Mark Wals
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118 reviews/ratings
CORROSION OF CONFORMITY - Technocracy Crossover Thrash
MY DYING BRIDE - The Manuscript Doom Metal
ENSLAVED - The Sleeping Gods Progressive Metal
BLOOD CEREMONY - The Eldritch Dark Heavy Psych | review permalink
MASTODON - Oblivion EP Sludge Metal | review permalink
CULT OF LUNA - Salvation Atmospheric Sludge Metal
PORCUPINE TREE - Nil Recurring Metal Related
NINE INCH NAILS - Broken Industrial Metal | review permalink
MY DYING BRIDE - The Vaulted Shadows Death-Doom Metal | review permalink
BLACK SABBATH - Black Sabbath Heavy Metal | review permalink
KING CRIMSON - VROOOM Non-Metal | review permalink
CORROSION OF CONFORMITY - Animosity Crossover Thrash | review permalink
KING CRIMSON - Thela Hun Ginjeet / Elephant Talk Non-Metal
MY DYING BRIDE - The Thrash of Naked Limbs Death-Doom Metal
MY DYING BRIDE - Bring Me Victory Doom Metal
LEPROUS - Aeolia Progressive Metal | review permalink
CANVAS SOLARIS - Irradiance Progressive Metal
CANVAS SOLARIS - Cortical Tectonics Progressive Metal
CANVAS SOLARIS - Spatial/Design Progressive Metal
ENSLAVED - Hordanes Land Black Metal

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Non-Metal 20 3.65
2 Progressive Metal 15 3.83
3 Death-Doom Metal 9 3.67
4 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 7 3.57
5 Sludge Metal 7 3.71
6 Heavy Metal 6 3.50
7 Black Metal 5 3.40
8 Deathcore 4 3.63
9 Metal Related 4 3.63
10 Thrash Metal 4 3.50
11 Stoner Metal 3 3.50
12 Proto-Metal 3 3.83
13 Melodic Metalcore 3 3.83
14 NWoBHM 3 3.50
15 Heavy Psych 3 3.83
16 Doom Metal 3 4.17
17 Gothic Metal 3 3.83
18 Crossover Thrash 3 4.00
19 Hard Rock 2 3.25
20 Heavy Alternative Rock 2 3.00
21 Industrial Metal 2 3.75
22 Alternative Metal 2 3.75
23 Atmospheric Black Metal 2 3.50
24 Power Metal 1 3.50
25 Death Metal 1 3.00
26 Traditional Doom Metal 1 4.00

Latest Albums Reviews


Promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs) · 1999 · Non-Metal
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I consider it a tragedy that these 2 or 3 songs (I would call it 3) were not on the original COMA DIVINE album. The only reason might have been that they wouldn't fit on the CD. Luckily, that problem was rectified with the DELERIUM reissue, where you can hear the studio versions. It obviously has nothing to do with the quality of the songs. This is great music. I would guess that this EP hasn't been reviewed by others because these songs are easily available in other formats. Apparently, these tracks are also part of the COMA DIVINE reissue. I would also guess that a lot of people just don't bother with EP's or singles; I personally prefer 30 or 40 minutes of music. Prog Archives labels Porcupine Tree a "heavy prog" band, which is an apt description. PT hadn't started incorporating a lot of metal into their music yet; that wouldn't happen until a couple of albums later.

I've used up enough words not talking about this music! Anyone who listens to enough Porcupine Tree probably knows these songs, if not these versions, so I won't discuss them at length. I'm rarely effusive in my reviews (or in my life generally), but this live version of "The Moon Touches Your Shoulder" is amazing. The guitar playing is unbelievable. "Always Never" is almost as good. Two considerations prevent me from giving COMA DIVINE II a 5-star rating, which is something I rarely do. First is my opinion that "Up The Downstair", as good as it is, isn't on the same level as the other two songs. The other consideration is the possible low interest level, due to the running time, of this EP for a lot of Porcupine Tree fans. IMHO everyone with an interest in Porcupine Tree would be well served by listening to this.

MY DYING BRIDE A Map of All our Failures

Album · 2012 · Doom Metal
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A Map of All Our Failures is one of MDB"s better efforts IMHO. If you're an MDB fan, which I am without a doubt, everything they've done is at least worth a listen. I particularly like what Aaron Stainthorpe is doing lately, so A Map of All Our Failures is a 4 star album for me.

I like the way that Aaron's singing has developed over time. His bass/baritone has become more expressive and interesting. He has also pretty much done away with the growling. There is a bit of the death metal growling on "The Poorest Waltz", but I don't miss it. I think his lyrics have improved. They used to be mostly a group of violent descriptions of doom and suffering. Now there's more structure. One of my favorite tracks is "Hail Odysseus", which is clearly based on The Odyssey.

The only thing I could think of to complain about is the length of the songs. Eight songs grouped together for a little over an hour's worth of music is a bit much. However, the tempo changes in each song make them more interesting. I wouldn't put MDB's CDs on the greatest albums list, but A Map of All Our Failures is fully worthy of 4 stars.

METALLICA ...And Justice for All

Album · 1988 · Thrash Metal
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AND JUSTICE FOR ALL... is almost Metallica at peak performance. For my money, MASTER OF PUPPETS takes the gold medal. Only a couple of songs on AND JUSTICE FOR ALL... hold it back. Therefore, this release is a 4 star album for me. One of the complaints often made about AND JUSTICE... refers to the sound quality. Although it could be a lot better, the sound quality does not ruin this album for me. Yes, the drums sound flat and you can hardly hear the bass. However, I'm not an audiophile; I don't care about song quality as long as I can hear the instruments. I usually listen to my music with Windows Media Player. The graphic equalizer is the best feature, and takes care of any sound quality issues with whatever music I have playing.

Now that I've probably spent too much world wide web space not talking about the music itself, let's talk about the music. I think we can agree that AND JUSTICE... is a key album in the history of metal. There's a reason that "One" and "And Justice..." are so familiar to millions of people. Metallica has stretched thrash metal to its breaking point here. This is one of several Metallica albums that exerted a huge influence on the course of heavy metal. For me, the only weak tracks are "Eye of the Beholder" and, to a lesser extent, "The Shortest Straw". I could easily live without them.

These two songs suggest an issue I'd like to comment on. AND JUSTICE FOR ALL... was originally released as a double album. I can't be the only one bothered by double CD releases that are barely longer than the running time of a single disc! Do the record companies really need to release double discs just to make more money? I personally think getting rid of "Eye of the Beholder" would make AND JUSTICE... a shorter, better album! Most of the songs on AND JUSTICE... are Metallica at the top of their game. That's what earns AND JUSTICE FOR ALL... an excellent rating.


Promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs) · 1996 · Stoner Metal
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For most folks like me, WISEBLOOD was a slight step down from DELIVERANCE. Of course, tracks like "Heaven's Not Overflowing" and "Albatross" are pretty tough competition. This 3 song promo is no slouch, according to the fine All Music website and the Chicago Tribune. "Drowning In A Daydream" was a top 30 radio hit, and was nominated for a 1998 Best Metal Performance Grammy Award. Not bad for a band that's usually known only to dedicated metal fans.

The playing is terrific as always, and I think Pepper Keenan is a big step up in the vocal department. For instance, the variety the rhythm section brings to "King of the Rotten" keeps the song interesting. These are some of my favorite songs on the album. Has anyone else noticed that early Red Hot Chili Peppers sounds a lot like late 90's COC, especially in Mike Dean's bass playing and Keenan's vocal delivery? It's just one example of Corrosion of Conformity's far-reaching influence. Over all, this is an excellent listening experience, if you're looking for a short taste of the band's music.


Album · 1970 · Heavy Metal
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The other reviewers have already stated it - this is as essential as a heavy metal record gets. I may listen to Master of Reality or Volume 4 more, but there's no denying the value of this debut. I'll only add a couple of points. First, many bands need an album or two to hit their stride. It's amazing to me how Black Sabbath was changing the face of rock music from the start. Every major innovation in hard rock until early 90's death/black metal was foreshadowed in Sabbath's first few albums. Second, Ozzy's public image has possibly prevented him from getting his deserved recognition as a singer.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 3 months ago in Images and Words vs. Somewhere in Time
    Iron Maiden has released more consistently great albums over the years. Dream Theater has released a handful of classics. IMAGES AND WORDS is likely the cream of the crop, so I have to pick it.
  • Posted 1 year ago in MMA's Top 25 60's Albums Poll
    Does it matter whether the album you choose is actually metal, for the purposes of this poll?  King Crimson is my favorite band and IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING is a masterpiece.  You can easily make a case that KC was a proto-metal band at times, but ITCOTCK is not a metal album.
  • Posted 1 year ago in The Top 25: Powerslave
    I just love 2 Minutes to Midnight, a very catchy song.


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