The Opposite of Absolution – 30.01.13

So I’ve failed to write three posts this week and still not managed to do my weekly update on time but I will definitely try and get four done before Wednesday, fingers crossed. So the first was one of my most anticipated albums of 2013 Biffy’s new double album, Opposites. Then I got round to reviewing the game I’ve been playing most recently Hitman: Absolution so please leave any comments you may have on either.

As I right this I’m fresh of the heels of seeing Zero Dark Thirty so I’ll leave you with the trailer and expect the review this week:

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Hitman: Absolution

Hitman-Absolution-preview-thumb-largeBack in the day I used to be a big fan of Hitman, I used to play the first two games fairly relentlessly but I eventually forgot about the series getting side-tracked by other games that got in the way. However with the release of Absolution I thought it was probably about time I got back into the silent assassin’s universe.

Absolution, unlike most games that come out nowadays still keeps an arcade feel scoring you on how well you do for each level and giving you grades to tell you how good, or more often in my case how shit, you are as a hitman. It kept me entertained trying to find the sneakiest ways to kill your victim without being seen and trying but failing not to let the whole thing spiral into an all-out gun fight. Another factor that I’ve always liked about the Hitman series is that it is always still possible just to shoot your through but the scoring method deters you, you don’t want to do that, the most satisfaction comes from causing no carnage whatsoever and skulking off without a trace. I loved the amount of items available to use in the game you can pick up almost anything and there’s a massive variety of disguises you can pose in.

A minor though would be the very un-inventive storyline with games such as Heavy Rain around nowadays nearly all games have been forced to produce much better stories, a fact which the Hitman team obviously haven’t fully grasped as I found myself just wishing for the cut scenes to hurry up, this was made even more annoying by the fact that they are un-skippable as is, for some strange reason, the opening video which you’ll have to sit through every time you turn the game on. But the gameplay is done so well it’s hard to let the story get in the way.

The contracts mode is an effective new way of competing online too letting you play through the levels already in the game but picking your own targets and the ways in which to kill them before posting them online and seeing if anyone can do it better than you, a fun addition to the game that will certainly get a few more hours out of me.

 

Opposites

biffy-clyro-oppositesThe time has finally come, if you’ve been following the blog you will have seen that in the build up to this release I’ve been reviewing all of Biffy Clyro’s albums and now we come full circle; to the reason all this hype began, the Scottish trios new double LP Opposites. Now the only question left to answer is whether the album lives up to expectations?

Everything kicks off with Different People which starts off softly before bursting into a windy, ripply guitar heavy track, its a strong opener that sets a tone for the whole record which makes a point of mixing light and shade, obviously reflected in the title. One of the big claims the band made in the build up to the album was that it should have material to keep the old and the new fans happy, effectively incorporate all their previous styles into this one record. On first listen it may be that this album is a million miles away from their old stuff but on repeat listens it becomes clearer that there’s sprinkles of their old heaviness throughout. Black Chandelier for example features a solo that wouldn’t have been out of place on Infinity Land. There’s bits that sound like Blackened Sky too, the chanty choruses of Picture a Knife Fight or Victory Over the Sun. The orchestral elements that have been a part of the band’s work since Vertigo of Bliss is apparent in Opposites in it’s most complete form yet making it the most epic sounding album they’ve ever made surpassing even Puzzle which was their previous best in terms of scale.There’s improvements on the poppy sounding pieces familiar to that of Only Revolutions Little Hospitals being a one example and one of my favourite tracks of the whole album.

When stacked up against all their old albums I think Opposites stands up very well among all the bands previous efforts perhaps not reaching the heights of their masterpiece to date, Infinity Land, but certainly improving on both Only Revolutions and Puzzle and there is certainly more here for fans of the old stuff, with Opposites the choice to have it as a double album has really worked in the bands favour giving them the opportunity to put out a more holistic record painting a more complete picture than their last effort. Biffy have done it again.

 

Die Space Django! – 23.01.13

So after managing to do two blog posts this afternoon I am just about getting my weekly update on time, think I should be able to get schedule better this next week. So first of all this week there was, of course, the new Tarantino film, Django Unchained get reading that one and please leave any comments you may have on it. Next I wrote a post on a group that I have been being intrigued hugely by for the last few weeks, the bizarre Die Antwoord. The finally I did I quick sum-up of how much I enjoyed playing Dead Space 2. Hope you enjoy reading all of those.

This week I’ll leave you with a choice because I’ve got two exciting albums to review in the next seven days, the first is The Joy Formidable’s Wolf’s Law and the second is Biffy Clyro’s Opposites so here’s a song from each, watch this space:

Dead Space 2

Dead-Space-2-ScreenshotsIt’s been a long time since I did a game review on here but expect a handful to arrive in the next few weeks as there has been a lot of gaming going on. It’s taken me a long time to get on the Dead Space bandwagon but before Christmas I was gagging for a new game to play and when I entered my Game store I decided that it was time to see what all this fuss was about. I was slightly annoyed they were sold out of copies of the first one but the assistant told me just to go ahead with the second. I did not regret it. This game is awesome, it has gore turned up to the max, it’s got challenging gameplay, it’s scary as hell at points and, most importantly, it’s in space.

Dead Space 2 is a third-person shooter set on a fucked-up spaceship, you play as Isaac Clarke although having not played the first one I’m not fully educated on his back story. One of the coolest things about the game is that you no HUD’s everything can be seen on your suit. Your health is depicted by a long blue bar down the characters’ spine, your stasis is a little semi-circle next to this and your ammo appears as a little hologram every time you aim your gun. Despite the fact I didn’t know what had happened before I still very much enjoyed the storyline and was incredibly gripped into the gameplay because of how well done the plot was.

I enjoyed the earlier chapters the most because I felt they flowed between being scary and action-packed much better than the later ones were its more about just out-and-out killing and I imagine the first is much more scary and tense. This is one of the best games I’ve played in a while but it has left me in a predicament since the new one comes out in only a week or two’s time and I really don’t know if I can afford to buy it…….. if anyone would like to send me donations they’d be greatly appreciated

 

Die Antwoord

Die Antwoord (3)This is going to be one of my weirdest band plugs mainly because I don’t even know if I like Die Antwoord, but when I started watching their bizarre music videos over Christmas I wasn’t able to shake them from my mind and since then all I’ve wanted to do is find out more about these freaks. Die Antwoord consists of South African duo Ninja and Yo-Landi Visser and although not ever really considered a full member their DJ, DJ Hi-Tek. They define themselves as a rap-rave group and have pretty much coined the term Zef to describe their music.

Now the majority of you will know Die Antwoord for ‘Enter the Ninja’ their youtube hit that has now reached over 14 million views. Enter the Ninja is a decent indicator as to what this band are, they have a constant question mark over their heads asking are these guys for real or is this just a big piss-take? Looking at their other songs the answer will become no clearer to you. You will frequently come across something similar to Enter the Ninja; Fatty Boom Boom, for example features the same kind of simple hook that sounds like it was written by a three year old but is it ripping on current pop culture or not? Their are other songs that are much more enjoyable listens, my favourite is Fok Julie Naaiers which I think is slightly more normal sounding, but I use the word normal very loosely in this instance. Their first album $o$ is of course strange but their follow up record Ten$ion I found a much more enjoyable listen but it’s impossible to deny the production qualities on both. The track Baby’s on Fire for example wouldn’t sound out of place in a UK night club but is immediately better than any of the dance music around in the country today simply for the value of their weirdness.

On the question of whether these nutters are being serious or not I’m almost they’re playing caricatures. Watching various interviews with the duo on YouTube though doesn’t really answer anything one interview in particular involves Ninja losing it at the interviewer for asking if the band viewed themselves as conceptual art. But I think the interviews these guys take part in they are playing their parts during them. One of the reasons I believe it’s all a joke is from listening to previous projects of theirs. Ninja’s real name is Watkin Tudor Jones and Die Antwoord is not his first project with Yo-Landi. Their most notable project beforehand was probably Max Normal who were a much more straight hip-hop and when you listen to their tracks showing that the pair do know what normal music is. Another band of theirs was The Constructus Corporation which was more trip-hoppy but still infinitely more normal than Die Antwoord.

The biggest thing swaying me though is the bands videos. They are some of the most entertaining things I have ever seen. The aforementioned Fatty Boom Boom features a Lady Gaga lookalike giving birth to a prawn. All their official videos are incredibly well-crafted pieces of abstract film. The greatest thing the band have done is without their short film Umshini Wam which I will post at the bottom of this entry. Their videos are so good in fact that even David Lynch is a fan of the band allegedly he has invited them to his house for a coffee so maybe if we all keep our fingers crossed one day we might a feature length Lynch/Antwoord movie, I’m foaming at the mouth just thinking about it enjoy this fucked up shit: