The Crow

José Antonio García-Ramos
MMA Metal Reviewer ·
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 8 months ago

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All Reviews/Ratings

63 reviews/ratings
BLACK SABBATH - Master Of Reality Heavy Metal | review permalink
ANATHEMA - Alternative 4 Metal Related | review permalink
OPETH - Still Life Progressive Metal | review permalink
RIVERSIDE - Second Life Syndrome Metal Related | review permalink
VEKTOR - Terminal Redux Technical Thrash Metal | review permalink
DREAM THEATER - Images and Words Progressive Metal | review permalink
RIVERSIDE - Anno Domini High Definition Progressive Metal | review permalink
RIVERSIDE - Memories In My Head Metal Related | review permalink
ORPHANED LAND - Mabool: The Story of the Three Sons of Seven Folk Metal | review permalink
PAIN OF SALVATION - The Perfect Element, Part 1 Progressive Metal | review permalink
PAIN OF SALVATION - Remedy Lane Progressive Metal | review permalink
BLACK SABBATH - Black Sabbath Heavy Metal | review permalink
BLACK SABBATH - Paranoid Heavy Metal | review permalink
A.C.T - Today's Report Progressive Metal | review permalink
A.C.T - Imaginary Friends Metal Related | review permalink
ANATHEMA - Judgement Non-Metal | review permalink
ANATHEMA - A Fine Day to Exit Non-Metal | review permalink
ANATHEMA - A Natural Disaster Non-Metal | review permalink
ANATHEMA - We're Here Because We're Here Non-Metal | review permalink
ANATHEMA - Weather Systems Non-Metal | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Progressive Metal 12 3.83
2 Metal Related 11 3.82
3 Non-Metal 11 3.36
4 Folk Metal 6 3.50
5 Heavy Metal 5 4.20
6 Death Metal 4 3.25
7 Sludge Metal 4 3.00
8 Hard Rock 3 3.33
9 Death-Doom Metal 2 3.00
10 Doom Metal 1 3.00
11 Black Metal 1 3.00
12 Stoner Rock 1 3.00
13 Technical Thrash Metal 1 5.00
14 US Power Metal 1 3.00

Latest Albums Reviews

MASTODON Blood Mountain

Album · 2006 · Sludge Metal
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The third Mastodon's full-length effort was their definitive entry into prog!

The outstanding Leviathan had some prog elements, with intricate passages and some long instrumental sections, but it's really far from the complexity of Blood Mountain, where the guys show all their instrumental skills, and the great amount of imagination they have to compose songs. Nevertheless, I think they did not achieve the level of Leviathan.

The style of this album was still a curious mixture between thrash metal, stoner and prog, like the previous one, but Blood Mountain increased the level of prog and psychedelic elements, making the songs more intricate and variated, and even more personal and unique. The problem is that they were not so catchy as the Leviathan killer tracks. The experimentation of this album was commendable, but I think the band did not achieve a real good balance between the immediate killer power of Leviathan and the new attempt to reach a proggier level.

Specially the second half of the album is a bit dull to hear, because some songs like the silly Bladecatcher, the insipid Hunters of the Sky and the not really interesting Hand of Stone, which are under the usual level of the band.

Best Tracks: the first five tracks are splendid and I like Colony of Birchmen and Siberian Divide very much. The rest of the album is not at the same level.

Conclusion: I think that Blood Mountain was some kind of transition album. It had not the power and the catchy style of Leviathan, because the band tried new musical ways in the prog way, but not finding the right balance.

The album has great songs, but some musical ideas didn't work so well, specially in the second half of the album, and the general level is under Leviathan.

My rating: ***

MASTODON Leviathan

Album · 2004 · Sludge Metal
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Second full-length Mastodon's album and here is where they really showed all their potential, and this original way to understand metal!

The style of the band very well represented in Leviathan. They make thrash metal with a lot of death metal influences, and a very original approaching to stoner rock too, giving constant surprises with groovy and catchy riffs. Like at the end of Seabeast! Being a fan of stoner (I specially love Spiritual Beggars and similar acts), I find this side of Mastodon very attractive.

However, they use not usual rhythms and structures. The songs are surprising, and the tempo is always changing. Not only in the epic Hearts Alive (a 100% progressive metal track) but also in the funny Megalodon, where a country melody is followed by a very fast speed metal section. The complex Aqua Dementia, the intricate verses on Island. This album is a real pleasure for tech metal fans.

The sound of the guitars is a bit odd, but it is great for the music and the concept of the album. They have sometimes a sailor mood, like on the beginning of Megalodon. Is incredible how this band, with these compact and hard compositions, are able to give every song a new texture, making a coherent progression of the history through the album. I also like their acoustics. In Joseph Merrick they made another bizarre song, with this dirty guitars and tired keyboards... However, it is just brilliant!

Brann Dailor, the drummer, also deserves a special mention here. He is just one of the better drummers in metal today. His incredibly fast drumming and his surprising rhythms make the sensation of that you are hearing a jam session by a genius... Every time I listen this album, I discover new things in the work of this man in Leviathan. His sound is a bit ugly, and a bit too high. However, for the speed of his drumming, maybe it is not possible to get a better sound, because the drumsticks of this guy must run at the speed of light!

Best Tracks: Blood and Thunder (obscure, epic and catchy opening...), Seabeast (the final riff is my favorite of the album), Iron Tusk (just love the whole song), Megalodon (it's crazy, and it is wonderful) and of course Hearts Alive (the longer track is of course very progressive, epic and it shows the whole band's potential)

Conclusion: Mastodon is one of the most surprising metal acts appeared in the last years. They have achieved a very original sound, mixing a lot of genres and influences, but mixing them so brilliantly that you will not notice it. They are powerful, refreshing and unique. And Leviathan is their best album to date, surpassing the very good but a bit flawed Blood Mountain.

Very recommended band and album!

My rating: ****

P.S.: this review was originally written for ProgArchives.com and rewritten to be included here.

MASTODON Remission

Album · 2002 · Sludge Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Debut full length of the Atlanta's kings of trash-death-technical-prog-metal!!!

This album contains the typical hoarse vocals of Troy Sanders and his saturated bass playing, great and technical guitar playing by Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher, and the well-known amazing drumming by Brann Dailor and tons of heavy and progressive tracks.

Sadly, the songwriting is not so compelling like in the similar but much better Leviathan or the proggier Crack the Skye, making this record a bit dull in the long term despite some tracks where the band tries to make something differing like the sludge-prog Trilobite and the much more melodic and very interesting Elephant Man.

Best Tracks: March of the Fire Ants (typical Mastodon power), Where Strides the Behemoth (great riffs and a classic in live concerts), Trilobite (one of the most progressive tracks of the album with excellent guitars on it) and Elephant Man (melancholic and meditative guitar work, which shows the band's versatility which would make them great in the future)

Conclusion: this first album of Mastodon is much in the vein of the later Leviathan, but with a songwriting which is not so refined yet and some repetitive ideas which makes the hearing of the album a bit boring in the long term.

So, although Remission is a good tech-metal album with some killer tracks and passages on it, if you are new to Mastodon, I would recommend you to start with one of their later albums!

My rating: ***

MASTODON Lifesblood

EP · 2001 · Sludge Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
So, I'll finally start to review the Mastodon's albums, a band that I've followed for years. This little EP, their first official release, is their least worthy work!

Mainly because the true style of the band would be later developed. While in this album the dominant key is death metal, with some trash and stoner rock elements, and a bit of experimentation. Ok, this mixture is the Mastodon's trademark, but in Lifesblood the direction of the tracks is not really clear, and a bit too chaotic. The poor production doesn’t help to improve the sensation these five tracks give. The vocals are poor in comparison with later Mastodon's albums, and they are too synthetized and artificial.

But if you are a Mastodon fan, of course you'll find some interesting things here. Like I found! We Built this Come Death has some of this macabre and odd ambience that Mastodon can give to their songs. The little initial riff of Hail to Fire has the typical sharp and special Mastodon's guitar sound, and Brann Dailor was impressive behind the drumkit. And of course, Battle at Sea is a worthy track, a little Mastodon's classic.

Nevertheless, if you are new to the band, I recommend you start with one of their full-length albums (specially Leviathan or Crack the Skye).

Conclusion: if you are not a Mastodon's fan, you will hardly find anything interesting here. Because this album is maybe too rough, and the later Mastodon's style is almost invisible here and yet to be developed.

So, in my humble opinion, Lifesblood is only recommended for fans and the band’s completionists.

My rating: **

PAIN OF SALVATION Linoleum

EP · 2009 · Non-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Prior to the release of Road Salt One and Two, Pain of salvation released this EP called Linoleum as an aperitif

It contains one song of Road Salt One (the fine Linoleum), one of Road Salt Two (the repetitive and disjointed Mortar Grind) and four tracks which were not included in these discs.

Sadly, If You Wait is a short blues-rock track with no interest. Gone is better but the production is too raw (just like the Road Salt albums) and it is boring and repetitive in the long term.

Bonus Track B is a curiosity just for fans, and finally Yellow Raven is a very dramatic version of an Uli John Roth song which is not enough to make this EP interesting if you are not a die-hard fan of the Road Salt era of this band.

My rating: **

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