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102 reviews/ratings
IRON MAIDEN - The X Factor Heavy Metal | review permalink
THERION - Sitra Ahra Symphonic Metal | review permalink
SAVATAGE - Gutter Ballet Heavy Metal | review permalink
METALLICA - Ride the Lightning Thrash Metal | review permalink
MOONSPELL - Wolfheart Gothic Metal | review permalink
THE OLD DEAD TREE - The Perpetual Motion Gothic Metal | review permalink
THE OLD DEAD TREE - The Nameless Disease Gothic Metal | review permalink
VOIVOD - Angel Rat Progressive Metal | review permalink
SENMUTH - Weird Metal Related | review permalink
PANTOMMIND - Shade Of Fate Progressive Metal | review permalink
RUSH - Clockwork Angels Hard Rock | review permalink
AGALLOCH - Faustian Echoes Atmospheric Black Metal | review permalink
AKPHAEZYA - Anthology IV : The Tragedy of Nerak Avant-garde Metal | review permalink
THERION - Les Fleurs Du Mal Symphonic Metal | review permalink
DREAM THEATER - Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence Progressive Metal | review permalink
DREAM THEATER - Train of Thought Progressive Metal | review permalink
DREAM THEATER - Black Clouds & Silver Linings Progressive Metal | review permalink
IRON MAIDEN - Powerslave NWoBHM | review permalink
NIGHTWISH - Dark Passion Play Symphonic Metal | review permalink
LE GRAND GUIGNOL - The Great Maddening Avant-garde Metal | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Progressive Metal 32 3.63
2 Thrash Metal 13 3.58
3 Heavy Metal 10 3.15
4 Symphonic Metal 6 3.83
5 Gothic Metal 6 4.00
6 Industrial Metal 5 3.60
7 Metal Related 5 3.90
8 Power Metal 5 3.10
9 Technical Thrash Metal 4 3.88
10 Hard Rock 4 3.75
11 NWoBHM 2 3.75
12 Avant-garde Metal 2 4.75
13 Black Metal 1 4.50
14 Death Metal 1 2.00
15 Death-Doom Metal 1 3.50
16 Folk Metal 1 3.50
17 Non-Metal 1 3.50
18 Atmospheric Black Metal 1 5.00
19 Technical Death Metal 1 3.50
20 Sludge Metal 1 2.00

Latest Albums Reviews

MAR DE GRISES Streams Inwards

Album · 2010 · Death-Doom Metal
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This record of the Chilean progressive doom metal band "Mar de Grises" is quite challenging and everything but easy to digest. It kicks straight off with melancholic or even depressive melodies that develop a very dark atmosphere in the uneasy and somewhat completely inappropriated opener "Starmaker" that immediately hits you like a comet. Heavy doom metal riffs and controlled death metal vocals meet more progressive passages with cold electronic or robotic sounds and whsipered or spoken word passages. In some tracks, one can also listen to clean vocals reminding me of those in the German gothic metal band Crematory or choirs that give the album a more epic and cinematic touch as in "A Sea of Dead Comets" that reminds me of stuff like In Flames' "The Chosen Pessimist" concerning the negative atmosphere and the sluggish development. In general, the album gets a little bit softer and more progressive towards the end while the beginning is quite misanthropic and raw at some points.

The band is surely sophisticated and this record needs many spins before you might get a connection to it. The song writing is unpredictable and appears sometimes even directionless or boring. The record contains no hooks, gripping choruses or truly outstanding melodies that will stay on your mind for a while. As a highlight, I would probably cite the epic and diversified "Knotted Delirium" that could also please to fans of bands like Opeth as it mixes slow and sometimes even calm progressive doom metal passages with heavier parts by creating a whirlwind of emotions. For those who like heavier stuff, the surprisingly vivid "The Bell and the Solar Gust" is probably the most memorable song on the album and develops a drowning but at the same time almost dynamical sound.

Another outstanding track is without a doubt the bonus song "Aphelion Aura" which is also the longest song on the album. The track is even more minimalistic and probably the weirdest piece on here. Instead of the usual vocalist, it features a few clean and grounded female vocals that are underlayed by spacey lounge sounds and maybe something like modern jazz elements. The song is completely electronic and features no guitar or bass sounds at all. The song rather reminds me of some more introspective stuff by Adele but is three times longer than those songs wthout any logical reason. As you might guess, this band doesn't care about being popular in the metal scene or having an own style and don't stop their strange experiments.

In the end, it's very hard to get a connection to this band. Apart of those who are really open-minded and like to experiment new sounds and styles and fans of progressive doom metal, I can't imagine that many people might like this. While I recognize the band's courageous approaches and must admit that they have a couple of good ideas and a big talent when it comes to develop a melancholic atmosphere which is the leitfaden of this release, I can't really say that I would listen to this kind of music very often. It's music for special hours and quite hard to digest. In the end, it's tough to chose a rating for this band but as the record certainly has its moments, my final verdict remains quite positive.

KAMELOT Silverthorn

Album · 2012 · Power Metal
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Kamelot are one of those symphonic power metal bands that loads of people seem to enjoy as they have rather progressive song writing and skip the overloaded elements and stereotypically charged joyful topics many of their European colleagues are focusing on. After the criticized predecessor "Poetry For The Poisoned" that had many dull moments and a lack of passion and variation, the band's Norwegian singer Roy Khan left the band and was soon replaced by another Scandinavian singer, the young Tommy Karevik from Sweden. Many people were expecting a return to strength but also a few changes but to my negative surprise nothing of this happened.

If I didn't know that the band had a new singer, I wouldn't have even recognized it as the new guy sounds like a pale copy of his predecessor despite many positive comments about the young man's old main band that are the Swedish progressive metal act Seventh Wonder. The lack of original vocals is though not the main issue on here. The problem is that this record is even more emotionless and overloaded than the previous one. We get way too many sound effects, an endless number of more or less impressive guest musicians and a too elevated number of artificially flavoured orchestral and symphonic instruments that make me think of a bad computer game soundtrack. When one hears a random female guest singer in one track that is followed by pointless choirs performed by a group of children just to kick off a pathetic and overlong kitsch symphony part, this is not only confusing but also mildly amusing. The songs sound directionless and random. Too many cooks spoil the broth in here.

There aren't any truly catchy or outstanding parts on this release to point out. I might cite that the diversity works best in "Veritas" but only because I really like oriental folk influences in general that are also included on this song. The calm and mysterious beginning of the epic "Prodigal Son" also seems quite promising but the songs turns out to go nowhere as time runs out and is way too long.

In the end, this new release is even a step down after the flawed predecessor. Blind fan boys will talk about multiple influences, progressive changes and many new faces and influences but I can't agree on that at all. The band just sounds lost on this release. The last album had at least a constant atmosphere and clear guiding line. Even if you're a regular fan of them, you should give this release a listen before you take the risk of buying it and have a very negative surprise.

WINTERSUN Time I

Album · 2012 · Symphonic Metal
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"Time, what is time?" once asked Blind Guardian on their legendary Power Metal release "Somewhere Far Beyond".

Sometimes, good things need some time to be done but this is not the case at all for Wintersun's new output that has been released eight years after their first strike following many complicated recording sessions, lots of strange announcements and wrongful promises and more and impatiently growing expectations from critics and fans. The difference between Guns 'n Roses' "Chinese Democracy" and the new Wintersun record is that nobody really expected anything special coming from the one man project of Axl Rose but the record turned out to be quite decent without being a masterpiece while in the other case what has become a one man project of Jari Mäenpää was expected to be a masterpiece and is nothing but a big deception. After all the dramatic events over the last years, they could only fail. In the end, couldn't one have seen this coming?

"Only time will tell." realized the British Heavy Metal flagship Iron Maiden on its dark "A Matter Of Life And Death" release.

Jari Mäenpää announced in fact that his new material was so complex that it needed new and revolutionary recordings procedures. This complexion led to a quite predictable result as the new overhyped record turns out to be completely overloaded. The guitar riffs feel lackluster and are buried under a too big amount of symphonic elements. Despite the length of the single tracks, they show no progression whatsoever. The calmer moments lack of emotions, the louder parts lack of energy and the productions is without dynamics.

"We got a little time to make up our minds." stated the pioneer band of European Power Metal Helloween on the first part of their legendary "Keeper Of The Seven Keys" trilogy.

During the whole process of that difficult birth that Jari Mäenpää gave to his new baby, he seems to have either worked too much on the tracks as they feel very complicated and inaccessible or not worked enough on them as they lack of consistency. The whole record has no catchy moments even though the same patterns are heavily repeated. Apart of the instrumentals, all songs vary from calm ambient or folk rock introductions to extreme symphonic metal or melodic death metal parts to calmer folk metal sections before the entire circle is repeated again and again and soon starts to get quite predictable. The few new elements such as the Japanese folk parts are overused in the genre and don't fit at all to the topic of ice and snow. That being sad, the song titles lack as much of originality as the tracks themselves do.

"I've been here before, was it all just wasted time?" questioned the German power metal band Edguy on their "Rocket Ride" release.

In the end, there is nothing left to say but that this record collapses under its own pressure and feels directionless and overloaded. Maybe the sound would have been more mature and natural if the release would have taken less time. I can understand that the band finally wanted its material to be released but maybe they should have worked on something completely different and new as time went by. The plan to make two records out of one is a good commercial idea but artistically, it just stretches the whole chapter and people like me are not looking forward for the second part of this release at all. But maybe time will change things again and the band will actually revise its initial decision or work on their songs to make them sound more natural. As most of the reviews on here are surprisingly positive, they though surely don't feel the need to improve so that my expectations are very low for the upcoming release.

"Tears of time ? just an illusion." concluded the legendary German gothic metal band Crematory on their well entitled "Illusions" release.

THERION Les Fleurs Du Mal

Album · 2012 · Symphonic Metal
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Therion have always been a little bit different from regular Metal bands but when I heard that they would release their new record on their own and without the support of the visionary German Nuclear Blast label, I was quite surprised. When I later heard that the new release would feature fifteen or sixteen cover version of the French chanson genre of the sixties and seventies, I first thought that this was a joke but it ultimately turned out to be true. The Swedish band plays sixteen classics that are mostly inspired by the famous French lyricist Charles Baudelaire and especially his most famous publication that was 'The Flowers Of Evil' which happens to be the title of this record.

Let's get a couple of things straight before I lose myself in the description of the tracks. This record includes almost only short tracks with a running time around three minutes. The lyrics are entirely performed in French. The female vocals on this release are much more dominant than the masculine ones. The new songs have mostly nothing to do with the atmospheric metal anthems or the classic epics of the band's past. This record is something completely new. Twenty-five years after the band made its first steps as a death and doom metal band, they focus on an aspect that we didn't even expect to exist: fun. You can hear that Therion are indeed having loads of fun on this release that sounds more diversified, entertaining and lighter than any other album by this band. The Swedish don't care about fan expectations, critics or financial issues and simply do what they want to do and they do well.

Some of the tracks on here are in fact close to the originals and have a charming old school Chanson flair. A good example could be the very light 'Wahala Manitou' by L'onie Lousseau or the catchy romantic ballad 'Une fleur dans le coeur' by Victoire Scott.

On the other side, there are also a couple of more emotional and introspective songs on this record. There aren't many of them though and that's what makes them even more intense and outstanding. The best example is the sad 'J'ai le mal de toi' by Colette Dereal that combines emotional female and male vocals and makes me think of a more rhythm orientated version of a Ginette Reno song. This sounds strange but it works very well. One of three promotional video clips was done for this song that is dedicated to the French singer and actress Betty Mars who committed suicide by jumping out of her apartment in the modern La D'fense suburb of Paris in the late eighties. This new interpretation of the lyrics and the intense video make this song very touching. Musically, it's maybe the best song on the entire record for me. Other longing songs on this record include the melancholic but romantic 'Mon ami, mon amour' by Marie Lafor't. There are also some darker and mystic tracks on the release such as the perfectly entitled 'Lilith' by L'onie Lousseau that could please to older Therion fans.

There are also a couple of truly experimental pieces on this record. One must of course cite the new interpretation of Serge Gainsbourg's 'Initials BB' that includes narrative and poetic passages and needs a few spins to grow even though it's one of the most intriguing songs on the entire record. The initial track is in fact dedicated to the legendary actress and singer Brigitte Bardot. It wouldn't be too exaggerated to call Therion's band leader Christofer Johnsson a soul mate of the eccentric French artist he's covering here.

As I said, there are also a lot of energizing fun songs with a certain rock 'n roll attitude on this release. 'Je n'ai besoin que de tendresse' by Claire Nixon is an up-tempo track stylistically situated somewhere between the European power metal and the glam rock genre. The song feels like a mixture of a Slade party track of the late seventies, a Glam Metal anthem by W.A.S.P. from the mid-eighties and a funny Power Metal track by Helloween from the late eighties. A second video clip was done for this song. It shows Therion playing the track in front of a chaotic crowd that is getting drunk, fighting each other and having sex in the weirdest ways. This is definitely an image one has never seen before coming from this band and that unexpected aspect makes it so exciting.

There are only a couple of tracks that are comparable to the earlier works of Therion. A good example would be the opener and as reprise also the album closer 'Poup'e de cire, poup'e de son' by France Gall. In the new version, technically perfect and slightly hysterical female vocals meet a few Symphonic Metal elements and truly heavy guitar riffs. A third and last video clip was done for this song. Even though this track is maybe one of the few directly accessible songs for the regular fans, the video funnily depicts the opposite. One can see Therion performing in a cheap bar once again where the crowd simply ignores the band or starts to disturb and hate the performance. Scenes of drunk and puking women, brutally fighting men and people having sex on the toilet are also shown.

Therion definitely risk a lot with this new release. No matter what one might think about it, the concept is quite courageous, entertaining and unique. I would have never expected this band to create this kind of fun ride of an album. It doesn't sound that much like a Therion release but I happen to truly adore this addicting record. Any open-minded music maniac should try this release out and might maybe call this her or his bible of the year 2012. Any Therion fan should though stop and try this record out warily instead of purchasing it blindly and getting disappointed. This release is not for everyone but those who accept it will probably love it quite a lot just as I already happen to do.

SHINING Redefining Darkness

Album · 2012 · Black Metal
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After the short cover EP "Lots Of Girls Gonna Get Hurt", the controversial Swedish depressive black metal band Shining around front man, vocalist, keyboarder and guitar player Niklas Kvarforth is back for good with an eight full length record in only twelve years.

I haven't been a big follower of the band but I wanted to try them out for quite a while and I'm very positively surprised with this release that surely motivates me enough to check out further parts of their discography. The band is in fact much more epic and especially melodic than I expected. Harsher parts with unchained and fascinatingly unique vocals, sharp riffs and heavy drumming are as present as psychedelic with atmospheric keyboard sounds, chilling acoustic guitar passages and dreamy clean vocals that give the whole thing a very progressive touch. In these passages, the band is quite close to bands such as Anathema, Katatonia or Opeth. There is only one difference: Shining happens to be better than any of the talented other three bands. The band sounds very pure in its emotions, the song writing perfectly plays with contrasts and the tracks vary enough to never get boring.

A few years ago, I would have been discouraged by the quite brutal opener "Du, Mitt Konstverk" but as time went by, I began to understand what I would call the essence of black metal and find the bleak atmosphere authentic, extreme and profound. It's definitely one of the most diversified genres in the entire metal universe but it takes some time to get into this kind of music. Even this beast of an opener has though a melodic break in its second half that calms you down, puts you in a melancholic mood and plays with contrasts. On the other side, the closing "For The God Below" is probably one of the most epic and melodic tracks the band has ever written as far as I've heard and should also please to fans of other genres such as gothic or progressive metal for example. The acoustic guitar harmonies, the variable vocals and the great guitar effects and solos are simply touching and also technically very well executed. This track is by far one of the best songs of the year and any open minded metal maniac should try this out at all costs.

In the end, Shining deliver one of the most emotional and varied releases of the year and have won a new fan in me. There have been many amazing records out this year but this album is clearly among the twenty best albums and I feel that it may still grow on me. Those who like extreme emotions and imaginative music filled with contrasts should try this band out despite its controversial image. Madness and genius are quite close and even though Niklas Kvarforth might be very eccentric, what he delivers here can be called a true little masterpiece despite its short length and a few less convincing passages in the tracks of the record's middle part.

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Diogenes wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Holy schinkies that's a lot of reviews. Welcome to the site, and thanks for contributing!

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