May 23, 2006

"Voodoo," much like Metallica's "Unforgiven" and "Unforgiven II."


Being both a Godsmack and Metallica fan, I was a bit skeptical when picking up God-smack's latest album. "IV" has several tracks with Metallica-esque titles, such as "Bleeding Me," "Temptation," "Mama" (reminiscent of Metallica's "Mama Said") and "Voodoo Too," a sequel to Godsmack's original

The suspicion that Godsmack had copied Metallica was supported in my mind because the two bands had recently toured with each other. Nevertheless, I was stoked to hear the new record, especially after hearing the rocking new single, "Speak," on the airwaves.

The album opens with an eerie rain sound, accompanied by the faint sound of a bell chiming, which leads into a slow, creeping riff that starts the song "Livin in Sin." The next song is the aforementioned "Speak," which has a chorus that will linger in your head hours later. Third is "The Enemy," which is an angry, faster-paced song. It's followed up by "Shine Down," a slower but rocking song that includes a wicked-cool harmonica. Track 5, "Hollow" is a lighter, melancholy song played with an acoustic guitar. This song surprised me with the appearance of female vocals, which add a nice flavor to it. Next up is "No Rest For the Wicked," a heavier and more evil-sounding song that dissolves what used to be melancholy. This is the point where everything gets, well, Metallic ...


"Bleeding Me," although possessing a possibly stolen title, is a great song in its own unique way. Then there's "Voodoo Too," which actually is pulled off much like how Metallica pulled off "Unforgiven II." Both sequels include clips of their predecessors, and the wording of the choruses is similar. "Temptation," like "Bleeding Me," is an awesome song.

Finally, to put the Metallica comparisons to an end, there is "Mama." The theme and lyrical meanings of "Mama" and Metallica's "Mama Said" are very much the same - dealing with the guilt of growing up too fast - but they sound like two different songs.

The album closes with an atmospheric, dreary song, entitled "One Rainy Day." In my mind, it creates images of a rogue figure drifting mindlessly through rainy, endless plains. The CD closes as it opens, with the sound of rain.

This is really a great compilation of music. I would advise any Godsmack or Metallica fan who hasn't already listened to it to do so. The similarities are there, but nothing to start a CD boycotting riot over.

Reading aloud is her act of creation


Thirteen-year-old Meggie shares a family trait - the ability to "read" characters from a book into the real world.

In "Inkspell," the spellbinding sequel to "Inkheart," Meggie and her father travel into a book to escape from Basta and the Magpie, villains from the book "Inkheart" who have escaped into the real world. However, when Meggie and her father arrive, they find that the Inkworld has become a dangerous place, ruled by the evil Adderhead.

To make matters worse, a crooked story reader named Orpheus is causing trouble back home, and the Inkworld's story seems to be changing into something the author never intended.

Fans of "The Lord of the Rings" and the Harry Potter books will love this science fiction/fantasy trilogy. I can't wait for the next book in the series.

OK, it could be funnier


"Over the Hedge," an animated kids' comedy released Friday, May 19, is a fun-filled movie for the whole family.

The characters and voices are great - some of the voices include Avril Lavigne, William Shatner and Steve Carell.

A raccoon named RJ, who is voiced by Bruce Willis, has one week to replace food that he steals from a bear. He meets a bunch of other animals in a forest and convinces them to help him. Verne, voiced by Gary Shandling, does not think RJ should be trusted. He feels there is something wrong about him. But the rest of Verne's "family" doesn't see anything wrong with RJ and takes him in as one of his own.

Their food-finding quest hits a snag: They discover a hedge blocks off half of the forest. On the other side are a series of human houses.

This is not the best movie I've seen - there were a few parts where it was uninteresting - but I liked it.

My favorite part was when the animals gave caffeine to Hammy the squirrel.

This movie lasts about 83 minutes and is rated PG, since there is some rude humor. I give this so-so movie seven hedges out of ten.

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