The Crow

José Antonio García-Ramos
MMA Metal Reviewer ·
Registered 4 months ago · Last visit 59 days ago

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All Reviews/Ratings

36 reviews/ratings
ANATHEMA - Alternative 4 Metal Related | review permalink
OPETH - Still Life Progressive Metal | review permalink
RIVERSIDE - Second Life Syndrome Metal Related | review permalink
DREAM THEATER - Images and Words Progressive Metal | 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
KING'S X - Out Of The Silent Planet Hard Rock | review permalink
A.C.T - Last Epic Metal Related | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Metal Related 8 3.88
2 Non-Metal 7 3.79
3 Progressive Metal 5 4.00
4 Traditional heavy metal 5 4.00
5 Death Metal 3 3.67
6 Hard Rock 3 3.50
7 Death-Doom Metal 2 3.25
8 Doom Metal 1 3.00
9 US Power Metal 1 3.50
10 Thrash Metal 1 4.50

Latest Albums Reviews

SAVATAGE Sirens

Album · 1983 · US Power Metal
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Savatage's debut album will not appeal the prog or symphonic metal lovers, but is still a very enjoyable NWOBHM album.

In addition, some of the band's most recognizable virtues are yet present, like the crystal clear Criss Oliva's solos, Jon Oliva's piercing vocals and an overwhelming ability to create catchy riffs, a clear heritage of the brother's admiration for the early Black Sabbath. Maybe the in the text of the title track we can guess the love of this band for fantastic and bombastic themes, but it's really impossible to imagine that this band is the same that after a few years would make masterpieces like "Gutter Ballet " or "Streets".

Sirens starts with a strong riff and catchy vocals, while Holocaust shows the fiercest side of the band, both lyrically and musically. The good level of the compositions is maintained in the splendid I Believe and the powerful Rage, where the drums of Steve "Doc" Wacholz gain protagonism. On the Run, Twisted Little Sister, Living for the Night and Scream Murder are not so good, but nevertheless very listenable, while Out on the Streets flirts with AOR, with a moderate success.

Conclusion: Sirens is not an album for late Savatage fans, because it lacks the complexity and diversity of the grandiloquent rock operas of the 90's. Nevertheless, if you like the New Wave of British Heavy Metal of bands like Judas Priest of Saxon, you should give this record a chance. The Oliva brothers were able to show their ability on vocals and guitars, and of course, the title track is a little classic of the 80's today, while the rest of the album is also pretty good.

I miss you, guys! I still hope that Savatage will come back with full force someday... Call me a dreamer.

Best tracks: Sirens, Holocaust, I Believe.

My rating: ***1/2

DREAM THEATER Images and Words

Album · 1992 · Progressive Metal
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This is probably the progressive metal's most important album, and one of the most important albums of progressive music too!

Due to this disc and the later Awake, the progressive genre enjoyed from really good health the last decades, because a lot of people (like me) discovered this way of understand music with Dream Theater. For that I must give a lot of thanks to Dream Theater for revitalizing the progressive music at the beginning of the 90’s.

The album itself it's a true masterpiece. All the songs are magnificent, with a fantastic production and instrumental development. Maybe the keyboards are in a little too 80's way sometimes, but I'm still loving this entire album completely.

Pull me Under starts with a mysterious guitar melody and original keyboards, and soon derives in a very strong guitar riff which are soon accompanied by the great La Brie’s vocals. After that we can hear the typical masterclass of songwriting and variations that this album had in their first albums. Another Day is even better, with a memorable saxophone playing and an outstanding guitar solo.

Take The Time is simply the best Dream Theater's song in my humble opinion, and among the best progressive songs ever recorded. Just incredible! Surrounded it's different from the rest of the album, and maybe for this reason has a special place in my heart. It has some Rush and Saga influences and sometimes it sounds even Neo-Prog for me. Just great!

Metropolis – Part I has another atmospheric beginning leaded by the Kevin Moore’s keyboards and after that, just like Pull me Under we can hear a collection of great riffs which lead to the verses. This composition is more obscure and dramatic than the rest, and a very good central track. I will never forget the first time I heard the instrumental part of this song which begins at 4:17 many years ago. I was blown away! And I’m still amazed of the quality of these musicians.

Under a Glass Moon has a majestic beginning, worthy of the best science fiction film! Then the strong drums beef up the song, which derives in another heavy riff and very original verses with the initial melody. The instrumental development of the song is also fantastic. Another classic of this album with a superb guitar solo!

Wait for Sleep is a slow and beautiful ballad driven by a marvellous piano melody. Here we can also hear the ability of La Brie to sing in lower tones. And Learning to Live is the final masterpiece. Another brilliant piece of pure progressive metal with the best keyboard work of the album, great bass lines and another outstanding example of good songwriting and musicianship.

Conclusion: Images and Words is one of the peaks of progressive and a must for everyone. Even if you don’s like progressive metal, this is a must hearing album.

Last fact I want to comment: James LaBrie couldn't never reach again the great voice and the incredible high notes that he reached in this album. In Awake he sounded rougher and he has been losing his voice along the years for the reasons we all know.

And that’s a pity.

Best Tracks: Pull Me Under, Another Day, Take The Time, Surrounded, Metropolis – Part 1.

My rating: *****

This review was originally written for ProgArchives.com years ago, and rewritten today to be included here.

METROPOLIS VI Saltos En El Tiempo

Album · 2002 · Progressive Metal
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A good album from a band which deserved better!

Metropolis VI was born in Madrid back in 2001. I had the luck to see them live in Granada in 2003 in Sala Quilombo, and I have to say that they were just great playing live! I will never forget this marvellous evening of splendid music. And Saltos en El Tiempo, their first CD, is also very enjoyable.

Sadly, the band suffered different problem which led to their break-up years later. But their albums are still here to be discoverd for true progressive metal fans!

Saltos En El Tiempo opens with Destino, a very Dream Theater influenced song with a good bass melody and great riffs. The lyrics are not the best, and the vocals from Marcial are just tolerable, but the song is pretty good nonetheless. The chorus is good and the solo is even better. Reflejos is darker, stronger and it contains another outstanding bass line.

¿Por Qué No? offers one of the best guitar works of the album, especially during the verses and the instrumental section, while Quisiera Volver has another very competent instrumental work, despite the weak chorus.

Hay Algo shows the hard rock influences of Metropolis VI, in the vein of King's X. It has a very catchy riff and even a heavy section which remembers me to another great Spanish band called Los Suaves. Good track! Otro Mundo has an almost jazz beginning, and another Ty Tabor influenced riff. Good verses for another decent song.

Mi Lugar is the best track of the album and it also contains the best vocal interpretation from Marcial, alongside an impressive guitar solo and good acoustics. The very melodic final part is superb! Saltos en el tiempo and Vértigo are a bit darker and heavier, following the influence of Dream Theater, while Tres Minutos is a nice hard rock track with very good melodies during the solo. The lyrics are also pretty funny!

Conclusion: if you want to hear a mixture between Dream Theater and King's X, and you are eager to hear some good progressive metal in Spanish language, Metropolis VI is your band despite the lack of true personality that they always had. The vocals are OK, the guitar and bass playing are over the top, and the rest of the band also made a good job. And the songwriting was also really good! And that's the most important fact.

Moreover, if you don't understand the lyrics please don't worry. They are the worst aspect of this band!

Best Tracks: Reflejos, Por Que No, Mi Lugar.

My Rating: ***

KING'S X Out Of The Silent Planet

Album · 1988 · Hard Rock
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After almost 30 years after its release, Out of the Silent Planet still sounds fresh and surprising!

King's X are not strictly progressive. They are an alternative hard rock band from the end 80's which decided to mix their Rush and progressive influences with a strong song-oriented songwriting, a bit commercial but complex enough to appeal the prog fans. It's like Saga meets Rush but with a touch of grunge and alternative rock in the vein of Pixies or Sonic Youth. That makes the sound of King's X kind of unique and interesting.

The album also sounds pretty good, with emphasis on the strong Ty Tabor guitars and the outstanding voice of Doug Pinnick, one of the best prog singers of all time in my opinion. Jerry Gaskill is also solid on his drums, making King's X a true power trio in the best tradition of the mentioned Rush.

Out of the Silent Planet opens with In the New Age, a powerful and modern song with great guitar sound making a very good alternative hard rock tune. But Goldilox is even better with its great lyrics and the impressive vocals from Pinnick. A mellow and catchy song, and a real King's X classic. Power of Love is a bit more conventional, typical hard rock from the 80's very well sung.

Wonder is maybe the lowest point of the album, despite its good chorus. Just too repetitive! But the album gets better with Sometimes, funnier and with another good chorus. King is even better with its distorted bass line and good choirs, while What is this? offers interesting psychedelic voices together with an impressive singing on the choir.

Far, Far Away is the most progressive track of the album and one of my favorites. Great guitar melodies! A song which influenced in the progressive sound of the 90's. Shot of Love remembers me to the best Extreme with its vocal melodies, and it has surprising folk melodies in its riffs. Visions is a mid-tempo with an accelerated final section, leaving a very good impression.

Conclusion: Out of the Silent Planet supposed a great debut for King's X. A band which sounded just great despite its youth, with powerful guitars, an impressive voice talent who also plays bass pretty well, together with a strong drummer. This album is a very stimulating mixture of hard rock, alternative rock and some prog elements, with full of splendid songs, catchy chorus and great songwriting. Recommended!

Best Tracks: In the New Age, Goldilox, King, Far Far Away.

My rating: ****

FU MANCHU No One Rides For Free

Album · 1994 · Hard Rock
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Debut of this splendid stoner rock band leaded by Scott Hill!

Brant Björk, ex-drummer of Kyuss, achieved a typical stoner guitar sound while maintaining some hard rock elements in the sound of the band, especially in the strong drums and clear bass. The result is a very compact album which is not a mere copy of Kyuss.

Time to fly demonstrates that Fu-Manchu are good scholars of Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality, despite the weak vocals. The riff after 2:20 is just astounding! Ojo Rojo is even better, with a mastodontic riff and very catchy melodies. Pure stoner-metal from the 90’s at its best.

Show and Shine is a more accelerated track, even hard rock despite its muddy sound. Mega-Bumpers is not so inspired and a bit repetitive at the beginning, but at the end of the second minute it introduces a fast and catchy riff.

Free and Easy is a relaxing tune with some funny guitar melodies, increasing the variety of the album in a much appropriated way. But Superbird comes to bring the stoner metal back, with another splendid riff at the beginning and good percussions throughout the song. One of the highlights of the album in my opinion!

Shine it On is lighter and a bit simplistic. But not bad nevertheless! And Snakebellies is luckily better especially because it’s psychedelic elements in its second half, leaving a good feeling about this album and band.

Conclusion: despite being produced by Brant Björk, Fu-Manchu are more that a copy of Kyuss or other stoner bands like Sleep. On No One Rides for Free they made an interesting mixture of stoner and hard rock, not so dense and complex like other bands of this genre, but very interesting and catchy nevertheless.

They improved a lot on subsequent releases, but No One Rides for Free is a good point of entry if you want to discover this band.

Best Tracks: Time to Fly, Ojo Rojo, Superbird, Snakebellies.

My Rating: ***

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