siLLy puPPy

MMA Special Collaborator · Prog/AG Team
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1316 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 161 2.99
2 Alternative Metal 122 2.95
3 Progressive Metal 115 3.97
4 Hard Rock 93 3.49
5 Avant-garde Metal 92 3.98
6 Black Metal 73 3.66
7 Metal Related 67 3.51
8 Heavy Metal 59 3.79
9 Technical Death Metal 51 4.00
10 Death Metal 40 3.83
11 Thrash Metal 35 3.60
12 Proto-Metal 34 4.00
13 Atmospheric Black Metal 26 3.73
14 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 18 4.08
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 Symphonic Metal 14 3.86
20 Sludge Metal 14 3.79
21 NWoBHM 13 4.15
22 Industrial Metal 13 3.81
23 Death-Doom Metal 13 3.77
24 Brutal Death Metal 12 3.54
25 Funk Metal 12 4.17
26 Doom Metal 10 4.10
27 Grindcore 10 3.60
28 Hardcore Punk 10 3.55
29 Symphonic Black Metal 10 4.20
30 US Power Metal 8 3.63
31 War Metal 8 3.75
32 Groove Metal 8 3.44
33 Metalcore 8 3.75
34 Neoclassical metal 8 3.69
35 Mathcore 7 3.93
36 Melodic Black Metal 7 4.07
37 Stoner Metal 7 3.86
38 Gothic Metal 7 3.43
39 Speed Metal 6 3.42
40 Deathcore 6 3.42
41 Drone Metal 5 3.50
42 Melodic Death Metal 5 4.00
43 Goregrind 4 3.13
44 Heavy Alternative Rock 4 3.50
45 Heavy Psych 4 4.13
46 Depressive Black Metal 4 3.75
47 Funeral Doom Metal 4 4.00
48 Pagan Black Metal 4 4.13
49 Traditional Doom Metal 4 3.50
50 Nu Metal 3 3.33
51 Stoner Rock 2 4.25
52 Crossover Thrash 2 4.75
53 Crust Punk 2 2.75
54 Cybergrind 1 3.50
55 Death 'n' Roll 1 3.50
56 Deathgrind 1 3.00
57 Electronicore 1 2.00
58 Melodic Metalcore 1 4.00
59 Nintendocore 1 3.50
60 Metal Related Genres 1 4.00
61 Pornogrind 1 0.50
62 Rap Metal 1 1.00
63 Trance Metal 1 1.00
64 Viking Metal 1 4.50

Latest Albums Reviews

SYMBOLIC Mea Culpa...

Album · 2006 · Thrash Metal
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SYMBOLIC started out in 2002 and was founded on the Black Sea coast of Varna, Bulgaria by Stanimir Stavrev (vocals), Nikolay Bonev (guitar), Vasil Harizanov (guitar) and Nikola Nikolov (bass) with Vladimir Marinov (drums) joining two years later. This band got its start playing covers of old school metal bands from the oldies but goodies including Death, Testament, Carcass, Megadeth and Paradise Lost amongst others but once it started writing its own material settled on a distinctly old school thrash metal sound of the early 90s.

The band’s debut album MEA CULPA (means “My Fault” in Latin) celebrates the beauty of the early 90s thrash scene with original scores offering glimpses into the wonderful works that appeared some 30 years ago. While this album is short and just clocks in under 29 minutes, it’s like a veritable time machine into the past although at the time of release in 2006 it was only a decade removed from the peak of the thrash craze that started in the 80s and sorta peaked ten years later. This album was released on the Area 51 label which strangely is located in Colombia!

SYMBOLIC pretty much, uh well, symbolizes how much fun thrash metal of the early years was! This band’s main focus is on those crunchy galloping guitar riffs that stampede at high tempo frenzies much in the vein of early Megadeth, Forbidden, Overkill and Annihilator just to name a few however the musicians are all on top of their game with a heavy bass and drum rhythm section and excellent display of thrash vocals performed by Stanimar Stavrev who was made for the part. The addition of virtuosic guitar soloing is the stuff right out of the “Rust In Peace” era of Megadeath but this band is careful to stray to close to the classics and crafts very original sounding tunes.

MEA CULPA opens with a clean guitar arpeggiated intro piece titled “27 Prayer” that finds a clean guitar harmonizing with an electric guitar counterpart along with swishy Black Sea sounds of the waves against the shore. Beginning with “Overdose” the palm muting thrash riffs are unleashed and it’s an energetic frenzy for the duration. Packed with lightning fast thrash metal riffs, stellar drumming performances and a tight knit instrumental interplay, this band sounds like it emerged some time in 1989 and rode the first wave of thrash metal with bands like Testament or Sodom. The production is perfect as well with a nicely balanced mix that allows each instrument to be heard perfectly.

Added to the superb musicianship and perfectly delivered vocals, the tracks are all instantly addictive with nice hooks and catchy melodic constructs that just reek of top class act. If this band had emerged ten years earlier in a nation not impeded by the Iron Curtain antics of Moscow then perhaps it could’ve been one of the bigger acts of the era because SYMBOLIC has certainly mastered the art of thrashing like a motherfucker. This is a highly satisfying head banging experience throughout its run. The only flaw i can detect is that the intro is a bit too long and doesn’t blend in with the second track as well as it could but considering this band came from a far flung placed like Varna, Bulgaria and pretty much put all this together alone, overall MEA CULPA is a really impressive debut from this virtually unknown artist.

XIBALBA Grey Infinity

Album · 1998 · Progressive Metal
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XIBALBA was formed in 1990 in the city of Košice located in the far eastern part of Slovakia. The band name comes from Mayan mythology and roughly translates as “place of fear” which is the name of the underworld ruled by Maya death gods. The band consisted of Peter "Oldboy" Šerfözö (bass), Miro "Speed" Szeman (drums), Jozef "Mercedes" Daraš (guitar) and Karol "Bright" Gerba (vocals) and together they released three thrash metal demos: “Brain-Feedback,” “Depressive Reality” and “Expelling The Evil” from 1990-93 but then suddenly lead vocalist Karol Gerba caught the progressive metal bug and shifted the band’s sound into more complex arrangements, more pensive clean vocal styles and a greater diversity in the influences that were included.

The band only released this single album GREY INFINITY in 1998 and ditched their Death Angel worship origins in favor of an upgraded style that fell somewhere in between the extreme complex prog metal thrash of Watchtower and the more art rock flavors of Psychotic Waltz. GREY INFINITY consists of 13 tracks that offer a few interesting twists and turns that are both dazzling and at the same time offers some head scratching moments. The album opens up with a common trait of 90s thrash metal which is to begin the album with a dramatic build up of dark atmospheric tension with scary sounds, a crunchy guitar stomp and features an uncredited synthesizer sound that is prevalent throughout the album’s run.

“Belong To No One” bursts into the thrash metal bombast with heavy guitar riffing, bombastic bass thumping and percussive precision to match thus displaying the band’s mastery of this particular style of prog metal mixed with the extremity of thrash metal. While the heavier moments are much like the complex wankery of the classic Watchtower albums of the 80s, once Gerba starts to sing, it’s immediately obvious that Psychotic Waltz was one of the primary influences as his singing style is much like Buddy Lackey’s distinct vocal charm. The crazy time signature changes and guitar solos are right out of the Psychotic Waltz playbook although XIBALBA does manage to keep enough distance from falling into the trap of sounding too much like any other band.

There are some funky alternative metal bass grooves such as on “Slave of Love” which also add crazy 70s sounding organ runs and some extra over the top heaviness with thrash metal riffs on a adrenaline fueled rampage on “Reward From The Gods.” In addition to the crazier proggy thrash riffing are many moments of straight forward groove metal a la 90s Pantera. The instrumental “Sunflower Field” provides an intermission and emulates those 80s Metallica intros where two guitars harmonize over each other and craft a highly melodic classically infused run on chill mode however XIBALBA takes things a bit too far on the out of place sounding “I Want You To Stay” which sounds more like a glam metal ballad of the 80s than anything remotely thrash. Imagine a Motley Crue or Poison ballad however it’s done quite well and Gerba’s vocal abilities do make a good balladeer.

Another track that is a bit wild is the 2 minute crossover thrash track “Feel Like Shit” which sounds like something S.O.D. would come up with and even contain a short rapping sequence. The album ends as it began with a synth based collage of sounds that take a cheesy synth line and add a bunch of wind sounds amongst others but ends on some trippy cool notes. Overall XIBALBA delivers a decent slice of progressive thrash metal on GREY INFINITY however the production is a little thin and the whole thing sounds a little too tinny. While the musicianship is generally firing on high levels a few tracks could’ve been trimmed off of this one to give it a more consistent run but generally speaking this is definitely an excellent tight-knit album that offers lots of variety and outstanding performances despite all the warts that keep it from rising. Too bad this band hasn’t released any newer material since they were well on their way to something.

HÄLLAS Excerpts From A Future Past

Album · 2017 · Hard Rock
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HÄLLAS is one of those Swedish retro prog bands that has been getting a lot of attention in recent years for mining the 70s prog and hard rock world and adding some of the more modern production technologies along with influences from various genres ranging from black metal to synthpop. This band was formed in Jönköping in 2011 with the stable lineup of Tommy Alexandersson (bass, vocals), Alexander Moraitis (guitar), Marcus Pettersson (guitar), Kasper Eriksson (drums) and Nicklas Malmqvist (keyboards).

The band spend a few years honing their chops and released the self-titled EP independently in 2015 and while that four-track debut perfectly showcased the band’s intent of bridging the gap between 70s Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep and Wishbone Ash, the tracks sounded a little too retro for my tastes although these guys clearly displayed their fiery passion for the retro melodic hard rock sounds that made the 70s such a wonderful musical place to begin with! While touted as a progressive rock band, the debut EP was clearly missing that aspect.

Two years later in 2017, HÄLLAS finally unleashed its debut full-length album titled EXCERPTS FROM A FUTURE PAST which saw the band develop its sound into something more unique and crafted a more sophisticated blend of their influences which found its way onto the Swedish indie label The Sign Records. While the band’s proclivities are clearly rooted in the 70s hard rock action of Uriah Heep, the band dropped many of the Sabbath aspects and instead focused on the organ driven prog of early Uriah Heep with some of the blues rock inclinations of Wishbone Ash. Also more emphasized in the mix were ample uses of progressive rock as well as the organ parts adding more textures beyond a mere atmospheric backdrop.

With so many prog acts taking the leap into oft perceived complex pomp, HÄLLAS on the other hand keeps such excesses at bay and prefers the time signature deviations and overproduced slickness to be kept on a leash. What HÄLLAS focuses on instead are catchy hooks based in 70s inspired bluesy hard rock with the crossover prog characteristics shining through via organ driven technicalities and somewhat extended compositions at least on the ending tracks “Shadow of the Templar” and “Illusion Sky,” however for the most part these tracks are based on simple guitar riffs in the vein of 70s bands like Rainbow, Wishbone Ash, UFO or Uriah Heep. Alexandersson’s vocals display a tender vulnerability at odds with some of the brasher bravado that the 70s exhibited and the entire mood is a bit on the spacier side with subject matter revolving around medieval fantasy worship.

Gosh, these guys even look the part and if someone told you this band really was from 1974 or somewhere around that time, you could totally believe it! While many such retro bands go the full mile to play the part by recording on analog equipment, i’m not sure if HÄLLAS went to such extremes however given the warm organic sounds that perfectly replicate the guitar tones, groovy bass lows and period piece organ sounds, i would not doubt it for one minute if that was the case. The entire album that exceeds 42 minutes is actually rather dreamy for a hard rock album as the vocals are fairly monotonous and not even a tiny bit dramatic and the organ sounds are always providing an ambient backdrop if not outright taking the lead. The guitar riffs go up and down the scale while the bass and drum provide a stable if unremarkable rhythmic background.

If period piece retro rock is your thing with the additional touches of prog lite then HÄLLAS will be your up your alley but to be honest i’m not as impressed as many seem to be about this band. Yeah, all the boxes are checked for that authentic feel but when it comes down to it the compositions are hum along in a similar manner without a lot of dynamic changes. There seems to be missing that extra mojo that makes this style of music truly compelling and while the band is quite competent at crafting an album’s worth of retro pseudo-prog from the 70s, it just feels a little too safe for my liking.

HÄLLAS Hällas

EP · 2015 · Hard Rock
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As far as progressive rock goes, Sweden is the gift that keeps on giving with seemingly no end in sight of extraordinary bands emerging from this nation of just over 10 million inhabitants. Emerging from the interior city of Jönköping is yet another band that has been catching the world’s attention in the last few years. HÄLLAS is one of those retro bands that adapts older sounds to the newer sonic palettes of the 21st century.

The band formed in 2011 and was inspired by various artists ranging from Wishbone Ash, Kebnekaise, Anekdoten, November, Camel as well as disparate genres ranging from black metal to synth pop. The lineup has remained the same since the band’s inception with the members Tommy Alexandersson (bass, vocals), Alexander Moraitis (guitar), Marcus Pettersson (guitar), Kasper Eriksson (drums) and Nicklas Malmqvist (keyboards).

This four-song self-titled EP was released independently in November 2015 and set the stage for the retro sounds that HÄLLAS has amalgamated into its own with a little Wishbone Ash blues rock mixed with Black Sabbath heft which makes this feel like a relic from the 70s with those classic guitar stomps, bluesy guitar licks and that familiar vocal style that sounds more like something from the Blue Oyster Cult but overall the musical flow comes off more as something Uriah Heep might have released in the early 70s.

HÄLLAS needed a bit more time to develop its sound a bit as this earliest offering is a bit too retro for my tastes and sounds more like a tribute to the past than anything innovative but yet this little EP sets the stage for greater things to come and the band nails these retro sounds quite well which accompanied by the benefit of a modern production job makes this a delight to listen to however at this point HÄLLAS is just getting warmed up. This one is probably best for those who have already warmed up to the band’s sound but it’s not a bad place to start either since it’s only 24 minutes long.

CLOUD THEORY Torn

EP · 2018 · Progressive Metal
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The world of progressive metal has really been taking off all over the world since Dream Theater came onto the scene 30 years ago but it’s taken a while for some of less metal nations to join the party. Coming from Turkey is a fairly new band called CLOUD THEORY that was originally formed as Woltran in the coastal city of Izmir in 2008 but the band took a while to figure out exactly which musical direction to take.

This band is a quintet that consists of Taylan Tokmakoğlu (vocals), Mert Kuldemir (lead guitar, backing vocals), Gökmen Yoldaş (rhythm guitar), Onur Özkara (bass) and Burak Dünal (drums). So far CLOUD THEORY has only released this one EP titled TORN which contains a mere three tracks but despite being classified as an EP still runs over the 35 minute playing time.

Having settled on a progressive metal sound with some power metal elements, CLOUD THOERY has crafted a sound that is right out of the prog metal playbook with operatic vocals, a central concept wrapped up with progressive time signature changes that involve heavy metal guitar, bass and drums along with an atmospheric cloud cover. The power metal parts come in with the super fast power chords being slammed at high speeds and in many ways is a bit like Leprous in how despite the music’s aggression remains chilled due to the synthesized ambience and the vocals of Taylan Tokmakoğlu.

Like any good prog metal release, TORN is a concept album. This one happens to be about Xhaarn Sword, Balance-bringers and their relationships with the Kingdom of Grand Realm. The lyrics are all in English and tailor made for an international audience and the EP is supposed to be a mere teaser of a much larger concept album to come. The EP is professionally produced and sounds like a bonafide band that has made it to the big leagues.

TORN is an excellent display of power metal infused prog metal as the musicians are all on top of their game and the three length compositions which each extend past 10 minutes are all filled with nice melodic hooks that are extended into labyrinthine prog workouts. In many ways the band sounds like a more Dream Theater influenced version of Symphony X however although the band is quite competent in its delivery, does fail to put an original stamp on the prog metal world so hopefully some creative juices will unleash themselves on any future releases.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 22 days ago in Early 70's Metal
    I've heard all these bands and many of them are great but Sabbath was on a whole other level of greatness so gotta go with the masses on this one
  • Posted 25 days ago in Now -- what are you listening to? V2
    OMG if anyone here is interested in hearing the most deranged and out there brutal prog that exists, i highly recommend checking out this insane asylum music! Azynder! + Bonus Tracks by Ogo Dyshttps://ogodys.bandcamp.com/album/azynder-bonus-tracks
  • Posted 26 days ago in RYM's Top 2010s Metal Albums 8: Avant
    Unexpect, the most avant of all! I still love many of these albums though :)

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