The Angry Scotsman

Brian L
MMA Special Collaborator · Honorary Collaborator
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 1 year ago

Favorite Metal Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

319 reviews/ratings
METALLICA - ...And Justice for All Thrash Metal | review permalink
SLAYER - Reign in Blood Thrash Metal | review permalink
MEGADETH - Rust in Peace Thrash Metal | review permalink
LYKATHEA AFLAME - Elvenefris Technical Death Metal | review permalink
AGALLOCH - The Mantle Folk Metal | review permalink
ATHEIST - Elements Technical Death Metal | review permalink
OPETH - Still Life Progressive Metal | review permalink
BLACK SABBATH - Black Sabbath Traditional heavy metal | review permalink
DEATH - Individual Thought Patterns Technical Death Metal | review permalink
DEATH - The Sound of Perseverance Technical Death Metal | review permalink
SEPULTURA - Beneath the Remains Thrash Metal | review permalink
BLACK SABBATH - Paranoid Traditional heavy metal | review permalink
ISIS - Panopticon Atmospheric Sludge Metal | review permalink
ISIS - In the Absence of Truth Atmospheric Sludge Metal | review permalink
SYMPHONY X - The Odyssey Progressive Metal
SYMPHONY X - Paradise Lost Progressive Metal
SYSTEM OF A DOWN - System of a Down Alternative Metal
SEPULTURA - Arise Thrash Metal
CLOUDKICKER - Beacons Progressive Metal
RUSSIAN CIRCLES - Enter Metal Related

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Progressive Metal 63 3.81
2 Thrash Metal 61 3.61
3 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 26 3.88
4 Traditional heavy metal 16 3.16
5 Atmospheric Black Metal 15 3.63
6 Death Metal 14 3.11
7 Technical Death Metal 14 4.14
8 Alternative Metal 13 3.54
9 Groove Metal 11 3.45
10 Metal Related 10 3.90
11 Melodic Death Metal 9 3.83
12 Non-Metal 8 3.19
13 Avant-garde Metal 8 3.94
14 Folk Metal 7 3.86
15 Sludge Metal 6 4.00
16 Industrial Metal 5 3.00
17 Black Metal 5 1.60
18 Doom Metal 5 3.50
19 Hard Rock 4 3.75
20 Nu Metal 4 2.13
21 NWoBHM 4 4.13
22 Power Metal 2 4.00
23 Proto-Metal 2 3.50
24 Hardcore and crust 2 2.25
25 Funk Metal 1 4.00
26 Melodic Black Metal 1 3.00
27 Metalcore 1 3.50
28 Brutal Death Metal 1 2.00
29 Stoner Metal 1 2.00

Latest Albums Reviews

METALLICA Lulu (with Lou Reed)

Album · 2011 · Traditional heavy metal
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Oh my...here to begin?

When I heard Metallica and Lou Reed were doing a collaboration, I was intrigued to say the least. What on Earth would that sound like? While I had no idea what to expect, safe to say it was not this.

I have to have a bit of fun, there were some young, (my age) Metallica fans that started discussing Lou Reed, and I knew they had absolutely no idea who he was. I thus enjoyed their utter horror at this album, clearly having no idea this was never going to be a standard Metallica album.

Then there's the Metallica purists who haven't liked the band since "selling out" 20 years before, and the die hard Metallica fans, who hated this because it doesn't sound like Metallica. Some of course hate anything this band does, while fans of Lou Reed were also pretty displeased with this. Never have I seen such a diverse hatred for an album.

Well, what about the music itself? This has been a difficult review to write. I tried to free myself of all these outside influences, sat down and really listened to this, digested it and really wanted to think about the music. Keep in mind, I actually think St Anger isn't so bad, so I'd say I'm fair as possible. What did I finally come up with for "Lulu"?

Messy. Random. Boring. Laborious. Painful. Unrewarding. A failed attempt at being experimental.

"Lulu" is a lot of simple, boring music. Emphasis on a lot. 87 minutes! Most of it sounds random, like it was not even constructed but just thrown together and the songs drag on and on. Lou Reed does spoken word over this musical train wreck, and age has gotten the best of him. There's no way to put it: he sounds terrible. His singing is no better, and in all fairness I think James Hetfield doesn't sound very good either.

There is no hand holding, this album goes right into it. A nice acoustic guitar intro leads into Reed's nasaly, raspy voice delivering the fairly hilarious opener "I would cut my legs and tits off". There's a cool droning riff that kicks in with James howling while Lou continues on. It works, for a bit. It became quite boring though and felt longer than a 4 minute song should.

"The View" became a bit of an internet sensation due to the line "I am the table!" being shouted by James, but this song is actually pretty good! There is a simple, but cool, riff that plays as Lou Reed delivers spoken word over it, slowly and subtly building to a brief, moderately up tempo crescendo with James singing. It shifts back to Lou, building back up to another James crescendo and finishing off with some shred like soloing, transitioning back to that churning, chuggy riff.

The reason this song works is because it was well constructed. It never grows tiresome because it builds. There are some minor changes to the drum work as the riff drones on, there is progression opposed to simply going on without change. The crescendos hit hard, the settle downs feel more impactful, there are some solos and neat guitar work sprinkled throughout. There is variation, progress, a coherent song structure. Thus no part gets stale or feels awkward, and there is enough going on to keep you there.

Unfortunately this can't be said for the rest of the album. Sure there are good moments sprinkled throughout, but it's like dumpster diving to find them, a big dumpster and all you find are nickles. There's not much reward for all the work and filth. Whenever "Metallica" comes through, it's generally simple and uninteresting. Little technical skill or songwriting ability is displayed.

The album actually finishes on a pretty good note. The only other good song, "Junior Dad" is a 19 minute journey, and I don't use that word lightly. The song actually moves. Peaks and valleys, builds, some nice riffs, melodies and songwriting. There are many textured parts and the drumming is simple but effective, and throws enough unexpected moments and fills in there to keep your head bobbing. Much of the second half are just strings, but it's quite beautiful and is a fitting end to this slow paced, gentle yet moving song.

I wanted to emphasize those two songs, "The View" and "Junior Dad" to give this album some positive words. The pretty good pieces of bread that hold together this sandwich of minimalist droning, noise, spoken word, hard rock all smushed together randomly. I have read that most of this album is improv, and it shows. Kudos for the ambition, but it's not something I think Metallica proved very capable of doing.

I always applaud a band for doing something different, for experimenting and for challenging their fans. I understand this is what Metallica was doing with "Lulu". They have always been a band to try something new, no matter the criticism, and "Lulu" takes it to the nth degree. Metallica is saying we've been around for 30 years, sold 100 million albums, we have everything we could want so we're gunna do something different, something we want and no fucks are gunna be given. While I admire the effort, it is not successful. Just like how people shouldn't automatically hate something without giving it a fair try, a band experimenting doesn't mean it needs to win our approval just for doing so.

"Lulu" has 2 good songs, the rest of which is boring and frankly, terrible. Sometimes hilarious, sometimes painful, I am hesitant to give this album even a one star rating, because even a completionist will be A OK not having this album in their collection. Yes, it may not even be worth having solely to complete a collection, no one would blame you. That said, it's not 100% garbage so I can't give it a half.

ONE STAR

MEGADETH Dystopia

Album · 2016 · Thrash Metal
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A standard album for Megadeth over the previous decade: Dave Mustaine has surrounded himself with very good talent, and managed to melt it all into a pot of mediocrity.

While Megadeth's last two albums were increasingly depressing efforts, I couldn't help but find myself intrigued by Dystopia because it's Megadeth...and I was impressed with the additions of Kiko Loureiro of Angra and Chris Adler of Lamb of God. I have long been a fan of Adler's drumming, and after exploring Angra it's no doubt Loureiro is a very talented musician.

Loureiro does lay down some nasty solos, (and damn impressive acoustic work), and Adler's drumming is solid, but his unique style has been shoved into the Megadeth formula...and that's really the way I'd describe "Dystopia". Formulaic.

The album isn't bad, though it isn't anything special, there are some great riffs, melodies, solos and moments sprinkled throughout, while the rest is filled with uninspired, generic music. It's modern Megadeth by the numbers: lots of mid temp chugging, mix in speed metal riffs and double bass chain drumming, some unique moments, shred solos and very rare thrashing. There's really just not much about this album that stands out either way.

Mustaine's vocals continue to show signs of age, but aren't too bad honestly. Recent attempts at singing have been abandoned for his trademark gruff, talk-singing style that does remind me of his classic days, though no doubt it lacks its past ferociousness and sarcastic bite.

"Dystopia" starts on a high note with "The Threat is Real" a very solid song, then "Dystopia" which may be the best on the album with its awesome riffs, melodies, solos and song structure...it really moves, never lingers too long or grows boring. "Fatal Illusion" is another good song that reminds me of classic Megadeth: dueling guitars, harmonized melodies, explosive solos and anarchic structure. After this 3 song burst the album goes bland, exception being the instrumental "Conquer or Die". This song competes for best on the album, opening with an awesome acoustic lick before launching into some wonderful dual guitar work. Spidery riffs, blazing yet varied solos all within a slowly building framework. Right out of the classic Megadeth playbook.

So what to make of Dystopia? There are some good songs, but nothing spectacular, which stand out in an album of generic, frankly uninspired feeling, music. Those who worship at the church of thrash shouldn't bother with this, those that enjoy the newer, modern metal style Megadeth, will probably like it. I don't feel it's thrash or nothing myself, I just believe Mustaine is not good at writing non thrash music, which "Dystopia" continues to prove correct. The two best songs sound like good ol fashion 80's Megadeth, while the rest spins its wheels in the mud that has been the band's 4 of their last 5 albums.

Overall, an OK album that won't blow anyone's mind. Fans of newer Megadeth will find it acceptable, and it's certainly better than the disaster that was "Super Collider". You won't find anything new, but nothing really bad. Fans of pre mid 90s Megadeth will find little to enjoy here.

TWO AND A HALF STARS

SYMPHONY X Underworld

Album · 2015 · Progressive Metal
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The New Jersey Prog Metal Masters are back with their newest album "Underworld"

The album is an in between Paradise Lost and Iconoclast. It is clearly grounded in the bands new style: heavy and intense, (there are even a few blast beats thrown in one part!) darker, less progressive and less shred riffing/neoclassical insanity of their old days...however "Underworld" drifts a little more towards the style of "Paradise Lost" rather than "Iconoclast" meaning this album is a little more progressive, features more keyboard, less "hardcore" vocals and is just more varied in style.

While I am a fan of Iconoclast, I greatly appreciate the drift away from there and back to a more classic sound. Don't misunderstand, this is firmly within the band's new sound and you should not expect The Odyssey or V or Divine Wings here, but there are plenty of classic Symphony X riffs, melodies, sounds and staples to please any fan.

Style aside, all the musicianship is superb, as is to be expected, the songwriting tight and well composed, the audio quality is great and I particularly love the sound of the bass. The songwriting of Symphony X is what always struck me, their ability to create songs with great flow, surprise, technicality and musicianship but without wasting any of our time, and they have done so yet again. There are still moments that surprise you, and all the instruments, while getting to showcase the skill of the musicians, work together.

"Underworld" is not a perfect album, there are some weak moments, and there is nothing here really unexpected, but it's another great output that continues to walk the line of pleasing fans and originality, technicality and musician ship, heaviness and progressiveness, and they walk the line superbly. The vocals of Russell Allen are brilliant as always, displaying a great range, there are riffs galore, and Jason Rullo, (one of my all time favorite drummers) continues to increasingly show off his drumming prowess. Michael Romeo still solos like the best of them, and the composition is a bit more progressive than Iconoclast, with some truly beautiful movements sprinkled throughout.

Standout tracks are: Without You, Kiss of Fire and Legend.

Symphony X is one of the greatest metal bands of their time, and continue to prove it with yet another strong output. "Underworld" should be a great addition for Symphony X fans, and please prog metal fans. Excellent album.

FOUR STARS

MEGADETH Super Collider

Album · 2013 · Traditional heavy metal
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After their own thrash metal comeback album, "Endgame" Megadeth released the lackluster, though not really bad, "Thirteen" and this, (in addition to "Endgame" being weaker than both Metallica's "Death Mangnetic" and Slayer's "World Painted Blood") left me not terribly optimistic for their next album.

Unfortunately, my feelings were validated, and listening again now almost 2 years later, my opinions are unchanged. As it may be known I am a fan of all types of metal and music in general, I don't need a Megadeth album to be thrash. My issue with "Super Collider" is not "it's not thrash" it's just not very good.

"Super Collider" is a boring album, criminally so. Mustaine's vocals are poor, and yes...that is even for Mustaine. The music is simple, uninspired, lackluster, and boring. Sure, there are some good riffs, cool moments, and decent solos but it is not enough to redeem this boring, radio rock album.

While I never fault a band for doing different things, I just don't think Mustaine is capable of making good, non thrash music. Though unlike some of their 90s albums, "Super Collider" lacks any good songs, and even lacks good moments. I always found some good songs, or interesting/enjoyable moments on their non thrash albums even if not caring for them overall, but there is shockingly little to be found here.

"Don't Turn Your Back..." was the only song that found any resonance with me on the album. Though it was not anything more than "attending holding".

So maybe Mustaine can't make non thrash music, maybe I just expect more from him/the band with all their talent, regardless this is an album that leaves no impact. I can't give it a two star, because there is no guarantee a fan of the band would probably enjoy this album, I myself and many others I know don't. It's not garbage, there is nothing offensively bad with it, so I will give it a 1.5 and say there is no need to listen to this album aside from pure curiosity.

ONE AND A HALF STARS

EDGE OF SANITY Infernal

Album · 1997 · Melodic Death Metal
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After the release of "Crimson" a rift formed in the band, largely between Dan Swano and Andreas Axelsson, over the new progressive direction of the band. The rift is clear on this album, as half the songs are written by Swano, with the other half by under Axelsson leadership and the whole band doesn't even play together on every song.

Edge of Sanity appeared to have been a band in conflict and the result was this album sounding, well, conflicted.

"Infernal" is quite inconsistent and I have to be honest, the Swano songs are far superior to the others. They tend to be more diverse, progressive, better written and I think he is a better vocalist than Axelsson. The other tracks tend to be more directly death metal and frankly, less inspired and a bit boring.

Standout tracks are "Hell Is Where the Heart Is", "15:36" and "The Last Song" which seems to be, quite clearly, the last song Swano was to be part of for the band. Its somber piano intro, lyrics about struggling to write the very song, simply trying to complete it, (asking why we are even listening to his "empty words") and its slow, dirge like riffing, simple yet powerful melodic guitar soloing and churning drums gives it a powerful sadness, a real painful beauty of a song. Chilling and moving.

While those are Swano songs, and I find his other tracks superior as well, they are by no means perfect. "Losing Myself" is a fine track, but a bit lackluster and honestly forgettable. On the flip side, "Burn the Sun" is a very interesting and progressive song.

"Infernal" is an album written by a band splitting apart, and it resulted in an inconsistent and disjointed effort. It is by no means a bad album, just largely lackluster, but with some solid, interesting, songs and nothing that is egregiously bad. A decent, albeit sad, outing from EoS.

Three Stars

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Now -- what are you listening to? V2
    P/S! I had the pleasure of seeing them live in Brooklyn and meeting the bandmates, hanging with them later at their place. Was one helluva show, and not just saying that as online friends, they were pretty damn rockin.PA pays off sometimes Really cool people too 
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in The Shadow Gallery (post pics of yourself)
    You know my love for Scandanavia so if I do get out though, Denmark is a guarantee :D    
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in The Shadow Gallery (post pics of yourself)
    Ah, still great stuff! Hope the Merkans were friendly, we're not all such bad people.   I'll get myself out to Europe soon.

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