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Patrick Stott
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425 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 Grindcore | 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
CARCASS - Symphonies of Sickness Grindcore | review permalink
CARNIVORE - Carnivore Crossover Thrash | review permalink
DARKTHRONE - Soulside Journey Death Metal | review permalink
DEICIDE - Deicide Death Metal | review permalink
DESTRUCTION - Sentence of Death Thrash Metal | review permalink
BAD NEWS - Bad News Traditional 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 Grindcore | review permalink
METALLICA - ...And Justice for All Thrash Metal | review permalink
METALLICA - Live Shit: Binge & Purge Thrash Metal | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Thrash Metal 113 3.88
2 Traditional heavy metal 50 3.66
3 Death Metal 48 4.10
4 Grindcore 43 3.67
5 Crossover Thrash 17 4.00
6 Groove Metal 15 2.90
7 Hard Rock 15 2.70
8 Technical Death Metal 10 4.10
9 Black Metal 10 3.55
10 Alternative Metal 10 2.60
11 Glam Metal 10 3.25
12 NWoBHM 7 3.21
13 Industrial Metal 7 3.43
14 Power Metal 6 3.25
15 Progressive Metal 5 2.70
16 Symphonic Metal 5 1.60
17 Melodic Death Metal 5 2.60
18 Gothic Metal 5 2.80
19 Death 'n' Roll 5 1.80
20 Doom Metal 4 4.25
21 Folk Metal 3 3.17
22 Atmospheric Black Metal 3 2.83
23 Nu Metal 3 0.67
24 Sludge Metal 3 1.67
25 Speed Metal 2 2.50
26 Symphonic Black Metal 2 4.50
27 Non-Metal 2 3.00
28 Melodic Black Metal 2 1.25
29 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 2 4.75
30 Brutal Death Metal 2 2.25
31 Funk Metal 2 1.50
32 Deathcore 2 2.00
33 US Power Metal 2 2.75
34 Drone Metal 1 4.00
35 Avant-garde Metal 1 4.00
36 Metal Related 1 5.00
37 Metalcore 1 2.50
38 Hardcore and crust 1 5.00

Latest Albums Reviews

SLAYER Reign in Blood

Album · 1986 · Thrash Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.

This well-worn aphorism is oft-attributed to Frank Zappa, Theolonius Monk, Steve Martin, or even Elvis Costello. Most evidence points toward humourist Martin Mull coining it. On the surface, it is a throw-away witticism. Imagine the absurdity of dancing to express an opinion on something as austere as architecture. Ha!

But if you look deeper and more philosophically, the absurdity disappears and a kernel of truth emerges. How can something as instinctive and primal as music, which is experienced at both the sub-conscious and conscious levels, be adequately described by the written word? Reading and writing are far higher level functions, requiring abstraction of thought and expression. There are limits to written language. Shakespeare produced incomparable soliloquies. Bertrand Russell introduced elegance of phrase to philosophy. Oscar Wilde’s rapier wit cut as deeply as it amused. The powers of these three, or any other writer since the emergence of written human expression, prove insufficient or inadequate to describe the primitive basal connection to a stirring piece of music. The conjunction predates the development of hominid language. In short, writing about music is futile.

Futility, though, has never been a barrier to human endeavour. If this were so, never a word would have been written of Slayer’s magnum opus, ‘Reign In Blood’. The futility of describing, comparing, exploring, analysing, or quantifying this album should seem insurmountable. Yet, since its release on October 7th, 1986, it has been written of again and again. It has been the subject of superlatives, metaphor, hyperbole, praise, worship, and envy. It has caused controversy, consternation, protest, alarm, confusion, and imitation.

To disciples of the faith, ‘Reign In Blood’ embodies thrash metal. It is fast, heavy, and aggressive. Any description beyond that is simply laying on bullshit. It is ten songs, slotted in to less than half an hour, often with little or no gap between each song. Only three songs are longer than three minutes. The songs cover subjects from horrific war crimes of Dr Josef Mengele, to cannibalism, to fear of death, to anti-religious diatribes. The songs seem to be a complex tangle of riffs and solos, underpinned by rapid precise percussion, while the almost shouted vocals have little use for melody. The cover is a Hieronymus Bosch nightmare vision.

‘Reign In Blood’ is ten songs, and ten songs only. On many versions of this album, there are twelve tracks. The two extra songs are superfluous, and do not flow. They are an addition by an entity which did not understand that less is more. The extra six minutes of music are useless. The length of the album is pushed out to almost 35 minutes, ruining it’s short, sharp punch effect. Do not listen to those songs.

Description of how this album sounds is completely useless. It simply must be experienced to be understood. Thrash metal devotees already know what it sounds like, and understand the importance of this album to metal, and music in general.

A world without ‘Reign in Blood’ would be futile.

STEEL PANTHER Lower the Bar

Album · 2017 · Glam Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
So… Four albums in, and if you don’t get the Steel Panther joke by now, you’re never going to.

The formula is quite simple. Steel Panther have the sound, look and attitude of so many of the hairspray abusing bands of the past, but instead of beating around the bush singing songs about cherry pies, roses with their thorns, and white snakes going off again, Steel Panther deal in genuine, unadorned pornographic filth. It is the perfect piss take revenge for teenagers of the 80s (yes, you’re probably in your 40s by now) who got sick of sitting through those endless lame hair metal videos to possibly catch a rare-as-hens-teeth Megadeth or Iron Maiden or Motörhead video. If those pussies were going to whine about their girlfriends, while often wearing exactly the same hair and make-up AS their girlfriends, they could have at least described what it was like to have sex WITH a girl! It would have gone some way to making up for the limp, derivative music.

So that is what Steel Panther delivers. ‘Lower The Bar’ lowers the bar on common decency right from the first track. “Goin’ in The Backdoor” is a none-too-subtle ode to anal sex. Michael Starr asks very politely “Hey baby, do you mind if I dip my nuts in your chocolate?” “Anything Goes” lists a number of highly unlikely, uncomfortable, and possibly illegal sexual acts including “Steal a Saturn 5 and fuck an astronaut/Zero G anal and weightless cumshots”. “Poontang Boomerang” examines the societal difficulties of short term sexual relationships, and the unintended infatuations resulting from such liaisons.

“That’s When You Came In” is the compulsory power ballad, replete with strings, acoustic guitars, and finds Starr lamenting “After all the critics said, our debut record was our peak/Now I couldn't hit the high notes/Sometimes I couldn't even speak” and life was starting to seem futile and pointless, until he once again met the girl of his dreams, who “…came in and blew me… You blew me away”.

The rest of the albums continues in a similar grubby style. It is childish schoolboy humour. It is full of dick jokes, treats women as sex objects put on this planet only to please men, and panders to every teenage boy’s most unrealistic masturbatory fantasy. Steel Panther differs from hair metal of the 80s only in it being completely honest. The band don’t pretend to be doing it for any reason other than to have a good time and get laid. The parody is pitch perfect. Anyone who finds it offensive is getting exactly what they deserve. The godfathers of 80s glam Cheap Trick showed they appreciate the sideways tribute, with singer Robin Zander contributing back-up vocals, and a transvestite appearance in the video, to the cover of “She’s Tight”.

As an album, this isn’t earth shatteringly brilliant. Sure, the song writing and execution are infinitely better than many of the hair metal pretenders it is extracting the urine from, but if you know anything about Steel Panther, you already knew that would be the case. Fans will love it. The humourless won’t. Critics will be divided. Some people will say the joke is wearing thin. Steel Panther won’t give a flying fuck.

HELLOWEEN Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 2

Album · 1988 · Power Metal
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Say you’re a German heavy metal band, and in 1987, you released an album called “Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 1”. It is a melodic metal tour de force, spawning the band’s debut single, garnering great critical acclaim, and racking up immense praise from fans. What do you do next? Simple. You release “Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 2”, and completely blitz the previous album.

Helloween intended to release the two “Keeper of the Seven Keys” albums as a double album, but the band’s record company forced them to split the release. It hardly matters now, because no self-respecting Helloween fan would be without both albums. However, it made “Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 1” seem a little silly, because the title track wasn’t on it. The record company interference has also long been thought to be a key factor behind Kai Hansen’s departure from the band after this album’s release.

Helloween were often unfairly compared to Iron Maiden during their early career. The similarities were pretty superficial. Yes, both bands had two guitarists, a great singer, an ear for melody, and a penchant for crafting epic masterpiece songs. But that’s where the similarities end. For anyone whose ears aren’t painted on, it’s quite obvious both bands play different styles of metal. Iron Maiden redefined what was meant by heavy metal, taking Judas Priest’s British steel and Black Sabbath’s never say die attitude to new heights. Helloween, heavily influenced by The Scorpions’ animal magnetism, injected melody into thrash metal like no other band before them.

Some of these songs are among the greatest examples of melodic thrash you will ever hear. Yes, this style of metal now gets the label power metal, but back in 1988, it was still called thrash. The brief instrumental “Invitation”, a bombastic military march, replete with brass, and an angelic choir, leads into the muscular main riff of “Eagle Fly Free”, and the album is off and running! The choppy rhythms of Hansen and Michael Weikath are driven by drummer Ingo Schwichtenberg’s double kick drum barrage and Marcus Grosskopf’s virtuoso bass. Over it, Michael Kiske weaves an allegoric tale, with a soaring eagle chorus.

“Rise and Fall” follows the same formula, except the chorus is even more magnificent, more sing-a-long-able, and Kiske hits some glorious high notes. “Dr Stein” was released as the album’s first single, and on the surface seems like a song about Dr Frankenstein. A closer examination of the lyrics however, reveals a more political theme. Musically, it is a cheerful, bouncy thrash/power-pop song, and even offers a pipe organ break Dr Phibes would be proud of. “We Got the Right” changes the pace somewhat, a driving, serious power ballad with stratospheric vocals.

For some strange reason, Helloween seem quite adept at writing memorable songs, but their titles are far from inspiring. “You Always Walk Alone” is a great song, with incredibly strong vocal melodies, a variety of very different guitar solos, and a stunning percussion performance by Schwichtenberg, but has such a forgettable, bland title. “March of Time” and “Save Us” all suffer similar fates- damn fine songs, but ditch-water dull titles.

The Kai Hansen penned “I Want Out” was the album’s second single, and to this day, remains Helloween’s biggest and possibly best song. The opening riff is instantly recognisable. The chanted chorus is powerful, and the refrain of “I want out/to live my life and to be free” speaks volumes to so many people on so many levels about so many situations. It could have been speaking of the political situation of the still divided Germany, to a teen weighed down by the angst of his age, a prisoner or slave desiring freedom, or perhaps Kai Hansen’s desire to untie himself from the band.

So how do you follow a career defining single? With a career defining saga of course! The scope of the multi-faceted, near-14-minute fantasy “Keeper of the Seven Keys” rivals Iron Maiden’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” (there’s that comparison again!) for scope, if not quite for execution or composition. While somewhat shorter than Lord of the Rings, it is a tale of travels and treasure, and demons and deception. Whether it is to be taken at face value or there is a deeper meaning, it’s a ripping yarn told in song.

And what do you follow that with? Well, depending on the version of the album you have, either contemplative silence, which leaves you wanting to replay the album again, or “Save Us”. While not a bad song in itself, probably the closest to a conventional thrash song on offer, it doesn’t work at the end of the album, seeming like a tacked on left-over, or a Japanese b-side. It is neither, originally being the seventh song on the album. It has been stuck there in one of those unfathomable decisions made when the album was remastered.

“Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 2” marked the end of an era for Helloween. Founding member Kai Hansen left the band soon after its release, and forged a successful career with his own band Gamma Ray. Helloween also abandoned the fantasy driven melodic thrash the band had pioneered, instead committing near career suicide with the post-modern silliness of “Pink Bubbles Go Ape”, and the radio rock infused “Chameleon”, before returning to their power metal roots. The Keeper of the Seven Keys legend was eventually revisited in 2005 with “Keeper of the Seven Keys: The Legacy”, but the band has never quite recaptured the magic. It matters not, because “Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 2” still exists, and expecting Helloween to better it is the definition of insanity.

FLOOR Floor

Album · 2002 · Doom Metal
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MMA Reviewer's Challenge: Album selected by aglasshouse

Floor. Not exactly an inspiring or enlightening name for a band. It seems a bit… beige. The three members of the band obviously thought it was OK, because they doubled down and also called their debut album ‘Floor’.

But Floor? What could you reasonably expect from a band with a name like that? Limp indie rock? Ironic minimalist anti-pop? Generic metalcore?

How about heavy metal thunder falling from the sky?

Like, fucking, WOW!

Yes, “like, fucking, WOW!” is a little lacking in the eloquence department, but just wait ‘til you actually HEAR this! Heavy doesn’t begin to describe it. Floor seems to have tuned down to somewhere about six feet below their feet, dosed their amp valves with steroids, and cranked the volume so far past eleven the knob has twisted off. The term doom metal seems insufficient, inaccurate but still totally fitting. The guitars are so heavy they have an actual physical presence. There must be a limit to what can actually be produced by six strings and amplifiers. The laws of physics say so. But Floor seems to have shifted that limit. The band has a rhythm section, yes, but for the most part they sit in the background keeping time and filling what little gaps are left. The band eschews normal metal vocals, instead going for more of an alternative/indie rock style, and occasionally bury the vocals in the mix, as Fudge Tunnel often used to good effect.

And Fudge Tunnel is a good reference point, although Floor is less abrasive. There are other odd points of reference popping up in the mix too. One moment, it’s something like Jane’s Addiction’s trippier moments, the next, there are vocal melodies and harmonies which wouldn’t sound out of place in Weezer. And then there will be a sludge laden passage straight from the Iron Monkey playbook, followed by an un-stoned Down riff. It is all tied up with pop music sensibilities, with clean, clear vocals, short punchy songs, and lush melodies. And next moment it caves your chest in with a sledgehammer.

Best tracks? Irrelevant really, because this needs to be heard in its entirety, but at a push, first track “Scimitar” stands out because it really sets the album’s tone. “Sneech” is a minute of sludge metal filth. “Kallisti - Song For Eris” is deceptively blissed out but heavy. Closing track “Triangle Song” is pure downtuned doom ferocity, the most metal track on the album.

Do yourself a favour with this album. Don’t listen to it on your iPod or phone. This needs speakers, the biggest, best speakers you can find. It needs decibels, and the organic pulse of several cubic metres of air particles conducting sound waves to your ears. The furniture, walls and floor need to vibrate too. Maybe that’s where the band’s name came from, because you need to feel ‘Floor’ as much as listen to it.

ATROCITY Regurgitate vs. Atrocity

Split · 2010 · Grindcore
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On first sight, you might wonder “What the fuck is Atrocity doing on a split with Regurgitate?” After all, Regurgitate are Swedish underground legends of the grindcore scene, known for their sick-as-fuck humorous lyrics, gargled vocals, and monstrous sound, while Atrocity are German death metal chameleons, changing genres like other bands change underwear, covering grind, death, thrash, electronic, Gothic, industrial and groove metal. It has been a very long time since Atrocity have been anywhere near heavy enough, or underground enough, to share a split with the likes of Regurgitate without seeming as out of place as a cowpat on a football field.

On closer examination though, it turns out this isn’t the same Atrocity. This is Atrocity from Torrington, Connecticut, in the United States, formed in 1985, three years before the Germans. And this Atrocity played old school grindcore/death metal as pioneered by the likes of Repulsion and Napalm Death. This Atrocity also broke up in 2010, with this split their swansong. So how is it?

Short and anything but sweet, this little sub-six minute split seven incher starts with three tracks of Regurgitate’s usual blood gargling musical sickness. “Necrosadistic Cunts” and “Bloodbath Eruption” both clock in at under a minute and a half, grinding away like bloodthirsty threshing machines, exercises in controlled chaos and music heavy enough to have a physical presence. “Anatomised” is a three second micro-song tacked on the end.

Atrocity cover prolific country artist Will Oldham, also known as Bonnie “Prince” Billy, taking on the cheerless “I See A Darkness”, a song about the depths of depression, and also covered by Johnny Cash. Fear not though, for this song is country in origin only. This old school grind/death rendition is a marvel. Sped up, the song is over in half the time of the gloomy original. The barked vocals are reminiscent of Carnivore-era Pete Steele, or perhaps Repulsion’s Scott Carlson. There is an added, slightly discordant guitar solo, fuzzy bass and a pounding jackhammer rhythm, all of which contributes to turning the suicidal to the psychotic.

It is not often Regurgitate will ever share a record with any other artist and not produce the highlight of the recording, but it has happened this time. Regurgitate is Regurgitate, and under any other circumstance that would be enough to win the day. However, Atrocity’s farewell reinterpretation of a modern country song is simply death/grind at its absolute powerful pinnacle.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 89 minutes ago in Now -- what are you listening to? V2
    'Tis rather good.
  • Posted 2 hours ago in Modern Black Metal Classics
    I think black metal has a lot looser definition than other metal genres, so its more open to experimentation, expansion, and innovation, and so yes, still has new things to offer and new boundaries to push. It could also be because it still attracts a younger audience than other genres, who are less accepting of what the big name bands and best albums are supposed to be, so keep redefining it.A very interesting observation though.
  • Posted 2 hours ago in Now -- what are you listening to? V2
    [QUOTE=adg211288]http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/album/ayreon/the-sourceAn Ayreon review is never an easy one to write; on my ninth listen to this so far, and haven't got it together yet, even though I know what my final score and exact place on my 2017 list will be. [/QUOTE] I gave it one listen and haven't been back to it. Just not my thing I suppose.Now playing:There's a favourite track survey, which inspired me!Save

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