera and Warner Home Video’s re-issue of the classic Yogi Bear Show on three-disc DVD collection.  This latest return for Yogi, Boo-Boo and their friends Snagglepuss and Yakky Doodle is not a bad re-issue, but it is not perfect.  On the good side, the series is presented in whole in this three-disc collection.  On the bad side, the set’s packaging is problematic.  It will be discussed later.  It is thankfully the only truly noticeable negative to the set’s new presentation.  Its average price point is another positive, and will be discussed later, too.  Each element is important to note in its own right to this collection’s presentation.  All things considered, this latest Yogi Bear Show re-issue is worth the purchase among classic cartoon (and television) buffs who do not already own the series’ original 2005 release.

Hanna Barbera and Warner Home Video’s recent DVD re-issue of The Yogi Bear Show is a good collection for any of the show’s fans who might not already own the series’ previous 2005 DVD box set.  The same can be said for any classic cartoon and television buffs who don’t already own that noted release, too.  That is due in part to the episodes presented in this set.  Audiences will be happy to know that presented here, is The Yogi Bear Show in its entirety.  All 33 episodes that made up the series’ two short seasons are here including the shorts from Yogi’s pals Snagglepuss and Yakky Doodle.   Audiences are given the option of playing the episodes straight through or one at a time on each disc.  The episode menus are basic to say the very least.  The listings are set against a black background along with the set’s box art.  There are no bonus materials to go through either.  Keeping this in mind, even with the set being a bare bones presentation, the fact that it features the series in whole (with the episodes sounding and looking great) does plenty to make up for those other minor shortcomings.  That being the case, the presentation of this classic series in its entirety here is the foundation of the set’s presentation.  It is not the set’s only positive either.  Before getting to the set’s second positive though, it is imperative to discuss the set’s most noticeable negative—its packaging.

The packaging used for The Yogi Bear Show’s recent re-issue is the set’s only major negative.  That is because of the seeming lack of care, concern and thought that was put into this element.  The three discs across which the series’ 33 episodes are spread are stacked one on top of the other on a single spindle inside the box.  Considering the fact that Hanna Barbera and Warner Home used a much wiser, albeit slightly more bulky (but still wiser) packaging in the series’ previous DVD release (and those of its other series), the clearly lazy packaging used here is disappointing. Having all of the set’s discs on a single spindle is the kind of tactic one would only expect from the likes of Mill Creek Entertainment.  Though, Warner Home Video has made its share of mistakes in the past couple of years or so not only in packaging but in other aspects of its home releases.  That only makes this error from the company even more disheartening, since it increases the chance of the discs being marred by one another.  Thankfully though, it is the set’s only major negative.  Keeping that in mind, the next logical step here is to examine the set’s second positive, that being its average price point.

The average price point of Hanna Barbera and Warner Home Video’s recent re-issue of The Yogi Bear Show is important because of the set’s content and its packaging.  This critic used Target, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Amazon and WB Shop in order to obtain the set’s average price point.  Adding their prices and averaging them, the set’s price point averages to approximately $16.36.  Its highest price is interestingly enough at the WB shop while Wal-Mart offers the most reasonable price at $14.96.  That is especially being the case that so many Wal-Mart stores nationwide offer the series’ set in stores, meaning not having to worry about the additional price for shipping and handling.  Best Buy and Target do not guarantee its availability in stores.  That means even Target’s price mark of $13.89 does not include s&h, which, if the set is not offered in stores, would push up that price point even more.  Target seems to be carrying in store, Josie & The Pussycats: The Complete Series, The Smurfs: Season One and The Flintstones: Season One. This again makes Wal-Mart’s average price the most cost-effective.  Even with that in mind, the set’s overall average price point is still not that bad.  Keeping that in mind, it is yet another reason that audiences who don’t already own the series’ 2005 DVD release will want to pick up this set.  When it is set alongside the set’s episode presentation and that one problematic issue of the set’s packaging, the whole still proves to be a relatively enjoyable presentation.

Hanna Barbera and Warner Home Video’s recent re-issue of The Yogi Bear Show is an enjoyable new presentation of the classic animated series.  That is even with the one glaring negative of its packaging.  Audiences get in this set the original Yogi Bear Show in its entirety, and the set at a relatively affordable price point, too.  Add in expertly transferred video and audio, and audiences get here a set that any fan will enjoy just as much as any classic cartoon (and television) buff.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and other titles from Hanna Barbera is available online at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.wbshop.com/category/wbshop_brands/hanna-barbera+hb.do

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/HannaBarbera

 

 

 

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Jackyl Announces New Album, Tour Dates

Courtesy: Mighty Loud Records

Jackyl is taking audiences back in time…sort of.

The veteran rock act announced this week that it will release a new compilation album later this month.  The 18-track record, simply titled 25, will be released via Mighty Loud Records, and features a number of Jackyl’s greatest hits including, but not limited to ‘Down On Me,’ ‘the Lumberjack,’ ‘Push Comes to Shove,’ and ‘Favorite Sin.’  It also features two previously unreleased tracks – a live performance of ‘Redneck Punk’ and a cover of Black Oak Arkansas’ ‘Hot and Nasty.’

The record’s release is a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the release of the band’s self-titled debut album, released in 1992. That album went on to be certified platinum soon after.

The 25 track listing is noted in whole below.

‘25’ Tracklisting:

Down on Me
When Will It Rain
The Lumberjack
Push Comes to Shove
Secret of the Bottle
Dumb Ass Country Boy
Cut the Crap
Kill the Sunshine
My Moonshine Kicks Your Cocaine’s Ass
Just Like a Negro (featuring DMC)
Screwdriver
Encore
Favorite Sin
Rally
Just Because I’m Drunk
Redneck Punk (Live) – previously unreleased
Hot and Nasty – previously unreleased

Along with the release of its new compilation, Jackyl will hit the road this summer in support of the record beginning Aug. 10 in Sturgis, NDat the Full Throttle Saloon.  From there, the band will make its way to Heath, Ohio; Savannah, Georgia; Sioux City, Iowa, and a number of other cities across the country.  The band’s tour schedule is noted below.

TOUR DATES:

Thursday, August 10, 2017 in Sturgis, SD  Full @ Throttle Saloon
Friday, August 25, 2017 in Sterling Heights, MI @ Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre @ Freedom Hill
Saturday, August 26, 2017 in Franklin, OH @ J.D. Legends
Saturday, September 2, 2017 in Milwaukee, WI @ National H.O.G. Rally/Milwaukee Rally
Friday, September 8, 2017 in Hinckley, MN @ Grand Rocktember V Music Festival
Thursday, September 14, 2017 in Ocean City, MD @ Cowboy Coast Country Saloon
Friday, September 15, 2017 in Heath, OH @ Muddy Creek Saloon
Saturday, September 16, 2017 in Sunrise Beach, MO @ Pickleheads Roadhouse (Lake of the Ozarks Bikefest)
Thursday, September 21, 2017 in Augusta, GA @ The Country Club
Friday, September 22, 2017 in Savannah, GA @ The Stage on Bay
Saturday, September 23, 2017 in Cocoa Beach, FL @ 80’s in the Park
Friday, November 17, 2017 in Sioux City, IA @ Anthem at Hard Rock
Saturday, November 18, 2017 in Watseka, IL @ Watseka Theatre
Tuesday, November 21, 2017 in Cincinnati, OH @ Bogart’s
Friday, November 24, 2017 in Indianapolis, IN @ 8 Seconds Saloon
Saturday, November 25, 2017 in Green Bay, WI @ The Green Bay Distillery
Sunday, November 26, 2017 in Dubuque, IA @ Q Casino
Friday, December 1, 2017 in Flint, MI @ The Machine Shop

More information on Jackyl’s new compilation, tour dates and more is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.jackyl.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OfficialJackyl

Twitter: http://twitter.com/jackyljesse

 

 

 

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Industrial Metal Purists Will Appreciate Pig’s New EP

Courtesy: Metropolis Records

Late last month, Raymond Watts, the mastermind behind pioneering industrial act <Pig> returned with his latest opus in the form of the 6-song EP Prey & Obey.  The record came roughly a month after the release of Pig’s latest re-mix record Swine & Punishment.  Needless to say going such a short time between records is a big gamble since it doesn’t give audiences much time to digest one record before the next.  That aside, Watts’ latest effort under the <Pig> proves over the course of its six songs to be a work that any industrial metal purist will appreciate.  That is due in part to the record’s songs (including their arrangements), which will be discussed shortly.  The songs’ lyrical content plays another pivotal part in the record’s presentation, too.  It will be discussed later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.  When it is joined with the previously noted elements, the whole of those items makes Prey & Obey a record that any industrial metal fan will be glad to own.

Raymond Watts’ latest <Pig> offering Prey & Obey is a record that any industrial metal purist will be glad to own.  Released June 16 via Metropolis Records, the 6-song EP’s foundation is formed through those songs in question.  Technically speaking, only three of those songs – its first three – are original.  The last three songs are re-mixes of the record’s title track and its follow-up, ‘Revelation.’  While the second half of the record is composed of re-worked versions of the originals, those re-mixes could easily be argued to be original in their own right, showing the importance of the songs’ arrangements.

The arrangements presented in each of Prey & Obey’s six tracks are critical to the record’s presentation because not one of the arrangements directly mirrors the others.  That is clearly evident, for instance, when comparing the title track’s original arrangement to those of its re-mixes.  The song’s original arrangement (or rather the final arrangement presented here vs. the demos), bears an easy comparison to works from Rammstein, which is one of so many bands worldwide that has gained its popularity by aping ’s sound.  At the same time, the song’s Leether Strip re-mix comes across more as something one might expect to hear from Juno Reactor (yet another act that rose to fame using ’s sound as an influence) with its EDM-centered arrangement.  Going even deeper, the song’s En Esh re-mix stands out just as much, establishing its own identity separate from the original mix and the Leether Strip re-mix.  That is because the arrangement presented here conjures thoughts (at least in this critic’s mind) of works that made Marilyn Manson a household name in the late 90s and early 2000s.  Simply put, the arrangement presented in this re-mix is completely different from that of the arrangement in the Leether Strip re-mix and that of the song’s original mix.  Keeping that in mind, it should be clear why the arrangements presented in this EP are so important to the record’s presentation.

As an additional explanation, the arrangements presented in ‘The Revelation’s’ original mix and its Z.Marr Electronic Mix are completely separate from one another.  Yet at the same time, one can easily make a comparison to works from Ministry in each arrangement.  This is even as the arrangements sound completely apart from one another.  One could even take the second arrangement and compare it to works from KMFDM, with whom Watts’ also worked early in his career, so it is only natural to hear that comparison.

If this is not enough of a comparison, one could easily compare the arrangement presented in ‘The Cult of Chaos’ to works presented in Nine Inch Nails’ landmark 1994 album The Downward Spiral, again showing the influence that Watts has had on the industrial realm throughout his career.  Keeping all of this in mind, it should be crystal clear why the songs presented in Prey & Obey are so critical to its overall presentation.  While only three of the record’s six songs may be technically originals, the re-mixes deserve their own attention, as they completely re-imagine their counterparts.  Even ‘the Cult of Chaos,’ the one song that did not receive a re-mix here, boasts its own original sound separate from those presented in each of the record’s other songs.  Keeping this in mind, the importance of the songs in this record and their arrangements is undeniable.  The songs and their arrangements are, collectively, not the record’s only important element.  The songs’ lyrical content is just as important to note as the songs and their arrangements.

The lyrical content presented in Prey & Obey is so critical to the record’s presentation because it comes across as being rather blatant.  The album’s very title track is solid proof of that with its clear commentary on organized religion.  Watts starts the song with a chorus yelling “Prey/Obey” as would a church’s congregation, before writing, “Look at the size of that monkey/Up on your back/Like a Jesus jerkin junky/I am the fly s*** will attract…wars/w****s/Apocalypse/Scores to settle/Fights to face.”  He continues on in the song’s second verse in similar fashion, expressing what come across as his own thoughts on the institution.

‘The Revelation’ is just as powerful as the record’s title track in its lyrical content with Watts writing, “We’ve got a social suicide/It’s comin’ tonight/With the germ of genocide…I had a vision of an afterlife/But I’ve seen it before/With the gift from the magic man/before he took it all/Now rise up for the revelation/Rise.”  He goes on to write in the song’s second verse, “A new apocalypse, a revelation/Bet youre doing it right…Jumpin’ Jesus is ***********.”  One need not go on from here.  It is clear that Watts has some very interesting commentary to share needless to say.  Of course, what he writes should be taken with a grain of salt, much like the songs crafted by Marilyn Manson for his 1996 album Antichrist Superstar.  Lyrically speaking, this shock rock record comes across in very similar fashion.  Keeping that in mind, the record’s lyrical content is certain to cause some stir, needless to say.  That attention that it is certain to bring plenty of discussion.  That certain discussion proves why the record’s lyrical content is so critical to the record’s whole.  It should be noted here that this critic does not endorse this record’s lyrical content by any means.  Its musical arrangements yes, but its lyrical content no.  Keeping that in mind, it would be wise to move on to the last of the record’s most important elements, its sequencing.

The sequencing of the songs featured in Prey & Obey is critical to the record’s whole because it keeps the record’s energy flowing from start to finish.  From the guitar-driven opening of the record’s title song and its ensuing solid time keeping to the thrash sound of ‘The Revelation’ to the much more brooding, guitar-driven arrangement of ‘the Cult of Chaos,’ the first half of this record easily ensures listeners’ engagement.  While the last of that trio is brooding in nature, it still is a forward-driving arrangement that keeps the record’s energy flowing in its own right.  The re-mixes that make up the record’s second half keep that energy flowing just as much with their arrangements.  That is the case even as the arrangements stand on their own merits separate from those presented in their counterparts.  Considering this, it is clear that much thought and time was put into the record’s sequencing.  That thought and time paid off, as it ensures just as much audiences’ continued engagement.  When joined with the thought put into the record’s chosen songs and their arrangements, the whole of the record’s presentation ensures it to be a work overall that, once again industrial metal purists will appreciate.

<Pig>’s latest studio effort Prey & Obey is a work that any industrial metal purist will appreciate.  That is due in part to its six-song body and their arrangements, each of which stand separate from one another, ensuring listeners’ enjoyment.  While three of the songs featured are re-mixes, the fact that the re-mixes give the originals their own new identity makes arguing them as their own original that much easier.  The songs’ lyrical content definitely is certain to create quite a bit of discussion among listeners.  Whether one agrees or disagrees with that content, the discussions that are certain to be generated from that content proves its importance just as much as the songs and their arrangements. The songs’ sequencing rounds out the most important of the record’s elements.  The energy exuded in each song shows that much time and thought was put into the record’s sequencing, ensuring even more that previously noted maintained engagement. When all three elements are joined, they make the record in whole, once again, a whole that any industrial metal purist will appreciate.  It is available now online and in stores.  More information on Prey & Obey is available online now along with all of <Pig>’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.pigindustries.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pigindustries

Twitter: http://twitter.com/raymondwatts

 

 

 

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Adrenaline Mob’s New LP Will Unite The Metal Nation Worldwide

Courtesy: Century Media Records

Early last month, hard rock outfit Adrenaline Mob returned with its latest full-length album We the People.  The band’s third full-length studio recording, it was released June 2 via Century Media Records. Listening to this 13-song record, it can be said that the band is back with a purpose, providing listeners 63 minutes of pure hard rock compositions that will appeal to fans of Five Finger Death Punch, Sevendust, Drowning Pool and other similar acts.  The record’s lyrical content hits just as hard as its musical arrangements.  The whole of those elements makes We The People a record that definitely will unite members of the metal nation worldwide.  That is evident right from the album’s outset in the form of the record’s lead song and single, ‘King of the Ring.’  The album’s anti-drug anthem ‘Chasing The Dragon,’ which comes later in the record’s run supports that statement just as much as ‘King of the Ring.’  The same can be said of ‘Violent State of Mind,’ which comes even later in the record’s run.  Between the songs noted here and the other ten songs that make up the rest of the record, the whole of those songs proves the record to be a work that will not only unite the metal nation but also proves to be one of this year’s best new hard rock and metal albums.

Adrenaline Mob’s latest full-length studio recording We The People is one of this year’s top new hard rock and metal offerings.  It is a record that will unite members of the metal nation worldwide.  That is due both to its musical arrangements and its lyrical themes, as is evidenced early on in the record’s lead song and single ‘King of the Ring.’  In terms of its musical arrangement, it easily lends itself to comparisons to Saliva’s hit 2006 song ‘Ladies & Gentlemen’ with its heavy, guitar-driven sound.  Obviously the comparison is not identical.  But at least in this critic’s own view it is enough to be notable.  Others might disagree, and that is perfectly fine.  Either way, the fire that burns bright in this arrangement makes it a solid start for the band’s latest album.  It is only one part of what makes the song such an enjoyable first impression for this record.  The song’s lyrical content couples with that arrangement to show even more why the song in whole is a clear example of what makes the album in whole an equally strong return for the band.

The lyrical content presented in ‘King of the Ring’ is important to note because it boasts the same fire that is exhibited in the song’s musical arrangement.  Examining the song’s lyrical content, it comes across as a defiant, fist-pumping anthem that preaches standing tall and proud, and having confidence in one’s own self.  That is inferred as front man Russell Allen sings in the song’s lead verse, “Walking tall/toward the ring/Tell yourself to get ready/Clinch your fists/Take a breath/S***’s about to get heavy/Keep running your mouth/You don’t’ know what you just started/Keep running your mouth/You don’t know just what you’re in for.”  He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “Here we go/Blow by blow/Get ‘em up and get ready/Feel the sting/Hit by hit/I will make you crawl.”  The defiance continues in the song’s third verse as Russell’s subject sings to the unseen antagonist that he is standing tall and better than any naysayers, haters and the like.  The boxing/wrestling metaphor that is used here is nothing new to the rock realm.  Again, Saliva’s ‘Ladies & Gentlemen’ used a similar approach as did songs from Sevendust and Nonpoint just to name a couple more. That aside, it still doesn’t get old in this scenario.  Rather, the fire in the song’s lyrical content present their own fire; a fire that when coupled with the fire in the song’s musical arrangement, strengthens the song even more, showing in whole why this song is so important in showing what makes We The People a strong return for Adrenaline Mob.  It is not the only song included in this record that serves to support that statement.  ‘Chasing Dragons’ supports that statement just as much as ‘King of the Ring.’

‘Chasing Dragons’ shows what makes We The People a solid new effort from Adrenaline Mob because it doesn’t try to just rehash any of its predecessors in this album musically or lyrically.  Musically speaking, the song’s guitar-driven arrangement presents a certain urgency throughout that interestingly mirrors what drug addicts might feel after getting that first high.  It starts off slow and brooding, but picks up from there, only getting more urgent as it progresses.  In one sense, that potentially mirrors what an addict might feel.  On another level, it could also mirror the urgency of those around the addict in trying to get the addict off of his or her addiction.  It definitely is an interesting approach to say the very least, and is not the only part of the song that makes it stand out.  The song’s lyrical content presents just as much urgency as its musical arrangement.

The urgency in ‘Chasing Dragons’’ lyrical content is exhibited clearly as Allen sings, “Look at yourself/Face to face/Through the cracks/And you want to chase the dragon/Want to taste that drug/And feel that rush again/Wide awake/Staring at the ceiling/Another drink should get you through the night/And you’re praying for a savior/And I’m knocking/Knocking at your door/you look surprised as hell/To see this ugly face/Well, did you think I would greet you with a smile?/Now tell me friend/Did you think I wouldn’t find you/Oh, and by the way/I’ve been here all the while.”  This is a pretty straight forward, no-nonsense statement that leaves little to be guessed.  Allen is singing about what is going on in the addict’s mind as the high wears off and he or she starts feeling the need for that next high, and the stark reality check that addicts are forced to eventually make.  It is a powerful statement that when coupled with the song’s musical arrangement shows just as much as ‘King of the Ring,’ why it is such an important part of We The People’s whole.  It still is not the last example of what makes this record stand out in this year’s field of new hard rock and metal albums.  ‘Violent State of Mind,’ which comes later in the album’s run shows in its own unique way what makes the album stand out, too.

‘Violent State of Mind’ sounds like a foreboding title for a song, but in reality, the song should not be mistaken.  It is yet another defiant musical and lyrical statement that will benefit any listener who has ever dealt with someone difficult.  That could be a difficult family member, significant other or even a bully boss.  Who hasn’t dealt with any of these situations at one point or another?  In regards to its musical content, it is a full-on, adrenaline fueled, guitar-driven work that will instantly have listeners’ fists and horns pumping proudly in the air.  Lyrically speaking, it will help listeners release the concentrated anger and aggression that builds up from a difficult day in any of the noted settings because of the defiance exhibited throughout. That defiance is evident in the song’s verse in which Allen sings, “You tell me to walk, then you tell me to run/You tell me to swallow and follow everyone/You give me a choice but won’t let me choose/You won’t let me win, but you’ll never let me lose/And I am done trying to get through to you/I have turned to a violent state of mind/Come on and tell me/What more do you really want/What more do you want from me/Tell me what you really want/My head is spinning and you’re driving me crazy.”  Again, who out there has never been in such a frustrating position emotionally?  Anyone who hasn’t is either living under a rock or in some utopia that no one else knows about.  The frustration from the song’s subject continues in the song’s second verse as Allen’s subject continues to address the unseen person, saying, “You’re trying to teach/But you don’t understand.”  This is a statement that, along with the rest of the second verse – and the song – will resonate with so many people.  Keeping this in mind, the fire in these lyrics couples with the fire in the song’s musical arrangement to show in whole why this song is yet another important addition to We The People.  When this song is joined with the previously discussed works and the album’s other ten compositions, the whole proves to be a work that, once again, will unite members of the metal nation worldwide and that proves to be one of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

We The People is a solid return for Adrenaline Mob.  Being that three years passed between this record and its predecessor, 2014’s Men of Honor, that is especially the case.  That statement is supported from start to finish in this record due to its combination of solid musical arrangements and equally powerful lyrical themes, as has been exemplified in the songs noted above.  When those songs are joined with the record’s remaining ten tracks, the end result is an album that will unite the members of the metal nation not just in America but around the world.  It also proves the record to be one of this year’s top new hard rock and metal offerings.  More information on We The People is available online now along with all of Adrenaline Mob’s latest tour dates, news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://adrenalinemob.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/adrenalinemob

Twitter: http://twitter.com/adrenalinemob

 

 

 

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Transformers Rescue Bots’ Latest DVD Is A Hit For The Whole “Family”

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Shout! Factory Kids

Shout! Factory Kids teamed up late last month with Hasbro Studios for yet another collection of Transformers Rescue Bots episodes in the form of Transformers Rescue Bots: Rescue Family.  The single-disc compilation culls five more episodes from the animated Discovery Family series that the whole family will enjoy.  That is due in part to the episodes themselves.  This will be discussed shortly.  The stories within the episodes are collectively important to the collection, too and will be discussed later.  It is not the last of the collection’s key elements either.  The disc’s average price point rounds out its most important elements.  When it is considered along with the collection’s episodes and their stories, the whole of the collection proves to be yet another of this year’s top new children’s DVDs.

Transformers Rescue Bots: Rescue Family is one of this year’s top new children’s DVDs.  It is a collection that children will enjoy just as much as grown-ups.  That is due in part to the episodes culled for the collection.  Five episodes from the hit animated Discovery Family series were collected for this collection, which has remained the standard for every one of the series’ previously released collections.  The episodes – ‘Road Trip,’ ‘Prescott’s Bots!,’ Odd Bot Out,’ ‘Chief Woodrow’ and ‘More Than Meets The Eye’ – were pulled from the series’ second and third seasons.  The first three episodes were pulled from the series’ second season, and the last two from its third season.  This collection is not the first of the series’ DVDs to feature episodes from multiple seasons.  However, that its episodes were pulled specifically from those two seasons rather than randomly across the board presents a clear focus in the episode choices.

The episodes featured in Shout! Factory and Hasbro Studios’ latest Transformers Rescue Bots DVD Rescue Family are clearly important to the disc’s overall presentation.  That is proven through the focus placed on the seasons from which they were lifted.  While the episodes are clearly important, they are not the collection’s only important collective element.  The stories within the episodes are just as important to the collection’s presentation as the episodes themselves.  That is important to note because while they do bring back in some familiar secondary characters, the stories themselves do not repeat any of the episodes that came before or after.

“Chief Woodrow” is a key example of this statement.  Chief Burns’ brother Woodrow returns once again in this episode, except this time the trouble happens not beneath the island but on the island as Chief Burns is away at a Police Conference.  Woodrow (who is once again voiced by Mark Hamill – Star Wars, Batman: The Animated Series) ends up being named acting police chief after he saves the mayor, leading to even more trouble.

Lead episode “Road Trip” exemplifies that statement just as much as “Chief Woodrow.”  This episode’s story is yet another that is centered on trouble caused by Doc Greene’s inventions.  This time out, Doc Greene has developed a transporter a la Star Trek (rather fitting since Levar Burton made his fame on Star Trek: The Next Generation).  The problem is that the transporter turns out to be a one-way transporter, rather than a two-ray device.  This leads to its own share of problems for Cody and the Rescue Bots.  Meanwhile Kade has to be rescued by a paramedic named Taylor after the pair crash-land in the forest while Taylor is hang gliding.  Both of these story lines are original to the series’ history, showing again the importance of the stories presented in each episode.

The story line presented in “Odd Bot Out” is yet another example of that importance.  Blades’ infatuation with Bumblebee comes to the fore yet again in this story.  But instead of the pair working together to save Griffin Rock, Bumblebee works with Dani on a top-secret mission, leaving Blades the proverbial fifth wheel of sorts.  The reason they end up partnering is that Dani’s pilot’s license expired and she has to get it renewed.  Meanwhile sinkholes start appearing all around the island, threatening to sink the island thanks to Madeline Pynch activating an ancient technology below the waves just off of the island’s coast.  Given, it’s not the first time that the writers have had Griffin Rock’s residents threatened by a potential sinking of the island.  But the way in which the writers handled this matter did keep the story from just re-hashing its predecessor’s story.  Keeping that in mind, this story line is still another example of why the stories presented in this collection’s episodes are just as important to the disc’s overall presentation as the episodes themselves.

The stories at the center of Transformers Rescue Bots: Rescue Family are clearly integral to the collection’s overall presentation.  That is evidenced through the stories discussed above.  Keeping that mind, the stories are not the last of the set’s most important elements.  The disc’s average price point is just as important to its presentation as its episodes and their relative stories.  The disc’s average price point between major retailers Target, Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Shout! Factory’s own online store, comes to approximately $10.35.  Considering that the disc’s five episodes present a total run time of 110 minutes (1 hour, 50 minutes), a roughly $10 (plus tax likely) price tag is not that bad.  That is especially considering other discs with just as many episodes from other series and companies are nearly twice as expensive.  Keeping this in mind, it becomes clear why the average price point for this collection of episodes is important to the collection’s presentation as its episodes and their stories.  When it is joined with those elements, the whole of the elements makes this disc a grouping that is both enjoyable and cost efficient.  In turn, it becomes a collection that is deserving of plenty of applause and of being placed on any critic’s list of the year’s top new children’s DVDs.

Transformers Rescue Bots: Rescue Family is one of this year’s top new children’s DVDs.  It is a work that children and adults alike will enjoy thanks to its episodes and their stories.  Parents will especially appreciate the disc’s relatively affordable average price point.  Each is important in its own right as noted previously.  Keeping this in mind, this collection of episodes deserves its own share of applause and of being placed on any critic’s list of the year’s top new children’s DVDs.  It can be ordered online direct via Shout! Factory’s online store.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

 

 

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Madonna To Officially Open New Pediatric Care Center Tuesday In Malawi

Courtesy: BBGun Press

Madonna is in the news again, and this time it is for her philanthropic efforts.

The veteran singer and actress announced this week that the Mercy James Institute for Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care will officially open Tuesday, July 11.  Friday’s announcement comes as young patients have already started being admitted to the facility, which is named after Madonna’s Malawi-born daughter Mercy James.  The center was developed through a partnership between the Malawian Minister of Health and Madonna’s Raising Malawi charitable organization.

Madonna said in a recent interview that the inspiration for the facility’s creation came after her first visit to the African nation, adding she was looking forward to finally having the facility officially open.

“When you look into the eyes of children in need, wherever they may be, a human being wants to do anything and everything they can to help, and on my first visit to Malawi I made a commitment that I would do just that,” Madonna said.  “As we approach the opening of the Mercy James Institute for Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care, I’d like to thank everyone who has joined me on this unbelievable journey.  What started out as a dream for Malawi and her children has become a reality and we couldn’t have done it without your support.”

Madonna also noted during her interview that establishing the new hospital was a way for her to give back to Malawi and to do something positive for her adopted children.

“Malawi has enriched my family more than I could have ever imagined,” Madonna said.  “It’s important for me to make sure all my children from the country maintain a strong connection to their birth nation, and equally important to show them that together, humans have the power to change the world for the better.”

Work on the state-of-the-art center started in November 2014. With the treatments made possible through the hospital, it will help Queen Elizabeth Hospital double the number of surgeries performed on young patients annually, dramatically increasing children’s chances of survival from different conditions.  Along with this positive, it will also serve as a major training center for doctors throughout Malawi and South Africa, increasing even more the chance of children’s survival.

More information on the Mercy James Institute for Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care is available online at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.raisingmalawi.org/health

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/raisingmalawi

Twitter: http://twitter.com/raisingmalawi

 

 

 

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Tommy Victor Is In His Prime On His Latest Prong Recording

Courtesy: Steamhammer/SPV Records

Later this month, Prong will release its latest album to the masses, and the record, Zero Days, is one of this year’s top new hard rock and metal offerings.  The record, the 12th full-length studio recording from Tommy Victor and his ever-rotating roster of fellow musicians, is everything that audiences have come to expect from Prong – heavy yet infectious riffs and grooves, and equally hard-hitting lyrical content. That is evidenced early in the album’s run in the form of ‘Divide and Conquer,’ which will be discussed shortly.  The full-on thrash riffs and social commentary of ‘Forced Into Tolerance’ shows just as much as ‘Divide and Conquer’ what makes this record another enjoyable offering from Prong.  It will be discussed later.  ‘Self Righteous Indignation’ also serves, with its musical arrangement and lyrical content, why this record represents everything that Prong’s fans have come to expect from the band.  It is hardly the last of the songs included in this record that serves that purpose, too.  The record boasts 10 other songs that could just as easily be used to show why Prong has crafted another solid offering in Zero Days and why it is.  The whole of the album’s 13 songs shows the album to be, again, one of this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Veteran hard rock outfit Prong’s latest album Zero Days is everything that Prong’s fans have come to expect from the band and then some.  The album, Tommy Victor’s 12th album under the Prong moniker, utilizes a solid mix of musical arrangements and hard-hitting lyrical content to make it one of this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

That is evidenced early on in the driving composition ‘Divide And Conquer.’  The melodic hard rock arrangement at the song’s center harkens back to some of the best songs included in the band’s 1996 album Rude Awakening and its forebear, Cleansing (1994).  That is evidenced through the song’s straight forward guitar arrangement and Victor’s own vocal delivery style.  Drummer Art Cruz’s own work behind the kit adds to that feel even more as does that of bassist Mike Longworth.  The whole of those parts makes this arrangement one of the album’s best musical compositions.  The songs’ lyrical content builds on the foundation created by the arrangement and strengthens the song even more.

The lyrical content presented in ‘Divide and Conquer’ strengthens the foundation created through the song’s musical arrangement because it hits just as hard as the arrangement with its commentary. Victor sings in the song’s lead verse, “There’s no relief/There’s just regret/Want to forget/Just can’t believe/Really don’t want any part of that/Just another bad experience/For what’s positive or negative/Maybe it’s all just relative.”  He and his band mates go on to sing in the song’s chorus, “You can’t go through life without these conditions/Divide and conquer/You can always rely on opposition/Face the sorrow/You can’t go through life without some division/Divide and conquer…”  This comes across as a message about accepting the good and bad in life rather than just the good.  This is of course only this critic’s own interpretation and should not be taken as gospel.  That interpretation is made just as much as Victor sings in the song’s second verse, “You only see what you gotta get/You cannot get what you cannot see/Always forced into compromise/Always have to make the sacrifice/Things are not what they seem to be/Living in a false reality.”  From here the song returns to its chorus before making its way to its end, reminding listeners that negative will always come with positive, and that people should expect both sides in life; that only seeing one side is close-minded.  Again, this is only this critic’s own interpretation.  Hopefully it is somewhere in the ballpark of being right.  Regardless, it can be agreed by everyone that whatever the message, it definitely is hard-hitting.  When that message is coupled with the song’s driving musical arrangement, the urgency of understanding the message is driven home even more, making this song both musically and lyrically a work that so many people (especially in today’s world) should hear, proving why it is such an important addition to Zero Days.  It is not the album’s only stand out song.  ‘Forced Into Tolerance’ is another of the songs that serves to show why Zero Days is another solid offering from Prong, despite what some critics might have people believe.

‘Divide and Conquer’ is one of the best examples of how much Tommy Victor and company have to offer audiences on its latest album Zero Days.  Its driving musical arrangement and equally hard-hitting lyrical content couple to make the song a work that will entertain audiences while also leaving them thinking quite a bit.  The impact from the song’s musical and lyrical content makes it only one of the album’s best additions.  ‘Forced Into Tolerance’ hits just as hard as ‘Divide and Conquer.’  Just as with the aforementioned work, that is due in part to the song’s musical arrangement, which instantly conjures thoughts of Slayer, Hatebreed and others of that ilk.  That speaks for itself.  Considering that, the next step here is to examine the song’s lyrical content, which at least to this critic seems to be a commentary about the bigotry and racism that has become far too prevalent across the nation ever since the rise to power of the nation’s current “leader.”  That is inferred right off the top as Victor sings, “Forced into tolerance of what we disdain/Being irrational is how we exist/Someone goes around and it makes no sense/They are labeled and then disgraced/Caught in the ignorance and try to explain.”  He goes on to bring out the foolishness of the hateful views that are being expressed by singing, “I don’t care if you exist…Don’t f****** tell me it is what it is.”  He goes on in similar fashion from here with the same musical and lyrical fire, indicting those close-minded masses of the nation (and the world possibly) pointing out the dangers of their views, and the foolishness of those views.  It is a powerful statement both musically and lyrically that will be timely as long as such people and views exist in the world.  Considering this, it is clearly evident why this song is so important to the overall presentation of Prong’s new album. It is not the last of the record’s key compositions either.  ‘Self Righteous Indignation’ is yet another of the album’s most important songs.

‘Divide and Conquer’ and ‘Forced Into Tolerance’ are both key additions to Prong’s 12th full-length studio recording.  That is thanks to the songs’ powerhouse musical arrangements and the equally hard-hitting commentaries contained within each song.  The whole of those elements within each song makes each song a clear example of what makes Zero Days such a strong new effort from Prong.  They are not the album’s only key works, though.  ‘Self Righteous Indignation’ is yet another of the album’s most important works.  As with the previously discussed songs, that is due in part to the song’s musical arrangement, which can easily be compared to works from the likes of Fear Factory, White Chapel and other similar acts with its heavy, crunching, down-tuned guitars, pounding drums and equally heavy bass line.  Keeping this in mind, it is only one part of what makes the song stand out so distinctly from the record’s other tracks.  The song’s lyrical content is just as important to note here as its musical arrangement.

The lyrical content presented in ‘Self Righteous Indignation’ seems to this critic at least as a commentary about those people who think themselves so much better than everyone else.  That is inferred as Victor sings in the song’s lead verse, “A victim/Of the system/Who gives a damn about your needs/Won’t listen/To criticism/Disgust for everyone who cheats/My heart is cold/I cannot pray/I can’t look way/What may unfold/Your dismay/Just total disdain/Self/Righteous/Indignation.”  That seeming commentary continues in the song’s second verse as Victor sings, “No wisdom/So distant/A great sense of psychic grief/existence/Of symptoms/distaste for everything that’s cheap/It’s always known/All the demands/The helping hands/have no control/What you don’t have/Gets way out of hand.”  Once again, this is all just this critic’s own interpretation and should not be taken as the only interpretation.  It only seems to this critic that this song, lyrically, addresses those people who have that unnecessary God complex of sorts.  Sadly, there are far too many people of this sort around the world, and if that is indeed what Victor is addressing here, he does quite the job of addressing the matter.  Keeping that in mind, the song’s musical arrangement expertly couples with the power in the song’s lyrics and Victor’s own powerhouse vocal delivery.  It delivers a message of pure anger aimed at those people in question; a message that, again if that is the intended message, definitely hits home in a big way, showing once more why this song is such a key addition to Zero Days.  It is hardly the last of the songs that could be examined to show what makes Zero Days such a strong new effort from Prong.  Any of the other 10 songs that fill out the rest of the album could be examined just as easily as this work and the previously discussed works.  Considering this, the whole of this record shows Prong at its prime; a work that will definitely impress any of the band’s fans new or old.  They make the record a work that deserves a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Prong’s latest full-length studio recording Zero Days shows Tommy Victor at his prime along with the band that he founded so many years ago.  It is a record that shows despite all of the band’s lineup and label changes, is still as relevant and powerful today as it was in its infancy.  That is exhibited from start to finish through the album’s powerhouse musical arrangements and its equally hard-hitting lyrical content.  The two elements together make the album in whole one of this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.  It will be available Friday, July 28 via Steamhammer/SPV Records.  More information on Zero Days is available online now along with all of Prong’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.prongmusic.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/prongmusic

Twitter: http://twitter.com/prongmusic

 

 

 

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.