Fellow Seibertronian Logan79 has been doing a bunch of comparisons between toys and how those characters looked in the G1 cartoon. This gives a sense of the evolution of the the character designs and what elements are still present. Today, he compiled a comparison between every component of Combiner Wars Computron and Unite Warriors Computron with their look in the G1 show and their comic design. This seemed like fun information and comparisons to share seeing as how there has never been a time where we have seen such a difference between releases of the same character by the two sister companies at the same time. Just to note, while the stock photos were used, the Hasbro Afterburner actually shares the same headsculpt as Takara's and this was seen on the Botcon show floor.
Howdy fellow Seibertronians and welcome to the Transformers Photo Challenge. This is a monthly Seibertron.com feature hosted by yours truly. Each challenge will have a theme and a description of any guidelines that need to be followed. To participate; setup some figures, snap a few pictures and post the images in the discussion below. The Transformers Photo Challenge is for all skill levels and is just about having fun. Previous challenges can be found here.
If you spend enough time on the boards, sooner or later a discussion about scale is bound to erupt.
Titan Returns is just around the corner and there has been much debate about the size classes used. Instead of talking about scale, show us your ideal group/team/pair of "scaled" figures. Feel free to mix-and-match as many different lines and size classes as needed.
Setup your bots and show us what you got!
Remember to keep your browsers pointed to Seibertron.com for the latest Transformer news, the largest Transformers galleries and the most Transformers fun you can have this side of a space bridge.
Every two weeks, Seibertron.com brings you a Top 5 list related to all things Transformers written by me, your fellow editor. These are my opinions (just like movie or game reviews hosted by sites are still just the opinion of one person) so what matters most is what you guys think of the topic or list, and I hope to see your own lists or comments on omissions and ranking. Let's have fun! All previous lists can be found here.
Top 5 Best Seeker Molds
The seekers have always been the best example of Takara and Hasbro maximizing profits while keeping the bottom line down. To sell identical jet toys painted in different patterns, they simply incorporated that in the fiction, making them different characters. These would be the ideal characters to keep bringing back since you could always score several characters while not having to make new original molds for each one and no one would mind. It would instead be anticipated and wanted. This practice has given us a lot of seeker molds throughout the years, there is a new one in practically each line, especially in the past 15 years. And now we look at the best examples of seeker molds. Before we begin, just so we are all on the same page, a seeker mold is defined by ONE big important rule: two or more characters which share the exact same flight themed mold/character, kind of like a clone concept where they just wear different coloured shirts to identify them. It is not always used for Starscream and his fellow seeker acolytes but those are usually more exceptions to confirm the rule and it doesn't need to have all come out at the same time either (now that's really maximizing profits). The intention is that they have the same look. Since we are now accustomed to get a seeker mold in every line, originality and style goes a long way on this list, as you can see with the first entry...
Believe it or not, but within the Transformers Prime show (not the Aligned continuity proper, if that is even a thing), the true seeker mold shown is actually shared by Dreadwing and Skyquake. These two are brothers which share the very same jet mode in different colors, which is the actual definition of seekers. While Starscream's awesome mold was redeco'd multiple times in the toys, they never appeared on the show, making Dreadwing and Skyquake Prime's true seekers. And they don't disappoint. I totally get behind the negative points to this toy (I will now refer to this mold as a singular entity) like the heavy robot kibble underneath, the exposed hands in the back ala ROTF Starscream, and the weapon it comes with (but that's a negative with almost all the Powerizer toys). BUT style can go a looooooooong way and this guy has boatloads of it. Firstly, it is an impressive and imposing robot mode which is perfectly show accurate. The legs may be big under the jet but they fill it out and add a lot of weight and volume to the robot mode along with the broad shoulders. While the light-up weapon is forgettable, the sword is great and you can pull off some great poses showcasing the great and noble swordsman Dreadwing is. Also, the transformation is both refreshingly involved for a seeker and yet intuitive at the same time. The torso transformation is far more intricate than even the Masterpiece seeker mold and unlike every other toy on this list, it actually hides the nosecone completely in robot mode, without it becoming extra kibble, and leaving a nice tapered look to the cockpit as the chest. Also, that headsculpt is amazing and probably my favourite headsculpt ever found on a seeker.
I was not a fan of the first attempt at a Masterpiece Starscream. The aim for a perfect jet mode really sacrificed a lot and made the robot mode quite goofy (no proper heels, weird jet kibble on both sides of his face and insane kibble hanging off his hips). I also disliked the chest transformation which was overly fiddly. My toy ended up breaking and it soured me over the idea of an MP Starscream. So hearing that the new one was just a retool of the old did not make me bounce up and down for joy. However, I evetually did get a taste of this new and improved mold and it was definitely a step in the right direction. The fiddly and awkward chest transformation is still there, with the odd design choice of the cockpit tapering the opposite way than in the cartoon, but it is still a great improvement to the cartoon likeness in general. He has heels now too and no extraneous kibble aside from the nosecone forming a backpack of sorts. He retains that wonderful articulation and that amazing jet mode and in general the transformation is extremely satisfying (especially the leg area). My only issue is that your mileage with this mold will really vary depending on which version you get and for what price. I wouldn't pay 200$ for what is essentially 10 year old engineering (beautifully refurbished though). However, many people have had the chance to get some at only 10-20$ more than the Generations Leader Seeker mold, which is an amazing value when looking at it that way, especially if the chest is solid and stays in place in robot mode.
This is one of the best seeker molds of all time. The design choice to have the robot mode be so slim and sleek makes him look creepier than any version of Starscream before. I am so impressed with how they were able to pull off a robot mode as skeletal as the one depicted onscreen and yet still have him perfectly transform into a tight and smooth jet mode where no robot limb protrudes, as is often the case with jets.
The deluxe Classics seeker mold, which kept being used from 2006 up until 2015, is perfectly show accurate even when looking at the jet from below. It is a highly detailed figure with a shockingly pleasing jet mode and a simple transformation that is remeniscent of the G1 show. My only pet peeve with this mold is that it carries over the G1 problem of the nose cone becoming kibble in the back of the head. That makes the conehead seeker retools a bit less flawed.
It only makes sense that the very best seeker mold also happens to be the best Cybertronian design out there. The alt mode alone is full of homages to both the cybertronian tetra-jet of G1 (from the first episode) and Don Figueroa's design for Generation 1 Starscream in Dreamwave's The War Within. There is no point in including the Titanium seeker mold on this list (or the FOC seekers) when you have this bad boy which is better in every way when it comes to cybertronian design. It even has the best and least obtrusive cyberkey gimmick of the line which gives him energon swords which always flip out unobstructed. What I love so much about this mold, and many others in the Cybertron/Galaxy Force line, is how both the vehicle and robot mode share the same body and components and yet both modes are unique from one another. Unlike other seeker molds, like the Dreadwing mold above, the alt mode is not a robot under a jet, the jet IS the robot and vice versa (like the FOC mold done right). While the very first version of this Starscream mold obtained in the US was the oversized version, with Takara releasing the mold at its intentional voyager size, Hasbro saw the potential of the original voyager version and used it for a Thrust coloured Starscream release as well as Dirge, making it a rightful seeker mold.
Honourable mentions: The G1 seekers are fun, though the excessive parts forming feels very dated. I also really like the ROTF Dirge mold which was used for Jetblade as well, but I dont know if you would count that as a seeker mold (you decide). I didn't include any of the movie Starscream toys on this list since the only one that is amazing was Leader Starscream from HFTD and he was never made as any other seeker, unlike what was done with the other classes. And I am fine with that since Starscream was the sole seeker in the films.
Also, while they are very frustrating to transform and handle, I love the style of the Alternity seeker mold. The alternators line lost some steam in the US and when Japan came up with the follow up line featuring a 1:32 scale (rather than 1:24), Hasbro didnt pick it up. That is too bad because it had some very cool ideas, like having the seekers be cars with the car's shell forming the robot wings. Like that they keep their distinctive seeker motif while also having an alt mode that strays from tradition (which would still scale with the rest of the line). It's also interesting how Thundercracker and Skywarp were given a more traditional seeker headsculpt while Starscream's featured insect-like eyes. Oh, and they also feature die cast parts, rubber tires and style money can't buy.
WEB OF DECEIT! The search for PROWL leads the WRECKERS deep into enemy territory—and that’s where they’re at their best! Unfortunately, with the lives they’ve lived—the pasts they battle to escape—even their best isn’t enough to save everybody.
How the tables (heh) have turned
After the break in the mini-series, we return to the happy escapades of a bunch of loveable misfits, who just happen to wander through the woods and get caught in the web of a spider. Imagine if Nick Roche approached Sins of the Wreckers in that fashion, and then move several steps opposite - darkness falls. Again.
We move through Tarantulas' web as guilt weaves its tale through the minds and past of Roadbuster, Hubcap, Prowl, Arcee and Springer, with the biggest and the smallest of the lot revealing the beginning of the shared sinful paths, and how they have encountered and become who they are now.
It's... not pretty
On the other side, the team of Wreckers and the Chimeracons, are still working their way through to Tarantulas and his prey, finding a way through the Noisemaze, finding their way through the mess that Prowl has landed everyone into. And they're fairly straightforward about it. Wrecker style.
Prowl, always the charmer
There is also - as is to be expected by now - some seriously dark humour in the book, almost a breather in between the even darker actions and dialogue taking place. But be ready for another big, dense, heavy read (in a good way, ultimately, but heavy nonetheless), as issue #4 is where Roche falls into the rabbit hole. More thoughts on this below.
As expected, the darkness in the story crawls and creeps not only into the linework, where the organic and the mechanical blend in a really intriguing fashion - if not grotesquely so - but also into the panel composition, with a lot of blank and black spaces, filled yes with dialogue, but also with ominous pauses...
All together now!
Josh Burcham and Joana Lafuente's colours are wonderfully attuned to the linework provided, and we get some seriously murky, shadowy, closed and/or trippy, depending on the scene, backgrounds to accompany the story being told - or the plans being set in motion. From the past to the present, via the Noisemaze, we see the colourists' skills at full power.
As for the lettering, this issue allows for some of the most varied and appreciated work from Tom B. Long, given free rein over a number of techniques, from fading, to fonts, to sizing - the result is an integral part of both story and visuals, without which it might not work the same. On he cover front, the main Roadbuster narrative is taken on by Roche and Burcham, with the latter also playing with Prowl playing with lives (Kup in particular), and Jack Lawrence brings us the new, complete team of Wreckers in the thumbnailed variant.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Other readers have pointed out how, much like Roberts in recent MTMTE issues, there are some parallels here in SOTW with the previous Wrecker-centric volume. While that is undoubtedly true, it is also the case that Roche has taken the issues of guilt and violence very much to their limit, here. The issue may not be an easy read for some, as it is as graphic as it is dense, physically and mentally for the characters, and the latter for the readers too.
The way in which Roche, Burcham, Lafuente, and Long collaborate on the same story shows a level of passion and understanding of the different dynamics, between characters, between creators, between book and readers, that can only end up bringing about a book like this. The one concern, perhaps, is about the pacing - the build-up is so strong, the development so good, that it feels like this could've been the end of the story. How will next month rack up?
That's Not What Your Eyes Are Saying..... Spoiler-free
Megatron vs. Tarn
Sounds simple right? The teacher and the student. The master and the apprentice. Having those Star Wars flashbacks yet? Well, Darth Vader has nothing on Issue 52 of More Than Meets The Eye, and that is a fact. But, we may be getting ahead of ourselves here. Let's take a few quick steps back and talk a bit first. Then we can put Lord Vader in his place.
All they’re missing are the Lightsabers
Well, if you are a More Than Meets The Eye fan, and even if you really aren't, this is the issue that should be on the top of your desires list. Things are nowhere near straight forward. Everything has a point, and then when you think you have the point, suddenly another one comes out of nowhere and stabs you in the back. This was a story heavy on the plot, yet heavier on the action, as if that was possible. This issue took things up several levels, from the players involved to the very foundations of the opposing sides. There were things that were expected. There were things that were wished for that finally came true. And yet, there were things that no one could possibly see coming, yet they did. The story has the twists and turns that Roberts is oh so known for pulling off, but this issue does it in far more dramatic fashion than pretty much any other issue.
This issue is what issue 50 should have felt like. Scratch that: this issue is what 50 was meant to bring about, and in that regard this is extraordinarily organized and executed. If you felt that the last year of More Than Meets The Eye was lackluster and felt off, believe me: This thing accelerates that faster than the Millennium Falcon can jump into hyperspace. Megatron, Tarn, Kaon, Ratchet, Drift and Rodimus make for the big 6 of the story and get their good moments.This is more than just physical war; this is also psychological war, and we see how that has affected our characters, and how they will affect our characters.
I follow James Roberts on Twitter and I know so many things about what is to come and what he thinks of both his artists and his fans. For issue 51, he made a point of saying that the art in that issue was supposed to be the creative teams best artwork ever, and it did live up to the hype. But for all that they did in 51, take that and multiply it by several degrees and you get the art in issue 52. The art in here is astounding! If you ever had even the slightest thought that Alex Milne was going off his game, here's a clue: Hell no he's not. The lines are bold, the background setting massively detailed, the very characters themselves beautifully defined in all their states of wear, tear, and care.
And you thought the best eyebrow raises were in Prime didn’t you?
Of course though, this creative team is far from being just Milne. His lines and attention to detail may be the baseline, but Joana Lafuente brings the colors to the front, and she is far and away on the A-team. Probably the biggest moment when she shines? Right as the sun starts setting. Page 7. Page 7 is where she shines her brightest. The light may be dying, but she is in no way dying down, and if anything the fading light only brings her colors farther forward.
I only wish I could I could show you the REST of that panel
And no issue is complete without its lettering. Tom B. Long gets mentioned so much in our many reviews, and he is always worthy of the praise that is sung for his work. Kaon comes to the front as one of the primary 5 characters I can say this story focuses on, and Long does a great bit in bringing that forward. Kaon's passion and fury are always present, and if Milne and Lafuente didn't already make that clear, Long's lettering far and away makes sure his voice is in your face.
Pretty much his natural state when his Pet is in trouble
Thoughts You are now entering potentially spoiler territory. Enter at own Risk
Actually, we really did. You didn’t see the tears in the wake of issue 40
Alright, now that I can be a little freer in my opinions, I will say this: This is be the best issue of More Than Meets The Eye that we have gotten. People wanted the action, and we got it. Ohhhhhh we got it alright. We didn't have much of that standing around talking and setting up what’s to happen next shenanigans. Nope, we got the action sequences that were meant to be. 13 of the 20 pages involved physical violence, all of which was beautifully executed, and in some ways literally. I can say with confidence and truth that there were 2 main parts to the story involving 2 different characters that I could never have anticipated. Just when you think you are rid of someone, they come back with an explanation that furthers your own storyline yet makes complete sense, and makes things only that much worse.
This issue had 3 main characters so to speak: We has the obvious Tarn and Megatron, but we must also not forget Kaon made for a main character and definitely got his personality that he will forever be known for. Ratchet and Drift, while not making total "main character" status, were definitely very well executed secondary characters, as was Rodimus. We also begin to see the cracks in the armor for some members. Sometimes they are extraordinarily subtle, but take a look and you will see.
As a parting thought, it has been said now that issues 54 and 55 will wrap up Dying of the Light, and that 56 is the epilogue so to speak, with a Titans Return crossover coming soon after. Roberts himself even said that 56 would make for a great series finale, though I'm sure we are far from done here. But no matter. It does not matter if this ends in the 50's, or even if we end up much higher though. This issue is Roberts at his peak, Milne at his peak, Lafuente at her peak, Long at his peak. This is the issue that defines what More Than Meets The Eye is, and I look forward to where this can possibly can go from here. In conclusion: Vader, I think Tarn wears the mask better.
He’ll fight for freedom wherever there’s trouble Auto Joe is there— G…I…. BOOOOOoooT, the real Cybertronian hero…. G. I. Bot is there!
When the going gets tough he’ll stay ’til the fights won, GI BOT is there.
….G …… I ….. BooOOOOOooT!
(whatever, I know it looks like boot)
Kind of how I feel about this series. I’m seeing it through to the end. Through all the nonsense, the craziness, and the far too few cool moments. I’ve tried to change to be one of the enlightened ones of those who get it— to present the unpopular side from what I experience around here anyway—- but I take my childhood heroes too seriously for that anymore.
Rather than bag on a series that is ‘critically-acclaimed’ by smart people who read lots of fiction literature for a living, I’m going to simply say a few words and then present the moments in this particular issue that made me smile. The images might be spoilers, they might not, but most of you don’t care, and if you do, well the issue has been out since last Wednesday.
After this as you know, there is mercifully one more issue left, one more issue for the rest of the scrap to hit the fan…
If you have enjoyed it, I’m glad. If you’ve hated it, I’m disappointed that a product related to heroes from your childhood has left you wanting. Only one more guys and gals…
PLOT- Megatron, the Deceptions and Cobra are going to destroy the sun and harvest the energy to create more Cybertronians. Last call for the Autobots and Joes . Time to use the kitchen sink…
I’ve always been a HUGE DEFENSOR fan…always! The only combiner I had in full as a child. This take was an interesting way to ‘re-imagine’ the concept that used Prowl, one of my all-time favorite bots. The rest of the folks are not the normal Protectobots, but an amalgamation of emergency service alt mode vehicles like Red Alert, and Inferno, Blades (although it’s RESCUE BOTS BLADES clearly—nothing escapes—nothing). Rounding out the group are a random Arcee, Jetfire, and Targetmaster Peacemaker*. *chuckle for the VOLTRON reference* ‘And I’ll form the gun!’
This whole configuration made me think of the Micromaster combiner re-released as a Kaybee exclusive Defensor using several of these bots’ names. Where’s my yellow Lamborghini Scioli (Hot Shot—or Hot Spot, I’ll have to look)?
Prime and Grimlock in matrix limbo. Totally reminded me of the video game Marvel Transformers issue (#24, I think--Prime dies--surprise!), crossed with the old ‘Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends’ Video Man plot .
Kudos to for pulling off the very believable Video Man from said SMahAF Ep.
Throw in a bit out of place Bludgeon as guardian of the AUTOBOT matrix heaven place… odd choice… Cause he's a Decepticon...
Page Speaking of ODD-
Okay, honestly look away from this if you are easily frightened. It will be burned into your memory forever, and for me, it’s not an enjoyable picture. I wish I could un-see it.
It’s not really that bad, but an out-of-mouth stairs/tongue connection kiss thing… I don’t care if it is Snake Eyes and Scarlett bonded to the big bots now--it could have been anyone--. Touching fingers or even holding hands may have been a little easier on the ol' ticker.
SDCC GI JOE VS. TRANSFORMERS Boxset Exclusive coming in 2017! Just wait...
This did make me have a little laugh out loud moment…
Free two-day shipping is a failure Megatron? Some free video streaming thrown in as well? What planet are you from?
I did like Grimlock’s attempt at revenge here. "Me Grimlock like two-day shipping Megatron!"
The Splash Pages-
These pages were fun, you can spot some good stuff, like every color of the rainbow seekers, Shrapnel package art picture, Hot Rod riding Sky Lynx into battle with a Bazooka mounted on his shoulder. And combiners, but most don’t look messed up like Defensor.
Page ‘In Your Eyes’
The John Cusack ‘Say Anything’ reference here really resonated with with me. Wheeljack just needed to be wearing a trench coat and it would have been perfect, but probably over the top. In your eyes indeed, Decepticons...Peter Gabriel says so.
And Wild Bill versus Six-shot… which gunslinger wins the showdown? (seems like a ridiculous question, right? Wild Bill already died once though and was reincarnated, so he’s all tough and stuff)
Page of REDEMPTION!!!
Okay, DEFENSOR down and hurt. Trypticon bearing down on him for the kill… and one of my lamest and yet most fun GI JOE toys ever comes in for the save…the BRIDGE LAYER... THAT… WAS…AWESOME!!!!! Seems like it needs a new name now, like 'Trypticon killer'. Best page of the whole series, end it here so I can feel somewhat good about the memories that I will take away from…
Page of BACK TO RIDICULOUS
Baroness and King Hisss himself, Cobra Commander, consummated a reunion with apparently more than a kiss, as Crystal Ball sees ‘the future’???
So much for leaving this issue with a good taste in my mouth…
So you all remember those awesome 84 seeker jets? Remember those guys? Those 3 guys that looked exactly alike save for the head? Well, now do you remember those even awesomer (yes, it is a word) 85 jets, you know, the ones with the Pointy Hats Cone heads? Well, thanks to Seibertron himself, we are proud to bring to you our latest Transformers Masterpiece Gallery, that of MP-11NR Ramjet! Ramjet is an extensive retooling of the standard seekers Masterpiece body, among which involves the moving of the wings from the backpack to the legs, and includes that righteously awesome coned-out head that we all know and love. He even includes some brand new dual arm cannons to mess around with. Check this conehead out, and let us know what you think of him in the comments section below. And stay tuned to Seibertron.com for all your latest Transformers News and Galleries!
Since the begining of the year, it has been a non stop schedule of Transformers Masterpiece releases with at least one coming out every month, with prominant characters like Shockwave and Ironhide finally getting Masterpiece figures. Adding to these all star G1 characters is the release of Masterpiece Ratchet, which Seibertron now has a gallery of. Ratchet is the Autobots' Chief Medical Officer and one of the original Autobots aboard the ark. He has been part of the franchise since the very first Transformers episode and comic issue and has been an integral member ever since through various icarnations. From the begining, he has always been a redeco of Ironhide (both G1 toys come from differently coloured Diaclone Nissan van toys) and this Masterpiece figure is no exception. While they share the same mold here once more, there are a few differences between Transformers MasterpieceRatchet and Ironhide such as a redesigned pelvic area, which many found to be an issue with Ironhide. He also comes with stickers for his shoulders and different accessories, which can all be found in the gallery. Enjoy!
ALL HAIL OPTIMUS part 3! OPTIMUS PRIME has declared the Earth to be his territory… but even he can’t go it alone. Now he reaches out across the galaxy to form a coalition—of old friends and older enemies.
We continue the ride of All Hail Optimus, in the third chapter of this fairly long arc, as positions and setting start shifting around, after the immediate fall out - in last month's issue - of the annexation of unwilling Earth to the Council of Worlds. And that means Starscream gets to do some things too, and he does them with words.
And others listen
What is particularly pleasing in the issue, is how John Barber uses the actions of Starscream - from whom we've come to expect manipulative behaviour - to comment upon those of Optimus himself, as he just sort of casually wanders over to other potential allies and audiences. Being all complex-y and stuff.
*tiny violins playing*
There is another fairly intense narrative strand running alongside Optimus' manipulations - one that we might expect from the main cover, and that sees once precarious collaborators Arcee and Galvatron ..er, airing some concerns with each other. Think of it as a very heated (heh) conversation, with some more excellent writing for the former.
Well done, Barber
The scene above is also the main source of action for the book, so enjoy it if that is your dish. For the more politics and sleight of hand and tongue inclined readers, this is a full course meal, with weaving, waving, twining and a bit of a kick to the side - and some intriguing seeding happening in between.
Art duties are brought back to Livio Ramondelli, after a long break, and I have to admit I had some difficulties this time round. The linework is what we have come to expect, and I am aware some readers are not fans. We do get some interesting cinematic layouts though, and clarity in more dynamic sequences - never a bad thing.
Where I had some issues was in the colouring, which, while lightening the usually fairly heavy look of Ramondelli's pages, has somewhat reduced my enjoyment of the art overall. This is not the case across the board, though, as there are some scenes that still work really quite well even in the lighter hues - but something struck me as different from the usual.
While there is little of prominent display for the lettering of Tom B. Long, sometimes that is just the mark of skill you need as a reminder of the craft. The covers, on the other hand, do something flashier, with Andrew Griffith and Josh Burcham covering Galvatron vs Arcee, Burcham all alone playing around with Age of Extinction and Skylynx, Casey Coller and Joana Lafuente homaging 'The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living' for Art History month, and the thumbnailed Phase6 exclusive sees a collaboration between Griffith and Naoto Tsushima, with Josh Perez on colours, as a tribute to Drift.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
If the visual side of things had me distancing myself, on first read, from appreciating the story as such, but going back to it there are some really good advancements from both a contextual and world-building perspective, and for the narrative at hand itself, too. The political intrigue of early RID is back once again, though a lot more is clearly at stake at this point in the game.
That's just... Primes
In fact, think less Game of Thrones and more House of Cards, in how the various parts move around on the table, with some of the best Starscream and Arcee around (you know what I mean) and, I reluctantly say this, given his character, even some of the best Optimus writing for a while. To me, he never held any appeal as a leader - now, this new layer of whatever is going on with him? Yes, I want to see how far he'll go.
Seibertronians! Lend us your listening devices - as fellow Energon Pub dwellers carytheone and DecepticonFinishline bring us a review of the Hasbro/Sony Transformers 'Roll Out' album, released just last week. Have you been listening yet? Read our reviews - two for the price of one - and head here for iTunes or here to stream on Spotify!
DecepticonFinishline wrote:The new “Transformers: Roll Out” album exemplifies what the last year of Transformers has been all about. With the inclusion of up-and-coming artists Born Cages and Crash Kings; well-established rock acts like Mew and Bush; and fresh musicians like Elle Rae this compilation album parallels one grand theme: Giving the veteran fans what they’ve been asking for (i.e. Combiners) while making it accessible to new fans of the franchise.
Allow me to explain. Devoting an entire year to Combiners seems to be Hasbro/Takara’s way of giving the veteran fans what we’ve desperately wanted. However, to the dismay of many veteran fans, this year has seen many repaints and remolds. I see this as a way to cut costs, making it easier for younger fans to join the franchise with the characters the older fans know and love.
In a similar fashion, “Transformers: Roll Out” is a compilation of music meant to appeal to older fans while at the same time not taking too many risks; making it accessible to as many fans as possible. By sandwiching the most unique tracks like “Count to Ten,” “Modern Man” and “Into the Fire” in between the likes of the more general rock songs “Roll Out” and “Our Revolution” you allow for a listening experience that draws you in and allows you to leave satisfied while also being exposed to uncommon sub-genres of music in the middle that you may not have pursued otherwise.
You’ll notice that the lyrics of these songs can be clearly linked to the Transformers franchise, but are also general enough to be played in other situations without sounding out of place. The one exception, or course, is “Exiles” which drops the name Cybertron. Some may be disappointed in the absence of specific Transformers lyrics but I would point to the famous songs already a part of the Transformers franchise such as “The Touch” and “Dare to be Stupid” which follow the more universal lyrical composition.
So what’s the point? The missing part of the aforementioned parallel is that no one really asked for “Transformers inspired music.” Maybe it’s to provide a voice for artists like Darby! whose song “Modern Man” uses a unique mix of the vocal singing style of glam-rock stars like the late David Bowie infused with a Sgt. Pepper-composition style. Cynics will say it’s a typical cash-grab. Maybe there was just an ambitious Transformers fan at Sony. Who’s to say?
I personally recommend using “Transformers: Roll Out” as hunting music. We all know that this is a full-time hobby, and so it’s appropriate that it has an official soundtrack. Starting with Mount Holly’s (formerly Nick Perri) “Roll Out,” the song says it all. Roll Out for a successful hunt. Then, depending where you live, Mew’s “Count to Ten” times out well with leaving your first stop empty-handed; “Close your eyes. Count to ten,” cool down and then get revved up for your next stop! The compilation is largely a high-energy experience with two mild cooldowns.
Coming from someone who listens to and judges music for a living, it’s easy to say “Transformers: Roll Out” played it a little too safe resulting in some tracks that sound a little too homogenous. Metal and E.D.M. fans will probably be disappointed. But, with compilation albums like this it is important to try your best to appeal to as many people as possible, and this album does that very well. Alternative rock fans, like me, are provided with music by Born Cages and alternative Danish superstars Mew. There are songs that I don’t much care for, but I’ve already seen praise for those songs, here, on Seibertron. That is the point. This album is for all of us to enjoy the songs we will like and still appreciate the musicians that contributed their art to the Transformers franchise we all love.
Most importantly, it’s not “21 Guns” four times in 2 hours…
carytheone wrote:Roll Out is a fun, cheesy and seemingly random album. The overall feel is that of a movie soundtrack and is a little awkward without one.
The album opens with the titular song Roll Out; an appropriately cheesy, driving rock track. A hard hitting, get your blood pumping, kick some Decepticon butt rock song. The song that seems the most out of place, This House Is On Fire by Bush is a serviceable song, but feels like it was pulled off the B side of another album (and in fact, it is, and just repurposed -- Va'al). Gigantik is our first deviation from the more contemporary rock vibe the album started on. This track is more in line with my tastes in the indie rock genre. A fun bouncy track that would feel right at home on a road trip playlist. Count to Ten is a perfectly placed cool-down track. A light airy uplifting track that makes a lovely ascent to one of the albums best bangers.
Into The Fire by Elle Rae is definitely the strongest track on the album and worth a stand-alone purchase. If the last track brought us to the apex of the roller coaster; this track takes us on a fast ride to the loop-the-loop. After the excitement of Into the Fire and a couple repeats we coast into our next cool-down, Exiled. My first listen gave me a Nickleback vibe, but then I came to appreciate the lead singer's later career Chris Cornell voice. This song is clearly written with Transformers in mind and makes a few fiction name drops. This is probably one of the cheesier tracks, but has easily become one of my favorites.
Just a Spark seems like a weak follow up to Exiled, almost feels pandering and is just screaming to be used during a montage. Stronger starts slow but really vamps up very quickly. Another driving modern rock track, Muse fans will be pleased. All this leads to the album's weirdest track, Modern Man. A trippy indie-rock Bowie-esque track that wouldn't be out of place on "Space Oddity". Totally up my alley and a great palate cleanser that ends with a little synth-funk. And that leads us to our closer, Our Revolution. A celebratory driving rock track. Again, I feel like all these emotionally charged tracks are missing the scenes to motivate me to feel attached. I can honestly see the credits of a movie scrolling by while I listen to this track.
Roll Out is a perfectly serviceable album and depending on your tastes is worth the asking price of $10. I can't help but feel that I should be picking this album up on my way out of the theater after watching Transformers 5. I feel that this is one of the biggest challenges for this album; it just doesn't have a real good reason to exist. It's a good collection of music and is a fun ride.
I fired up Transformers: War for Cybertron after my first listen. The album fit the on-screen action perfectly and all the cheesy rock tracks paired great with my WfC wine. I'd recommend giving the album a listen to and cherry picking the tracks that speak to you, especially Into The Fire!
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