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AGVIRRE Silence

EP · 2020 · Atmospheric Black Metal
Cover art 3.50 | 1 rating
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UMUR
"Silence" is an EP release by UK, Manchester based post-black metal act Agvirre. The EP was released in January 2020 on CD through Trepanation Recordings and on cassette tape through Surviving Sounds. It´s the band´s first (longer) release and they have chosen to write about living with mental illness, and they interviewed people struggling with mental illness for inspiration, and have used voice samples (I assume with permission) from some of the interviews on this release.

"Silence" consists of three tracks and a total playing time of 26:29. "Radio Silence (Fill In the ______)" is a shorter intro track, while both "Muzzle & Mask" and "Abandonment" clock in at around 12 minutes. Stylistically the material is melancholic/depressive and atmospheric black metal. Agvirre play both fast and mid-paced and in addition to guitars, bass, drums, and vocals, the music features omnipresent use of violin and keyboards, which provide the music with an occasional symphonic edge. Symphonic in this case should not be understood as if this is symphonic black metal like Dimmu Borgir or anything like that though, just that there are epic moments and classical music influences featured on the EP. The vocals are predominantly desperate shouting/screaming, and a little one-dimensional in nature, and it´s nice to hear the clean vocal sections which closes "Abandonment" , because it´s not only well performed, it also provides the vocal part of the music with some needed variation (a little bit of shoegaze influence is heard there).

"Radio Silence (Fill In the ______)" is an eerie "white" noise track with voice samples, which creates the right opening to the mood of the two longer tracks which follow. "Muzzle & Mask" is to my ears the most interesting composition on this release, and "Abandonment" struggles a little more in terms of featuring an equal number of interesting compositional ideas. It´s still a great track, but I prefer the style and quality of "Muzzle & Mask".

"Silence" was mostly recorded at home by the involved musicians, but they have still managed to make the EP a well produced release (with the help of producer Chris Taylor). So upon conclusion "Silence" is a promising first release by Agvirre. It´s a very creative release and it´s obvious the band have poured a lot of time and heart into the making of it. I could maybe have wished for the tracks to have been a little shorter and more concise, and thereby ultimately also more effective, but it´s details and overall "Silence" is a quality release and a 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

HÄG HÄG

Album · 2020 · Doom Metal
Cover art 5.00 | 1 rating
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voila_la_scorie
Sometimes you just gotta have an album because it sounds so great. And sometimes you gotta have it because it already has you!

HÄG are a very new band from St. John’s, Newfoundland whose self-titled debut album, released barely two months ago, sounds more like a mature band playing at their zenith. From the first track, a classic Sabbath-esque doom metal riff crushes the speakers, and Clair Hipditch’s vocals arrest your ears. It’s easy right now to draw comparisons to Blood Ceremony. But don’t be so quick. Aside from the fact that HÄG doesn’t include any flute, there is plenty that separates these heavy rockers from The Rock from their celebrated compatriots in Ontario. Listen on!

First off, HÄG’s sound is modern. Blood Ceremony strive for a retro sound, not just style. HÄG are quite comfortable sounding like a classic doom band with modern gear. That is clear in track 1, “Summon the Earth to Lay Claim Back to the Soil”. There are also hints of progressive tinkering. If you love classic doom metal, this song alone should sell you on the album! But don’t be so quick! There’s more!

From Clair’s opening utterances of “Your Skin”, you’ll see HÄG show what direction the band is taking. If you’re familiar with the Swedish prog band White Willow, particularly their darker albums like “Sacrament”, “Storm Season”, and “Terminal Twilight” (my personal favourite!), you’ll understand that HÄG are not going to teach you about Wicca and Salem but rather haunt your mind with the paranormal and horror. Listen to the seemingly romantic lyrics: “Your hands on my hands / Your lips on my lips / Your face on my face / Your skin on my skin”. Now imagine that this is not a lovers’ moment behind closed curtains but: “I had a dream last night / I wore your skin like it was mine”. If they make a video for this it should be positively creepy! I love the heavy, unsettling mood in the music. There’s some clever use of synthesizer in one part to add to the psychological horror atmosphere and a terrific sparse moment with Clair’s vocals distant and calling from that doorway between reality and the Other World, before all thunder breaks out for the dramatic finale. A masterful piece of work!!

One thing that’s such a pleasure about this album is Clair Hipditch’s vocals. The closest comparison I can think of is Sylvia Skjellestad of White Willow. They both have an incredible talent for affecting mood and emotion in their voices. Clair can as easily sound as a woman who is a victim of her own desirous heart and an enchantress luring you with her voice and seductive power to the Dark Halls of Doom. If the young woman outside the Hotel California could sing to draw in weary travelers, she’d sound like Clair.

Track four, “Slow Ghosts” is a big surprise and I think a pleasant diversion from the haunt and doom of the album thus far. You’ll still get crushing chords and that feeling of sweet, alluring despair in the chorus, but the rest of the song is clean and atmospheric. You’re not likely to have ever heard of the band Pugs & Crows - an instrumental jazz fusion group from Vancouver - but the non-heavy parts remind me of their last album “Uncle!” which featured the exquisite vocals of Marin Patenaude. Again, great work on the vocal delivery by Clair!

“At the End of the Ambush” brings back the tense, heavy doom atmosphere. There’s a simple early-Floydian guitar solo backed with organ, and then a real lead guitar solo. Which makes me realize that, hey, there aren’t a lot of lead breaks on this album! I was so enthralled by the vocals and music that I didn’t miss the solos!

Next there’s “House Sparrow” which was released as a single. “I watched it die / I watched it die / Mother said I would be affected”. This song is a prime example of HÄG’s ability to marry the haunting with the crushing.

The final two tracks, “Ruins” and “The Grim Sleepers” may once again remind you of Blood Ceremony but darker (“Ruins”) and White Willow but heavier (“The Grim Sleepers”), but again HÄG prove to have already created a sound that is HÄG.

Eight tracks. And if at anytime you think that one track is not as thrilling as the previous ones, there will be a change that catches you off guard and immediately you rethink your assessment. An awesome riff appears when you don’t expect it; a touch of psychedelia slips in; the drums go off on a tension-building roll, a guitar solo, cool guitar sound, or another sweet touch of something colours the mood.

I’m a CD kind of guy. I don’t buy downloads. I will scour the Net for a hard copy before giving in the the empty handedness of downloads. But I simply had to buy the download of HÄG’s debut. There was no CD (though there is vinyl!). But I had to have it because after listening to the first five tracks on Bandcamp, the HÄG already had me...!

STYGIAN CROWN Stygian Crown

Album · 2020 · Doom Metal
Cover art 4.00 | 1 rating
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Nightfly
Unless they’ve somehow passed me by, great doom metal albums have been a bit thin on the ground lately, perhaps down to all this covid-19 shit. When it’s done right, no better example than the first Avatarium album, doom is as good as any sub-genre of metal you’d care to name but for every great one I could list probably tenfold tedious generic doom by numbers releases by bands who think all that’s required is a slow tempo overlaid by some low tuned sub-standard Sabbath inspired riffing.

It really goes to show how important it is what you listen to your music on as prior to buying a vinyl copy of Stygian Crown’s eponymous debut I’d given it a few listens on Spotify through headphones on the PC. Okay I thought but nothing special, but I was hearing enough that kept me going to back to it and eventually decided to buy it. Once I stuck it on the record deck the monolithic sound of the production really opened it up. Stygian Crown aren’t exactly what you’d call original but they clearly understand what makes a great doom album. The drums and bass are absolutely crushing as are the guitar riffs – a mixture of fuzzy and cleaner tones with some death metal touches thrown in, no doubt down to the fact that three band members also belong to Californian death/black/ thrash metal band Gravehill. The eight compositions, only seven on my vinyl version with When Old Gods Die missing, barring the short The Hall Of Two Truths intro are all of a decent length with nothing under six minutes. Devour The Dead kicks things of proper with a fairly typical slow tempo but soon moves up a gear where the guitars become even heavier. Throughout the album the band use plenty of tempo changes including the occasional faster double kick drum section which keep things from becoming stale. With a weaker vocalist this could have still been a strong album but in Melissa Pinion they have a powerhouse performer. She may not have a massive range but her deep, low and expressive register suits this stuff perfectly. Strong songs are what matters most though and fortunately this album has plenty of them.

I’m trying to be more selective with my music purchases these days, not always successfully, but I’m glad I took the plunge and got this one as it’s turned out to be the best doom album I’ve heard this year so far. If you’re into doom, give it a go, you’ll hopefully love it.

HAIL SPIRIT NOIR Eden in Reverse

Album · 2020 · Progressive Metal
Cover art 5.00 | 5 ratings
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adg211288
After three well received albums mixing black metal with retro psychedelic rock, Greek trio Hail Spirit Noir has entered into a period of change. The most noticeable of these before you hear even a note of their fourth album Eden in Reverse (2020) is that the band line-up has been expanded greatly, with seven musicians now credited as full band members. The changes are not just in extension. Primary vocalist Theoharis has given up that role to regular collaborator Dimitris Dimitrakopoulos and newcomer Cons Marg. Although the former has always been with Hail Spirit Noir providing clean vocals to Theoharis' growls Eden in Reverse marks the first release where he is credited as a full band member. Cons Marg also sings cleanly, which is a good indicator that Eden in Reverse is taking the band in a new path. Vocals are not the only thing the band has doubled up on with this release with synth duties now shared between long time member Haris and newcomer Sakis Bandis. For the first time the band also has a drummer in the main line-up with the addition of Foivos Chatzis. The album features an additional guest vocal appearance by Lars 'Lazare' Nedland of Borknagar, who joins the band for the track Crossroads.

Hail Spirit Noir has since 2012 and their debut album Pneuma been one of the more unique acts on the black metal scene. There have been other bands that get described as psychedelic black metal but no one else ever really captured the fusion like that did, not even Oranssi Pazuzu. Hail Spirit Noir delivered three excellent albums in this style, most recently being Mayhem in Blue (2016), which for my money was their best one yet. It was the one that it was going to be really difficult for them to top. So in that respect it makes a lot of sense for them not to mark sure that too much of a good thing didn't become flogging a dead horse and reinvent themselves. Eden in Reverse in the result of this attempt.

Reinventing yourself as a band must be a tricky business. On the one hand change is the point, but you also surely don't want to alienate too much of your fan base in the process. My personal belief is that most music fans are open to change, when done for the right reasons (meaning anything but selling out), but generally we want a new work to still be recognisable as the same artist, especially when that artist is a rather unique and special one like Hail Spirit Noir.

So here we have Eden in a Reverse, a record which features absolutely none of the black metal sound of Hail Spirit Noir's first three albums. How much does this still seem like the same band then? Actually, pretty damn well, because as far as black metal bands go, Hail Spirit Noir was never afraid to use lots of clean vocals and use lighter sections of music that drew on retro progressive rock and psychedelic rock. And although the black metal and the growling vocals with it are now gone, this other side of Hail Spirit Noir remains intact, still integrated with metal, and has been dialled up to the max. The psychedelic element is also notable for sounding a lot more spacey than on previous records. The term 'retro-futuristic' has been used by the band to describe the new sound and that's pretty accurate I think.

The album is very synth driven and that's to be expected with two guys going at them in the band now. The guitars are still pretty metal when they get going, but Hail Spirit Noir has never been a pure metal band even when they were black metal orientated, so variations in more from metal to rock should be expected by listeners. The main thing that's really changed is that they are now perhaps better described as psychedelic progressive metal opposed to psychedelic black metal. One might even call this a legitimate attempt at the creation of a space metal genre. At least it certainly manages to conjure up vibes of future space exploration (albeit space exploration as it may have been envisioned in the 1980s) with both it's sound and sound titles, which include Alien Lip Reading, The First Ape on New Earth and Automata 1980. I dare say that with Eden in Reverse Hail Spirit Noir have gone from performing one unique take on metal straight into another one. I cannot honestly say I have ever heard another album that sounds quite like this.

But is it any good? Well, it might actually be the band's best album yet and that's not a claim I want to make lightly, because I bloody love their prior work, especially Mayhem in Blue and Pneuma is really not far behind. But this one has knocked me for six and that's just from hearing a single song, that being The First Ape on New Earth, the first released track from the album. Let me assure you, it didn't take long to get over the surprise that they'd dropped the black metal! It's been a while since a song really infected me like that one did so that I was helpless but to keep playing it while waiting for the whole album to be released. Then they also released Crossroads ahead of the full release and then that did the same thing. Perhaps a little more of a grower than The First Ape on New Earth, something that's true of a lot of the songs here, but it doesn't take many listens for the album to have really opened up. Then it's repeat plays of the whole thing on the menu. Any expectations of being served up more black metal get quickly forgotten.

I was already confident in my belief that Hail Spirit Noir was one of the most important black metal bands of the 2010s. Now with Eden in Reverse they're one of the most important progressive metal bands for the 2020s. If people are ignoring this album, then they do so at their own loss, because here we have a special band who in some ways might be accused of wearing certain influences on their sleeves, yet makes everything they do their own, finding a balance between respectful homage to the old school and the expectations of the modern era they exist in. The result is a record that is uniquely the sound of Hail Spirit Noir. The extreme side of the band may have been laid to rest, yet the album still manages to feel like a logical progression from what came before, leaving no doubt in my mind that we can answer the earlier question in the affirmative: Eden in Reverse most certainly still feels like the same band. A evolved band, but with the same soul. And I for one will be using the album as the benchmark for others in beat in 2020.

PARADISE LOST Obsidian

Album · 2020 · Gothic Metal
Cover art 4.72 | 9 ratings
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adg211288
The UK's Paradise Lost is a band that is no stranger to change. One might argue they've made their career on it. They went from humble death-doom metal beginnings to gothic metal superstars across their first five albums. Next they descended into gothic rock and electronic territory for One Second (1997) and Host (1999) respectively. Even when metalling it up again with Believe in Nothing (2001), they were now influenced by genres like alternative metal and industrial metal. Then Paradise Lost started to come full circle, shedding these elements by the time of In Requiem (2007), which saw them back in the frame of doomy gothic metal. Then the doom metal started coming to the fore all the more. Then back came the growling vocals of their early days for the first time in years for The Plague Within (2015) and then finally with Medusa (2017), Paradise Lost released their first death-doom metal album since 1991's Gothic. So what could Obsidian (2020), their sixteenth studio album, possibly be?

The answer is an album that could easily be described as a summary of everything that has made Paradise Lost the special band that they are. The most gothic metal they've been since Tragic Idol (2012), yet Obsidian doesn't again retire Nick Holmes' growling vocals with it, instead leaving us with something that may be what classic albums like Icon (1993) and fan favourite Draconian Times (1995) might have sounded like if Nick had never stopped growling in the first place. That alone makes Obsidian another rather unique entry in the Paradise Lost discography. There are certainly also some nods to their more gothic rock based material.

While it's true that some may be disappointed that the return to death-doom metal has already been largely moved on from – the most Medusa-like track featured here is the closing Ravenghast and fans of that album are recommended to get a version of the album with the bonus tracks for more similar material – I find myself impressed by the ability of Paradise Lost to not make direct copies of their previous album's sound very often. Even when two consecutive albums like Icon and Draconian Times are similar in style, it's always just the two albums before the band is changing things up with their influences again and there's very few artists that's true of. And with Obsidian they prove they can still surprise – a band that thirty years on from their debut, remains just as relevant and never derivative of themselves.

The song selection is also strong, not that this is an area that Paradise Lost usually has any trouble with. They've long proven their knack for making the individual track standout from the rest of the album. And once again, they've managed to make a release I know I'll be listening to many times over and will go down as a favourite for 2020.

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BLIND GUARDIAN Follow the Blind

Album · 1989 · Speed Metal
Cover art 3.33 | 42 ratings
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adg211288
Germany's Blind Guardian are undisputedly my favourite band. This is mostly because of what I think of as their holy trinity: Tales From the Twilight World (1990), Somewhere Far Beyond (1992) and Imaginations From the Other Side (1995). As far as I'm concerned if anyone claims that a stronger consecutive run of power metal albums (or even metal albums in general) exists then they must have been smoking something potent and highly illegal which left their brain addled beyond repair. But today we aren't here to talk about those albums. Before those came along, we had the original incarnation of Blind Guardian who played speed metal. Follow the Blind (1989) is the second and final album of this sound before they transitioned to power metal and history was made.

It had only been a little over a year since the release of Battalions of Fear (1988), but it's clear on Follow the Blind that Blind Guardian has become a much more polished and professional sounding unit in that time. This may be due at least in part to the band attracting Kai Hansen (Helloween) to guest on the album (and the two that follow it) and I'm sure the soon to be power metal band must have learned some tricks under the wing of one of the guys responsible for creating the genre they went on to play.

The debut Blind Guardian album of course has that special first album charm, that for me at least has always brought me to like it a little more than Follow the Blind. But this isn't an album that should be sold short or overlooked, despite it's quirk of closing with a cover of Barbara Ann originally by The Regents, which admittedly feels completely out of place. I actually stopped the album after the much more logical cover of Demon's Don't Break the Circle for many years and it was only later that I found an appreciate for Barbara Ann and started playing the album in its entirety. In hindsight it seems a rather ballsy thing for a band only on their second album to go ahead and do.

The original tracks on Follow the Blind are where it shines of course. Of particular note is Valhalla where we get guest vocals from Kai Hansen. I remember that as among the first Blind Guardian songs I heard and really loved. It had such a classic sound that screamed at me that this was what metal sound be all about. It remains a favourite Blind Guardian track to this day, with other highlights from the album being Banish from Sanctuary and Damned For All Time. The band's speed metal sound on this album is probably the closest they ever came to having some actual thrash metal material. If they'd been American, that's probably the direction they'd have taken next. Luckily they were German and speed metal over there meant proto-power metal rather than proto-thrash and so a legend was born.

While it's not quite top tier for Blind Guardian, Follow the Blind is an album I absolutely love. Even after listening to the band for over a decade, I'm still blown away by them and hold them up as the standard of what metal should be like.

CANDLEMASS Nightfall

Album · 1987 · Traditional Doom Metal
Cover art 4.32 | 47 ratings
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SilentScream213
Candlemass enter one of their most celebrated lineups here with the addition of Messiah and record the great Nightfall. By 1987, Candlemass was pretty much indisputably the best Doom band around, especially solidifying the fact after dropping a follow up album just as amazing as their debut (both of which remain their finest works in most people’s opinion).

They continue the same style as their debut, adding an epic and even uplifting sound to the slow and simple Doom genre, rife with religious symbolism as well as occult fantasy. Messiah and leif grab all the attention here, as Leif wrote most if not all of the music, including many of Trad Doom’s most memorable riffs, and Messiah puts on a vocal performance that would sound at home in an opera show. The act works well for the epic Doom rockers, and many of the songs tell small tales that effectively play off this aesthetic.

Unfortunately, while the debut was strictly 6 great songs, this album has a bit of filler found in mostly pointless interludes between songs. At the Gallows’ End and Samarithan are two of the greatest songs the band ever wrote, but the filler puts this album just below the debut in my opinion.

CELTIC FROST Into the Pandemonium

Album · 1987 · Avant-garde Metal
Cover art 3.90 | 34 ratings
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SilentScream213
Celtic Frost were always a strange band as far as Metal went back in the day, but with Into the Pandemonium, they crafted the first album bizarre and eclectic enough to comfortably sit in the Avant-Garde Metal territory still 30 years after it’s creation. There are a couple songs on here with the same Blackened metal approach as Into Megatherion, but I personally wouldn’t call anything on here straight Thrash. There are also multiple interlude pieces, one of which being a sample driven drumbeat, scattered female vocals and symphonic elements, doomy gothic elements, and even poppy hooks, at least half of which are still growled.

Band leader Tom Warrior adopts a new style of singing here, something reminiscent of a whining, moaning cry. It’s very hammy but also sorrowful and pained, so YMMV on whether it’s good or not that this vocal style had a big impact on Gothic and Doom metal in the coming decade. The variety and filler make this indisputably weaker than the debut album, but it is still a unique treasure with a lot to offer.

VENOM Calm Before the Storm

Album · 1987 · Heavy Metal
Cover art 2.66 | 12 ratings
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SilentScream213
There is a certain level of songwriting ability and production quality that Venom never had that prevent their albums from being true masterpieces, and put a real threshold on all their material. Despite that - and despite the very low ratings for this album - I find this their best, most consistent release.

I can understand the low votes, as Venom basically threw away their cult icon status to release much more commercially viable material, but anyone not concerned with status should be able to see this album has some very strong riffs and their best musicianship to date. They also added in some catchy vocal melodies for good measure. All the songs bar "Muscle" are great, sound unique (something Venom has never done) and offer a different side of the band that I think they excel at. There's nothing technical or groundbreaking here, but it's a great joy to listen to front to back, something I can't say even about Venom's great early material.

TESTAMENT The Legacy

Album · 1987 · Thrash Metal
Cover art 4.21 | 55 ratings
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SilentScream213
Take run of the mill 80’s Thrash and then take away pretty much any weaknesses you could find in the genre. That’s really Testament’s debut, which added absolutely nothing new to the realm of Thrash, but did everything just about as well as anyone could have. Crunchy riffs, wild solos, and a precise, speedy rhythm section played some of the tightest standard Thrash put to record. Every single song is top quality.

The most interesting factor about this album is actually Chuck’s vocals, which have surprising versatility especially for a Thrash vocalist. He can yell with the best, but he can also shift his pitch quite a bit, and carry melodies when he has to, and even throws in a couple death growls for good measure. The production is also as good as 80’s metal got, which is especially surprising for a debut. They didn’t invent anything new here, but at step one they had already mastered the craft.

KING DIAMOND Abigail

Album · 1987 · Heavy Metal
Cover art 4.34 | 54 ratings
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SilentScream213
King Diamond – the band named after the man – are a group which will always be synonymous with the leader’s very unique vocal style of high pitched falsetto singing. This will either be a factor of great enjoyment, or something one will have to learn to tolerate. I unfortunately am in the later category; King Diamond’s vocal style is not something I enjoy, but he definitely brings intense talent to the band in terms of songwriting, and his deeper vocals are actually quite good.

That there is the only “weakness” with this album, which most consider the band’s magnum opus. I will not spend too much time applauding the musicianship, despite it all being fantastic. Every instrument is audible, technical, and serve the songs individually and as a group; the sound is classic Mercyful Fate/King Diamond stuff, with a bit more melody, emotion, and progressive elements. That alone would be enough to solidify its place in the best of metal, but there’s much more to this album.

One of if not the first full metal concept albums that follows a concise story, Abigail is not only an instrumental masterpiece, but a literary one as well. The story is engaging and fits the music perfectly. As always King Diamond delve into the occult, with a ghost story of possession. However, what makes this story so effective is not only does it merge with the evil riffing of the band, but there is also a deep sense of tragedy to it, loss and vengeance as well, and these emotions are all captured musically and literately as well. For this reason, I applaud King Diamond as a fantastic band leader despite his vocals not agreeing with me, as he crafted one of the greatest concept albums of all time.

NAPALM DEATH Scum

Album · 1987 · Grindcore
Cover art 3.04 | 33 ratings
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SilentScream213
People define the word “heavy” in different ways, but if you want to define it as “playing as fast and as dissonantly as possible” then Scum was the heaviest album in the world when it came out, inventing a new genre so abrasive it couldn’t fit into Hardcore Punk nor Death Metal. Grindcore is, at its core, just taking music extremities to 11 at all costs, and Scum was the first Grindcore album. It's almost impossible to follow song structure at this point as utter chaos takes center stage. This record is therein about 28 minutes of 28 songs of that; no more, no less. Nothing else to say.

DEATH Scream Bloody Gore

Album · 1987 · Death Metal
Cover art 3.32 | 65 ratings
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SilentScream213
Scream Bloody Gore is most likely (depending on who you ask and how strict you’re being) the first true Death Metal record, and by that I mean it’s not Death and Thrash like Seven Churches or Blackened Death Thrash like Morbid Visions. Absolutely there are still Thrash influences, but this is primarily a Death Metal record and could not be argued otherwise.

Amazingly for a debut album in a genre still in infancy, the music is grade A material. The musicianship is tight and fast, Chuck being rather technical even here. Chuck’s growls are also prime cuts of the genre, inhibiting a fantastic middle ground between demonic growls and discernible yells. Even the production is pretty good for an underground debut, nothing groundbreaking but all the instruments including the bass are audible and strong. And that snare sound – my god, never heard anything that stuck with me so much. Just the right amount of reverb to pack a lasting punch that somehow sounds sinister. This is the kind of drumming that is simple (not easy!), but serves the music so incredibly well.

There is one weakness here. For many a non-issue, but for me a glaring one: the lyrics range from bad to offensively atrocious. They’re pretty much what it says on the title, with subjects of gore, random acts of violence, death, etc. Don’t get me wrong, there is a right way to do this – Pig Destroyer and Slayer (when Tom is writing) are prime examples of writing eloquently and effectively on such matters. The lyrics here sound like an 18-year old’s Deathcore band. They’re just so juvenile they take away from the music at parts, and ruin the otherwise evil atmosphere.

HELLOWEEN Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I

Album · 1987 · Power Metal
Cover art 4.39 | 98 ratings
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SilentScream213
Kind of mixing their first album and Fates Warning’s output, Helloween play fast, technical and progressive music here, but also make room for softer, catchier numbers. The aggression of their debut has been traded in for uplifting triumph. The album is a very eclectic package despite only having 6 full songs, and one would not want for variety here. The problem there is that the material is not very consistent, with their highs being fantastic and the lows just okay. The new vocalist is a welcome addition, but even he has some pitchy moments and questionable vocal melodies between the usually solid performance.

The track “Halloween” is actually a talking point in itself, being one of the most progressive epics in all of Metal at the time. At over 13 minutes, the song shifts through so many movements, it’s about as eclectic as the rest of the album. The difference here is that the track is very consistent throughout, full of the band’s best riffs and greatest vocal performance on the album. Really, there couldn’t be a better way to sing about Halloween.

FAITH NO MORE Introduce Yourself

Album · 1987 · Funk Metal
Cover art 3.15 | 33 ratings
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SilentScream213
Very similar to their debut, Introduce Yourself has the same funky grooves, prominent keys and oddball lyrical delivery. The Funk influence is turned all the way up, and it even features some rapping (I assume from Chuck, but most of the members do backup/gang vocals as well). Overall, it’s more focused with better riffs and some good vocal melodies as well, but it’s no huge leap. Most of the material still sounds like an immature band trying to find itself. A very juvenile, mediocre Alternative Metal record, great for fun, but not so much to sit down and have a serious listen.

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DROID (ON)
voila_la_scorie· 3 days ago
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