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Thatcher
MMA Special Collaborator · Honorary Collaborator
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 79 minutes ago

Favorite Metal Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

1046 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 Traditional heavy metal
BLACK SABBATH - Master Of Reality Traditional heavy metal
BLACK SABBATH - Vol 4 Traditional heavy metal
BLACK SABBATH - Mob Rules Traditional heavy metal
OZZY OSBOURNE - Blizzard Of Ozz Traditional heavy metal
SYSTEM OF A DOWN - Toxicity Alternative Metal
DIO - Holy Diver Traditional heavy metal
KILLSWITCH ENGAGE - As Daylight Dies Metalcore
BREAKING BENJAMIN - We Are Not Alone Alternative Metal
BREAKING BENJAMIN - Phobia Alternative Metal
COHEED AND CAMBRIA - Welcome Home Hard Rock
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

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Hard Rock 303 3.64
2 Non-Metal 112 3.21
3 Traditional heavy metal 97 3.68
4 Alternative Metal 83 3.94
5 Nu Metal 59 3.15
6 Progressive Metal 42 3.23
7 Proto-Metal 35 4.01
8 Thrash Metal 33 3.95
9 Metalcore 32 3.98
10 Doom Metal 32 3.97
11 Funk Metal 28 4.18
12 Metal Related 23 3.96
13 Industrial Metal 20 3.35
14 Glam Metal 19 3.47
15 Power Metal 15 3.87
16 Stoner Metal 10 4.35
17 Groove Metal 10 4.25
18 Death Metal 10 4.60
19 NWoBHM 8 3.19
20 Symphonic Metal 8 4.81
21 Atmospheric Black Metal 7 2.07
22 Sludge Metal 6 4.33
23 Melodic Black Metal 5 4.80
24 Avant-garde Metal 5 3.60
25 Drone Metal 4 1.38
26 Hardcore and crust 4 3.00
27 Technical Death Metal 4 4.50
28 US Power Metal 4 3.63
29 Melodic Death Metal 3 3.00
30 Mathcore 3 3.17
31 Grindcore 3 4.17
32 Funeral Doom Metal 3 4.67
33 Death-Doom Metal 3 3.50
34 Deathcore 3 1.50
35 Black Metal 3 4.33
36 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 2 4.75
37 Symphonic Black Metal 2 3.00
38 Speed Metal 1 3.50
39 Crossover Thrash 1 0.50
40 Gothic Metal 1 3.50

Latest Albums Reviews

GREAT WHITE Great White

Album · 1984 · Glam Metal
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If it weren't for the fact that Great White emerged from the United States, I would certainly confuse this release to be a part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement of the early-1980's. This is because it's clear from their first record that Great White not only synthesized sounds from contemporary glam acts like Mötley Crüe and Quiet Riot, but also from emerging European groups such as Accept and Iron Maiden. This could be because the history of glam metal and the NWoBHM are very similar and happened at similar times, though on different continents.

But what differs Great White's 1984 breakout from albums like Killers or Breaker is the more pronounced hair metal nature of the record; from Jack Russel's catchy vocal hooks to punkish melodies, Great White channels the fabulosity of glam enough to differentiate them from their "darker"-in-tone European cousins. This also goes for lyrical value which, while not seemingly as brash and promiscuous as something Crüe might come out with, is still beautifully cheesy like on songs like 'Bad Boys'.

When it comes time to get heavy though, Great White certainly deliver. 'Substitute''s rollicking drum interlude interspersed with a chugging dissonant riff, the slowly rumbling and oddly dark 'Streetkiller"- these are just a few examples of how Great White uses the glam tradition of being able to please a stadium to bring an enjoyable (and often surprisingly intimidating) performance throughout. Though I will confess that Great White are prone to breaking the great atmosphere they create with awkward segues into uninspired cheesecake sections of pretty-boy rock, admittedly similar to what most glam-style bands do, which are presented seemingly as more of obligations than for sake of actual substance.

Great White's debut is much like a sore thumb compared to the rest of their discography. It's much more heavy, pugnacious, and raunchy than the more commercial style that they would go on to adapt. It remains a rather obscure and underappreciated piece of the sprawling puzzle that is 80's metal.

LIVID Beneath This Shroud, The Earth Erodes

Album · 2017 · Doom Metal
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Minnesotan doomsters Livid finally hoisted up their trousers after drifting around in the ethos for two years and pumped out an egregiously titled debut.

True to their roots, Livid makes their presence known with a short track list of only five pieces, while at the same time making said tracks long enough so that they total to a contradictingly long album. This could be owed to the 'jam' being a very important facet to doom metal culture, stretching back to bands like Saint Vitus (who employed the same technique even back in 1984). Regardless it should be obvious that Livid takes this time to exercise their power and artfully overstay their welcome to make a point of it. But such a construction has been done before; many bands also self-labeled doom metal act the exact same way, which means that an artist should, especially in modern day, tweak the minute details to stand out from their peers. The way Livid does so is to be discovered.

Beneath This Shroud, The Earth Erodes is a monster, no doubt. As aforementioned it's structured similarly to a old-school doom metal album with lo-fi production to match, the latter of which does well to put them slightly above others that fall back on cleaner, sleeker production a la Pallbearer-- maybe a throwback just sounds more genuine than a rekindling sometimes (production-wise only though, probably). Aside from that however Livid's strong point is how they present the album. Almost every track bleeds into the next, starting from the ethereal opener 'Descend'. For example, said track closes with a 5-or-so second pounding drum introduction that could have been very easily placed on the second track instead, but with this design it is clear this particular album is meant to be enjoyed in one listen, akin to a forty-five-minute long monolith. For me this is undeniably the best way to experience a doom metal album but for another this approach may seem a bit clunky, especially if you choose a track out of the lineup at random and it closes like it's leading into another, even when it's not. Regardless the one-go method works particularly well for this album, with the aforementioned 'Descend' leading you slowly into the moody entrapment of 'Nothing', which blows the previously quiet and subdued vibe completely out of the water with a large, droning epic. While of course this is a doom metal album and the songs do tend to bleed into eachother, a noticeable increase in quality is clear as it proceeds, lighting up especially with 'The Fire'. More drum fills, more caustic guitar variations-- the whole shebang. All of this propped up on the sonorous howls of Cole Benson, who utilizes the semi-operatic style that I've seen used almost always very well in bands like Cave of Swimmers, and it certainly works well here.

Though as much as Livid synthesizes their strengths from their forebears, they also do the same for their weaknesses. Contrivances litter this album, as it doesn't do much to show you any new sights that you haven't yet seen (especially if you're one at least semi-well versed in the doom genre). The debut is a throwback, sure. But there comes a time when the effect is worn out, and it feels like Livid treads that line a bit too enthusiastically. Furthermore, the art of repetition and lengthiness used on albums of old now have begun to feel a bit clunky in the modern era. Sometimes a short, punchy track is much more engaging and entertaining than a long, drawn-out humdrum of a looping guitar lead.

Talent is on display here, clearly. Livid, similar to Avatarium and plenty of other latter-day doom acts, shows promise on their first outing. It's what they'll do with the power they now wield that remains in question. Good nonetheless.

HELLWITCH Syzygial Miscreancy

Album · 1990 · Thrash Metal
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Hellwitch's Syzgial Miscreancy is less the product of progenitors and more the product of fans.

Although this album is technically considered to be "thrash metal", it's no big mystery where Hellwitch put their allegiance with, genre-wise. Atheist, Death, and Morbid Angel are just a few of the bands the band pride themselves on sharing the stage with. The influence of these particular bands are evident especially on the band's 1990 debut, arriving in the wake of other such debut releases like Piece of Time and Altars of Madness arriving but a year prior.

However although Hellwitch are clearly inspired by the late-80's technical death movement, they still retain the fan-tribute aura more than I've seen many other bands do. The music is amateurish, almost demo-like, making Syzygial Miscreancy really hard to differentiate from the six years-worth of demos leading up to it, production-wise. This doesn't necessarily detract from the quality, rather it actually sort of renders it it's own charm as a relatively shoestring-budget release. Of course though a not very technically diverse musical landscape can, more often than not, make an album sound rather flat and make tracks sound almost the same, which granted does happen a few times on this particular record. However a few factors make Hellwitch not actually fall on their face.

1. The musicianship. I know we've already rattled on about Hellwitch's influences, but it must be restated as it's extremely important to how they carry themselves. If they are to truly live up to the wrecking-balls that influenced them, they better be able to play like them. And they do. In particular the channeling of Atheist is made clear with the face-melting eclecticism of all three members, especially rapid tour de force on the kit with Joe Schnessel. The almost Voivod-ian guitar solos and the unexpected tonal shifts and guitar hooks all lend a very professional atmosphere even amidst all of the low-fi fuzz.

2. The overall structure of Syzygial Miscreancy is very laudable, with the aforementioned tonal shifts and surprise melodic riffs keep each track very interesting. The album has a short runtime of only 25 minutes, minuscule in terms of most albums of their caliber, yet this short time also makes it so the album doesn't get stale in an instant and doesn't contain filler. It is something I wish more bands would pay attention to- a shorter album could spell great things for how well it ages.

But Hellwitch does make a few mistakes here and there. For instance the random vocal filters Patrick Ranieri uses on some tracks just sound absolutely ridiculous and out of place, and really only serve to get a laugh out of me personally when they're there. Interestingly enough I find that Patrick Ranieri's vocals are the biggest problem with this album, and it could honestly be due to the production. Usually on other albums audio engineers are able to blend the musicians quite well so that, even when one might mess up, it can sometimes go unnoticed, shrouded amongst the music. Amateurish production is more dangerous in this sense because it is sometimes unable to cut the fat. Ranieri's vocal screams, especially on 'Nosferatu' can are extremely strange and silly because often times he sounds more like he's hyperventilating and not screaming. This happens a few times throughout but overall it isn't that huge of an issue as it doesn't seek to degrade any of the instruments, but when these vocal hiccups are there they are still quite distracting.

In all though this particular album is still a winner. Short, sweet, and charming in it's occasionally maladroit delivery, Hellwitch's debut is something definitely to check out.

JUDAS PRIEST Rocka Rolla

Album · 1974 · Hard Rock
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Judas Priest's 70's albums are usually cast in bronze as some of the earliest and most high-quality developments of heavy metal that have ever been. Not only did they expound on Black Sabbath's discordant proto-doom by evolving it into a faster, more explosive version of itself, but albums like Sad Wings of Destiny, Stained Class, and Sin After Sin all paved the way for the New Wave of British Heavy Metal that would dominate the Western charts for years to come.

It's hard to deny how beloved these albums are. They're practically legendary. All except for one. One that sets itself apart from Priest's 70's repertoire in both its obscurity and its strangeness. Funnily enough, it also happens to be the band's breakout first album.

1974's Rocka Rolla is a musical enigma. This isn't to say the music is impossible to understand, because it's not. For one, the album is much more progressively slanted as prog was in sort of phase two as bands like Rush emerged in the same year in the wake of the late-60's uprising. This can be seen on best on the sprawling eight-and-a-half minute long epic 'Run of the Mill' with the Floyd-esque guitar tuning and spacey vibes permeating the first chunk of the track. At the same time however, much of Rocka Rolla is infinitely more laidback than a tightly-strung album like Sad Wings, both lyrically and musically. The swaggering, bluesy knuckle-duster-knockout 'Rocka Rolla' especially exemplifies this side, wherein a young Rob Halford channels Bon Scott's greasy punk aura to deliver one of the oddest moments in Priest history. It maligns itself with any subsequent song Priest put out, but goddamn does it rock.

Not only in this way does Rocka Rolla set itself apart from other 70's Priest albums, but it also does so with it's sheer off-the-wall musical makeup. This is really where the main criticisms of the album come into play, as with an album such as this many are quick to claim it as underfocused and maldeveloped, and in most cases I would tend to agree. I suppose though that where this branches off is honestly dependent on personal taste. I personally love the elements Priest cobbles together on the album- the softspoken and melodious humdrum of 'Caviar and Meths' (an Al Atkins tune which, due to time constraints, had to be neutered from fourteen to two minutes), the snappy, riff-laden heel-clickers like 'One For the Road' or 'Cheater', etc. This is all without yet mentioning that Rocka Rolla showcases what I believe to be one of Priest's finest moments in their entire career- 'Dying to Meet You'. This particular song is divided into two sections: the first being a low-pitched Rob Halford lamenting over dual guitars shifting from muddy and pounding to austere and subtle with satisfying drum fills by one-timer John Hinch taking up the background. The song then shifts to it's second part, a rollicking rocker similar to the title track, and is also reminiscent of 'The Ripper' from Sad Wings with an early showcase of Halford's high notes, albeit in bluesier fashion.

The talented band's earliest incarnation is mainly what the quality of this album is owed to. The aforementioned John Hinch is a fantastic drummer, with his off-kilter, almost jazz-like playing that makes even the most simple of moments on this album seem intricate. I do agree with the band's decision to dismiss Hinch though. Although I think that Glenn Tipton's words of him being "musically inadequate" might have been a bit harsh, his style was not very well suited to the band's heavier future as opposed to someone like Alan Moore. Rob Halford needs no introduction, but I will say that the lower octaves he hits were scarcely replicated in the band's future endeavors, which I find unfortunate because they are pretty good. I quite enjoy Ian Hill's pounding performance on 'Dying to Meet You' especially on the second part, and of course the dual ripcord guitar duo that is Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing are a force to be reckoned with, even with their more synthesizer-fronted sound before their evolution.

Well, this was a bit of a ramble. But in all honesty I've listened to Rocka Rolla more times than I can count and it's always remained a staple in my favorite records, even if it might not be the heaviest nor the most high-quality Judas Priest record to exist. To say I have a soft spot for it may be a gross understatement- I fucking love it.

ANATHEMA Serenades

Album · 1993 · Death-Doom Metal
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Serenades' story is an unfortunate one, mainly due to the album being unknowingly doomed from the start to be cast aside because of how much of a reputation Anathema would gain with preceding albums. I'm not the first one to say it, but it's fairly cut-and-dry that Anathema's debut does not match up in quality to nearly every other release the band had following it. This goes for not only Anathema's progressive rock material but also in terms of their doom metal albums, because they made leaps and bounds with their previously half-baked ideas with the Silent Enigma two years later. So really what makes Serenades generally thought of as bad?

Well aside from the aforementioned comparisons it gets to later material (that is usually judged to be much higher quality), Serenades is generally not very interesting. It's unnaturally melodic in unfitting places with overly loud guitars drowning out dull, growling vocals from Darren White, making for a seemingly confused doom metal album that shows a different genre within it but refuses to show it to it's full potential, in this case the progressive side of Anathema. I will admit on first listen it packs quite a punch- the double kick, crisp drumming from John Douglas really contrasts well with the very large-sounding guitar duo of the Cavanagh brothers. And then they do it again. And again. And so forth. It really is a neat concept that could use more exploring, but here it's just really maldeveloped. The melodies also get stale extremely quickly. 'Eternal Rise of the Sun''s opening hook isn't anything really special, but it is substantial. Then it gets repeated so much that it just gets annoying.

Honestly I think the biggest problem is Serenades doesn't want to be a gritty, Death-esque album with very low production value and little eclecticism. Young Anathema wanted to be more than that, obviously, but how they show that is with an underwhelming release that can't decide whether it wants to be complex or simple. And don't even get me started on the twenty-three-and-a-half minute long pseudo-orchestral snooze-fest that is 'Dreaming: The Romance". Usually when you see a song of that length you'd assume something spectacular. Instead you get almost a half-an-hour of flat, programmed strings with very little variation, and sounding like an intro or interlude stretched out twenty minutes too long. Really it's a disappointing ending to an already disappointing album.

Serenades is an album remembered among really only fans, and not really for a good reason. It's an underdeveloped...well, I wouldn't really call it a "mess" but more along the lines of a misstep. It was corrected fairly well but it's a tangled debut with bigger aspirations than it can fit in it's tiny box.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 3 days ago in Now -- what are you listening to? V2
    This album is actually really great! It seems like an underrated gem of the 80's metal scene. On par with some of the greats.
  • Posted 5 days ago in Do metal fans have a political leaning?
    Center-right, I suppose. Although I usually don't care about politics when it comes to things I enjoy, like metal.
  • Posted 5 days ago in Best metal publication in the business...and why?
    [QUOTE=keefer1970]I stupidly chose to get rid of my '80s rock mag collection when I moved out of my parents' home in the mid 1990s - cuz at the time I didn't have room to store them in the small apartment I was going into. I kept on buying mags though, so I ended up building a whole new collection from the mid 90s onward... I still have those stacked in boxes in the closet, but it would be fun to re-read those oldies again!!...besides, when I see the prices that back issues of those '80s mags go for on eBay nowadays I wish I could reach back in time and smack myself.  [/QUOTE] I checked Ebay for Metal Maniac issues and they seemed to be going at most for $20 each. Same goes for Circus. It'd be a bitch to collect them again though I'm sure.

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