Shout! Factory, Sesame Workshop To Celebrate 50th Anniversary Of ‘Sesame Street’ With New Collection

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Sesame Workshop

Shout! Factory and Sesame Workshop are celebrating Sesame Street‘s 50th anniversary with a new collection of episodes.

Sesame Street50 Years and Counting is scheduled for release Oct. 1 on DVD.  The two-disc set features some of the series’ most beloved and memorable moments from its half-century of programming in its first disc.  Segments, such as “Ladybug Picnic,” “Pinball Number Count” and Kermit The Frog’s beloved performance of ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green’ are among those moments.

The set’s second disc features a variety of the series’ most beloved “live action” segments.  Among those multiple moments are the heartbreaking “Goodbye to Mr. Hooper,” the debut of Julia, the first member of the Sesame Street gang with autism and the introduction of the one and only Snuffleupagus.

As if all of that is not, viewers of all ages get to enjoy Super Grover’s many crash landings, Bert and Ernie’s best moments and more than five-and-a-half hours of other content from the series’ half-century run.

The collection’s release in stores will feature the inclusion of a 2X3 picture that features the series’ most notable figures.  The collection can be pre-ordered online now via Shout! Factory’s 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

 

More information on this and other titles from Sesame Workshop is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.sesameworkshop.org

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/sesameworkshop

 

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‘Space: 1999 — The Complete Series’ Is A “Universal” Hit For Science Fiction Fans Everywhere

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory is resurrecting the cult classic sci-fi series Space: 1999.  Due out July 16 on DVD and Blu-ray, the upcoming re-issue marks the first time that the series has received a full domestic release.  It was released most recently released in a full set overseas via Network in 2017.  Spread across 13 discs on DVD and Blu-ray, the collection is a must have for the most devout fans of the short-lived British import.  That is due in part to the set’s packaging, which will be addressed shortly.  The bonus content, which is expansive to say the least, is another key addition to the collection.  The companion booklet that is also featured with the set, rounds out the set’s most important elements.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Space: 1999The Complete Series.  All things considered, they make this first-ever domestic home release of the series one that will be difficult to top for any future re-issues domestic or otherwise.

Shout! Factory’s upcoming domestic release of Space: 1999The Complete Series is a collection that the cult classic series’ most devoted fans will appreciate.  That is due in part to the set’s packaging.  The series’ 48-episode run is spread across 13 discs in two separate Blu-ray boxes.  The discs are placed on either side of a series of plates inside each box.  While the series’ two seasons are separated out into boxes, the packaging manner for the discs actually minimizes the bulk of each box.  Even with the main bonus features being placed on their own disc inside its own third case, the set’s overall Blu-ray box size is conservative on its size because of how the discs are packaged within the cases and because Blbu-ray boxes are themselves smaller than DVD boxes.

The actual packaging of the discs is just one key item to note in examining the overall packaging of Space: 1999’s Blu-ray set.  Audiences will note that on the back of each of the collection’s main two cases is an episode listing for that season.  The episodes are specifically aligned with their respective discs.  This might not seem overly important on the surface, but in reality it is very important.  Having the episodes listed specifically on their discs saves time for viewers in deciding which disc and episode to watch.  Of course, this is nothing new for Shout! Factory’s home releases, but it is still worth noting since it is another example of that continued effort by the people at Shout! Factory to give viewers the best experience possible with each of its multi-disc sets.  While the episode summaries are not included inside or outside the cases, Shout! Factory’s people did not forget those, either.  They will be discussed a little later.  Moving on, the packaging of Space: 1999The Complete Series is just one part of what makes the collection stand out for the series’ fans.  The bonus content featured throughout the set adds even more to the set’s presentation.

The bonus content featured in this first-ever domestic release of Space: 1999The Complete Series is spread across the set’s 13-discs with the main discs featuring picture galleries from each episode.  The main bonus content is a series of featurettes and a mix of old and new interview segments.  Star Barbara Bain’s interview features her talking about her draw to the series despite not being a science fiction fan at the time that she tried out for a role on the series, but coming to enjoy her time on the show.  Bain also mentions in her interview, her interest in the show’s premise and its set.  There is also an entertaining anecdote shared by Bain here, about working with Christopher Lee in one episode of Season One.  She joked about his height and how the show’s creative heads wanted to make him even taller than his natural 6-foot 4-inch height.  That is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg here.  The discussions on the series’ concept and creation features discussions with the series’ creator Gerry Anderson – who also created other classic series, such as Thunderbirds, Stingray and Joe 90 – as well as other members of the series’ creative team discussion the series’ creation.  Anderson discusses the role that ITC had in the importing of the series to the United States while others discuss the things that went on behind the scenes.  Perhaps one of the most intriguing discussions is that of show runner Fred Freiberger, who came into the show near the end of its first season.  Anderson’s wife Sylvia speaks one way of Freiberger – essentially saying he did not understand the difference between British television and American – while cast member Nick Tate spoke a little more warmly of Freiberger.  As if all of that is not enough for viewers, there is also a look into the models that were used   That look is key because it reminds people about how groundbreaking Anderson’s series were then and are now in hindsight.  As another interviewee noted in another segment, shows of this series’ caliber can only be made in this era using CG.  Between these discussions, so many others featured in the bonus content, the bonus picture galleries and the audio commentaries also featured throughout the set, audiences get here a full and fully immersive viewing experience.  It takes the foundation formed by the set’s packaging and strengthens it even more than one could even imagine.  That foundation is strengthened more still through the companion booklet that is also featured as part of the collection’s whole.

The companion booklet that is featured with Space: 1999The Complete Series opens with a brief but concise look at the history of Space: 1999 by pop culture historian and Shout! Factory Associate Producer Russell Dyball.  The history is also an appreciation for the series, with Dyball discussing the series’ theme music, its stylistic approach, which was far different from that of Star Trek – but common for Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s series – and the expansive merchandising associated with the show.  From there, the booklet features a full rundown of the series’ episodes with brief, but concise summaries of each episode.  There is even a note ahead of the episode summaries stating that the lineup is based on the series’ episode production order, the most commonly accepted episode order.  Considering that there was not enough space inside and outside the series’ cases for episode summaries, the people at Shout! Factory are to be commended for taking the time to make sure even that element was still included in one way or another with the set.  Audiences will likely end up using this episode guide even more than the episode guides printed on the backs of the cases.  It’s just one more positive to an already positive presentation that the most devoted fans of this classic series will appreciate.  When it is considered along with the previously noted positives – the packaging and the bonus content – the set in whole becomes a presentation that every Space: 1999 fan will want to add to their home library.

Shout! Factory and itv’s upcoming domestic release of Space: 1999The Complete Series is a presentation that the most devoted fans of the series and the most devoted science fiction fans will appreciate.  That is due in part to the set’s packaging.  Once again, Shout! Factory has set the bar for multi-disc packaging with this Blu-ray set.  The bonus content featured with the set adds even more interest to its whole, as it includes audio commentaries, interviews, retrospectives and picture galleries throughout the set’s 13 discs.  The companion booklet that is also featured with the set rounds out its most important elements.  Each item noted is key in its own way to the whole of the set.  All things considered, they make this collection a “universal” hit among science fiction audiences, not just fans of this series.  More information on this and other titles 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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Eagle Rock’s New Alan Jackson Profile Will Appeal To Country Music Fans In Towns Of All Sizes

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Country music star Alan Jackson has done it all, it seems, over the course of his career.  He has sold more than 80 million records, reached the top spot on the Billboard Hot Singles & Tracks Chart at least 35 times, received two Grammy® Awards 16 Country Music Association Awards, 17 Academy of Country Music Awards, and is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame just to name a handful of accomplishments.  His albums have gone platinum no fewer than nine times, to boot.  He has played at the Grand Ole Opry multiple times, too.  All of this was accomplished by a man whose roots go back to a small southern town, so it makes sense that that is the title of Eagle Rock Entertainment’s new profile of Jackson, Small Town Southern Man.  Released late last month, the 90-minute documentary tells the story of Jackson’s life and career from his childhood in a small Georgia town to his reaching the peak of his career, becoming a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.  That story forms the foundation of the documentary and will be addressed shortly.  The documentary’s editing is just as worth noting as the story itself.  The doc’s average price point proves to be money well-spent considering the editing and story.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Small Town Southern Man.  All things considered, they make the documentary a presentation that proves big things can, and often do, come in small packages.

Eagle Rock Entertainment’s recently released Alan Jackson profile Small Town Southern Man is a presentation that will appeal just as much to Jackson’s fans as it will to country music fans in general.  That is due in large part to the story at the center of the documentary.  The story follows Jackson’s life and career from his humble beginnings in a small Georgia town to his nationwide fame, now decades into his career.  The story is told through the words of Jackson’s family and friends, including, but not limited to his parents and sisters, fellow musicians and executives at his label.  Audiences learn early on in the story that it was Jackson’s second hit single, not his first, that broke him into the mainstream.  It’s hardly the first time that such a scenario has happened for a band or a performer.  That is important to note because it serves as one more reminder that in the entertainment industry, it takes work to gain any level of success.  Success doesn’t always happen on the first try.  As the story progresses, viewers also learn that ‘Chattahoochie,’ another of Jackson’s hit singles, almost did not happen.  Those with knowledge of the story explain how the song stood out, at the time, from so much other country music, especially as it pertained to the song’s video, and the long term impact of the song.  It is pointed out that some of Jackson’s songs were written by people other than himself, but additionally pointed out that he still wrote the majority of his songs, and has still managed quite the success even with that balance.  As if all of that is not enough, viewers also hear from other well-known country music figures about their own view of his role in their development.  Jackson himself is featured through a series of vintage interviews to add even more to the story, enhancing the story even more.  The story at the center of Small Town Southern Man goes a long way toward making the DVD a positive offering from Eagle Rock Entertainment for Jackson’s fans and those of country music in general.  It is just one part of what makes the DVD a positive offering.  The story’s editing adds to its interest in its own right.

The editing that went into Small Town Southern Man deserves its own share of attention as it did a lot to help tell the story at the documentary’s center.  The live footage featured throughout the documentary make for solid transition points, cutting at just the right moments to help tell the story.  The division of the interviews throughout the course of the program shows the amount of time and effort put into making sure the story flows as well as possible, too.  Viewers will also appreciate the precise placement of the pictures and music video segments in their connection to the story.  They start and stop at all of the right points, and are used at all of the right spots to help keep viewers engaged and entertained.  What’s more, their use at those points plays into the program’s pacing, too.  This is important to note in that there are certain points as the story progresses where it feels that it should have ended but didn’t end.  Luckily, the editors’ work in assembling the story helped make up for the problem of those non-endings, keeping viewers watching even as the story continues past those points.  That is a strong statement about the editors’ talents.  Keeping all of this in mind, the work of the doc’s editors couples with the story directly to prove even more why this presentation will appeal to country music fans in general and Alan Jackson fans.  Considering that deep appeal, it makes the DVD’s average price point money well-spent for the noted viewers.

The average price point for Small Town Southern Man is $7.86.  That price is obtained by averaging prices at Amazon, Walmart, Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Best Buy.  At the time of this review’s posting, the DVD was not listed at Target and Books-A-Million.  Considering the fact that other standard documentaries on DVD can range from $15 and up, a DVD documentary that does not even break the $10 level – even within its own listing at the noted retailers – is even more positive for the DVD.  Given, there is no bonus content featured with the DVD, but the fact that there is no extra content makes that price point all the more acceptable and affordable.  To that end, the pricing is the proverbial cherry on top for this DVD.  It is one more way in which the DVD establishes its appeal to the noted audiences.  When it is considered with the DVD’s content and editing, the whole of the elements makes Small Town Southern Man a presentation that Alan Jackson and country music fans in every town will enjoy.

Eagle Rock Entertainment’s new Alan Jackson documentary Small Town Southern Man is a positive new offering for Jackson’s fans and for country music fans alike.  That is made evident in part through the DVD’s story, which establishes the DVD’s foundation.  That program’s editing goes a long way toward ensuring viewers’ engagement and entertainment, too.  Considering that content and editing, the DVD’s average (and separate) price point of less than $10 makes this a DVD that any country music fan and Alan Jackson fan can afford.  Those fans will also appreciate that lower price point, in comparison to the prices of other similar style DVDs from other companies on other topics that have the same amount of content.  Each item is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD.  All things considered, they make the DVD a presentation that Alan Jackson and country music fans in every town big and small will appreciate.  Small Town Southern Man is available now.  More information on the DVD is available online now along with all of Alan Jackson’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.alanjackson.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.comOfficialJackson

 

 

 

More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

 

 

 

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‘Which One Am I’ Could Create A New, Positive Identity For Backstreet Boy Howie D

Courtesy: HowieDoItMusic

Howard Dorough, a.k.a. Howie D. is most well known for his work throughout the years with the bubblegum pop group Backstreet Boys.  While Dorough has earned his greatest fame as a member of the group, that is not his only claim to fame.  He alsso has some production credit under his belt along with a solo album released in 2011 titled Back To Me.  On Friday, Dorough released his second solo recording, which was also his first-ever family music album in the form of Which One Am I.  The album, which comes a little more than a month ahead of his 46th birthday, is an intriguing effort from Dorough, considering his resume.  That is proven in part through the record’s arrangements, which will be discussed shortly.  The record’s lyrical themes add to the record’s interest, and will be addressed a little later.  Its sequencing rounds out its most important elements, and will also be addressed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Which One Am I.  All things considered, this record has the possibility to help Dorough truly start developing his own identity as an artist and a performer.

Howard Dorough’s sophomore solo record – and first ever family music album – Which One Am I is a promising new offering for the performer who has made his name largely through his work with the Backstreet Boys.  It is a promising offering in part because of the album’s arrangements.  The arrangements featured throughout the course of the 12-song, 38-minute album are distinctly different from anything crafted for any of the Backstreet Boys’ albums.  Whereas the arrangements featured on the Backstreet Boys’ albums are synthetic, autotuned cookie cutter creations crafted by the execs at the group’s label, the arrangements featured in this record feel and sound far more genuine and original.  The arrangement in the album’s opener features an arrangement that harkens back to the poppy, R&B-infused songs of the late 1950s and early 60s while ‘Worry,’ which comes later in the album’s run, boasts an arrangement that holds its own against any of today’s reggae offerings.  ‘School Bell Tango’ presents a fun, light arrangement that puts on display Dorough’s Puerto Rican roots – he makes a point in the album to note that his mother is Puerto Rican and his father Irish.  The arrangement, complete with either cello or viola, presents the familiar tango sound that was (and is) so common from Puerto Rico.  ‘Small Time Blues’ presents, in fact, a light 12-bar blues arrangement that is just as catchy as so many old school country blues songs.  Between this, everything else mentioned, the power in the subtlety of Dorough’s cover of Bill Withers’ hit song ‘Lean on Me’ and the rest of the record’s arrangements, Dorough puts on full display his talents as a performer.  The result of the record’s collective arrangements is a full set of arrangements that creates a strong foundation for Dorough’s new record.  Building on that foundation is the lyrical content featured with the arrangements.

As already noted, Which One Am I is Dorough’s first-ever family record.  For someone who has spent the better part of his career lip synching hollow, forgettable lyrics that are anything but memorable, the lyrics presented here (which clearly are sung by Dorough this time out) are lyrics that will resonate with children and adults alike.  Case in point is the piano-driven song that is ‘Shy.’  This song’s doo-wop infused arrangement works expertly with its lyrics about a young student who is battling with shyness.  He sings about the young boy being asked to read a passage from a book and trying to pretend he can’t talk in order to get out of it, but that effort failing.  Who hasn’t done that at one point or another in their childhood?  The song also features a story about that same young man trying to get over his shyness as he tries to ask a girl to a dance at another point in his young life.  He ends the song by asking painfully why he is so shy.  This is something to which listeners of all ages can relate just as much as the song’s other situations.

‘School Bell Tango’ is another prime example of the importance of the album’s lyrical themes.  Here again is a lyrical theme to which listeners of all ages can relate.  Dorough sings here from the vantage point of a young school student not wanting to get up and go to school in the morning, but eventually having so much fun at school that he’s surprised when the last bell of the day rings. Yet again, who out there has not been in the situation in which that young student has been?  Even grown-ups don’t like getting up in the morning, hearing that first alarm of the day from the alarm clock.  The difference is that adults can’t wait to get home at the end of the day.  Kids on the other hand, get ot have fun at school along with their work.  Again, this is a song that not just musically, but lyrically, will reach a wide range of listeners.

‘The Me I’m Meant To Be’ is yet another of those songs that will reach a wide range of listeners through its lyrical content.  Dorough presents in this song, a message of taking pride in one’s own self and being willing to take risks in life, singing, “I could play it safe/But I been down that road before/And even though I am afraid/I could give it a try/Change up my game/Open that door/I gotta make my own mind up/’Cause all of my time’s up/I gotta trust I’ll find my way.”  Children and adults alike have trouble willing themselves to take risks in life and do new things.  The situations may differ, but they still happen for everyone.  What is important in those situations is taking those chances, because without taking chances, no change will ever happen.  This is a positive message for everyone.  Add in the fact that this is the only song in the album that boasts any hint of any Backstreet Boys-type sound, but even with that in mind, it is still an interesting song that captures quite surprisingly well, the emotions of people facing the challenge of new changes.  When these three songs are considered along with the rest of the album’s works, the importance of the album’s lyrical content proves that much more critical to its overall presentation, and in a good way.  The album’s lyrical content coupled with its musical arrangements, it becomes that much more of a surprisingly interesting offering from Dorough.  The noted elements are not its only important elements.  Its sequencing rounds out its most important elements.

From beginning to end, the sound and feel of Which One Am I changes, giving listeners something new from one song to the next.  That is important to note because it ensures that much more, listeners’ engagement and entertainment.  The record opens with its light, bouncy title track before moving into a more funk-infused work in ‘Back in the Day.’  The change continues as the album makes its way through the kindie-rock styling of ‘Monster in My Head,’ the previously noted doo-wop style of ‘Shy — by the way, Dorough’s control as he hits the high notes in this song is honestly impressive. There is no autotune here. It is really him, which makes that moment even more impressive — the reggae styling of ‘Worry’ and the R&B-infused ‘Pollyanna’s Shadow.’  It continues on throughout the second half of the album, with the again aforementioned Latin-infused styling of ‘School Bell Tango’ and ‘No Hablo Espanol,’ the powerful simplicity of ‘Lean on Me,’ which closes out the album and even the bluesy rhythms of ‘Small Time Blues.’  Short and simple, listeners get something different from beginning to end of this album in terms of the arrangements, and their energies.  Those variances are just slight enough to keep listeners engaged and entertained throughout the course of the record’s 38-minute run time.  Obviously a certain amount of time and effort was put into this part of the record, just as much as the arrangements and lyrical themes featured throughout the record.  When the noted elements are considered together, the whole of said elements makes Which One Am I a work that is certain to establish Dorough’s identity as a real performer and composer.  It shows he can make his own identity without being a member of that pop other act.

Howard Dorough’s debut family album (and second solo album) is a surprisingly interesting offering from the man who has otherwise made his claim to fame as a member of the Backstreet Boys.  It is a record that shows he may actually have a viable career away from that group.  That is evidenced in part through the arrangements featured in the album.  The arrangements are far more diverse than anything featured on any Backstreet Boys record.  The record’s lyrical themes are items to which listeners of all ages can relate.  That adds to its interest.  The sequencing of the noted arrangements ensures even more, listeners’ engagement.  Each item is important in its own way to the whole of Which One Am I.  All things considered, they show this record could very well be the start of a possibly successful solo career for Dorough that will definitely create not just more of a new identity for him, but a better identity.  More information on Which One Am I is available online now along with all of Howie D’s news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://howied.net

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/howied

 

 

 

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‘Retaliation’ Is A Strong New Musical “Strike” From Hyvmine

Courtesy: Seek & Strike Records

Hard rock band Hyvmine has made quite the impact on the music community since it released its debut album Earthquake in 2017. In the short time since its release, the band – Al Joseph (guitar, vocals), Bill Gerrity (drums), Alon Mei-Tal (guitar) and Chris Joseph (bass) – has continued to carve out its own place within the music community (and more specifically the hard rock community).  The band’s upcoming third full-length studio recording Retaliation serves to continue that impact through its heavy riffs and thought-provoking lyrical themes.  This is proven in part early on in the form of ‘Life in Fire.’  This addition to the album will be addressed shortly.  ‘Imitator,’ shows in its own way why Retaliation maintains Hyvmine’s success, and will be discussed a little later.  ‘Assassins’ is one more example of how Retaliation continues to show the collective talents of Hyvmine’s members.  When they are considered along with the remainder of the album’s entries, the end result is a record that proves in whole once again, that Hyvmine is one of the leading names in the next generation of hard rock.

Hard rock outfit Hyvmine is without question one of the leading names in the next generation of hard rock.  The band has already proven that over the course of its past two albums.  Its recently released third album Retaliation supports that statement even more, with its heavy musical arrangements and its equally powerful lyrical themes.  ‘Life in Fire,’ which comes early in the album’s 40-minute run is just one of the songs that serves to support the noted statements.  The song’s musical arrangement almost instantly lends itself to comparisons to the best works of Sevendust.  That is due to its heavy, crunching guitars and equally strong sounds from the drums, and front man Al Joseph’s vocal delivery.  Chris Joseph’s work on bass joins with the other noted elements to make a whole that is easily one of this record’s most notable arrangements.  The song’s musical arrangement is only one part of what makes it notable.  The song’s lyrical content adds its own share of interest to the song’s whole.

Al Joseph sings in the song’s lead verse, “You said something to me about live and learning/Oh, but you chose to take the back way while I was burning/Hey, don’t you see/How I’ve listened to your every word/Oh, and the fire that once consumed me/Has made its turn for the last time now.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “I buried my pain beneath distant nightmares/It ain’t about where I’ve been/But how I got there/Oh, don’t you see how I’ve been been forged in your every wake/Oh, endlessly I’m cleaning up for your past mistakes/For the last time now.”  He is joined by his band mates in the song’s chorus, in which the group collectively sings, “A day in the life/You would be looking for nothing/A life in the fire won’t be taken away from me/It’s time to face that fire.”  This collection of lyrics seems (this is only this critic’s own take) to hint at perhaps a story of someone recounting the trials and tribulations that he has faced through his life and realizing that despite the negativity that he has endured, he would not change it.  This is inferred as Joseph notes, “A day in the life/You would be looking for nothing/A life in the fire won’t be taken away from me.”  It almost seems like metaphorical language for the old adage that what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, and what this song’s subject has gone through has made him that much stronger.  That is inferred even more as Al screams right after the song’s break, “Why don’t you know/It’s taken away, but I need to work harder/I’m facing defeat, but I need to work smarter.”  Considering all of this, the song can lyrically be inferred to be a work  that encourages people to not give up, even in life’s most difficult times.  Rather, people should use their negative experiences to become better, overcome and persevere.  When this is considered along with the song’s musical fire (no pun intended), the whole of the song’s musical and lyrical content makes the song in whole a powerful statement from Hyvmine in its latest recording.  It is just one of the album’s most notable entries, too.  ‘Imitator,’ the album’s latest single, is another of its most notable additions.

‘Imitator’ stands out in part because of its musical arrangement in that this arrangement boasts more of that previously noted Sevendust influence, but also boasts something else.  One could argue that there’s a bit of a Breaking Benjamin influence evidenced in this song’s arrangement as well as maybe even a light Alice in Chains influence in the stylistic approach to the vocals at times.  At the same time, there is a moment in the song’s bridge that conjures thoughts of Dry Kill Logic.  Yes, it seems like quite the amalgam of influences, but that complexity somehow works here and, in the end, makes this arrangement one more of the album’s most notable compositions.  The song’s composition is, of course only one portion of what makes it stand out.  The song’s lyrical content will appeal to a wide range of listeners, too.

The lyrical content presented in ‘Imitator’ will appeal to a wide range of listeners as it seems to center on the issue of a broken relationship, but in this case perhaps not a romantic, but personal relationship.  This is inferred as Joseph sings in the song’s lead verse, “Fear setting in beneath my skin beneath my skin/This twisted feeling/Caught up in the act again/Betrayed by my blood/My closest friend.”  As he continues in the song’s second song, the song’s subject seems to come to terms with the situation, but will not let the situation hold him down.  That is inferred as he sings, “This chapter ends/Closure begins/I’m taking over/Caught up in the act again/betrayed as another means to an end.”  That sense of determination as the song’s subject sings in the song’s chorus, “What is love without meaning/What is peace without feeling/I’m just getting this feeling you’re imitating/What is life without devotion/What is heart without motion/All these games that you play/I just can’t get it right.”  He continues in the song’s bridge, “Walls are closing down (this is the final act)/Crashing to the ground/How will you live knowing I’m not around/I’m taking control, now where will you go/It’s too late/Now your apologies can hit the f****** wall/Hit the road.”  Simply put, this is someone who has had a lot of wrong done to him, but is through letting it happen.  The song’s musical arrangement, set alongside this seeming concept, makes the song in whole a deeply emotional work that is certain to connect with a wide range of listeners.  That very real impact shows just as much as ‘Life in Fire’ why Retaliation is another strong offering from Hyvmine.  It is definitely not the last of the album’s most notable songs.  The album’s closer, ‘Assassins,’ which is also the album’s latest single, is yet another example of what makes the album stand out so positively.

‘Assassins’ stands out in part – just as the previously discussed songs – because of its musical arrangement.  Once again here, the Sevendust influence is clear and present.  At the same time, there’s a certain agro-rock feel that lends itself to comparisons to works from Staind and other similar acts while also featuring a bridge that resurrects the band’s familiar progressive metal roots.  One might not think that such a combination of genres would work together, but once again, the band managed here to make it work.  When it is coupled with the song’s lyrical content, the song in whole proves even more appealing.

The lyrical content exhibited in ‘Assassins’ is certain to generate just as much discussion among listeners as the song’s musical arrangement, if not more so.  That is because of its deeply metaphorical nature.  Joseph sings in the song’s lead verse, “Welcome to the sanctuary/Come honor all that fell before/We’ve sharpened the blades we carry/We’re washed up on these bloody shores/Hold steady in place/the order that I give/We’re ready/We’re taking back the way we live.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Welcome to the mortuary/You’ve never seen this place before/legend as they speak/Be wary/Will shake you right down to the core.”  Joseph’s band mates join him in the song’s chorus, singing, “I’ve never wanted the blood you shed/I only wanted to chase the dead/I’m cutting you down for my sake/I’m spilling the blood as you wake/Forget all the prayers that you make/I’m sure you’ve heard I’m your assassin.”  Again, this is some very deep metaphorical language that even this critic cannot immediately decipher.  Keeping that depth in mind, it in itself is certain to generate plenty of discussion among listeners.  When the discussions generated by the song’s lyrical content is coupled with the enjoyment and discussion that the song’s musical arrangement will generate, the whole of the song proves even more clearly why it is one more of Retaliation’s most important songs.  When it is considered along with the other songs addressed here and the rest of the album’s works, the whole of Retaliation proves to be a strong new musical strike from Hyvmine.

Hyvmine’s third full-length studio recording Retaliation is another strong offering from the up-and-coming hard/progressive rock band.  It is a work that shows this band is definitely one of the next big names of the next generation of rock in general.  That is evidenced through 11 songs that show a definitive stylistic change of pace for the band.  The three songs discussed here are just a small example of that change.  The lyrical content featured throughout the album is just as certain to generate some interest among listeners.  The album in whole proves to be a step in a strong, positive direction for the band that is a strong new musical strike from Hyvmine.  The album is available now.  More information on Retaliation is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.hyvmine.com

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

 

 

 

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Dark Station Debuts ‘Obvious’ Video

Dark Station debuted the video  for its latest single Friday.

The band debuted the video for its new single ‘Obvious‘ at its official YouTube channel.  The hard rock band’s new video features its members performing the group’s new single in a dimly let basement-type setting.  The song’s aggro rock style arrangement will appeal widely to fans of said genre, which was popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Dark Station guitarist Kyle Ort discussed the video’s concept in a recent interview.

“I sent a few emails back and forth with our director, Robyn August once we got the song finished,” Ort said.  “He heard the song and we were on the same page immediately as far as what the vibe should be.  We wanted to make a combination of A Perfect Circle’s ‘Judith’ and Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Closer’ with lighting like the movie Mandy (2018).  I think we nailed it.”

Courtesy: FM Music Management

Front man Nathan Spades expanded on Ort’s comments as he talked about the song’s lyrical theme.

“It’s me having to force myself to admit something I had known all along,” Spades said.  “As if it was inevitable, that something as pure and as beautiful as a relationship could be extremely toxic when blinded by love.  When it becomes clear though, no matter how strong that feeling is, it hits hard and you can finally start to see it all for what it really is.”

‘Obvious’ is the second single from the band’s debut album Down in the Dark.  The band debuted the video for the song ‘Heroes,’ May 31.

More information on Dark Station’s new video and more is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Websitehttp://www.darkstationband.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/wearedarkstation

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/darkstationband

 

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The Appeal For ‘The Andromeda Strain’ BD Re-Issue Will Spread Like A Virus Among Audiences

Courtesy: MVD Entertainment Group/Universal Pictures

Michael Crichton was one of the greatest literary minds of his time during his life.  He was, for all intents and purposes, the second coming of Jules Verne.  That is because his novels, like those of Verne, told stories that were so far ahead of their time.  Jurassic Park, for instance was not so much about a bunch of dinosaurs living on an island, but rather the issue of cloning before it become a major topic for scientists and news agencies to talk about daily.  Now it is everywhere.  Next focused on genetics and government control thereof before the news ever picked up on the issues, such as drug companies using people’s blood types to control the drug industry and people being able to pick the gender of their babies with their doctors.  In The Andromeda Strain, one of his earliest works, Crichton addressed the issue of germ warfare and the issue of what constitutes “intelligent” life from other worlds other than our own.  That book was adapted to the silver screen in 1971, and subsequently released (and re-issued multiple times) to home viewers.  Early last month, Arrow Video re-issued the movie again, this time on Blu-ray, resurrecting the chilling plague outbreak story for a whole new generation of sci-fi and horror fans.  The noted audiences are certain to appreciate the noted story, which forms the foundation of the movie.  The bonus content featured with the movie’s latest re-issue adds even more to its presentation.  The companion booklet that is also featured with the movie’s re-issue is yet another positive touch to its overall presentation.  Each item noted here plays its own key part in the whole of The Andromeda Strain.  They certainly are not the only key elements that one can examine.  One could also examine additional items, such as the movie’s cinematography, its casting and even the work of the movie’s cast by relation.  All things considered, they make The Andromeda Strain an welcome addition to the home library of any science fiction (and more specifically Michael Crichton) fan.

Plague outbreak stories seem to be a favorite go-to for Hollywood’s major studios.  From the likes of The Last Man on Earth (1964), The Masque of the Red Death (1989) and Outbreak (1995) to the likes of And The Band Played On (1993), 12 Monkeys (1995) and The Andromeda Strain (1971) and so many others, Hollywood’s major studios seem to love stories about plagues.  To that end, it makes sense that early last month, the latter of the noted group of movies – The Andromeda Strain – would re-issue that movie.  Released June 4, it was re-issued this time on Blu-ray.  Fans of the outbreak genre, fans of Michael Crichton’s works and sci-fi fans in general have plenty to appreciate in this latest re-issue, starting with the movie’s story. The story at the center of The Andromeda Strain follows a group of scientists that is working to contain a space-borne virus brought back to Earth on a satellite that mysteriously crashed to Earth in a quiet town in the American Southwest.  As the story progresses, it is eventually discovered — not to give away too much — that the virus being aboard the satellite might not have been quite as coincidental as originally thought.  The antidote (of sorts) is eventually discovered, thanks to two lone survivors from the town – an old man and a baby.  The story in whole harkens back to the sci-fi flicks of the 1950s and 60s turned out by Universal Pictures, whose stories centered on the military’s atomic testing leading to all kinds of problems for mankind.  Again, not to give away too much, but there is a very close similarity between those stories and this work.  It is also addressed in the bonus features included in The Andromeda Strain’s bonus material.  That will be addressed a little later.  Keeping that in mind, this story will appeal to a wide range of viewers, even despite its pacing issues.

It becomes clear through everything  noted so far, that the story at the center of The Andromeda Strain builds a strong foundation for Arrow Video’s recent re-issue of the movie.  The bonus content featured with the movie’s recent re-issue strengthens that foundation even more.  That is because this re-issue features some previously presented bonus content and some new material in one setting.  Among the most notable of the new bonus content is the discussion by critic Kim Newman.  Newman discusses in his commentary, The Andromeda Strain’s place in the bigger picture of the plague/virus outbreak genre, citing the movies already cited in this review, and others.  Newman’s discussion might not seem like much  on the surface, but in the bigger picture, the roughly 10-minute presentation brings new light to the fact that said genre is in fact so expansive.  The previously presented “making off” featurette, which was featured in the movie’s 2001 re-issue, is another notable addition to this re-issue.  That is because some viewers have not previously seen this featurette while others perhaps have not seen it in a long time and forgotten what was discussed in the mini-doc.  Audiences get discussions here on topics, such as the then groundbreaking special effects used in the movie, the deliberate choice of cast members who were not at the time, well-known  and the faux bibliography featured in The Andromeda Strain and its connection to it cinematic adaptation.  That discussion, with the movie’s script writer Nelson Gidding, makes for its own share of insight and entertainment.  There are also vintage interview segments with Crichton himself featured within the “making of” documentary in which he talks about his connection between his medical education and the book.  Those discussions are expanded even more in yet another of the movie’s key features, “A Portrait of Michael Crichton.”  The late, great author talks in this presentation, about his decision to author his original novels under a fake name and why he decided on going to medical school first among other topics.  As if everything in this and the other noted featurettes is not enough, the new feature-length audio commentary will entertain and engage viewers just as much if not even more than those featurettes.  All things considered here, the bonus content – new and old alike – does just as much to keep viewers engaged and entertained as the story at the center of The Andromeda Strain.  The two elements together are just part of what makes this latest re-issue of the classic sci-fi flick such a welcome addition to audiences’ home movie libraries.  The companion booklet that is featured as yet another extra with this re-issue is notable in its own right to the movie’s whole.

The companion booklet that comes with  the latest re-issue of The Andromeda Strain adds its own touch to the movie’s presentation, as its liner notes – penned by author Peter Tonguette – discuss not only the movie’s place in the grand scheme of the cinematic universe, but also that of its director, Robert Wise.  Tonguette states in his notes, that Wise and the movie both deserve far more credit than they have been given.  He notes Wise’s work on so many b-flicks prior to helming The Andromeda Strain as a big part of the reason that Wise has never gotten the credit that he believes the director has deserved.  Additionally, Tonguette discusses Wise’s approach to the Andromeda, crediting that approach for items, such as the dialogue and effect of the cinematography.  Along with Tonguette’s brief, but concise discussion on Wise’s work on The Andromeda Strain, the companion booklet also offers a starting point for discussions on the movie within the context of a film appreciation class, clearly outlining a set series of discussion topics; topics such as the nature of the deaths in Piedmont, the President’s decision whether to drop an atomic bomb on Piedmont, and the impact of the virus’ mutation.  There are also focuses on items, such as recent real life scientific breakthroughs in comparison to the topics discussed in the movie, whether The Andromeda Strain is in fact science fiction or science fact, and Werner Von Braun’s statement decades prior about the very topic on which Crichton centered his book.  Even more interesting is that all of these discussion topics were featured in a 1971 educational guide sent to schools nationwide to help promote the movie.  That guide is still just as relevant today as it was in 1971.  To that end, it is another key addition to the companion booklet included with this latest re-issue of The Andromeda Strain.  Keeping this in mind, the vast expanse of content (and the depth thereof) within the booklet proves to be just as important to the re-issue’s presentation as the bonus content and the story itself.  When all three elements are considered together, they make The Andromeda Strain a movie that, again, sci-fi fans will appreciate just as much as fans of Michael Crichton and those of the plague/virus outbreak genre.

Arrow Video’s re-issue of Universal Pictures’ The Andromeda Strain is a strong new offering for fans of Hollywood’s plague/virus outbreak genre just as much as for fans of Michael Crichton and of science fiction in general.  That is due in part to the movie’s central story.  While maybe not the first movie of its kind when it was originally released in 1971, its story is one that still rings true for audiences to this day.  It is far more believable than most other movies within its realm.  The bonus content that is featured with the movie’s recent re-issue adds even more engagement and entertainment to the re-issue’s presentation.  That is because the content balances new and old for viewers of all ages.  The companion booklet that also come with the re-issue adds even more interest to the re-issue.  Each item noted in this review is important in its own way to the whole of The Andromeda Strain.  All things considered, they make this re-issue a work that is one more of this year’s top new DVD/BD re-issues.  It is available now.  More information on this and other titles from Arrow Video is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.arrowfilms.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ArrowFilmsVideo

 

 

 

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