Vim Fuego

Patrick Stott
Forum Admin Group · Death, T/S/G, Grind, VA Teams
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Favorite Metal Artists

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1730 reviews/ratings
MORBID ANGEL - Altars of Madness Death Metal | review permalink
PUNGENT STENCH - Been Caught Buttering Death Metal | review permalink
CATHEDRAL - Forest of Equilibrium Doom Metal | review permalink
BRUTAL TRUTH - Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses Deathgrind | review permalink
FIGHT - War of Words Groove Metal | review permalink
ANNIHILATOR - Alice in Hell Thrash Metal | review permalink
DARK ANGEL - Darkness Descends Thrash Metal | review permalink
CARNIVORE - Retaliation Crossover Thrash | review permalink
EXODUS - Fabulous Disaster Thrash Metal | review permalink
HOLY TERROR - Mind Wars Thrash Metal | review permalink
ANTHRAX - Attack of the Killer B's Thrash Metal | review permalink
CARCASS - Symphonies of Sickness Goregrind | review permalink
CARNIVORE - Carnivore Crossover Thrash | review permalink
DARKTHRONE - Soulside Journey Death Metal
DEICIDE - Deicide Death Metal | review permalink
DESTRUCTION - Sentence of Death Thrash Metal | review permalink
BAD NEWS - Bad News Heavy Metal | review permalink
EXHORDER - Slaughter in the Vatican Thrash Metal | review permalink
8 FOOT SATIVA - Season for Assault Thrash Metal | review permalink
TERRORIZER - World Downfall Deathgrind | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Thrash Metal 306 4.01
2 Death Metal 193 4.06
3 Heavy Metal 170 3.67
4 Hard Rock 108 3.26
5 Grindcore 90 4.02
6 Glam Metal 74 3.40
7 Black Metal 57 3.43
8 Groove Metal 56 3.62
9 Hardcore Punk 52 4.44
10 Crossover Thrash 52 4.19
11 Non-Metal 48 2.59
12 Industrial Metal 44 3.90
13 Alternative Metal 40 2.71
14 Melodic Death Metal 24 3.23
15 Progressive Metal 22 2.66
16 Technical Death Metal 21 3.90
17 Sludge Metal 20 3.58
18 NWoBHM 18 4.17
19 Goregrind 18 4.25
20 Power Metal 17 3.65
21 Speed Metal 17 3.50
22 Gothic Metal 16 3.66
23 Metalcore 15 3.60
24 Stoner Metal 14 3.64
25 Heavy Alternative Rock 13 3.62
26 Deathcore 12 3.63
27 Folk Metal 12 3.96
28 Metal Related 12 3.71
29 US Power Metal 12 4.04
30 Nu Metal 11 1.77
31 Deathgrind 11 4.23
32 Cybergrind 11 4.14
33 Brutal Death Metal 10 3.75
34 Proto-Metal 10 3.80
35 Technical Thrash Metal 9 3.17
36 Symphonic Black Metal 9 3.72
37 Funk Metal 9 3.11
38 Death-Doom Metal 8 3.13
39 Death 'n' Roll 8 3.00
40 Avant-garde Metal 8 3.13
41 Symphonic Metal 8 2.44
42 Pornogrind 8 3.88
43 Stoner Rock 7 3.50
44 Doom Metal 7 4.43
45 Atmospheric Black Metal 6 2.00
46 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 5 4.80
47 Melodic Black Metal 5 1.70
48 Traditional Doom Metal 5 4.00
49 Rap Metal 4 3.00
50 Crust Punk 4 4.63
51 Drone Metal 3 3.33
52 Mathcore 3 3.50
53 Neoclassical metal 2 2.75
54 Melodic Metalcore 2 2.50
55 Depressive Black Metal 2 4.75
56 Heavy Psych 1 0.50
57 Viking Metal 1 3.00

Latest Albums Reviews

CAVALERA CONSPIRACY Bestial Devastation

EP · 2023 · Death Metal
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So Cavalera Conspiracy is now Cavalera and has re-recorded “Bestial Devastation”, the famous first Sepultura EP originally released as a split with Overdose in 1985.

First thought: Why?

OK, the Cavalera brothers wrote these songs, and they reckon these old recordings don’t do them credit. Fair enough, do what you will with your own songs, but realise these have been around for a very long time, and fans are attached to the original versions, having invested a lot of time and memory to them. It doesn’t seem like fans were crying out for re-recordings. And music from this era and style is still being made - Jairo Guedz (Tormentor, and lead guitar/bass player on the original) is still doing this with The Troops of Doom.

So let’s start listening.

Second thought: Fuck!

Yeah, there’s an update to the sound, and it’s still heavy and bestial, but it’s too fucking clean! A big part of Bestial Devastation’s charm is the original recording’s sound. It has warmth and character because it’s not quite right. There’s a fuzz around the edges because the guitars are too loud. The drums are a bit out of time. The re-recorded “Antichrist” is played a lot faster by a far more accomplished 50-something Iggor than the original teen Iggor. All perfectly timed, all the fills in the right place, and all the personality is leeched from it.

Third thought: No!

You can’t rewrite history. Example: the solo near the end of the title track. It’s too slick. It’s played by Daniel Gonzalez, Cavalera Conspiracy’s live guitarist, and also a member of Possessed and Gruesome. Gonzalez is just too good and too technically proficient, and the sound too clean. There’s none of the amateurishness of a teenage guitarist laying down his first solo on tape. The new solos throughout are somewhat clinical and surgically precise, where a few idiosyncratic bum notes would have made things more interesting.

Fourth thought: Wait…

And just when you think it’s all a sterile, cynical cash-in, along comes “Sexta Fiera 13” (Friday the 13th), a turbo-charged take on the atmospheric theme song from the movie franchise of the same name. There’s little info on where or when this was written, but suddenly things are transformed. There’s no more shitting on history. It’s chaotic and brutal, and exactly what the brothers Cavalera were first famous for. And it’s a fucking great song.

Final thought: Fair enough.

Yeah, fuck it. This isn’t amazing, but it’s pretty good. These are modern reinterpretations of songs first recorded 38 years ago. The people re-recording them own them and can do what they like with them – at least these aren’t dubstep remixes. No one is forcing the rest of us to listen. And the originals still exist if you don’t like the re-recordings.

NEMESIS (TX) False Reality

Album · 2023 · Thrash Metal
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Sometimes a band does everything “wrong”, but does it so well this turn out just right. Take Nemesis for example.

First mistake – the name isn’t particularly original. A quick search online turned up no less than 97 metal bands using the word nemesis, or various versions of it, as the whole or part of the band’s name. So you narrow the search a little, to just the word nemesis on it’s own. That reduces it to 54 bands. This band is from the United States (down to 10), and plays thrash metal (six bands). To get a bit more geographically specific, narrow it down to the state of Texas, and you’re down to three bands called Nemesis. To get to the particular Nemesis in question here, you need to make the search as specific as the thrash metal band from Houston, Texas called Nemesis.

Next mistake – the band plays thrash metal. Current wisdom seems to be that thrash metal bands need to follow the patented Municipal Waste method of revival thrash. Play crossover thrash, fuck about and don’t take yourself too seriously, and make your music all about partying and getting wasted. Nemesis don’t do this. Listening to the band’s debut album “False Reality”, what they do is sharp, tight thrash metal which tackles weighty social and political issues. Instead of the D.R.I./Gang Green/Suicidal Tendencies worship of a lot of newer thrash bands, you have to dig a little deeper of influences and references. The seriousness of the subject matter wouldn’t be out of place on a 1980s record from Kreator or Megadeth or Sacred Reich.

And despite all this, “False Reality” will be one of the best thrash metal albums you are going to hear in a very long time, because this band has done the most fundamental things exactly right. First, they have mastered their instruments and their musical style. Second, the band members are a complete unit, focused and razor sharp. There’s not a weak link here, and the band members are so tight you couldn’t slip a credit card between them. Third, they are writing actual songs. Where a lot of modern thrash falls down is in just lumping a whole lot of riffs together and calling them a song. Nemesis have written their songs with a sense of purpose and cohesion, focusing on developing a song rather than just slapping it together and seeing what happens. Take second track “Captive Hell” as an example. It starts with a slowed version of the main riff, establishing it as the theme for the song. As the song progresses, more and more layers are added, like drum fills, vocal melodies, secondary riffs, and solos. The main theme is revisited several times during the song, and it all ties back together into a memorable, catchy song which would be the envy of many a big-name thrash metal band.

As for Nemesis’s overall sound, Megadeth comes to mind again, but there’s more depth than that. There’s a more than a passing similarity to French Canadian thrash legends Soothsayer – intentional or not, it’s not a direct copy and it’s refreshing to hear those seemingly forgotten sounds being explored once again. There’s also hints of Blind Illusion, a bit of Holy Terror, and maybe a splash of Testament. This is all wrapped up in clear but crushing 2020s record production which cures many of the production ills of old-school thrash. The guitar tones are distorted because they are meant to be, and not because the sound engineer had no clue about metal. The drums are sharp and crisp, and don’t sound like they are filled with mud. Vocalist Nick Broussard’s voice is clear and melodic, and skirts that perfect boundary between shout and sing.

While the whole of “False Reality” is truly impressive, there are a few stand-out tracks – take note of album opener “Slave of Mistakes”, and the singles “Aggressor” and “Escape”.

Nemesis has done nothing particularly new here, which is often seen as a recipe for mediocrity but everything the band has done is absolutely bang-on perfect. “False Reality” kicks against conventional wisdom, but it’s done with conviction and sincerity so it works. It’s a trip down memory lane any jaded old thrasher for a 40-minute trip back in time, but it may also be an indicator to the future. More please, Nemesis!

METALLICA 72 Seasons

Album · 2023 · Heavy Metal
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Art is subjective. One person’s Mona Lisa is another person’s 500-year-old moody Italian moaner. And the value of art is what someone is willing to pay for it, whether the cost be tangible like money or trade, or something more abstract, like time and attention. Over the years I, like many other fans, have expended a huge amount on Metallica’s art, because I really enjoyed what they were creating.

On my shelf right now there are 25 Metallica CDs, at least eight of which are replacements for wobbly and worn cassettes. There are also three tribute albums. There is a box set in an imitation road case which contains three VHS video tapes and two CDs, along with some other paraphernalia, and is the single largest album release I have ever bought. I have owned at least four other VHS videos, and also have two DVDs. There is a PlayStation 2 game alongside the DVDs. Also on the shelf there are three volumes of Metallica biographies, or perhaps four if you want to count Dave Mustaine’s book. I have owned at least six Metallica t-shirts, along with assorted other bits and pieces like patches, pendants, coffee mugs, and keyrings. I have dozens upon dozens of metal magazines which feature Metallica. The only time I have ever climbed on a plane to see a band was to see Metallica in 1998, going into debt at a time when I was only partially employed. And these are mostly just the material things. Calculate a guess at the time and attention, and then double your estimation and you might arrive at a more accurate figure.

The biggest problem with writing a review is that it means listening to “72 Seasons” again, and it just seems like a chore.

The title track is a good start, but these days there always seems to be something wrong with even the most promising Metallica songs. On this track it feels too clean. It’s like the sharp edges which used to make Metallica such a thrilling band to listen to have been filed off or wrapped in thick over-produced foam rubber.

And then onto “Shadows Follow”. And it sounds exactly the same – same tempo, same “Load/ReLoad” rehashed riffs, same fat, fuzzy, friendly tones. These songs are neutered golden retrievers curled up at your feet wanting a pat, where once they would have been rabid snapping mongrels threatening to rip your throat out.

“Screaming Suicide” brings in Kirk’s famed wah pedal as an attempt at adding some colour, but once again it sounds recycled, and is safe paint-by-numbers metal.

“Sleepwalk My Life Away” and “You Must Burn!” are thoroughly unremarkable, and suffer greatly from sounding too similar. This is utter mediocrity. There is nothing risky or adventurous here at all. There’s no chance of a hurdy gurdy a la “Low Man’s Lyric”. Marianne Faithful isn’t going to pop up to mournfully wail that no one cares about her any more. Fuck, there’s not even any chance of a crusty old man like Lou Reed channelling a teenage girl in the weirdest and creepiest way possible, and not just because Reed is dead. Even an annoying pinging snare drum from 2003 would add a shadow of something interesting here.

“Lux Æterna” has been cited as a return to the thrash metal days of old. Yes, it’s played at a higher tempo than the rest of the album, and is easily the shortest song on the album. It’s got a scream-along refrain which would probably go off in a live situation. However, cast a critical eye over it and see where it would have fitted in Metallica’s back catalogue and you’ll spot the problem. It’s not replacing any song anywhere on the first four albums. The style wouldn’t have suited any of the 90s albums. It might have squeezed in a spot somewhere on “St. Anger”, but it’s not making the cut for “Death Magnetic”, unless it’s a Japan-only bonus track or a B-side. See the problem? It only seems like a late model thrash Ferrari because it’s surrounded by so many characterless Toyota Corollas.

“If Darkness Had A Son” has an interesting enough groove, but being merely interesting means it’s ultimately forgettable and disposable like most of this album. Besides, Rob Halford and Fight were being far more inventive and edgy with this style of groove back in 1993.

The final track “Inamorata” (a female lover, in case you were wondering about the word’s meaning) is a microcosm of the whole album - it’s too long and would have benefitted greatly from some critical editing, it’s all been done better before, and it’s just too safe and lacking in inspiration to remain memorable or vital.

Remember the first time you were struck by the violence of “Battery” followed by the pummelling of “Master of Puppets”. Remember laughing out loud at the audacity of the “Anaesthesia (Pulling Teeth)” bass solo, which then segued into the breakneck “Whiplash”. Remember the tingle up your spine the first time you heard “Creeping Death’s” ‘die, die, die’ chant. Remember the aural assault when “Dyer’s Eve” first blasted in at the end of “To Live Is To Die”. These were the moments which made Metallica such an amazing band, and these moments created lifetime fans. Keep a firm hold of those memories, because there is not even the slightest spark on “72 Seasons” to ignite a life-long flame of fandom.

I’m no longer interested in expending anything on new music from Metallica, either concrete or ethereal. Millions still will, and that’s their choice, but this art no longer holds any value to me.

STRYPER The Final Battle

Album · 2022 · Heavy Metal
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Mainstream metal fans have always had a couple of problems with Stryper which has held the band back from greater success.

The first is the obvious one – the Christian lyrics and message the band has been broadcasting for the best part of 40 years. However, celebrations of, and exhortations to, Big Daddy, J.C., and the Spook, er... I mean the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (gotta keep the atheist piss-taking to a minimum here because this is a review of the album, not the religion) aside, Stryper have produced some absolutely banging metal tunes over the years. Take the first track from “The Final Battle” as an example. “Transgressor” is a booming lead-off track, so forget those old 80s glam metal reservations you might still be hanging on to. This is a full on powerful heavy-fucking-metal… oh, sorry, heavy-f***ing-metal song. Solos, a relentless rhythm, killer Judas Priest/Saxon/Accept style riffs, and lyrics guiding you on the path to eternal life, if you so desire. Yes, Stryper can rock hard with the best of them.

And so the album continues. Musically “See No Evil, Hear No Evil” isn’t a million miles distant from Judas Priest’s “Touch of Evil”, and vocalist Michael Sweet even hits a Halford style falsetto scream. “Same Old Story” and “Heart & Soul” are a pair of stadium rockers which modern day Mötley Crüe would kill for, all with positive, life-affirming messages instead of death and destruction or party anthem lyrics.

So far, so good. This is exactly what anyone who’s been paying attention to Stryper over the years would expect. However, the second problem hinted at earlier rears it’s ugly head with fifth track “Near”. The bane of many a young metalhead from the 80s, it’s a POWER BALLAD! Yep, Stryper’s ballads are just awful. The ballads are just so sappy and saccharine, and with the Christian sentiments come across as the Imagine Dragons of metal. These songs might really tear it up in the live setting in an evangelical mega-church, but in recorded form these are the tracks the skip button or air sickness bags were designed for.

From here on, the rest of the album seems to lose a bit of it’s bite, teetering between hands-in-the-air hard rock hymns to Him, and rockers that don’t quite roll like the first few tracks. The album could easily have just fizzled out like this, but final track “Ashes To Ashes” elbows it’s way in, and it’s a rocker which wouldn’t seem out of place on a W.A.S.P. album.

The Yellow and Black Attack have always been a bit problematic for metal fans not looking for religious messages in their music. The messaging has put off a lot of potential listeners over the years (yes, I’ll own up, I was one), but if you can put prejudices and preconceptions aside, and then filter through the filler tracks, there’s some absolute killer metal contained here. Just make sure your finger on the skip button is quicker than your gag reflex when you hit the ballad...

INTERCEPTOR Thrashing Violence

Demo · 2022 · Thrash Metal
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Landmarks in your life can bring on bouts of nostalgia (I’m writing this the day before my 50th birthday), and can get you reminiscing about things you enjoyed from the past missing from the current day. If you can be bothered doing the maths you’ll see I was 17 when the 80s ticked over to 1990. The small thrills from those days are often the hardest to rediscover - the wicked thrill associated with underage drinking (started age 14 when the legal drinking age was 20), the buzz of a first cigarette (age 15, and can genuinely say I enjoyed it), the forbidden treasure of naked women in slightly sticky girlie magazines (with pubic hair!), and the visceral delight of discovering a new band.

These days a quiet beer with dinner is still nice but is no longer illicit, I feel sick for a couple of days after if I smoke so that’s out, all forms of human nakedity and perversion are only a few mouse clicks away (and I’ve been living with a genuine, real-life beautiful woman for more than a quarter of a century anyway), and most new thrash metal bands sound like variations on a Municipal Waste-based template.

And then I discovered Interceptor’s “Thrashing Violence” demo, and I felt the thrill of 17 again.

“Thrashing Violence” is genuine, grass roots thrash metal, done for the fun of it by a young trio from a dead-end town. (That’s another thing about being 17 – whatever town you’re from seems like a dead-end town). The first thing that hits you with this demo is that it’s rough and raw, and gloriously under-produced. This isn’t the forced rough/raw pose of black metal deliberately trying to sound tr00 kvlt and grymdark. This is the genuine rough/raw of “OK, we don’t really know what we’re doing, we don’t have a lot of money, let’s just plug shit in and record what comes out”.

The guitar sound doesn’t have a lot of bottom end, but here’s the thing – this allows the riffs to shine through, nimble and sharp. Go back and listen to those old early albums from thrash metal’s big names and they sounded the same. “Kill ‘em All” sounds sharp. Exodus’ “Bonded By Blood” is their least heavy album, but has their speediest riffs. “Thrashing Violence” sounds closest in character to Megadeth’s “Killing is My Business…and Business Is Good” – the riffs are choppy rather than chunky, which helped define thrash metal’s early sound.

The title track’s opening riff is reasonably memorable, but doesn’t seem like much to write home about, but then the band put their heads down and absolutely thrash! Stereo separated guitar lines, a throbbing bass line underpinning the guitar, and then a throaty melodic shouted vocal. It’s all you could hope for in a thrash song. And it isn’t limited to that. There’s some almost Death Angel-esque screams, a barked refrain of the song’s title, and a tasty but unindulgent solo. The lyrics aren’t particularly deep and meaningful, being about a love of metal and moshing, but remember that just about every band wrote songs like these back in the day – Rattlehead, Hit The Lights, Bonded By Blood, Metal Command, Hammerhead…

“Hatred” seems a bit darker and a little slower, adding a touch of Possessed or perhaps Celtic Frost to the mix. “Into The Hellmouth” has a military radio intro and outro, and is an outright martial headbanger. When the guitars back off preparing for a solo, the bass and drums really shine through Sodom-style.

And that’s it. Three tracks in just under 12 minutes. There’s nothing here that hasn’t been done before or been done better, but you know what? That doesn’t matter. This is simply the music these guys want to play, and it’s done will skill and conviction. And it’s exactly what an ageing headbanger going through a mini mid-life crisis wanted to hear.

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    [QUOTE=UMUR]Sitting at my hotel room in San Diego, trying to work while I´m ill. I´ve coughed so much over the last couple of weeks that I now have muscle cramps in my stomach which are extremely painful, so I can´t attend the conference I was initially here to attend. Hopefully I´ll be more well tomorrow and can leave the hotel room.[/QUOTE] Things to do in San Diego:[TUBE]LKwW8PNZpOQ[/TUBE](I've never actually been there)

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