Charlie Wesley
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Favorite Metal Artists

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23 reviews/ratings
KING DIAMOND - Abigail Heavy Metal | review permalink
DIO - Holy Diver Heavy Metal | review permalink
KING DIAMOND - "Them" Heavy Metal | review permalink
GAMMA RAY - Power Plant Power Metal | review permalink
KREATOR - Pleasure to Kill Thrash Metal | review permalink
BAL-SAGOTH - Battle Magic Symphonic Black Metal | review permalink
VOIVOD - Dimension Hatröss Technical Thrash Metal | review permalink
ARCH ENEMY - Wages of Sin Melodic Death Metal | review permalink
BLIND GUARDIAN - Battalions of Fear Speed Metal | review permalink
CRADLE OF FILTH - The Principle of Evil Made Flesh Melodic Black Metal | review permalink
GAMMA RAY - Somewhere Out in Space Power Metal | review permalink
GAMMA RAY - No World Order Power Metal | review permalink
HAMMERFALL - Glory to the Brave Power Metal | review permalink
TRIVIUM - Shogun Melodic Metalcore | review permalink
EDGUY - Hellfire Club Power Metal | review permalink
OBITUARY - The End Complete Death Metal | review permalink
DREAM THEATER - Train of Thought Progressive Metal | review permalink
BON JOVI - Slippery When Wet Hard Rock | review permalink
MEGADETH - The System Has Failed Thrash Metal | review permalink
HELLION - Screams in the Night Heavy Metal | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Power Metal 5 3.70
2 Heavy Metal 4 4.50
3 Glam Metal 2 2.25
4 Thrash Metal 2 3.75
5 Death Metal 1 3.00
6 Hard Rock 1 3.00
7 Melodic Black Metal 1 4.00
8 Melodic Death Metal 1 4.00
9 Melodic Metalcore 1 3.50
10 Nu Metal 1 2.50
11 Progressive Metal 1 3.00
12 Speed Metal 1 4.00
13 Symphonic Black Metal 1 4.50
14 Technical Thrash Metal 1 4.50

Latest Albums Reviews

CRADLE OF FILTH The Principle of Evil Made Flesh

Album · 1994 · Melodic Black Metal
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After cutting several demos, predominantly in the death metal vein, Cradle recorded their rawest studio album and perhaps the one closest to the black metal they are often associated with. But even at this juncture, there were many other styles vying for prominence. Subdued death metal riffs rip out of icy black metal charges, belting along in the manner of 80s German thrash. For good measure, gothic melodrama is supplied courtesy of influence from the death doom scene (Paradise Lost, Anathema, My Dying Bride), with Anathema’s then vocalist, Darren White lending his vocals to a couple of tracks. The band also mention Diamanda Galas as an influence in those days, the creepy atmosphere of the pervading keyboards providing testament to this.

The keyboard intro and several scattered interludes add little to the album for me, and come off as cheap and a bit tacky. The real meat on the album, begins as the tearing thrashing roar of the title track takes hold. The band’s penchant for unconventional writing and a “symphonic” style are unashamedly displayed with great success off the bat. As we will come to expect, Dani Filth’s verbose reams of dark poetry ride the wave of constant changes, inspired in equal measure by Lovecraft, Sabbat’s Martin Walkyier and the Norwegian black metal scene. Vocals on this album are going to be almost unrecognisable to later fans (as they were to me, coming to this after hearing Midian), but the low rasp buried in the mix gets easier to listen to in time, and adds to the atmosphere for me. The more gothic tinged “The Forest Whispers My Name”, erupts from tinkling keys and bass to form a slower, doom inspired journey that still finds itself shifting as madly as the last track.

As with its predecessor on their demos, “The Black Goddess Rises” is the most death metal inspired offering here, a crushing epic coloured by a frosty black metal palate. “To Eve the Art of Witchcraft” and “Of Mist and Midnight Skies” continue the drawn out attack effectively despite being lesser known than the earlier tracks. “A Dream of Wolves in the Snow” is the only keyboard lead track that feels right at home, Darren White’s weak vocals here providing the right feel for the trickling water effect and background keys. “Summer Dying Fast” is a speedy, thrash inspired affair that closes the album but for a spoken word track that fades off into some bleak distance, readying us for the next round.

I’ve always enjoyed this album, raw only by their standards though, and by no means close to the sound of the second wave black metal bands. It has the hallmarks of 90s British metal’s desire for individuality, and won’t be tied down to fewer musical ideas. Luckily they were more than capable of pulling it off, as they were well versed and trained in all the metal styles of the day.

BLIND GUARDIAN Battalions of Fear

Album · 1988 · Speed Metal
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A full throttle debut, moulding harsh thrash into power metal epics that reminds of the harder edged sound of Helloween on their first EP and “Walls of Jericho” album. Coming back to this album from being familiar with their much later output (“Imaginations From the Other Side” onwards), it was nice to hear them with such a stripped down sound, but the over the top tendencies are present and the trademark majestic choruses are already taking shape.

Belting it out in fine style, “Majesty” bursts out after a strange fairground intro. On offer is 7 minutes of blinding speed built around its raw sing-a-long chorus, and riffs slicing to and fro frantically with a youthful Hansi Kursch crying out in his most throaty performance ever (but still recognisable to later fans). Kicking off the chorus with a rousing “whoaaaaaaaah” was the way to go! A good start gets complimented by the menacing and more restrained pace of “Guardian of the Blind”. Sprightly instrumental “Trial by the Archon” leads into a couple of satisfying back-to-basics affairs, “Wizard’s Crown” and crowd favourite “Run for the Night” with such a domineering chorus.

“The Martyr” returns us to the darker, more expansive material at the start of the album, with slower, locked in parts giving way to bursts of forward momentum and the mad flurries of André Olbrich’s leads. Blind Guardian here very much developing their talent for unpredictable song craft with this and the title track. The album closes with two instrumentals, “By the Gates of Moria” and the CD bonus “Gandalf’s Rebirth” utilising similar speed, melody and class, and borrowing liberally from Dvorak’s New World Symphony. A taste of things to come?

An album as straight ahead and so sure of its purpose benefits from a track-by-track review, as a listener could be lead to believe its jolly youthful careering one dimensional, but there’s more at work here if you keep on at it. Raw and wild by their standards, yes, but the ingredients and ambition of the later albums still very much bubbling under the surface.


Album · 1988 · Heavy Metal
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Following the excellent Abigail was always going to present some difficulty, but you guessed it, there was no need to fear as the King Diamond concept formula was now perfected. I’m a huge fan of this band’s early albums but this is truly the peak of the mountain for me. “Them” is a claustrophobic, unnerving and sophisticated album hindered only by a very thin production (which even a remastering had trouble fixing). The tale of King, his grandma and “THEM” (the spirits in the house of “Amon” they communicate with via bloody tea in the story) is one that sticks in the mind for a long time.

Mercyful Fate stalwarts Timi Hansen and Michael Denner depart, to be replaced by Hal Patino and Pete Blakk respectively. Blakk makes a more than adequate sparring partner for Andy LaRocque and each song’s numerous twists and turns are sewn together by their dazzling solos. Developing further the idea of song structures moving with the demands of the story rather than a simple matter of verse followed by chorus, it adds a variety that makes it stand apart from the previous album. “The Invisible Guests” binds various sections together with a chorus that feels vigorously pulled together and opener “Welcome Home” stretches its legs to set the scene with urgent changes, always retaining a sheer headbanging goodness. “Tea” follows with a very dreamy vocal style from King which develops the unsettling atmosphere.

The album’s story is connected through the songs more smoothly than on Abigail, with the silences in between feeling like moments to intake a deep breath before the next part of the tale is revealed. Later tracks pile on a sense of hopelessness (“Mother’s Getting Weaker”) and a feeling of madness and disorientation is communicated very well through the music (“The Accusation Chair”). The title track is a short eerie instrumental, reliant on the cliches of horror soundtracks maybe, but very effective nonetheless. Also, by the end of the album it’s clear that things are not quite done with yet...

Not everyone enjoys this album to the same level as the last one, and it requires a fair amount of work to wipe away the cobwebs of the production to find the gleaming gems beyond but it is worth it. Rounding off my edition is an intriguing alternative “ending” track, and some rough mixes which are so-so. Once again, the sleeve art is great and reigns the viewer into the concentrated sphere of the story. To be continued...

VOIVOD Dimension Hatröss

Album · 1988 · Technical Thrash Metal
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On their fourth full length, Voivod’s unique sci-fi concept continues. Now fully adoping the odd chord voicings and unusual arrangements that were beginning to reveal themselves on “Killing Technology”, this could be viewed as their definitive musical statement. Thinking of progressive metal in the 80s conjures up images of Queensryche and Fates Warning or maybe Dream Theater’s debut but these guys were different, very different...

The whole experience is full of fantastical otherworldly textures with Piggy’s unusual approach to metal and Snake’s vocal style guiding the way. Very unpredictable song structures and numerous time signature shifts abound, helping to keep the album engaging through many listens. Even then there’s so much still underneath, in this deceptively brief album. “Tribal Convictions”, “Brain Scan” and “Psychic Vacuum” give perhaps the best examples of this twisted thrash, with sprinkles of punk and the ever present influence of Rush, Floyd and King Crimson, but there’s scarcely a weak moment.

A silly but nice rendition of the 60s Batman tv theme rounds things off on a suitably quirky note!

DIO Holy Diver

Album · 1983 · Heavy Metal
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While Dio’s albums are decidedly hit and miss for me, this first outing is unquestionably classic, and established all his hallmarks straight off the bat. The epic tendencies of Rainbow and the darkness of Sabbath gave way to a streamlined but distinctive traditional metal approach. The songs on “Holy Diver” are built from the ground up with just a few strong riffs played with hearty conviction, complemented by Vivian Campbell’s show stopping lead guitar (pre-Def Leppard, he was quite something!) and a solid rhythm section keeping it all going. Each song stands apart proudly though. There are slower, reflective tracks (“Caught in the Middle”), pounding, fast rockers (“Stand Up and Shout”) and mighty metal monoliths (“Rainbow in the Dark”) on offer that never wear out their welcome.

Dio’s voice is of course spectacular, with a power, presence and range he was never to lose. It’s impossible to get tired of, and is instantly recognisable. The album also features some of his more interesting, and strange (i.e. the title track) lyrics. Every song is a winner, but my personal choice picks are “Rainbow in the Dark”, “Invisible”, “Don’t Talk to Strangers” and the title track, but no doubt any one off this album is someone’s very favourite they will defend to the death.

I’ve not got much else to add that others haven’t, except that this is an essential listen - but no doubt you already have (and if not, why not!?) The recent remastered edition contains a bonus audio interview with the man himself which should prove insightful for even the mildly curious.

RIP Ronnie!

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Power Metal Appreciation
    There's few metal styles I've been so fanatical about and then become disillusioned with as fast as I have with power metal. I went crazy over the European branch of the genre, and for a whole summer through to winter listened to practially nothing else. As much as I still love many bands I think it's not evolved as much as it could have since Helloween's classic pair of Keeper albums, and I'd say it's more or less run out of steam for me. The American variant I'm still exploring, but it's a nice change listening to bands such as Manilla Road and Helstar.
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Now -- what are you listening to? V2
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Metal music videos
    A few classics:[TUBE]Fcel9PQjeNA[/TUBE][TUBE]H2rJrB2pHtY[/TUBE][TUBE]RsOxgwF9LlM[/TUBE]


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