Necrotica

Brendan Schroer
MMA Special Collaborator · Death, Thrash, and Prog Teams
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 22 days ago

Favorite Metal Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

1229 reviews/ratings
CRADLE OF FILTH - Dusk and Her Embrace Symphonic Black Metal
THE SMASHING PUMPKINS - Siamese Dream Heavy Alternative Rock | review permalink
OPETH - Still Life Progressive Metal
CORRUPTED - Paso Inferior Drone Metal
ULVER - Nattens Madrigal: Aatte Hymne Til Ulven I Manden Black Metal | review permalink
DEATH - Symbolic Technical Death Metal
GOJIRA - The Link Death Metal
SYMPHONY X - The Divine Wings Of Tragedy Progressive Metal
METALLICA - Master of Puppets Thrash Metal
KREATOR - Pleasure to Kill Thrash Metal
DREAM THEATER - Images and Words Progressive Metal
THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN - Calculating Infinity Mathcore
ALICE IN CHAINS - Dirt Alternative Metal
QUEEN - A Night At The Opera Proto-Metal
KAMELOT - The Black Halo Power Metal
X JAPAN - Art Of Life Progressive Metal
PRIMUS - Tales From the Punchbowl Funk Metal
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS - Blood Sugar Sex Magik Non-Metal
FOO FIGHTERS - The Colour and the Shape Heavy Alternative Rock
L7 - Bricks Are Heavy Heavy Alternative Rock | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Thrash Metal 107 3.75
2 Progressive Metal 104 3.80
3 Heavy Metal 102 3.46
4 Hard Rock 101 3.50
5 Non-Metal 92 3.51
6 Heavy Alternative Rock 74 3.71
7 Death Metal 71 3.77
8 Alternative Metal 56 3.75
9 Power Metal 54 3.68
10 Melodic Death Metal 40 3.58
11 Metalcore 35 3.27
12 Technical Death Metal 35 3.84
13 Nu Metal 32 3.25
14 Deathcore 30 2.87
15 Metal Related 22 4.00
16 Proto-Metal 20 3.90
17 Technical Thrash Metal 18 4.28
18 Hardcore Punk 16 3.84
19 Avant-garde Metal 15 4.03
20 Black Metal 14 4.11
21 Groove Metal 13 3.65
22 Mathcore 13 4.08
23 Funk Metal 12 4.04
24 US Power Metal 12 3.63
25 Sludge Metal 12 4.00
26 Grindcore 11 3.27
27 Symphonic Black Metal 10 3.90
28 Rap Metal 9 3.78
29 Melodic Metalcore 9 3.61
30 Brutal Death Metal 8 3.88
31 Crossover Thrash 8 3.75
32 Symphonic Metal 8 3.63
33 Glam Metal 7 3.50
34 Gothic Metal 7 3.36
35 Drone Metal 7 4.29
36 NWoBHM 7 3.86
37 Industrial Metal 5 4.10
38 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 5 4.40
39 Speed Metal 5 4.10
40 Traditional Doom Metal 4 4.25
41 Cybergrind 3 4.17
42 Melodic Black Metal 3 4.17
43 Death-Doom Metal 2 4.00
44 Goregrind 2 3.50
45 Folk Metal 1 4.50
46 Funeral Doom Metal 1 4.50
47 Doom Metal 1 4.00
48 Atmospheric Black Metal 1 4.00
49 Death 'n' Roll 1 3.50
50 Heavy Psych 1 4.50
51 Viking Metal 1 4.00
52 Stoner Metal 1 4.00
53 Stoner Rock 1 4.00

Latest Albums Reviews

RIVERS OF NIHIL Where Owls Know My Name

Album · 2018 · Technical Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
In the 23 years I've spent on this planet, Where Owls Know My Name may be the most frustrating album I've ever encountered. Somewhere within this behemoth of a record, there lies an amazing journey that's equal parts harsh and melancholic; unfortunately, all of the external baggage caused by the inconsequential songwriting and sterile production robs it of its power. What's really sad is that, initially, all the ingredients to make this a masterpiece are in place. We're presented with incredible technical abilities from the musicians, lots of emotional potency in the performances, and an experience that's clearly striving to elevate the world of progressive death metal to something more ambitious and impactful. However, Where Owls Know My Name just goes in one ear and out the other and quickly becomes a dull grind akin to background noise.

The lack of dynamic range may actually be the biggest culprit here, especially as far as the metal sections go. There never seem to be any discernible climaxes or moments of catharsis, as the waves of guitar distortion and compressed production just wash over any sense of sonic variety. The best moments of variation and emotional weight come in the form of the album's quieter segments, such as the subtle keyboard-driven opener "Cancer/Moonspeak" or the beautiful saxophone break in "The Silent Life." But even these types of segments tend to be undercut by the generic riffing and djent-oriented chugs that kill both the pacing and ambition of the album. The entire first half of "Old Nothing" is crammed with intrusive blastbeats and dull deathcore riffs that ruin the album's sense of progression, as well as killing any potential atmosphere that could make it interesting. On top of that, quite a few moments just sound out of place and... well... ugly. "A Home" sounded great during the opening guitar chords, and the band didn't really need to throw a giant mess of triggered drum acrobatics all over it. Really, the majority of the metal in this experience is defined by strikingly similar chord progressions and tempos being glazed with gutless melodic noise that fills the treble end, while some chugs and mid tempo drum progressions try to fill in the cracks of the low end. That's basically the metal-oriented material in a nutshell, and it defines most of the tracklist. It's really easy to tune out of this album as it's playing, and very few moments really manage to gain one's attention back in a significant way.

Still, I'll give credit where it's due. Some moments still manage to be breathtaking, most notably that gorgeous acoustic intro to "Subtle Change." The song sounds like a real expedition, as the melodic bass traverses across the ample terrain of the rolling drums... there's a lot of 70s prog influence on this one, and it's one of the only songs in which the loud and quiet moments aren't too intrusive to each other. There's also a nice cleanly sung ballad intro that kicks off the title track, reminding me a lot of Paul Masvidal's vocals in the last few Cynic records. Finally, the last track "Capricorn/Agoratopia" cleverly brings the album full circle by using the intro track and giving it more fleshed-out instrumental accompaniment to drive the final mini-epic home. It's a decent way to conclude Where Owls Know My Name; I just wish the journey to get there was worth it.

It's not that the album comes off as misguided, but rather it sounds inconsequential and dull. If it was reduced to about 30-35 minutes and given an EP format, I might recommend it to fans of progressive death metal or even post metal. But in its current state, it happens to be arduous, overbearing, and boring all at the same time.

METALLICA St. Anger

Album · 2003 · Thrash Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
St. Anger is a bad album. St. Anger has no solos. St. Anger has irritating and off-key vocals from James Hetfield. St. Anger has an horrible-sounding snare drum. But none of these points are a revelation, clearly. We’ve all heard these criticisms uttered countless times, and Metallica fans often point to it first (well, either this or Lulu) when they talk about the band losing their touch. It’s gotten to the point that other bands’ failures - such as Morbid Angel’s Illud Divinum Insanus and now Machine Head’s new album Catharsis - are being considered their respective artists’ versions of St. Anger. Indeed, it has that reputation. So why am I even bringing any of this stuff up?

Because I want to focus on intent. One quote from James Hetfield really struck me: “St. Anger is just the best we can do right now.” If you’ve never checked out the background behind the album (see: Some Kind of Monster), the history behind its conception is one giant shit-show. Jason Newsted left the band, James Hetfield was going into rehab as his alcoholism reached its breaking point, the band received backlash due to a lawsuit with Napster, and the group even hired a therapist to help them with their emotional struggles. But what’s even more important is that St. Anger was intended as a return to Metallica’s garage band roots, which explains the lack of solos. In Kirk Hammett’s words: "We wanted to preserve the sound of all four of us in a room just jamming.” As butchered and broken as the final product sounds, I can’t stress how much of a passionate piece of music the whole thing is. It’s such a deliberate attempt to avoid the mainstream hard rock trappings of Load and ReLoad to capture something from their distant past, and that’s where my admiration for it truly comes from. Many of us were in a shitty garage band back in our youths, sounding like ass but thinking we were true badasses as we played covers of our favorite bands. Hell, I was in one of those shitty bands myself! I briefly sang in a short-lived rock band in my junior year of high school, belting out such classics as “Seven Nation Army” and “Beast and the Harlot.” I don’t really talk to my old bandmates anymore, but those memories are always going to be part of me no matter where I go. For better or for worse (well, certainly for worse, but still…), St. Anger gives me the same feelings.

The album has a distinct fury and aggression that seem genuine, stemming from the band’s actual struggles and frustrations in their personal lives. Metallica was a very broken band at the time, and sometimes the best way to reboot your career is to start from ground zero and rebuild your sound from there. St. Anger is ground zero, much like the band’s pre-Kill ‘Em All days were their original ground zero. This is Metallica in their purest, most unhinged form. It may be ugly, badly written, and just fucking horrible in its overall presentation, but it also holds a place in my heart because of the exact same reasons. This is an awful, messed up, glorious, phenomenal disaster.

INCUBUS (CA) Morning View

Album · 2001 · Heavy Alternative Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
From time to time, you have that certain album that just defines you. Whether it’s from the standpoint of location, personal history, or correlation with friends, some music becomes an extension of our personalities and identity. And with this particular record, we’re talking about a piece of music that introduced me to an entirely new world (figuratively speaking). Not only is Morning View a beautiful throwback to my extensive history in California, but it was basically the impetus to alternative rock becoming one of my all-time favorite genres. This was a serious game-changer upon first listen, and every subsequent listen just revealed more manifold layers of meaning and technical prowess. Even today, it’s hard not to be impressed by how many levels Morning View entertains and impresses on.

But let’s backtrack for a second. Earlier on, I stated the album is “a beautiful throwback to my extensive history in California,” and that doesn’t just apply to my own history with the record. This applies to the sound as well. There’s a distinct vibe Morning View brings out, one of waves and sunny skies. Even in its most heavy and distorted moments (and there are several, as the album still warrants the “alternative metal” tag), a calm zen-like atmosphere still reigns supreme with this experience; it’s meditative and tends to ebb and flow like the aural representation of a quiet ocean. But that’s not a knock against the diversity that Incubus brings to the table… in fact, this might just be their strongest balance of soft and heavy elements to date. Whereas S.C.I.E.N.C.E. wore its eccentric influences on its sleeve (although in some incredibly cool ways) and Make Yourself still carried over some faint traces of the band’s nu-metal roots, Morning View just feels like a more centered and balanced piece of work. It’s often gorgeous, such as the pipa-driven ebbs and flows of the oriental ballad “Aqueous Transmission” or the delicate clean-guitar intro to the expansive power ballad “Just a Phase.” But these moments are almost always offset by the strident, heavy power chords that define many of the other numbers here. Opener “Nice to Know You” doesn’t take much time making itself known, storming the speakers with a crunchy Drop-D riff that really sets the mood for the album to come. “Circles” is even more intense, immediately diving into a groove that’s almost impossible not to headbang to - even in the most melodious moments of the piece. But when the fantastic power ballad “Wish You Were Here” comes in, we get a lot more perspective on the album’s strengths. Basically, it’s all a yin/yang thing. Both extremes are respectful of each other and don’t interfere with each others’ boundaries.

If anything, many of the heavy moments are used as building blocks on the quiet foundations, performing in a fashion not unlike a good deal of post-metal. There are certainly short bursts that come around, such as the metallic banger “Have You Ever,” but much of Morning View’s beauty lies in how the dynamics blend. It lies in how each volume level communicates with one other to get to the finish line, much like how instruments “talk” to one another in improvisational jazz music. Perhaps the reason this album was so resonant with me was because it taught me the importance of atmosphere and how it can be created. In both concept and execution, Morning View is a true cornerstone as far as combining atmosphere with songcraft goes. It simulates the crashing of the California waves and the serenity of an empty beach with its own interpretations, giving us powerful slabs of alternative metal with strong doses of melody and expansive arrangements. Even one of the tightest, funkiest songs on here, “Are You In,” compliments its catchy groove with a laid-back and peaceful vibe that fits the rest of the tracklist. And really, that’s what Morning View gives me every time I hear it: peace. Relaxation. Ease. It feels like a burden being lifted off the shoulders and into the ocean. It sounds like a spiritual and mental cleansing. And it plays like the best moments of one’s past returning in an overwhelming emotional release. This is musical rejuvenation.

THE FACELESS In Becoming a Ghost

Album · 2017 · Technical Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Up until now, my relationship with The Faceless had been a slowly deteriorating one. When I first heard Planetary Duality and Akeldama back in 2009, I thought it was the heaviest, fastest, and most technical shit on the planet. The intricate guitar harmonies, the frenzied drumming, and varied vocal work made it clear to me that we were witnessing a fantastic new beacon for technical death metal. Throw in some progressive rock influences and some creepy sci-fi interludes for good measure, and things just got more interesting. But sadly, Autotheism ruined the good will built up by many fans. It wasn’t an awful album, but it sounded disjointed and undercooked by the band’s standards. And of course, lead guitarist and (I guess) figurehead Michael Keene’s ego seemed to be getting in the way of the band’s future. So it’s pretty safe to say that I was approaching In Becoming a Ghost with much more caution than usual. Luckily, I’m pleased to report that my fears have mostly been erased.

In Becoming a Ghost is largely defined by a more cinematic, progressive identity than its predecessors, and it can be considered the band’s furthest removed from their original sound. But, bizarrely enough, this isn’t as much of a problem as you’d think. The experimentation is wrapped up in song structures and lyrical themes that are both engaging and tight, and the progressive elements serve more to bolster the atmosphere than be an excuse to noodle around. As if the haunting piano part of the intro title track wasn’t cool enough, we get to hear some killer tech-death flute melodies (!) and full-on symphonic passages in its followup “Digging the Grave.” That’s not to say the aggression is absent, though; Abigail Williams vocalist Ken Sorceron is more than enough to fill the shoes of Derek Rydquist with his strong mix of guttural growls and black metal shrieks. The riffs are still quite punishing in parts too, especially in the killer tremolo-picked riff that kicks of “The Spiralling Void.” But the difference between this album and Autotheism is that it seems to have more purpose to it. I get the sense that the band members genuinely put their all into this one, and that they really wanted to experiment around with what they thought was cool. Oftentimes, the framework surrounding the riffs is just as interesting as the riffs themselves, such as the weird staccato bass stabs that dance around the guitar intro of “I Am” or the deranged orchestral breaks in “Shake the Disease.” As for the problems with the album, I only have two major ones. One is, as in Autotheism, that Michael Keene’s voice gets way too much time in the spotlight. Remember when his voice would pop up very sparingly in Planetary Duality to add a little extra atmosphere and variety" Well, he sings in just about every track here. And, simply put, his voice is just boring. His inflections make him sound uninterested with the subject matter, and he draws attention away from the far superior performances of Ken Sorceron. Also, while the band’s technical skills are still impressive, the riffs aren’t the most memorable around. This has been a problem with past Faceless records, but sometimes the band get so caught up in their experimentation and technicality that their riffs don’t really stick with you very well. But maybe that’s because In Becoming a Ghost will need a bit more time to sink in. Regardless, it’s impressive what they accomplished here. It seems as though the band are getting closer to fully realizing their potential as a progressive death metal band; it’s just time that they tightened up their songcraft... and perhaps let Michael Keene stick to just his guitar playing and songwriting.

AVENGED SEVENFOLD The Stage

Album · 2016 · Heavy Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Progressive. Theatrical. Ambitious. These are the words that immediately come to mind when describing Avenged Sevenfold’s newest release, and they’re the words that make it so unique in their discography. The Stage takes the quintet’s tried-and-true sound and offers a more complex and bombastic take on it, as well as some aggressive thrash passages that keep the intensity going in the meantime. While this isn’t the first time the band have delivered on the technical end - City of Evil and Waking the Fallen had plenty of those moments - it was never delivered with such potency or meaning. What we’re listening to is a full-fledged progressive metal experience revolving around the elements of artificial intelligence, science fiction, and the flaws of society. And when exploring each thought-provoking theme, the band sound revitalized and full of vibrancy; this is especially true when comparing the album to its dull and stripped-down predecessor Hail to the King, which seemed more interested in emulating influences rather than expanding on them. Traces of Dream Theater, Metallica, Nevermore, Rush, and Mastodon can all be detected in The Stage, but the band’s ability to make it an unmistakably Avenged Sevenfold record is what makes it all distinct. Whether it’s the elaborate orchestrations of City of Evil, the aggressive-yet-melodic metalcore stylings of Waking the Fallen, or the traditional metal anthems of Hail to the King, Avenged Sevenfold manage to incorporate these past incarnations into a fresh new synthesis. And, as someone who’s waited since City of Evil for this band to go progressive, I can’t tell you how excited I am that they’ve fully embraced this approach.

It’s not just expressed in terms of complexity or technicality, either. Perhaps the best thing about The Stage is that it provides listeners with an audio-visual approach to music, in which the lyrics and musical atmosphere match up beautifully. For instance, “Higher” is about a failed NASA test. What music accompanies it" An epic neoclassical metal tune with space rock stylings, complete with cosmic synthesizers and an elaborate choir section to top it off at the end. “Creating God” expresses religious conflict and denial, which is symbolized by the combination of major and minor chords clashing throughout the track. But maybe the strongest example is the final track “Exist,” a 16-minute song meant to be an aural representation of The Big Bang. The first section symbolizes the creation of the universe, and the second represents the creation of Earth itself. Overblown" Yes. But there’s no denying the creativity and ambition behind the concept, especially when the band gets Neil DeGrasse Tyson in for a spoken word clip to drive home the explosive finale. And as I stated before, the aggression isn’t lacking either. “God Damn” is a nice little slice of thrash, brutal but controlled in its approach. The title track is another great example, starting with a fantastic melodic buildup before giving us some heavy mid-tempo riffage to chew on throughout the majority of the song. Unfortunately, M. Shadows continues to be Avenged Sevenfold’s greatest weakness; while he doesn’t drag things down as much here as on other efforts by the band (I’m looking at you, City of Evil), I can’t help but think that a better singer could be bringing all these great lyrics to even greater heights. But really, it’s mostly in the more aggressive moments that he suffers from his limitations, as he’s often great in softer settings. His multi-octave approach in the symphonic ballad “Roman Sky” is beautiful to listen to, and it’s hard not to get goosebumps when he emotes so well in the ballad portion of “Exist.” Either way, he’s still brought up by the rest of his bandmates, who manage to do an impeccable job at their respective instruments. Special kudos go to Brooks Wackerman, who I honestly didn’t expect to be such a technical and intricate drummer. More than anything, The Stage is simply an exciting album. It’s an amazing display of what Avenged Sevenfold could eventually become with their collective talents, as well as a triumph in its own right. You did well, boys!

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 11 months ago in Bricks are Heavy
    Had to go with Everglade, which is still one of my all-time favorite grunge songs. The entire album is a fucking masterpiece though
  • Posted 1 year ago in Now -- what are you listening to? V2
    [QUOTE=UMUR] http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/album/gojira/magma[/QUOTE] Nice! How are you liking it? I know a lot of people aren't too into it, but I think it's fantastic. It might be more simplistic, but the post-metal elements and emotional weight make it a really good record in my eyes (or ears, I guess) 
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Punk recommendations?
    Bad Religion, The Exploited, Refused, At the Drive-In, Splendora, Big Black, Helmet (their early work is more hardcore-oriented), L7, Tijuana Sweetheart, Anti-Cimex, Discharge, Disclose, Turbonegro, The Bronx, Minor Threat, Against Me!, Supergrass (although they're more like a mix of Britpop and punk, they're absolutely fantastic), Dismemberment Plan (they combine indie rock, post-hardcore, and math rock), Urban Waste, Government Issue, Local H, Sleater-Kinney, Captain We're Sinking, The Dwarves, Botch, 7 Year Bitch, The Gits, and many more. I could go all day 

Shouts

Please login to post a shout
No shouts posted yet. Be the first member to do so above!

Contents

Member Zone

Username:
Password:
Stay signed in

Metal Subgenres

Artists Alpha-index

MMA TOP 5 Metal ALBUMS

Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
Master of Puppets Thrash Metal
METALLICA
Buy this album from our partners
Moving Pictures Hard Rock
RUSH
Buy this album from our partners
Powerslave NWoBHM
IRON MAIDEN
Buy this album from our partners
Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II Power Metal
HELLOWEEN
Buy this album from our partners
Rust in Peace Thrash Metal
MEGADETH
Buy this album from our partners

New Metal Artists

New Metal Releases

Fearless Heavy Metal
GUS G.
Buy this album from MMA partners
Hago Progressive Metal
HAGO
Buy this album from MMA partners
A Part of Orion Metalcore
FOR THOSE WHO CAN SEE
Buy this album from MMA partners
Life In Exile Metalcore
SHIELDS
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Metal Online Videos

Meat Shits - Silence Machine
MEAT SHITS
Vim Fuego· 8 hours ago
Cock And Ball Torture - Aphrodisianus
COCK AND BALL TORTURE
Vim Fuego· 2 days ago
More videos

New MMA Metal Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions

More...

Latest Metal News

members-submitted

More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us

Buy Metal Music Online