siLLy puPPy

MMA Special Collaborator · Prog/AG Team
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Favorite Metal Artists

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1266 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 160 2.98
2 Alternative Metal 122 2.95
3 Progressive Metal 107 3.98
4 Hard Rock 90 3.50
5 Avant-garde Metal 86 3.97
6 Black Metal 71 3.67
7 Metal Related 66 3.50
8 Heavy Metal 58 3.79
9 Technical Death Metal 50 4.00
10 Death Metal 36 3.83
11 Proto-Metal 34 4.00
12 Thrash Metal 33 3.58
13 Atmospheric Black Metal 25 3.74
14 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 17 4.09
15 Power Metal 17 3.82
16 Folk Metal 16 3.91
17 Glam Metal 14 3.61
18 Technical Thrash Metal 14 3.79
19 Sludge Metal 14 3.79
20 NWoBHM 13 4.15
21 Industrial Metal 13 3.81
22 Death-Doom Metal 13 3.77
23 Funk Metal 12 4.17
24 Brutal Death Metal 11 3.59
25 Grindcore 10 3.60
26 Hardcore Punk 10 3.55
27 Symphonic Black Metal 10 4.20
28 Doom Metal 9 4.11
29 Groove Metal 8 3.44
30 Metalcore 8 3.75
31 Neoclassical metal 8 3.69
32 US Power Metal 8 3.63
33 War Metal 7 3.86
34 Stoner Metal 7 3.86
35 Mathcore 7 3.93
36 Melodic Black Metal 7 4.07
37 Speed Metal 6 3.42
38 Gothic Metal 6 3.67
39 Drone Metal 5 3.50
40 Deathcore 5 3.30
41 Depressive Black Metal 4 3.75
42 Funeral Doom Metal 4 4.00
43 Melodic Death Metal 4 4.00
44 Heavy Alternative Rock 4 3.50
45 Symphonic Metal 4 4.13
46 Traditional Doom Metal 4 3.50
47 Pagan Black Metal 3 4.17
48 Nu Metal 3 3.33
49 Heavy Psych 3 4.33
50 Goregrind 3 3.00
51 Crossover Thrash 2 4.75
52 Crust Punk 2 2.75
53 Stoner Rock 2 4.25
54 Pornogrind 1 0.50
55 Rap Metal 1 1.00
56 Trance Metal 1 1.00
57 Viking Metal 1 4.50
58 Cybergrind 1 3.50
59 Death 'n' Roll 1 3.50
60 Deathgrind 1 3.00
61 Electronicore 1 2.00
62 Melodic Metalcore 1 4.00
63 Nintendocore 1 3.50
64 Metal Related Genres 1 4.00

Latest Albums Reviews

HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE The Bastard: A Tale Told in Three Acts

Album · 2001 · Progressive Metal
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The progressive metal band HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE actually got its start way back in mid-90s San Francisco under the name Unholy Cadaver which consisted of only guitarist John Corbett and drummer Chewy Marzolo who also shared vocals. The project then took on new life as new musicians joined the ranks. The first was Mike Scalzi better known as the vocalist / guitarist of another legendary San Francisco band, The Lord Weird Slough Feg. The trio practiced and recorded a lot of demo material, none of which would end up on the future projects of HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE, a name that was adopted in the year 2000 from one of the track titles. While the demo material would be scrapped and later released in 2011 as an archival release under the moniker Unholy Cadaver, as HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE, the trio welcomed bassist and vocalist Janis Tanaka to the club and set out to record a new more interesting progressive form of metal.

The band’s first album THE BASTARD (often with a the subtitle “A Tale Told In Three Acts”) was quite the undertaking and an adventurous journey in the form of a metal opera that takes place in three acts much like a Shakespearean play or some other epic tale that requires an expansive narrative to convey, however THE BASTARD was not released as some ridiculous sprawling three disc set or anything of the sort. The band had the good sense to keep this an album’s length and at a normal playing time of 46 minutes, it hits all the high notes without a lot of fluff which makes this a pretty decent start for this eclectic band that would change its sound dramatically on each album throughout its career. It’s worth noting that despite the excellent production that graces THE BASTARD, this entire album was simply recorded in a rehearsal studio on an 8-track analog machine in San Francisco from July 1999 to February 2000. The album itself didn’t emerge until 2001 but got rave reviews from the metal world and put HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE on the metal radar right from the start.

While considered a progressive metal album, this isn’t the kind of stuff Dream Theater or Symphony X were cranking out. THE BASTARD was an unholy union of traditional 80s heavy metal along with what sounds like medieval English folk music however the band does manage to tease in more progressive elements and extended proggy fills. Upon first listen i was wondering why the singer sounded so familiar as did some of the guitar riffs and then it became clear that it was because of the Scalzi connection as the Slough Feg sound is strewn throughout the album’s run. Basically what THE BASTARD excels in as the narrative unfolds is basically alternate between beefy metal guitar riffs, beefy bass chops and stellar drumming narrative with the male vocals and then follows with the contrast of more light and airy folk sounds with the female vocal charm of Janis Tanaka who also plays some pretty tight bass. The connecting tissue that binds the two disparate styles is where the progressive runs tend to gravitate along with an occasional solo. At times the metal drifts into power metal territory and also an occasional black metal moment.

The album consists of three acts and fourteen tracks but for the most part the tracks run together and it’s impossible to distinguish them from each other as the melodies simply carry over and the song sort of drifts into a new one as the storyline proceeds. Exceptions occur when abrupt changes such as the bombastic metal heft of “Tyrant Dies” completely ends and the gleeful mandolin folk cheer of “The Witch’s Dance” follows. The continuity is really quite well laid out as the tracks capture all the essence of a rock your socks off heavy metal album but also cools off with exquisitely sublime moments of medieval folk music as if you left the metal concert and walked into the Renaissance fair. The brevity of the tracks is the album’s greatest strength as THE BASTARD never lags in overblown pompous cycles that many rock opera’s suffer from. Only the grande finale “Sacrifice The End” has a lengthy playing time near nine minutes and as a result is the most progressive with many differing movements, tones, timbres and elements of surprise.

Everything about this album works quite well actually. The musicianship is outstanding. The cleverly crafted compositions are all interesting by both keeping a unified feel of the entire album yet adding different elements to give each track its own personality. The contrasting vocal styles of Tanaka and Scalzi are perfectly matched and the progressive elements are tastefully woven into the big picture instead of simply adding proggy workouts for their own sake. Best of all this is metal that you can bang your head to. The metal is the real deal but the down time is quite welcome and beautifully performed. The band mastered both the metal and folk aspects perfectly and yet somehow found a perfect way to meld it altogether and craft a concept album that runs as tightly as some classical score from the distant past. Add to that the fiery passion of all the performers and this one is a true winner and perhaps my favorite HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE album of all as this one has most energetic deliveries. This was a surprise coming to this after the more famous albums that follow but i love this one a lot better. There are no weaknesses on this at all.


Album · 1982 · Traditional Doom Metal
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Before metal was even a decade old the heavier sibling of rock was already shifting gears away from the dark dreary doom metal of Black Sabbath and amping up the sounds of the more operatic and melodic constructs of Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple into what would be called the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM). Despite the trend which found bands like Iron Maiden, Angel Witch, Saxon and Def Leppard bringing metal to ever larger audiences, a few bands refused to join the new game in town and looked back to metal’s earliest origins that took the more occult route laced with the slower doom metal riffs.

WITCHFINDER GENERAL was among only a handful of bands which included Sorcery, Pentagram and Death SS which continued the occult themes along with the slower doom metal riffs that would basically launch the subgenre of metal into its own in the 80s alongside the NWOBHM. This band got its start in Stourbridge, England alongside other NWOBHM but stood apart with its horror themes which matched its moniker which came from the 1968 British film of the same name. The band was founded in 1979 by Zeeb Parkes and Phil Cope and although considered a part of the NWOBHM, owed more to early Black Sabbath for its heavy doom riffing and Ozzy Osbourne styled vocal phrasings however the band did implement some of the faster riffing practices of the early 80s.

DEATH PENALTY was the band’s debut and immediately caught attention for the racy cover art which featured a topless model in a yard of a church which sparked outrage and criticism. Along with Parkes (vocals) and Cope (guitar, bass), the band was only a trio with Graham Ditchfield sitting in as drummer. DEATH PENALTY was in effect one of the earliest album’s that took on the full-fledged Sabbath worship since although Pentagram had formed as early as 1973 didn’t release a full-length album until 1985 making WITCHFINDER GENERAL one of the most influential of the second wave of doom metal as the guitar riffs evoked Iommi inspired Sabbathry with nods to classic tracks like “Paranoid” and others.

Perhaps what makes DEATH PENALTY stand apart from other early traditional doom metal albums is that it did mix in a bit of Judas Priest styled riffing as heard in “No Stayer” which sounded like a veritable hybrid of early Priest mixed with Sabbath. There are also much more traditional hard rock blues and overall the album feels like it was created around the 1975 timeline rather than the year 1982 when it was released. DEATH PENALTY is a strong album of doomy NWOBHM inspired retro songs that finds the perfect balance between raw occult fueled sounds and the more operatic rampaging speed metal that was coming of age. While not as evil sounding as early Venom or Celtic Frost, WITCHFINDER GENERAL revived a style of doom metal that some would call witch metal that would be influential for bands like St Vitus of the same decade as well as later bands like Blood Ceremony. All in all a really compelling early slice of doom metal with some NWOBHM influences on board.

SECRET CHIEFS 3 The Book Beri'ah Vol. 10: Malkhut

Album · 2019 · Non-Metal
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Trey Spruance launched his then side project SECRET CHIEFS 3 all the way back in 1995 in the midst of the Mr Bungle years and has continued to steer this unique collective of musicians into exciting new arenas that have contributed to the evolution of this band’s sound into a veritable smorgasbord effect that is so pure and refined that SC3 sounds as if it resonates from a long lost tradition that has found its way into the modern world at the time of some sort of spiritual awakening. Having long ago mastered the exquisite alchemy of disparate genres such as surf rock, Persian traditional, Arab folk music, Indian classical, death metal, electronica and spaghetti western styled soundtrack music, the SC3 culminated its sound on 2004’s “Book of Horizons” before Spruance announced that the SC3 was actually seven satellite bands named Electromagnetic Azoth, UR, Ishraqiyun, Traditionalists, Holy Vehm, FORMS, and NT Fan.

Before SC3 jumped into the satellite band procession, the project joined ranks with none other than John Zorn as they performed compositions from Zorn’s second Masada book, “The Book of Angels” with song titles representing characters from Jewish and Christian mythology and an introduction into a new genre into the world of SC3, that being klezmer. After what seemed like a one off, SC3 released three more albums under the guise of the satellite bands that ended with 2014’s “Perichoresis” and then the band fell silent for several years with nothing to offer those who have become addictive to this unique band’s sophisticated style of musical amalgamation of tones, timbres, tempos and magnificent genre blending mashups. While seemingly dropping off the face of the Earth, SC3 were in fact working hard on the next Zorn collaboration in the form of an entire album that appeared on the 11-album installation of Zorn’s “Masada Book Three - The Book Beri’ah” which found the band in company with Sofia Rei & JC Maillard, Cleric, Spike Orchestra, Julian Lage / Gyan Riley, Abraxas, Klezmerson, Gnostic Trio, Zion80, Banquet of the Spirits, Craig Taborn and Vadim Neselovskyi.

The whopping 11-album set was released on 9 March 2018 as album #10 of the massive collaborative effort and although officially a part of the SC3 canon, was unavailable for any sort of listening pleasure outside of plopping down a small fortune to obtain the entire box set of music, which is probably not a bad thing have you, but i have not been willing to take the plunge so despite SC3 ranking high on my favorite bands list i just had to wait it out and see if someday perhaps they would release it as an individual album. Well 18 October 2019 was that day and THE BOOK OF BERI’AH VOL 10 - MALKHUT was finally released and as the album cover art of the sefirot which represents the concepts from the Jewish esoteric knowledge of the Kabbalah, SC3 emerge from its slumber only to add weave Jewish sounds to its already eclectic musical palette without sacrificing any of the sounds that came before except for perhaps the lesser sounds of the more extreme metal sounds found on earlier albums. As far as i am aware, SC3 is one of the few bands to successfully find a truce between Arabic folk music and Jewish traditional klezmer and make it sound as natural as an organic centuries long musical style.

For this album, SECRET CHIEFS 3 consists of Trey Spruance (guitars, clavinet, kinnor, analog synth pads, theater organ, extra percussion, nevel, glockenspiel, sound fx), Eyvind Kang (violin, viola), Ches Smith (congas, vibes, shakers, dumbek), Matt Lebofsky (piano, elec. piano, hammond and farfisa organ, moog), Kenny Grohowski (drums), Shanir Blumenkranz (bass), Jason Schimmel (guitar) and Ryan Parrish (kaval) who weave an intricate display of progressive fusion sounds that clearly reside in the SC3 universe and the band continues the ever growing complexities that have continued to evolve ever so slightly on every album since the debut “First Grand Constitution and Bylaws” all the way back in 1996. So in that respect, one can pretty much expect a continuation form 2014’s “Ishaqiyun” only with the addition of klezmer and Jewish traditional sounds tucked into the mix albeit with a retro review of earlier SC3 albums.

As always, SC3 scores in finding the perfect balance between timeless intricate melodies and tight knit grooves with bursts of progressive angularities and heavy rock bombast but for the most part the band wends and winds through an intricate fusion of Arabic and Jewish traditional sounds although the surf rock, electronica and other sounds are still present although providing a subordinate role. There are plenty of those parallel riffs that harken to previous albums but teased out into new directions. The album is perhaps the most traditional sounding from the band’s pre-satellite band days with those precise keyboard stabs punctuated by Middle Eastern grooves, tasty guitar workouts, electronic atmospheres all dressed up in an epic spaghetti western soundtrack grandiosity. For those who are true fans of the SC3 and have been with them since the beginning, this will be a nice overview of the band’s entire existence without too much new thrown in save the scant progressive rock anomalies such as the Goblin sounding keyboards of “Chitzonuyut” and the heavier emphasis on Jewish themes and rhythms.

Once again the SECRET CHIEFS 3 project has generated a mesmerizing or should i say “klezmerizing” musical score that evokes an epic traditional musical style of some esoteric mystery school tribe that dropped out of the world and continued underground for millennia before finally bringing its unique musical mysteries to the world’s consciousness. This album like almost every other is flawlessly designed and will delight SC3 fans for its attention to detail, addictive melodic and rhythmic flow and transcendental evocations. The band shows no sign of decline and musically speaking has never sounded better. Perhaps if i had any gripe about MALKHUT is that it is not daring enough in its explorative nature. It seems to simmer peacefully in a safe zone that never adds any startling detours such as the band’s earlier explorations into death metal and more extreme musical styles but given this was designed to work as a part of a much larger musical whole, it probably needed to exist in harmony with the intent of Zorn’s musical vision amongst friends who also contributed entire album’s worth of material. I have to say, very rarely do i hear music this good and SC3’s amazing consistency is exactly why they reside in my top 10 bands of all time.

ВОЙ Кругами вечности

EP · 1991 · Funeral Doom Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
The Soviet Union was an impenetrable fortress of sort that covered a staggering portion of the entire landmass of planet Earth and remained a bastion of state controlled everything where Western influences were repelled like mosquitoes in a DEET factory. Despite the strict censors and gatekeepers suppressing the thoughts and actions of the populace, tenacious souls managed to smuggle in music and other forbidden paraphernalia that would thrive in the underground. In the world of heavy metal, despite bands like Iron Maiden being outside the reach of hungry metalheads wanting to join the world party, bands like Aria picked up the slack by creating homegrown versions.

When the USSR collapsed in 1991 under the pressures and onslaughts of western interference, suddenly an entire universe of music flooded into a deprived culture and literally changed the entire scene in a blink of an eye. Extreme metal was one of these forbidden fruits to rampage into the hearts and minds of the youth and suddenly new paradigms were sprouting all throughout the lands from the Baltic states of Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia all the way to the western port city of Vladivostok, however the larger cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg (then Leningrad) were the quickest to adopt the new world ways.

One of the earliest bands to jump on the bandwagon was вой (Voj) which means “howl” in Russian. This band sprouted up around 1991 when Russia became a new nation and eschewed the 80s heavy metal scene and instead adopted a darker, gloomier sound most like influenced by Swiss band Samuel who played in Moscow shortly before the political collapse of the USSR. Having had these darker sounds gestate, this trio introduced a newly independent nation long deprived of the metal underground to a completely new unthinkable monstrous vision of what music could sound like. The band only ever released one demo called кругами вечности (Circles of Eternity) which contained five tracks and just ran past the 33 minute mark.

Interesting enough, вой could possible be the first example of funeral doom metal with its snail-paced viscous riffs that prognosticated the gloomy Chinese water torture stroll of sound that future bands like Esoteric would develop into a bona fide subgenre of the metal universe. In the timeline of 1991, three bands actually emerged independently to forge this new sound. One was the Moscow based вой, the other the Swiss band Mordor and the other was the Finnish band Thergothon. Due to the fact that all the releases from these bands were demos, it’s hard to tell which came first but it’s almost certain that in these days before the internet that one can conclude that each can to the same outcome independently in what is called convergent evolution.

While innovative for the time, вой crafted a rather primitive crude example of funeral doom metal that doesn’t hold up well by modern day standards. Granted this was a mere demo eventually released as an EP and an interesting example of a popular style of music in its birth pangs but the five tracks are fairly monotonous plodding glacial examples of doom metal slowed down to the speed of fingernails growing that implement long distorted guitar chords sustained to eternity along with bass, drums and growly demonic vocals in the Russian language. This surely must have been quite shocking at the time and in the place but sounds rather tame two centuries into the 21st century. Credit given where it’s due though. These guys were innovators and although it’s doubtful the bigwigs of funeral doom ever heard this EP at the time, it’s interesting how these things develop. While not essential, this is an interesting early slice of funeral doom metal that will interest music buffs who like historical contexts.

BLOTTED SCIENCE The Machinations of Dementia

Album · 2007 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Technical metal jam sessions are a dime a dozen at this time in the 21st century with countless examples of instrumental wankery showcasing the virtuosic abilities of the musician’s involved like an Olympic training session in the hope of winning a gold medal however without a lead vocalist to offer some kind of emotional connection to the extreme freneticism that can result, many of these bands tend to forget that someone else out there is supposed to be listening to what their crafting and much of it seems to exist in a self-made bubble. Luckily that isn’t always the case.

Once in a while a team of seasoned masters congregate to create bona fide craftsmanship and artisan amperage which results in a ridiculous fun listen although the music churns out some of the most demanding technical passages allowed by law. BLOTTED SCIENCE was a short lived act but in its short existence cranked out one killer full length album followed by another shorter length EP. This trio was formed in San Antonio, TX by Watchtower and Spastic Ink shredder Ron Jarzombek, one of modern metal’s most innovative guitar masters who helped push progressive metal into the limelight with Watchtower’s 1989 extravaganza “Control And Resistance” as well as going on to play with Gordian Knot and Spastic Ink amongst others.

In order to make this a band album and not just a guitar demo for the next tech death metal band, Jarzombek solicited the help of two other seasoned instrument abusers to bring BLOTTED SCIENCE into existence. Cannibal Corpse bassist Alex Webster fit in perfectly and after Hate Eternal’s Derek Roddy and Lamb of God’s Chris Adler opted out, the slot of drum skin abuser in chief was handed to Charlie Zeleny of Behold…. The Arctopus. With a trio of music mangling maniacs in tandem, it was guaranteed that this would be a wild ride and on the sole full-length album THE MACHINATIONS OF DEMENTIA, the listener is guaranteed to enter a frenetic time signature rich tech extreme metal with an incessant flow of angular rhythms, staccato stop / start outbursts whizzing by at faster than the speed of light tempos.

While many instrumental tech albums are steeped in neoclassical riff attacks, THE MACHINATIONS OF DEMENTIA succeeds in its varied structures that are based on the jittery complexities of jazz underpinnings while dressed up in ridiculously fast guitar rampage of thrash, death and progressive metal riff attacks while the bass and drumming antics exist in their own independent realities but are dialed into create a uniform symbiotic effect. While similar to bands like Animals As Leaders and Liquid Tension Experiment, BLOTTED SCIENCE mastered the art of keeping the tracks engaging with accessible hooks and unexpected twists and turns that manage to remain innovative throughout the album’s run however at a near hour of playing time, it does become enervating to absorb such frenetic wankery.

A classic in the world of jazz-fusion meets tech metal, THE MACHINATIONS OF DEMENTIA remains a favorite for those who love prog induced high octane metal that doesn’t wimp out for one moment despite incorporating softer passages that break the monotony of the one-dimensionality that instrumental tech metal can often offer. BLOTTED SCIENCE dished out an amazing delivery of tracks on this one. Jazz metal tracks laced with math rock, progressive rock and hints of death, thrash and even classical elements, MACHINATIONS is a stellar release worthy of the high praise it has received over the years and stands the test of time that it has so far been released and a much more engaging instrumental experience than many similar albums of its ilk. Perhaps not quite the masterpiece it’s made out to be, it’s nonetheless an excellent example of three top tier performers working in tandem to create a behemoth of bountiful bombast.

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