The Crow

José Antonio García-Ramos
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Registered 26 days ago · Last visit 10 hours ago

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All Reviews/Ratings

28 reviews/ratings
ANATHEMA - Alternative 4 Metal Related | review permalink
OPETH - Still Life Progressive Metal | review permalink
RIVERSIDE - Second Life Syndrome Metal Related | review permalink
BLACK SABBATH - Master Of Reality Traditional heavy metal | review permalink
ANATHEMA - Judgement Non-Metal | review permalink
ANATHEMA - A Natural Disaster Non-Metal | review permalink
ANATHEMA - Weather Systems Non-Metal | review permalink
VEKTOR - Terminal Redux Thrash Metal | review permalink
BLACK SABBATH - Black Sabbath Traditional heavy metal | review permalink
BLACK SABBATH - Paranoid Traditional heavy metal | review permalink
A.C.T - Today's Report Progressive Metal | review permalink
A.C.T - Imaginary Friends Metal Related | review permalink
ANATHEMA - A Fine Day to Exit Non-Metal | review permalink
ANATHEMA - We're Here Because We're Here Non-Metal | review permalink
BLACK SABBATH - Vol 4 Traditional heavy metal | review permalink
OPETH - Morningrise Death Metal | review permalink
RIVERSIDE - Out Of Myself Metal Related | review permalink
A.C.T - Last Epic Metal Related | review permalink
ANATHEMA - The Silent Enigma Death-Doom Metal | review permalink
OPETH - Orchid Death Metal | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Metal Related 7 4.07
2 Non-Metal 7 3.79
3 Traditional heavy metal 5 4.00
4 Death Metal 3 3.67
5 Death-Doom Metal 2 3.25
6 Progressive Metal 2 4.50
7 Thrash Metal 1 4.50
8 Doom Metal 1 3.00

Latest Albums Reviews

RIVERSIDE Rapid Eye Movement

Album · 2007 · Metal Related
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Compared to other Riverside albums Rapid Eye Movement is just average. But it's miles away over the average of prog-rock releases from the last decade!

Riverside tried to become a bit more accessible in this one, sacrificing their most progressive side in some tracks while maintaining their trademark of strong bass lines, atmospheric keyboards, detailed drumming, great riffs and solos, alongside with tortured lyrics. It was a bit shocking for the fans of the band back in 2007 and considered as a step back, but ten years after the release of the album we can appreciate the tremendous quality of the songs without prejudice and look at this record as the unique and especial step further in the career of the band that undoubtedly is.

Beyond the Eyelids, nevertheless, follows the path of Second Life Syndrome with an intricate and strong beginning, very progressive and even darker as their previous compositions. The chorus is great and so is the final atmospheric solo. Rainbow Box has a brutal initial bass which opens a song which talks about metal illness and the effects of its treatment. Intense, good and why not, with some Porcupine Tree influences.

02 Panic Room has some electronic basis in the vein of the EP Voices in my Head. The great chorus and the incredible final part polish one of the hits of the alum, with lyrics based on the splendid videogame Silent Hill 4: The Room. This two tracks are more direct, not so progressive and they brought a not very welcomed new style for Riverside. But I find both songs just awesome!

But for the fans of Second Life Syndrome, Schizophrenic Prayer brings the mood of this album back, with its insidious vocal melodies at the beginning. The rhythmic base is original and unique, and the ending of the song is a bit more conventional, but very good nevertheless. And also fantastic is Parasomnia, which contains the darkest lyrics of the album and one of the most progressive instrumental developments. I specially love the section after "Drugged from sleep?" Pure Riverside magic!

Through the Other side is a fine acoustic song in the vein of Us from Voices in My Head (this EP totally introduced the style of Rapid Eye Movements) which is a welcomed changed of intensity in the album. Sadly, Embryonic is another acoustic track but not so good this time, giving the impression that the album lost a bit direction at this point, despite the good guitar solo towards the end of the song.

Cybernetic Pillow tries to get the album back on track, but it's not as good as the first five song. The Tool-based riffs are just fine, and after the chorus we can hear a typical Riverside melody. Just Ok. But luckily Ultimate Trip saves the album from disaster, because is one of the best song included here, and also the most uplifting one. It has an outstanding instrumental work, even with some classic hard rock influences and another incredible final section, which contains the best guitars of the album and a very good bass line.

I had the luck to enjoy Riverside playing this song with my beloved wife in Madrid, back in 2011, and it was just unforgettable! Since then, I like Ultimate Trip even more.

Conclusion: Rapid Eye Movement is not perfect. It suffers from a clear drop after the just fine Through the Other Side because of two lackluster songs, and this gives the false impression that this album is worse than actually is, because it contains six other tracks which can easily be considered true Riverside classics. And taking in consideration the quality of this band that's just awesome.

In addition, the slight musical change to make some songs a bit more accessible was not very well welcomed by fans of the first two albums back in 2007. But after ten years I consider this album even more especial for that reason, despite the initial shock that we had the first time we heard it. And sincerely, it also contains some of the best and darkest lyrics of the band's history.

Best Tracks: the whole Fearless section plus Ultimate Trip.

My Rating: ***1/2

This review has originally written for ProgArchives.com

VEKTOR Terminal Redux

Album · 2016 · Thrash Metal
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A brutal travel through space and death!

Hearing Terminal Redux is like being propelled through light years of heinous wars, apocalyptic starship crashes and obscure mythologies. The concept of the album is obtuse and difficult to understand, but also an adventure to discover, just like the music of Vektor. They proudly carry the banner of technical death metal today. And they deserve it!

The production of the album is also very solid, leaving space for every instrument. I would mention the guitars, which sound piercing and pristine, and also the powerful drums. Maybe the bass is a bit low for my taste, but that's usual in thrash and death metal anyway. But let's talk about the songs!

Charging the Void introduces us in a very powerful way in the style of the album. A very technical and fierce death metal but with tons of epic melodies, really catchy for adventurous listeners. The DiSanto vocals are pure black metal nevertheless, and they are accompanied in this song by splendid clean female choirs. A very solid, progressive and surprising song!

Cygnus Terminal is a bit more melancholic and melodic, but also powerful and it contains incredible drumming from Blake Anderson. LCD is even faster, with brutal lyrics with helps to define the concept of the record. And then comes Mountains Above the sun, a very wise track which introduces variety while being just an introduction for Ultimate Artificer, a song which is a bit more classic death metal, but it contains some of the best riffs of the album.

But hey... The second half of the CD is even better! Pteropticon is one of the most complete songs of the album with its devilish speed and brutal melodies. Is one of the best written tracks. Psycotropia increases the craziness level and it contains one hell of a bass solo. And Pillars of Sand follow the more straightforward line of Ultimate Artificer... At this point we start to feel again the album needs a change.

And then we find Collapse! A semi-acoustic and beautiful track with clean vocals which increases its intensity progressively bringing a beautiful moment when clean vocals and growls unite, making a very original and catchy section. The final part of the song is a bit more conventional, but also great. Another marvelous bass playing from Frank Chin!

Recharging the Void... If I had to introduce Vektor to someone, this would be the chosen song to do that. Over 13 minutes of epic melodies, haunting clean choirs, brutal guitars and incredible riffs. It's arguably the best song of the album and one of the highlights in Vektor's career. Just a must hearing song for every prog metal lover! Just like the rest of the album.

Conclusion: Terminal Redux has a pair of not so brilliant moments where the music can be a bit repetitive. But as a whole is just one of the best metal albums of this decade. Superb songwriting, cryptic concept and impressive instrumental skill which recalls the best technical death metal moments of the 90's while it achieves to sound different and very actual. If you are not scared by extreme metal and black metal vocals, you should give Terminal Redux a chance. It's a very impressive release from which confirms that Vektor are not the future of metal anymore. They are the present!

Thank you for this great experience, guys.

Best Tracks: Charging the Void, Pteropticon, Psycotropia, Collapse, Recharging the Void.

My rating: ****1/2

This review was originally written for ProgArchives.com

RIVERSIDE Voices in My Head

EP · 2005 · Metal Related
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While lacking the quality of full length releases, Voices in my Head still delivers a unique experience!

Recorded after the release of Out of Myself and prior to the masterpiece Second Life Syndrome, Riverside consolidated its line- up with this EP which has a good production and some very good ideas.

Us follows the melancholic path of Out of Myself, but it contains a surprising acoustic guitars work. Acronyum Love starts with a beautiful piano which introduces a real classic of the band, with wonderful and very elegant guitars (we miss you, Piotr!) and a final accelerated part in the vein of Out of Myself.

Dna Ts. Rednum Or F. Raf, despite its weird title has introduces fine electronic rhythms and beautiful vocal melodies. The long instrumental part together with the electronic sounds is some kind of advance of what the band would do in the future with Rapid Eye Movement. The time I was Daydreaming is another acoustic song in the vein of Us, but this time with a glimpse of trip-hop in the guitars and rhythm, typical also from Out of Myself with another intense and dramatical ending. Stuck Between has also a bit of trip- hop influence and it has an excellent layer of keyboards and guitars, very good combined, together with a fine bass and very good harmonic voices. These voices are left alone at the end of the track to close this fine collection of new songs in a very good way.

After the new songs we encounter live versions of I Believe, Loose Heart and Out of Myself, very good played and with enough variations to be enjoyed despite being heard a thousand times in Out of Myself.

Conclusion: with this EP, Riverside experimented with more acoustic sections and more trip-hop melodies than in Out of Myself. This was a cult release these days, so they were allowed to do that without receiving the anger of fans. The result is a very interesting disc with four good songs and a true Riverside classic, which is Acronyum Love.

Maybe is not an essential addition for every collection, but it's obligated to hear this album if you like Riverside, because it's very important to understand their first years as a band and know their influences.

Best Songs: Us, Acronyum Love, The Time I Was Daydreaming.

My rating: ***1/2

This review was originally written for ProgArchives.com

RIVERSIDE Second Life Syndrome

Album · 2005 · Metal Related
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After the splendid Out of Myself, Riverside achieved to do even better witch Second Life Syndrome!

Not just the production is better, also the playing of all the members of the band improved since their debut, raising the level of complexity and deep to previous unknown limits for this band. The general style of the album is a bit less jazzy than in the band's first release. So, if you are a diehard fan of Out of Myself, maybe you'll miss the most trip-hop atmospheric sections.

But the band gained tons of skills in songwriting, achieving a collection of songs which is far superior. I honestly think that the band's peak is here. In Anno Domini High Definition they almost achieved the great quality of Second Life Syndrome, but it's a step under nevertheless. Let's discover what made this record so good!

The album starts with After, a very dramatic and appropriate intro with splendid vocals and the rest of the band sounding just perfect. This song is like an introduction of what Mariusz Duda would make in its parallel project Lunatic Soul, ethnic influences included. Then Volte-Face comes like a punch in your face with its strong riffs, passionate singing and oriental melodies. Stronger, very stronger than Out of Myself.

But then Conceiving You brings back this most intimate side of the band, much in the style of In Two Minds of the previous release. The lyrics are also perfect, making a milestone in the band's career, just like the title track... An authentic progressive tour de force in three acts with perfect songwriting, marvelous lyrics and an epic guitar solo towards the end. Outstanding!

And the guys of Riverside wanted not to bring the party down, so after Second Life Syndrome they included Artificial Smile, another great and rocky song, very prog and perfect to be played live. But if you think that the thigs could not be better, then listen to I Turned You Down... The best song of the album and one of the best of the band's whole career. I can't even describe what this song means to me... And my wife. I just LOVE it.

Reality Dream III is a superb instrumental track with protagonism for Lapaj and the solos of the very missed Grudzinski. Better than the Reality Dreams of Out of Myself in my opinion. And what's to say about Dance with the Shadows? It starts in a very soft way, with a very catchy vocal melody from Duda, and it soon evolves to a very dynamic and complete progressive metal song, with the typical Riverside's more atmospheric and dramatic sections in the middle. The lyrics talk about loss and craziness, introducing the main theme of the next album Rapid Eye Movement. Great riff after the minute 9!

And Before ends the album in the same way that OK did in Out of Myself... Another precious lyric from Duda for a track with trip hop influences.

Summary: Second Life Syndrome is not perfect, but every song included is just great. If you like melancholic crossover prog with strong lyrics, great playing, a very personal approach to instrumental sections and a unique voice this is the best place to start. This is still in my opinion the Riverside's best album to date.

An outstanding masterpiece and one of the best progressive rock albums from the last decade.

Best Tracks: all of them.

My Rating: *****

This review is dedicated to the great and very missed guitarist Piotr Grudzinski. Rest in peace wherever you are, brother!

OPETH Still Life

Album · 1999 · Progressive Metal
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For me this is the first Opeth's masterpiece, and of course it’s also one of their best albums

Dan Swäno's production is very proffesional, and the guitar's sound is killer! The riffs of Serenity Painted Death and White Cluster are amazing, for example. And here we can hear a clear improvement in the acoustic parts too, which sound in a more melodic and classic way, not as dark as in Orchid or My Arms Your Hearse, much more in the vein of the 70’s influenced Morningrise.

For that reason, I think this album is the true follow-up of the excellent Morningrise but much better and mature. I consider that in My Arms, Your Hearse they lost the right direction a bit, despite being a very good album. Face of Melinda, for example, it’s almost a sequel of the song To Bid You Farewell from Morningrise.

Conclusion: the best album for Opeth's beginners, and one of the best metal albums of all time. The band reached their next level with this record, taking all that they learned in the three previous efforts and achieving an incredible mastery in songwriting.

To be experienced many, many times. An immortal classic!

Best Tracks: Every song in Still Life is marvelous, and I can't really decide which are the best. Maybe The Moor, Godhead's Lament and Face Of Melinda are a little over the rest, but all the others are great too.

My rating: *****

This review was originally written for ProgArchives, and rewritten to be included here.

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