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Paul
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1348 reviews/ratings
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OPETH - Watershed Progressive Metal | review permalink
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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 272 3.60
2 Death Metal 142 3.82
3 Progressive Metal 127 3.74
4 Traditional heavy metal 122 3.55
5 Thrash Metal 111 3.74
6 Non-Metal 58 3.32
7 Doom Metal 53 3.86
8 Melodic Death Metal 51 3.66
9 Glam Metal 48 3.20
10 Technical Death Metal 48 3.93
11 Proto-Metal 41 3.70
12 Black Metal 37 3.82
13 Alternative Metal 23 3.50
14 Metal Related 23 3.72
15 Brutal Death Metal 21 3.64
16 US Power Metal 20 3.70
17 NWoBHM 19 3.68
18 Groove Metal 18 3.64
19 Power Metal 14 3.79
20 Stoner Metal 14 3.93
21 Melodic Black Metal 10 3.85
22 Atmospheric Black Metal 9 3.39
23 Speed Metal 8 3.56
24 Death-Doom Metal 5 3.80
25 Death 'n' Roll 5 3.30
26 Gothic Metal 5 3.40
27 Sludge Metal 4 4.25
28 Avant-garde Metal 4 3.63
29 Funeral Doom Metal 4 3.75
30 Funk Metal 4 3.25
31 Hardcore and crust 4 3.25
32 Symphonic Metal 4 3.25
33 Symphonic Black Metal 3 4.17
34 Nu Metal 2 2.50
35 Grindcore 2 3.75
36 Metalcore 2 3.75
37 Neoclassical metal 2 3.75
38 Industrial Metal 2 3.50
39 Folk Metal 2 3.75
40 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 2 3.75
41 Crossover Thrash 2 3.50
42 Mathcore 1 4.00

Latest Albums Reviews

HAKEN The Mountain

Album · 2013 · Progressive Metal
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Metal Music Archives Reviewer's Challenge: Album selected by mlkpad14.

My introduction to Haken came with their second album Visions released in 2011. Very impressed I was too – here was a band that had the chops of Dream Theater, who were clearly an influence but were writing more interesting music than that band had released for some time. Discovering their debut later I found the quality of songwriting nowhere near as strong though it had its moments.

The Mountain is the bands third album, of four so far and it’s pretty much neck and neck with Visions for their best work. Certainly the production is excellent and an improvement having a more natural sound than the processed sound of Visions. Musically it follows in the footsteps of past work - complex prog metal with plenty of dynamics and strong melodies interlaced with the occasional quirky moment. Just listen to the mid song instrumental section on In Memoriam for a jaw dropping demonstration of what these guys are capable of and few others are. The album though is littered with many more equally dextrous moments which are rarely less than captivating. All this wouldn’t count for much though if they didn’t have the songs to carry it. Fortunately they do, vocalist Ross Jennings managing to inject plenty of melody over the complex music which can also be pretty melodic at times though at its best when they go out on a limb in the many instrumental passages. The best of these apart from the afore-mentioned In Memoriam tend to feature in the longer pieces like Cockroach King, Falling Back To Earth and Pareidolia. The light and shade moments strategically placed between these wilder moments work nicely pacing the album well and keep the band from disappearing entirely up their arse with too much musical masturbation.

The standard of playing from all is not surprisingly virtuosic but special mention goes to drummer Ray Hearne who manages to out-Portnoy Mike Portnoy with a dazzling display of dexterity and power. One of my favourite drummers playing in any genre of music today.

After The Mountain I found 2016’s Affinity somewhat of a disappointment mainly in the instrumental workout department despite some solid moments. For now I’d recommend this as the best place to discover Haken if you’re a newbie.

MORTIFICA Atrocious Autopsy

Album · 2017 · Technical Death Metal
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As I sit listening to Atrocious Autopsy, the debut album from USA tech death metal band Mortifica I’m immediately impressed by the high standard of musicianship on show. This however is a pre-requisite for any band setting foot in this territory so no surprises there then. The same could be said for the music which is exactly what you’d expect and have probably heard many times before if this kind of stuff is your thing. Whilst for the most part it’s fair to good it lacks the sophistication and inventiveness of Nile or the melodic flourishes that make Allegaeon’s take on the genre more memorable. Any initial enthusiasm soon wears thin as one song merges into the next without leaving any lasting impression. This a real shame because there’s clearly plenty of talent here. Pick of the bunch is Mutilate The Invalid and Lack Of Remorse For The Unknowing which come late on but is not enough to make Atrocious Autopsy stand out from the myriad of other albums vying for your attention in this genre.

Although they have previous band experience it’s early days for these guys yet and I’m sure they’ve got it in them to produce something that leaves a more lasting impression. For now though I don’t see myself returning to this in a hurry.

EVOCATION The Shadow Archetype

Album · 2017 · Melodic Death Metal
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Although they formed back in 1991 and had a reputation as a great live band in their native Sweden Evocation split up in 1993 without releasing anything more than a couple of demos. Reforming in the mid 00’s the finally got around to releasing an album in 2007. Tales From The Tomb was a solid if unspectacular record of old school mixed with melodic death metal. Helped by a better production follow up Dead Calm Chaos was a considerable improvement with stronger songs though offered nothing that hadn’t already come out of Sweden years earlier. A further two albums followed, the latter Illusions Of Grandeur sounding a bit too much like Amon Amarth for its own good at times.

Roll on to 2017 and a new guitarist Simon Exner and use of session drummer Per Moller Jensen seems to have done the band no harm. In fact The Shadow Archetype may just be their best album yet. They’ve come back with a thicker heavier sound - the riffs are more crushing as Condemned To The Grave perfectly demonstrates with less emphasis on melody. Modus Operandi quickly lets you know that Evocation still have an ear for melody though, but it still retains the requisite heaviness quota. In fact much of this album is pretty melodic but you do have to dig a bit deeper to find them in comparison to Illusions Of Grandeur. The album is well paced containing moments with plenty of groove like the title track aided by the punchy production. Sure,The Shadow Archetype isn’t the most original album you’ll hear this year but its strength lies in the sheer consistency with most songs hitting the target.

Overall then, an impressive release which at thirty eight minutes doesn’t outstay its welcome. Anyone who enjoyed their previous work and fans of Swedish death metal in general should be more than happy with this.

DREAMING DEAD Funeral Twilight

Album · 2017 · Melodic Death Metal
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This is my first encounter with Dreaming Dead, a melodic death metal band from the USA. They’ve been kicking around since 2006 and Funeral Twilight is their third album.

Funeral Twilight is a competent piece of work, the band can certainly play and vocalist Elizabeth Schall comes across like a female version of Chuck Schuldiner. What you get is eight tracks of melodic death metal with quite a bit of thrash thrown in for good measure. Good it is but there’s little here that makes me want to revisit the album as I’ve forgotten most tracks pretty much as soon as they’re finished. My favourite go to band when I want a death/thrash hybrid is Revocation who perfectly blend their razor sharp thrash riffs with the bludgeon of death metal into their creative and electrifying compositions making for an exhilarating musical ride. Dreaming Dead don’t quite have the riffs to pull it off though they make a good stab at it here and there like on opener Your Grave. Most of the rest of the album though is solid but unremarkable. There’s a couple of instrumentals thrown in where they slow things down considerably which might have made good intro pieces but on an album of only twenty eight minutes they seem more like filler, particularly closer Unseeing which drifts along aimlessly for over two minutes before there’s a hint of a decent riff.

There’s no shortage of competition out there for your hard earned cash so sadly Funeral Twilight is likely to fall by the wayside pretty quickly. Nevertheless Dreaming Dead are not without potential and I’d certainly take a listen to their future offerings as well as checking out their first two albums when I have a moment.

SVART CROWN Abreaction

Album · 2017 · Death Metal
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French extreme metal band Svart Crown have been releasing solid blackened death metal since their debut album Ages Of Decay back in 2008. All three of their previous albums contained plenty of atmospheric and oppressive death metal and with Abreaction they’ve made another very good addition to their back catalogue. Certainly as good as any of their other releases and quite possibly their best yet.

Golden Sacrament kicks things off but is not really representative of what’s to follow with its slow doomy opening riff. It’s not bad but is somewhat subdued compared with what follows and the weakest track on the album. Carcosa is much more representative of what you’re in for here with its dissonant chord structure over complex rhythm’s that twist and turn and fortunately they have the chops to pull it off effectively. I’m reminded of a more blackened version of Immolation with some Behemoth thrown in. Brooding atmospheric parts are well placed at regular intervals perfectly demonstrated on The Pact: To The Devil His Due before things return to more intense realms. There’s plenty of faster death metal out there but there’s no denying the intensity on show with things getting more so as the album progresses’. That’s not to say that pummelling blastbeats are abscent here but these guys are clearly smart enough to realise that doctoring them with slower brooding sections and inventive rhythmic variation only heightens the intensity.

Abreaction has moments where it’s better than anything in the bands past but the second half is where it’s at its most captivating. A little more evenness and we could have had an absolute classic but as things stand it’s still a very impressive piece of work.

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