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Mark
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Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 10 months ago

Favorite Metal Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

98 reviews/ratings
VARDIS - 100 MPH NWoBHM | review permalink
220 VOLT - Demo #1 Traditional heavy metal | review permalink
220 VOLT - 220 Volt Traditional heavy metal | review permalink
HELL - Save us from Those who would Save us NWoBHM | review permalink
MARQUIS DE SADE - Somewhere Up in the Mountains NWoBHM | review permalink
TYRANT - Hold Back The Lightning NWoBHM | review permalink
LEGEND (CT) - Fröm The Fjörds Traditional heavy metal | review permalink
SWEET - Hell Raiser Hard Rock | review permalink
SWEET - The Ballroom Blitz Hard Rock | review permalink
RADIUM - Through The Smoke NWoBHM | review permalink
SLAYER - Reign in Blood Thrash Metal | review permalink
NECRONOMICON - Tips Zum Selbstmord Proto-Metal
PINK FAIRIES - Kings of Oblivion Proto-Metal
LIMELIGHT - Metal Man NWoBHM | review permalink
DUST - Hard Attack Proto-Metal | review permalink
SWEET - Sweet Fanny Adams Hard Rock | review permalink
BLEAK HOUSE - Rainbow Warrior NWoBHM | review permalink
WARFARE - Noise, Filth and Fury Speed Metal | review permalink
WOLF (CHESHIRE) - See Them Running NWoBHM | review permalink
BIG DAISY - Fever NWoBHM | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 NWoBHM 44 3.61
2 Hard Rock 22 3.32
3 Proto-Metal 18 3.56
4 Traditional heavy metal 6 4.42
5 Glam Metal 4 3.13
6 Speed Metal 3 3.50
7 Thrash Metal 1 5.00

Latest Albums Reviews

METALLICA Hardwired... to Self-Destruct

Album · 2016 · Traditional heavy metal
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I couldn't not write a review of the most significant metal release of the 21st century so far.

The box set arrived this morning, and I made a nice playlist out of the Videos which have been released of ALL the songs, so as not to scratch my vinyl.

There will be long analytical reviews to fill your boots with, so let's cut to the chase.

On first hearing, this album has moments of Metallica at their best.

Possibly Master of Puppets best.

It raids Metallica's own extensive back catalogue, citing mainly Justice and the Black Album. It raids other bands, notably Iron Maiden. It has new inspired riffage, cautious experimentation with style - it is not uncompromising on the whole, which is a shame.

Repeat listenings reward for some songs, bore with others but who knows, maybe the boring ones will get better with time? Metallica can be like that. Dream No More only hooked me on second listen, really piqued my interest - case in point.

This is Black Album II, but then again it's not. It's Metallica showing who they are. The biggest heavy metal band in the world. The best at what they do.

Jaymz' riffs. The absolute, grin-inducing highs in many songs here. When he's good, he's the Master. When he's bad, he's probably better than most, but why settle for sub-standard ever, Jaymz?

The lows to me are the lack of experimentation in form. This is the secret sauce that made RTL and MoP unbroken benchmarks in terms of the balance of pure metal techniques without sacrificing melody, boundary pushing without losing the plot - indeed, redefining the plot - and uncompromising heavy metalness.

The other big low is the tribute to Lemmy. Really, guys? You are the band of all bands who should record a tribute to the Lemster, but did you play it back to yourselves? Maybe future listens will change my opinion, but I'm not sure I could bring myself to listen to Murder One again. Apt title.

The highs of this album are so good, you simply have to own it and experience them yourself. It's intimate, personal, and will slap you on the back as it high fives you then kicks you up the ass and blows your brain out.

Then you come back for more like a Moth to the Flame.

**Edit Diary 19/11/2016. This album really tempts you back.

On 3rd listen. Starting to forget where the boring bits were on disc 2 especially.

Confusion - still confusing me, not getting it.

ManUnKind has just hit me as being far better than I remember it, with joyous remembrances of old Judas Priest - proper headbanging stuff, real driving riffs from the old school, but with polish and class (stained, of course).

Here Comes Revenge - this is Nu Metallica, catchy and fun, but will it last?

Am I Savage? Like a different band, stretchy, nearly funky, twisty, tense, ungraceful, spooky, animal intellect. Was thinking it was too long at halfway point, by the end, felt it was too short.

Murder One - opens like "One". Lyrics make me cringe. Riffs 3rd grade, no feel of Motorhead - no real feel of Metallica. Solo worthy of Nigel Tufnel. Cannot overstate how much hate I feel for this awful song.

Spit Out the Bone has just sent icicles up and down my spine. I am succumbing to the power. Magnificent, ball of spikes, Whiplash rush of power.

Just get rid of Murder One and Confusion and there's an excellent album here, Metallica really showing in places how it should be done. An album that contains Masterclasses, not a masterpiece, but a perfect Metal album for 2016.

MODULO 1000 Não Fale Com Paredes

Album · 1970 · Proto-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
2010 CD re-issue with bonus tracks.

Normally I like to sit down to a nice slab of vinyl and live the album experience. Whatever the scientific evidence for greater accuracy in the digital experience, there's just something about vinyl that seems more musical - more alive.

But that's not going to happen with this one - I've no idea how much an original fetches, but the 2010 reissue already seems to be marketed around the $50 mark, and the dodgy 2000 bootleg is unthinkable obviously...

So the title translates as "Don't Talk To Walls", and the music is like Cream and Hendrix stirred into the heaviest side of US psychedelia, bounced around the Krautrock scene, colliding head on with Black Sabbath and Fifty Foot Hose, then inserted directly into the Latin sound.

"Turpe Est Sine Crine Caput" is like nothing else from that time - massively dark and heavy synth sounds, like Hawkwind mixed with Cabaret Voltaire, and some of the most awesome drum work imaginable. The main riff drives through in 5/4, producing a highly unsettled feel. We can ignore the widdly lead guitar as a product of its time - everything else about this track is decades ahead of its time.

Then comes the huge title track, the same features dominating the landscape - the brutal tritonic riffs and the monstrous drumming. We're in the more standard 4/4 here, but the barked, harmonised vocals are really sinister, and the stoner/doom feel is tangible. The lead guitar still sucks, unfortunately, but there's a really cool dark drum solo that evokes a more dangerous side of Carneval, like Black Sabbath covering Santana.

A lighter, more Floydian moment follows in Espêlho, but this is no mere take-off. Gilmour-esque slides soar above boomy acoustic guitar and beautiful, floaty keys, with harmonised voices repeating the chant "Espêlho" for 2 and a half minutes of sublimity.

This is followed by the manic minute or so of "Lem - Ed - Êcalg" - back to the strident keyboard/guitar dominated riffs and crazy drumming.

As one might expect, the menace is not let up for "Ôlho por Ôlho, Dente por Dente" (Eye for eye, tooth for tooth), which features some great links between the riff sections that bound off into crazy time signatures - a little clumsily, but hey, this is groundbreaking stuff that no-one else was doing at the time - and unlike much groundbreaking / experimental stuff, this is really, really listenable to, and striking in its early metal styling.

If you're a fan of odd time signatures, then "Metrô Mental" is a track you'll really get your teeth into as it careers off crazily, yet maintains a fantastic, headbanging momentum (or head-nodding, in some places, interspersed with wild improvisational sections influenced by "Echoes" on the "Live at Pompeii" film). Astonishing track - this must've blown the minds of audiences at the time, just like it would continue to blow the minds of modern audiences who think they've heard it all.

It's hard to know what to make of "Teclados", a keyboard fest of magical sounds with a jazzy and slightly disturbing edge that flutters around, never settling on a key base, or indulging with a cadence of a conventional nature, but there's more slow doom/stoner/time sig madness in "Salve.Se Quen Puder", and "Animália" seems to represent a lot of fun with guitars, backward tape loops and delay boxes.

In summary, then, the album is quite unique, and would be a masterpiece of its own genre were it not for those awful guitar solos.

The bonus tracks on this issue are interesting, and show a band not stuck in one particular dead-end style, but developing and playing with a style pretty much of their own creation, based on all the various musics that influenced the individual musicians.

The latin/rhythmic influence in the bonuses is very strong indeed, as is the tendency towards the more experimental and jazzy rather than the heavy - and the mix gets a bit confused in places, but nonetheless it's very enjoyable if you're in the right mind for it.

Standouts from these are "Ferrugem E Fuligem", "Curtissima" and "Waiting For Tomorrow".

A flawed gem for collectors of early metal music - and one for the stoners and heavy psych fans too. Well worth a listen by any metal fan with a taste for the more adventurous and exotic.

Rating - 4 and a half stars for the original album, 3 and a half for this version, as some of the bonus tracks are just a bit too light and unexciting.

HEAVY LOAD Full Speed at High Level

Album · 1978 · Traditional heavy metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Heavy Load's debut has got the whole NWoBHM thing going on, but with better production, vocals aside.

There are also some awesome Progressive ideas in here that belie the frequently sloppy execution.

The opener, "Full Speed at High Level" is a kind of low-grade Vardis meets Saxon thing, hard to listen to because of the execution, and mercifully short.

"Midnight Crawler", on the other hand, is packed full of invention - that main riff totally destroys, and the contrasting answering riff is progressive in flavour. The drummer kicks things up several notches, and the lead guitarist chucks in some tasty licks. There is a kind of harmony choir of backing vocals which isn't half bad too - the complete opposite of the opening song, this is actually really, really good and well executed. Unlike the opener, this is unforgiveably short.

Things stay on a good level from here, with the "Keep Yourself Alive" opening riff of "Moonlight Spell". A lot on the sloppy side, but really inventive and pushing the bar at the cutting edge of NWoBHM - or NWoSHM, as many people seem to have started to call the Swedish version which appears to have kicked off at the same time as it did in England. The song progresses in an Iron Maiden / "Sin After Sin" Priest style and again, goes from pretty good to brilliant - which is more than can be said for the vocals.

The quality drops for the intro to "Storm", which seems to be based on a Ritchie Blackmore riff, but played with that high-octane Judas Priest sound - and it's more of a drizzly shower than a storm. The howling gale sound effect just evokes a Spinal Tap moment of embarrassing proportions.

The long instrumental section kicks in around 3:05, where the song proper ends, and it's a brave attempt... it could also be heard as highly influential, as the ideas are really good, but the execution sucks. The tempo and stylistic changes are a demonstration of an imagination on overdrive, but the lack of the skills necessary to bring the imagination fully alive. The slow section is actually executed with painstaking care, and you can hear that, with practise, this would be a really nice Floyd-flavoured section, with added technical snippets, putting this in the running for an early Prog Metal category. It's a great idea to move to an uptempo section, but ouch... and that drum solo feels too much, despite being reasonably executed. A very tasty, massive riff is then appended, which builds, and drops disappointingly back to the song.

So it is that "In Two Minds" is a very good summary of how I feel about this album.

Good NWoBHM riff, rubbish song, appalling vocals even by the standards so far, and a terrible wailing guitar solo. The riff/rhythm section is nice and strong, and the song comes across like a really well made cake that's been iced and decorated by an incontinent seagull.

Weirdly, at this point, I'm reminded of the monster obscurity "From The Fjords" by Legend (which is an awesome album, well worth 40 minutes of anybody's time). I'm now wondering if Legend heard Heavy Load and got inspiration to record this sort of music properly?

"Rock And Roll Freak" has the Legend sound all over it, with solid riffing and bass, and driving drums. Yup, and horrid vocals. The Priest flavour is even stronger here - and, for my money, is better than much Priest of this time when the instrumental kicks in around 2:50. There then appears a riff I recognise from "White Rock" by Riot from their "Narita" album of the following year. I really wish the band hadn't returned to the song!

"Caroline" begins in Progressive territory, with keys and plinky guitars tracing a nice, imaginative progression. The vocals fit this style a little better - but still not the most attractive feature. When the band kicks in, we're still in a Progressive mood, and there are tempo-changes a-plenty, with a really individual approach to the arrangement. Some really stunning ideas in here, well worth tolerating the bad execution for.

The album wraps up with "Son of The Northern Light", and it's time to stand up for Exciter as far as the main riff and double-bass drumming is concerned, exploring a kind of proto-thrash territory. The modal flavours of the mid-verse sections are really very cool and modern sounding, despite the old school amp sounds and production, and the instrumental again explores like crazy:

This isn't a lame bunch of two chord tricks, but a clear attempt to try different structural methods and build some dramatic tension into the overall structure. It's really good to hear a band having a go at the hardest parameter of music to be progressive in: Form, and this is probably my favourite piece on the entire album.

In summary, a hard album to listen to, and a Game of two halves";

On the one hand, a bit of a mess with rubbish vocals.

On the other hand, some fabulous musical ideas and some moments of real trailblazing brilliance where it all comes together to form a progressive NWoBHM sound such as the world had never heard in 1978.

An album for those able to hear past surface horribleness and appreciate beauty within, and definitely one for fans of Progressive Metal. A tough one for more traditional metal fans to appreciate, I'd wager - but there is plenty here to headbang to nonetheless.

LIMELIGHT Metal Man

Demo · 1980 · NWoBHM
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
WOW!!!

Another "How did I miss these guys" band - especially as they supported Saxon in the 1980s, and Saxon were a band I saw a few times, I can tell you...

I recently found a copy of Limelight's extremely rare album in my local vinyl store, and I'm going to live with that for a few weeks before reviewing it, as it's plain, listening to this single, that there is/was a huge amount to these guys.

Progressive Metal in 1980?

Mellotrons, complex arrangements, the whole shooting match?

Thrash metal too?

"Metal Man" is a thrash prototype, and what about those Mellotrons, eh? Judas Who?

This'll have you questioning the whole nature of metal, revising your history books, and becoming an instant Limelight fan.

Mind-blowing, and I really don't use that term often.

Flip it over, and the flanged bass of "Hold Me, Touch Me" lets you know you're in for something very, very different, and Limelight duly present a totally unique take on NWoBHM, with shades of Indie bands (when Indie bands weren't simply boys with guitars) like Kissing The Pink and other less well-known acts.

This won't be to most metal fans tastes, but Limelight were about doing their own thing, their music was all self-financed, and it ROCKS!!!

Masterpiece. No Question - although "Hold Me, Touch Me" is so very different to what you might expect that I'd imagine it would divide tastes sharply.

"Metal Man", however, goes up with Vardis' "If I Were King" and the first two Jaguar singles as a Thrash Metal template.

JUDAS PRIEST Sad Wings Of Destiny

Album · 1976 · Traditional heavy metal
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The sound of a piano and a synth is not what I'd normally expect on a metal album - but then we are talking about 1976, a year or two before the genre finally started to cut loose - and this is arguably the album that kicked it all off.

With Sabbath producer, Rodger Bain still twiddling the knobs, the production seems at odds with the music still, as it did on the debut, but the band's identity is becoming ever stronger, and shines through.

To my ears, this isn't as strong an album as The Scorpions mighty "In Trance" album of the previous year, Alan Moore's drumming being noticeably "boom-pish", and the playing and compositions are far less technically challenging - I do feel that this album is rather over-rated, although I do enjoy it and recognise it's importance in the great scheme of things.

Tipton's compositional skills really aren't all that, as Prelude is a somewhat unconvincing start to this impossibly influential album, with sounds of Queen-lite (meaning Queen on their first two albums!).

An ominous mood is nevertheless established, and "Tyrant" is the song that launched a thousand bands, many taking the title as their name. It's not as intense as "Dark Lady", but that riff can be found in many a NWoBHM composition, and the bridge passage to the solo duel that follows is classic Priest. The second bridge/twin solo is also a great progressive twist, and Rob's own vocal duet is masterly.

The somewhat hesitant intro to Genocide leads to yet another classic Priest riff that was to be plundered by the up and coming generation. Again, the structuring is more progressive than you'd expect from a Metal song of this period, but there are moments where I feel the music is somewhat hollow.

Epitaph is a straight homage to Queen, and a non-metallic song - but the composition is far better here - not Queen by any stretch, but actually not far off.

Island of Domination is a welcome return to the heavy stuff, but again, there's that sense of hollowness until the main riff kicks in, with heavy Budgie and Sabbath ("Children of the Grave") flavours.

Again, Priest get most experimental during the instrumental section, exploring ground laid by Sabbath before them, but taking it forward.

This is an album of two sides though; Side 2 (the first 4 songs on all but the first release!) is the stronger - if the album had continued in the same vein as Side 1, it would be a different story.

Side 2 takes a lot of influence from fellow Brummies, The Sweet - particularly from the song "Sweet FA" on the album "Fanny Adams" of 1974. Play the song (or, at least, the intro and outro - also listen to "Into The Night" and "Set Me Free" from the same album), then listen to the following tracks, and the direct line is unmistakable.

Victim Of Changes, a composition by original vocalist Al Atkins, is the strongest on the album - and a mighty fine epic it is too, although much of the soloing is rather bluffy for my tastes - and packed with Rudolph Schenker style whammy bar action! There are plenty of more original touches - and I can hear the direct influence on Diamond Head.

The Ripper follows - building on a long tradition of songs about the infamous Victorian criminal, popularised in the 1960s by "Screaming" Lord Sutch, and is another massive song, with more Queen and Scorpions tribus.

Dreamer Deceiver is another Atkins song, and the obligatory balladic moment. While slightly bluffy still, the solo here is beautiful as it slithers, snake-like around the frets, competing head on with M. Schenker and Uli Roth for the "most awesome solo of 1976".

Wrapping things up is the "Children of the Grave" inspired "Deceiver", with the unmistakable rhythmic motif derived from the theme to the UK long-running sci-fi series "Dr Who", originally composed by Ron Grainer and realised in electronics by the impossibly talented Delia Derbyshire, later abused by 90% of any metal band that wanted to be taken seriously...

An absolutely massive finish to a rather weak starting album. I disagree with the masses in that I don't find it to be a masterpiece as an entity - Side 1 is just too weak.

It's true that "Sad Wings" is massively influential - but there were other bands that were touring and exerting a huge influence too - so I have to come to the conclusion that this album is rather over-rated, in the truest sense of that over-used term, and in fact it's "Sin After Sin" that bears the real Priest crown. Both Simon Phillips and Les Binks kicked Alan Moore's ass, and provided the powerhouse that Priest needed to catapult them into the Metal Gods realm.

An excellent, nay, essential addition to any metal collection - but do check out the albums I name-checked to keep things in perspective!

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted more than 2 years ago in TESSERACT - New Album Streamed
    ...and it's good! I feel proud of these guys - I've been rehearsing in Jay(drummer)'s rehearsal rooms for a fair few years. He's a really nice guy, and the band are doing well - check out the album!
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Chris McGovern thinks HM is a waste of time...
    What a twat! I'd like to see him try to play Dream Theater, and discuss their use of classical and jazz modes, rhythms and structures. Even if I do dislike Dream Theater's music, they're one of the reasons why metal musicians nowadays really need to understand theory - and where better to study music theory than at university? Metal music makes a LOT of money - probably more than Classical or Jazz music these days, so why not study it? You might just as well say "Music is a waste of time". Did I say "What a twat?". Feel the anger - and write some songs about it BBC News ArticleCertif1ed2013-05-10 03:25:17
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Is Black Sabbath realy heavy metal
    [QUOTE=UMUR] [QUOTE=Triceratopsoil]Queen is a heavy metal pioneer?  I'm pretty sure they have like 2 songs that anybody could describe as metal[/QUOTE]  Queen has lots of heavy metal related moments in their music. Read my reviews of their first 7 albums where I point some of them out[/QUOTE] The song "Stone Cold Crazy" on the album "Sheer Heart Attack" (if memory serves me correctly!!!), released in 1974 is possibly the very first thrash metal song, and you could trace the link from that song, via The Sweet's "Set Me Free" ("Sweet Fanny Adams", also 1974) to Judas Priest ("Exciter"). [QUOTE=ChaosAngel] Black Sabbath, to me, are not metal per se. They are very instrumental in the birth of metal, and have influenced almost every metal band out there. That being said, they are firmly a part of proto-metal, a pillar upon which metal as we know it is built.Honestly, IMHO, for most intents and purposes, metal begins with Judas Priest.[/QUOTE] I would love to have this conversation in full, but work is really busy. I'll revisit in a month or so when it all quietens down, but Sabbath practically invented Heavy Metal. Priest took a lot of inspiration from Sabbath (and even shared the same producer, Rodger Bain, on their first 2 albums). Priest also took influence from fellow Brummies The Sweet, and Queen - Metal does not begin with Priest, but Priest were the biggest single influence on the NWoBHM in 1979. Metal can be seen to begin with the heavy blues bands - it evolved from the blues - such as Cream (1966), Hendrix (there is an untraceable report of a journalist describing his music as "Heavy Metal falling from the sky"), Spooky Tooth (who recorded an album in 1967 as "The Heavy Metal Kids, and influenced Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin), and others that I discussed in a "Proto Metal Appreciation" thread a while back - none "pure" metal, but all pulled the right ingredients together. Sabbath made what I would think of as the first "pure" metal, but then we'd have to define Heavy Metal to settle this one! There is a red herring doing the rounds in most "History of Metal" articles I've read, which is worth of exposure for whatever nuggets of truth really lie in it, and that is the use of the phrase "Heavy Metal Thunder" in Steppenwolf's "Born To Be Wild". I am pleased to note that the Wikipedia article on Steppenwolf has recently been updated to correct this reference! How they got their name, and what the name stands for is fascinating too, and has driven me to seek out the book. It does explain quite a lot about the metal culture. Why aren't The Who considered heavy metal? Is it because of their cultural associations? Just a thought to consider - I'm not hung up on this, so please don't bust a gut trying to explain why they're not metal, as I don't really care! The term was bandied about quite a lot by journalists and fans in the early 1970s, and referred typically to bands like Zep, Purple, Queen and Kiss. Who are we now to say that what they called heavy metal back then is no longer heavy metal? Enough of my rambling, already - must crack on.

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