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METALMUSICARCHIVES.COM (MMA) intends to be a complete and powerful Metal music resource. You can find Metal artists discographies from 17201 bands & artists, 77906 releases, ratings and reviews from members who also participate in our forum.

metal music reviews (new releases)

ISOMORPHIC Evulsion

EP · 2014 · Death Metal
Cover art 3.00 | 1 rating
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UMUR
"Evulsion" is the debut release by US, California based death metal act Isomorphic. It´s a 4 track, 13:22 minutes long EP, which was independently released in digital format in June 2014. Initially for free download, but the band plan to release a commercial version, when they have a more complete artwork in place.

The music on the EP, is technical death metal, featuring skillfully played drumming, ultra fast riffing and fretboard runs, an occasional neo-classical shred part, a very busy and loud in the mix bass, and the brutal and almost completely unintelligible growling vocals by Brent in front (and occasional higher pitched screaming vocals). He is also responsible for the production of the EP...

...and the sound production needs a mention, as it´s a bit more under produced and unpolished than most releases in the technical death metal genre, but I´m pretty sure it´s not something the band have chosen to do on purpose. This is just how it turned out, and while it´s certainly on an acceptable level, music like this could have prospered from a more clear sounding production.

The material on the album is relatively well written. The band sure have both great technical playing skills and also decent compositional skills, but they bring very little original to the table. In fact the music on this EP could have been by almost any of the thousands of more or less anonymous technical death metal acts out there and one can only hope that with time, they´ll be able to create a more personal style, because quite frankly I don´t see them going far with this, unless they focus more on creating an original sound instead of just playing technically complex death metal by the book like so many others do. A 3 star (60%) rating is fair.

ORANGE GOBLIN Back from the Abyss

Album · 2014 · Doom Metal
Cover art 3.75 | 2 ratings
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UMUR
"Back from the Abyss" is the 8th full-length studio album by UK heavy/stoner metal act Orange Goblin. The album was released through Candlelight Records in October 2014. It´s been a couple of years since the release of "A Eulogy for the Damned (2012)", but the lineup who recorded that album is still intact and ready to bring some new music to their fans.

Stylistically there aren´t that many surprises on "Back from the Abyss", if you´re familiar with the band´s back catalogue and especially not if you´re familiar with it´s direct predecessor, which features a pretty similar sound and production. We´re treated to a stoner/traditional heavy metal hybrid that mostly draws heavily on a Black Sabbath influence, but I also hear the occasional nod towards Motörhead and Thin Lizzy, just to mention a couple of the influences that come to mind, while listening to the album.

The band are as always well playing, with heavy stoner/doomy riffs, organic drumming, and Ben Ward´s raw vocals in front. Just as the case was on the predecessor, the professional, clear and powerful sound production is almost too "nice" and polished for the band´s music, and while there´s as such nothing wrong with the production, I still think I would have prefered a more gritty and organic sound production.

The material are generally well written and relatively catchy, but I wouldn´t say many tracks stand out, and it doesn´t take more than a couple of tracks, before it´s clear what it is the band are aiming for, which is not always a bad thing, but here it would have been nice with something new. So as I wrote above, there are very few surprises during the 54:10 minutes long playing time.

Hopefully that doesn´t sound too negative, because overall "Back from the Abyss" is another strong release by Orange Goblin. They´ve maintained a relatively high quality level throughout their career, and "Back from the Abyss" is not the album which ruins that statistic. It´s not exactly their best either, but a 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

DRAGON NATION Dragon Nation

Album · 2014 · Power Metal
Cover art 5.00 | 1 rating
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tshiko
this is the best album , for long time, the drum is exiting the vocal is awsome and powerfull, the guitar incredable fast and acurate, the guitar tone in awsome, and the song are awsome to,,,,i like the picture of the dragon,,,the 10 song are excellent, those guy are from Canada, this a pure neoclassical scale songs, phragian maniac open your ear, the solo are fast, the guitar riff exiting,, the singner is from major league , beleve me, hight a low pitch,, some time opera voices are use,the drumer are very versatile, double bass drum and technical beat are use here,,,,,, this is an album you need to buy...

MANES Be All End All

Album · 2014 · Metal Related
Cover art 3.50 | 2 ratings
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UMUR
"Be All End All" is the 4th full-length studio album by Norwegian experimental rock act Manes. The album was released through Debemur Morti Productions in October 2014. It´s been quite a few years since the release of "How the World Came to an End (2007)", but there have been signs of life in the intermediate years in the form of the "Solve et Coagula (2009)" and the "Teeth, Toes and Other Trinkets (2014)" compilation albums. Tor-Helge Skei, who is the mainman behind Manes, has been quite busy though as he released albums with both his depressive black metal project Manii in 2013, and with his experimental dark rock project Lethe in 2014. The "Vntrve" EP, which was released in August 2014 and features "A Deathpact Most Imminent" and "Broken Fire" (in an alternate version), which are both tracks that are also featured on "Be All End All", was however the first sign that a new full-length studio album by Manes was on it´s way.

The two tracks on the "Vntrve" EP more or less represent the sound on "Be All End All". Stylistically the music is a dark, electronic oriented type of rock, that at times is similar sounding to some of Ulver´s post black metal-era releases. There weren´t many metal elements left on "How the World Came to an End (2007)", and that tendency continues on "Be All End All", which features very few heavy moments with distorted guitars. It´s to great effect when the metallic tinged guitars appear though, as the rest of the music is predominantly more subdued and melancholic in sound. Besides the few more rock/metal oriented moments on the album (which are indeed very few), the music is mostly atmospheric and pretty laid back experimental rock with a slight avant garde edge (featuring apocalyptic themes, alien sci-fi atmospheres, keyboards, and electronic effects in addition to regular rock instrumentation of guitars, bass, drums, and vocals).

The material are generally well composed and it´s overall a pleasant melancholic sounding album with some clever compositional depth. The sound production is detailed and professional sounding, and "Be All End All" is on most parameters a quality release by Manes. I wouldn´t call it groundbreaking and sometimes the similarities to Ulver´s music is a bit too apparent, but a 3.5 star (70%) is still well deserved.

ELECTRIC WIZARD Time to Die

Album · 2014 · Doom Metal
Cover art 3.57 | 3 ratings
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UMUR
"Time to Die" is the 8th full-length studio album by UK doom/stoner metal act Electric Wizard. The album was released through Spinefarm Records in September 2014. It´s been four years since the release of "Black Masses (2010)", and quite a few lineup changes have happened in that period. Bassist Tas was initially replaced by Glenn Charman, but he was replaced by Clayton Burgess before the recording of "Time to Die". Drummer Shaun Rutter has been replaced by original drummer Mark Greening, who has recorded the drum tracks on "Time to Die". His tenure would be relatively brief though (2012-2014), and he has since been replaced by Simon Poole. The usual suspects at this point are bandleader/frontman/guitarist Jus Oborn and guitarist Liz Buckingham.

Since Electric Wizard has always been led by Jus Oborn, the lineup changes really aren´t that noticable once you get going with the album, because this is unmistakably the sound of Electric Wizard. Fuzzy heavy distorted guitar riffs, psychadelic oriented parts, spoken word samples, repetition to build bleak and eerie atmospheres, ultra heavy distorted bass, hard rocking doomy beats, and Jus Oborn´s effect laden aggressive vocals in front. His snarling angry delivery sometimes reminds me more of punk singing on half speed than a doom/stoner metal ditto. In other words he´s got attitude.

The material on the 9 track, 65:26 minutes long album, is of a relativey high standard throughout, but you´ll find little here that´ll surprise you if you´re already familiar with the band´s back catalogue. The most repetitive parts, can be a bit too much, and some of the psychadelic elements aren´t necessarily the band´s biggest strength either. The occasional addition of organ is pretty great for the dark atmosphere though, and it it generally in the more dark and bleak parts of the album that Electric Wizard shine the brightest. They are just so incredibly good at sounding mean and evil, that it´s almost a shame when they turn some of their tracks into more psychadelic tinged stoner/doom metal.

It´s good for the variation of the album though, and "Time to Die" is overall an entertaining album with a good flow. The musicianship are as always strong, and the sound production is organic, raw and powerful, although the drums could have packed a bit more punch. The guitars and the bass are superbly produced though. They are placed perfect in the mix, and you can hear every note that´s being played. So upon conclusion "Time to Die" is another high quality release by Electric Wizard. The only issue here is the lack of development of the band´s sound. In that respect "Time to Die" sounds like a very safe album and I could have wished that Electric Wizard had spend some of the 4 years between "Black Masses (2010)" and "Time to Die" trying out a couple of new tricks. Still a 3.5 star (70%) rating is fully deserved and it´s maybe even slightly too low.

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metal music reviews (older releases)

ENSLAVED Vikingligr Veldi

Album · 1994 · Black Metal
Cover art 3.94 | 21 ratings
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siLLy puPPy
ENSLAVED set themselves apart from the rest of the black metal pack right from the getgo and continued to do so with their debut full-length release VIKINGLIGR VELDI. As the title suggests this is Viking metal in lyrical content while existing in the black metal realm musically. The lyrics are mostly in Icelandic (very closely related to Old Norse) and the lyrics of “Heimdalir” are actually in ancient Norwegian, however this IS black metal and even if you speak the languages I would be surprised if you could discern any intelligible meaning from the shrieks and grunts and tortured utterings if you spent the rest of your life trying to do so.

As with their EP “Hordanes Land” the album kicks off with a catchy little keyboard riff that remains the backbone of a massive fury of black metal madness. Although this debut is not totally in the progressive black metal realms that would fully unfold on “Monumension” it is clear by the track times here that the band were carving out a path where they could follow allowing them to unfold their ideas into a more progressive atmosphere. The first track clocks in at 11:31 and despite the band's progressive desires failing to fully measure up to the potential of the time-lengths, there is something of a satisfying result in that despite the ideas becoming repetitive, the keyboards are somewhat hypnotic and lull you into the groove which I find is good enough to keep me entertained. After becoming fully engrossed in it after a while, they suddenly change it up a bit and take you for another hypnotic spin. There are changes but they are subtle despite the aggressive fury occupying every measure and note.

With only five tracks that add up to almost 51 minutes of music, it is clear that ENSLAVED were interested in more sophisticated music than many of the second wave black metal artists. There is however much in common with those acts. The keyboard tracks remind me a lot of Emperor (in fact Tym Torson who plays drums here was in both bands), while the most aggressive ones of Darkthrone. Their sound, although somewhat unique, still sounds very much rooted in the black metal of the early 90s. It would take a few albums for them to really blossom into the totally unique act that they would become. I actually didn't like this album a whole lot upon first listen but after many listens it grew on me and it allowed me to pick up on the subtleties that don't really slap you in the face at first. The music satisfies all those primeval black metal needs but also has a bit more to it. I have grown to like this album more than I thought I ever would and there is a true feel of potential present here even though it hasn't been fully unleashed at this point.

GOREMENT Obsequies...

Single · 1992 · Death Metal
Cover art 3.00 | 1 rating
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UMUR
"Obsequies" is 7" vinyl single release by Swedish death metal act Gorement. It was released through Afterworld Records in 1992. The four tracks on the single are remixed versions of the tracks from the 1991 "Obsequies" demo. The 7" single was limited to 1000 copies on pink vinyl. The four tracks from the 12:10 minutes long single are (in their remixed form) also featured on the two compilation albums "Darkness of the Dead (2004)" and "Within the Shadow of Darkness - The Complete Recordings (2012)".

The music on the single is raw and brutal old school Swedish death metal. The music is well played and the growling is brutal and delivered in a convincing fashion. Compared to the "Human Relic (1991)" demo the sound production is slightly more murky and raw, but it´s not a minus. Actually it´s only a plus and the atmosphere is that much darker because of it. While the tracks on the single are remixed the difference in sound quality between the original demo and the single is marginal. The music style hasn´t changed much but then again there´s only 7 months between the "Human Relic (1991)" demo and the "Obsequies" demo. 1000 copies on pink 7" vinyl! Now that´s what I call a collector´s item. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

GOREMENT Obsequies

Demo · 1991 · Death Metal
Cover art 3.00 | 1 rating
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UMUR
"Obsequies" is the 2nd demo release by Swedish death metal act Gorement. It was self-released in November 1991. A remix of the tracks from the demo was used for the 7" vinyl single released in 1992 through Afterworld Records. A single that was limited to 1000 copies on pink vinyl. The four tracks from the 12:10 minutes long demo are (in their remixed form) also featured on the two compilation albums "Darkness of the Dead (2004)" and "Within the Shadow of Darkness - The Complete Recordings (2012)".

The music on the demo is raw and brutal old school Swedish death metal. Compared to the "Human Relic (1991)" demo the sound production is slightly more murky and raw, but it´s not a minus. Actually it´s only a plus and the atmosphere is that much darker because of it. The music style hasn´t changed much but then again there´s only 7 months between the two demos.

The quality of the material is high and the delivery is convincing. The music style is still much more raw and brutal than the case is on the debut full-length studio album "The Ending Quest (1994)", but still catchy and memorable. A 3 star (60%) rating is deserved.

PISSING RAZORS Pissing Razors

Album · 1998 · Thrash Metal
Cover art 3.02 | 2 ratings
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siLLy puPPy
PISSING RAZORS is a band that, surprise, surprise, caught my attention because of their ridiculous band name which derives from that lovely feeling of urinating while suffering from a venereal disease! After independently releasing “Psycho Punko Metal Groove” they attracted enough attention to sign on to Noise Records where they put out this eponymous release. The band comes from El Paso, TX and is one of the many thrashy groove metal bands to emerge in the 90s. The music is very much of the early Marchine Head or 90s Pantera style but it lacks the original compositions and clever guitar solos. The vocals of Joe Rodriguez, while getting the job done, don't quite evoke the same passion as Phil Anselmo did in 90s Pantera.

While the band does muster up some original ideas here and there I just can't help but feeling throughout the album that they are trying to be Pantera only failing to measure up in pretty much every way. The music is played well with the groovy bass and guitar dynamics being the strongest aspect but the lack of compelling songwriting is really what makes this a somewhat generic release for me. Listening to this album isn't at all as bad as PISSING RAZORS, but neither does it give the sensation of PISSING perfumed fluffy bunnies either. Just decent enough not to flush down the urinal though.

PORCUPINE TREE Lightbulb Sun

Album · 2000 · Metal Related
Cover art 3.62 | 12 ratings
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aglasshouse
It's quite easy for anyone to say that PORCUPINE TREE's 2000 progressive rock album is not as good as say masterpieces like In Absentia or Fear of a Blank Planet. Although I think that they are drastically different in terms of sound, that does not mean that they're better or worse than eachother. In fact, I think all three of said albums are fantastic for what they are, though perhaps I find myself liking this release more.

I've said it a million times and I'll say it again. Progressive metal is not my thing. I enjoy only a handful of bands with said sound, such as VOIVOD, but sadly PORCUPINE TREE (although being my friends' favorite band of all time) is not a band that I like very much. Don't get me wrong, their sound is excellent for what it is. But I never got into albums like Fear of a Blank Planet, although I did find myself enjoying Deadwing (probably because it was more alternative-oriented). However, Lightbulb Sun is perhaps my favorite release by the band.

Perhaps this album is stuck in limbo of progressive rock and alternative rock, but I find myself thinking more along the lines or progressive. This did after all precede the release of Stupid Dream, an experimental concept album released a year earlier, so they wouldn't be going back to metal for a time.

The album starts off with the interesting title track, 'Lightbulb Sun', which combines elements of acoustic and metal, perhaps more of the former overall. The song is probably my top highlight of the album. 'How's Your Life Today?' bridges 'Lightbulb Sun' and 'Four Chords that Made a Million' with a short but sweet piano piece. It's quite nice upon listening, not to mention relaxing. 'Four Chords' actually brings a Signify-type sound back into the picture, with lyrics speaking of the problems that recording companies put on bands like them. 'Last Chance to Evacuate...' is probably the most mediocre, sort of like an experiment in mocking PINK FLOYDs sound. It does not fit in well by any means. Same sort of goes for 'Where We Would Be', although I must concede that the PINK FLOYD influenced sound is not on that song. 'Russia on Ice' and 'Hatesong' is where the metal first comes back into entirety. 'Russia on Ice' is more dominated by slow acoustics, with the ending quarter of the epic being devoted to more metal (Same goes for 'Hatesong'). 'Feel So Low' is an extremely slow and relaxing closer, with no remnants of metal and keeps the sound of a soft love song throughout. Although the lyrics may seem a little cliche (a typical love song), it is extremely beautiful and just great to listen to.

I would totally recommend this to anyone seeking great progressive rock work by this band. Prog-fans seem to love it, and I sure do as well.

Go give it a listen.

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