MMA Special Collaborator · Alternative & Doom Metal teams
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988 reviews/ratings
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AC/DC - Who Made Who Hard Rock
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OZZY OSBOURNE - Blizzard Of Ozz Traditional heavy metal
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Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Hard Rock 289 3.68
2 Non-Metal 96 3.26
3 Alternative Metal 88 3.99
4 Traditional heavy metal 84 3.82
5 Nu Metal 60 3.16
6 Progressive Metal 42 3.18
7 Proto-Metal 42 4.10
8 Thrash Metal 31 3.95
9 Metalcore 30 3.98
10 Doom Metal 27 4.02
11 Funk Metal 25 4.24
12 Glam Metal 25 3.02
13 Metal Related 25 3.64
14 Industrial Metal 20 3.35
15 Power Metal 13 3.81
16 Stoner Metal 10 4.35
17 Symphonic Metal 8 4.81
18 Groove Metal 7 4.21
19 Death Metal 7 4.71
20 Atmospheric Black Metal 7 2.07
21 NWoBHM 6 3.75
22 Melodic Black Metal 5 4.80
23 Sludge Metal 5 4.40
24 Drone Metal 4 1.50
25 US Power Metal 4 3.63
26 Mathcore 3 3.17
27 Hardcore and crust 3 2.50
28 Deathcore 3 1.50
29 Grindcore 3 4.17
30 Death-Doom Metal 2 4.25
31 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 2 4.75
32 Black Metal 2 4.50
33 Technical Death Metal 2 4.75
34 Symphonic Black Metal 2 3.00
35 Melodic Death Metal 2 4.25
36 Speed Metal 1 3.50
37 Crossover Thrash 1 0.50
38 Funeral Doom Metal 1 5.00
39 Gothic Metal 1 3.50

Latest Albums Reviews

LORDI Get Heavy

Album · 2002 · Traditional heavy metal
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Tell me; do you truly understand what it means to...get heavy?

Finland's Lordi are perhaps one of the goofiest bunch of misfits in the last 20 years of the metal world. If I were to describe Lordi, I'd say think of GWAR, and then imagine them taking themselves even less seriously. Lordi sprung up in 1992, but didn't deliver their debut bombshell until the Winter of 2002. This album, Get Heavy, is still likely unmatched by any other album Lordi has released thus far.

Get Heavy is a collection of overly-indulgent, testosterone fests of stupid energy and blunt assault. The only difference between an album of Get Heavy's ilk and Get Heavy itself is the pure catchiness of every single song. If you look back to Lordi's past in the early 90's and their influences, it's pretty easy to guess where they get their flare. The band that particularly influenced the band's system of operations is KISS, seen most vividly on songs like 'Rock The Hell Outta You' with the turgid theatrical vibe of the song, replete with even the background yell-choir. Yet it would be silly to dismiss this band as a KISS ripoff, as even they themselves wanted to diverge from that arena-rock style. While this is kind of silly to think that they really wanted to diverge to a great extent considering a noticeable similarity to KISS on the final product, they did differentiate themselves with a variety of elements.

Part of Lordi's appeal is their appearance. They're over-complex demon armor is very similar to U.S. contemporaries GWAR, who themselves made their debut fourteen years prior. Another element is their attitude. Lordi is very unequivocal about how silly they are. For Christ's sake, they have a song where they're talking about how the Devil himself is their bitch. These guys are the spitting image of stereotypical metal machomen, and I love it.

The final but likely most important aspect of Lordi's sound is their, well, sound. As I mentioned before the album is extremely centered around very catchy hooks and choruses, the most famous example of these being the fantastic 'Would You Love a Monsterman', a symphonic firestorm of raw emotion replete with Tomi Putaansuu (or "Mr. Lordi")'s unforgettable chorus of "Would you love a monsterman / could you understand the beauty of the beast?" Lordi also channels the sexy, rebellious attitude of 80's glam like on 'Biomechanic Man' or 'Devil Is a Loser', where the concept of being subtle is out of the window. One other note-worthy element of Lordi is their exceptional drummer Sampsa Astala (Kita), who has exceptional skill when considering how not serious the album he debuts on is.

Looking for a good time? Lordi's got you covered. Don't have much else to say. Just listen to it. Please.

AVATARIUM The Girl with the Raven Mask

Album · 2015 · Doom Metal
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Avatarium's second release came in the wake of their semi-breakout self-titled debut, yet in terms of construction is rather different from it's predecessor. For the most part, the massive doom metal elements are gone. Instead, Leif Edling and friends have pulled in a more progressively-oriented, space rock sound as the focal point. This is clearly recognizable in the Floyd-esque, glittery guitar work of Marcus Jidell and the rapturously synthesizer-laden keyboard of Carl Westholm. As a whole, The Girl With The Raven Mask sounds much more akin to a reinvigorated 70's hard rock album with better production qualities than what one might expect a doom metal album to sound like. On the surface this may sound very appealing, especially to someone like myself who is a loud-and-proud fan of the aforementioned, and to be fair the majority of people are drawn heavily to this album because of these elements. Though on listening for myself following my lackluster opinion of their debut album, I'm afraid that Avatarium's sophomore album has galvanized my crotchety alter-ego. Prepare to be frowned upon.

It is clear that The Girl With The Raven Mask takes heavy influence from progressive rock and metal bands of the 70's and 80's, like Dream Theater (especially), Pink Floyd, UFO, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Porcupine Tree, and many others. It's not an easy task reciprocating the brilliance of these bands, and similarly their innovations. Avatarium unfortunately fumbles in this area, the opportunity to craft a brilliant latter-day revival album falling through their outstretched fingers.

The main problem that this album has is it's structure. The album is almost completely centered around vocalist Jennie-Ann Smith, who may as well act as the mascot for this album and the band in general. By the way, when I say the album is centered around her, I mean that in the most extreme way possible. The instrumentation molds itself to her voice, and breaks from her are few-and-far-between. In fact, many of the songs on the album like 'The Master Thief' have massive portions of her lamenting over the tune of slow, leisurely rock numbers. The only problem is that her voice isn't that great. Sure, it's passable to a degree, but it doesn't have enough endearing qualities to hang on her every word like I believe the album was trying to do. When her voice is gone from the scenario, the rest of the band just sounds dull. Simplistic 4/4 drum patterns get old extremely fast, and spacey guitar noodling does similarly. Soaring climaxes permeate the album, but they just aren't dynamic at all. They just sound dry and uninspired. The only song I believe is ostentatious enough for me to find enjoyment is on 'Run Killer Run', a satisfying, crunching tune where the band is seemingly free from the shackles of predetermination, especially drummer Lars Sköld who, originally was mediocre at best, brings in perhaps his best performance in the band's history. Also it's got a pretty sweet hook, in simple terms.

For the sake of treading the same ground over and over again, I'll just wrap up now. Avatarium started out as a group with some potential, but mishandled in it perhaps not the most disastrous way, but a way that is nonetheless unenjoyable in it's delivery. Not all hope is lost, though. Some good qualities still remain and Avatarium still has a chance to turn my frown upside-down.

RISE OF AVERNUS L'appel du vide

Album · 2013 · Doom Metal
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MMA Reviewer's Challenge: Album selected by 666sharon666

If I were to say one genre of metal that I'm most connected with, it would likely be doom metal. It's a scene that I love and I believe has the highest amount of hidden and obscure talent currently in the metal world. This is not only due to their heaviness alone as some might think, but due to their creativity. Much of the underground doom scene contains very subversive and skilled musicians, many of which seek to blend doom with a variety of other genres of music, including but not limited to folk, stoner rock, and, in Australia's Rise of Avernus' case, progressive/symphonic metal.

Now, I'm no fan of progressive metal. In fact I believe that in recent years it's become the practical bane of creativity and experimentation, and a genre that has a formula so easy to cut and paste with very little effort. Sure, the musicianship is often good, but sometimes it just seems it's getting put to waste by inventing these sonic landscapes that prematurely age themselves by having the most cheesy structures imaginable. Not only that, but I believe progressive metal is a very hard genre to fuse with others because of it's overbearing nature, i.e. it will thematically downplay whatever other sound the band was trying to accomplish. So you take, like Rise of Avernus has done on their first full-length album, L'appel du vide, progressive metal and doom metal and combine them. It should be clear this is no easy task; doom metal and progressive metal are thematically opposed. One is neanderthalically crude, often channeling brutality without a second thought of subtlety, the other being a genre based (in theory) around complexity and innovation, along with extreme attention to detail. Looking at this they seem antithetical, but it wouldn't be impossible to fuse them. In fact, many bands have already like Katatonia and Opeth, and they did relatively well themselves. In general however, Rise of Avernus passes the ballot pretty alright.

Rise of Avernus focus their assault mainly on the aspects of massive symphonic crescendos and epic melody. This album in particular has a theme of a rally between operatic-like symphonies, represented by clean vocalist Cat Guirguis, and the rough, more archaic doom side with the growling Ben Vanvollenhoven. Sometimes this contrast works in earnest, especially on 'The Mire', a song that goes through a variety of different movements even being one of the shorter songs. 'The Mire' is particularly good in its subtle use of the orchestra, an element that many of the other songs on this album are bit too on-the-nose in their usage of.

The biggest problem with L'appel du vide is that it just isn't very interesting. Sure, there's a lot of material packed into one album and it's fairly progressively eclectic, but it's just doesn't pique my interest to the extent that I believe it should. While the orchestral elements are very neat and add a layered feel to the sound, it's still fairly static given the weapons in its arsenal. I find the best parts on this album are Guirguis' piano interludes with string accompaniment, and the metal elements are just a bit too roughly coincided with them. Not only that, but Guirguis' voice isn't that great either. She can hit the high notes fairly well, but she lacks the dynamic quality needed to convey and This album would have worked much better as a simple classical album or maybe a symphonic rock album. But doom metal? I just think that ups the cheesiness a bit too much to where even I can't make excuses for it.

It's a very interesting fusion what Rise of Avernus have tried to work with here. Although I'm not too fond of this particular release, I won't deny I am intrigued towards a followup. I'll finish by saying that L'appel du vide is a good album with a hefty amount of shortcomings. Shortcomings that can be easily fixed with a subtler tone and a much less overly-bombastic attitude.

ATHEIST Piece of Time

Album · 1989 · Technical Death Metal
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Musical intuition and technical prowess catapulted Florida's Atheist into cult status shortly before the 1980's, a decade which was perhaps the most prolific for housing the best metal bands of the era, came to an end. It's not hard to see how Atheist achieved a following so quickly, as the band's influence from both thrash metal and elaborate jazz fusion were quick to differentiate them from their peers.

However with a band with such high quality there comes heavy scrutiny. It's, for the most part, a consensus that out of Atheist's current four releases not a single "failure" exists, but a general hierarchy is constructed for them. Of this totem, Atheist's 1989 debut is generally thought of as at the bottom. Not only was Piece of Time a preceding to the band's often-thought-of masterpiece Unquestionable Presence in 1991, but it's often cast aside as the least technically proficient and most sophomoric of Atheist's discography.

With this there should be something understood amongst all- more complexity does not always equal a better release. What I believe to be the folly of many metal bands is their inability to put themselves within boundaries, directly distancing themselves so far from a familiar structure that they alienate themselves from the listener, and just become not fun to listen to. Some jazz fusion bands of the 70's experienced this, and sometimes Atheist does too. Just not on this record. In a world where the barbarism of death metal and the maturity of jazz is blurred, a world which Atheist creates, it is quite hard not to step over this line. However because of this I believe that Piece of Time is overall the best album that they've recorded, because it lacks them tripping over themselves for the sake of creativity, and it has a whole lot of heart.

Piece of Time is filled with elements of what Atheist would go on to do, albeit with a much more juvenile attitude. Each element of Atheist's sound is a multi-layered shell, with each peeling away to reveal another hidden complexity. The fusion of influences the band takes in gives way to duplicitously intricate time signatures, aided by the zealous syncopation of Steve Flynn's constantly morphing percussion. The album can slip at the speed of light from a crunching thrash-gallop easily to a grueling groove, as the band seems to act like a hive mind that can shift and change it's direction at will without sacrificing individuality. The sheer speed of each member, especially bassist Roger Patterson and guitarist Rand Burkey, adheres particularly well to the album's overall quality. Some particularly good tracks on here include 'Piece of Time', 'On They Slay', and 'I Deny', all of which are prime examples of the aforementioned attributes Piece of Time has.

I think album is a masterpiece, and although saying so is polarizing, I feel that if you think it is lackluster I urge you to take a second look.

CAVITY After Death

Album · 2017 · Doom Metal
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A true theme of hell.

Looking back at Cavity's legacy, they were not revolutionaries. Although they did debut in 1995, a mere eight years after Melvins had essentially invented sludge metal, they did no genre creation or pioneering. What Cavity did do on the other hand was take sludge metal and mold it into an even more brutal, raw version of itself. This is, in a way, an equally commendable presentation of music.

But Cavity's tempest of terror ended quite abruptly in 2001, cutting the throat of a growing underground popularity that had been gaining steam since 1995. After a compilation of unreleased material from the 90's, Miscellaneous Recollections, not a peep was heard from Cavity other than a few blips of live performances here and there. Out of nowhere however in 2016, Cavity announced a comeback set for early 2017. Now it's that time, and what we have is the product of pooled emotions that have been brewing for the 16 year long hiatus.

After Death could not be more appropriately titled as the band is practically rising from the grave to record this, but at the same time it's also not exactly a glamorous return. I can easily chalk this up as the most brutal and barbarous Cavity release to date, and it's for a variety of different reasons: Cavity is a husk of it's former self. Gone is the pugnacity towards their work, of a group of young fellas from Miami with an attitude akin to the Melvins. Now what they are (or at least come across as according to this release) is a bitter, hateful group of...well, you know I'm just not sure. Demons, from the sounds of it. Secondly, After Death is not only the most brutal but also the most simplistic of Cavity's discography. The albums four total tracks are long, droning epics of heavy, repetitive, plodding drums, moaning guitar, and twisted, pained vocals. After Death's experimental use of stripped-down instrumentation, heavily balancing on the repetitiveness of the rhythmic structures, is nothing short of uncomfortable. It's actually quite an intimidating release, so far removed from so many other metal albums that it's actually quite alien at times. Tracks like 'Fangs on Beyond' especially utilize a certain industrial sound rarely seen being used by bands like Cavity. The year's already young but I can see this album being one of the most odd it has to offer.

This album is spine-chilling. It's a theme of Charon crossing the Styx. It's so strange too because After Death has gotten very little publicity since it's release, other than their label Valley King promoting it a little ever since it's announcement in 2016. It's truly an oddball of the year that I think, although I'm doubtful it will appeal to all or even many, is very worth checking out just for the experience.

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  • Posted 6 days ago in STP vs. Soundgarden (1994)
    Both famous and fantastic grunge bands, both of which had very talented and recently deceased frontmen. These two particular albums are some of the greatest of their corresponding discography.So it's either Purple or Superunknown. Both from 1994.I know the results might be a bit skewed because of Cornell's recent death, but I thought the poll would be interesting anyway.
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    Yeah sure why not.
  • Posted 22 days ago in Now -- what are you listening to? V2


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