Foo Fighters – Concrete And Gold
Few bands that are as prominent in contemporary rock music can compare to the Foo Fighters when it comes to their tenacity. Frontman Dave Grohl’s work-ethic, with a CV featuring the likes of Queens of the Stone Age, The Prodigy and a little 90’s band called Nirvana, is as commendable as ever and Foo Fighters have rightly solidified their place as a go-to stadium rock band; reiterated by their headline set at Glastonbury back in May.
But as is typical of so many bands consistently putting out records for over 20 years, the ninth studio album by the amicable Foo’s, Concrete And Gold, is reliable but uninspiring. The record sees the powerhouse refined more than powdered sugar, with the raw guitars of the Monkey Wrench-era Foo Fighters now more crisp and metallic (single Run perhaps most so).
There are some big names guesting on the record; with Paul McCartney on drums on the Beatles-worshiping Sunday Rain, and even Justin Timberlake contributed backing vocals, though remains uncredited and difficult to hear.
Despite their vigour, Concrete And Gold is perhaps too muted for the Foo Fighters we know and love – it’s not hard to see it being popular and more palatable than their other recent work, but there’s not much too get excited about.
Concrete And Gold is out now on CD and digital download.
Alien: Covenant (15)
When colony ship the USCSS Covenant is on the way to settle on Origae-6, it picks up a transmission from a closer habitable planet and heads there instead, where the crew encounters David (Michael Fassbender), a survivor of the Prometheus mission, and a horrifying galactic threat.
Ridley Scott’s Alien and James Cameron’s Aliens were two very different films but both outstanding chapters in the Alien saga. Scott bought gut-wrenching and gruesome horror to sci-fi and Aliens amped up the action and gave us a dystopian war flick. When compared to Prometheus, the action was swapped for talking and what was left was a slightly stale and uneventful backstory to the franchise. Alien: Covenant seeks to bring back the suspense of the first movie, yet while there are some good scares, none of them evoke the same chill and suspense that made the first Alien movie so ground-breaking.
The crew of the USCSS Covenant, spearheaded by terraforming officer Daniels (Katherine Waterson), are hard to develop that much of a rapport with. Though Waterson’s portrayal of the grief-stricken Daniels is interesting, Danny McBride’s delivery of Tennessee is the most enjoyable. Michael Fassbender returns to play the Darwinian and ruthlessly-pragmatic synth David, and there’s a great moment where David meets other rookie synth Walter, also played by Fassbender, and it’s an impressive albeit very “Fassbender-esqe” scene.
It’s great to see the Alien back again and while it’s an improvement from Prometheus, Covenant fails to do much with said Alien.
Alien: Covenant is out now on Blu Ray, DVD and digital download.
Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (12)
Returning to the seas once again, Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) must face a band of ghostly-sailors, led by Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), who seeks to settle an old score with Jack. The only way Jack can save himself, and every other pirate, is to locate Poseidon’s Trident, and he does so with the help of naval officer Henry (Brenton Thwaites) and astronomer Carina (Kaya Scodelario).
Much like a ride you’ve been on too many times, there’s not much new to be said about this latest in the Pirates of The Caribbean Franchise. It’s actually a little bit sad considering how enjoyable the first film was but the real shame is what’s become of Johnny Depp’s infamous Jack Sparrow, who now feels more akin to his animatronic likeness on the Disneyland ride; repetitive and on a constant loop, spouting the same gags and titbits over and over.
While there is some development in the swordfights and slapstick humour that has helped make the franchise successful, we are then forced into over-the-top CGI spectacles, and the addition of new cast members Brenton Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario, playing Henry and Carina respectively, feels almost as if they are basically remaking the first movie with a younger cast; hell, they even added some of that Disney anti-aging CGI to Johnny Depp’s face.
There’s enough action to keep this from being a total disaster, but a weak plot and reliance upon CGI leave Dead Men Tell No Tales feeling like a real washout.
Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is out on Blu Ray, DVD and digital download.
One of gaming’s great rivalries has been reignited; what was once a sure bet in the mid-2000s is now up for speculation, as perhaps FIFA’s crown has been usurped by it’s chief competitor and underdog Pro Evolution Soccer, aka PES. The latest instalment, PES 2017, takes off where it’s predecessor left off, providing a fantastic simulation of the beautiful game.
Where FIFA goes for the look and image, PES is all about the practicality and tactical approach. Both franchises have probably learnt a lot from each other but this new instalment, as with the previous, looks more beautiful and has an even better pace to it, though it doesn’t sacrifice the sometimes-frenetic football feel that makes PES singularly engaging.
Of course, the licensing that FIFA has makes PES seemingly more “alien” than its counterpart, and for the average consumer, FIFA seems like the real thing, rather than just a sketch. Aside from some very minor grievances, PES 2018 feels more like a football game, and for the tactical player that favours a brilliant engine over authenticity, it might be the best option.
PES 2018 is out now for PS4, Xbox One and PC.
The sequel to Bungie’s first person shooter/RPG took what made its predecessor a slow burner and developed it into the game that everyone hoped it would be. Destiny garnered a large fan base thanks to its fantastic online mode, with you and your team roaming a gigantic landscape in search of loot and missions.
The campaign in the first game had a lot to improve on and it seems that Bungie have catered to these discrepancies, creating a fully-fledged campaign mode that sees players square up against the ruthless Dominus Ghaul, robbing us of everything and forcing us to climb that ladder back up again.
What’s great is how many opportunities there are in the game straight away; you’ll find yourself, as is always the case with a great RPG, getting lost in side-quests and curiosities as you make your way through four world maps in the Destiny universe. Aside from the campaign, there’s a whole realm of loot you will find yourself enthralled in, as you can form a clan to go out into the various worlds and seek valuable rewards; the methods of getting the best rewards much more varied now.
It’s a welcome upgrade from the previous game, and fantastic graphics along with a vastly improved storyline, make Destiny 2 an addictive and immersive experience. It’s not the perfect RPG, but it certainly puts the first game to shame.
Destiny 2 is out now on PS4 and Xbox One
Paden R Vaughan