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Kwis Payne
MMA Metal Reviewer ·
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 1 year ago

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288 reviews/ratings
MOONSORROW - Suden uni Folk Metal | review permalink
MOONSORROW - Tulimyrsky EP Folk Metal | review permalink
MOONSPELL - Under Satanæ Gothic Metal | review permalink
NIGHTWISH - Angels Fall First Symphonic Metal | review permalink
NIGHTWISH - Wishmaster Power Metal | review permalink
NIGHTWISH - Once Symphonic Metal | review permalink
NIGHTWISH - Dark Passion Play Symphonic Metal | review permalink
NIGHTWISH - Oceanborn Power Metal | review permalink
OPETH - Still Life Progressive Metal | review permalink
OPETH - Blackwater Park Progressive Metal | review permalink
OPETH - Damnation Non-Metal | review permalink
OPETH - Ghost Reveries Progressive Metal | review permalink
PAIN OF SALVATION - Entropia Progressive Metal | review permalink
PAIN OF SALVATION - One Hour by the Concrete Lake Progressive Metal | review permalink
PAIN OF SALVATION - The Perfect Element, Part 1 Progressive Metal | review permalink
PAIN OF SALVATION - Remedy Lane Progressive Metal | review permalink
PAIN OF SALVATION - BE Progressive Metal | review permalink
PROTEST THE HERO - Fortress Metalcore | review permalink
QUEENSRŸCHE - Operation: Mindcrime Progressive Metal | review permalink
RAMMSTEIN - Mutter Industrial Metal | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Progressive Metal 54 4.26
2 Hard Rock 25 4.20
3 Death Metal 24 4.10
4 Power Metal 20 4.15
5 Non-Metal 18 4.36
6 Symphonic Black Metal 17 4.03
7 Alternative Metal 14 4.21
8 Doom Metal 11 4.09
9 Symphonic Metal 11 4.36
10 Traditional heavy metal 11 3.45
11 Gothic Metal 10 4.35
12 Metal Related 10 4.60
13 Grindcore 6 2.83
14 Technical Death Metal 6 4.00
15 Melodic Death Metal 6 3.83
16 Metalcore 5 4.80
17 Mathcore 3 4.00
18 Groove Metal 3 4.67
19 Folk Metal 3 4.67
20 Black Metal 3 4.33
21 Nu Metal 3 2.33
22 Proto-Metal 3 4.00
23 Stoner Metal 3 4.33
24 US Power Metal 2 4.00
25 Thrash Metal 2 3.00
26 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 2 3.50
27 Avant-garde Metal 2 4.50
28 Deathcore 2 2.00
29 Hardcore and crust 2 4.00
30 Industrial Metal 2 5.00
31 Melodic Black Metal 2 4.00
32 Depressive Black Metal 1 4.00
33 Funk Metal 1 4.00
34 Death 'n' Roll 1 4.00

Latest Albums Reviews

FLYING COLORS Second Nature

Album · 2014 · Non-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
It seems that Mike Portnoy super groups don't just last for a while...they last forever. But If I had to pick a favorite one this would probably be it. I was shocked at how much I enjoyed this project the first time round, and I was even more shocked at how much I enjoyed this album too.

After a pretty good critically and fan praised album, the band have come back...with more prog than pop. I have to be honest, I do prefer the first album to this due to the bigger focus on pop, but this at least shows the band in a rather different light. So expect longer tracks and more experimentation with their song writing craft.

The real reason that attracted me to the band is the voice of Casey McPherson. Out of all the guys in the band, Casey is the one that really surprised me the most (which is funny, cause the the other 4 guys are absolute masters at their crafts). Casey is a brilliant lyricist and vocalist and really is the saving grace for this project (without him, this may just be another prog rock supergroup involving Neal Morse & Mike Portnoy).

I think a good comparison to this album would be another one of Portnoy's supergroups/side projects, Transatlantic who released their 4th album “Kaleidoscope” this year. Now after 4 albums, their new album is alright, but it does feel a bit samey and predictable. And I did fear that this project may suffer from a similar fate. To be honest, when I first saw the artwork and heard the samples from the album, I wasn't overall impressed. But, having set down and listened to it from start to finish, I was suprisingly annoyed at how much I liked it.

Opening track “Open Up Your Eyes” is what should have been a Transatlantic opening track. While I did like “Into The Blue” on “Kaleidoscope”, this song is much better at introducing the album. Starting off with a pretty epic repetitive intro, it climaxes into a great and epic opener.

A track that I'm still on the fence with would have to be the album's single “Mask Machine.” Now I don't automatically dislike this song, in fact most of it I enjoy, but I am very much against the chorus with very cheesy 'woo-hoos'. The bass riff on this song is pretty killer and memorable too.

One of my personal favorite tracks on the album would be “Fury Of My Love.” Very much a ballad with a dark twist, the song really is pushed to the edge with a very passionate vocal performance from Casey.

On the of the albums catchiest tracks would have to be “Place In Your World.” With some Beatlesque sounding moments the big climax is a brilliant catchy chorus full of joy and sweetness.

One of the most interesting tracks on the album would have to be “Peaceful Harbor.” Having a hymn like quality, the music is very relaxing and shows off some great vocals from Casey & Neal. Great arrangement on the track too.

The album closer “Cosmic Symphony” is a song split up into 3 parts. The parts do interweave together well and do show a lot of promise. Not the strongest track on the album, but the final movement “Pound For A Pound” is really the tracks highlight with a beautiful vocal delivery from Casey.

Overall, for some odd reason I went into this album expecting to dislike it. I don't know why I did, but I am glad I came out of it rather liking the album. I do slightly prefer the first album but I think this album holds incredibly well on its own merits. I think they now have established themselves as just more than a super group and I expect a good few albums to come from this project in the future

8.3/10

Genres: Progressive Rock, Pop, Hard Rock, Symphonic Rock

Country of origin: USA

Year of release: 2014

DEFTONES Adrenaline

Album · 1995 · Nu Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
So here we have the genesis of one of the most loved bands to have survived the “nu-metal” wave. While I never really thought of Deftones as a “nu-metal” band, I do think without them, the scene wouldn't have been influenced as much and probably would have lost a lot of spark.

This album reminds me of System Of A Down's debut album. In many ways they have similar tones (with the latter being better produced slightly better) and are perfect examples of brilliant debuts. Not the bands best albums, but they are pretty damn good statements of a sound.

Musically the album is very much Deftones sound. Yes, it is very much in its infant stage but this is very much the blossoming of the bands sound. The best way to describe it is a mixture of early post hard core mixed with experimental rock and at the odd times rap influences. Lyrically Chino is very cryptic in this album, with the lyrics needing a lot of explaining.

One criticism I would have with this album would be the production. Now I'm not expecting outstanding production from a debut album in the early 90s, and I have to admit some of the production is pretty good at times, but it is a slight gripe. Vocally Chino is pretty great on this album, but I have to admit that at times he can go slightly off pitch. His odd use of whispering narratives at times can be a bit repetitive, but it usually tonally goes with the music of the track.

Opening track “Bored” is pretty much an anthem of teenage rebellion...the rebellion of boredom. With a pretty killer intro the song really shines when the chorus comes in and Chino sings his heart out.

“Minus Blindfold” shows influences from and edges towards rap metal. Lyrically Chino paints an interesting almost childish image and it really adds to the chaotic tone of the song.

“7 Words” is one of the most interesting tracks on the album. Starting off with a rather fun almost funky intro, the song explodes and implodes throughout with some interesting instrumental work throughout.

One of Chino's most impressive vocal moments on the album would have to be “Birthmark.” With a brilliant build up in the verse, the chorus is brought to newer heights with a very impressive high note sung by Chino, which sends shivers down my back everytime I hear it.

The albums final track “Fireal” is one of the most experimental tracks on the album. Mixing noise rock with some art rock moments, the chorus is a mad jabber of mad and distorted metal. Pretty epic at moments too.

Overall, this album is a pretty great debut. Deftones have always been a different yet energetic band, and this debut pretty much has them landing with their feet on the ground and running in the right direction. Packed full of tunes and having some pretty killer riffs, the band showed major potential on this album, and I think it may be a tiny little bit

8/10

Genres: Alternative Metal, Post Hardcore, Experimental Rock, Nu Metal, Noise Rock, Rap Metal

Country of origin: USA

Year of release: 1995

CASUALTIES OF COOL Casualties of Cool

Album · 2014 · Non-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Devin Townsend is a genius. I don't need to say anymore. But is he going mad?

After a 5 album string which pretty much showed no weakness, Devin pretty much did whatever he wanted and received a lot of success. But this was backed by record companies who oddly enough had enough faith in his music. So on this album, why did Devin turn his back on financial backing? To be honest, it makes perfect sense.

Devin is a modern music cult hero. Taking secret audiences around the world he has been able to sell out a lot of big gigs and festivals. But, having strayed away from his metal roots and gone for a rather odd country and blues rock sound, this may have alienated fans, or as he stated himself “people who liked Epicloud are gonna be pissed.” So did it work?

Ha. Did it work? Let's just say Devin became a rich man in only a short amount of days. Now, being the artist he is, a good amount of money is funding his next project, the ever awaiting sequel to “Ziltoid The Omniscient”, but if their ever was a reaction from fans to show their love, this surely is.

Now lets get down to the meat of the album and that is the music. Now this isn't too much of a dramatic change for Devin musically, in fact Devin experimented with some of this older rock and blues sound on “Ki”, but decided to flesh it more out. The album is also a daring leap for Devin because this isn't a solo album. In fact the album is a collaboration with singer songwriter Ché Aimee Dorval who did vocals before on “Ki.” As much as I love Devin's songwriting I always found a lack of cohesion in his stuff at times, and I think Ché's vocals, songwriting and lyrics really fleshed out Devin's experimental songwriting style. The only negative I can have with this album is that it is so different musically that you have to kind of getting used to it and I think that this is an album that needs a few listens before you can really love it. I can't see anyone hating this album though.

Opener “Daddy” is a brilliant introduction to the album. Taking the blues rock sound and adding a lot of Devin's personal quirks, the song soon turns into a sonic hailstorm of sound. The same can be said with “Mountaintop” which continues the blues sound and mixes with some rather melancholic melodies, especially with Ché's vocals.

My favorite song on this album would have to be “Flight.” A very simple idea with some beautiful melodies and a few interesting changes throughout, the song is incredibly beautiful. Lyrically the song deals with suicide and is one of the best penned lyrics about the subject. A beautiful piece of music and definitely up there with some of my all time favorite tracks of all time.

A very interesting track can be seen in the form of “Moon.” Starting off very spacey and with a lot of limited space, the song then explodes into a mix of groaning vocals and some beautiful saxophone playing.

One of the albums strongest tracks has to be “Bones.” Lyrically the song is one of the most relating to the concept, with some very interesting words and images being presented. The music of the song adopts a rather baroque pop feeling and it works incredibly well, especially with Ché's vocals.

One of the oddest tracks on the album would have to be “Deathscope.” Supposed to be the angry side of the protagonist, the song shows off some of Devin's metal material from the past and the dynamic vocals he has.

The album closer “The Bridge” is very reminiscent to the track “Ki” for me. Starting off slow and calm before building up to a massive climax and pays off very well. Experimenting with choirs and flutes, the song is a very experimental move for Devin's work. Great ending to the album (not including “Pure” which is a bit silly and long).

Overall, this album impressed me and confused me. It confused me because I don't know whether I should love it or like it. At the moment I'm on the cusp of loving it. Devin has really been able to create something very unique in his catalogue and really step out of his comfort zone for this one.

8.5/10

Genres: Blues Rock, Country, Alternative Country, Country Rock, Ambient, Progressive Rock, Baroque Pop, Experimental Rock, Post Rock, Experimental Metal

Country of origin: Canada

Year of release: 2014

HAMMERFALL (r)Evolution

Album · 2014 · Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
If you haven't guessed it by now, I have an incredible soft spot for power metal. Now, I'm not a major fan, I do think some bands can be a bit stale and repetitive. I also believe that some bands can maybe be a bit too cheesy. Now Hammerfall are cheesy...but they are pretty great songwriters too and are band that are incredibly technically efficient and have a very underrated vocalist in the form of Joacim Cans.

Ever since their first hiatus, the band came back with a sound that was unparalleled and was even better than their early days. “Chapter V: Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken” and “Threshold” would be up their with some of power metals best. But sadly the follow up “No Sacrifice, No Victory” was a slight let down. “Infected” was actually a step in a better direction but didn't see much acclaim from audiences, resulting the in the band going on another hiatus. The band are now back, showing promises and traits of their earlier days, proto and post first hiatus.

Musically the band show flickers of their old sound, but do now and then show off some of the dark moments which sprung up on their last 4 albums. In many ways, the band are still doing what they have always been doing. Some of the cheese which they tried to loose is back, but a bit of cheese never hurt anyone, especially when the songs are good, and proven on this album...they are.

I do admit, I did prefer the band whenever they had their classic line up. While Pontus is an absolutely astounding guitar player, I always think Stefan Elmgreen was and is more to my taste. The band have shown some experimental moments on this album too and it ends up being rather enjoyable at times...but it's all about the cheese.

Opening track “Hector's Hymn” is very much a return to form for the band. An anthem dedicated to their mascot, the song is pretty anthemic and would be perfect for opening live gigs off. The music video for this song is pretty cool, which pretty much builds a narrative around their old album covers.

The album's lead single “Bushido” is definitely one of the strongest on the album. With some pretty spellbinding guitar work, the song is carried well with a pretty great sing-along and powerful chorus. Anthemic and fun, how could you not like it.

Two very interesting tracks on the album would be “Ex Inferis” & “Evil Incarnate.” Taking a darker lyrical stance, the band talk about Satan and evil and stuff, which is a big step away from warriors and templars of steel. The songs musical styles have heavier riffs and “Evil Incarnate” even has some death growls spreading on it.

My favorite song on the album would probably be “Winter Is Coming.” Now, I am a big “Game of Thrones” fan so this is a little biased, but other than that, I do think this is one of the most unique songs in Hammerfall's catalogue. Showing off a great vocal performance from Joacim and a pretty cool slow arrangement, the song is pretty epic.

One of the cheesiest songs on the album and probably one of the most enjoyable songs would have to be “Tainted Metal.” A great sing along chorus with some cheesy moments and oddly funny lyrics, you gotta love the pure nostalgia of this tune. One of the fastest tracks on the album too.

One of the oddest tracks on the album would have to be “Wildfire.” With an odd and rather epic chorus with some pretty cool choir sections, the song has a rather symphonic approach to it. One of the most interesting tracks Hammerfall has ever made.

Overall, this is pretty much a return to form. The band still have a slight edge to their sound from their past releases, but the cheesiness and anthems are back. If you want to put on some leather, grow your hair and bang your fist into the air, this is an album for you.

7.9/10

Genres: Power Metal, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Fist, Speed Metal, Symphonic Metal

Country of origin: Sweden

Year of release: 2014

OPETH Pale Communion

Album · 2014 · Non-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Opeth have had a very interesting past few years. With the release of their last album “Heritage”, the band have had mixed opinions due to their change in sound. One of the biggest problems is the loss of the death metal vocals. Now, I really don't mind if the death metal vocals are not their, in fact “Damnation” is probably one of my favorite Opeth album, but I will admit that the mix of the two styles in their earlier material is probably the reason I got into the band in the first place.

While many people will complain that Opeth aren't the same band anymore we have to take into consideration that these guys are getting older. Mikael really can't growl the way he did 10 years ago and I really respect their decision to loose the death growls. But while Mikael's vocals have gruffly diminished, he has been able to explore the diversity of his clean vocals.

Musically the album is pretty much a progressive rock album with the metal bits saturated. Now I know what your saying...”same as “Heritage” I bet. Well no. I remember seeing Opeth live during their tour for their last album and all I could think of was “this is like stoner psychedelic music”...which it was. This album is a lot more classic prog so I find it very much more enjoyable with more fluid arrangements with less improvisation and more sustenance.

Opener “Eternal Rains Will Come” is a great intro to the album. Starting off with blazing organs and clashing rhythms it then morphs into a more easier listening track with some pretty cool multi layered vocals.

“Cusp Of Eternity” is one of the heavier songs on the album. Reminding me of a more classic heavy metal style, the song has some pretty cool riffs and is a good little nod to an older metal sound.

“Moon Above, Sun Below” is the albums longest track and is probably one of the most diverse tracks on the album. Full of many different moving parts, the real highlight has to be the diversity of Mikael's vocals, showing off some clean gruffness which is a big departure from the evil growls on previous albums.

The ballad of the album “Elysian Woes” is an interesting and soothing moment on the album. I was pretty impressed by the instrumentation of this track, showing some pretty mature and experimental choices of arrangements for guitar and keyboards.

The albums instrumental “Goblin” is an interesting tribute to the 70s prog band Goblin. Full of proggy organs and some interesting prog instrumentation, the song is a prog lovers wet dream.

One of my favorite tracks on the album would have to be “River.” Starting off with a very almost joyous feel, this track is very different to what the band have ever done before, with a more lighter and nicer sound to the bands repertoire with very little bleakness or Gothic undertones. May be a new direction for the band.

In conclusion, this album surprised me. I went in expecting to hate it, but I was generally impressed by what I heard. These guys are never going to go back to their earlier styles, but at least it seems they are moving in a better direction than everyone thought they would. A great listen I would recommend to modern and older prog fans.

8.1/10

Genre: Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal, Hard Rock, Doom, Psychedelic Rock, Prog Folk, Folk Rock, Jazz Fusion, Heavy Metal

Country of origin: Sweden

Year of release: 2014

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted more than 2 years ago in I don't get AFI
    i agree. tbh i barely notice its use , im glad someone does though xp
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in I don't get AFI
    I like a few of their songs. i was brough up on pop punk and emo, so I have a soft spot for a few bands. And there was a time where the emo sound was being watered down due to its unpopularity, so the change in genre could be due to a confusion of what record companies and fans alike would want. By the way, being gay myself, I don't mind using the word "gay" as an insult. its almost like an adaptation of the word "camp"
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in MMA Collaborator's Top Albums of 2013
    now I know what albums I missed out. amazon here I come :D

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