BitterJalapeno

Mark
MMA Special Collaborator · Grunge/Post-grunge & Moderator
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 7 hours ago

Favorite Metal Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

536 reviews/ratings
EDGE OF SANITY - Crimson Melodic Death Metal | review permalink
CROWBAR - Odd Fellows Rest Sludge Metal | review permalink
IRON MAIDEN - Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son Heavy Metal
IRON MAIDEN - Powerslave NWoBHM
GOJIRA - From Mars to Sirius Death Metal
GOJIRA - L'Enfant Sauvage Death Metal
MASTODON - Leviathan Sludge Metal
MASTODON - Crack The Skye Sludge Metal
CROWBAR - Broken Glass Sludge Metal
SYSTEM OF A DOWN - Mezmerize Alternative Metal
MESHUGGAH - Nothing (2006) Progressive Metal
GORGUTS - Obscura Technical Death Metal
MELVINS - Houdini Sludge Metal
MELVINS - Stoner Witch Stoner Metal
THE SMASHING PUMPKINS - Siamese Dream Heavy Alternative Rock
WISHBONE ASH - Argus Proto-Metal
KING CRIMSON - Red Proto-Metal
KING CRIMSON - In The Court Of The Crimson King Proto-Metal
LED ZEPPELIN - Led Zeppelin IV Hard Rock
RUSH - Moving Pictures Hard Rock

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Sludge Metal 71 3.75
2 Death Metal 44 3.83
3 Technical Death Metal 39 4.09
4 Non-Metal 37 3.54
5 Progressive Metal 34 3.75
6 Stoner Metal 32 3.73
7 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 31 3.79
8 Alternative Metal 27 3.87
9 Nu Metal 18 3.58
10 Heavy Metal 18 3.50
11 Hard Rock 17 4.12
12 Hardcore Punk 15 4.13
13 Metal Related 14 4.07
14 Thrash Metal 14 3.32
15 Doom Metal 13 3.65
16 Heavy Alternative Rock 12 4.04
17 Groove Metal 12 3.79
18 Proto-Metal 9 4.00
19 Atmospheric Black Metal 8 3.44
20 Metalcore 7 4.00
21 Stoner Rock 6 4.00
22 NWoBHM 6 4.08
23 Mathcore 5 4.10
24 Melodic Death Metal 5 3.70
25 Melodic Metalcore 4 4.13
26 Industrial Metal 4 4.00
27 Black Metal 4 3.75
28 Grindcore 4 3.75
29 Technical Thrash Metal 4 3.50
30 Death 'n' Roll 3 4.00
31 Avant-garde Metal 3 4.00
32 Heavy Psych 3 3.50
33 Crossover Thrash 2 3.75
34 Funk Metal 2 3.00
35 Drone Metal 2 3.00
36 Funeral Doom Metal 1 2.50
37 Deathcore 1 3.00
38 Brutal Death Metal 1 3.50
39 Pagan Black Metal 1 1.50
40 Power Metal 1 4.50
41 Rap Metal 1 3.50
42 Traditional Doom Metal 1 2.50

Latest Albums Reviews

CONAN Evidence of Immortality

Album · 2022 · Doom Metal
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Orogenic processes fast-forwarded while the stricken lay dying...

The fifth full-length offering from Liverpudlian doom metal machine Conan shows no sign of deviating from spirit-crushing, despair-filled doom metal of the most ferocious degree. Clocking in at over 50 minutes, Conan’s latest is their longest album to date and is somewhat a return to their older style, centring the structure around lengthier cuts as opposed to the shorter, punchier tracks featured on 2018’s impressive Existential Void Guardian. However, there are still pockets of aggressive sludge here – such as the punk-tinged “Ritual of Anonymity” which contains some of the album's faster-paced sections. The aggression in the middle is bookended by two epochs of slow-moving, catastrophic doom which despite their length, do not outstay their welcome and are the strongest portions of music on offer here.

There are two things that Conan’s music always brings to mind: barbaric battles and geological processes. Opening track “A Cleaved Head No Longer Plots” is so destructively heavy and dense that it manages to replicate how I imagine the collision of continents would sound if occurring in 10 minutes rather than over a period of millions of years. The usual pulverising doom riffs are nuanced with some nice touches of post-metal adding stylistic diversity. Conjured in the mind are images of thick, slow-moving lava snaking its way down the side of a volcano as pyroclastic bombs descend from the ash-obscured sky above, reducing everything in their path to cinders.

In addition to the strong structure, the album impresses from a production perspective. The viscosity of the guitar and bass tone is unfathomable while still allowing the drums to shine through with crystal clarity. It’s obvious that Conan has lost none of its forbidding atmospheric quality and on Evidence of Immortality, some additional features develop this further. Organs are utilised to great effect in the funeral doom closer “Grief Sequence”, providing another layer of ominous atmosphere as the brooding, monolithic guitar chords gradually edge the listener towards their impending death following the aftermath of a medieval bloodbath. The sinister atmosphere intensifies as the song (and album) crawls to an end, assisted by the inclusion of warping flange techniques on the organs, delivering a fever dream-like sound as if the stricken listener is slipping into a delusional state as their life approaches its inevitable terminus.

Conan has delivered yet another high-quality lump of barbarically heavy doom metal and have once again re-cemented themselves as a prime act of the genre by adding another pillar to their legacy – one with the utmost consistency in quality, and undoubtedly, longevity.

CONJURER I

EP · 2016 · Atmospheric Sludge Metal
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Conjurer is arguably amongst the most exciting and most hyped bands in the UK metal scene today, receiving raving reviews from big players in the alternative music media. While this praise is fully warranted, 2016’s EP “I” has been overshadowed and undeservedly left behind.

Opener “Behold the Swine” achieves plenty in its 6-minute run-time. Punishingly heavy riffs lurch underneath anguished growls and screams that come from the depths of hell. The guitar interplay between Dan Nightingale and Brady Deeprose exhibited here is fantastic – filthy, sludgy riffs, rapid, intricate, thrashy riffs and beautiful clean atmospheric guitar work all play off each other to create a truly monstrous track. As the journey through the EP continues, it becomes apparent just how diverse a palate Conjurer has at this stage of infancy. Post metal, black metal are major influences not to mention the deep grooves which help add maintain rhythmic interest throughout the two tracks which make up the albums centre.

Aside from the combination of barbaric brutality and atmospheric beauty, Conjurer’s other trademark has always been one of overhanging misery and hopelessness. The vile despair projected by the music is perfectly emulated by song titles such as “A Chasm Forged in Dread and Disarray”. The most wretched point on the album is the crushing doom-fest that is the closer “Frail”. “I” also impresses structurally, squeezing touches from a plethora of metal sub-genres into something that feels less a collection of songs but more a single cohesive 23-minute track, leaving the listener’s soul obliterated to dust by the end.

The early EPs of artists are sadly often forgotten by all but the hardcore fanbase and despite Conjurer having evidently developed their songwriting chops significantly with the release of 2018’s “Mire” and further still with 2022s “Páthos”, “I” staunchly stands proudly as the solid foundations for what has rapidly elevated to become a powerhouse of progressive, blackened, post-sludge. A must check for those who have enjoyed the subsequent albums.

SUPPRESSION The Sorrow of Soul Through Flesh

Album · 2022 · Death Metal
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Formed in 2012, Suppression is a Chilean death metal band comprising members of thrash metal band Ripper. Following the release of their first EP “Repugnant Remains” in 2019, the band is back to assault the senses once again with their first full-length offering “The Sorrow of Soul Through Flesh” released by Unspeakable Axe Records. It displays a marked progression from the rough death metal of the aforementioned EP with distinct developments in songwriting, stylistic diversity and production. Firmly rooted in old school death metal, it shows an obvious influence from the brutality of “Consuming Impulse” era Pestilence combined with more convoluted structures, paying homage to the likes of Suffocation and Atheist. Suppression has done a great job of keeping this old school sound alive while successfully combining it with a range of influences from more modern styles of death metal and a mild progressive edge.

The material is highly technical but not to the point of qualifying as tech death proper. Thunderous, evil riffs dominate the soundscape supported by ocean-deep basslines, frenetic blast beats and wildly parched vocals. Ominous guitar solos are frequent, providing a melodic factor but conversely, hints of dissonance are present - the band have been conservative in this respect, avoiding taking the claustrophobic route of bands such as Ulcerate and Ad Nauseam. The jarring guitar and fluidity of the bass work on “Misunderstanding Reality” bring the album to its progressive peak without losing any of the sadistic heaviness. Deep grooves provide further diversity on “Unperpetual Misery” while album closer “Extortion Behaviours” showcases Suppression’s ability to mix mind-bending cacophony with more studious parts to great effect. The whole package is assisted by the excellent production of the legendary Colin Marston and as expected, the overall sound projected is incomprehensibly powerful and barbarically heavy, while allowing all elements of the music to breathe organically and be heard with a great degree of clarity.

Despite a commendable performance from the entire band, the star of the show is undoubtedly Pablo Cortés who pulls of a phenomenal performance on fretless bass. His slick basslines provide a wonderfully rich texture throughout but shine through particularly when allowed to let loose on frequent bass-only breakdowns, swelling and contracting exuberantly, adding a touch of jazz influence to the affair. For the best examples, see the frenetic opener “Lifelessness”, the marginally slower “Oveerfeeding Gaps” or the atmospheric “Unwinding Harmonies”. Even though the overall musical style is drastically different, it’s a bass performance that reminds me of post-sludge band Intronaut’s masterpiece “Prehistoricisms” albeit in a less delicate fashion.

Any death metal fan can testify to the fact the genre has splintered into many diverse tangents since its birth in the 80s and with the help of the on-demand world in which we now reside, an overwhelming number of artists are releasing material. As such, it can prove difficult for bands to produce music which stands above that of their peers. It’s clear that Suppression deserve respect for having achieved this in an environment of such saturation and can be considered a strong force in the current death global metal scene.

FLOURISHING The Sum of All Fossils

Album · 2011 · Technical Death Metal
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Metal Music Archives Reviewer's Challenge: June 2022

“The Sum of all Fossils” is the debut and so far, the only full-length release by New York based technical death metal outfit Flourishing. Originally involved with death-grind, the music on this album abandons grind and focuses mainly on death metal with high levels of dissonance and atonality, played in a breakneck, frenetic fashion accompanied by powerful growling vocals. Upon first listen, it might be easy to write Flourishing off as another outlet for Gorgutsish disso-death worship but with repeated listens, it’s clear there is much more on offer here – the influence of genres such as sludge metal and industrial metal become obvious in addition to the occasional pockets of hardcore/post-hardcore.

The production is perfect for the music – organic sounding, with just the right amount of filth and murkiness for death metal while giving off a distinctly cold sensation to the listener – this is amplified by a cloak of cold industrial atmosphere which envelops the whole affair somewhat but is more prevalent on some tracks such as “In Vivid Monochrome” and “By Which We’re Cemented”, the latter of which is one the most diverse tracks on the album, showcasing vocalist Bussanick’s ability to switch from his usual guttural grunting to a strangled, open-throated, post-hardcore shout.

The occasional use of melodic guitar work provides the album with some well-placed variation to the surrounding onslaught. Songs like the aforementioned “By Which We’re Cemented” and “Momentary Senses” use melody effectively to add an element of light to the dark, bleak backdrop of despair which makes up the album’s bulk. The former has some great guitar harmonics in addition to some major key celestial riffs that wouldn’t sound out of place on a 00s sludge album and juxtaposes delightfully with the brutality, adding a small sense of hope in comparison to the overall sense of foreboding. It's clear that “The Sum of all Fossils” demonstrates an adventurous approach to songwriting with unconventional song structures and an ability to successfully combine many influences into one coherent piece.

My favourite aspect of the album is the emotion that oozes from every pore. This reaches its peak on the epic closer “As if Bathed in Excellence” which is almost like a mini version of the album in itself with its technical and brutal first half, the sludgy breakdown and the superb melodic outro which ascends the listener back into the realms of light to bring the album to a conclusion.

Sadly, Flourishing is no more but two members are currently part of the blackened death metal outfit Aeviterne who’s debut album “The Ailing Façade” was released earlier this year. It has a similar sound but with a greater focus on atmosphere, a more grandiose production job and seems to have picked up where Flourishing left off back in 2011. It was only after listening to Aeviterne that I discovered Flourishing and if you are looking for dissonant tech death with a difference, Flourishing and their new re-incarnation have both firmly nailed it.

LASCAILLE'S SHROUD The Tiger's Daughter

Album · 2018 · Progressive Metal
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“The Tiger’s Daughter” is the fourth full length release by one-man progressive metal machine Brett Windnagle, otherwise known as Lascaille's Shroud. Windnagle stated that the mood he was attempting to project on this single-track epic was reflective of the emotions he experienced whilst reading a trilogy of fantasy novels by K. Arsenault Rivera which focuses on the ups and downs of a romantic relationship between two female Oriental warriors. He certainly did not fail in his endeavours as this is one hell of an emotional journey through sound, encompassing both dark and light realms while maintaining an impressive level of cohesion throughout.

A wide range of musical influences is explored, including but by no means limited to death metal, progressive metal, classic heavy metal, post-rock, and traditional Oriental folk. The bulk of the music is slow to mid-paced death metal with riffs and chord progressions that steadily chug along underneath brutal death growls. Also present is the classic death metal technique of tremolo picking but, in this case, it is not overused, adding variety rather than being a mainstay. The inclusion of synthesisers provides an atmospheric background to the whole experience while the use of Oriental elements - possibly a koto - add a touch of authenticity to the subject matter.

There are few guitar solos throughout the album, but lack of quantity is more than compensated for by the quality as when they appear, they soar to great heights, displaying effective use of melody in contrast to the brutality of death metal while also drawing some influence from the classic heavy metal of the 80s. Even though I have not read the novel in question, I imagine that Windnagle created these solos to mirror the most joyous parts of the novel’s narrative and has done so with great success. Further adding contrast are piano-led segments – reminiscent of the softer side of 90s and 00s post-rock acts such as Mogwai – which bring moments of calm to the album and maintains the listener’s interest as the journey continues. The greatest contrast, however, is the inclusion of clean vocals which are provided by Mercedes Victoria. Her soft voice adds huge volumes of emotion, simultaneously producing a true sense of love, pain, and longing.

To conclude, it can’t be denied that “The Tiger’s Daughter” is an excellent example of genre-fusion with a commendable level of cohesion. Although not something I would typically have sought out as general listening, I found it a most captivating listen where many musical styles are brought together in unexpected coexistence.

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