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Paul
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1365 reviews/ratings
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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 Alternative Metal | 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
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 274 3.61
2 Death Metal 150 3.81
3 Progressive Metal 126 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 52 3.64
9 Glam Metal 48 3.20
10 Technical Death Metal 47 3.93
11 Proto-Metal 41 3.70
12 Black Metal 37 3.82
13 Brutal Death Metal 26 3.71
14 Alternative Metal 23 3.50
15 Metal Related 23 3.72
16 US Power Metal 22 3.70
17 NWoBHM 19 3.68
18 Groove Metal 18 3.64
19 Power Metal 14 3.82
20 Stoner Metal 14 3.93
21 Melodic Black Metal 11 3.82
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

NECROT Blood Offerings

Album · 2017 · Death Metal
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Although they’ve been kicking around for quite a few years now, releasing three demos that were eventually brought together for the compilation album The Labrinth, Blood Offerings is in reality Necrot’s first studio album.

Necrot play old school death metal. Now these days if you’re going to release an old school death metal album it had better be good if you want any hope of being anything other than an also ran as it’s already been done to death (no pun intended) numerous times before. Fortunately Necrot haven’t wasted the last six years and released an excellent album of solid as a rock no frills death metal. Bolt Thrower immediately come to mind with their thick chunky riffs, not over-playing the speed card but most important of all memorable riffs that stay firmly in your head. Sure these guys can play fast when required but they’re smart enough to realise that an album of relentless blast beats can become a bit dull so they change the time/tempo regularly, even slowing it down to almost, but not quite, a doom pace occasionally. The old school vibe is helped by the organic production with a drum sound that sounds powerful and real. The Blade kicks things off and by death metal standards the pace is measured but packing plenty of punch with rolling kick drums and some killer hooks. It proves to be an album highlight but it’s far from downhill from here as most of the album is similarly compelling as perfectly demonstrated on Rather Be Dead which immediately follows. And so it goes – I keep expecting the quality to dip but pleasingly it doesn’t, well not to any great extent anyway, with only Beneath not hitting the spot fully. The standard of musicianship is excellent including some strong guitar solos and great drumming. The vocals are standard death fayre but well done nevertheless.

Overall then, a great start with hopefully even better to come in the future and it impressed me enough to order a vinyl copy – what better recommendation can I give. Check them out if you’re after some old school death metal that still manages to sound fresh and vibrant, you won’t be disappointed.

ULSECT Ulsect

Album · 2017 · Technical Death Metal
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As soon as Fall To Depravity, the opening track on the eponymous debut album from Dutch death metal band Ulsect kicks in, it’s pretty apparent that we’re not going to be in for an easy listen. This band features a couple of members of Dodecahedron for starters, an avant black metal band who as it happens I only discovered a few months ago. Well you could say that Ulsect are the death metal equivalent.

So what you get here is those chiming dissonant guitar riffs that seems to be quite a thing these days. Now I’m all for a bit of this sort of stuff and have albums by the likes of Deathspell Omega and Gorguts (an immediate reference) in my collection but it’s fairly easy to descend into total chaos without structure when playing this avant style. Fortunately Ulsect have the necessary chops and writing skills – they’re not new at this after all despite this being their debut, to pull it off. Kings of the atonal riff for me are Immolation but Ulsect aren’t anything like them being a much looser proposition. Their riffs chime and resonate and are soaked in atmosphere with the black metal leanings of guitarist and drummer Joris Bonis and Jasper Barendregt showing through though at times they tighten things up with some unison syncopated rhythms. This is great stuff and Ulsect create an uneasy tension in their music, seemingly on the verge of falling apart at any minute but the inventive drumming of Barendregt holding it all together nicely.

By anyone’s standards this is a very good album, all the more remarkable it being their debut. Definitely a band worth keeping an eye on for those into this sort of thing and a band I’ll watch with interest in the future.

FIRESPAWN The Reprobate

Album · 2017 · Death Metal
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Firespawn are a band, a death metal supergroup even, born from a desire to play more brutal and complex death metal than their day job bands. Vocalist L-G Petrov and guitarist Victor Brandt (Entombed A.D.), drummer Matte Modin (Defleshed), bassist Alex Friberg (Necrophobic) and guitarist Fredrik Folkare (Unleashed) to name just some of the bands these guys have played with. Back for their second outing, with the same line up as on their 2015 debut Shadow Realms, the Reprobate sees them consolidating the positive start made on their debut.

I remember Shadow Realms receiving mixed reviews at the time, though I greatly enjoyed its energy and strong collection of songs with intricate riffing and compelling hooks. The Reprobate whilst not exactly showing any changes in style and maintains (not surprisingly) the Swedish influences improves in the writing department delivering a collection of songs more brutal and technical than before. Not that this in itself makes them better but whilst Shadow Realms had plenty of killer riffs a few less memorable moments made for the occasional lull. Here though from opener Serpent Of The Ocean onwards the intensity rarely lets up, the band seemingly out to silence any naysayers of the debut. The playing is incendiary, the songs nearly always busy with some fantastic guitar work both rhythm and solos and Petrov’s vocals if anything are even more guttural. The rhythm section of Modin and Friberg lay a solid as a rock foundation though busy and complex as well when required. Best of all though a strong consistency is maintained throughout.

The Reprobate has many old school death metal traits but a sharp and modern production clearly mark it as an album of the times and one of the better death metal releases of the year so far. It wasn’t immediate though as the hooks took a few plays to come through as this is pretty busy stuff, so don’t give up on the first listen as this albums well worth quite a bit of your time.

AVATARIUM Hurricanes and Halos

Album · 2017 · Hard Rock
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By today’s standards Avatarium are pretty prolific being onto their third album in four years. Founder member and main songwriter Leaf Edling, suffering from ill health in recent years, is taking more of a backseat roll these days handing over bass duties to new guy Mats Rydström. He has however written most of the songs.

If The Girl With The Raven Mask saw the band taking a step away from the more pure doom direction of the first album then Hurricanes and Halos sees them almost abandoning it entirely. This may not come as good news to some people but Avatarium have still delivered a quality piece of work. Whilst it was already there on the last album the sound is much more retro 70’s hard rock no better demonstrated on opener Into The Fire/Into The Storm. Fans of Deep Purple should lap it up with impressive organ work from Rickard Nilsson. There’s plenty of diversity on the eight compositions with the band also injecting blues and pysch elements with no shortage of melody. The two songs not written by Edling, Road To Jerusalem and When Breath Turns To Air, certainly aren’t inferior in any way and not out of place, showing the band can have a future without him, the former being particularly impressive. Medusa Child might slightly outstay its welcome dragged out with a slow build at the end but overall weak moments are few and far between. The Sky At The Bottom Of The Sea gallops along nicely with a Uriah Heep Easy Livin’ vibe and When Breath Turns To Air is at the opposite end of the spectrum being a slow blues piece. A Kiss (From The End Of The World also has a Uriah Heep feel and probably the albums heaviest moment with its slow insistent riff.

As always, the playing is of a high standard, the newer direction perhaps lending itself better to the expressive and soulful vocals of Jennie-Ann Smith. Marcus Jidell once again shows what a class guitarist he is both on rhythm and lead abandoning the crushingly heavy riffing of the debut for a fuzzier retro sound.

As good as Hurricanes And Halos is I still find it the weakest of their three albums so far but this is no reflection on the quality here, simply a mark of the strength of the first two. However, anyone not happy with the direction the band are heading in these days and wanting more doom can always go and check out Leif Edling’s latest project The Doomsday Kingdom.

SUFFOCATION ...Of The Dark Light

Album · 2017 · Brutal Death Metal
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Like fellow New Yorkers Immolation, who’s latest album Atonement is the best album of 2017 as far as I’m concerned, Suffocation can always be relied on to deliver the goods. Their brutal death metal laden with complex and crushing riffs never fails to hit the spot. … Of The Dark Light is the latest in a run of strong albums since their reformation in 2003.

A couple of line-up changes seem to have done the band no harm. New drummer Eric Morotti (Killitorous) is a more than able replacement for the short lived Dave Culross who only stuck around long enough to play on one album. In also comes second guitarist Charlie Errigo, who wasn’t even born when Effigy Of The Forgotten was released, but has the necessary chops to play alongside the legendary Terrance Hobbs. Of course Vocalist Frank Mullen is still here supplying his guttural growl, though this time aided by Kevin Muller, as is bassist since the reformation Derek Boyer.

If you know Suffocation then you know what to expect here. Nine songs in total of the sort of complex brutal death metal Suffocation are famous for. The songs constantly shifting in time and tempo, twisting and turning with stop/start accenting punctuating the precise staccato riffing. There may not be a lot of variety from one track to the next but that’s mainly down to the fact that they pack so much into each short-ish song. This makes picking favourites a bit of a pointless exercise but The Warmth Within The Dark is one of the many highlights. If you’re looking for melody look elsewhere though as the only time it appears is occasionally in a guitar solo. As expected the standard of playing is second to none and the production whilst more clinical these days is powerful and balanced with plenty of bottom end cutting through so no complaints there.

Where …Of The Dark Light sits in terms of favourite Suffocation album is difficult to say, with only one or two relatively speaking weaker records, such is the consistency of this legendary band. I’m certainly more than happy with it and whilst it may not be better it can comfortably sit alongside their strongest work.

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