siLLy puPPy

MMA Special Collaborator · Prog/AG Team
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1646 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 175 3.02
2 Progressive Metal 146 3.92
3 Alternative Metal 141 2.95
4 Avant-garde Metal 114 3.95
5 Hard Rock 106 3.52
6 Black Metal 94 3.72
7 Metal Related 82 3.55
8 Technical Death Metal 69 4.00
9 Heavy Metal 67 3.78
10 Death Metal 60 3.75
11 Thrash Metal 45 3.66
12 Atmospheric Black Metal 38 3.68
13 Proto-Metal 37 4.00
14 Sludge Metal 23 3.70
15 Power Metal 22 3.86
16 Melodic Death Metal 18 3.78
17 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 17 4.09
18 Folk Metal 17 3.88
19 Death-Doom Metal 16 3.72
20 Brutal Death Metal 16 3.50
21 Hardcore Punk 16 3.41
22 Symphonic Metal 16 3.78
23 Technical Thrash Metal 16 3.81
24 NWoBHM 15 4.07
25 Glam Metal 15 3.57
26 Doom Metal 15 4.00
27 Funk Metal 13 4.08
28 Industrial Metal 13 3.62
29 Metalcore 13 3.50
30 US Power Metal 12 3.79
31 Heavy Alternative Rock 12 3.21
32 Grindcore 12 3.58
33 Depressive Black Metal 11 3.14
34 Mathcore 11 3.95
35 Deathcore 11 3.32
36 War Metal 11 3.36
37 Symphonic Black Metal 11 4.14
38 Heavy Psych 10 3.95
39 Groove Metal 9 3.39
40 Melodic Black Metal 8 4.06
41 Speed Metal 8 3.50
42 Stoner Metal 8 3.69
43 Neoclassical metal 8 3.69
44 Gothic Metal 7 3.43
45 Funeral Doom Metal 7 4.07
46 Drone Metal 6 3.58
47 Pagan Black Metal 6 3.83
48 Traditional Doom Metal 5 3.60
49 Melodic Metalcore 5 3.10
50 Goregrind 5 3.10
51 Crust Punk 4 3.38
52 Crossover Thrash 3 4.33
53 Viking Metal 3 4.00
54 Nu Metal 3 3.33
55 Stoner Rock 3 3.83
56 Rap Metal 3 3.00
57 Deathgrind 2 3.50
58 Electronicore 1 2.00
59 Cybergrind 1 3.50
60 Death 'n' Roll 1 3.50
61 Metal Related Genres 1 4.00
62 Nintendocore 1 3.50
63 Pornogrind 1 0.50
64 Trance Metal 1 1.00

Latest Albums Reviews

BUCKETHEAD Pike 303 - Castle of Franken Berry

Album · 2022 · Alternative Metal
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BUCKETHEAD’s first PIKE of 2022 has taken some inspiration from the awful sugary monster breakfast cereal that has those sickening sweet artificial strawberry flavors mixed with those foodlike substances called marshmallows. CASTLE OF FRANKEN BERRY is the 303rd PIKE installment released on the 11th of January, 2022 and features the chicken lover pulling his usual shtick of playing all the instruments.

This one clocks in at just over 27 minutes and features only two tracks. The first is the near 19-minute “Enter The Sky Walker” which features a long drawn out bluesy hard rock approach. Sounding something like an instrumental early 80s AC/DC track with more 70s hard rock blues licks added in from time to time. This is one of those repetitive by the numbers type tracks with a time length that doesn’t justify the ideas presented. Sure an atmospheric breakdown here and there but overall a lengthy instrumental jam that provides decent background music but not very interesting particularly if you’re like me and have heard every album BH has created.

The title track is much shorter at 8 minutes and 19 seconds. This one is much heavier jumping into metal territory. Faster tempos and more crushing riffs start it out but then it sort of loses a bit of steam but offers a lot more variety in the first two minutes than the tedious opener does. This one showcases a lot more of BUCKETHEAD’s riffing prowess at high speeds. There’s a thrash metal quality to the riffing styles but doesn’t really go full on thrash with the drums and bass. Come to think of it this entire PIKE is missing some of the background atmospheric touches that many recent PIKEs have employed. This one is a lot more interesting than the first track but still a little too long for what it has to offer however if you really dig these chunky riffs than why not have an extended version?

After 2021’s final PIKE which was my favorite in a long time, this one is a bit of a let down. While the second track is quite enjoyable, the first one just feels a bit underwhelming for my tastes and considering it’s 2/3 of the PIKE, the entire PIKE experience is somewhat lessened for my listening enjoyability. Fortunately nothing about this PIKE reminds me of the artificially flavored crap breakfast cereal that has been poisoning children for decades! While BUCKETHEAD proves he can continue some great riffs on his first PIKE of 2022, unfortunately he also showcases his inconsistency in quality and lack of creativity. Good album. Nothing more.

BUCKETHEAD Pike 302 - Cyborgs, Robots & More

Album · 2021 · Alternative Metal
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Something about BUCKETHEAD’s infections with robots seems to bring out the best in his musical abilities and finally after quite some time, the chicken lover has finally hatched an egg that’s interesting (at least to my ears!) Emerging from the coop on the very final hours on the last day of 2021, PIKE 302 - CYBORGS ROBOTS & MORE unleashes my favorite sounds of the entire year! Woohoo!!!!

This PIKE slinks past the 29-minute mark and in that regard not too overly different than what has been the case for years. This one features four tracks with the longest being the opening “Cyborg” which hits the 13 1/2 minute mark and features a somewhat new sound to BUCKETHEADLAND. This one has taken the world of alternatives metal and added some interesting new chops to the mix including some new atmospheric backdrops. Just when i think BH has lost all his musical mojo he proves he is still able to unleash something new and actually relevant to the world of heavy rock / metal. This is also the most progressive music BH has released in 2021 with lots of time signature changes and an expanded compositional flow. The mix is pretty spectacular as well with lots of echoes, guitar tones and an infinite supply of creative prowess. Why in the world do i have to endure a sea of mediocrity to wait for these moments of glory? Signed - pissed fan :/

“Robot” follows suit with the same strange atmospheric mix of interesting guitar distortion, keyboard backings and drum, bass and guitar action. Finally BH isn’t afraid to offer some guitar antics that allow his true genius to emerge. The syncopation of the drums with the guitar parts, bass and atmospheric keys is off the chart here! This is part metal, part psychedelic rock and part freak show! OMG two tracks in a row that really rock my world at BUCKETHEADLAND? Pinch me i must be dreaming!

Just when i think the PIKE sure has to derail like they usually do lately, “& More” actually continues my interest! Whew :D While less bold and experimental than the previous offering, it still provides a satisfying guitar based groove that utilizes both power chords and heavy licks. It works and sets itself apart from what came before!

“Woodens Warm-ups” takes the choppy guitar palm-muted effects into different territory yet. Interesting melodies, synergy of guitar, bass, drums and atmospheric keys and an unpredictable journey into a fully fueled compositional approach that isn’t predictable! OMG, can this be true? While this is my least favorite track on this PIKE it’s by no means a throwaway track. It continues the flow of what sets this PIKE apart with satisfying results.

Wow! This PIKE is exactly the reason i stick around and keep listening. Yeah, i’m not thrilled that i have to endure seas of mediocrity to get to nice gems like this one but isn’t that really what life is all about? Sure it’s more annoying in terms of music but i signed up for the review every BH album so here i am. This one is by far my favorite of 2021. Very interesting in how BH mixed the different instruments and the compositions themselves are of high quality. While not a bonafide masterpiece by any means, this is certainly one i will return to in the future. Thanks for laying this golden egg, Buck Buck!

FEN The Malediction Fields

Album · 2009 · Atmospheric Black Metal
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One of the early pioneers of what has become known as blackgaze, the London based FEN has been referred to as the English Agolloch and for great reason. Both bands develop lengthy soundscapes that evoke vast desolate terrains that are bereft of hope and fuse the world of atmospheric black metal with post-rock, acoustic guitar passages and nightmarish atmospheres although FEN while following Agolloch’s footsteps, took things into even bleaker depths of depression and without the folk elements.

Formed in 2006 and named after the Fens of East Anglia, the quartet of The Watcher [Frank Allain] (vocals, guitar), Grungyn [Adam Allain] (bass), Theutus [Daniel Spender] (drums) and Draugluin (keyboards) released the EPs “Ancient Sorrow” and “Onset of Winter” before unleashing this ferocious debut THE MALEDICTION FIELDS onto the world. Given the success of the first blackgaze band Alcest, FEN followed the stylistic approach only kept the fiery black metal aspects in tact making their debut sound like an early second wave black metal album that incorporated the world of post-rock.

The seven tracks that make up THE MALEDICTION FIELDS feature atmospheric and ambient soundscapes that alternate between depressive acoustic passages and caustic black metal outbursts and everything in between. While black metal in general is usually uptempo with blastbeats in a furious rampage, FEN opted for a mellower mid-tempo trot. The band has been called the perfect mix of Agalloch, Negura Bunget, Primordial and Burzum but of course that only gets you in the right ballpark. Like many of these bands, The Watcher’s vocals range from raspy screams to clean melodic ones.

Unlike much post-rock and -metal, FEN offers melodic song structures that simply extend the playing times with long repetitive and hypnotic extensions. The track lengths all exceed seven minutes (minus one that misses by two seconds). The song structure also adopts subtle influences from progressive rock with complex arrangements that don’t seem quite so because of the slower ratcheting up effect. Like most bands that fall into the world of blackgaze, this one sort of meanders and implements the harsh tones, timbres and distortion of black metal but basically in the music itself falls into the world of post-rock and mellow prog.

This was highly touted as the next best thing when it was released in 2009 but i can’t say i’m the hugest fan of THE MALEDICTION FIELDS. It’s definitely an interesting and unique experience but it seems lopsided in many ways. While the black metal parts are performed exquisitely, the clean vocal parts are quite weak to my ears. There’s just something that seems to be missing and i can’t quite put my finger on it. The album is also way too long with one too many sprawlers for my liking. The most unsavory parts come when the raspy black metal vocals are singing in tandem with the clean vocals. Some sort of beauty and the beast take that falls flat. Innovative for sure but pleasant to listen to over the long run? Not really. This is definitely one of those albums that once the wow factor wears off it becomes quite average.


Album · 1996 · Black Metal
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BORKNAGAR started as a project once Norwegian guitarist Øystein Brun grew tired of the 90s world of death metal when he was in the band Molested. Having been surrounded by the explosive world of second wave black metal that was taking Norway by storm in the1990s, Brun desired to create a more progressive form of the style by mixing traditional second wave black metal sounds with the newly created Viking metal from Bathory along with Scandinavian folk music and progressive rock.

Brun’s vision was so persuasive that he successfully recruited a cast of underground superstars which included Roger TIegs aka Infernus (bass) of Gorgoroth, Erik Brødreskift (drums) of Immortal and Gorgoroth, Ivar Bjørnson (keyboards) of Enslaved and Kristoffer Rygg aka Garm (vocals) who sang in Ulver, Head Control System and Arcturus. This dream cast was so impressive that the BORKNAGAR project was able to by-pass the demo process by scoring a record contract on Malicious Records solely based on the lineup and the newly formed band quickly recorded and released this self-titled debut in 1996.

Brun’s desire to expand the boundaries of the second wave black metal that had launched the scene onto the world’s stage came at the right time when the limitations of the traditional ways were presenting themselves however black metal has proven to be a very adaptive beast with early bands like BORKNAGAR showcasing its adaptability and resilience. Having been put off by the relentless brutality of his death metal involvement in Molested, Brun was more interested in integrating melodic expressions in conjunct with the ferociousness of black metal but also added the pagan folk infused aspects of Viking metal along with the more adventures themes of progressive rock.

BORKNAGAR’s eponymous debut differs from the band’s many albums that came after in a few ways. Firstly this was the only album to be performed exclusively in the Norwegian language and the only album to feature Infernus as the bassist. The album is also the closest to the second wave black metal with caustic second wave black metal alternating with non-metal segments which feature ominous piano rolls, acoustic guitars and dark ambient atmospheres. While the band would develop the folk and progressive aspects much further on the second album “The Olden Domain,” on this debut they still make their presence with folk infused musical scales providing the melodic infrastructure as well as progressive time signature deviations and unconventional song structures taking unexpected turns.

While the black metal aspects are very much in the vein of Darkthrone, Immortal, Gorgoroth and other no nonsense black metal bands bent on burning down as many churches as humanly possible, the seasoned playing skills of the musicians allow the tracks to be quite difference in how the instrumental interplay unfolds. Bass lines, guitar riffs, drumming styles and keyboard runs exude a firm sense of creative control while offering a sense of fearless improvisation in variations. The balance between sheer brutality and the sensually melodic is achieved and sounding seemingly effortless. The contrast between the dissonance of the buzzsaw guitars and frenetic raspy screams with the beautiful melodies and pacifying atmospheres is uncanny. Even some clean vocals can be heard.

Overall BORKNAGAR’s debut may not be representative of the band’s classic sound that followed but showcased the true power of a supergroup and its potential. Some 25 years on after its initial release, nothing on this album may sound revolutionary but during its time it was a true innovator which pioneered the world of progressive black metal that would allow bands like Enslaved to take black metal into the 21st century. Even without such plaudits, BORKNAGAR’s debut is a true powerhouse of inventive black metal that exploits brutality and sensuality in tandem to unthinkable resolution.

As far as i’m aware this may have been one of the first albums to demonstrate as well how comfortably frenzied second wave black metal with its angsty raspy screams could coexist with the more chilled clean vocal mood swings of Bathory styled Viking metal. Any way you slice it, this one is a satisfying amalgamation of the entire black metal menu of variations up to this point and one that more than stands the test of time sounding as creative a quarter of a century after its release as when it must have during its own time. As the least progressive of BORKNAGAR’s canon, this is also the most easily accessible to newbie ears and the obvious entry point for any curious ears wanting to explore this unique band’s eccentricities.

ULVER Scary Muzak

Album · 2021 · Non-Metal
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ULVER continues to be Norway’s greatest shapeshifters having released material that is as diverse as black metal, dark folk and progressive avant-garde post industrial metal to ambient electronic and even synthpop. Well here’s another one for the resume. Released on Halloween of 2021, ULVER has unleashed its first horror synth album that mixes progressive electronic and synthwave to celebrate the holiday cheer. Creepy and suspenseful and filled with dark ominous tones and timbres, SCARY MUZAK is definitely not where anybody could’ve predicted this band would go!

This album is more than just scary music for the Halloween holiday’s sake but is a reinterpretation of John Carpenter’s soundtrack music for the film. To be more accurate, SCARY MUZAK features five covers of classic soundtrack works of JC with the remaining seven tracks originals inspired by those pieces and put into the context of scary synthesizer sounds. Somewhat in the vein of Buckethead’s countdown to Halloween marathon in 2015 but sounding more like the scary soundtrack music of the Italian proggers Goblin except ULVER jettisons all rock aspects altogether.

ULVER has had a somewhat fluid lineup over its 30 years of history. This album features the quartet of Ole Alexander Halstensgård (electronics), Kristoffer Rygg (percussion), Tore Ylwizaker (synthesizer) and Stian Westerhus (guitar) although i can’t say i hear much guitar taking place so i guess that they are probably processed beyond recognition. The music while mostly electronically based on synthesizers flows a lot like a classical music score with tones and timbres gliding in and out of aural range along with drones, electronic drumbeats, oscillations, pitch slides and other cool electronic accoutrements.

The gist is a beefy bass groove, some strange upper range weirdness and a scary treble keyboard riff which is what sounds the most like the world of Goblin. The percussive drive is varied with some moments feeling tribal and others feeling a bit robotic. The tracks are fairly short and to the point with none exceeding the five minute mark. The album while not a soundtrack score per se certainly does evoke the sense of being one and it’s not unfathomable that these tracks would somehow be used in that manner.

While certainly amusing and well executed, the problem with this album is that it does not really convey the scariness of the Halloween holiday however even if the whole point was to emulate the Halloween film’s soundtrack, it all seems a bit pointless as the album sounds as if it exists in the world of the Italian film soundtrack powerhouse Goblin. In other words ULVER hasn’t found its own niche in crafting this sort of musical mosaic and therefore it sounds rather derivative of the Goblin universe with a particular feel of “Suspiria.” Not bad but not exactly what scratches my itch if i have the urge to check out this style of synthesized electronica. What’s next ULVER? Marching band renditions of classic ABBA songs? Why the hell not?!!!

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