MorniumGoatahl

Chris
MMA Special Collaborator · Errors & Omissions Team
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 7 days ago

Favorite Metal Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

1655 reviews/ratings
BLIND GUARDIAN - Somewhere Far Beyond Power Metal
BLIND GUARDIAN - Imaginations From the Other Side Power Metal
AVATARIUM - Avatarium Doom Metal
OPETH - Still Life Progressive Metal
OPETH - Ghost Reveries Progressive Metal
BREED 77 - In My Blood (En Mi Sangre) Alternative Metal
CELTIC FROST - Monotheist Doom Metal
KATATONIA - Brave Murder Day Death-Doom Metal
SOUNDGARDEN - Badmotorfinger Alternative Metal
DEVIN TOWNSEND - Ziltoid The Omniscient Progressive Metal
UNEXPECT - Fables of the Sleepless Empire Avant-garde Metal
AGALLOCH - Marrow of the Spirit Atmospheric Black Metal
BORKNAGAR - Quintessence Melodic Black Metal
FEN - Epoch Atmospheric Black Metal
HAIL SPIRIT NOIR - Mayhem In Blue Black Metal
HAVUKRUUNU - Kelle surut soi Pagan Black Metal
MARE COGNITUM - Phobos Monolith Atmospheric Black Metal
SPECTRAL LORE - III Atmospheric Black Metal
VEKTOR - Black Future Technical Thrash Metal
VEKTOR - Outer Isolation Technical Thrash Metal

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Black Metal 172 3.58
2 Atmospheric Black Metal 142 3.81
3 Progressive Metal 114 3.98
4 Heavy Metal 113 3.81
5 Power Metal 106 4.01
6 Thrash Metal 81 3.67
7 Death Metal 71 3.80
8 Alternative Metal 66 3.20
9 Doom Metal 56 3.87
10 Stoner Metal 54 4.11
11 Traditional Doom Metal 51 4.16
12 Death-Doom Metal 47 3.99
13 Nu Metal 43 1.66
14 Metal Related 38 3.91
15 Hard Rock 38 3.67
16 Symphonic Black Metal 38 3.72
17 Non-Metal 37 2.92
18 Melodic Black Metal 33 3.88
19 Technical Death Metal 31 4.10
20 Funeral Doom Metal 30 4.12
21 Avant-garde Metal 28 3.70
22 Folk Metal 23 3.78
23 Groove Metal 23 3.46
24 Melodic Death Metal 23 3.48
25 Gothic Metal 18 3.42
26 Symphonic Metal 17 3.76
27 US Power Metal 17 4.15
28 Depressive Black Metal 15 3.03
29 Pagan Black Metal 12 3.58
30 Metalcore 11 3.64
31 War Metal 11 4.09
32 Speed Metal 9 3.78
33 Viking Metal 8 4.00
34 Melodic Metalcore 8 3.50
35 Heavy Psych 8 3.94
36 Brutal Death Metal 8 4.00
37 Heavy Alternative Rock 7 2.93
38 Crossover Thrash 6 3.75
39 Technical Thrash Metal 6 4.75
40 Sludge Metal 5 4.30
41 Stoner Rock 5 3.60
42 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 5 4.50
43 NWoBHM 5 4.60
44 Industrial Metal 4 1.25
45 Mathcore 3 4.17
46 Proto-Metal 3 3.67
47 Rap Metal 3 1.17
48 Hardcore Punk 2 3.00
49 Funk Metal 1 2.00

Latest Albums Reviews

POPPY I Disagree

Album · 2020 · Alternative Metal
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I wasn't going to review Poppy's I Disagree, which is her first full metal album after playing with metal elements somewhat in her past work, which was otherwise electronic or ambient based, depending on the album. I had my reasons for not doing it and they were good ones. For one thing it's pretty clear that this is a 'not for me' kind of album as alternative/nu metal generally isn't in my wheelhouse. At least not any more. I just find it an area of metal that apart from the few special bands with staying power has over time lost whatever appeal it may have once had for me; what may have worked when I was a teen or even a young man just doesn't wash now I'm older. I feel like it's almost designed for a younger audience looking for something to rebel to. Of course I know that's not true of every alternative metal act, but it is an overall impression I've acquired. Maybe I've just become a grumpy old man before my time.

I Disagree is an album I would have overlooked had another reviewer not made me curious through what I call the curse of the negative review. The warning was there, but I would not be told and I listened to it. What followed was a horrific experience on the ears, after which the logical thing to do would be to not take my relationship with Poppy's music any further. And it really could have ended there, but here we are, I'm reviewing it all the same. So what changed?

I suppose it's a combination of getting caught up in how much attention the album was getting through that first review, which is the most active I've seen MMA in a while, and my own apparent willingness to be a glutton for punishment for not immediately putting this album out of my mind, instead starting to jot down some notes of what I could say about it until I suddenly reached the point that I'd spent too much time on this album not to review it. Of course one could counter argue that I've also spent far more time on it than this album will ever deserve.

I will make one thing clear in this review for full disclosure reasons: I listened to I Disagree in full once. Just once, with the rest of my experience of it just skipping through checking details and switching it off again. Many will likely argue that this is far from enough times to form a fair opinion of it for a serious review. To be honest I agree, but in this case once really was enough. I also never claimed that this would be a serious review. Instead thinking of it as some random grump throwing in his penny's worth because nobody asked.

And there are really two ways that I could go about this now. I could try to be diplomatic and find some small reasons to give Poppy a bit of credit where I can, or I can just let loose with how I really feel about it. Well actually I'm going to do a bit of both, but one of these things is going to heavily outweigh the other I'm afraid and we're going to go through where I can give Poppy credit first, the few positive things I can acknowledge about I Disagree: it's an ambitious album, the young lady does possess a good voice and her music has a kind of quirkiness to it that could have actually made something entertaining if not of actual substance. And that's as far as I'll go with that!

And now for the truth: I Disagree is an absolute train wreck of an album that comes across like Poppy and her collaborators (who apart from writing credits seem to be a real tight-lipped secret over who actually plays on the album) jumped into the deep end of the pool that is metal music straight away after they barely learned to paddle in the kiddy pool, resulting in an album that while ambitious feels like too many eggs in one basket, one that they then didn't know how or didn't have the ability to handle effectively. Alternative metal was founded on adding atypical ideas to metal, which this does in spades, but it goes overboard, ending up with metal elements that just aren't very interesting and the rest just a complete mess of conflicting ideas that ultimately creates a directionless album that seems like it's stuck between two worlds: where Poppy came from and the metal world she's trying to now break into.

Or is she? You see I did a bit of research on Poppy while piecing this review together. And I found out something that I've heard before from artists who obviously are playing metal: Poppy doesn't actually consider her music to be metal. And that really rubs me up the wrong way. This is an excuse we've heard before in the metal world when an artist is likely savvy enough to realise that what they do won't sit well with the 'true' crowd, as if disassociating what they're doing from metal will make everyone turn around and say 'oh, that's all right then, we take everything bad that we ever said about you back'. Korn did it, but at least Jonathan Davis had a reason to back up the statement for his band: he considered them to actually be based in funk (but sorry Jon, you actually were metal despite your words). Know what Poppy considers her music to be? Post-genre. How fucking pretentious can you get? If by that Poppy means that she just doesn't give a fuck, then I suppose I have to do a 180 and call this album a resounding success, because that's exactly what I Disagree sounds like: throwing literally anything in heedless of what ideas gel together even slightly well. Some of it does, but that doesn't necessarily mean those parts are actually very good.

And unfortunately for her it's very difficult to see where she's coming from with disassociating her album from metal, because unless your metal upbringing was based on the Encyclopaedia Metallum diet of no alternative, -core, industrial and the like, it's pretty obvious that above all else metal is what Poppy has released on I Disagree and she also seems to be trying way too hard to look badass on the album cover. She looks like a fucking caricature.

There are a few tracks here where metal elements are either taking a back seat or not featured at all, but most songs on this blessedly short album are metal songs. Metal diluted with whatever the fuck Poppy's retained from her prior work. Take the opener Concrete for example; it's basically about her getting murdered and her corpse buried in concrete to become a street to hide the evidence of the crime. Some of the album's heaviest music is in this track, but then she goes and mixes it with all with power pop. It would be darkly quirky were the music itself not so jarringly disjointed. At one point she sounds like she's instead singing some anime theme tune. All sunshine and roses when the subject matter of her lyrics is really quite messed up!

And that's really what bugs me throughout this album. Everything included seems to be at odds with everything else. Some might call it experimental, progressive or avant-garde, but I call it simply messy. I'm left feeling that it would actually be easier to take I Disagree seriously if it were obviously that Poppy was just another one of those cute metal acts like Babymetal or Ladybaby, meaning an intended novelty that exists for a bit of fun and not be taken too seriously, as paradoxical as that sounds. But Poppy doesn't belong in the same category as those acts because apparently she's a serious artist.

That's a 'good for her' kind of thing I guess, but I for one remain to be convinced that she has any idea what's she's doing or what kind of music she actually wants to make. If its metal, then she really needs to get her head out of her arse and realise that us headbangers are pretty demanding folk whether our favourite genre is alternative metal, death metal or symphonic post-thrash based mathcore with undertones of gothic rock and celtic folk music and that while we actually are very open to other elements being mixed with metal (several entire genres have been built on that basis), we do still like the actual metal elements to be good. And here they're certainly not. The best I can describe them as is bland. If it's the other stuff, then maybe she should actually focus on that other stuff a bit more, not necessarily never touching metal or heavy elements again but certainly only using them to flavour the music she made her name on. From my personal experience of what fans of pop and electronic like, they also may be happier for it in the long run. Of course that's just speculation, since for the most part people (who are they I wonder?) seem to keep heaping praise on Poppy, but maybe that's just the culture of her background in commercial music: the following is not necessarily based on what the artist sounds like, but their looks or persona. If that's so then she may as well enjoy it, because once her five minutes of fame are up she'll be regulated to the bargain bins for the rest of time.

LOVEBITES Awakening from Abyss

Album · 2017 · Power Metal
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Japan has spawned a little hotbed of female fronted and all female metal bands in recent years. While the novelty and ridiculous among them may be the ones whose names have become household, such as the cringe-worthy Babymetal, most of them are pretty serious acts. Power metal is the usual genre that these acts embrace and with their debut album Awakening From Abyss, released in 2017, the latest act to join the ranks of this scene, Lovebites, have everything they need to storm to the head of the pack.

The main reason for this is simple: musicianship. While no disrespect is intended towards any other band from Japan's female dominant scene, it's obvious that Lovebites are a cut above the norm when it comes to technical level. This is what really helps to elevate their occasionally symphonic sound, which is otherwise very typical for a melodic power metal band, to the next level. Also the riffs have real bite to them, something the typical melodic power metal album often lacks, which makes the music heavier than you might expect an album described as typical melodic power metal to sound like. There are even speed metal and thrash metal leanings in them. And the energy that the musicians play with is infectious.

If there's a weak link to the band achieving some well deserved recognition it would be that the vocalist sings in a quite accented voice that makes it difficult to follow the English language lyrics most of the time. It makes me wonder if she wouldn't be more comfortable singing in her native Japanese. Her voice was a barrier to enjoyment at first, but I have to admit that it has grown on me. I require a lyrics sheet to understand every word though, even after multiple listens to the album.

Should such a typical melodic power metal from 2017 sound this good? Probably not, since it's a style done to death. But that just goes a long way to say that Lovebites, some issues aside, are the real deal. Awakening From Abyss is undoubtedly one of the best power metal releases of the 2010's. Well done ladies.

PARADISE LOST Medusa

Album · 2017 · Death-Doom Metal
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The UK's Paradise Lost are a band I've always liked despite not being that into the genre that they are most associated with: gothic metal. In a genre that seems flooded with so called beauty and the beast bands, they stand out thanks to Nick Holmes' commanding clean vocals, which depending on the album can have some classic James Hetfield vibes to them. But Paradise Lost started their career as an extreme metal band and were a pioneer of the death-doom metal style and it's this style of their early albums that I've personally always been most fond of, with Gothic being my favourite. The sudden reintroduction of death growling vocals on The Plague Within, didn't change that although that album has risen to become one of my favourites from the band. The band's latest album Medusa though, changes everything about my relationship with the band and has already become my favourite album of theirs.

That's because Medusa is Paradise Lost's first death-doom metal album since the early nineties and thanks to the wonders of modern recording and production equipment and techniques, is the most powerful they've ever sounded when playing this style. Sure, there's a brief resurgence of their gothic metal style (with added growling like on The Plague Within) for a couple of tracks, The Longest Winter and the title track while Blood & Chaos is a bit too upbeat to be considered a doom song, but otherwise they've slowed their tempo right down and Nick Holmes is growling even more than on the previous album and certainly in a more death metal manner than is used on the Shades of God album. I don't thinking they've ever been heavier.

Fearless Sky is the perfect opener for this album. Despite it's slow and crushing sound, there's also a triumphant feel to it, especially in the chorus growls from Holmes. Some clean vocals are used, but it's not until those middle tracks that they ever become dominant on the album and by the time of No Passage For the Dead they've back in the centre stage again. I like Nick as a clean singer and am glad he didn't throw those vocals out completely, but despite years of not using growls in the band he can still deliver them and arguably is even better than ever. His appointment to the death metal band Bloodbath may have something to do with that.

The standard version of Medusa is eight tracks long but it's worth picking up the special edition if you can which will also net you two extra tracks: Shrine and Symbolic Virtue. Which both, especially the latter, feel more like The Plague Within or even earlier material compared to the death-doom of the main album, they're definitely worth having. Symbolic Virtue is a good reminder of why Paradise Lost are one of if not the best gothic metal band despite this return to their roots.

MYRKUR Mareridt

Album · 2017 · Atmospheric Black Metal
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A while ago I reviewed the debut album of Myrkur, M. This was during the build up period for this, her second full-length release, Mareridt. Just to you don't have to double back and read what I said about her in regard to that album allow me to summarize: I'm very much in the middle ground when it comes to this artist, whose work has both received strong praise and been deemed controversial, depending on who you ask. For me, to quote, M was simply an 'OK' album.

I also voiced the opinion that rather than the black metal that she is usually (erroneously in my opinion) associated with that some kind of folk metal wouldn't be a more fitting genre for her to pursue. That view has kind of come to pass on Mareridt. It is more folk than M. But the folk parts are typically used outside of the metal elements, so it instead feels like a half folk album and a half metal album, rather than an actual fusion of the two. The metal songs do have riffs that resemble black metal and like with M this is not the only style Myrkur draws from (doom also being noteworthy) and with her clean vocals now used maybe 98% (maybe even 99%) of the time, I actually find this even harder to think of as a black metal record, even by trendy blackgaze standards. This is one genre association that I believe I am doomed to never understand. Just because an artist/label says that's what they play that doesn't mean it's true!

But with that issue aside, I do have to say that I feel a lot more positive about Mareridt as an album than I have ever done about M. The song-writing has felt stronger right from the first listen. There's an issue of identity though. Mareridt is too metal for folk fans to completely enjoy and also too non-metal to be of complete worth to the average metalhead. It ultimately comes over as the kind of album that was written without the artist sure of exactly what they wanted to make, so it's left sitting dead centre on the line between two worlds. And that's the key problem with it: it's exactly the same problem that I found M to have. To quote my earlier review of M, 'the album gives me the impression that Myrkur isn't really sure where she wants to be musically.' There's obvious growth as a musician to be found on Mareridt, but not enough decision making. This one I'll declare as a step in the right direction though.

BELL WITCH Mirror Reaper

Album · 2017 · Funeral Doom Metal
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Back in October this year metal fans from all around boarded the hype train for the third full-length album by funeral doom metal act Bell Witch. Entitled Mirror Reaper, I'd personally been aware of the band but never checked them out. Unless you're the type that lives under a rock though it would have been hard to miss that most who were talking about this album seem to think it is a pretty big deal.

My question to them is a simple one. Why?

First a bit of history. Bell Witch is a duo that doesn't use guitars and is instead driven by bass and drums. That's not unheard of but is still atypical in today's metal and heavy rock climate. So that's a point in their favour to make them more interesting than the average funeral doom metal band. They also suffered a tragedy since their last album Four Phantoms was released in 2015 – one of their original founders, who had already left the band at that point, Adrian Guerra, suddenly passed away. I'm not one to speak ill of the dead, but it's no secret in the music industry that death does wonders for one's career and for better or worse Guerra's passing may have played a role in the amount of attention this album has gotten to date, which appears to be considerable more than the aforementioned Four Phantoms.

But enough about that. The music. And back to my question: why?

Why when Mirror Reaper is, in a word, boring. Composed of just one song that lasts for, wait for it, a whole 83:43 minutes, Bell Witch made a record that couldn't even fit on a regular CD album without being forced to snip the track into two parts and two discs. To some, especially listeners of the digital, uncut version, this may not seem like it's a big deal, it's actually the most obvious example of the problem with the entire album/track. The band's unwillingness to cut it down rather than drag it out until it's long outstayed its welcome. Picture this: a few minutes less on a composition of this length isn't going to make any meaningful difference, so why butcher it for those who (I assume) enjoy it and want a physical copy, by making it that few minutes too long to fit on a single disc? Surely that's a more agreeable sacrifice that enforcing a pause during a song, something I personally despise doing regardless of length. Or perhaps that is Bell Witch's way of admitting that they know they dragged this out for far too long any way and may as well offer an ideal place for listeners to go away and have a tea break.

And 'dragged out' is really the only way to describe Mirror Reaper. The long song length itself it's the issue but it's what they do with it. Funeral doom metal is not a lively genre by default but this is ridiculous. The song is long and it doesn't sound as if they really do much during its running time. There's slow and then there's slow and not actually getting anywhere. This is the latter. Fuck, if they were much slower they'd be playing in reverse. For a lot of the time the music on the album is not even metal, but rather slowcore (an indie rock sub-genre), which is basically just droning clean tone bass guitars, organ and bland clean singing. The actual metal parts are not much better. The band shows off a nice heavy sound and the growling vocals are more convincingly performed, but it's still got the same problem of dragging the band's ideas out too much until they become uninteresting and then some, before they eventually deign to change the song up again. This is the pattern that is basically on repeat for the whole duration.

It's funeral doom metal and to complain that a band releases a dirge seems to be missing the point, but this one seems to be an example of taking things way too far. I'm not sure that cutting Mirror Reaper down even by half its current length would have saved it, but the point is I reckon that Bell Witch could easily have covered every actual musical idea in this song in a ten to fifteen minute track and here's a radical thought: written some more songs to make up the rest of the album! We may have had a release worthy of the hype then.

If its meant to be about atmosphere then I for one admit that I do not get it, because Mirror Reaper as an album and song bores me out of my tree long before it's even a quarter of the way through. I've made myself sit through it a few times to try and get it, but I'm failing to see what this is having such a widespread appeal in the metal world. It's not exciting or even technically interesting. It's certainly not innovative. If guitarless bass driven bands interest you then there are much better examples out there than this, both within the doom metal genre and without. It's just an album that takes a few ideas and runs each of them into the ground and is memorable only in the way that an experience that scars you for life is memorable.

And yet somehow Mirror Reaper has quickly become one of if not the most highly talked about and regarded doom metal albums of 2017. If this is what counts as good in doom metal these days then I have to declare the genre dead. And so one final time, though no one is likely to say anything that is going to change my opinion at this point, my question:

WHY?

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    [QUOTE=LittleBig]I've never used last.fm. [/QUOTE]Here's your trophy for the most pointless thread reply ever.  
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    [QUOTE=adg211288]Artist: Alice in ChainsAlbum: Alice in Chains (AKA Tripod)Old Rating: 3.5/5Verdict: The self-titled Alice in Chains album is the one that, out of those I own, is the one I've short-changed the most, not counting the EPs. This is actually pretty good for the most part, though not up to their best stuff either. It could perhaps grow on me even more if I just spun it more often, but AiC does tend to be one of those bands I go for long periods without listening to at all. New Rating: 4/5[/QUOTE] I'm a bit like that with this one. It's like if you get the hankering for AiC with Layne you reach for Facelift and Dirt and then this one if those haven't sated you. Or you might just listen those again first.

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