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DEEP PURPLE - Made In Japan Hard Rock | review permalink
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PANTERA - Cowboys From Hell Groove Metal
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Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Hard Rock 294 3.59
2 Death Metal 200 3.79
3 Heavy Metal 140 3.61
4 Progressive Metal 135 3.79
5 Thrash Metal 103 3.72
6 Non-Metal 78 3.36
7 Technical Death Metal 62 3.90
8 Melodic Death Metal 57 3.69
9 Glam Metal 53 3.24
10 Doom Metal 41 3.82
11 Black Metal 41 3.79
12 Proto-Metal 38 3.71
13 Brutal Death Metal 31 3.74
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 16 3.91
22 Technical Thrash Metal 15 3.93
23 Heavy Alternative Rock 13 3.46
24 Heavy Psych 12 4.08
25 Atmospheric Black Metal 12 3.54
26 Melodic Black Metal 12 3.88
27 Speed Metal 9 3.50
28 Gothic Metal 9 3.67
29 Funeral Doom Metal 8 3.75
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 Symphonic Metal 4 3.25
35 Sludge Metal 4 4.25
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 Grindcore 2 3.75
42 Industrial Metal 2 3.50
43 Mathcore 2 4.00
44 Nu Metal 2 2.50
45 Metalcore 2 3.50
46 Neoclassical metal 2 3.75
47 Melodic Metalcore 2 3.75
48 Pagan Black Metal 1 4.00
49 Hardcore Punk 1 3.50
50 Crossover Thrash 1 3.00
51 Viking Metal 1 3.00

Latest Albums Reviews

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.

IMMOLATION Harnessing Ruin

Album · 2005 · Death Metal
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It just goes to show how important it is how you listen to your music. Until recently Harnessing Ruin was the only Immolation album not in my collection. I always intended to get it one day for completions sake but until I finally bought it I’d only ever heard it on the computer through crappy speakers or headphones and felt it to be one of their less essential albums. Having had the opportunity to crank it up on a good Hi-Fi, it proved to be a revelation with the sound really opening up and my opinion has changed considerably.

Released in 2005 it was on the tails of two of Immolations most highly regarded albums – Close To a World Below and Unholy Cult. Whilst it doesn’t reach the heights of those two classics it‘s more than a worthy follow up. By Immolation standards at least it’s a bit of an easier listen for the uninitiated than the last two, though of course this being immolation we’re talking relatively speaking. Whilst the sound here is generally a bit denser and muddier and there’s still plenty of their trademark dissonance on display but musically its slightly more melodic and accessible. Robert Vigna still manages to conjure up some incredible off the wall riffs aided by second guitarist Bill Taylor with new drummer Steve Shalaty, who remains with them to this day, filling Alex Hernandez’s shoes admirably as he lays the foundations for all the rhythmic twists and turns you’d expect from these death metal geniuses. Ross Dolan’s low register growl is another instantly recognisable factor, his bass is more felt than to the fore but none the worse for it. Whilst there are no particular stand out tracks it’s a measure of overall quality than weakness and it’s fair to say that in a career that goes back to the early nineties they have yet to release a bad album.

Harnessing Ruin still wouldn’t make my favourites list of Immolation albums but it is up against some pretty stiff competition and whilst not the best place to start in exploring them (for that why not try latest release Atonement) is more than worth a listen.

UNLEASHED Midvinterblot

Album · 2006 · Death Metal
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For some reason and I'm not sure why, Unleashed never seem to have got the respect they deserve. Speaking personally, these days at least, I always expect that when they release a new album it will be very good, even excellent, old school death metal and they have been on a roll for years now. There was a time though in the late 90’s/early 00’s that they released a few whilst not dreadful by any means, less than stellar albums. On 2004’s Sworn Allegiance they really upped their game and Midvinterblot which came two years later was even better, perhaps their best album ever in fact.

Midvinterblot is a fantastic album brimming with memorable old school Swedish death metal laced with a healthy dose of thrash. Most of the songs are pretty short, fifteen in total but barely a bad one amongst them. Unleashed are on fire with an arsenal of great riffs and incendiary musicianship. Most of its up tempo but when it’s not like the (relatively) slow grind of the title track it’s just as compelling due to the catchy as hell riff. Despite the shortness of most of the songs they still manage to pack a lot in with plenty of changes and a healthy dose of melody without resorting to becoming a melodic death metal band. It’s difficult to pick favourites down to the overall great consistency but the first four of Blood Of Lies, This Is Our World Now, We Must Join With Him and Midvinterblot are a grand statement of intent. Equally good is The Avenger with its crushing riffing, the frantic short sharp Psycho Killer, The thrashing I Have Sworn Allegiance and Age Of The Warrior with numerous tempo changes from a slow grind to all out blasts.

The musicianship is as expected top notch with a special mention to drummer Anders Schultz who whilst not overly technical drives it all along to perfection with an explosive performance throwing in all the right fills when required. Johnny Hedlund’s vocals are easily recognisable and stand out amongst death metal growlers and more accessible than most which is no bad thing and you can hear clearly what he’s singing even if they may not be the most thought provoking lyrics.

In the years that followed Midvinterblot I’ve enjoyed all of Unleashed’s albums and thinking about it there must be a new one coming along soon as it’s been three years since Dawn Of The Nine. This to my ears however remains their creative highpoint.

PAT TRAVERS Makin' Magic

Album · 1977 · Hard Rock
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Makin’ Magic is the second album from Pat Travers and the album that introduced me to him having first heard him on a local radio show back in 1977 when this was released. It’s notable for featuring a young Nicko McBrain who we all know would go on to join Iron Maiden a few years later.

Travers had introduced his funky hard rock style on his eponymous debut but here he really establishes it from the off with the driving title track. He shows what a great guitar player he is and McBrain drives things along with tight but loose drumming. Of special mention is Mars Cowling’s busy and to the front bass work which I always thought was integral to the Travers sound. Rock ‘n’ Roll Suzie is pretty much what you’d expect from the title, Rock ‘n’ Roll being something Travers dipped into from time to time. You Don’t Love Me was the first Travers song I owned which featured on a Sounds Magazine freebie album I had at the time – still have it to this day as far as I Know. It’s not one of the best tracks here though being a somewhat ordinary rocker. Stevie is a ballad and would become a live favourite. I never quite got what the fuss was about to be honest and found it a bit dull and dragged out at over seven minutes.

On his debut Travers had overdone the cover versions with four in total. Here there’s only one and it’s well chosen - the Blues classic Statesboro Blues. Perhaps the definitive version of this song was made by The Allman Brothers Band but Travers does it justice with a pacey and lively version making it a very worthy inclusion. Need Love is excellent – an understated piece of syncopated funk rock. Hooked On Music is a Travers classic – more funk and perhaps the best song here and a quick listen will say all you need to know why it was a live staple and often opened his set I believe. The album closes with What You Mean To Me, an instrumental with Travers tasteful guitar work augmented by fender rhodes piano, a keyboard that I’ve always enjoyed the sound of but overall its less than essential though pleasant enough.

To this day Makin’ Magic remains one of my favourite Pat Travers albums, only equalled by Heat In The Street which may just have the edge. This would make a great place to start exploring his extensive back catalogue for sure.


Album · 1976 · Hard Rock
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Although he would go on the make much better albums in the next few years Canadian guitarist/vocalist Pat Travers self-titled debut was a promising start. It laid the ground for the trademark Pat Travers funky hard rock sound aided by the forceful and funky bass playing of Peter “Mars” Cowling who would play on all the classic Travers albums. Sadly I’ve just learnt he has passed away just over a week ago.

The album kicks off with Stop And Smile which is not the best way to announce your career, being a somewhat ordinary piece of 70’s hard rock. Much better is following track Feelin’ Right which is where Travers introduces his funky chops. Written by J J Cale, Magnolia is a rather dull ballad but Makes No Difference is much better and a driving hard rocker that would remain a live favourite for years. Another song that features here that would become a live favourite is Boom Boom (Out Goes The Lights) which was a cover of the Little Walter blues classic. It’s a worthy inclusion and works better than the Chuck Berry cover of Mabelline and the Charlie Ryan song Hot rod Lincoln that follows it here.

As My Life Flies gets things back on track after three consecutive covers . Short and sweet at only two and a half minutes but a decent mid-paced rocker nevertheless. The album closes with what I think is the best and generally overlooked song on the album. Medley Parts 1 & 2, after a start that makes you think you’re in for some jazz rock soon develops into a driving rocker notable for Mars Cowling’s to the front of the mix driving bass work. In fact the song goes through a number of changes and shifts into slower funky mode. A fair part of its instrumental but keeps the listeners interest with a number of twists and turns.

A few too many covers and a couple of ordinary Travers originals rob this album of greatness but when it’s good it’s very good and laid the ground for the better Makin’ Magic that would follow the next year in 1977.

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