Xaxaar

Mike
MMA Special Collaborator · Honorary Collaborator
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 1 year ago

Favorite Metal Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

317 reviews/ratings
KAYO DOT - Choirs Of The Eye Avant-garde Metal
GORGUTS - Obscura Technical Death Metal
CONVERGE - Jane Doe Mathcore | review permalink
WEAKLING - Dead as Dreams Black Metal
DYSTOPIA - Human = Garbage Sludge Metal
ISIS - Oceanic Atmospheric Sludge Metal
MAUDLIN OF THE WELL - Leaving Your Body Map Avant-garde Metal
MAUDLIN OF THE WELL - Bath Avant-garde Metal
MR. BUNGLE - Disco Volante Metal Related | review permalink
KAYO DOT - Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue Avant-garde Metal
CONVERGE - You Fail Me Mathcore
CONVERGE - No Heroes Mathcore
CONVERGE - Axe to Fall Metalcore
CIRCLE TAKES THE SQUARE - As The Roots Undo Hardcore and crust | review permalink
KAYO DOT - Hubardo Avant-garde Metal
KAYO DOT - Coyote Non-Metal
BREACH - It´s Me God Hardcore and crust
GAZA - I Don't Care Where I Go When I Die Mathcore
GOSPEL - The Moon Is A Dead World Metalcore
MARE - Mare Sludge Metal

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Progressive Metal 53 3.13
2 Avant-garde Metal 24 3.58
3 Technical Death Metal 20 3.50
4 Black Metal 19 3.71
5 Death Metal 19 2.39
6 Alternative Metal 18 2.22
7 Thrash Metal 17 2.82
8 Traditional heavy metal 15 2.07
9 Metal Related 15 3.47
10 Hardcore and crust 14 3.61
11 Non-Metal 11 3.45
12 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 10 3.60
13 Folk Metal 9 3.28
14 Metalcore 9 3.94
15 Hard Rock 8 2.94
16 Atmospheric Black Metal 7 3.64
17 Industrial Metal 6 2.50
18 Sludge Metal 6 4.25
19 NWoBHM 5 3.00
20 Mathcore 5 4.50
21 Funk Metal 4 2.88
22 Proto-Metal 4 3.38
23 Melodic Death Metal 4 3.13
24 Groove Metal 3 1.67
25 Drone Metal 2 3.50
26 Depressive Black Metal 2 4.00
27 Doom Metal 1 3.50
28 Death-Doom Metal 1 4.50
29 Deathcore 1 0.50
30 Death 'n' Roll 1 1.00
31 Grindcore 1 4.00
32 Melodic Black Metal 1 3.00
33 Power Metal 1 2.50
34 Symphonic Black Metal 1 3.00

Latest Albums Reviews

DISCORDANCE AXIS The Inalienable Dreamless

Album · 2001 · Grindcore
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Not being a grindcore expert, this review may be like a grindcore song: short. But I'll give you 10 short reasons why I like the album.

1) I hear definite mathcore undertonings, and for me that keeps the album interesting. Along the many time signatures, there are many different speeds as well.

2) Past the scary grindcore coating, there is some life to be found in the record. So for me, this satisfies both sides of me which want to analyze and feel.

3) The production, relative to other grindcore releases I've heard is great.

4) This record has a ton of riffs, and they never really get boring. This is just a rollercoaster that never really goes down, just slows down.

5) The vocal-styles, having both a high-pitched and pig-y low voice, are very well done. Their technique sounds flawless for their style to me.

6) Got some good grindcore drummin'.

7) To me, this was a breath of fresh air with grindcore. I heard some of the stuff they did with other mathcore bands, but to hear grindcore + mathcore, and executed well, was a treat.

8) I like the art.

9) Incredibly consistent.

10) Sounds like Converge at times.

DEATHSPELL OMEGA Drought

EP · 2012 · Black Metal
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Deathspell Omega has been a very consistent black metal band starting from their release "Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice", the first of the trilogy, and this EP doesn't break the chain. They have been releasing some of the most interesting releases in the modern era of black metal. And along with their black metal roots, they have been adding plenty of progressive metal elements to their sound, and especially in this EP.

With progressive metal, I can see I'm very picky. Now I know I'm generalizing here, but a lot of progressive metal just sounds very dreary, dull, drab, and dry. Sometimes it doesn't even feel like you're listening to a band, just a machine that makes music in some odd time signature. But I believe Deathspell Omega is far from that. When I hear this EP, I always hear the raw roots where they came from and that helps put life into this release for me.

The production helps a lot with this album as well. Everything is textured so nicely and everything feels so tangible and you can really hear the instruments...if you get what I mean. Everything just feels so rugged, raw, rich and real.

As the EP starts off with a very atmospheric and slow song, it quickly picks up. The guitars are...excited, as they never really stay in a single riff for all too long and just seem to be jumping all over the place, which I like, but is an acquired taste. If you like having a lot of song structure, this may not be the EP for you because sometimes it does sound a bit scattered. But in all the chaos, you still get to go back to the black metal roots with the types of chords they choose.

Also, besides the instruments, there are of course the vocals. They haven't changed much, they're still the DSO vocals you either love or hate. There still isn't much in the ways of singing as there are a narration, but for some reason I'm always attracted to that style, love the classics like Spiderland and Trout Mask Replica that have plenty of that style. But if you've been turned away by previous Deathspell Omega, I'd recommending checking out this release. It has to be one of their most accessible releases along with the last ofthe trilogy, Paracletus.

Some complaints are that I feel that the EP ends too suddenly. Not that the EP is too short, although it could be longer, it just feels like a sudden stop and I wish it could have gone on longer. But I know this isn't their last release, and I'm excited that after the trilogy, they're still releasing awesome music.

CIRCLE TAKES THE SQUARE As The Roots Undo

Album · 2003 · Hardcore and crust
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As the Roots Undo is a screamo/post-hardcore album with some elements of mathcore, as there are some odd time signatures with polyrhythms and what have you.

To quote the album's booklet: "In a nutshell the concept behind the songs was to document the different points on a path to self-realization." Now, this is by no means the most original topic to make an album about, but as the song Kill the Switch says: "I know its all been done before, I want to do it again." And I'm very glad they did because the lyrics on this album are really phenomenal. The lyrics range from being very emotional to being outstandingly vivid. Just to throw out another quote out there, here's one of my favorite lyrics from the album:

"My dad's favorite novel on top of the pile, in the self concious first light shake the memory of his smile, igniting these volumes, igniting these volumes I'm warmed by the flames. Alter the deafening earthen tones... In the nervous light, I dance in the nervous light and I'm warmed by the flames. Dance to the sound of his weight bearing back fucking breaking."

I guess you can't really relate to the emotional part until you hear it and how it's delivered, but I'm sure by reading it you can even so how the lyrics are even slightly poetic. Now, how the vocals are delivered is where this album may be a bit challenging to get into. The screamo vocals aren't for everyone, but I think if you can learn to appreciate them you'll be rewarded with great lyrics and fantastic delivery.

But as this album also has some instruments in it, let's talk about those now. There's the conventional bass, guitar, drum set, but every so often there is another instrument thrown in for added texture. The intro song is actually nothing but flute, playing the main melody of the song, which does come back every-so-often, and most notably in the song "Interview at the Ruins", where they chant the lyrics "A murmur from the ruins echoes softly as the roots undo, and the branch becomes..." using the notes from the into track. And there are also some piano and random percussion thrown in as well. Fun stuff.

The drumming is very good. I'd say it sounds a bit like the drumming in Jane Doe, being very chaotic and sporadic as most mathcore drumming sounds. Basically, if you ever heard a mathcore album in your life, this is that drumming, but definitely above the average drumming, but still not quite "amazing" standards. It gets the job done, adds a good spine to the band, and keeps the songs driving that want to be driven, so it does everything a drummer is supposed to do and does it well.

The guitar/bass are also very well done, even better than the drums if I do say so. The riffs they make up often stand out in a very good way. The riffs are very diverse, not just focusing on one style too long. The quantity and quality you get with their riffs is great and definitely a reason to go back to the album.

Some criticisms of the album is that sometimes it feels to over-the-top, not because it's so extreme, but just how they express themselves it may seem kind of silly. After all, it's a bunch of youngsters letting out their angst with the tool of music. But I argue if one can handle this crazy, maybe even perhaps immature, album, you'll be glad you gave the effort.

CONVERGE Jane Doe

Album · 2001 · Mathcore
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Jane Doe really took me by surprise. As someone who's opinion of "core" has been contaminated by bands such as Bring Me The Horizon and Emmure, this album was sort of "Well, let's give the best of this genre a shot and see if it can redeem itself." And it has. Jane Doe is a whirlwind of emotion and technicality that never ceases and makes you longing for more when it does finally fade out. Every song is a cohesive experience, you're not going to "get it" by just listening to Homewrecker or Concubine by itself; it needs the context of the album to fully appreciate. Every song is absolutely essential, feeling like a mad house until the last track fills you with some sense of closure, but still longing for more.

The lyrics have no real structure to them and instead every song feels like a poem, but with hXe screams. Most people are put-off from the vocal style, but I think if you can get over that fact you can find some really meaningful stuff. Jane Doe's lyrics were written from Jacob Bannon's heart and I really do think it blends very well. He takes you on a journey where you feel everything from: shock, to denial, to depression, to hatred, defeat, self-loathing, loneliness, and hope. When all our roads have been travelled and all have come to a most bitter end: Today I thaw.

And of course there are the instruments. There are nothing short of being some of the most creative I've heard in a while. There is no question that this is also a masterpiece regarding technicality. Right away within the first 30 seconds of the album, it throws you into odd time signatures, crazy riffing, blast beats, and screaming. Concubine sure kicks off the album with haste. And it really doesn't slow down with Fault and Fracture, continuing on with Concubine's crazy theme. But what I like about this song so much is the outro. The drums crashing in and then speeding up the song is just great. After that is Distance and Meaning which actually utilizes clean vocals. And yes, I have to say it has calmed down a bit here, although that riff in the beginning still sounds pretty clustered. Now, Hell to Pay is when it really calms down. No doubt the calmest song on the album, and it has a very climatic song structure. It also has some great lyrics and how they're presented are great:

"That night, I think he cried himself to sleep Just maybe, he felt more than we could ever know And I think he pulled that trigger to empty that memory I think he cut the weight to end the floods of you Let him soar, let him ride as budding gravestones do Just sleep, girl, just dream well"

Then it goes into Homewrecker, which is kind of a 'rocking' song, believe it or not...at least I think so. It's still mathcore, don't get me wrong, but it has a certain drive to it that kinda makes it feel like that. Maybe it's the cowbell. Then there's The Broken Vow which is a pleasant little 2 minute'r. Starts off sounding like hardcore punk, but then quickly switches to a more mellow song until it finally hits you with the outro. And then it hits you with an even shorter song. This one just has a very punk-y tone through-out, I think. Heaven In Her Arms is when the album starts to take a turn. It's pretty fast the first half, but then it quickly goes into a more heavy sounding riff and then slows down until it fades off into Phoenix in Flight. Phoenix in Flight is like any other song on here, as it's just kinda slow and has an epic (forgive me for using that word) feel to it. It just sort of builds on itself instrumentally and then brings it home with a driving outro. And then there Phoenix in Flames which is just nuts. Just screaming and drums and the production turns kinda shotty. It serves as an excellent transition to Thaw, which is one of my favorites. It just never gets dull; it starts off with an awesome riff, and then just erupts with, yes you guessed it, an awesome outro. I know I kinda used that phrase a lot, but it's true: a lot of these songs' finishes are just golden. And I have to say, the best outro, and reward for the best song on the album, goes to Jane Doe: the epic to end it all. This song practically makes the album. I don't like to throw around the word 'perfect' a lot, but this song may just be. It's not as chaotic as you would think, but the song is driven by such emotion that it can be easily forgiven and in fact you wouldn't want it either way.

Jane Doe has went far beyond my expectations and deserves a 5 star for how much it enlightened me on other genres. It gives me hope for all of those other genres I disregarded. Maybe they will have a Jane Doe of their own.

Run on girl, run on.

DREAM THEATER Octavarium

Album · 2005 · Progressive Metal
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A lot of people absolutely love this album, and a lot of people absolutely hate it. I'm a bit more on the hate side.

Let me just say that this album is incredibly inconsistent. It has a bunch of ups and downs, but as you can tell with the rating I give it, a bit more downs.

It starts off the album with "The Root of All Evil." This is song, as well with others from various albums, is about Mike Portnoy's AA experience. Personally, I don't like any of the songs that deal with those; they all sound extremely cheesy to me and this is no exception sadly. I do like the intro to the song, though.

Now that we're on the second song, "The Answer Lies Within," I realize I'm going to use the word "cheese" a lot. I'm sorry for my weak vocabulary, but yes, this song does smell of the cheese. It doesn't really have any redeeming qualities for me, just nothing works here.

Next we have "These Walls." Dare I say, the first good song? Yep, I do enjoy this song quite a bit. I mean it's not absolutely great, but it is a good song. No really bad or really awesome moments, just consistent all the way through.

And after all those compliments, we come to this monstrosity. Remember when I said I was going to say cheese too much? Well, "I Walk Beside You" is the king of the cheese on the album. Kinda makes me gag of just the odor it gives off. Probably the worst track of the album.

Next we have...oh this one, if I have to hear this song on the radio again I'm gonna hurt someone. "Panic Attack" is definitely their most overrated piece of music. Now, it's not a horrible song, but I have no idea why it's so popular. It's just kind of the equivalent to decent filler. At least it's better than its predecessor.

"Never Enough" is the next song and it's not quite as cheesy as it is corny. Yes, those are different to me. The instruments aren't actually too bad on this one, it's the vocals that slap me across the face with corn. I am not a huge James fan, I will not hide that, but I feel like this was even bad for him.

Now this is when the song starts getting enjoyable for me, better late than never, eh? "Sacrificed Sons" has a very nice build-up going for itself in the beginning, and then when it goes off the song is actually quite great. Definitely the better than the songs before it. Oh, and I'm sure everyone knows it has to do with 9/11 and all that junk...which is actually quite fitting for when I'm doing this review. This is the first song that gets a solid thumbs up from me.

Now "Octavarium," the self-titled track, the 24 minute long epic, it just HAS to be good, right? ...Right! This is actually my favorite track on the album, not close. If this wasn't here, this album would probably be even rated lower than I have it now, but luckily this song is here. And yes, it is a masterpiece, and I don't like to throw that word around. This song is sooooo much better than the rest of the album, it's even where I coined something I say quite a bit "Octavarium Syndrome."

So yes, enjoy your 24 minute long epic, and Sacrificed Sons too, because that's all this album really has going for it.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Metal Up Your Ass and all that Jazz Room V2
    Very cool. 
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Your recent non-metal purchases
    In the Aeroplane Over the Sea and Pink Moon are two of my favorites.  Sick grab.Enter the Wu-Tang, The Seer, and Skelethon are also pretty cool.
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Buckethead
    I would definitely say it's progressive metal.  I never hear moments of Avant-Garde Metal.  Maybe Experimental Rock, but all the metal elements are prog to me. Also, a good deal of his discog has no metal what-so-ever.  But the metal albums are prog.Xaxaar2013-05-28 13:06:45

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