Sisslith

Alejandro
MMA Special Collaborator · Power & Neo, Prog/AG Teams
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 11 hours ago

Favorite Metal Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

661 reviews/ratings
VINNIE MOORE - Mind's Eye Neoclassical metal
CONQUERING DYSTOPIA - Conquering Dystopia Death Metal
X JAPAN - Blue Blood Power Metal
X JAPAN - Ballad Collection Non-Metal
SKYWINGS - Vice Versa Power Metal
POMEGRANATE TIGER - Entities Progressive Metal
GALNERYUS - The Flag of Punishment Power Metal
JASON BECKER - Perpetual Burn Neoclassical metal
MARTY FRIEDMAN - Dragon's Kiss Neoclassical metal
YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN - Rising Force Neoclassical metal
JUDAS PRIEST - Painkiller Power Metal
GENTARO SATOMURA - Light and Shadow Neoclassical metal
JUPITER - Arcadia Symphonic Metal
HIZAKI GRACE PROJECT - Curse of Virgo Power Metal
HIZAKI GRACE PROJECT - Prayer Neoclassical metal
MARTY FRIEDMAN - Scenes Heavy Metal
BON JOVI - Slippery When Wet Hard Rock
BON JOVI - Cross Road: The Best Of Bon Jovi Glam Metal
WARBRINGER - Woe to the Vanquished Thrash Metal
TONY MACALPINE - Maximum Security Neoclassical metal

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Power Metal 113 3.99
2 Atmospheric Black Metal 72 3.68
3 Heavy Metal 63 3.74
4 Hard Rock 61 3.76
5 Neoclassical metal 56 4.22
6 Progressive Metal 49 3.98
7 Non-Metal 40 3.64
8 Black Metal 27 3.37
9 Symphonic Metal 23 4.04
10 Death Metal 11 3.59
11 Proto-Metal 11 3.27
12 Speed Metal 9 3.83
13 Brutal Death Metal 9 3.11
14 Metal Related 8 3.81
15 Melodic Black Metal 7 3.86
16 Alternative Metal 7 3.07
17 Folk Metal 7 3.86
18 Grindcore 7 2.93
19 Thrash Metal 7 4.21
20 Technical Death Metal 6 3.92
21 Glam Metal 6 3.83
22 Depressive Black Metal 6 3.58
23 Stoner Metal 6 3.33
24 Avant-garde Metal 5 3.20
25 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 4 3.63
26 Death-Doom Metal 4 3.75
27 NWoBHM 4 4.25
28 War Metal 4 3.75
29 Symphonic Black Metal 3 3.67
30 Melodic Death Metal 3 3.67
31 Hardcore Punk 2 3.00
32 Heavy Psych 2 3.50
33 Pagan Black Metal 2 3.25
34 Doom Metal 2 4.25
35 Funeral Doom Metal 2 3.00
36 Goregrind 2 1.75
37 US Power Metal 2 3.50
38 Technical Thrash Metal 1 5.00
39 Traditional Doom Metal 1 3.50
40 Trance Metal 1 3.00
41 Groove Metal 1 4.00
42 Drone Metal 1 3.00
43 Deathcore 1 3.50
44 Stoner Rock 1 3.50
45 Melodic Metalcore 1 3.50
46 Metalcore 1 3.50

Latest Albums Reviews

DRAGON GUARDIAN Ragnarok ~神々の黄昏~

EP · 2016 · Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
With an extensive discography under their belt, Dragon Guardian self-released an eighth EP titled "Ragnarok ~神々の黄昏~" in 2016. This time, Arthur Brave, the founder and leader of the project, counted on the collaboration of guitarist Kouta and vocalist Manami, both members of the group Dragon Eyes, in which Brave also participates. Additionally, Leo Figaro lent again his fabulous voice to most of the songs.

First of all, the sound production of this album has been greatly enhanced and now is top-notch. Compared to previous works, Ragnarok ~神々の黄昏~ sounds extremely polished and all the different instruments are distinguishable and perfectly audible. This is thanks to Ryosuke Yamada, who had already collaborated with Dragon Guardian, and to Takahiro Hashimoto -widely demanded by established artists, such as Kelly Simonz's Blind Faith or Gunbridge.

Despite the recurring, fantastical and cheesy lyrical themes in Dragon Guardian's songs, the content of the ones included in this record revolve around deeper subjects, like self-improvement, a sense of bleakness and hopelessness..., yet without leaving a fantasy setting. It is especially noteworthy how countless Japanese lyricists use similar metaphors in their words, and Brave is no exception.

The level of musicianship displayed here is obvious. The whole line-up comprises professional and veteran musicians who clearly know what they are doing. Leo Figaro seems to be very comfortable with the vocal phrases of every song; he does not exert himself, but still delivers. Likewise, Manami manages to show her powerful vocal range, although she only sings in the closing track. Moreover, Brave and Kouta do a damn fine job. For instance, listen to the masterful guitar solo in '時空の旅', or the stunning guitar licks in the following piece towards the end, after an elegant neoclassical counterpoint. In short, the guitar work is simply first-rate. Conversely, the bass lines and (programmed) drumming are pretty standard: typical power metal structures which serve for rhythmic purposes, but never stand out. The keyboards and orchestral arrangements, however, are effectively used throughout the record and, at times, are even cinematic.

Interestingly enough, Ragnarok ~神々の黄昏~ seems to be quite influenced by Galneryus in a couple of songs. For example, the second track, 時空の旅, could have been featured in memorable albums like "Resurrection" and, above all, Leo Figaro sounds somewhat similar to Sho. On top of that, in ‘血塗られた聖職者’, there are several guitar parts that are reminiscent of Syu's wizardry too. Nevertheless, Dragon Guardian's own sound can be seen in the rest of the EP, e.g. the slightly progressive ‘鬼祟り’ or the appealing ‘古城への扉’.

Brave and his bandmates can be proud of this record. Even though it has some minor flaws and the formula has been used before, Ragnarok ~神々の黄昏~ is filled with high-quality symphonic power metal compositions as well as impressive performances.

DRAGON GUARDIAN Destiny of the Sacred Kingdom

Album · 2011 · Power Metal
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Do you crave some great fantasy symphonic power metal from the land of the rising sun? Well, this album is everything you need!

Led by Arthur Brave, Dragon Guardian are quite a prolific band that have been around in the metal scene for more than a decade. They are not very well-known out of Japan, but they have collaborated with many artists from their homeland. Dragon Guardian's fifth record, "Destiny of the Sacred Kingdom", was originally self-released in 2011. The subject of this review, however, is the limited edition released the following year through the German label IceWarrior Records. This very album is a re-recording of their debut "聖邪のドラゴン", and let me tell you in advance that it is a complete improvement.

Regarding the lyrics, all of them were written by Arthur Brave. Leo Figaro, who was recruited for the vocals and would later become the band's frontman, translated them into English. This is understandable since the aim of it was to reach a wider audience, but it backfires. As numerous Japanese singers, Figaro's English pronunciation is not the best, and the booklet contains a lot of grammatical mistakes. Therefore, it would have been better to leave the lyrics untouched. Anyway, the theme of these lyrics is enjoyable yet full of clichés, such as dragons, magic, treasure islands, soldiers and so on –which is a common characteristic of the genre.

The music is a different story; it is without doubt the highlight of this work. Arthur Brave is a fantastic guitarist as well as a versatile composer. He is clearly the brain behind this album: he is responsible for all the songwriting process and arrangements, and plays both guitar and bass on it too. One thing that I particularly love about Dragon Guardian is the melodic quality of their records. This one is brimming with catchy and epic melodies, which is especially noticeable on tracks like ‘Treasure Island’, ‘Requiem’ or ‘Book of the Magic’. There is also a considerable amount of slower sections and bridges with emotional pianos and neoclassical orchestral interludes that contrast with the raging power metal parts, e.g. in the glorious piece ‘The Never-Ending World’. Moreover, the thorough use of majestic and often baroque-flavoured synthesisers in almost every song complements the music perfectly.

Furthermore, Destiny of the Sacred Kingdom features a high level of virtuosity. Not only does Brave demonstrate his insane fretboard prowess, but also Kouta, aka “Johann Sebastian Bach” (Thousand Leaves), whose mind-blowing guitar mastery can be seen at the start of ‘Mountain of Sword’ or in the speedy ‘Holy Dragon vs Evil Dragon’. And this connects with the main flaw of the album: several songs sound pretty similar and it may seem that one is listening to just a long track instead of eight different pieces. Perhaps Figaro, albeit having an impressive vocal range, sounds rather monotonous, or some musical structures are overused. Nevertheless, there are enough and fairly appealing variations throughout the whole record that may oppose this view, like in the eponymous ‘Destiny of the Sacred Kingdom’.

While not a perfect album, Dragon Guardian’s fifth offering is undeniably satisfying from start to finish and highly recommended to any fan of the genre. The melodious and tuneful power metal passages interwoven with gentle neoclassical interludes make up for any flaw it might present.

TENGGER CAVALRY Die on My Ride

Album · 2017 · Folk Metal
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Folk metal is a very broad musical genre. It encompasses a wide range of styles, from "Celtic metal" (e.g., Skiltron) to "Mesopotamian metal" (e.g., Melechesh). I have listened to many different forms of folk metal, the last one being "Chinese metal" by Dream Spirit. But never before had I heard of a "Mongolian metal" band.

Tengger Cavalry, which means something like "cavalry of the sky god" (Tengger seems to derive from Tengri, a Mongolian and Turkic deity), have been in the metal scene for seven years. They are quite a prolific band since they have released thirteen studio albums so far. "Die on My Ride" is their penultimate offering, and it is an unusual one.

On the one hand, the instrumental work is the highlight of the record. Although most of the guitar riffs and solos are pretty basic and simple, some of them (the galloping riffs on 'Die on My Ride' or the ones on 'Cursed', for example) are very catchy and interesting enough to keep the listener’s attention. Nevertheless, a few songs, such as 'Independence Day' and 'To the Sky', feature several parts that are extremely dull and uninspired. To be honest, at those moments I just wanted to skip both pieces.

Now then, not everything is doom and gloom. The folk passages are undoubtedly the best part of the record. For instance, the opening piece, ‘Snow’, is perfect to set the mood: the igil and the morin khuur, accompanied by a delicate piano, create some emotive and slow folk melodies. It is also noteworthy how these instruments are effectively used on other tracks like the superb 'Die on My Ride', 'Strike' or 'Me Against Me'.

On the other hand, the vocal performance is the main flaw of this album. Throat singing is characteristic of Mongolia’s traditional music. It is a curious and odd way of singing, yet in this record the raspy vocals don’t convey anything to me -definitely not my cup of tea. The auto-tuned vocals on ‘Ashley’ (yes, you read well, auto-tuned) are the last straw. They are completely random after five Mongolian throat singing pieces and make the album feel rather messy, even though it’s just one song. The choruses, however, are great: they sound absolutely epic and, oftentimes, give a vibe of nomadism.

Unfortunately, I didn’t really enjoy this album after all. The positive aspects don’t make up for the bland and slightly haphazard songwriting. Die on My Ride features some notable songs and an extremely appealing folk sound, but Tengger Cavalry should improve various aspects of their music, especially the guitar riffs. Nonetheless, music is one of the most subjective things and I am sure that a lot of metalheads might appreciate this record much more than I do. Lastly, I would recommend listening to this release if you like folk metal and want to discover different and distinctive sounds.

DREAM SPIRIT 将·军 (General Triumphant)

Album · 2017 · Folk Metal
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It is true that nowadays metal music has spread throughout the world, and never before had it been so popular. Countries like China, however, still remain quite unknown in the metal scene. Proof of this is provided by the Encyclopaedia Metallum, where less than 300 Chinese metal bands are listed on the database. What is more, very few of these bands, such as “Tang Dynasty” or “Suffocated”, are really known in the West.

Despite the fact that “Dream Spirit” was formed in 2005, they didn’t release their debut studio album, “Mountains and Rivers”, until 2014. Three years later, this Chinese metal band present the world their second work: “General Triumphant”.

As the title suggests, this is a concept album which focuses on a fictional ancient general and his adventures (military, political, etc.). A detailed explanation of the album's background given by the band can be found at the end of the review, if anyone is interested.

General Triumphant consists of 44 min of pure Chinese folk metal blended with traditional heavy metal and symphonic metal elements, although the latter are relegated to a second place. Nevertheless, they are predominant and effectively used in the opening track to set the mood, along with traditional Chinese musical instruments.

On the one hand, the instrumental work is excellent. Every song is well-structured, the riffs and guitars verses are solid and catchy, and the album features various great, technical and melodic guitar solos. On the other hand, and this is probably the major drawback, the vocals feel somewhat lacklustre, even though a wide variety of vocal range is used on the album –even some death metal growls. If I had to pick one song among all, I would undoubtedly choose “Of Daggers and Men”. It is precisely this track the one that encompasses all the assets of this record: beautiful folk melodies, catchy choruses, solid riffing and proficient guitar solos.

All in all, General Triumphant is an interesting and enjoyable album recommended for folk metal fans and for those who want to discover new bands from distant countries like China. Hopefully, Dream Spirit will make a name for themselves in the following years.

Background information of the album: https://www.facebook.com/notes/dreamspirit-cn/general-triumphant-about-the-album/1522997844431981/

JUPITER Tears of the Sun

EP · 2017 · Symphonic Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
After the departure of bassist Masashi and drummer Yuki, Jupiter released the single "The Spirit Within Me", which featured Rucy and Daisuke playing bass and drums, respectively, as guest musicians. However, it wasn't long before they joined Jupiter as permanent band members. A few months later, the new line-up released their latest work: "Tears of the Sun".

There are several things that quite surprised me whilst listening to this EP. First of all, their music is progressively becoming darker. Unlike many bands of the genre who soften their sound throughout the years, Jupiter seem to have much interest in adding death metal traits -we could already see this in previous songs, such as "Allegory Cave" or "Darkness"- and atmospheric elements into their musical pieces -just listen to the track "The Crucifixion". It is precisely in this song where Zin delivers an impressive performance by blending his tenor voice with death metal growls. Nevertheless, Jupiter's unique sound is still very recognizable, and a great example of it is the title track, in which the initial choir followed by a blast of symphonic metal and the melodic, neoclassical and highly proficient guitar solos by Hizaki and Teru are the band’s trademark.

Secondly, the production, both mixing and mastering, is simply flawless. It is so polished and well-done that it reminded me of albums like “Into the Legend” by Rhapsody of Fire, where it is a noticeable feature. Moreover, the lyrics fit in extremely well with the aforementioned dark sound. Although I don’t understand Japanese, the English verses depict feelings of struggle in our current society, going against the established order and so forth: “Live the pain and keep the struggle alive” or "I don't know why I was given breath, yet I still must go find the answer, no matter what", for example.

Finally, the musicianship is undeniable. Regarding the new members, their contribution is significant and they have their moments too. For instance, the bass in “We Against” and in “Guilty as Sin” or the drumming in the third track. But the symphonic elements and the guitars are the evident focus, and they take the stage.

Overall, Tears of the Sun is a really good release which represents the new phase Jupiter is entering. Not only have they maintained their characteristic sound, but they are also taking a new direction into heavier territories, in my opinion. Highly recommended for symphonic/power metal fans.

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