MorniumGoatahl

Chris
MMA Special Collaborator · Doom and Stoner Metal teams
Registered 1 year ago · Last visit 3 days ago

Favorite Metal Artists

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1482 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
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
VEKTOR - Terminal Redux Technical Thrash Metal
HELL - Curse & Chapter Heavy Metal

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Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Black Metal 167 3.53
2 Atmospheric Black Metal 139 3.79
3 Power Metal 102 3.99
4 Progressive Metal 102 3.94
5 Heavy Metal 83 3.87
6 Thrash Metal 74 3.59
7 Death Metal 66 3.74
8 Doom Metal 57 3.80
9 Alternative Metal 54 3.35
10 Death-Doom Metal 46 3.99
11 Traditional Doom Metal 41 4.23
12 Stoner Metal 41 3.98
13 Symphonic Black Metal 39 3.73
14 Nu Metal 38 1.49
15 Hard Rock 37 3.68
16 Melodic Black Metal 31 3.84
17 Avant-garde Metal 27 3.65
18 Funeral Doom Metal 26 4.06
19 Non-Metal 26 2.79
20 Melodic Death Metal 23 3.48
21 Folk Metal 23 3.78
22 Groove Metal 22 3.52
23 Technical Death Metal 20 3.98
24 Symphonic Metal 17 3.76
25 Gothic Metal 17 3.35
26 Metal Related 16 3.38
27 Depressive Black Metal 15 3.03
28 US Power Metal 14 4.04
29 Pagan Black Metal 12 3.58
30 Metalcore 11 3.64
31 War Metal 11 4.09
32 Speed Metal 8 3.81
33 Melodic Metalcore 8 3.50
34 Heavy Psych 8 3.94
35 Brutal Death Metal 8 4.00
36 Heavy Alternative Rock 7 2.93
37 Viking Metal 7 3.93
38 Crossover Thrash 6 3.75
39 NWoBHM 5 4.60
40 Stoner Rock 5 3.60
41 Technical Thrash Metal 4 4.88
42 Sludge Metal 4 4.25
43 Mathcore 4 3.25
44 Proto-Metal 3 3.67
45 Rap Metal 3 1.17
46 Industrial Metal 2 0.75
47 Hardcore Punk 2 3.00
48 Funk Metal 1 2.00

Latest Albums Reviews

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?

MYRKUR M

Album · 2015 · Atmospheric Black Metal
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Danish born musician Myrkur (birth name Amalie Bruun) has certainly picked up a dedicated following and more than her fair share of haters since the release of her debut album M a couple of years ago. She's currently building up to the release of a second, Mareridt, so I figured that now would be an ideal time to put my thoughts down about M. Her fans seem to treat her like she's the best thing since sliced bread while her haters will go out of their way to pull the album to bits and the more vehement ones have even seen fit to insult her personally, which to her credit she really takes in her stride.

Personally I find myself in the middle of these two groups. I am not a fan of the album M per se, but I certainly don't hate it either. One thing that is for sure is that it's nowhere near as bad as the woman's haters would have you believe, but I don't see it as a particularly special release either. It's listenable music at the very least.

Myrkur is associated with the black metal genre but to be honest I don't really hear it too much in this release. The vocal work is mostly clean with only a few parts where she actually uses any growls and for me those are a big part of what makes black metal what it is, though it's also not enough to preclude the release from being considered as such. Ulver, a band which is known to have been a big influence of Myrkur's music (Garm co-produced this album as well), had the first song on Bergtatt using only clean singing and that is definitely a black metal song, but my issue here is that I rarely hear musical techniques that sound black metal, beyond the production sound which does fit the bill. Instead there seems to be bits and pieces thrown together that could fit a number of metal styles. Often it seems that the most unifying element in the album is the use of Nordic folk music, which given Myrkur's fondness of clean vocals over growls makes me wonder if creating some kind of folk metal wouldn't be more her forte.

As is, the album gives me the impression that Myrkur isn't really sure where she wants to be musically. If this is an earnest attempt at a black metal release then it's really not great, but the end product does have its charm. Myrkur's clean singing voice especially, is very good. But I do think she needs to decide whether she really wants to be a black metal artist (which would require her to find some more black metal elements from somewhere) or something else (in which case it may be to her benefit to get rid of what black metal elements she does have on M). I'll be checking out Mareridt out of curiosity when it drops, but for me M will always be simply 'OK'.

3.0/5.0

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