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2585 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 - Ride the Lightning Thrash Metal
METALLICA - Master of Puppets Thrash Metal
MEGADETH - Rust in Peace 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

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Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Death Metal 425 3.78
2 Hard Rock 380 3.61
3 Heavy Metal 217 3.75
4 Progressive Metal 201 3.83
5 Thrash Metal 175 3.76
6 Technical Death Metal 105 3.90
7 Melodic Death Metal 97 3.71
8 Non-Metal 92 3.36
9 Black Metal 88 3.76
10 Doom Metal 62 3.77
11 Glam Metal 62 3.34
12 Metal Related 54 3.69
13 Proto-Metal 54 3.72
14 Power Metal 54 3.91
15 US Power Metal 47 3.83
16 Brutal Death Metal 47 3.70
17 Traditional Doom Metal 32 3.84
18 Stoner Metal 32 3.83
19 NWoBHM 29 3.84
20 Technical Thrash Metal 28 3.98
21 Alternative Metal 25 3.34
22 Melodic Black Metal 25 3.94
23 Groove Metal 25 3.68
24 Heavy Psych 22 4.00
25 Heavy Alternative Rock 21 3.36
26 Atmospheric Black Metal 18 3.58
27 Gothic Metal 14 3.61
28 Speed Metal 14 3.82
29 Death-Doom Metal 12 3.71
30 Funk Metal 10 3.30
31 Neoclassical metal 10 3.60
32 Funeral Doom Metal 9 3.78
33 Symphonic Black Metal 9 3.72
34 Symphonic Metal 9 3.56
35 Avant-garde Metal 8 3.31
36 Sludge Metal 7 4.07
37 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 6 3.67
38 Crossover Thrash 6 3.83
39 Death 'n' Roll 5 3.40
40 Folk Metal 5 3.80
41 Metalcore 5 3.60
42 Nu Metal 5 2.90
43 Stoner Rock 5 4.00
44 Melodic Metalcore 4 3.75
45 Grindcore 4 3.13
46 Deathgrind 4 3.75
47 Crust Punk 3 3.17
48 Industrial Metal 3 3.67
49 Mathcore 3 4.00
50 Viking Metal 3 3.50
51 Pagan Black Metal 1 4.00
52 Rap Metal 1 2.00
53 Hardcore Punk 1 3.50
54 Deathcore 1 3.50
55 Drone Metal 1 4.00

Latest Albums Reviews

BLOOD CEREMONY The Old Ways Remain

Album · 2023 · Heavy Psych
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The Old Ways Remain, the fifth album from Canada’s Blood Ceremony, has been a long time coming. Seven years in fact since the excellent Lord Of Misrule. Since then just a couple of singles to let us know they haven’t left us including the brilliant let It Come Down that I would have liked to have seen on here. If you want that it’s available online or on the probably now out of print 7” single. They say that great things come to those who wait and I’m pleased to say that’s certainly the case here.

Those who loved Lord Of Misrule will also love The Old Ways Remain as on the face of it is a very similar album in style and sound. The difference is firstly it’s an overall heavier album than last time around though it has to be said not massively so. LOM had its heavier moments of course but the nothing as sugary as Loreley here for example. There’s still no shortage of the strong melodies you’d expect to hear from Blood Ceremony though like their most recent single Lolly Willows and Powers Of Darkness. So as expected the sound is more the late 60’s to early 70’s heavy psych sound and little if any trace of their doom past. The Hellfire Club is a perfect riffy opener and they keep the momentum going on the equally compelling Ipsissimus. In fact there’s not a weak song present. The sound gets a bit more whimsical and mellow later on with the short Hecate and Mossy Wood along with album closer Song Of The Morrow, a beautifully haunting and trippy song to end with.

The production is quite dry but suits the songs pretty well allowing plenty of separation and clarity of the usual instrumentation of guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and vocalist Alia O’Briens flute. Everyone does a great job as expected but a special mention must go to drummer Michael Carrillo for his inventive often syncopated drum parts.

To this day, for me, The Eldritch Dark remains Blood Ceremony’s finest moment but all their albums apart from the eponymous debut (not bad by any means) come pretty close in quality and The Old Ways Remain is another essential release in the bands small (so far) discography. Fair enough, we have had the covid years, but hopefully we won’t have to wait so long for the next one.

VOMITORY All Heads Are Gonna Roll

Album · 2023 · Death Metal
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Swedish death death metal masters Vomitory called it a day in 2013, bowing out in fine style with the excellent Opus Mortis VIII released in 2011. In 2018 they announced their reformation and no doubt held up by covid-19, 2023 finally sees the release of their new album, All Heads Are Gonna Roll, with the same line up in tact as on the last few before the split.

Despite the 12 year gap, All Heads Are Gonna Roll could have been released the year after Opus Mortis VIII, such is the seamless continuity. They may not have reinvented the wheel but sometimes things stay the same for the better. That’s certainly the case here as what we get is 10 tracks of old school death metal, raw, fast and brutal as it usually is at its best. Their sound owes as much to the USA as their native Sweden, lacking that stereotype buzzsaw guitar sound in favour of something sharper but just as heavy, if not more so. The pace is relentless throughout with only the occasional pause for breath but the consistency of memorable riffs throughout makes this a winner. The in your face production certainly helps as does the great musicianship but without the strong hooks it could all wear thin pretty quickly. Thankfully that’s not the case as whilst Vomitory stick to their tried and trusted formula song after song they deliver the goods.

Despite some solid releases I was starting to think that 2023 wasn’t going to be one of the better years for death metal but in the space of a couple of weeks we’ve had this and Frozen Souls excellent second album so all is not lost yet. As things stand Vomitory have set the benchmark for others to aim for.

REVOCATION Netherheaven

Album · 2022 · Technical Death Metal
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There are probably not too many bands that have reached their eighth full length album without at least one of them being a dud. Such a band that has is USA tech death/thrashers Revocation. Inevitably some are better than others but each and every one of them is still a quality release. Their music whilst always complex as already mentioned incorporates both thrash and death metal with earlier releases leaning more to the thrash spectrum and later more towards death, particularly on their last album The Outer Ones though the lines between the two are often minimal and blurred. Like The Outer Ones, Netherheaven has more of a death leaning.

Netherheaven effortlessly maintains the high standards the band has set themselves. As always the music is busy, complex and for the most part fast perfectly demonstrated on opener Diabolical Majesty. It’s a killer that fans of the band will immediately enjoy and instantly recognisable as Revocation’s signature style. Lessons In Occult Theft is equally good as it twists and turns with constant rhythmic shifts and a collection of killer riffs overlaid by David Davidson’s harsh vocal delivery. This time around he is the sole guitarist but you wouldn’t notice the difference but how this will work live I’m not sure as this music really needs a dual guitar line-up. A second guest guitarist would be the way to go. The guitar solos are well written and executed, injecting some melody alongside the brutal riffing which as always is inventive and compelling with added dissonance for good measure. It’s not all Bludgeon though with Galleries Of Morbid Artistry adding some welcome light and shade for example. Once again the rhythm section of Brett Bamberger and Ash Pearson put in a masterly performance and in sync with Davidson’s complexities. Being a drummer myself I always look forward to hearing Pearson’s playing and he doesn’t disappoint here.

Because there’s a lot happening on Revocation albums they always take quite a few plays to reveal themselves fully. Great Is Our Sin remains a high point and benchmark for me but Netherheaven is another solid addition to the bands output though not quite reaching the heights of that masterpiece. Nevertheless it’s another essential album in their catalogue, one I’m more than happy with and will certainly be high on my albums of the year list in a few months’ time.

FLOURISHING The Sum of All Fossils

Album · 2011 · Technical Death Metal
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Metal Music Archives Reviewer's Challenge: June 2022

New York’s Flourishing are a new band to me and having released this, The Sum Of All Fossils, their one and only album back in 2011 it’s easy to see how they passed me by. Still, better late than never and I’m always intrigued by death metal bands that go down the dissonant road. It’s a branch of death metal that is difficult to do well as it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of producing a cacophonous mess. Bands like Immolation and Gorguts have been doing it so well for so long I find myself constantly referencing them when listening to like-minded bands. Okay, the former may not be as extreme as some but to my ears they have perfected it, with the right balance between discord and crushing compelling riffs.

The Sum Of All Fossils like most of its ilk won’t reveal itself immediately. This sort of stuff requires time and patience as by its nature you have to dig deeper to find the rewards. You don’t always get them of course but fortunately it’s worth spending some time with Flourishing. I could list far better examples of technical death metal on the dissonant side of things but these guys are no slouches. A pre-requisite is strong musicianship which this trio clearly have, to be able to follow all the twists and turns that they throw at you. Most importantly though it still needs great riffs to back it all up. This is where they lose a few marks as whilst you’ll find them at times I’m not convinced by them and not drawn in. They do introduce lighter moments which are welcome though don’t always work like on Momentary Senses but serve their purpose by making the heavier parts even more crushing. When they get it right though, which they do frequently, it’s really very good like on Summary. At just over four minutes it’s the shortest song on the album and cuts out any unnecessary flab.

The production is decent too though I would have preferred the drums a bit heavier as they are a bit on the thin side, but each instrument is clearly heard in the mix as are the vocals which whilst being unexceptional do the job.

Overall then I quite enjoyed The Sum Of All Fossils and it’s a shame they didn’t follow it up with album number 2 (they split up in 2014) as I’m sure they could have developed their songwriting skills considerably. They did however follow it up with an EP which showed promise. Still it’s a decent if small legacy.


Album · 2022 · Death Metal
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If there’s one band above all others in the death metal sub-genre you can always rely on to deliver the goods it’s Immolation. Eleven albums in and they’re still showing no signs of running out of steam. An early high point in their career was the highly rated Close To A World Below, regarded by many to be their best album. I’d find it hard to disagree though they have equalled it at least a couple of times since – Majesty and Decay and last album Atonement. Even the rest have not been far off the mark. Acts Of God comes five years after Atonement, the longest we’ve ever had to wait for a new album. I never doubted that it wouldn’t be brilliant and fortunately my faith has been rewarded.

Acts Of God may not contain any surprises – its Immolation just doing what they’re so good at and as long as the songs are great then that’s all I ask and want from them. After the short intro of Abandoned things really kick off with An Act Of God and there’s no mistaking who we’re listening to. All the recognisable Immolation hallmarks are in place – the dissonant guitar riffs from the master of dissonance Robert Vigna, aided by Alex Bouks for the second time. There’s Ross Dolan’s low guttural growl and thundering bass and Steve Shalaty’s constantly shifting rhythmic virtuosity. The sound is a bit sharper this time round which doesn’t mean better as I’m not impartial to a bit of murk, but it does enable each player’s contributions to be clearly heard. Whilst they hit a peak in the second half of the album with a relentless barrage of inventive riffing that never lets up, the first half contains gems like Noose Of Thorns and Shed The Light ensuring the high benchmark the band set themselves is never lowered. Robert Vigna’s prowess with the dissonant riff is well documented but I must mention again Steve Shalaty’s jaw dropping drumming here. He’s long been one of my favourites in the death metal arena but here he seems to have found a new level. He can lay down speedy blastbeats as required but it’s all the twists and turns and syncopated parts and fills he drops in, often on the slower sections, that really catch your attention. At 52 minutes Acts Of God is quite long but such is the quality of these songs it doesn’t feel like it.

Overall Acts Of God is another masterpiece of death metal from Immolation up there with their best albums. An almost perfect album that is currently and very likely to remain my album of the year. The only thing stopping me from giving it the full 5 stars is the first half as a whole doesn’t quite match the second but the difference is very slim. Oh sod it, I'm nitpicking, 5 stars it is, you couldn't really ask for a better album than this and it gets better each time!

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 6 days ago in Death Metal Kill Zone
    ^ They certainly do. 
  • Posted 6 days ago in Death Metal Kill Zone
    it's been a while but really looking forward to this one...
  • Posted 13 days ago in Most Underappreciated Iced Earth Album?
    Like Chris I have quite a few IE albums but there's too many gaps in my knowledge to pass judgement. I do have 2 of the above though, Plagues of Babylon and The Glorious Burden and rate them both 4 stars. Nightfly2023-09-09 07:27:31


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