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1097 reviews/ratings
METALLICA - Ride the Lightning Thrash Metal
AC/DC - For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) Hard Rock
AC/DC - Ballbreaker Hard Rock
BLACK SABBATH - Paranoid Heavy Metal
BLACK SABBATH - Master Of Reality Heavy Metal
BLACK SABBATH - Vol 4 Heavy Metal
OZZY OSBOURNE - Blizzard Of Ozz Heavy Metal
SYSTEM OF A DOWN - Toxicity Alternative Metal
DIO - Holy Diver Heavy Metal
KILLSWITCH ENGAGE - As Daylight Dies Melodic Metalcore
BREAKING BENJAMIN - We Are Not Alone Alternative Metal
BREAKING BENJAMIN - Phobia Alternative Metal
COHEED AND CAMBRIA - Welcome Home Metal Related
BREAKING BENJAMIN - Blow Me Away Alternative Metal
OPETH - Still Life Progressive Metal
FINGER ELEVEN - Tip Alternative Metal | review permalink
RUSH - Test for Echo Hard Rock
BREAKING BENJAMIN - The Diary of Jane Alternative Metal
BREAKING BENJAMIN - I Will Not Bow Alternative Metal
METALLICA - Load Heavy Metal | review permalink

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Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Hard Rock 217 3.64
2 Non-Metal 128 3.27
3 Heavy Metal 104 3.69
4 Alternative Metal 81 3.90
5 Nu Metal 61 3.11
6 Heavy Alternative Rock 59 3.40
7 Metal Related 48 3.93
8 Progressive Metal 46 3.26
9 Proto-Metal 30 4.03
10 Thrash Metal 30 3.90
11 Funk Metal 29 4.16
12 Glam Metal 20 3.58
13 Doom Metal 20 3.83
14 Stoner Metal 16 4.31
15 Power Metal 15 3.87
16 Industrial Metal 14 3.93
17 Death Metal 13 4.46
18 Hardcore Punk 12 4.17
19 Groove Metal 12 3.96
20 Metalcore 12 3.00
21 Sludge Metal 11 4.09
22 Stoner Rock 9 3.83
23 NWoBHM 9 3.28
24 Atmospheric Black Metal 8 2.50
25 Symphonic Metal 8 4.81
26 Technical Death Metal 7 4.64
27 Melodic Metalcore 7 4.36
28 Avant-garde Metal 6 3.58
29 US Power Metal 6 3.75
30 Traditional Doom Metal 5 4.30
31 Melodic Black Metal 5 4.80
32 Heavy Psych 5 4.30
33 Black Metal 4 4.38
34 Crossover Thrash 4 4.38
35 Death-Doom Metal 4 3.75
36 Drone Metal 4 1.38
37 Electronicore 4 3.50
38 Funeral Doom Metal 3 4.67
39 Mathcore 3 3.00
40 Melodic Death Metal 3 3.33
41 Technical Thrash Metal 3 4.33
42 Symphonic Black Metal 2 3.00
43 Rap Metal 2 4.50
44 Grindcore 2 4.75
45 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 2 4.75
46 Crust Punk 1 1.50
47 Goregrind 1 3.00
48 Gothic Metal 1 3.50
49 Speed Metal 1 3.50

Latest Albums Reviews

ANVIL Pounding the Pavement

Album · 2018 · Heavy Metal
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DISCLAIMER: because this is Anvil, a band that holds a very special place in my heart, my words are bound to be much less formal and a bit loose as I will tend to ramble. Be warned.

Ever since the release of the 2009 Netflix documentary "Anvil! The Story of Anvil", the sad tale of misfortune about the talented 80's group Anvil has garnered them the success and support that they've been seeking so dearly for almost 40 years. The members of Anvil have been very keen on stating how ecstatic they are to have found their success on numerous occasions through interview after interview. Hell, their newest effort is titled "Pounding the Pavement", a title that frontman Steve "Lips" Kudlow postulates is referring to him "rustling up business for forty years and staying at it". That must mean, undoubtedly, that the product of this newfound success that is even titled as an acknowledgement to said success should be a glowing symbol of Anvil's victory. It should.

When bands like Slayer and Metallica started out, it only took them five or less years to have the hype of mainstream popularity hefted onto their shoulders. As such, they were rather quick to the mark to familiarize themselves with not only the expectations for themselves, but the expectations other put onto them. Anvil, a band so good during the same time that it influenced the two aforementioned examples, received no such popularity. Though stagnant in this regard, Anvil was nonetheless able to forge on, providing continued quality for the past several decades. But now that Anvil has gained a somewhat of a higher level of popularity, with them providing live show after live show with an attendee count higher than anything they would have gotten in the 80s, the staleness that usually hits a band after an extended amount of time under the same level of popularity has hit Anvil drastically in a matter of a few years.

Yes, it's rather unfortunate, but this album is likely the worst Anvil album yet. It's surreal to say as just two years ago Anvil is Anvil hit the scene and was, although a run-through of Anvil's signature traditional heavy metal sound, a still creative and rather entertaining release. Songs like 'Up, Down Sideways' and 'Fire On The Highway' remain exemplary tracks in the band's repertoire.

However with a lapse of creativity and a far more boiled down production, Pounding the Pavement lacks much of the charm and authenticity of it's predecessor. For one, this has to be the absolute worst Anvil lyricism yet, and that is definitely saying something. This is made clear with each time Anvil moves anywhere close to the political spectrum, such as on 'Ego' (likely the most laughably bad anti-Trump anthem put to music- "change your diapers", yikes) or on 'Don't Tell Me' (a lambasting of "fake news"). It isn't helped that Lips' vocals are seemingly more on the forefront of the sound, giving him ample opportunity to let loose his extremely cringe-inducing lyrics and similarly downsizing his fellow bandmates' place in the fray. With all that taken into account, Lips' vocal delivery isn't even that good. While adopting different tones and inflections on Anvil is Anvil (such as the Mustaine-esque one on 'Fire on the Highway'), his delivery seems to remain very bound to his default rasp that gets extremely grating, especially as it's not quite intimidating enough to come off as genuine.

Aside from the lyrics and vocals, Pounding the Pavement missteps in quite a few other areas. The aforementioned production muddies the overall sound quite badly. Chris Robertson's bass is almost completely drowned under the drums and guitar, giving him little room to be heard at all. Secondly, the charming songwriting that usually propels Anvil out of the halls of mediocrity have fused them to the spot on this one. On one end of the spectrum the songs are completely hook with little to no filling, i.e. trotting out the same (relatively boring) riff ad nauseum for three or so minutes. The other end sounds like what I believe my friend Khaliq put best: "a glam metal band comeback- and not a good glam metal band". 'Doing What I Want' is very true to the latter, with pseudo-swagger being backed by a contrived staccato riff. Other tracks like 'Rock That Shit' have a horribly cheesy arena-rock tone that would fit something done by latter-day Poison.

The magic that Anvil had on previous releases might be a bit sparse here, but it doesn't mean that some things weren't objectively done right, particularly concerning the Anvil trio itself. Robb Reiner. All that needs to be said is that name. Reiner is perhaps the most underappreciated and balls-to-the-wall drummers to ever grace heavy metal, and his performance on this record is the biggest driving force keeping me going through it. On the other hand bassist Robertson, I believe, will never ascend to the greatness that was Glenn Five, nor will he get a truly explosive track like 2001's 'The Creep'. Definitely not with this sort of songwriting or production. It seems like that even in songs where his bass must be at the forefront like 'Warming Up', he's pushed unceremoniously into the background as he tries desperately to follow with Reiner and Lips. In the guitar section, Lips is still rather on top even if his riffs are fairly contrived. It is still wise for him to follow the advice that many have given him over the years and obtain a second guitarist as to add dynamics that Anvil so badly needs.

Song-wise, there's a few standout tracks here. The title track instrumental is a classic gallop of a tune, hitting quite a few good strokes in its grooving runtime. The cowbell is a nice, earthy touch too. 'World of Tomorrow' is a big, monumental track that's kind of funny with this hard-ass riff being the background to moments like Lips weakly shouting "peace and love!!!!" Nevertheless its pounding nature and the impressive clashing guitar tones towards the second half make it stand out quite well. Other than that, the tracks have a bad tendency to bleed into one another, or stand out in a not-very-positive way.

That ends this ramble. I must stress that I did very much want this album to be as good as Anvil is Anvil was. It just wasn't. Hopefully, this is not a signalling of Anvil breaking their near-perfect forty-year streak of good albums, because that would really be a shame. Knock on wood.

Originally written for The Frying Pan:

WHORES. Ruiner.

EP · 2011 · Metal Related
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In 2016, VICE's Noisey proclaimed Atlanta's WHORES to be the "new kings of noise rock", a title that the band happily flaunts at the forefront of their self-description. Such a description though is very readily able to raise any self-respecting person's eyebrows, as the validity of it could very well be egregious at best.

Whores, or bluntly WHORES., have some credit that is needed to be given, credit that does give some respectability to Noisey's honeyed praise. The band piggybacked off of a very loyal fan-base that ate up their EPs and immense live shows, eventually gaining enough underground traction to score a debut LP in October of 2016. This is, undoubtedly, an opportunity any group of poor saps wanting to make a mark with their music would dream for. The question then remains, I suppose- what made Whores as lucky as they are? What lit the fuse, started the boulder rolling, oiled the machine, and kick-started their career with any other stupid analogy? For the answer, we'll have to go back to the beginning.

Ruiner was the first EP ever delivered by Whores, and was the first peep from the studio to be served to a public forum. Ruiner, with a cover of a sleek .45 with the band's title in brash, unrelenting capitals and a title that invokes destruction, is bound to make an impact even before the music starts. But as the music starts, you quickly discern the source of Whores' success. Their sound. A monumental drum entrance and guitar screeches welcomes in the crushing vigor of 'Daddy's Money', the opening track. Every element present on this track gives credence as to how Whores has appealed to the metalhead market. Right off the bat it makes it clear that they are distancing themselves from the scores of Crowbar and Melvins imitators with the noise rock style Noisey praised them for being the kings of. It almost makes Whores seem like a reincarnation to their Southern brethren in Florida, such as the aforementioned Floor, Cavity and others- all bands who also play sludge with hefty dollops of wrenching feedback dolloped on to evoke a certain amount of rage and distortion not seen by most other metal bands. The whole EP flagrantly uses this heavenly technique, but with each song having a unique hook that propels it forward. Like heavy machine, Ruiner proceeds with a lumbering grace not unlike a titan from Greek mythos. The album stops just the way it begins, pounding staccato drums overlayed by heavy, feedback-laden riffs, wrapping this demonic automaton in a masterful bow.

Christian Lembach's larger-than-life person and voice, Travis Owen's dramatic fills and Jack Schultz's thundering bass-work all make Whores quite the fun equation, proving once again that the underground holds the best secrets. It's safe to say that, even in the fetal stages, Whores definitely warrants some sort of kingship.


Album · 2017 · Thrash Metal
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Tankist came into the fray a few years back with little more than a "rage against" attitude and a deep-seated love for thrash acts of yore. Though this motivation alone has rarely done your average garage band favors, it combined with the talents of this Estonian group to make promise back in 2015 with their EP Be Offended. The obvious Megadeth influence combined with a decently virtuous technicality to their songwriting made them at least stand out from the hordes of modern thrash bands drenched in glittery production and faux-aggression.

Now that two years have passed in the wake of this EP and Tankist have had definite time to grow, how exactly do they fare with the daunting task of a full length LP? Not bad, turns out. There's a definite upspike in production quality, following in the footsteps of the slew of standalone singles the band put out last year. The technical riffage is still present on many of the songs, such as 'The Plastic Age' and 'I Know What You Are!', that see Unhuman not necessarily ascending to the insanity that was Vektor's Terminal Redux, but definitely as an album with a certain level of prowess. It can't be denied that, as a mega-fan of Atheist, technicality is disavowed by any means. Similarly, things like the Voivod influence in Kevin Marks' voice, the Anvil-esque drum sound of Simo Atso, the aforementioned Megadeth sound (present mainly in many of the riffs), and other light nods to what are perhaps Tankists' influencers give the album a sort of warmness and appeal to any even slightly well-versed thrash metal fan.

Tankist aren't perfect legends though, as they do have some issues. While Unhuman might contain rather fresh ideas for the thrash metal scene, it also showcases some of the most laughably cliched ideas in thrash's history. For instance, 'Conveyor Care' does little in the way of interesting the listener not only by having a weak bass sound, but also by having a very lackluster middle section of a simple thrash 4/4 backing a weak string of riffs. Also at times Tankist can seem a bit too entrenched in their influences, bringing out the cheese of 80's metal with things like the silly "I ain't done with you yet!" voice clip at the end of 'I Know What You Are!', and similarly the occasional laughable excitement in Marks' vocals. I mean, I'm glad the dude's having fun, but sometimes is definitely ruins the mood.

However for such an obscure group as Tankist, I can readily admit how much taste these guys have for their craft. Unhuman is no rampaging monster, but it does have quite the bark nonetheless. In all, I believe with the burgeoning talents these Estonians possess, they definitely have the capability to deliver some "fucking fist-in-the-face" songs to me in the future, cause they weren't too far off this time around.

SWORDMASTER Postmortem Tales

Album · 1997 · Thrash Metal
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Here's a funny story: when I was seven or eight years old, I fantasized about having my own rock band. I had consumed volumes of Breaking Benjamin and Green Day, and I aspired to one day be mentioned alongside the likes of Benjamin Burnley and Billy Joel Armstrong. Said desire isn't really part of my life anymore, but what I can tell you is that during this time I was a kid who loved to plan out things. Hardly any of these things came to fruition, but regardless I loved plotting my dreams in large itineraries and graphics. For this rock band dream, I conjured a single-word name for the band, being...well, Swordmaster. I drew covers of explosions and fire and flying eagles for imaginary "Swordmaster albums", and it entertained the hell out of me.

Well, flash-forward to about a decade later and here I am, with a disc in my hand from a band called Swordmaster titled Postmortem Tales. And would you look at that- explosions on the cover. Go figure.

It's safe to say my past alone propelled me toward this particular album, but I remained curious to discover the actual contents. What lies inside this particular album is at least partially interesting- Swordmaster is apparently a Swedish death-thrash band that made their marks prior to this 1997 studio debut with a black metal themed demo and a split with the Norway-based Zyklon-B. While their genre shift is definitely evident from this record, palpable nuggets of their black metal past are still present in areas like Andreas Bergh's vocal work and the droning ripple of the dual guitars. Upon first listen, I was a bit skeptical of the whole piece and it's nature as an "obscure but boring thrash release". While listening through though I was pleasantly surprised at a variety of satisfying tidbits that did well to throw a wrench into the mix of what would otherwise be a dreadfully monotonous work.

For one, Terror (aka Niklas Rudolfsson) on the skins is quite the piece of work. Owe it to the production (which is quite good for such an indie release) or what have you, but his zealous, machinery-esque drum sound is quite entertaining and fitting, and is heeded by the fact that he is quite impressive with the more rapid fills and tempo changes. Another great part of this album is its surprising eclecticism. Swordmaster not only dabble in death metal and black metal, but also in some more melodic parts such as on 'Blood Legacy' and 'Past Redemption', the band hits some notes that would not be out of place on a power metal album. Such elasticity is extremely refreshing, keeping you on your feet at all times prepared for a different sonic onslaught. The third and final noticeable feature of Postmortem Tales is the above-par songwriting. As previously mentioned, the album has a rather eclectic nature and isn't shy to pull in different metal sounds to create a fun ride. But such eclecticism wouldn't be able to function if it weren't for the songwriting, which is particularly enjoyable due to how fast everything travels. Sometimes it feels almost progressive in terms how many guitar solos and drum fills can be jammed into a simple minute of playing time.

But Postmortem Tales isn't all great, because a few things indeed hamper it. Sometimes the drums and tempo lean a bit too heavily on the thrash 4/4, a metal cliche that haunts even the best of bands. Luckily as stated before, sophisticated drum fills do well to add at least some flavor, as do the melodic guitar solos. Sometimes the vocals can grow a bit cliche as well, but honestly I wouldn't expect much more from a band still clinging a bit to their roots and is still trying to find their sound.

In all, this little gem is a romp that packs quite a punch in some areas. Definitely a punch big enough to give it the edge over much of Swordmaster's peers. I'd say check it out if you've got 45 minutes to spare.

ATHEIST The Best of Atheist

Boxset / Compilation · 2017 · Technical Death Metal
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Ever wanted to own a major chunk of Atheist's discography without needing to purchase 2005's The Collection for upwards of $60? Fear not, a solution is here!

After seven long years following Atheist's last studio album Jupiter, the band finally decided to digitally release their first ever compilation album to date- and what a compilation it is! In true-to-form fashion Atheist grab the most sonically insane and cosmic songs from their studio albums (as well as a live version of 'Mother Man' from Live At Wacken 2009) in a massive 22-track corpus. Forthright this puts The Best Of leagues ahead of other death metal contemporaries' works like Death's Best Of in '92 or Nile's Legacy of the Catacombs in '07, granted both rather good releases, simply from the vastness of the song selection. Especially considering Atheist's relatively small discography, 90 minutes of pure action may seem a bit hefty at first, but for only $10 (roughly €8.50 for you Europeans) from Bandcamp it is a fairly free-and-easy deal compared to another compilation that would front you the same price but with half the content.

This album is a perfect introductory release for beginners and also a good pickup for familiars. The only gripes I have with it are the fact that there's no physical release, because I prefer lending actual tangible material to a hypothetical beginner depending on the circumstances, and the fact that my favorite song 'Why Bother?' from Piece of Time is not present. Maybe they took the title a bit too literally?

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