siLLy puPPy

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Favorite Metal Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

1988 reviews/ratings
THOUGHT INDUSTRY - Songs for Insects Technical Thrash Metal | review permalink
THOUGHT INDUSTRY - Mods Carve the Pig: Assassins, Toads and God's Flesh Technical Thrash Metal | review permalink
NOKTURNAL MORTUM - Lunar Poetry Symphonic Black Metal | review permalink
CARACH ANGREN - Where The Corpses Sink Forever Symphonic Black Metal | review permalink
GORGUTS - Obscura Technical Death Metal | review permalink
KING CRIMSON - In The Court Of The Crimson King Proto-Metal | review permalink
MEGADETH - Rust in Peace Thrash Metal | review permalink
QUEENSRŸCHE - Operation: Mindcrime Progressive Metal | review permalink
INFECTIOUS GROOVES - The Plague That Makes Your Booty Move... It's the Infectious Grooves Funk Metal | review permalink
BEHEMOTH - Demigod Death Metal | review permalink
KYUSS - Welcome To Sky Valley Stoner Metal | review permalink
METALLICA - Master of Puppets Thrash Metal | review permalink
METALLICA - ...And Justice for All Thrash Metal | review permalink
SLAYER - Reign in Blood Thrash Metal | review permalink
DARKTHRONE - A Blaze In The Northern Sky Black Metal | review permalink
BROCAS HELM - Black Death US Power Metal | review permalink
BROCAS HELM - Defender of the Crown US Power Metal | review permalink
BUMBLEFOOT - Ron Thal / Hermit Progressive Metal | review permalink
BUMBLEFOOT - Ron Thal / The Adventures Of Bumblefoot Progressive Metal | review permalink
EDGE OF SANITY - Crimson Melodic Death Metal | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Non-Metal 199 3.04
2 Progressive Metal 183 3.88
3 Alternative Metal 153 2.93
4 Avant-garde Metal 140 3.97
5 Hard Rock 123 3.53
6 Black Metal 110 3.75
7 Death Metal 94 3.71
8 Metal Related 94 3.61
9 Technical Death Metal 76 3.98
10 Heavy Metal 72 3.76
11 Thrash Metal 55 3.60
12 Proto-Metal 55 3.84
13 Atmospheric Black Metal 53 3.68
14 Sludge Metal 31 3.76
15 Power Metal 31 3.85
16 Melodic Death Metal 23 3.72
17 Brutal Death Metal 22 3.45
18 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 20 4.03
19 Technical Thrash Metal 20 3.85
20 Hardcore Punk 19 3.39
21 Death-Doom Metal 18 3.72
22 Folk Metal 18 3.86
23 NWoBHM 18 3.92
24 Symphonic Metal 17 3.76
25 Doom Metal 17 4.00
26 Heavy Alternative Rock 16 3.34
27 Grindcore 16 3.59
28 Heavy Psych 16 3.91
29 Industrial Metal 15 3.60
30 Glam Metal 15 3.57
31 US Power Metal 14 3.75
32 Stoner Metal 13 3.50
33 Metalcore 13 3.42
34 Funk Metal 13 4.08
35 Mathcore 13 3.85
36 Melodic Black Metal 13 4.04
37 Deathcore 13 3.31
38 Depressive Black Metal 12 3.13
39 Symphonic Black Metal 12 4.08
40 War Metal 12 3.42
41 Speed Metal 11 3.45
42 Gothic Metal 11 3.50
43 Funeral Doom Metal 10 4.00
44 Groove Metal 9 3.39
45 Pagan Black Metal 9 3.50
46 Neoclassical metal 9 3.78
47 Drone Metal 8 3.56
48 Goregrind 6 3.00
49 Melodic Metalcore 6 3.08
50 Traditional Doom Metal 6 3.58
51 Stoner Rock 5 3.80
52 Crust Punk 5 3.50
53 Crossover Thrash 4 4.25
54 Nu Metal 4 3.50
55 Rap Metal 3 3.00
56 Viking Metal 3 4.00
57 Deathgrind 3 3.33
58 Electronicore 2 2.75
59 Pornogrind 2 1.50
60 Nintendocore 1 3.50
61 Trance Metal 1 1.00
62 Cybergrind 1 3.50
63 Death 'n' Roll 1 3.50
64 Metal Related Genres 1 4.00

Latest Albums Reviews

HTETHTHEMETH Best Worst Case Scenario

Album · 2016 · Avant-garde Metal
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This bizarre Romanian avant-metal act from Brașov has its roots in a brainstorming philosophical conversation that took place as far back in 1999 when Lao Kreegan revealed to his friend Jamm Klirk a series of dreams he had been having which inspired him to create a musical project. In this dream a fallen angel came to Kreegan and revealed himself as the unpronounceable HTETHTHMETH and had a tale to tell that would make its way into the new project which was supposed to be titled “Moldy Walls With Joints” however after a few years of floating around ideas and compiling musical chops to accompany such an album, it seems Kreegan was the one with the passion to carry through with Klirk dropping out of the project. Undeterred Kreegan carried on and slowly pieced together a band that would be named after the fallen angel who inspired it all to begin with.

Throughout the 2010s HTETHTHEMETH developed its ideas and released its first three songs on a split album with The Bipolar Disorder and then releasing one of those tracks “Light Lies” as a single the following year. The year 2013 finally found the stable lineup of Robert Cotoros (guitar), Lucian Popa (guitar), Vlad Andrei Onescu (keyboards), Koldr (bass) and Costea Codrut (drums) with Kreegan handling the vocals. The band’s sole album release would emerge in 2016 as BEST WORST CASE SCENARIO which found the band in full theatrical mode with a musical style that was loosely based on gothic metal but incorporated a wide variety of metal styles including death, thrash, classic heavy, alternative and even a bit of bluesy 70s hard rock amongst others. Add to that moments of Romanian folk music, classical, bossa nova, progressive rock and even some strange exotica and what you end up with is Romania’s answer to Slovenia’s Devil Doll.

BEST WORST CASE SCENARIO features three distinct Acts broken down into a total of 15 tracks. The album is quite lengthy and just misses a 76-minute playing time. A concept album which narrates a guy looking for the perfect woman and ultimately fails and turns to the dark side in the form of hate as HTETHTHEMETH however for the most part these sorts of nebulous concepts don’t really grab me as i’m more engaged in the music itself which is a wild ride through treacherous turf throughout the album’s three acts and myriad tracks. Honestly i don’t find that the acts themselves are rather distinguishable from one another and musically speaking the album doesn’t really convey the story at hand although it does represent the strangeness of how dreams usually don’t logically and cohesively translate into a reality situation as musical motifs just sort of morph into others with no rhyme or reason however the album does maintain a melodic connective flow which at least makes it accessible.

An inserting idea for sure but HTETHTHEMETH seems to have bitten off more than it can chew with a monstrously epic tale that is supposed to narrate a tale delivered by the fallen angel in his dreams. This album seriously sounds like it’s trying to emulate Devil Doll however Lao Kreegan is no Mr Doctor and lacks both the charisma and the vocal octave range to pull it off. Likewise there seems to be no rhyme or reason as to how the music is supposed to evoke the storyline and even when the concept is totally ignored simply sounds like a haphazard journey through various musical motifs and corny cadences that simply don’t always work together. There are lots of great individual tracks on here especially the more metallic moments that merge with progressive rock but some of the non-metal tracks can sound a bit ridiculous! It’s a decent album to check out but hardly something that holds up with repeated listening sessions. Sometimes disjointed can serve a purpose but in the case of BEST WORST CASE SCENARIO it sort of loses all effects. A better vocalist could’ve animated this to another level though.

BILLY SQUIER Don't Say No

Album · 1981 · Hard Rock
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One biggest stars of the early 80s of catchy riff-oriented hard rock, BILLY SQUIER has all but been forgotten in the modern world except for the fact his radio friendly hits still enjoy heavy rotation on classic rock stations around the world. While starting out in his native Boston with a short-lived power pop band The Sidewinders and honing his songwriting chops in the 70s band Piper, SQUIER embarked on a solo career and found a bit of interest with his debut “The Tale Of The Tape” which found his Queen meets Led Zeppelin style hard rock infused with catchy hooks and nebulously strange lyrics. While the singles “The Big Beat” and “You Should Be High Love” captured sparked marginal interest at radio stations, his big breakthrough would come with his second and most successful album of his career DON’T SAY NO which hit the scene in 1981. While not exactly a concept album DON’T SAY NO did deliver a consistent theme about the trials and tribulations of being famous in the music industry courtesy of SQUIER’s oft cryptic lyrics.

Fueled by a fledgling MTV, SQUIER enjoyed the best of two worlds by having not only having released the most consistently brilliant albums of hard rock that the 80s had to offer but also by the fact that MTV literally broadcast into thousands of homes simultaneously. Coupled with super infectious songs like “The Stroke” and “In The Dark,” the airplay propelled SQUIER into the limelight and was quickly picked up by rock radio stations around the globe. The album likewise jumped into the top 10 and “The Stroke” even hit the top 20 on the Billboard singles chart. The infectious mix of heavy guitar riffs, with catchy pop hooks that rode in the momentum of the recently defunct Led Zeppelin and the ever diminishing returns of a once great Queen, SQUIER actually solicited Brian May to produce DON’T SAY NO but to no avail but after the recommendation of Reinhold Mack who produced Queen’s “The Game”, the album captured the spirit of the recently ended 1970s and propelled the world of hard rock into the video killed the radio star 80s.

While posing as a solo artist on the album cover, DON’T SAY NO sounds more like a band experience and more like an evolution of the critically acclaimed Piper albums which sadly found little interest. An exceptional songwriter with a clear talent for instantly addictive ear worms, SQUIER nurtured cleverly crafted pop songs into bonafide hard rockers that offered a bit of Aerosmith boogie rock, a touch of Jimmy Page inspired guitar riffs and the effervescent delivery system of classic Queen. Comparable to the AOR / hard rock commercially successful bands like Foreigner and Boston with clever arrangements and a diverse array of dynamics, SQUIER offered the perfect mix of songs that were spiced up by SQUIER’s eccentric infusions of off-kilter intros and outros and clever ways to offer contrast. Offering a gruff vocal style, SQUIER delivered his power pop into bonafide hard rock performances that found competent guitar soloing and musicianship backing his every move.

Of the album’s ten tracks, the hits “The Stroke,” “In The Dark,” “My Kinda Lover” and “Lonely Is The Night” have remained classic rock radio staples since the album’s release however the rest of the album’s track listing is just as radio friendly. “The Stroke” was like the updated version of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” with an anthemic percussive stomp and staccato guitar chord heft. “In The Dark” immediately showcases SQUIER’s propensity to construct unorthodox methodologies of beginning his songs with a slowly elevating synthesizer sound building up to the riff-laden rock. “Lonely In The Night” reminds of something off of Led Zeppelin’s “Physical Graffiti” while “My Kinda Lover” displayed SQUIER’s love of staccato guitar stomps that made use of silence on the versus before erupting into a full-band effect on the corresponding choruses. Likewise the closing title track featured a unique fade in that likewise found the same exact fade out faking you out before the song burst back into the chorus!

The lesser known songs have their own charm as well. “Too Daze Gone” is another riff monster that showcase SQUIER’s interesting songwriting skills of crafty verse / chorus / bridge simplicity while the acoustic guitar ballad “Nobody Knows” is a tribute to John Lennon and the sadness he faced being recognized by all as a god-like celebrity and not as a real person. While the tracks “You Know What I Like” and “Whadda You Want From Me” may be the least memorable upon first impression, even these tracks display unique drumming patterns, crafty slide guitar effects and unique melodies that have distinct personalities. Repeated spins yield equally infectious hooks as the overexposure of the bigger hits take their toll. The flow of the album is absolutely perfect with each song perfectly following and there is really not a dull moment throughout the album’s entire run, a trait that SQUIER could not sustain for the rest of his career however his following album “Emotions In Motion” is the closest contender.

No doubt about it that DON’T SAY NO was SQUIER’s finest hour and one where all the stars aligned perfectly to catapult him out of obscurity into the role of hard rock’s biggest acts of the early 80s. SQUIER would sustain this momentum on his following album but would fall from grace with his 1984 release “Signs Of Life” which found a changing tide in the music industry not favoring 70s inspired acts any longer. SQUIER was a perfectionist and tested the patience of his producers which often resulted in tumultuous drama however when you listen to DON’T SAY NO you can here how all the fussing around with small details really paid off especially with the strong addictive hooks that infused every motif of the album’s ten tracks. This is one of my favorite hard rock albums from the 1980s because not only does it stand on its own not sounding like any other act of the day but is one of those albums that you can sort of put on replay and be happy with hearing it again. The album was quite successful and spent over a year on the charts. It was eventually certified triple platinum.

DEVIL DOLL The Girl Who Was... Death

Album · 1989 · Metal Related
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When thinking of one of the most eccentric frontmen in the entire history of rock music, your mind may gravitate towards Alice Cooper or Arthur Brown for their over-the-top stage performances and shock value horror rock appearances. Or perhaps the unhinged insane asylum escape antics of Jim Morrison or GG Allin. The freakishly outsider ethos of Tom Waits or Frank Zappa even? Well, the award may very go to one of the lesser known enigmas to haunt the progressive rock underground, namely Mr Doctor who bedazzled the world with his Italian-Slovenian band DEVIL DOLL. Enigmatic and mysteriously anonymous for decades, Mr Doctor only publicly revealed his legal name as Mario Panciera in 2008. With a penchant for the controversial and excessively theatrical, Mr Doctor’s eccentric behaviors included recording a debut album titled “Mark Of The Beast” in 1987 and only pressing a single copy retained by the good Dr himself which has remained utterly out of reach of his cult-based fanbase ever since.

Named after the 1964 British horror film, Mr Doctor delivered a musical experience every bit as frightening and strangely demented. Add to his unorthodox ways, the good Doctor started two totally different versions of DEVIL DOLL, one based in Venice, Italy and the other in Ljubljana, Slovenia (then Yugoslavia) however after Slovenia was invaded in 1991 the two bands were merged. And that’s not even getting to the music itself which featured Mr Doctor’s wildly articulated experimental vocal style accompanied by a strange mix of symphonic prog, modern classical, folk music, gothic rock, dark cabaret, neoclassical darkwave, heavy metal and a theatrical operatic delivery system more akin to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Phantom Of The Opera” than anything out of the rock paradigm playbook. With an abundance of instrumentation, the effect is bold, pompous and filled to the brim with sounds from guitars, keyboards, violins, bass guitar, drums and even a harp and tuba.

The band DEVIL DOLL released five of its albums from 1989 to 1996 however it has been claimed that many more were recorded and never intended for release thus adding an extra layer of bizarre eccentricity to the mix. With albums that primarily feature album long tracks that take wild rides through various musical genres, DEVIL DOLL emerged as and remains one of the most unique musical forces ever to exist. The first album available to the public, DEVIL DOLL’s debut album, THE GIRL WHO WAS… DEATH itself found an unusual way of being released. Originally pressed into 500 copies, only 150 were handed out during a live performances and then afterwards the remaining 350 LPs were set aflame. Now how’s that for erratic, eccentric and perhaps even a tidbit wildly acentric?

With a musical theme based on the television series “The Prisoner,” THE GIRL WHO WAS… DEATH traversed through an ever-changing musical rotisseries of varying themes and melodies with captivating metaphorical lyrics and of course Mr Doctor’s erratic and oft jarring vocal performances. While the running time displays 66 minutes and 6 seconds, the sole title track is in reality closer to 39 minutes followed by 25 1/2 minutes of silence and then as a hidden closing surprise, a sampling and reinterpretation of the theme song from “The Prisoner” TV series. The title track opens with a dark gloomy piano run and spectral vocalizations from The Devil Chorus and then goes full on dramatic. Histrionic build ups and militant percussive drive revs up the tension with a thundering crescendo of an introduction before Mr Doctor begins his draconian vocal gymnastics that admittedly are an acquired taste.

Sounding something like a mix of King Diamond and Current 93’s David Tibet, Mr Doctor’s vocals are unlike any other and unfortunately a roadblock for many to delve into the world of DEVIL DOLL. Musically the album features alternating mood swings that engage in accompanied piano rolls to fully fueled heavy metal bombast. The most metal leaning of the DEVIL DOLL canon, THE GIRL WHO WAS… DEATH is the loudest, heaviest and delivers the greatest contrasts but even during the metal madness moments Mr Doctor delivers bizarrely processed vocal contributions which is exactly what you would not expect. Lush orchestrations contrast greatly with prog and metal moments and church organs with creepy liturgic harmonies courtesy of the Devil Choir burst in unexpectedly. Violins come and go and well the only thing to expect here is the unexpected.

DEVIL DOLL delivered some of the most demanding genre-bending works of the late 80s and 90s and even at this stage in 2024 remains utterly unique, unapologetically idiosyncratic and timeless in its unorthodox approach to just about everything it unleashes. Despite all these wild rides into the unknown though, the music is melodically accessible and logically composed. Like a classic opera of the ages, Mr Doctor wove a tapestry of intricately designed cadences and motifs fortified by an arsenal of instrumentation and legion of musicians and vocalists to support an overarching theme. While the proclivities to take everything into the world of extremities is rampant from beginning to end, the music is composed in a traditional classical manor while the time signatures and hairpin turns and musical curveballs are more out of the progressive rock paradigm.

No doubt about it. Mr Doctor really is one of the most oddball eccentricities of the rock universe and only a single exposure to any DEVIL DOLL album will easily convince you of that argument. I’ve been a fan of this bizarre musical act after i picked up “Sacrilegium” some years back but all five of the albums are of the finest quality with this debut being no exception. Beautifully designed and deliciously even devilishly executed, THE GIRL WHO WAS… DEATH is a top notch release with a feisty spirit that delivers the most far-reaching expressions of the musical universe where a whole cauldron of influences is pieced together in a wild array of eclecticism that comes off as epic, enigmatic and utterly mind blowing. While whacked out of his mind in so many ways, the good Dr is a mad musical genius unlike any other. Sure the 25 1/2 minutes of silence is ridiculous but hardly a blemish on an otherwise perfect album.

KRALLICE Inorganic Rites

Album · 2024 · Atmospheric Black Metal
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When it comes to insane batshit crazy avant-metal both Colin Marston and Mick Barr have cranked out some of the most unusual sounds that could still be tangibly connected to the metal universe. While their main gig KRALLICE seems to have become their stabilizing tour de force where they can exercise their experimental touches within some sort of traditional framework, this duo along with Lev Weinstein and Nick McMaster have also found a seemingly infinite number of directions to take this fearless intrepid band that lies in the murky bardo world between progressive, black and death metal. While the band took some time off in the 2010s so the members could engage in other projects, the 2020s have proven to be unusually prolific with the band releasing two albums in each year of 2022 and 2023.

Either the first or only album to emerge in 2024 is INORGANIC RITES, the 15th in the long and ever-changing canon of one of extreme metal’s most outrageously original acts of the 21st century. Following in the footsteps of last years disso-death fueled “Mass Cathexis 2 - The Kinetic Infinite” and the progressive space ambient fueled metal of “Porous Resonance Abyss” i wasn’t really sure what to expect but it seems that KRALLICE has opted for another dip into the world of progressively infused extreme metal with a heavy dose of progressive electronic and space ambient sounds to bring two distinct worlds together in a lethal dose of atmospheric metallic furor. With 10 tracks at over 66 minutes playing time, this is a lengthy beast that delivers all the expected trade marks of KRALLICE, namely knotty time signature rich progressive labyrinths of swirling sounds that erupt into black metal chaos as well as the deathened black metal vocal style that projects all the angst and gloomy despair you could hope for.

This time around though there is a LOT more focus on the synthesized parts with lengthy chunks of time dedicated to non-metal electronic space journeys that evoke classic Klaus Schulze and other Berlin School pioneers. While the band has always flaunted an atmospheric presence, on INORGANIC RITES they’ve taken it to the next level with entire tracks such as the 10 minute “Universe Ancestral Talisman” embarking on an astral plane journey complete unshackled from the lambast of blastbeats, tremolo guitar aggression and black metal dissonance. Fortified with trippy space ambient intros and intricately designed synthesized compositions that seem to overlap the metal constructs, INORGANIC RITES much of the time sounds like two separate albums played simultaneously only tailor made to overlap like a custom made sports jacket that fits in all those right places.

A strange and mondo bizarro album like pretty much any KRALLICE release has to offer, INORGANIC RITES takes the band’s progressive metal tendencies into overdrive and then fortifies it all with an almost orchestrated electronic layering effect. The results are electrifying and raising the bar in the limits of atmospheric accompaniments as often they are set so high as to become the dominant force. While the earlier tracks such as the early released “Flatlines Encircled Residue” seem to over-rely on the atmospheric touches as the primary focus, later tracks like “Fatestorm Sancturary” seem to get it right and allow the guitar, bass and percussive heft to rise to the top of the mix. The labyrinthine compositional structures are a bit hard to follow but they do unfold in a logical manner as they take the complexities of classic progressive rock and adapt them to the excesses of obnoxious extreme metal.

While this is considered black metal by some, there are moments where the band sounds more like Gorguts than anything in the black metal world but the vocal styles change it up offering even more diverse elements. While i could totally see the increased emphasis on the symphonic sounding space ambience as being annoying to some, in the crowded world of extreme metal it’s actually rather refreshing to hear something so dynamically different and not to worry extreme metalheads, KRALLICE loses none of its extreme metal intensity with all those brutal riffing sessions, moments of guitar squealing run amok and of course the bantering bass and drum furor. Fifteen albums later and KRALLICE seems like it’s just warming up and INORGANIC RITES shows the band still firing on all pistons.

OU II: Frailty

Album · 2024 · Progressive Metal
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First things first. The Chinese band OU which has made quite a splash lately as a progressive metal band coming from a nation not known for its huge international metal scene is pronounced simply like the letter O in English. The band comes from the capital city of Beijing and bedazzled the world with its Sino-aesthetics that gleefully played in the turbulent world where djent-ish crunchy guitar bombast with electronically infused progressive pop commingle thus delivering an instantly accessible yet futuristic stylistic effect that made the band’s debut ONE stand out amongst the thousands of metal releases that come out in any given month these days back in 2022.

The band consists of three Chinese performers: Lynn Wu (vocals), Zhang Jing (guitar) and Chris Cui (bass) along with the American born Anthony Vanacore (drums) who now resides in the land of great walls and pandas. I had a hard time finding a place to sample the band’s debut album that came out in 2022 and sort of forgot about them that is until it was recently announced in 2024 that a sophomore release is due and now that this band has gotten established on a larger world’s stage, it seems that it has become a bit easier to keep up with thanks to the band’s association with longtime progressive metal extraordinaire Devin Townsend who shares record labels and sits in as the co-producer and mixing man as well as making a cameo on the track“ 淨化 Purge.”

Asian pop is a strange thing to behold to Western ears. While European and American female singers often come on strong with a masculinized delivery system, J-pop, K-pop and the latest Chinese version offer soft, sensual and even an innocently cuddly tenderness that has all but been lost in Western Culture. Add those twee tendencies to a raging progressive metal djent stomp storm and you have something new to behold! Lyrics in Mandarin Chinese make it even stranger as few of us of non-Chinese descent have even studied much less mastered this polar opposite of a language to anything remotely connected to European linguistics. An endless supply of multi-stroked characters and words differentiated only by tones strikes terror into our hearts knowing if we simply utter a word with the wrong intonation that it can change an innocent phrase like “Have a nice day” to “I want to have sex with your dog.”

But then again, China has been mysterious for far too long and it’s about time this most populations nation of the entire planet presents to the world at large some of its exports. Forget the avant-garde freakery for the moment and realize this is fairly commercial sounding. It’s melodic, it’s catchy, it’s cute. It’s family friendly because even if lead singer Lynn Wu is singing about hacking up a dead carcass you’d never know! 蘇醒 II: Frailty owes a lot to Townsend’s presence as he’s most famous for his production skills and wall of sound layering effects that have propelled him to the top ranks of the modern world of progressive metal. The album indeed benefits from a sleek sheen of sound that allows OU to weave its weird mix of slinking keyboard runs into the metal aspects that accompany.

While coming off as Chinese pop with a metallic edge, the progressive elements are clear and distinguished often sounding like some of those Japanese math rock girl bands without the jittery caffeinated nervousness. Offering a smoother procession through the album’s nine tracks, the knottiness results from the chord sequences, time signature deviations and oft contrapuntal weirdness that results from the vocals, keyboards and guitar parts existing in different planes of existence. Yet somehow it all comes together to craft an elegant if not unorthodox delivery system of strangely seductive progressive pop metal which never ever once finds Wu tempted into breaking into death metal growls! As alluring as an estrogen fueled siren beckoning your devoted affection, Wu casts a spell with her girlish vocal charm.

In the end this is as much a Townsend endeavor as it is one of OU. The production techniques are right out of the dreamy ambient playbook that albums like “Ghost” and “Devlab” delivered in the previous decades however the band is not without its merits. Their progressive power pop melds quite nicely with Townsend’s production excesses which gives the entire project a strange air of exoticism which is actually quite rare in the world of music these days given that we’ve been subjected to almost every culture’s traditional sounds in one way or another. In the end this one is accessible enough that the pop hooks are instantly endearing and weird enough that it scratches my itch for something quirky and out of the ordinary. Likewise the tracks all differ from one another significantly to make this album sound endearing to the very end. While the metal elements are not ubiquitous, they provide enough of a backbone to qualify as the predominant, well at least the loudest element on board.

While i missed the debut i’m quite enthralled with this sophomore album. Honestly i’ve never been the biggest Townsend fan but OU seems to keep him from overdoing too much of a good thing. The album feels well balanced and stands out like a sore thumb in the world of modern progressive metal which seems to have primarily shifted into the realms of dissonant death metal fusing with modern classical or similar extreme metal hybrids. Another entry on the resume of Heavy Devvy and one that resonates with me much more than much of his own canon where he seems to overindulge by compensating rather ordinary sounding material with overwrought bloated production values. Here we get a real band that seems to be enhanced by Townsend’s endeavors rather than being dragged down. Metal purists will hate this as the metal is demoted to an accent piece on some tracks and other like the the closing “念 Recall” feature no metallic traces at all. More enticing than Babymetal as well as more complex. Intricate and interestingly designed. OU is unlike anything i’ve heard before.

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