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Paul
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1540 reviews/ratings
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SAVATAGE - Hall Of The Mountain King Traditional 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 Thrash Metal | review permalink
METALLICA - Master of Puppets Thrash Metal
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PANTERA - Cowboys From Hell Groove Metal
RUSH - Hemispheres Hard Rock
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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 306 3.59
2 Death Metal 185 3.80
3 Traditional heavy metal 140 3.60
4 Progressive Metal 133 3.77
5 Thrash Metal 115 3.75
6 Non-Metal 72 3.35
7 Technical Death Metal 57 3.91
8 Melodic Death Metal 56 3.69
9 Doom Metal 55 3.85
10 Glam Metal 52 3.26
11 Proto-Metal 43 3.70
12 Black Metal 42 3.80
13 Brutal Death Metal 31 3.74
14 Metal Related 26 3.75
15 US Power Metal 22 3.68
16 Stoner Metal 21 3.88
17 NWoBHM 20 3.75
18 Power Metal 20 3.80
19 Groove Metal 19 3.66
20 Alternative Metal 17 3.29
21 Melodic Black Metal 13 3.81
22 Atmospheric Black Metal 12 3.54
23 Gothic Metal 9 3.67
24 Funeral Doom Metal 8 3.75
25 Speed Metal 8 3.56
26 Funk Metal 6 3.50
27 Death-Doom Metal 6 3.83
28 Death 'n' Roll 5 3.30
29 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 4 3.88
30 Avant-garde Metal 4 3.63
31 Sludge Metal 4 4.25
32 Metalcore 4 3.63
33 Hardcore and crust 4 3.25
34 Symphonic Metal 4 3.25
35 Symphonic Black Metal 3 4.17
36 Folk Metal 3 3.83
37 Grindcore 2 3.75
38 Industrial Metal 2 3.50
39 Mathcore 2 4.00
40 Neoclassical metal 2 3.75
41 Nu Metal 2 2.50
42 Crossover Thrash 1 3.00

Latest Albums Reviews

SAXON Thunderbolt

Album · 2018 · Traditional heavy metal
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For many it will always be those early albums like Wheels Of steel, Strong Arm Of The Law and Denim And Leather that define Saxon’s status as one of the UK’s greatest heavy metal bands. In truth though, apart from a few glitches along the way, mainly late 80’s, Saxon have been churning out high quality metal albums all the way with some even matching those early classics like 2015’s Battering Ram.

Thunderbolt is another winner with the band on fine form aided by an in your face production, a bit more organic sounding than the last one, Battering Ram. It’s the usual mixture of fast and mid paced traditional metal with the occasional slow one (Sons Of Odin) full of compelling guitar riffs that hit hard and immediately with minimum fuss. The title track is a killer as is the Motorhead tribute They Played Rock and Roll – both Saxon at their up tempo best. I’ve always liked Nigel Glockler’s inventive drumming who as usual drives the band with mechanical precision. Biff Byford is still on incredibly fine vocal form, especially for a man of his age and has only lost a bit of his range over the years. He brings in Amon Amarth vocalist Johan Hegg on Predator for a bit of growl assistance but he can’t hold a candle to Biff. It’s all good stuff with only Roadies’ Song being a bit under par but even that in a lesser bands hands would be considered a success.

Overall then Thunderbolt is another great album to add to Saxon’s already impressive discography that any fan of the band is sure to be delighted with.

TRIBULATION Down Below

Album · 2018 · Gothic Metal
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With 2015’s Children Of The Night Swedes Tribulation had made the move they’d hinted at on The Formulas Of Death into more accessible territory. From early days where they were a blackened death metal band they had diversified their sound considerably to include gothic, traditional and prog metal. The result was a brilliant album of some of the catchiest metal, without resorting to any form of compromise, that I’d heard that year.

The single Lady Death, released late last year, suggested the band would be following a similar path on Down Below. That has proved to be the case but if anything they’ve streamlined the sound more and gone for a simpler and more direct approach, at least for much of the time, immediately apparent from the simple 4/4 drum pattern laid down by new drummer Oscar Leander which comes in on opener The Lament. The strong melodies that were such an integral part of COTN remain intact – we’re talking musically here as vocalist Johannes Andersson still sings with his black/death rasp which is perhaps the only barrier from Tribulation reaching a mainstream rock audience such is the accessibility of these songs. Once again the lead guitar work of Jonathan Hultén and Adam Zaars is fantastic – as I remember saying in my review of COTH they’re more old school with an emphasis on well-chosen notes taking precedence over a blur of notes. The same can be said for guitar work in general with no shortage strong riffs interspersed with arpeggios and licks, the overall feel often having a melancholic vibe no better demonstrated on the instrumental Purgatorio . If anything the second half of the album gets even better, the songs becoming a bit more expansive with more twists and turns - listen to Lacrimosa and album closer Here Be Dragons, the latter in particular with its slow build which is a brilliant way to close the album. The icing on the cake is the top notch production – organic and powerful with a rock solid drum sound.

In terms of style and feel Down Below can be considered Children Of The Night part 2. I wouldn’t say it’s better but if you loved that album as much as I do then this has got to be essential listening for you. So early in the year we’ve had excellent albums from Watain, Hamferð and Sinistro and Tribulation can join that list. At this rate I’ll have my top 10 of 2018 by March!

RAGE Seasons of the Black

Album · 2017 · Power Metal
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Rage have been kicking around for an eternity releasing their debut album Reign Of Fear back in 1986. They’ve also been on my radar for almost as long with albums like Black in Mind particularly impressing me but for some reason I’ve never actually bought much by them. There’s a few of their albums on my ridiculously long Amazon wishlist but there always seems to be something that takes precedence and there they stay.

Seasons Of The Black is studio album number twenty two if my maths is correct. If you know Rage then you’ll know what to expect here – Power metal injected with thrash and traditional touches. Probably because they’re old school they manage to a large extent to avoid the cheesy clichés and excesses of much European power metal which is fine with me. SOTB has a smoother production than their last album, 2016’s The Devil Strikes Again and whilst not totally absent they’ve reigned in the thrash elements here. It’s good for sure but not great as a whole and they’ve certainly done better. It has great moments though like opener Season Of The Black which pelts along at a fair pace with some strong riffs and hooks. In fact it’s the faster stuff that works best for me like the thrashier Walk Among The Dead and All We Know Is Not. The biggest problem with SOTB is that nothing after the opener really grabs me in a big way until Walk Among The Dead. Songs like Time Will Tell and Septic Bite whilst not bad by any stretch leave no strong lasting impression. Nevertheless it can be very good at times. Apart from the previously mentioned highlights songs like Justify impress with strong melodies and Bloodshed In Paradise packs plenty of punch. There’s also a bonus six tracks available on the vinyl and digipak versions and songs like Faster Than Hell are better than some that made the final cut so if you’re buying I’d recommend getting one of these versions.

There’s too many gaps in my knowledge of Rage’s albums to start talking about where SOTB sits in terms of their best. What I can say though is despite my previous reservations the strong moments impressed me enough to buy it so that’s got to be thumbs up.

HAMFERÐ Tamsins Likam

Album · 2018 · Funeral Doom Metal
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I’ve only just discovered Faroese doom metal band Hamferð. Their first album Evst released in 2013 having totally passed me by. Still, better late than never and I’m certainly glad to have caught up with them now as Tamsins Likam is the best album I’ve heard in the doom realm for quite some time.

Tamsins Likam is part three of a trilogy that began with their 2010 EP Vilst Er Siðsta Fet. It’s the story of a man who’s racked with guilt over the fate of his family. The story however goes backwards, starting with his death on the EP. Evst was the run up to his death and Tamsins Likam goes back to an earlier time where he and his wife are dealing with the loss of a child. You’ll have to take my word for this however as all the lyrics are sung in Faroese.

Funeral doom is a genre that I generally can only take in small doses despite enjoying work from Evoken, Shape Of Despair and Ahab in particular. The deathly slow tempos wear a bit thin with me after a while and it can sometimes come across as a little one dimensional with little room for variation despite many bands injecting atmospheric and mellower moments between the crushingly heavy riffs. Whilst Hamferð take funeral doom as a starting point, there is more to them than this. Sure there’s the expected doom drenched guitar riffs but drummer Remi Johannesen has a musicality not often seen in the genre amongst drummers with some inventive patterns shaping the song structures. I know very little about the Faroe Islands other than it’s around 200 miles north of the top end of Scotland, but through their music they manage to convey a feeling of cold stark beauty echoing my impression of the place, or what I imagine it to be anyway. This gives their music a unique flavour making them stand out from the doom crowd.

The album kicks off with Fylgisflog in a very understated way. Sparse guitar work and Jón Aldará’s clean mournful vocals take centre stage until it explodes into more familiar doom territory with Aldará using growls for the heavier sections. The music has a cinematic feel for want of a better way of putting it, aided by atmospheric keyboard work, with big riffs displaying a melodic sensibility with much musical tension present. There’s a beauty in this music that in a way reminds me of the way Opeth used to do it in their metal days – the way they could inject beauty in and around the most heavy riffs. Don’t mistake this for thinking they sound like Opeth though but you could say Hamferð are to doom what Opeth were to death metal. This sets the scene for much of the album with quiet restraint juxtaposed against the heavier sections. An exception is the death doom of Hon Syndrast which sounds huge from start to finish with some imaginative chord progressions, riffs and time changes making for a totally captivating listen and is perhaps my favourite of the entire album.

Tamsins Likam is a complete masterpiece of metal and I was so impressed I immediately ordered their last album Evst and plan on doing likewise with their first EP shortly. So early in the year yet I can already declare with confidence that this will be one of the best albums I’ll hear in 2018.

WATAIN Trident Wolf Eclipse

Album · 2018 · Black Metal
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It’s been five years since Watain last released an album. The Wild Hunt divided opinion with many praising the growth of the band, which to be honest was nothing new and has been an ongoing thing since Rabid Death’s Curse. Others thought it a band aiming for a more accessible sound and losing something along the way. It was certainly epic and sprawling at over an hour in length and a big production sound certainly made it easier on the ears than many black metal albums. Whatever, I think it was the equal of anything they’d previously done in the past and joint contender with Lawless Darkness as my favourite from the band.

Forward to Trident Wolf Eclipse and on the face of it, it’s a little perplexing. This is certainly no Wild Hunt part 2. In many respects it seems like a backwards step. Immediately apparent is the raw production, more akin to earlier work and the songs don’t waste any time getting into their stride. One after another they’re in, do their business and bugger off. The one two salvo of Nuclear Alchemy and sacred Damnation is ferocious, both maintaining a frantic pace, as does most of the album. The recognisable Watain chord progressions remain intact however. You won’t mistake this for anyone else, even if Erik Danielsson’s rasp wasn’t there to give the game away. Thankfully the songwriting is excellent and consistent with each song needing little time to ingratiate itself, in part down to them cutting off all the flab. Likewise the musicianship, with the band operating like a well-oiled machine which when you’ve been at this game as long as they have is to be expected. Missing from my vinyl copy is the closing instrumental Antikrists Mirakel but it’s none the worse for it as it plods along somewhat aimlessly, even detracting from the flow of the album to an extent.

Trident Wolf Eclipse at this point in time isn’t my favourite Watain album but it’s damn good nevertheless and a great way to kick the year off. Where they go from here is anyone’s guess but like all the best bands they won’t be bowing to fan expectations I’m pretty sure. Let’s not wait another five years though hey guys.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 5 hours ago in Band name generator
    Galactic Symphony
  • Posted 1 day ago in MMA Best of Year 2017 Results
    ^ I knew Wobbler would walk it. A great album though and would make my top 5 of any poll including all genres.
  • Posted 1 day ago in A 1971 Album Poll 2.0
    So many great albums from Sabbath, Groundhogs, Budgie, Uriah Heep, The Who and Wishbone Ash but it's Zep IV for me.Always thought that Purple album was disapointing.

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