Sleepwalker

Loek
MMA Special Collaborator · Honorary Collaborator/Retired Admin
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit more than 2 years ago

Favorite Metal Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

32 reviews/ratings
OPETH - Still Life Progressive Metal | review permalink
RUSH - Permanent Waves Hard Rock | review permalink
TOOL - Lateralus Progressive Metal | review permalink
MAUDLIN OF THE WELL - Bath Avant-garde Metal | review permalink
KAYO DOT - Choirs Of The Eye Avant-garde Metal | review permalink
DEATH - Individual Thought Patterns Technical Death Metal | review permalink
MAUDLIN OF THE WELL - Leaving Your Body Map Avant-garde Metal | review permalink
ISIS - Oceanic Atmospheric Sludge Metal | review permalink
ZU - Carboniferous Avant-garde Metal | review permalink
ULVER - Bergtatt: Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler Atmospheric Black Metal | review permalink
OPETH - Ghost Reveries Progressive Metal | review permalink
TOOL - 10,000 Days Progressive Metal | review permalink
TOOL - Ænima Alternative Metal | review permalink
AEROSMITH - Rocks Hard Rock | review permalink
TOOL - Opiate Alternative Metal | review permalink
NEUROSIS - A Sun That Never Sets Atmospheric Sludge Metal | review permalink
UARAL - Lamentos a poema muerto Doom Metal | review permalink
OPETH - Deliverance Progressive Metal | review permalink
PELICAN - What We All Come to Need Atmospheric Sludge Metal | review permalink
RUSH - A Farewell to Kings Hard Rock | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Progressive Metal 10 3.60
2 Hard Rock 6 3.67
3 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 4 3.88
4 Avant-garde Metal 4 4.75
5 Alternative Metal 2 4.00
6 Non-Metal 2 3.00
7 Technical Death Metal 2 3.75
8 Atmospheric Black Metal 1 4.50
9 Doom Metal 1 4.00

Latest Albums Reviews

ULVER Bergtatt: Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler

Album · 1995 · Atmospheric Black Metal
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Bergtatt is the marvelous debut album of Ulver, at the time a very influential black metal band. Unlike many of its contemporaries, Bergtatt does not only include the harshness of black metal, but combines this with the beauty of Norse folk music expressed through a concept revolving around a girl lost in a forest of trolls.

The album opens with a brief drum fill, taking us to what might be the best piece on this album. “I Troldskog Faren Vild” showcases the excellent combination of beauty and beast. Rough riffs drive the song, but the vocals that are sung over it are no conventional black metal vocals. No, they’re chanted choir-like vocals that work very well in creating a beautiful feeling. Though these kind of vocals make a frequent appearance on other songs too, vocalist Garm also uses the more conventional ferocious black metal shrieks frequently, like on the second song, “Soelen Haaer Bag Aase Need”.

Like already mentioned earlier, Ulver combines black metal with folk on this album. Most of the songs have classical acoustic passages, and there even is a completely acoustic track on the album, “Een Stemme Locker”. Another memorable part of the album are the middle few minutes of the third song, where sounds are heard of the girl making her way through the forest accompanied by gentle and delicate piano playing. The combination of these benign acoustic parts and the fierce black metal gives Bergtatt a feeling of beauty with a solitary and melancholic undertone.

Ulver has created a fantastic album with Bergtatt. Its combination of black metal and acoustic folk takes care of all possible repetitivity that one could find in black metal and therefore might even attract those who don’t enjoy the genre in general.

UARAL Lamentos a poema muerto

Album · 2007 · Doom Metal
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Released as a legal free download, Uaral's second full-length album is an utterly depressing journey driven by mostly acoustic instrumentation, having a folky nature with some clear native influences. This sets a melancholic and atmospheric mood. A very intriguing one, as Lamentos A Poema Muerto features some innovative and unconventional vocals, ranging from dense growls to screams and even cried vocals.

The somber atmoshpere on the the album is truly beautiful. Benign classical guitar drives nearly every song on this album, with drums and keys only every now and then appearing to strengthen the mood. What stands out the most on this album is the innovative use of unusual vocals over the acoustic music. Very low growls make a frequent appearance in the music and sound incredible. They are nowhere as ferocious as typical growls, but instead have a mournful and desolate feel. The same goes for the screams and the sheer melancholy of the cried vocals. Despite that I don't understand the Spanish lyrics, it is not very difficult to sense the sorrowful emotions in them. All of these elemts work so well together, with the result being an incredible and unique album. The album is quite a consistent thing as well, with no weak songs and all of them having a haunting and desolate feel. The two pieces here that cross the 10 minute mark probably are my favorites though.

Lamentos A Poema Muerto is definitely an album worth checking out, though it certainly won't appeal to anyone. I could imagine one could feel the vocals here are a bit too much. Nevertheless, I consider the album to be excellent, especially for something that is released as a free download.

OPETH Damnation

Album · 2003 · Non-Metal
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Released in 2003, Damnation is the soft and melodic follow-up to what many claim to be Opeth’s heaviest release up to date, Deliverance. Yes, soft and melodic. Damnation features no growls and is mainly driven by clean and acoustic instrumentation. This is what makes the album a much more attractive effort than Opeth’s other albums to those who dislike the ferocious growls or crushing riffs.

Damnation opens with the memorable riff of “Windowpane”, one of Opeth’s best known songs and righteously, as it is a fantastic track. The beautiful melodic vocals of Mikael Akerfeldt together with the subtle instrumentation creates a hauntingly melancholic setting, which is very common for the album. Another song that does quite reach the greatness of the opener is “Death Whispered A Lullaby”, another melancholic piece that features some dissonant yet calm lead guitar. The album is far from a masterpiece though. My main issue with it is that it’s not very diverse and therefore somwhat dull at times. Most of the songs are somewhat similair to each other in sound, often being driven by clean guitar riffs with a mellotron to create a more rich and haunting feel. 6 out of 8 songs open with a clean or acoustic guitar riff before the drums and bass come in. This is just to give you an idea of what I mean when I say most songs have a similair sound. Composition-wise, some songs are far inferior to songs like “Windowpane”. “Hope Leaves” and “Weakness” for example sound much less memorable than some others and have an overall dull feel.

Damnation is, though being a nice album, far from a masterpiece and lacks consistency to keep me interested for the whole 43 minutes it lasts. Nevertheless, I completely agree with the people who state this is the album to start with when having trouble getting into Opeth, because of it’s soft nature. Though it’s always interesting to hear a metal band make such a soft and melodic album, Damnation certainly doesn’t rank among Opeth’s best.

KAYO DOT Choirs Of The Eye

Album · 2003 · Avant-garde Metal
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“I was swept away when the choirs in your eyes cast little drops of water on everything”

Already mentioned in the lyrics of a song on Maudlin Of The Well’s debut album, Choirs Of The Eye is the title the first release of Kayo Dot, another project of Toby Driver rising from the ashes of Maudlin Of The Well. The music on Choirs Of The Eye is more avant-garde than that of Maudlin Of The Well, and the modern classical music influences seem to play a bigger role here as well. This can be seen in the line-up of the band, which features a bigger amount of woodwind and brass players than Maudlin Of The Well did. Also notable in this line-up is violinist Mia Matsumiya, who would remain a consistent member of the band up to date.

In a striking way “Marathon”, a very typical Kayo Dot piece, opens the album. The already mentioned modern classical music influences are very evident here, as a melancholic trumpet creates a beautiful soundscape, which is a typical case of the emotional instrumentalism of Kayo Dot. This beauty doesn’t last too long however, as monstrous growls and crushing distorted guitars change the setting. These changes between beauty and beast make frequent appearances in the music and play a very important role in the progression of the pieces. Most notable here perhaps is “The Manifold Curiosity”, probably the most impressive and mind-blowing piece on the album. Starting out quite softly, it gradually turns into some of the most fierce and intense music I’ve ever heard, with high-pitched screams and ferocious riffs included.

These intense and heavy parts of the music often serve as climaxes of their respective piece. However, the softer and more benign parts of the album can easily be just as impressive. A good example is “Wayfarer”, a song driven by acoustic guitar, beautiful vocals and a delicate, melancholic violin. Though roufh distorted guitars also make their appearance in this piece every now and then, they serve a much less dominant role. Pretty much the same goes for “A Pitcher Of Summer”, which is probably the most lightweight song on the album with its feeling of solace.

Another thing that is evident on some of the pieces on Choirs Of the Eye is a droning ambience. This means for example a couple of minutes of dreamy atmosphere, or an acoustic guitar gently strummed for some time with spoken words over it. The longest piece on the album and also its closer is “The Antique”, which features more droning music than perhaps any of the other pieces on Choirs Of The Eye. The first 6 minutes or so feature a constantly repeating riff gradually growing heavier, to become what probably is the most dark and gloomy piece on the album. Doom metal influences, which also were present in Maudlin Of The Well’s music, clearly can be heard here.

The broad range of musical styles integrated in their sound basically makes Kayo Dot unclassifiable. Nevertheless, they certainly have created a consistent and solid sound on Choirs Of The Eye, which is probably an even more impressive one than that of Maudlin Of The Well. Choirs Of The Eye to me feels like one marvelous journey driven by melancholy and somberness, either beautiful or ferocious, with every now and then a feeling of modest delight or relief.

ZU Carboniferous

Album · 2009 · Avant-garde Metal
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Zu is a three-piece band making music bred from the experimental combination of several genres including, among others, technical metal and free-jazz. This blend of styles creates a mind-blowing and intense sound more menacing and striking than most music I’ve ever heard. As I write this review, Carboniferous is the band’s most recent creation.

Notable is the somewhat unconventional lead here, which is Luca Mai’s baritone saxophone that proves to be very suitable to this kind of heavy music, performing some fierce shrieks and deep, heavy growls. The rhythm section as well is important for the distinctive sound created here. It’s a very strong one, consisting of Jacopo Battaglia’s aggressive drumming and Massimo Pupillo’s bass playing, which often has a thick sound and frequently is distorted. Apart from playing the drums, Jacopa Battaglia also is responsible for the electronics and even some mellotron, that manage to give the album a somewhat amospheric feel.

Zu’s intense sound can already be heard in the first riff of the heavy opener “Ostia”, with it’s distorted bass and dissonant saxophone playing, reminding one of free-jazz. The majority of music on the album is in this vein, dynamic and intense, though it still maintains a diverse feel and keeps me completely interested even after the many times I’ve listened to it. Also worth mentioning are the collaborations with other musicians on this album, among them Mike Patton’s vocal performance on “Soulolympics” and King Buzzo’s (Melvins) guitar playing on “Chthonian”.

After the many times I’ve listened to Carboniferous it still manages to amaze me. This might have something to do with the energetic and intense sound Zu creates here, which is an unique and distictive one. I’d recommend this album to those who might enjoy a combination of the dissonance of free-jazz and the monstrous power of a heavy rhythm section.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Drudkh albums
    I've only got their first two, so no vote. I really like both of them a lot though, especially Autumn Aurora. 
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Your recent Metal purchases
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Ulver Albums
    Time to revive this one, and make it a tie. I have yet to get into all that Ulver has done after their "black metal trilogy", but they have an incredibly solid start of their career. Bergtatt I think is fantastic. I really love the combination of folk and black metal here and it prevents the album from getting repetitive at all. And the chanted vocals are brilliant as well. It's a 4,5 star album imo.Kveldssanger I think is easily the least of these three, though it's still a good album. Acoustic or soft albums by metal bands always are interesting, but I think it lacks the dynamics that an album like Bergtatt has even though that one has a nice amount of folk on it as well. And then Nattens Madrigal. I really see why people would dislike this, but man, this is a masterpiece. It's probably the most fierce and raw thing that I've ever heard, yet it also has a beautiful feeling to it at times. Even though it does only have one brief acoustic part, I don't have a hard time at all sitting through the whole disc at all. It gets my vote. 

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