Shawn Pelata
MMA Metal Reviewer ·
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 1 year ago

Favorite Metal Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

366 reviews/ratings
HEAVEN & HELL - The Devil You Know Heavy Metal | review permalink
BLACK SABBATH - Heaven And Hell Heavy Metal
BLACK SABBATH - Mob Rules Heavy Metal
RAINBOW - Rising Heavy Metal
BLACK SABBATH - The Rules Of Hell Heavy Metal
DIO - Holy Diver Heavy Metal
IRON MAIDEN - Somewhere In Time Heavy Metal
KING'S X - Dogman Hard Rock
KING'S X - Gretchen Goes To Nebraska Hard Rock
KING'S X - Ogre Tones Hard Rock
KING'S X - Live Love In London Hard Rock
DIO - The Last in Line Heavy Metal
QUEENSRŸCHE - Operation: Mindcrime Progressive Metal
QUEENSRŸCHE - Operation: LIVEcrime Progressive Metal
JOURNEY - Frontiers Hard Rock
JOURNEY - Escape Non-Metal
JOURNEY - Time3 Non-Metal
JOURNEY - Greatest Hits 1978-1997 Non-Metal
JOURNEY - Live In Houston: The Escape Tour Non-Metal
DREAM THEATER - Awake Progressive Metal

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Hard Rock 73 3.66
2 Progressive Metal 61 3.86
3 Heavy Metal 46 3.97
4 Thrash Metal 42 3.51
5 US Power Metal 26 3.65
6 Non-Metal 23 3.76
7 Doom Metal 17 4.03
8 Gothic Metal 12 3.63
9 Power Metal 11 3.50
10 NWoBHM 8 4.00
11 Death-Doom Metal 7 3.64
12 Metal Related 6 3.75
13 Groove Metal 5 3.40
14 Death Metal 4 3.50
15 Alternative Metal 4 4.00
16 Sludge Metal 4 3.75
17 Traditional Doom Metal 3 4.17
18 Symphonic Metal 2 3.00
19 Speed Metal 2 3.75
20 Glam Metal 2 4.25
21 Atmospheric Black Metal 1 4.00
22 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 1 3.50
23 Avant-garde Metal 1 3.50
24 Crossover Thrash 1 3.50
25 Melodic Death Metal 1 3.00
26 Metalcore 1 2.00
27 Stoner Metal 1 3.00
28 Technical Death Metal 1 3.50

Latest Albums Reviews

VICIOUS RUMORS Razorback Killers

Album · 2011 · US Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Since losing vocalist extraordinaire Carl Albert in 1995, Vicious Rumors has attempted to carry on with no less than four other singers: Brian O’Conner (on 1998′s Cyber Christ), Morgan Thorn (for 2001′s Sadistic Symphony), James Rivera (of Helstar for Warball in 2006) & Ronnie Stixx (who toured with the band but never recorded). At one point, even guitarist/band founder Geoff Thorpe handled lead vocals (on the first post-Albert album, 1996′s Something’s Burning). To varying degrees, the albums worked. Each one had moments of passionate intensity. Each one also had moments that may not have lived up to the VR name. I thought they had struck gold with James Rivera as Warball was easily the best thing they had done to date since Albert’s untimely demise. I am, however, happy to report that the new album (which also sees vocalist #5 attempt to fill Carl Albert’s shoes) is even better.

Brian Allen is taking his turn at the VR mic in true, aggressive metal spirit! Not taking anything away from the other guys who’ve stepped in here, Allen is without a doubt THE man for this job. He packs an intense, absolutely (forgive me) vicious punch! Musically, Thorpe and company have cranked everything up a notch, and the result is, from my view, the best thing the band has done since 1995′s Word of Mouth.

The band has buckled down and put out a very, very strong album. Tracks like “Razorback Blade” and “Axe To Grind” call to mind the glory and speed of classics like “Hellraiser” (from the 1990 self-titled album). Allen proves his mettle here with some seriously impressive vocal acrobatics and soaring wails…absolutely blistering. He comes down out of the stratosphere and puts in a brooding, impassioned performance on “Black”. “Rite Of Devastation”, “Murderball” and “Blood Stained Sunday” all boil over with patented VR rage and spirit, the likes we haven’t heard in a long time. Crowd-rousing track “Let The Garden Burn” is an homage to the European, open air metal festivals held every summer and is sure to get crowds headbanging and chanting back. There is simply not a bad song to be had here, people. Guitar solos are something the band is known for and a couple of returning heros turn out some gems. Brad Gillis (Night Ranger) makes his second appearance on a VR album. Former VR guitarist Mark McGee (who played on all the band’s albums from 1988 through 1995) is welcomed back for a few guest shredders in tandem with Thrope. Testament‘s Eric Petersen even puts in some harmonized solo runs on “Murderball”.

This is the album that I, as a Vicious Rumors fan, have been waiting for since Albert’s passing. Putting a few past missteps aside, because the band has released some strong material over the years. But they have hit a home run with Razorback Killers! This album feels like a natural follow up to Word of Mouth and easily ranks among the Albert years’ material. Get it!


Album · 2011 · Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Stratovarius is iconic within the power metal scene. Having released their first album, Fright Night, 22 years ago, they have been a near-constant presence releasing 13 studio albums, a live album and no less than five (5) compliations in that time. Founding guitarist Timo Tolkki left in 2008 after a good amount of dramatic press. He was replaced by Matias Kupiainen (also, longtime bassist Jari Kainulainen was replaced by Lauri Porra) and the band has now released its second album with the revamped lineup―with vocalist Timo Kotipelto, keyboardist Jens Johansson and drummer Jorg Michael still filling rest of the spots―called Elysium.

While not sounding exactly like they did on Episode or Destiny, Stratovarius sticks to the tried and true power metal formula they’ve been championing for all these many years. While Kupiainen has a different feel and delivery than that of Tolkki, the music retains the melodic, epic nature the band is known for. If anything, they’ve foregone some of the more fast-paced moments in favor of a little more groove and more mid-paced, headbanging tempos. Johansson’s keyboards carry a good portion of the melodic weight and Kotipelto further cements his reputation as one of the premier vocalists in the scene ― despite the fact that the higher he climbs, the more grating he tends to be come…but that’s just a taste thing. Regardless of the talent on board, its the songs that matter and, ultimately, Elysium delivers.

Opening track “Darkest Hours” is a driving, energetic number with a strong chorus and nice keyboard layering. The lyrics get a little predictable (“I’ve left the past behind, I’m reaching for the light”) but they work in the context of what they’re doing. “Fairness Justified” starts off somber and airy before adding the obligatory “heavy power ballad” layers, complete with an epic chorus. Classic Stratovarius comes roaring back to life on “Event Horizon” which is chock full of neo-classical speed and shredding. This one has tons of double-kick drumming and a soaring chorus. Johansson and Kupiainen also have some cool interplay. “The Game Never Ends” is another strong, driving number with more incredibly nimble playing from Kupiainen. Of course, any self-respecting power metal band has to deliver the 18-minute epic at some point of their careers, and here, Stratovarius does so with the closing title track. Deftly blending many differing elements of the Strato-sound, it’s grandiose and diverse, loaded down with more good melodies and impressive playing but it gets a little exhausting toward the end.

This was the first Stratovarius I had heard front to back since 1998′s Destiny and while I am still not totally sold on Kotipelto’s voice, I was reminded of what a formidable unit this band is. I don’t see any reasons why any Strato-fan wouldn’t eat it up.

SAXON Power & the Glory

Album · 1983 · NWoBHM
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Why, oh why have I never bothered looking into Saxon??! My first exposure to Saxon was having to learn this title track for my tenure in October 31 (and even then, I learned it from their version, not Saxon's). It was a fun song to sing and people seemed to get into it, but I never took the time to get Saxon albums. Even after getting a promo for their last album Labyrinth AND giving it a good review, I never bothered to look into Saxon...well, all thats is about to change.

The title track on this album is untouchabe! It's a fantastic slice of Metal from the NWOBHM era that, honestly, defines the term Classic Heavy Metal. "Redline" has a sort of Deep Purple, boogie vibe to it. In fact, Biff Byford sometimes reminds me of Ian Gillan. The guitar playing on this album is great! "Warrior" is a headbanging monster while "Nightmare" has a cool, brooding chorus. Another fave is "Watching The Sky"...what a great opening riff!! The same can be said for "Midas Touch" which, to my ears, has a little bit of Accept in it. The final track, "Eagle Has Landed" has a sort of Pink Floyd, "Have A Cigar" vibe complete with blusey, Stratocaster, David Gilmour-styled soloing during the intro and instrumental section...the vocal parts on this song are intense!

Verdict: Looks like I've named just about every song on the album...which I guess is a good sign. This IS Heavy Metal and I could kick myself for never hearing this album before! What an idiot!! Ha! Needless to say, I am going to begin collecting Saxon albums...beginning with this one!

MEGADETH Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good!

Album · 1985 · Thrash Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
I have a love/hate relationship with Megadeth. I love the music I have heard, but depending on my mood I hate Dave Mustaine's voice (sometimes I can tolerate it, other times not). I have owned different CDs of theirs over the years (most notably Rust In Peace and Countdown To Extinction) but have never even heard Killing...; until now, that is.

It's only 8 songs, which as it turns out, is kind of a blessing. There are a few cool tracks here, "Rattlehead", "Skull Beneath The Skin" and the title track...but the other songs do nothing for me. I listened 3 times to this album and "Mechanix" is better as "The Four Horsemen", "These Boots" is flat out stupid, and the others suffer from a combo of Dave's voice and kind of boring (to me) riffs. I admit though, that the three I like, I happen to like quite a bit.

Verdict: I can understand Megadeth's place in the Metal pantheon, I just can't really get into them overall in terms of buying their albums. I think I'd be content with a good anthology.

UFO Lights Out

Album · 1977 · Hard Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UFO always escaped me. I knew Michael Schenker used to play guitar with them. I knew that they are revered in UK Rock and Metal circles. I even used to own a found copy of Obsession on vinyl when I was in 10th grade, but can only recall "Only You Can Rock Me" (cool song) from it (it was stolen from me in later years). So, in my quest to discover bands and albums I overlooked early on, this time I chose Lights Out.

I first heard the title track when it was covered by Fifth Angel, and I only heard that 6 or 7 years ago. The original version here rocks! It kind of reminds me of Rainbow with its organ and galloping tempo. What a nice slice of Heavy Metal that is! "Love To Love" is another standout track to my ears. It has a cool, dark and moody vibe to it and kind of reminds me of Pink Floyd in places with the moody build-ups and airy atmosphere. Song to song, it's a pretty diverse album...which is cool. "Just Another Suicide" and "Getting Ready" are solid, radio-friendly Classic Rock ala BTO (former) and Tom Pertty (latter) while the somber "Try Me" is a really good melancholic piano ballad. "Electric Phase" has a strong attitude and vibe as does "Too Hot To Handle". Then there's "Alone Again Or" which I thought was an odd sock in the basket, sounding like some old 60s tune (til I looked it up and saw it was a Love cover). I liked it though.

Verdict: Strong record with good songs and loads of variety.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted more than 2 years ago in FINAL SIGN - US Power Metal
    Thanks! Is someone wants to add us to MMA, that'd be awesome!
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in FINAL SIGN - US Power Metal
    Yes, I am...thanks!! 
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Latest Ozzy Albums
    Most everything after 'The Ultimate Sin' is just "OK"...good songs here and there...but a lot just feels phoned in and weak.


Please login to post a shout
UMUR wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Feel free to introduce yourself here:
Pelata wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Glad to see a site like this starting up! The look and layout is great!


Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
Master of Puppets Thrash Metal
Buy this album from our partners
Paranoid Heavy Metal
Buy this album from our partners
Moving Pictures Hard Rock
Buy this album from our partners
Powerslave NWoBHM
Buy this album from our partners
Rising Heavy Metal
Buy this album from our partners

New Metal Artists

New Metal Releases

Psycho Hill Metalcore
Buy this album from MMA partners
The Rain Metalcore
Buy this album from MMA partners
The Riffth Element Thrash Metal
Buy this album from MMA partners
Rest Metalcore
Buy this album from MMA partners
Vainglory Metalcore
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Metal Online Videos

Psycho Hill - June (Official Video)
Bosh66· 4 minutes ago
More videos

New MMA Metal Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions


Latest Metal News


More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us