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2216 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 US Power 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
MONTROSE - Montrose Hard Rock
KING CRIMSON - Red Proto-Metal

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Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Death Metal 357 3.76
2 Hard Rock 339 3.58
3 Heavy Metal 174 3.66
4 Progressive Metal 162 3.83
5 Thrash Metal 148 3.73
6 Technical Death Metal 95 3.90
7 Melodic Death Metal 85 3.68
8 Non-Metal 82 3.34
9 Black Metal 76 3.76
10 Glam Metal 59 3.31
11 Doom Metal 53 3.76
12 Proto-Metal 53 3.72
13 Metal Related 49 3.69
14 Brutal Death Metal 43 3.71
15 US Power Metal 34 3.75
16 Traditional Doom Metal 31 3.84
17 Power Metal 29 3.83
18 Stoner Metal 29 3.83
19 NWoBHM 28 3.77
20 Alternative Metal 24 3.33
21 Technical Thrash Metal 22 3.93
22 Melodic Black Metal 21 3.93
23 Groove Metal 20 3.67
24 Heavy Alternative Rock 20 3.35
25 Heavy Psych 16 4.00
26 Atmospheric Black Metal 16 3.56
27 Gothic Metal 12 3.58
28 Speed Metal 12 3.75
29 Death-Doom Metal 11 3.68
30 Neoclassical metal 10 3.60
31 Funeral Doom Metal 9 3.78
32 Funk Metal 9 3.28
33 Symphonic Black Metal 9 3.72
34 Symphonic Metal 7 3.36
35 Sludge Metal 7 4.07
36 Avant-garde Metal 7 3.29
37 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 6 3.75
38 Death 'n' Roll 5 3.40
39 Folk Metal 5 3.80
40 Nu Metal 5 2.90
41 Metalcore 5 3.60
42 Stoner Rock 5 4.00
43 Melodic Metalcore 4 3.75
44 Grindcore 4 3.13
45 Crust Punk 3 3.17
46 Industrial Metal 3 3.67
47 Mathcore 3 4.00
48 Deathgrind 2 3.75
49 Crossover Thrash 2 3.50
50 Viking Metal 2 3.25
51 Pagan Black Metal 1 4.00
52 Rap Metal 1 2.00
53 Drone Metal 1 4.00
54 Hardcore Punk 1 3.50

Latest Albums Reviews

TOXAEMIA Where Paths Divide

Album · 2020 · Death Metal
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My last review for MMA was Skelethal’s 2020 album Unveiling The Threshold, a French death metal band whose sound owed a lot to the original Swedish death metal bands like Dismember and Entombed. My next comes from Toxaemia, a band who can claim to have been around at the start of the Swedish death metal movement. Unfortunately for them, they only stuck around long enough to release an EP and a couple of demos, splitting up in 1991. Incidentally, these early recordings can be heard to best effect on the Burried To Rise compilation. As well as the original mixes there are remixed and remastered versions done by Dan Swano who has worked wonders with them. The band could have been nothing more than a footnote in Swedish death metal but reformed in 2017 and over thirty years after their original formation have finally released their debut album.

Where Paths Divide kicks off proper, after the almost obligatory atmospheric intro piece, in this case the album title track, with Delusions. It’s a great start with a powerful slab of mid paced old school death metal. It’s one of the best songs on the album as is following track Pestilence. Here they up the pace without sacrificing any of the power, ferocious riffs not in short supply on either track. The band never betters these early high benchmarks but nevertheless retain a high standard of compelling and pulverising death metal for most of the album. The albums not about speed, though it has its faster moments, but more about crushing riffs, sometimes slowed to a steady groove, which is aided by the Dan Swano mix who adds an organic and muscular edge to the band’s sound. The playing is solid from band originals Pontus Cervin (Bass) and Stevo Bolgakoff (guitars) aided by new guys Rasmus Axelsson (guitars), Perra Karlsson (drums) and Dennis Johansson (vocals). The album does tail off slightly towards the end but with only a minimal dip in quality Toxaemia have still managed to produce a high quality death metal album.

I was originally leaning towards a 3 star rating before starting my review but repeated plays have allowed most of these songs to get under my skin. Where Paths Divide is an album I’ll enjoy returning to from time to time so it’s definitely worth a good 3 ½ stars. Hopefully there will be more to come from Toxaemia in the future.

SKELETHAL Unveiling The Threshold

Album · 2020 · Death Metal
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A late entry in my 2020 death metal explorations is this second album from French band Skelethal. Released late November, I’ve been living with it since the run up to Christmas and didn’t have as much time to spend with it as I would have liked. It’s only now in these dark, miserable January days, under our third Covid-19 lockdown here in the UK, that I’ve found the time to devote to it that it deserves.

I’m certainly glad to have found the time, as give Unveiling The Threshold a few plays and you’ll discover an excellent old school death metal album that could have been released back in the nineties. Leaning more to the Swedish style, buzzsaw guitars and all, it’s packed with infectiously raw riffs with a dual guitar attack. The sound is authentically raw and organic with just enough of a modern edge to add some extra punch. It’s not only the guitars that benefit from this as the drums really cut through with plenty of visceral power and there’s no shortage of bottom end from the bass. The vocals from Gui Haunting, who also doubles up on guitar, do the job nicely, or should I say horribly. It’s your typical low guttural growl as you’d expect and sits well in the mix without being too in your face. The pace rarely lets up but there’s enough twists and turns to keep things interesting and at thirty seven minutes is just about the perfect length. No songs particularly stand out as a favourite as none really stray from the bands template but the overall quality remains high throughout.

This is pretty much your meat and potatoes no frills death metal, you’ve certainly heard the like many times before if this is your thing. However, Skelethal do it with such enthusiasm and conviction on a consistently strong collection of songs that it’s hard not to be won over by it. Looks like I’m going to have to make some adjustments to my album of the year list here on MMA.

ARMORED SAINT Punching the Sky

Album · 2020 · Heavy Metal
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Armored Saint and me go back a long way. The first album I bought by them was their second, Delirious Nomad when it was released in 1985. On the face of it they should have had a lot more success than they did and I’m not quite sure why they didn’t, as from day one the band have been releasing quality heavy metal. In a career that has seen them split up and reform a few times, their latest run from 2006, Punching The Sky is their eighth studio album. Despite the quality of earlier releases I felt the band reached a career high on 2015’s Win Hands Down, a perfect example of traditional heavy metal with barely a weak moment.

The good news is if you enjoyed Win Hands Down you’re going to also love Punching The Sky. It’s another strong collection of heavy metal full of great songs, melodic but heavy and packed with great riffs and memorable well thought out guitar solos. The bands not so secret weapon has always been the incomparable vocals of John Bush who of course spent time with Anthrax. He’s on fine form as expected here with the right balance of raw power and the ability to carry a tune which he always does magnificently. Of course any fan of Armored Saint knows that the rest of band are fine players and they all put in strong performances here. Like last time around the album is strong as a whole but favourites include the up-tempo End Of The Attention Span and then there’s Lone Wolf which wins the award for catchiest chorus. Then there’s the chugging palm muted riffing of Do Wrong To None alternating between a steady groove and a more up-tempo chorus. In fact the songs on the whole maintain the listeners’ interest with plenty of dynamics, well placed accents and tempo changes, no better demonstrated than on Fly in The Ointment.

Armored Saint have done it again and released an album of classy heavy metal to equal anyone in their field. As a whole it may not quite equal Win Hands Down but that’s more to do with the high bar they set themselves last time than any defects here. It’s not far off though and if they continue to release albums of this quality I’ll be more than happy.

NECROPHOBIC Dawn of the Damned

Album · 2020 · Melodic Death Metal
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Now nine studio albums into their career, which started with the highly regarded The Nocturnal Silence in 1993, Necrophobic have been releasing quality blackened death metal with only the occasional slip. The swingometer between black and death metal varies slightly and these days they seem to have settled on a blackened melodic death metal style which I felt reached a zenith on 2018’s Mark of The Necrogram. Two years later we now have Dawn Of The Damned and it’s almost the same line-up as last time with only a change in bass players, Allan Lundholm replacing Alex Friberg. That’s some going in Necrophobic world as they’ve had quite a few changes of personnel over the years. This stability may explain why Dawn Of The Damned is similar in feel and execution to its predecessor, not only musically but the largely red cover even having a similar look. On Dawn Of The Damned though they may have just exceeded the excellence of Mark Of The Necrogram slightly and produced the finest album of their career.

The short opening instrumental Aphelion sets the mood up nicely before things kick off proper with Darkness Be My Guide and we’re immediately into familiar territory of flailing blast beats and tremolo picked guitar riffs. It’s catchy as hell and a strong way to get things going. Without going into each song the quality continues throughout. There may not be a lot of variation – most of the songs power along at a similar high speed but the energy, melody and strength of the riffs win over and stop lethargy settling in. Two of the songs break the seven minute barrier, The Infernal Depths Of Eternity and The Return Of A Long Lost Soul. Both are highpoints, particularly the latter of the two which actually slows things down, to begin with at least, but ends with all guns blazing on a compelling instrumental outro with excellent guitar solos. Of course the standard of musicianship is high as expected and vocalist Anders Strokirk’s blackened rasp is on top form. This all helped by a sympathetic and powerful production.

There will always be those I’m sure that cite their debut or perhaps The Third Antichrist as the bands high point, both excellent albums for sure, but for me it’s their later years where Necrophobic have really hit their stride. Dawn Of The Damned is essential listening for anyone who’s ever liked this excellent band and sure to be in my top ten at the end of the year.


Album · 2020 · Melodic Death Metal
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I’m always a bit wary when I discover that what I thought was a band turns out to be a one man project. Nothing wrong with that in theory, but you can’t beat a band environment for quality control and having someone tell you that your latest idea is shit when you think it’s the dogs’ bollocks. Death Divine is the work of UK based musician Daniel James who prior to his latest album, Affliction, has released an EP and a full length album, The Oracle in 2019. James seems to have played everything including the vocals apart from some additional singing from Elisha Martin on the song Without You.

Affliction is melodic death metal, fairly well played, though for the large part the song structures are fairly simple. It’s a long way off the most exciting death metal I’ve heard this year but overall it’s not bad either. James has an ear for a decent melody which seems to improve after the first few tracks. In fact on the early part of the album I was somewhat underwhelmed with songs like opener Breaking Out Of Hell and Desire, whilst not bad by any stretch, lose my interest quickly being somewhat repetitive and lacking that killer punch. Again, nothing wrong with being a bit repetitive but you need a memorable riff or two to back it up. It’s on track four where things pick up. Not only does the song structure offer more variation but it also has a memorable melody, particularly when guest vocalist Elisha Martin comes in. It may be your typical beauty and the beast approach but she has a good voice and if I was James I’d use her more in the future. After that So Sick changes things to a more atmospheric vein, ditching to a large extent the melodic side. This returns for another one of my favourites, No Hope which contains some memorable hooks including a pleasing guitar solo. It also throws in a few more changes to keep things interesting. The album goes out on another one of the better songs, the title track. At six and a half minutes is it the longest song on the album and fortunately the strength of the melody carries it including an insistent keyboard part.

The production is not bad considering it’s what I assume to be a home studio recording. It lacks some teeth but it’s mixed fairly well and everything cuts through clearly. I may be wrong but it sounds like the drums are programmed. They do the job but lack power and a real drummer could have spiced the parts up a bit. James’ guitar work is overall tight and he’s certainly a decent player, not only on his rhythm parts but also on the solos.

Affliction is an overall good album from Death Divine. It’s not going to set the death metal world on fire and unfortunately down to the sheer quantity of stuff getting released likely to remain unheard by most. That’s a shame as James is not without talent. He may be perfectly happy working on his own but if he got a decent band behind him it could make all the difference to his work in the future.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 2 hours ago in MMA Best of Year 2020 Discussion Thread
    Hail Spirit Noir are going to take some beating.
  • Posted 20 hours ago in Metal Up Your Ass and all that Jazz Room V2
    [QUOTE=adg211288]My parents got their first vaccine's booked today. We all know that the jab is not a get out of jail free card, but it's a weight off my mind that they will be getting it. I'm bothered about the new 12 week interval though. Long way until the country is out of the woods yet.[/QUOTE] Glad to hear it. My parents, both 85, had it a week ago. Pissed off my daughter hasn't managed to get hers yet and she's a radiographer with the NHS dealing with Covid every shift.
  • Posted 20 hours ago in Metal Up Your Ass and all that Jazz Room V2
    [QUOTE=adg211288]I've had toothache for five days straight now (bloody wisdom teeth that have never come through) and the last thing I want to do right now is have to go to the dentist. I know it's probably safe enough, but I keep hoping it'll calm down. I've had trouble on and off for them for years, but not for this long in one go. Oddly I get less trouble with the one wisdom tooth I know is impacted from a x-ray I had done a couple of years ago, then I do from the straight ones. [/QUOTE] Nothing worse than toothache, hope it settles down. I've had my last 3 dental appointments cancelled by the dentist since July. Only check ups and to be honest I'd rather not go at the moment anyway, unless I have to.


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