siLLy puPPy

MMA Special Collaborator · Prog/AG Team
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1608 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 171 3.02
2 Progressive Metal 140 3.92
3 Alternative Metal 137 2.95
4 Avant-garde Metal 109 3.97
5 Hard Rock 103 3.54
6 Black Metal 93 3.72
7 Metal Related 81 3.55
8 Heavy Metal 66 3.78
9 Technical Death Metal 65 4.00
10 Death Metal 60 3.75
11 Thrash Metal 45 3.66
12 Proto-Metal 37 4.00
13 Atmospheric Black Metal 35 3.67
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 Grindcore 12 3.58
30 Metalcore 12 3.46
31 Symphonic Black Metal 11 4.14
32 US Power Metal 11 3.77
33 Heavy Alternative Rock 11 3.23
34 Depressive Black Metal 11 3.14
35 Deathcore 11 3.32
36 Mathcore 10 3.95
37 Heavy Psych 10 3.95
38 War Metal 10 3.45
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 Pagan Black Metal 6 3.83
47 Traditional Doom Metal 5 3.60
48 Drone Metal 5 3.50
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


Album · 1995 · Heavy Metal
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The 90s were a brutal time for established metal acts with almost all of them suffering a significant decline in popularity. It was both pathetic and amusing to see the most regal kings of the 1980s stumbling around like blind men as the alternative 90s swept away everything that the 80s had excelled at. While a few bands like Metallica adapted with some commercial success, most of the giants of the past were floundering about like fish out of water and so too was the case for one of the greatest of them all, IRON MAIDEN.

When asked which era is one’s favorite in the mighty MAIDEN history books, absolutely nobody will point to the Blaze Bayley years as their highlight. After an incredibly successful decade with one amazing album after another and incessant touring that no mere mortal could sustain, by the time IRON MAIDEN reached the eight album “No Prayer For The Dying,” it was beginning to be obvious that the band was burning out a bit and although that album had some excellent tracks on board, the album itself was much weaker than anything that came before. While “Fear of the Dark” was a bit of a step up, it too failed to reach the sheer perfection of the 80s output.

Frustrated and exhausted, guitarist Adrian Smith left all the way back before the “No Prayer For The Dying” album. He saw the writing on the wall and the next to depart was lead singer Bruce Dickinson who left after the “Fear of the Dark” tour in order to embark on a solo career. With such impossible boots to fill, Steve Harris was forced between breaking up the band or finding a replacement. After an incredible amount of searching the new singer was former Wolfbane vocalist Blaze Bayley who appeared on what many have deemed (including myself), the nadir of IRON MAIDEN’s otherwise stellar career. Yep, the 90s were not kind.

THE X-FACTOR was the first of two albums to feature Bayley behind the mic and appeared in 1995, three years after “Fear of the Dark.” The album was a departure in many ways. Longtime producer Martin Birch retired and left another void in the band’s status quo as well as the album cover art being the first not created by Derek Riggs. The band’s darkest days were reflected by the darker cover art and subject matter that was partially inspired by Steve Harris going through a divorce as well as an established 80s band suddenly losing its way in the alternative 90s wilderness.

THE X-FACTOR was released to lukewarm response and for great reason. The band simply was unable to adapt to the 90s and clung on to many of the aspects that made MAIDEN such an excellent 80s arena metal band. Only a few problems with that approach. First of all Bayley’s vocal style doesn’t quite have the range required to bring out the best of IRON MAIDEN’s musical approach and secondly the music which is excellent, heavily borrows from the “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” playbook and THAT was just not cool in the year 1995 when Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots were dominating the heavy metal world. It also didn’t help the band that more extreme forms of metal like death metal, black metal and doom metal were making MAIDEN sound a bit outdated.

This 10th album by IRON MAIDEN is somewhat of a mixed blessing. The band said that one of the singers they auditioned sounded shockingly identical to Bruce Dickinson but they wanted to find a different styled singer. Bad choice. MAIDEN sort of paralleled Judas Priest not only as the metal gods of the 1980s but also in the fact that both bands lost their lead singers about the same time and decided to replace them. While MAIDEN was a superior band in consistency, Priest actually made a better decision once they added The Ripper as their top screamer. Priest got the memo and learned how to adapt the music to the singer whereas MAIDEN simply added a singer and went back to the coffers to pad the music with ideas already presented.

Musically THE X-FACTOR is actually really, really good with the best tracks presented on the first half of the album and some weaker ones providing filler on the second half. Another problem with this album is that it is WAY too long and at almost 71 minutes could have been trimmed down by about 20 minutes. The opening “Sign of the Cross” is a powerhouse and by far the best track on the album with creepy keyboards and Gregorian chants ushering in a very progressive track that features dark lyrics and some of the most interesting instrumental workouts since “Seventh Son.”

The single “Lord Of The Flies” provided the catchy single but once again Bayley lacked the vocal dexterity and larger than life charisma that Dickinson exuded in abundance. Despite the weak vocal performances, musically this is an excellent album but due to the lack of a top dog like Dickinson at the helm feels woefully unbalanced due to MAIDEN’s failure to adapt the music to the singer’s ability. The fact that Harris dropped Paul Di’Anno due to his inability to keep up with the band makes it all the more surprising that this didn’t turn out so well. The rest of the album musically speaking is like the sequel to “Seventh Son” with keyboards provided by guest musician Michael Kenney adding eerie atmospheric backdrops to Harris’ idiosyncratic bass playing and the twin guitar harmonies of Dave Murray and Janick Gers.

For the seasoned MAIDEN fan, you will hear snippets of past ideas ranging from the intro of “Children of the Damned” providing a recycled riff on “Look For The Truth” and many other examples of MAIDEN mining their past however the band also offers some interesting new ideas to their roster such as the bizarre guitar riffs on “Judgement of Heaven” which sounds somewhat familiar but slightly different. The album is certainly not a waste of time on the music side of the equation and if this one happened to be rerecorded with Dickinson i would dare to say that this would be an excellent album and a major return to form. However as it is the incongruent nature of Bayley’s vocals not strong enough for MAIDEN material brings this down a lot.

Basically this album has 4 star music and 2 star vocals but it wasn’t really Bayley’s fault. His style just wasn’t compatible with this demanding music that needed an operatic singer to bring it to full life. What i would like to see happen is this album to be rerecorded with maybe a bunch of guest singers who could hit the higher notes. I rarely listen to this one due to the frustration of wanting Bayley to step up to the plate but alas it never happens! Any true MAIDEN will want this in their collection despite its flaws. It’s not unlistenable and is by far a better album than the absolutely awful “Virtual XI” that followed. All i can think of when i listen to this one is “Where was Ronnie James Dio when we needed him?” HA, if only :D

JANE'S ADDICTION Nothing's Shocking

Album · 1988 · Heavy Alternative Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
While the glam metal scene was dominating the 1980s with cheesy videos that exhibited gorgeous female models shakin’ their shit and grown men in spandex and with ridiculous quantities of hairspray, the dregs of society were conjuring up their own musical revolution in the underground like rats plotting an invasion in the sewers of any major city. While the mainstream music scene was all about the glitz and glamor, the culmination of underground scenes like no wave, post-punk and alternative rock were slowly but surely gaining traction and as the glam metal shtick had started to become stale by the end of the 80s with too many Bon Jovi videos to count, a few bands were starting to rise from the bowels of the music industry until the alternative rock scene finally completely took over in the early 1990s.

While Nirvana’s “Nevermind” was pretty much the firing squad that dethroned everything 80s and ushered in the alternative 90s, one band in particular was instrumental in bridging the gap between the underground and mainstream success. That band was JANE’S ADDICTION who like its glam metal counterparts was forged in the Los Angeles scene but took a very different route. Named after lead singer Perry Farrell’s ex-housemate Jane Bainter’s fondness of heroin, JANE’S ADDICTION exuded a gritty underground style that found them living the very part as the dregs of society while they captured the essence of the experience in musical compositions. The band actually debuted in 1987 with its self-titled live release but was virtually ignored by the public although it caught the attention of Warner Brothers which saw the changing tides of musical tastes and offered them a record contract.

JANE’S ADDICTION’s first studio album NOTHING’S SHOCKING came out in 1988 when glam metal was still dominating the MTV scene and although the album didn’t quite pierce the armor of the hairspray army, the bizarre album cover art of two naked conjoined twins with their heads on fire generated enough interest as to exactly what in the world was this music all about. Once MTV banned the first single “The Mountain Song” for featuring nudity in its video, the band began to garner the reputation as fierce and utterly unapologetic in its unorthodox methodologies and uncompromising rebellious behaviors. The band’s short shelf life was also the result of lead singer Perry Farrell’s inflated ego and erratic behavior including demanding 50% of the royalties as the lyricist. The rift between the members was sown from the beginning but oddly enough added a strange tension on the recordings.

NOTHING’S SHOCKING sounded like nothing else. With an energetic drive somewhere between hard rock and heavy metal, the band incorporated alternative rock, psychedelic rock and funk into its mix with an early grunge style that added heavy metal guitar soloing and creepy oft morbid subject matter. The album was intelligently designed as producer Dave Jerden scouted out the band’s material and placed the targeted tracks in a particular order which laid out a strange yet logical procession of musical motifs that ranged from the hypnotically groovy to pungently caustic and in your face. The opening “Up The Beach” set the tone of the album with a sense of impending dread as everything was just slightly off enough and once “Ocean Size” kicks in the short arpeggiated intro breaks into a heavy distorted guitar riffing frenzy that featured a drumming style that would become a staple in the grunge scene as well as Farrell’s distinct high pitched vocal style and cutting edge artistic stage presence.

One of the album’s greatest strength is its unusual diverse palette of influences with songwriting practices that varied from song to song. Some tracks such as “Had A Dad” and “Ted, Just Admit It” were based on Eric Avery’s bass grooves while others like “Ocean Size,” “Mountain Song” and “Pigs In Zen” were full band experiences with independent musical counterpoints. The track “Mountain Song” was actually released as far back as 1986 for the soundtrack of the film “Dudes” which set the raw grungy tone of the entire album. Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea made cameo on the trumpet for the track “Idiot’s Rule.” Both “Jane Says” and “Pigs In Zen” were rerecorded from the previous live EP but underwent a complete makeover to make a better impression. The former becoming one of the band’s so-called ballad songs and the latter the band’s signature middle finger no fuck’s left to give Rage Against The Machine style anthem.

This album was hardly love at first listen for me. In fact i didn’t like this band at all for the longest time. I considered them overhyped and rather dreadful sounding but i have to say that all my friends who were into them played them over and over and over and somehow by osmosis i caught the bug. Sort of like learning a new language, JANE’S ADDICTION sort of was like a dialect of the alternative rock universe and once attitudes were adjusted actually grew on me quite substantially to the point where NOTHING’S SHOCKING has become an all time favorite personal classic. This album is very much a lyrical one as the music is designed to accompany the themes involved so therefore this is not an album that focuses on instrumental dynamics although as accompanying music totally nails it in the subject matter department whether it focuses on serial killer themes of Ted Bundy on “Ted, Just Admit It” or the band’s own personal demons with heroin on “Jane Says.” Overall the classic status of this one is warranted but as someone who was resistant from the start i do have to say that for many it may require a bit of exposure. Needless to say, whether JANE’S ADDICTION appeals to you or not, it was this band and particularly this album that opened the doors for the alternative rock scene to break into the mainstream and would very soon rip the door off the hinges with its followup “Ritual de lo Habitual.”

JANE'S ADDICTION Jane's Addiction

Live album · 1987 · Heavy Alternative Rock
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JANE’S ADDICTION is considered one of the key instrumental bands that brought the heavy alternative rock music out of the underground and into the limelight during the 1990s when it ruled with a vengeance. Although the 1980s Los Angeles scene was primarily associated with the glam metal scene, this band that consisted of Perry Farrell (vocals), Dave Navarro (guitar), Eric Avery (bass) and Stephen Perskins (drums) was the result of rising from the ashes of Farrell’s previous band Psi Com.

Farrell met Avery and kindled a musical relationship based on a an appreciation of Joy Division and The Velvet Underground and wanted to create a heavier band that implemented the energy of the 80s metal scene with the darker themes of post-punk and the grittier sounds of the underground scenes. The result was JANE’S ADDICTION which was a tribute to Farrell’s old housemate Jane Bainter who had suffered a heroin addiction. Unlike the glam metal bands that sang about good times, JANE’S ADDICTION lamented the less appealing aspects of reality.

This band’s initial run only lasted seven years and disbanded just as the band was perched to become the hottest ticket in the alternative 90s. It’s rather strange that JANE’S ADDICTION released its self-titled debut album in the form of a live EP. At 40 minutes long this eponymous release was as long as their two official studio albums but was completely recorded live at the Roxy Theatre in LA on January 26, 1987 with a few addition overdubs added the next day. While not the band’s crowning achievement, this self-titled debut is very much of interest as it features four songs, "Trip Away," "1%," "I Would For You," and "My Time" which were never rerecorded and included on the two studio albums.

Two of the tracks, “Pigs In Zen” and “Jane Says” were rerecorded and included on the first studio album “Nothing’s Shocking” and although they are far better in their second coming, these alternative versions are actually pretty good too. This live EP also includes two cover tunes including “Rock & Roll” from The Velvet Underground and “Sympathy,” originally titled “Sympathy For The Devil” from The Rolling Stones. The track “Slow Divers” was also recorded for this album but left off for time space purposes. It would later be included on the compilation “Kettle Whistle.”

While this album showcases the core elements that made JANE’S ADDICTION so unique such as Farrell’s distinct vocal style that was always slightly off key and the catchy sing-along song style that made them so popular a few short years later, this EP doesn’t display the band firing on all pistons yet. While the two studio albums showcase the band in extreme heavy rock mode with sizzling guitar solos, bantering bass and psychedelic production tricks, this live EP simply shows the band stripped down bare for all to see with songs that are often a bit on the mellower side. Yeah the rather ridiculous album cover art may be a turn off and this is certainly not the place to start if checking out the band for the very first time but for fans who wanted more JANE’S ADDICTION than the two studio albums had to offer, this is a not a bad release at all especially for the tracks that appear nowhere else.

BUCKETHEAD Pike 294 - War Threads

Live album · 2021 · Alternative Metal
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With the release of “Pike 293 - Oven Mitts” BUCKETHEAD entered new territory as far as the never-ending PIKE series is concerned. It was the first LIVE album to emerge from the coop and in the process opened the doors to a ceaseless supply of such recordings. While the possibility was that it was a one-off, with the fast following PIKE 294 - WAR THREADS it is apparent that the chicken lover plans on releasing a series of LIVE albums under the banner of the PIKE series.

To be honest live albums are not my favorite. Especially for solo artists who don’t put on the best live shows and that includes BUCKETHEAD however these PIKEs do capture a different aspect of this strange musical wonder. Somehow he has bridge the immediacy of 90s alternative rock with the more experimental realms of guitar wizardry. The audience participation adds another element as well and thankfully he culls the vast stockpiles of arsenal to offer tracks that were once really good.

Jordan live - this track has only appeared on the Guitar Hero II video game and therefore makes its debut on an album. Usual stuff but showcases BH’s virtuosity and considered expert level on the video game itself.

Flare live - from “Pike 95 - Flare” Night of the Slunk live - nice live performance from one of my fave albums “Monsters and Robots.”

Fountains of the Forgotten live - another experimentally wild classic from “The Cuckoo Clocks From Hell” album.

The Redeem Team live - an ok but not outstanding track from the “Albino Slug” album

Nottingham Lace live - which comes from the “Enter The Chicken” album is another excellent classic BH trick

Overall it’s a nice break from the incessant mediocrity of recent PIKEs to hear some of the classics in a live setting. While it’s cool they still don’t match their studio counterparts but definitely a worthy listening experience for those indoctrinated into the chicken club. I’d call this a decent PIKE for sure but it does make me wonder if a hundred more of these PIKEs will soon emerge as live recordings. No indications as to where each of these tracks were recorded either.

PAPANGU Holoceno

Album · 2021 · Avant-garde Metal
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One of the things i love about the internet age is that the entire history of music has been laid bare and pretty much put on an equal playing field without record companies dictating what should be heard and what should be jettisoned to the trash bin. As this age continues on, newer musicians have pretty much embraced the entire musical history as their influence instead of a few bands that existed as they grew up. This has seriously challenged the notion of labeling as the desire to create music without any restrictions continues to grow although plenty of retro bands are happy to stick to a designed genre.

Musical complacency is certainly not the case for Brazilian band PAPANGU which formed in 2012 in the city of Joāo Pessoa but has only finally released its debut HOLOCENO in 2021. Initially the band was content as a simple stoner rock trio but as time went on got into sludge metal and eventually the more progressive angsty sludge metal of early Mastodon. But why stop there? The band was equally fascinated by the tripped out zeuhl rhythms of bands like Magma and after seven years of stewing these ingredients in the cauldron of their own making, PAPANGU has hit the ground running with a rather unique mix of musical ideas in a combo effect that i have never heard before!

The band consists of Marco Mayer (bass, vocals, synthesizer), Hector Mota (guitar, vocals, percussion), Rai Accioly (guitar, vocals) and Nichollas Jaques (drums, percussion) who all came from various musical backgrounds including punk rock, thrash metal and doom metal. Their mission is to do to metal what Brazilian musician Edu Lobo did to traditional Brazilian music in the 1970s. Inspirations include not only Magma and Mastodon but Edu Lobo himself who performed traditional bossa nova and a style called MPB, short for short for música popular brasileira, is a loosely defined genre that formed in the mid-1960s as a modernised version of bossa nova and samba-canção which adopted foreign styles of music.

Add to those formidable influences, King Crimson styled progginess adds an extra helping of tight-knit time signature workouts. The band sings exclusively in Portuguese so therefore one could conclude that PAPANGU implements the zeuhl rhythmic drive of Magma, the metal intensity of Mastodon, the prog rock overdrive of King Crimson and melds it all with the immediacy of traditional Brazilian musical styles heard especially in the lyrical deliveries. HOLOCENO is listed as a concept album but i have no friggin clue as to what that may be about since my Portuguese is rather weak as far as understanding it spoken or sung.

Given these opposing influences on board it might sound like a tall order to fill but PAPANGU manages to keep the songs diverse with some sounding like “Bacia das Almas” resembling more energetic and heavy carnival music while “Terra Arrasada” taking on a menacing doom metal tone. There are also four guest musicians adding the tones and timbres of extra percussion, minimoogs, saxophones and extra dialogue. Add to that the production is excellent and a remix of "Açougue das Almas” which features Kayo Dot’s Toby Driver in the mixer’s chair is available on some editions as a bonus track.

Well, HOLOCENO pretty much checks off many things i love about adventurous music. It’s proggy, it’s heavy, it’s experimental yet familiar. It’s accessible yet weird as hell. It’s irreverence towards the status quo is high and the passion is on fire! The zeuhl rhythms keep it from spiraling out of control and the highly creative mojo on display keeps it from getting stale. This is really an outstanding example of progressive music that progresses without sacrificing the somewhat ossified terminology that has come into play. Highly recommended for those who love bands like Kayo Dot, King Crimson and even Norway’s Shining. Avant-garde and unusual but chock full of sounds that will remind you of some of your favorites!

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 32 days ago in Judas Priest: 70's era vs 80's era
    ^ i like The Ripper albums too. They may not be perfect but JP did a much better job of adapting to a new singer than Iron Maiden did.I don't mind Turbo but it's certainly not a top album.Ram It Down is an excellent album to my ears though!
  • Posted 38 days ago in Judas Priest: 70's era vs 80's era
    80s but PAINKILLER is my favorite album of theirs
  • Posted 39 days ago in Iron Maiden: Early vs. Latter-Day
    I don't know how you can compare. Iron Maiden is amazingly consistent in quality but nothing competes with the first seven albums. In fact those seven albums are amongst the best metal albums of all time.I just went through a marathon of the later 90s and on albums. I have to say that albums like Brave New World, Dance of Death and The Book of Souls are just shy of equal quality of the earliest albums and the rest (except the Bailey years) are really good as well.


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