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Nicole
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2293 reviews/ratings
IMMORTAL - The Seventh Date of Blashyrkh Black Metal
DARKTHRONE - A Blaze in the Northern Sky Black Metal
CARACH ANGREN - Death Came Through a Phantom Ship Symphonic Black Metal
ANCIENT WISDOM - For Snow Covered the Northland Atmospheric Black Metal
FEN - Epoch Atmospheric Black Metal
DARKENED NOCTURN SLAUGHTERCULT - Hora Nocturna Black Metal
KVIST - For kunsten maa vi evig vike Melodic Black Metal
BORKNAGAR - The Olden Domain Black Metal
CRUACHAN - Folk-Lore Folk Metal
АРКОНА - Гой, Роде, гой! Folk Metal
АРКОНА - От сердца к небу Folk Metal
BEYOND TWILIGHT - Section X Progressive Metal
BEYOND TWILIGHT - For the Love of Art and the Making Progressive Metal
ICED EARTH - Night of the Stormrider US Power Metal
ICED EARTH - Burnt Offerings US Power Metal
ICED EARTH - Horror Show US Power Metal
BLIND GUARDIAN - Tales From the Twilight World Power Metal
REBELLION - Born a Rebel Power Metal
REBELLION - Miklagard - The History of the Vikings Volume II Power Metal
REBELLION - Arise: From Ginnungagap to Ragnarök - The History of the Vikings Volume III Power Metal

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Power Metal 356 4.13
2 Traditional heavy metal 296 3.84
3 Progressive Metal 256 4.14
4 Folk Metal 158 3.86
5 Hard Rock 128 3.62
6 Black Metal 121 4.07
7 US Power Metal 108 4.35
8 Symphonic Metal 94 3.92
9 Atmospheric Black Metal 87 4.31
10 Death Metal 78 3.50
11 Thrash Metal 73 3.90
12 Technical Death Metal 59 4.29
13 Melodic Death Metal 59 3.84
14 Non-Metal 56 3.76
15 Speed Metal 43 3.93
16 Melodic Black Metal 41 4.22
17 Groove Metal 41 3.37
18 Symphonic Black Metal 36 4.22
19 Alternative Metal 34 3.01
20 Doom Metal 34 4.26
21 NWoBHM 23 4.28
22 Metal Related 23 3.87
23 Gothic Metal 22 3.82
24 Industrial Metal 9 3.78
25 Sludge Metal 9 3.89
26 Depressive Black Metal 6 3.08
27 Avant-garde Metal 6 3.67
28 Stoner Metal 5 4.00
29 Metalcore 4 3.50
30 Brutal Death Metal 4 4.25
31 Deathcore 4 4.00
32 Glam Metal 3 2.33
33 Death 'n' Roll 3 1.00
34 Death-Doom Metal 3 3.83
35 Hardcore and crust 3 3.17
36 Proto-Metal 3 3.50
37 Nu Metal 2 1.25
38 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 1 4.00
39 Funk Metal 1 1.00
40 Drone Metal 1 1.00

Latest Albums Reviews

CAVITY Supercollider

Album · 1999 · Sludge Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Metal Music Archives Reviewer's Challenge: Album selected by aglasshouse.

With some albums you only need to take a glance at its artwork or the artist's logo to make a reasonable guess about what sort of music it is. With albums like Supercollider, the third album by American metal band Cavity, I'd have guessed wrong if I hadn't already been told. You can no more judge an album by its cover than you can a book. I'd have guessed at something in the post-grunge line looking at either the original cover or the 2002 reissue over, but I'd have been dead wrong. But then who could have guessed that this rather unassuming and (in my view) interesting style of cover would be hiding some heavy, semi-doomy, sludge metal?

The 2002 version of this album also brought some changes to its tracklist, adding in two extra ones, Xtoone and ...Who Doesn't Even Know Yet? For some reason the original final song of the album, Almost Blue, was removed in this edition of the album. It's this version of the album that I have listened to. The album has however had another reissue, this time on vinyl, in April 2017 which restores the original 1999 tracklist.

Cavity aren't a band who mess about with their song-writing. Their main focus is heavy, fuzzy riffs. Vocals play a prominent role as well, but their do seem secondary to the guitars. They aren't a showy band though; there isn't any lead guitar to speak of in their music and their writing style tends towards a short track duration. Tracks two (Set in Cinders) through six (Threshold), don't even hit three minutes. Just heavy riffs, with the occasional added bit of full-on doom slowness. I'd also say it has a few stoner metal moments, a genre that some of the band's other albums seem to be more heavily associated with. Here it's just flavour though, like with the doom metal. Supercollider is otherwise a straightforward sludge metal record, out to do one simple job: make those riffs as heavy as possible.

I think they do a pretty decent job at that, but with that said, if you're listening to albums looking for a lot of variation then you won't find too much of it here. As I said before, Cavity aren't a flashy band, so the closest thing you'll get a change of pace with is probably Inside my Spine where the vocals are harsher and more traditional growling rather than the hardcore shouts and raw singing used elsewhere. Xtoone's style also stands out as a bit different but as I said before, this song doesn't exist on the original 1999 version of the album and my honest opinion is that its rather throwaway, so it beats me why the 2002 version added it.

Cavity don't play a style of music I listen to very often but as far as my taste in sludge metal goes they certainly display a raw kind of charm that as a metal fan I find difficult not to smile about. 4 stars.

BATHSHEBA Servus

Album · 2017 · Doom Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
MMA Reviewer's Challenge: Album selected by Nightfly.

Belgian doom metal act Bathsheba have been around since 2013 and have previously released a demo and an EP. Their first full-length album is 2017's Servus. The band are a female fronted act whose vocalist Michelle Nocon also sings for Death Penalty and previously Serpentcult. Like many in the whole doom with female vocals scene Servus is an album that deals with occult and witchcraft themes. There are quite a few bands like this doing the rounds so how does this one stand out?

Initially, meaning most of the way through the first track Conjuration of Fire, I didn't think the band did at all, though they did establish a heavy, mesmerising charm with their doom riffs quickly enough. Nocon's voice mixed with the fairly fuzzy sounding guitars put me in mind of groups like Jex Thoth or Mount Salem, though unlike them Bathsheba doesn't use any psychedelic elements. Then Michelle Nocon abruptly switched to a growl, which shifted this train of thought entirely. Don't call this death-doom just because it has these extreme elements to it though as there is nothing remotely close to death metal on Servus. It's more like black metal influences if anything, but it isn't quite those either. I like it though.

With the second track Ain Soph the band show off an experimental side by adding in some crazy sounding saxophone work. The album doesn't manage to surprise me quite like that again but does keep showing off more sides to the band such as the long and atmospheric third track Manifest, which features some great lead guitar work from Dwight Goossens during a lengthy instrumental passage that lasts until the end of the song. They save the best for last though with the excellent I at the End of Everything, which I think has some of Michelle Nocon's best singing. It's still got those crushing doom riffs but also a more epic sound to it.

Though my first impression was shaky at best, Bathsheba were quick to win me over with their brand of doom metal. Servus is the kind of album that reminds me that this genre has a lot of good stuff coming out of it that too my shame I tend to largely ignore. I really need to stop doing that.

WINTERHORDE Maestro

Album · 2016 · Melodic Black Metal
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Likely owing to the amount of line-up changes they've had since the release of their second album Underwatermoon in 2010, Israeli progressive black metal act Winterhorde have certainly made their fans wait for the release of their third album. Entitled Maestro, it was finally released in 2016. It's been out a while now, and it's been clear to me for some time that the wait was definitely worth it, as I love this album. But the more I listen to it I can't help wonder if this won't end up, in hindsight, feeling like a transitional album for the band.

This is still a black metal album, melodic/symphonic black metal specifically, but it sounds to me like Winterhorde are taking steps toward leaving black metal behind in comparison to Underwatermoon. The changing sound of the band is even more evident if you listen to their first album Nebula and Maestro back to back and skip Underwatermoon. This album may bring back Nebula's vocalist Zed “Z. Winter” Destructive to the fold after being replaced by Horeph for Underwatermoon (Horeph still guests on Maestro's title track though) but they've also decided to bring in a second vocalist, Igor "Khazar" Kungurow, to sing clean vocals, probably because Horeph used both cleans and growls, which makes it a very different release to Nebula. While Zed certainly doesn't hold back from using his growls on any of the songs here and the vocals are more or less evenly shared (with a few guests showing up here and there), the album does feel as if it's Zed supporting Igor, who shows himself the surprise star of the album. In extreme metal artists mixing growls and cleans isn't unheard of but the clean singing usually plays second fiddle to the growling and that's not my impression of this album. That the music is also very polished for black metal only furthers my belief that in time, perhaps even on their next album, they'll have left black metal behind and fully embraced a progressive metal sound.

Of course I might be completely wrong about that, but I can only write about my own experience with the album and to be based on how this sounds it seems likely. But whether I'm right or wrong the one thing I'm definitely sure if is that Winterhorde is a class act who've produced another excellent release. It's excellent from start to finish, but the key tracks for me are Worms of Soul, where the band add the distinctive sound of a theremin to their music, the 11:30 long epic The Heart of Coryphee and the brilliant closing track Dancing in Flames.

OATHBREAKER Rheia

Album · 2016 · Atmospheric Black Metal
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The Belgian band Oathbreaker have up until now been known as a crust punk act but on their third album Rheia they've made a jump into black metal instead. At first though this isn't apparent as the record starts up. Vocalist Caro Tanghe starts singing unaccompanied. She sounds gentle and sweet. Gradually the band join her, playing equally soft and not at all indicative of the onslaught that is about to be unleashed. Two minutes eleven and it's just enough time to wonder if you've somehow got the wrong album on.

Then all hell breaks loose.

That shift between the short opener 10:56 and the first full metal song, Second Son of R. is a defining moment of Rheia, but it's only just the beginning of this black metal journey. Rheia seems to usually get described as a blackgaze album but I'm not sure I agree with that. I find most blackgaze to represent the extreme soft end of the black metal genre and while this album does have it's fair share of soft sections like 10:56 the full on metal sections feel far too intense to be accurately described as blackgaze. There is a sludge metal influence in here too so I'd personally call it post-black metal, of the most aggressive kind rather than the traditional atmospheric kind. I guess the blackgaze term may come from the amount of softer sections of music on the album, as even Second Son of R. turns softer before its conclusion, or the fact there's metal songs with mostly clean singing like Being Able to Feel Nothing, but then again Myrkur is like that and no one calls that blackgaze, so it's puzzling why this has been lumped into the same movement.

While the music itself doesn't ultimately show itself to be as out there and unusual as what some black metal acts have been delivering albums in the last few years, Rheia is delivered with such fire and conviction that I couldn't help but instantly be won over by the band. Caro Tanghe is the obvious star here, equally comfortable with the gentle clean singing and the frantic screaming. A brilliant record overall.

METALLICA Hardwired... to Self-Destruct

Album · 2016 · Traditional heavy metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
For the first time in my life, I actually found myself excited by the prospect of Metallica releasing a new album. I'm as much a fan of their first four albums as anyone, and I quite like the self-titled so-called Black Album too, but I was born in 1986, the year Master of Puppets came out and was only five by the year of the Black Album, so there hasn't really been anything to change that in all my years since. Death Magnetic didn't excite me too much, though I do enjoy the record. However the singles leading up to the release of Hardwired... to Self-Destruct (Hardwired, Moth Into Flame and Atlas, Rise!) made me pay attention to what was going on in Camp Metallica. James Hetfield sounded his best in years and it seemed like we were going to get the closest we ever were to the classic Metallica of old.

Those singles though, in my view at least, were deceptive.

Hardwired... to Self-Destruct isn't a bad album. I'd say it's about on par with Death Magnetic, which is to say it's good but not great, with a few true smile moments. It's more worth owning than most of Metallica's post-Black Album output. The trouble with this album is that Metallica seemed to choose the singles that would most appeal to old school fans, meaning the thrashiest stuff, but when you get the full album in your hands, you find that as a whole, the music on Hardwired... to Self-Destruct doesn't reflect what the singles lead you to expect. In reality we find an album that is much less thrash metal than expected or advertised, which draws strongly on heavy metal and even some hard rock, really putting it closer in style to the Black Album than anything.

It's still a decent release from Metallica; this probably still in their best since the Black Album to be honest, but they built this up in such a way that I expected the album I'm sure other fans have wanted to hear from them for years and then didn't deliver.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 20 hours ago in Now -- what are you listening to? V2
    It's my re-selected Reviewers Challenge album.http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/album/rendered-helpless/entities-of-transdimensional-emergence
  • Posted 20 hours ago in Now -- what are you listening to? V2
  • Posted 2 days ago in MMA Reviewer's Challenge August 2017 Sign-Ups
    Thanks, I like the sci-fi artwork on that one and yeah, I've just posted a note in the Ag thread about Ex Eye. I'm sure Chris knows what he's doing though and it's just me completely misunderstanding this release. Either way, I can't say I like the album too much. It just sounds incredibly messy to me.

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