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BUCKETHEAD Pike 268 - Sonar Rainbow

Album · 2017 · Alternative Metal
Cover art 3.00 | 1 rating
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BUCKETHEAD (as Bucketheadland) / Pike 268 - Sonar Rainbow / 25th release of 2017 / All instrumental / Contains 4 tracks / Clocks in at 29minutes 35seconds / everything played by Buck-buck-buckethead.

“Sonar Rainbow” (11:27) the longest track begins with an ambient flow and echoey clean guitar which insinuates a possible non-rock type of album but lo and behold a guitar jumps in and then like lemmings so does the bass and drum section. It continues to jam on building up a melody but slightly before the three minute mark slows down back to the echoey guitar type of intro but only for a while as a guitar solo erupts for a while. As it continues it becomes a repetitive sequence of guitar chords with a bluesy guitar solo around it. The production is pretty cool as the guitar sounds are processed in interesting ways that give a crisp unusual type of distortion to them, however the music is just like a gazillion other PIKEs that have this same jamming around a repetitive chord sequence. Personally i find it a bit boring

“The Maddening Of Mercury” (6:56) begins with a heavily distorted guitar riff that is downtrend and sounds rather monstrous with a few little squeals stuck in and then a guitar solo sputters all around it. The riff becomes a bit more chaotic. This one has a really cool hellish sound as it’s all murky and highly cacophonous. When a guitar solo erupts again the riffs take a break but they come back soon enough. I like this one a lot. It has a rather loose compositional style with all kinds of different counterpoints that aren’t predictable unlike the previous track. The bouncy distorted riffs have some jittery time signatures that seem a bit erratic as well. Half way through it changes it up and creates a more frenetic riff meets solo sequence. Lots of changes and dipping into strange surreal segments. Nice.

“Debris” (2:37) is a jittery little number that hops, skips and jumps around like a decapitated chicken but then settles into a steady beat and rhythm with crunchy guitars but also deviates into little dissonant segments that last a while before moving on. There is a dissonant relationship between the riffs and the lead guitar. Also very progressive in its time signature run. Another cool track.

“Venomous Fog” (8:35) starts out ambient like the first track but then jumps into a heavy guitar riff. After it properly introduces itself it quiets down for a few seconds. This one sounds much like the beginning track with a repetitive sequence of chords that allow the lead guitar to wank over although they appear less often at first and let the riffs simply do their rhythmic thang. It basically alternates between the heavier passages and then quiets things down for a while. The melodic development remains constant for the entire track. Another been there, done that a million times before type track. Not bad but fairly meh.

The first and last tracks are meh but i love the second two enough to give this three stars.

NECROT Blood Offerings

Album · 2017 · Death Metal
Cover art 4.00 | 1 rating
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Although they’ve been kicking around for quite a few years now, releasing three demos that were eventually brought together for the compilation album The Labrinth, Blood Offerings is in reality Necrot’s first studio album.

Necrot play old school death metal. Now these days if you’re going to release an old school death metal album it had better be good if you want any hope of being anything other than an also ran as it’s already been done to death (no pun intended) numerous times before. Fortunately Necrot haven’t wasted the last six years and released an excellent album of solid as a rock no frills death metal. Bolt Thrower immediately come to mind with their thick chunky riffs, not over-playing the speed card but most important of all memorable riffs that stay firmly in your head. Sure these guys can play fast when required but they’re smart enough to realise that an album of relentless blast beats can become a bit dull so they change the time/tempo regularly, even slowing it down to almost, but not quite, a doom pace occasionally. The old school vibe is helped by the organic production with a drum sound that sounds powerful and real. The Blade kicks things off and by death metal standards the pace is measured but packing plenty of punch with rolling kick drums and some killer hooks. It proves to be an album highlight but it’s far from downhill from here as most of the album is similarly compelling as perfectly demonstrated on Rather Be Dead which immediately follows. And so it goes – I keep expecting the quality to dip but pleasingly it doesn’t, well not to any great extent anyway, with only Beneath not hitting the spot fully. The standard of musicianship is excellent including some strong guitar solos and great drumming. The vocals are standard death fayre but well done nevertheless.

Overall then, a great start with hopefully even better to come in the future and it impressed me enough to order a vinyl copy – what better recommendation can I give. Check them out if you’re after some old school death metal that still manages to sound fresh and vibrant, you won’t be disappointed.


Album · 2017 · Melodic Black Metal
Cover art 4.20 | 5 ratings
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Melodic black metal ruminating on the musicians' personal occult interests is hardly new - Dissection were all about that, after all - but on Saille's Gnosis they offer a solid and enjoyable example of the form. Guest performer Dries Gaerdelen's keyboards and other features add some tasteful symphonic touches, but these are neither bombastically prominent enough to drag the album into symphonic black metal territory or clumsily heavy-handed enough to overwhelm what the rest of the band is doing.

With the sort of tributes to Biblical fallen angels, Norse gods, H.P. Lovecraft and Aleister Crowley that have littered innumerable metal albums over the years, you'd think that this would have entered the realm of utter cliche, but whilst there's nothing lyrically new under the sun here, musically there's plenty for melodic black metal fans to sink their teeth into.


Album · 2017 · Atmospheric Black Metal
Cover art 4.83 | 6 ratings
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Progenie Terrestre Pura are probably secretly aliens. Sure, they claim to come from Italy, but they give the game away with this album. See, Earth people typically wouldn't consider psybient and other electronic/ambient genres to be a natural fit with black metal - even in the world of atmospheric black metal, which has been known to dabble in the synthesiser from time to time - and they certainly would have picked up on the fact that if every member of your band has a role in working the synthesisers and/or drum machines your metal credentials are going to be questioned by purists.

And yet here they come with this bizarre industrial-black-ambient head trip to the outer reaches of the galaxy, taking the listener through a calvacade of different moods ranging well beyond the usual cold misanthropy of black metal, and they expect us to believe they're just ordinary human beings like the rest of us? Come off it, Progenie Terrestre Pura: just 'fess up and give us the secrets to faster than light travel so we can go visit your home planet and learn where you learned to play like this.

SIKTH The Future In Whose Eyes?

Album · 2017 · Metalcore
Cover art 4.00 | 1 rating
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SIKTH took the progressive metal world by surprise when they debuted their unique and demanding debut release “The Trees Are Dead & Dried Out Wait For Something Wild” in 2003 which along with the avant-garde tendencies of Meshuggah changed the coarse of djent guitar styled extreme progressive metal in the early 21st century. This Watford, England based band emerged seemingly out of nowhere and showed the world a new way of melding the avant-garde with progressive rock and metalcore. Despite being cited as major contributors to the djent guitar sound and dizzying mathcore freneticism, SIKTH only released two albums in a four year span and then suddenly disappeared into the ethers of the underground only to let a whole slew of imitators (think of bands like Periphery) to fill the newly created vacuum. In 2015 the band dropped a little teaser of an EP called “Opacities” which showed that they were still in top form and ready to jump back into the mosh pit and fight it out with the newbies on the block. Finally in 2017 we see the long waited third release THE FUTURE IN WHOSE EYES? which emerges a full eleven years after the last full length album “Death Of A Dead Day.”

One of the main reasons for the band’s initial demise in 2007 was the fact that the duo vocal team of Mikee Goodman and Justin Hill had left the band to pursue other musical endeavors and since a great deal of SIKTH’s signature sound is utterly dependent on this one-two vocal punch, the band called it quits lest they sound like any old metalcore band with progressive leanings out there. The band rekindled their connections when Goodman returned but Hill had apparently jumped ship for good, so in with the new blood and Joe Rosser makes his debut as the second vocalist. The album also has been released in two formats. There’s the original release with 12 tracks and the Earbrook Edition that has two bonus discs, one of re-imagined tracks and another of the entire album in all instrumental form. Whaaaat?!!!! Now who wants to hear an instrumental album of SIKTH? The vocals are half the fun! I’ve forsaken this bonus pack and stuck with the originally intended program.

As the album begins with “Vivid,” it sounds like SIKTH never went away as the combination of Goodman’s socially conscious lyrically prose bursts out in schizophrenic screams with the combo effect of Dan Weller and Graham Pinney’s duo guitar onslaught of blistering core based guitar riffing. The rhythm section of James Leach on bass and Dan Foord hammering out precision percussion is fully aflame as well. SIKTH is back and means business. “Century Of The Narcissist?” only continues to ramp up the frenzy and sounds very much like SIKTH’s comfort zone as heard on previous albums only incorporates a nice mix of both screamed and clean vocals with a rather alternative metal type of riffing approach. “The Aura” displays a new style for a full album SIKTH album although was present on the EP “Opacities” as baritone poetry is read introducing yet another blistering metal assault to the senses. At this point it’s clear that SIKTH has mellowed out a bit as they have incorporated a lot more slower passages that mix and mingle with the bombastic as fuck trademark maniacal madness that they are known for.

“The Ship Has Sailed” is yet another short poetic prose with dark ambient musical accompaniment that ushers in yet another progressive metal / metalcore frantic mashup. By the time we get to “Cracks Of Light” it is apparent that the spoken poetic prose mixed with the clean progressive metal style is here to stay as the hardcore elements are deemphasized and only appear in certain proportions in the mix. While these developments were laid out on the EP “Opacities,” it is now quite apparent that the band has been working on fusing these elements into their new style which takes the balls-to-the-wall aggressiveness all the time and allows the music to expand into a more diverse arena. Depending on your reaction, you could possibly deem this as an attribute of “selling out” or simply “maturing.” Perhaps it’s a bit of both considering three singles have been released from this one, however bands need to move on and find a new relevant way to express themselves and metalcore is not exactly the easiest of metal genres to expand one’s tentacles into new arenas. SIKTH prove on THE FUTURE IN WHOSE EYES? that they can still stand ground with the best of the newer metal bands out there.

True that this one doesn’t have the same whoah factor that the first two albums did and it took me a few more spins to appreciate but once it sinks in, the results are stunning in how they have mixed and melded hitherto unthinkable aspects into their musical mania. In addition to the newer elements already mentioned, there is a very mature approach to the production standards which is quite professionally and pleasantly executed. After a skeptical start with this album, i think it has grown on me to the point i’m actually glad that SIKTH have returned. With the more dynamic effects of pacing the aggressive elements that intermittently commingle with more ambient and more subdued alternative metal approaches, SIKTH have found yet another avenue of musical delivery which is very different than their earlier albums where it was 100% adrenaline firing at full speed with more subdued respites later on. Here they maintain a flow of different energy levels that ultimately works quite well. While this album does tend to lack some kind of major high that blows me away, i can’t fault it in any way as well. It seems that it was only my unrealistic expectations that kept me from initially warming up to it. After accepting it for what it is, i’m quite enamored by the maturity of composition and musical performances.

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Album · 1995 · Black Metal
Cover art 3.36 | 8 ratings
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After the explosion of the second wave of black metal in the 90s, it seemed that everyone was getting in on the act. What started as an aggressive noisy means of expressing disdain for Christianity and espousing hatred in the world turned into a free for all by the mid-90s with ever growing diversification in lyrical content creeping more towards fantasy than fury. SUMMONING was not a Scandinavian act but rather emerged from the icy Alpine terrain of Austria, well Vienna on the edge of the Alps to be more specific, but the point is that black metal had pretty much made its mark on the entire continent of Europe if not the entire world quite yet. SUMMONING like many other bands adopted the Mayhem turned Darkthrone approach of musical expression in order to disguise their true intentions as many a 90s black metal band did in order to launch their own creative outlets into new musical arenas. SUMMONING like many a metal band that began as a “pure” and “unadulterated” black metal band would evolve their sound fairly quickly and usurp unconquered territory in the musical spectrum. LUGBURZ is the debut album by SUMMONING and in all reality is the only “true” black metal album from the band before they would take black metal elements and unapologetically mix them with atmospheric soundtrack symphonies that would allow them to break into the music world on their own terms.

SUMMONING was created by Silenius, Protector (Protector Of All Endless Sleeps formally at Satanic dinner parties) and Trifixion (Of The Horned King) in 1993 and released a few demos that led up to LUGBURZ which is Black Speech (a fictional language created by J.R.R. Tolkien) that really means Barad-dûr which is the Dark Tower on Middle-earth in the Lord Of The Rings novels. The title and subject matter of Tolkien’s fictitious universe began right at the very start and the mood is set right away on the very first medieval folk inspired intro “Grey Heavens” which right off the bat tells the listener that they are in for a melodic ride through the darkened lands, perhaps the only thread of sanity when it seems eminent that the ring of power will utterly usurp control of Middle-earth and all living beings will be enslaved into the clutches of Sauron. As the first “real” track “Beyond Bloodred Horizons” commences with a lo-fi aesthetic that utilizes the expected 90s kvlt sensibilities that incorporate buzzsaw frenetic guitar riffs, liquid bass lines that merge into the guitars and the schizophrenic screams that are sure to raise the dead just in time to suffocate the Orks in full glory. Also unique to this debut album is the use of a real drummer. Trifixion is the only carbon-based lifeform to perform percussion on any SUMMONING album as he would be replaced by a drum machine starting with the followup “Minas Morgul.” Careful listeners will note that this guy provides a unique stamp on this album as well. This isn’t a blastbeat saturated album at all but rather one that carefully crafts its percussive magic in mysterious ways that at many moments offers a nonchalant methodology of keeping rhythm but adds fills and breaks when needed. Of course this is a black metal album and blastbeats are present.

Far from being a generic clone of the initial divaricators of early extreme metal especially of the black metal branch of perpetual expansion, after delving deeper into the compositional sounds that make up LUGBURZ it’s quite easy to differentiate their musical direction to the point where in hindsight to recognize LUGBURZ as a prognosticator of their future sound albeit nobody could have foreseen exactly how far they could have taken it. For me the main difference between SUMMONING and contemporary acts of the day is their use of the folklore musical scales and Tolkien subject matter as well as the sublime use of keyboards to add a more subdued element of melody at this point. True that the guitar, inaudible bass, psychotic vocals and hyperactive drums are firmly placed into the realms of the black metal world however the keyboards create a subdued pacifying effect that don’t dominate at the forefront as was heard in bands like Emperor or Dimmu Borgir. SUMMONING was doing their own thing from the get go. While frantic in overall nature LUGBURZ has moments of tender reflection as with the unexpected piano transition in the middle of “Flight Of The Nazgul” and the dominating keyboard effects that steer the beastly effects of “Dragons Of Time.”

Personally i believe that LUGBURZ is a woefully underrated album in the magnificent discography of SUMMONING. I can actually understand the psychological dichotomy and reactions of the diverse black metal universe in regards to this debut release. First of all i can see that the fans of the later albums tend to be more attracted to those epic video game soundtrack themes that recur in a hypnotic thematic unfolding while the black metal elements dance somewhat in the background which is really a form of black metal “light.” And on the other hand the hardcore kvlter-than-thou types will want to punish SUMMONING for “selling-out” by using a drum machine and creating what they deem “un-kvlt-music.” Personally i am not as judgmental and appreciate both aspects of the band. While SUMMONING would truly continue the lesser emphasized aspects on LUGBURZ and find a pot of gold where no pot had sprouted before, i am truly enthralled by the mesmerizing beauty of LUGBURZ as it’s not the mere generic clone of an album that it’s made out to be.

Just an interesting piece of trivia. Some of the guitar riffs actually sound like video game melodies especially from the 8-bit era (think Super Mario Bros). This subtle effect was not only given steroids for the hypnotic effects of future SUMMONING albums but also inspired fans such as Xexyz whose debut album “Primeval Mountain” album cover not only replicated the black mountain seen on the cover of LUGBURZ but also utilized the same overall franticness in both vocals and musical delivery that only he (Xexyz is essentially the one-man band of Rev) recreated to recreate a version of this album and used chiptune video game sound effects in lieu of the keyboards which i my opinion works quite well. Whether LUGBURZ becomes your favorite SUMMONING album or not (not necessarily mine), it certainly should not be missed as it is an essential piece in the birth of the SUMMONING experience but beyond that i actually LOOOOOVE this album a lot! It is the SUMMONING experience at its most primeval black metal roots and although i truly adore the soundtrack experiences of SUMMONING that follow, i’m very grateful for this album as it is utterly unique in the SUMMONING canon and for that matter the entire black metal world experience.


Live album · 1975 · Proto-Metal
Cover art 3.60 | 6 ratings
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I'm a little surprised at the lack of reviews/ratings for King Crimson's USA. I once read a statement by Maynard James Keenan calling King Crimson the biggest musical influence on Tool. By the time USA was released, centering on tracks from the 3 previous albums, metal was clearly a large part of King Crimson's musical recipe. These are great performances of great music. My favorite tracks are the two bonus songs from the 2002 reissue; it's the version to get. I haven't heard THE NIGHT WATCH or THE GREAT DECEIVER compilations for comparison, but I think the sound quality of USA is perfectly acceptable. The only consideration that reduces my rating of USA, for the MMA website, is its place on the "metal" scale.


Album · 2004 · Traditional heavy metal
Cover art 4.14 | 20 ratings
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Everyone remembers Whorehouse Blues from this one because it's Motorhead's left turn into rootsy blues. The studio version here is OK, though if you were lucky enough to catch them performing it live it doesn't measure up to that. (There's some production treatment on Lemmy's voice to make it sound a bit more like an old-timey recording which feels a bit heavy-handed.) Preceding this interesting experiment is a set of fairly standard Motorhead songs which largely hold up, though the very clean mid-2000s production values makes them feel a bit sanitised compared to their rough and ready early years. Still, if you want proof that Motorhead could simultaneously still surprise you and still deliver exactly what you want out of a Motorhead album this later in their career, Inferno offers it.

FATES WARNING Disconnected

Album · 2000 · Progressive Metal
Cover art 3.88 | 38 ratings
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As with A Pleasant Shade of Gray, Disconnected had Fates Warning working as a core creative trio of Alder, Matheos and Zonder, with Joey Vera and Kevin Moore working on a guest musician basis. Whilst some prefer the preceding album, I admit that I quite like this release.

On the surface, it comes across as one of those millennial "Oooh, the Internet is scary, will it truly offer us a closer connection to each other or will it all leave us more disconnected and isolated?" concepts that proliferated back in that slice of time after the Internet had become ubiquitous but before Facebook and other social media platforms had definitively answered the question. ("Yes, the Internet will connect you to other people and their innermost thoughts and feelings. You will quickly get sick of them.")

The genius of the album is that rather than approaching the subject like they have an axe to grind, or limiting themselves to that narrow concept, Fates Warning instead take it as a jumping-off point to explore all sorts of different types of interpersonal connection and disconnection, being wise enough to realise that actually, interpersonal connection tends to pan out differently for different people. Some songs, such as One, outright celebrate the emotional bonds between people - others note how they can be mentally draining and sometimes you *need* your alone time to recharge your batteries, whilst others are sung from the point of views struggling to reach out.

It's kind of like its Rorscharch blot of a cover. Some might see it as capturing two people seeking intimacy but being blocked from it by the very devices they have chosen to apply to themselves (or have been forced to by circumstance); I see it as a happy scene of two gasmask fetishists finding each other in a world where it's never been easier to find someone who shares your kinks.

Musically, we're dealing with a nicely matured version of the 1990s Fates Warning sound, the band entering the new millennium with the confidence to simply sound like themselves and not worrying about then-current trends in metal. (Then again, given the rise of nu-metal between Pleasant Shade and this, deciding not to go down that route may have been a no-brainer - I've got nothing against nu-metal, but I can think of few styles less compatible with Fates Warning's approach). The combination of all these features makes Disconnected, for me, the best Fates Warning album since No Exit.


Album · 2015 · Atmospheric Black Metal
Cover art 4.62 | 4 ratings
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The artwork for Settler by Vattnet Viskar (who'd drop the "Viskar" after this release) seems unusually bright and sunny for a black metal album, which prompted raised eyebrows at its release, but don't be fooled - we're not quite out of the howling darkness yet. See, the cover art depicts Christa McAuliffe, one of the astronauts who died in the Challenger disaster, on a zero-G training flight, so if you want gory, firey death, there's an implication of it right there.

But as others have noted, the album isn't solely about that. Following the trend in American atmospheric black metal bands to broaden the emotional palette of black metal-inspired music, Vattnet Viskar use the disaster to contemplate themes of exploration, competition, and the sacrifices people make for both. As you might expect, some Deafheaven-esque blackgaze influences make it in here and there, and the spaceflight theme prompts the band to seek to not only inspire terror but also convey an awe of the cosmos.

It's all well and good, and not as far from black metal tradition as purists might make out - cosmic and space themes have crept into black metal frequently over the years, and Darkspace have made a career out of just that - but the fact that the album isn't the major sonic departure from precedent that purists were afraid it would be is, in and of itself, a bit of a disappointment. Yes, there's sludge and blackgaze influences creeping in here and there, but all too often it slips back to a more generic atmospheric black metal sound, which when you consider the more audacious space trips groups like Darkspace and Progenie Terrestre Pura have each offered in their own distinct way feels like a missed opportunity.

It's still a very solid four-star album, but I feel like Vattnet have yet to truly break free from the atmospheric black metal pack. You only need to listen to one album from those other bands I've mentioned to get a really firm idea of what their sound is; I'm still not sure I know what the Vattnet sound is.

RUNNING WILD Death or Glory

Album · 1989 · Power Metal
Cover art 4.17 | 36 ratings
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By this fifth studio album, Running Wild had left their rough around the edges early speed metal releases in their wake, and had successfully claimed the uncharted power metal realm of Pirate Metal Island for their very own. Having done two studio albums and one live album in this full-on pirate-happy style, it's safe to say that by this point they'd settled into this new direction for the band and committed to it wholeheartedly, and it shows here with the confident set of songs.

Running Wild's pirate schtick seems to strongly divide audiences - some people love it, some people find their take on the subject cheesy, and some landlubbers just don't like pirates; I'm in the second category, but even so I have to acknowledge that this is a rather fun early power metal album which offers an accessible point of entry into Running Wild's particular aesthetic universe.

OBITUARY The End Complete

Album · 1992 · Death Metal
Cover art 4.17 | 17 ratings
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Having hit their brutal stride on Cause of Death, Obituary took a "if it ain't broke, why fix it?" approach to The End Complete, offering up nine more morbid meditations on the lapse into oblivion and putrescence that awaits us all. At 36 minutes it certainly can't be accused of outlasting its welcome, and to be honest this was probably a smart move - otherwise the lack of significant musical development over Cause of Death might have become an issue. As it stands, to a certain extent The End Complete boils down to "Cause of Death, only with Allen West back in the guitar position", and on balance that's all it really needed to be.

NASUM Human 2.0

Album · 2000 · Grindcore
Cover art 4.66 | 8 ratings
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Grindcore often goes with a lo-fi aesthetic that leads some to conclude that it's just a morass of unpolished noise. Any grindcore fan probably has a portfolio of albums they could play you to try and dispel that impression, but one of the best for this purpose might be Nasum's Human 2.0. Nasum smash the notion that grindcore necessarily implies poor production values by presenting a very clean sound, in which the technicality of their compositions can be teased out - particularly on the longer songs - whilst not compromising an inch when it comes to that good old screaming, bellowing grindcore rage.

SAVATAGE Fight For The Rock

Album · 1986 · Traditional heavy metal
Cover art 2.58 | 18 ratings
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Aw no... What happened here?!

Savatage were doing so well after the release of 'Power of the Night', an album that gave them real credibility in the metal community, so how do they follow it up? With a hard rock album!

Granted, there were circumstances in play beyond the band's power that forced 'Fight for the Rock' into being, and in all fairness it's not as terrible as it's often made out to be by fans, but it certainly sticks out like a sore thumb among the groups discography. And my God, that cheesy as hell cover doesn't help matters!

Despite the AOR-inspired compositions, Criss Oliva's trademark riffing is still firmly in place, and brother Jon Oliva's vocals still soar as powerfully as before. But for the most part, the songs just don't have that same spark that previous releases did. The "metal " energy just isn't there. And while some of the songs are still fairly decent, there's just a lot of generic 80's cheese to sift through first.

Let's try to be optimistic for a moment though, and look for the positives. 'Fight for the Rock' itself is a pretty good song, and a rerecorded 'Out on the Streets' is a nice treat, though not really one anyone in particular asked for. 'The Edge of Midnight' is a solid Savatage track, if you can just tolerate its awful keyboard intro, and 'She's Only Rock and Roll' has some vintage Savatage riffing going on. But there's also some complete drivel such as 'Day After Day' and the fact that almost every song has some incredibly God-awful 80's synths going on. Can't win 'em all, I guess.

Thankfully this would remain nothing more than a small blip on Savatage's radar, as they would quickly go on to return to their original metal sound and release some of their finest music. Buy this one if you're a collector, shut up, accept it for what it is, and let's all just get on with our lives.

SAVATAGE Power Of The Night

Album · 1985 · Traditional heavy metal
Cover art 3.21 | 27 ratings
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Savatage's second album, and third overall release, is an improvement upon its predecessors, with every aspect of 'Power of the Night' being a step up from what the band had done before. The songwriting was more confident, the musicianship was more mature, and the production was a lot more polished, giving the album that perfect 80's metal sound (and there's nothing wrong with 80's metal dammit!).

The most obvious highlight here is the title track, which not only stands on its own merits as one of the bands better songs before they went all "classical metal", but honestly, it's one of their finer songs period. And while other tracks such as 'Warriors', 'Hard for Love' and 'Unusual' may be standard 80's metal pomp and circumstance, they're still pretty kickass anthems that indicate the talent and potential within this band.

Guitarist Criss Oliva truly shines here, showing a mastery that should have put him on par with heroes such as Randy Rhoads and Eddie Van Halen, but whom sadly that legendary status had always eluded him. His flair for dramatic guitar playing is truly amazing to listen to, and fans of 80's metal (there's that term again), including subgenres such as power and thrash metal, will enjoy this shred masterclass.

If you're a Savatage fan (cheesily referred to as "Savafans", I believe), then 'Power of the Night' belongs in your collection. It's not the bands best work by far, but it's an early indication of the quality of music they were capable of writing, and would certainly establish them as a band worth keeping an eye on.

"Raise the first of the metal child".

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