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Paul
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1608 reviews/ratings
MASTODON - Crack The Skye Sludge Metal | review permalink
LED ZEPPELIN - Led Zeppelin Hard Rock | review permalink
LED ZEPPELIN - Led Zeppelin II Hard Rock | review permalink
LED ZEPPELIN - Led Zeppelin IV Hard Rock | review permalink
LED ZEPPELIN - Physical Graffiti Hard Rock | review permalink
SAVATAGE - Hall Of The Mountain King Heavy Metal | review permalink
DEEP PURPLE - Made In Japan Hard Rock | review permalink
KING'S X - Gretchen Goes To Nebraska Hard Rock | review permalink
OPETH - Watershed Progressive Metal | review permalink
RUSH - A Farewell to Kings Hard Rock | review permalink
VOIVOD - Killing Technology Technical Thrash Metal | review permalink
METALLICA - Master of Puppets Thrash Metal
SLAYER - Reign in Blood Thrash Metal
PANTERA - Cowboys From Hell Groove Metal
RUSH - Hemispheres Hard Rock
RUSH - 2112 Hard Rock
OPETH - Ghost Reveries Progressive Metal
IRON MAIDEN - Powerslave NWoBHM
MONTROSE - Montrose Hard Rock
KING CRIMSON - Red Proto-Metal

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Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Hard Rock 294 3.59
2 Death Metal 205 3.80
3 Heavy Metal 142 3.61
4 Progressive Metal 135 3.79
5 Thrash Metal 104 3.73
6 Non-Metal 78 3.36
7 Technical Death Metal 65 3.88
8 Melodic Death Metal 57 3.69
9 Glam Metal 53 3.24
10 Black Metal 42 3.76
11 Doom Metal 38 3.82
12 Proto-Metal 38 3.71
13 Brutal Death Metal 33 3.71
14 Metal Related 26 3.75
15 US Power Metal 22 3.68
16 Power Metal 21 3.79
17 Stoner Metal 21 3.88
18 NWoBHM 20 3.75
19 Groove Metal 19 3.66
20 Alternative Metal 18 3.31
21 Traditional Doom Metal 18 3.94
22 Technical Thrash Metal 15 3.93
23 Atmospheric Black Metal 13 3.58
24 Heavy Alternative Rock 13 3.46
25 Melodic Black Metal 13 3.85
26 Heavy Psych 12 4.08
27 Gothic Metal 9 3.67
28 Funeral Doom Metal 9 3.78
29 Speed Metal 9 3.50
30 Funk Metal 6 3.50
31 Death-Doom Metal 6 3.83
32 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 5 3.80
33 Stoner Rock 5 4.00
34 Sludge Metal 4 4.25
35 Symphonic Metal 4 3.25
36 Avant-garde Metal 4 3.63
37 Death 'n' Roll 4 3.38
38 Crust Punk 3 3.17
39 Folk Metal 3 3.83
40 Symphonic Black Metal 3 4.17
41 Industrial Metal 2 3.50
42 Mathcore 2 4.00
43 Melodic Metalcore 2 3.75
44 Metalcore 2 3.50
45 Neoclassical metal 2 3.75
46 Nu Metal 2 2.50
47 Grindcore 2 3.75
48 Drone Metal 1 4.00
49 Crossover Thrash 1 3.00
50 Hardcore Punk 1 3.50
51 Pagan Black Metal 1 4.00
52 Viking Metal 1 3.00

Latest Albums Reviews

AT THE GATES To Drink From The Night Itself

Album · 2018 · Death Metal
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AT War With Reality, 2014’s comeback album from At The Gates was criticized by some for being too safe and clinical sounding. Personally, I had no problem with it at all and welcomed the bands return to the upper echelons of melodic death metal. In fact I thought it so good I voted it my album of the year on this site and felt that many songs such as The Night Eternal and Eater Of Gods, to name just two, were showing the band at the top of their game.

No such criticism is likely to levelled at To Drink From The Night Itself. It’s a heavier, darker and murkier sounding album. In fact my eyebrows were initially raised over the production where the vocals and drums sound like they’re coming from the opposite end of a very long room to the rest of the band which took a bit of getting used to. I must admit that initially I was a little disappointed but after spending quite a bit of time with it my opinion has changed a hell of a lot. The biggest concern prior to the album’s release was how much of difference it was going to make to the band’s sound minus original guitarist Anders Björler who left in 2017. Fortunately, none at all. This is clearly the sound of At The Gates – the melancholic and melodic riffs, tremolo picked guitars and of course Tomas Lindberg’s distinctive high register growl. New guitarist Jonas Stålhammar has fit seamlessly in, no doubt an advantage having already played in The Lurking Fear with Lindberg and drummer Adrian Erlandsson.

As I said earlier this album did take a few plays to fully reveal itself, in part down to the production. The title track was the first song I heard when the band released it 2 or 3 months back. I must admit that despite being good I wasn’t blown away by it, it being pretty much At The Gates by numbers. It has since grown on me more but there’s much better on offer here, the second half of the album being particularly impressive where they barely put a foot wrong, with songs like In Nameless Sleep and The Mirror Black, after a slow start, having a vibe similar to The Night Eternal, my favourite song from At War With Reality with their use of guitar arpeggios and Erlandsson’s triplet double kick pattern. The latter closing the album in a similar fashion until the strings kick in at the very end. The first half still has some impressive moments though with A Stare Bound In Stone and Palace Of Lepers being particularly good.

To Drink From The Night Itself may bring nothing new to the table, it may not be better than At War With Reality overall, but that’s more to do with my love of that album than any weaknesses here and the production was certainly better last time around. It does however prove to be a consistently excellent album and contains some of the bands finest moments. I keep getting drawn back to it and I can’t give it a better recommendation than to say it’s my most played album since it was released.

SKELETAL REMAINS Devouring Mortality

Album · 2018 · Death Metal
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I was pretty impressed by Condemned To Misery, the second album from Californian death metal band Skeletal Remains and three years later album number three, Devouring Mortality seems set to surpass it in my esteem.

Plain old school death metal which when done well is pretty hard to beat amongst the genres various subs or in metal in general for that matter. Skeletal Remains fortunately do it very well. On Devouring Mortality they may not surprise you with any great leaps forward or genre developments but what you get is an album of songs with classic old school styling with just enough of a modern edge to not sound totally retro. During the next forty five minutes they run through eleven tracks with plenty of variety – i.e. constantly shifting tempos from groove laden slower double kick drum led riffing to fast blast beats and inject moments of brutality into the mix. The riffs are totally compelling and kick ass but let’s face it, metal without great riffs is crap metal right. They’re made all the more powerful by the organic production and are well thought out and executed with precision, the guitar solos likewise which made me sit up on more than one occasion. Chris Monroy’s vocals may not be to everyone’s taste – they aren’t your typical low growl being higher pitched in the vein of Martin van Drunen of early Pestilence/Asphyx fame but work well within the songs being a good counterpoint to the low tuned guitars.

Picking favourites is a pretty futile exercise as the overall quality is very high with barely a weak moment. The only track that doesn’t earn its place is the short instrumental Lifeless Manifestation which sounds like the opening of a song and then fades out without going anywhere. A minor quibble though.

Such was my enjoyment of this album that when receiving it I played it three times solid and many times since. Devouring Mortality is definitely one of my favourite death metal albums of 2018 so far.

PAT TRAVERS Heat in the Street

Album · 1978 · Hard Rock
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Heat In The Street is arguably the best album Pat Travers has ever released. It’s certainly the heaviest. The introduction of Tommy Aldridge on drums and bringing in second guitarist, Pat Thrall seems to have given Travers a good kick up the backside after the disappointing Putting It Straight.

The songs on Heat In The Street burst with energy, the title track kicking things off in fine style laced with great riffs and infused with accents, clever rhythmic shifts and time changes. I doubt there are many Travers gigs where this song hasn’t been played. As brilliant as the title track is it wouldn’t be such a great album if the rest of the songs fell short. The dual guitar partnership of Travers and Thrall is put to good use – these guys play off each other really well, both equally adept at rhythm and lead and throwing in some dual guitar runs to good effect – check out Killer’s Instinct for proof. Even the semi-ballad I Tried To Believe kicks ass in the hands of this line-up. Aldridge fills up the album with some fantastic drumming including his double kick drum work on Evie and instrumental Hammerhead and Mars Cowling proves that he’s one of the best and most under-rated bass players in hard rock, his sound being powerful, funky and clear cutting, often with quite a toppy sound. Go All Night is the band at their funkiest and another highlight. Prelude is another instrumental, lacking the punch of Hammerhead but a good vehicle for some melodic dual guitar runs. The album finishes with One For Me And One For You and after the incendiary nature of most the tracks is a bit of a let-down, bringing it out with a whimper instead of bang.

The same line-up would go on to release another studio album together, Crash And Burn as well as the live Go For What You Know which was one of the best live albums of the era but as far as studio work went this was Travers finest hour and there really isn’t a better place to start if you’re new to him.

PESTILENCE Hadeon

Album · 2018 · Death Metal
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Pestilence has not had the easiest of rides over the years, from fans and critics alike. It could be argued that this is their own doing as they have shifted styles almost on an album by album basis. From their early critically acclaimed death/thrash days they moved into a less raw sounding and more technical form of death metal with Testimony Of The Ancients. They then alienated a lot of fans with the jazz laden Spheres with mainman Patrick Mameli being highly influenced by the guitar work of Alan Holdsworth and other jazz/fusion players. A split followed but a return in 2008 led to the 2009 album Resurrection Macabre which seemed to signal a return to less experimental days. However, it was short lived with following album Doctrine lacking direction and re-introducing the jazz elements to a certain extent though less successfully than on Spheres. The more cohesive Obsideo followed and whilst not ditching the jazz/tech aspects entirely was a far more satisfying collection of songs and one of my favourites from the band.

Roll on to 2018 and Hadeon, studio album number eight. Perhaps they’ve grown tired of the critics but for whatever reason Hadeon is their most straight forward death metal album for a quite some time. It’s certainly doesn’t have the raw sound of Consuming Impulse having an up to date production. Nor does it ditch the technical aspects altogether and with players of this calibre I wouldn’t want them too. Old school death metal it ain’t but they focus more on delivering a collection of songs with great riffs and groove. The riffs are tight and they occasionally throw in a bit of thrash into the overall death metal sound. There’s a healthy dose of dissonance in many of these riffs as well, Oversoul being a prime example which drives along with a strong mid pace groove. All the songs are pretty short with nothing reaching the four minute barrier but they manage to inject plenty of changes into them. There’s still the odd moment of jazz creeping in like the bass led instrumental Subvisions and on some of the guitar solos too which generally have a strong melodic sensibility. Mameli is singing in a slightly lower register to my ears and far more satisfying than the screeching on Doctrine. My only gripe, which is minor, is I could have done without the robotic vocals that appear on a couple of songs like Ultra Demons though they are short lived.

Hadeon should keep most Pestilence fans more than happy (unless you only like Spheres) which doesn’t mean it smacks of compromise. Myself, I thought Obsideo was a great album, but this is equally so, just a more streamlined version of the band.

PAT TRAVERS Putting it Straight

Album · 1977 · Hard Rock
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It’s easy to forget in these days of the internet where it’s possible to hear just about any album you want via Youtube, Spotify etc, but back in the seventies (and even eighties and nineties) when Putting It Straight was released you didn’t get to hear an album unless you bought it or knew someone who owned a copy. If you were lucky you might get to hear a song or two on one of the radio rock shows and that would be about it.

For the reasons above Putting It Straight was an album that I didn’t get to hear in full until quite a few years later although I knew and liked the rest of his seventies output well. I knew Life In London and Gettin’ Betta which were both live favourites, both great tracks, the later in the Pat Travers funky rock mode and the former a driving rocker with a killer riff. When I did finally get to hear it, it was a big disappointment and falling short of his greatest seventies work. Time has revised my opinion somewhat but I still think apart from the two previously mentioned songs it’s his weakest album from that decade. Songs like Runnin’ For The Future and Speakeasy are okay rockers, Lovin’ You is verging on AOR and Off Beat Ride a mediocre Instrumental. Dedication is in two parts – starting with an Organ driven instrumental before descending into a rather dull ballad. Better is the syncopated rhythm of It Ain’t What It Seems though it still pales in comparison to his best work. The liner notes of the CD re-issue state that the band went into the studio with most of the songs not written so this goes to a long way to explaining why it’s not up to the usual standard being a bit of a rush job. Of interest to Iron Maiden fans, it’s the second of two Travers albums to feature Nicko McBrain. Apparently Travers was having (undisclosed) trouble with him at the time and replaced him with Tommy Aldridge shortly after the albums completion.

Overall then Putting It Straight is the least essential of Pat Travers seventies albums despite containing two classic tracks. Fortunately following album Heat In The Street was a great return to form and regarded by many as his strongest album ever.

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