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312 reviews/ratings
JUDAS PRIEST - Sad Wings Of Destiny Heavy Metal | review permalink
METALLICA - Master of Puppets Thrash Metal | review permalink
AEROSMITH - Rocks Hard Rock | review permalink
IHSAHN - After Progressive Metal | review permalink
DREAM THEATER - Awake Progressive Metal | review permalink
MEGADETH - Rust in Peace Thrash Metal | review permalink
CARCASS - Heartwork Melodic Death Metal | review permalink
ALICE IN CHAINS - Dirt Alternative Metal | review permalink
DEATH - Symbolic Technical Death Metal | review permalink
THE OCEAN - Anthropocentric Atmospheric Sludge Metal | review permalink
SPINAL TAP - This Is Spinal Tap Heavy Metal | review permalink
FAITH NO MORE - Angel Dust Alternative Metal | review permalink
MASTODON - The Hunter Progressive Metal | review permalink
OZZY OSBOURNE - Diary Of A Madman Heavy Metal
ARMORED SAINT - Symbol of Salvation Heavy Metal
TOOL - Lateralus Progressive Metal
MR. BUNGLE - Mr. Bungle Avant-garde Metal
FATES WARNING - A Pleasant Shade Of Gray Progressive Metal
KING'S X - Gretchen Goes To Nebraska Hard Rock
KING'S X - Faith Hope Love Hard Rock

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Heavy Metal 56 3.57
2 Progressive Metal 55 3.91
3 Death Metal 29 3.78
4 Thrash Metal 23 3.76
5 Alternative Metal 22 3.89
6 Hard Rock 19 4.00
7 Technical Death Metal 13 4.04
8 Metal Related 9 3.89
9 Funk Metal 9 3.78
10 Groove Metal 6 3.42
11 Industrial Metal 6 3.83
12 Avant-garde Metal 6 4.08
13 Melodic Death Metal 6 4.25
14 Non-Metal 5 3.70
15 Grindcore 5 3.50
16 Mathcore 4 4.13
17 NWoBHM 4 4.13
18 US Power Metal 4 3.25
19 Rap Metal 3 4.00
20 Stoner Metal 3 3.67
21 Metalcore 3 3.83
22 Proto-Metal 2 5.00
23 Symphonic Black Metal 2 4.00
24 Sludge Metal 2 4.25
25 Hardcore Punk 2 4.50
26 Heavy Alternative Rock 2 3.75
27 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 2 4.25
28 Death 'n' Roll 2 3.75
29 Deathgrind 1 4.50
30 Folk Metal 1 4.00
31 Black Metal 1 5.00
32 Atmospheric Black Metal 1 4.50
33 Gothic Metal 1 3.50
34 Symphonic Metal 1 3.00
35 Power Metal 1 2.50
36 Nu Metal 1 4.00

Latest Albums Reviews

BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME The Parallax II: Future Sequence

Album · 2012 · Progressive Metal
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After feeling under-whelmed by The Great Misdirect and being not-to-enthused after listening to the Parallax I EP, BTBAM have definitely got my interest again with Parallax II.

I don't nerd out over concept albums like some music fans, and I couldn't begin to tell you what the theme of the album is despite hearing it several times. More obvious to me is the call-backs made to previous musical themes explored on the album, and other details that serve as meaningful audio connections to provide fluidity. The mellow "Goodbye to Everything" bookends the album (not a conceptual prerequisite, but a nice touch), and a brief bit of so-called alien noise on "Autumn", as well as a narrative (by Amos Williams of Tesseract) on "Parallax" serve as effective bridges.

BTBAM gets tons of credit for being "progressive", and with this album, I'm inclined to both agree and disagree. I listen to the band explore all sorts of terrain and tempos in "Lay Your Ghosts To Rest" and "Silent Flight Parliament". However, it still feels like they've done it all before. After their previous disappointments, that fact bothered me. In this case, no so much. Despite the extended running lengths of the songs making up the core of the album, they come across to me as very organic.

In my opinion, BTBAM live and die by not by their instrumental gymnastics (which are never really lacking), but by their melodic content and willingness to fully commit to the style of music they tackle within a particular section the song. Factors such as this provide some of their freshest and most enduring material since Colors.

Some of my favorite moments:

"Astral Body", which begins with a rather catchy Dream Theater-ish instrumental section, with Tommy Rogers joining the proceedings where he blends both clean and growled vocals to good effect. A highly contagious tune with a strong energy!

The song that got me to shell out my hard-earned cash was "Telos". A track like this gives a good summation of what BTBAM are all about. It begins with the hardcore aggression the band was founded on, gradually changing rhythmic motifs before entering the mellow mid-section that truly caught my ear. A looping keyboard passage acts as the background to a bit of a laid-back, spacy jazz/rock fusion, building it's way towards a heavy but harmonic conclusion.

The midsection to "Melting City" includes a brief but delightful cameo of some flute, and contains not one but two very different but equally memorable solos by guitarist Paul Waggoner. Bassist Dan Briggs (one of my favorites in modern metal) provides magnificent support throughout this song.

As a very strong album that exceeded my expectations, I see no harm in giving Parallax II a 4.5 out of 5.

MEGADETH So Far, So Good... So What!

Album · 1988 · Thrash Metal
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Among the classic Megadeth albums that spanned the first decade of their recording career (1985-94), this one sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. I’m sure part of that has to do with one of their least stable lineups, with Jeff Young and Chuck Behler now on lead guitar and drums respectively. While not quite the players that Chris Poland and Gar Samuelsson were, the new duo certainly holds their own on their lone Megadeth studio album.

The version I own is the 2004 re-issue, when Mustaine felt the need to tweak with the whole Megadeth catalog. Though I haven't heard the original version in years, I think this version sounds nice. From what I can remember, two of the most notable changes were increasing the volume of horns in the intro of "Into The Lungs Of Hell", and he also added an extended guitar intro for "In My Darkest Hour".

This album starts incredibly with the pair of "Into The Lungs Of Hell" and "Set The World Afire". What energy!! "Into The Lungs Of Hell" is a no-nonsese, let 'er rip-style of instrumental. Spacious riffing pushes the focus on some high-octane leads. Contrasting with that approach, "Set The World Afire" contains some of the coolest riffs in the Megadeth discography. I think it might have been the first song Mustaine wrote for Megadeth, and thankfully it made the cut for this album after being omitted twice. Closing tracks "Liar" and "Hook In Mouth" bring similar levels of aggression, especially in Mustaine's vocal performances ("Liar" being inspired by troubles with ex-bandmate Poland).

With the third cover song in as many albums, Megadeth opt for a more practical choice with the Sex Pistols' "Anarchy In The U.K.". It's very loyal to the original aside from some allowable deviations (swapping U.S.A. for U.K. being one). Sex Pistols' Steve Jones even guests on the track.

I’d say the main difference between this album and Peace Sells is that there is a slight tradeoff in technicality in favor of more melody. "Mary Jane", "502", and "In My Darkest Hour", which may be some of the most melodic songs Mustaine had penned at the time, are good examples of this. Each one is fairly accessible despite still very-much being rooted in thrash. Mustaine sings throughout most of these tunes (as opposed to his normal growl), and does a solid job too.

Excellent thrash album well worth picking up!

MEGADETH Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?

Album · 1986 · Thrash Metal
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It may seem a bit weird, but my introduction to many of the songs on this album came from seeing Megadeth’s Behind The Music special in 2001. Whenever there was a cool riff, lead, or instrumental section that was sampled for use in the program, most of the time it was lifted off of Peace Sells. Just getting a taste of the intro to “Good Mourning”, the head-banging riffing in “Wake Up Dead” or the ferocious lead section of “Bad Omen” was not nearly enough. The following Christmas, I made sure that this album was on my list (and, thus, under the tree).

The riffing is pretty tight on this one, just as fast-paced as much of their debut album. This time, the production is up to a higher standard. Unlike the occasional muddied-up sound that occurs on the debut’s faster cuts, the speed and precision in the likes of “The Conjuring”, “Devil’s Island”, and the ultra-intense “Black Friday” come through with crystal clarity. While making the popular “Wake Up Dead” and “Peace Sells”, well… pop!

The only real outlier among the tracks is their cover “I Ain’t Superstitious”. Though stylistically unlike the other tracks, I like this blues-rock cover. Compared to their debut’s take on “These Boots”, it feels much more of an honest cover as opposed to just having a laugh, and like many classic blues/rock songs, it serves as a good lauchpad for Mustaine and Poland as guitarists.

There are several instrumental excursions throughout that hint at the potential that this Poland/Samuelsson lineup had. This is well exemplified how tight the band sounds in “Bad Omen” and “My Last Words”. While the band sounds in high-form throughout the album, these tracks are often among the least talked-about here, but have grown greatly in popularity with me as the years have passed.

Although Mustaine was (and always will be) the songwriter, having such a strong band backing him is what allowed him to continue to expand the variety in song structure and the technicality from the debut album. While I’m still a big fan of So Far, So Good … So What?, I can’t help but wonder where a third album by the Chris/Gar lineup would have taken them.

This is definitely an essential thrash metal album.

FAITH NO MORE Album Of The Year

Album · 1997 · Alternative Metal
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Album of The Year? I’d have to do some research to know if that was the general consensus in 1997, but no doubt this one would make a number of end-of-the-year lists of the time.

The first thing I noticed when listening to this album was how dark it sounded. Was it because they knew this would be their last studio album and they were upset by that fact? While I am more used to hearing Faith No More playing more high-energy music, I can say I am definitely a fan of the shift in tone and direction. Album of The Year contains much of the experimentation and variety that remained throughout the Patton years, plus it may be the heaviest album the group has released.

A good amount of these tracks are of the slower variety, giving Patton’s vocals much of the focus. “Last Cup of Sorrow”, “Ashes To Ashes”, “Path Of Glory”, and “Pristina” are among the songs that I think help set the tone of the album.

There are still numerous tracks on Album of The Year that maintain the band’s normally aggressive delivery. This includes the opening “Collision”, “Naked In Front Of The Computer”, “Mouth To Mouth”, and “Got That Feeling”. Tracks in this vein would not have been a stranger on their King For A Day album.

A few tracks in particular stand out:

“Stripsearch” musically is quite stripped-down. Some hard rock and metal fans might be turned off by such a song, but I loved this track right from the first listen. The song is uncharacteristically peppered with electronic percussion, and centered around a highly effective rhythm section groove. The main melody of the track is provided by Mike Patton bright falsetto delivery.

“Helpless” starts out as a rather dreary sort of ballad. The song builts in a strongly uplifting manner as it transitions to the powerful chorus with Patton’s layered vocals, getting heavier as it progresses. It’s one of those tracks that often gives me goosebumps.

“She Loves Me Not” is another out-of-character track for the band. It’s a bit of a doo-wap, 60’s R&B-style track that while not necessarily a favorite, is highly memorable. Definitely one of the more Patton-centric tracks, giving it the occasional feel of a solo effort instead of a full-fledged Faith No More album.

Album of the Year is an excellent release that I definitely recommend.


Album · 2011 · Progressive Metal
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This album came as quite a pleasant surprise to me. Prior to the album’s release, I heard that Mastodon was going to be moving away from the more progressive structures of the Crack The Skye album and back to their straight-ahead metal roots. While I like every era of Mastodon to date, my expectations were not too high, as I feared this was a step in the wrong direction. Instead, they created a beast known as The Hunter.

Unlike other Mastodon albums, I came out of the first listening session of the album with a good majority of the songs making a lasting impression in my memory, thankfully, in a good way. With The Hunter, the band has created an album that sounds rather accessible much of the time and well produced and polished, but they achieved this without compromising the core of their sound that Mastodon has built their career on. While there are several songs on the album with a catchiness that hints at some slight commercial potential, such as “Curl of the Burl”, “All The Heavy Lifting” (with possibly the catchiest chorus on the album), the punchy “Dry Bone Valley” and the epic anthem “Creature Lives”, the total product comes across as a consistently strong blend of elements that Mastodon had incorporated into their sound across all prior albums. The track-to-track variety helps to give each track it’s own identity.

Fans of their straight-ahead aggressive sludge sound will surely be pleased with the likes of “Black Tongue” and “Spectrelight”, the latter of which features a guest vocal by Scott Kelly of Neurosis. Many of the albums tracks, while not reaching very extended run times, have that atmospheric vibe that the band has often featured over lengthier numbers. In particular, I really dig the brooding, somewhat hypnotic vibe that the title track gives off. “Stargasm” takes you on a similar journey from its stunning intro into a track blending space-rock with their brand of aggression.

An additional pair of tracks stood out, at first, for their odd titles alone. “Octopus Has No Friends” features an up-beat verse crutched on some flashy fretwork by Brent Hinds with a soft-spoken but memorable chorus. “Bedazzled Fingernails” features banjo-esque guitar riffing with a booming Troy Sanders vocal performance and a few eerie effects in the mix. The calmest moment on the album arrives at the finale with “The Sparrow” with a dark but relaxing tone that reminds me of 70’s progressive rock with slight folk overtones.

Chip in a few extra dollars for the version with the bonus DVD. If you do, you’ll be treated to some informative song commentary by drummer Brann Dailor along with some quick studio footage and 3 different music videos (including non-album track “Deathbound”).

The Hunter greatly lives up to the band’s reputation for putting out consistently strong material, and this should not disappoint many Mastodon fans. In fact, this is one of the best albums I’ve heard that has come out in 2011. I think it’s up there with their best work!

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 1 year ago in What TV shows are you watching right now?
    I just acquired the complete series of Deadwood (plus the movie) on Blu-Ray. I watched maybe half of the series years ago, but never got around to finishing it. I'll start back from the beginning as I revisit it.
  • Posted 1 year ago in Phil Anselmo to shit all over Pantera's legacy
    I'm fine with it happening, but they should use a non-Pantera name like "F***ing Hostile" or "Cowboys From Hell".  I'd go as far as saying they can put Pantera on the poster somewhere, but not as their moniker. Even with the Abbott family's blessing, still kind of odd, but I don't care too much. I'd consider going if it comes through Toronto, but only under the right circumstances. There are plenty other artists I'd prioritize seeing over them, especially since I haven't listened to much Pantera in the last decade.
  • Posted 1 year ago in Now -- what are you listening to? V3
    Yes - Tormato


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