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1213 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
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
BUMBLEFOOT - Hands Progressive Metal | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Non-Metal 154 2.94
2 Alternative Metal 122 2.95
3 Progressive Metal 102 3.97
4 Avant-garde Metal 95 3.94
5 Hard Rock 90 3.50
6 Black Metal 68 3.67
7 Metal Related 62 3.45
8 Heavy Metal 57 3.78
9 Technical Death Metal 47 4.00
10 Proto-Metal 33 4.00
11 Thrash Metal 31 3.55
12 Death Metal 31 3.94
13 Atmospheric Black Metal 20 3.75
14 Folk Metal 16 3.91
15 Glam Metal 14 3.61
16 Power Metal 14 3.79
17 Technical Thrash Metal 14 3.79
18 NWoBHM 13 4.15
19 Industrial Metal 13 3.81
20 Funk Metal 12 4.17
21 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 12 4.17
22 Death-Doom Metal 12 3.75
23 Symphonic Black Metal 11 4.18
24 Sludge Metal 11 3.77
25 Brutal Death Metal 10 3.65
26 Hardcore Punk 10 3.55
27 Doom Metal 9 4.11
28 Melodic Black Metal 8 3.94
29 Metalcore 8 3.75
30 Neoclassical metal 8 3.69
31 US Power Metal 8 3.63
32 Stoner Metal 7 3.86
33 Groove Metal 7 3.50
34 Speed Metal 6 3.42
35 Mathcore 6 3.92
36 Gothic Metal 6 3.67
37 Grindcore 6 3.42
38 Drone Metal 5 3.50
39 War Metal 5 3.90
40 Symphonic Metal 4 4.13
41 Depressive Black Metal 4 3.75
42 Deathcore 4 3.13
43 Heavy Alternative Rock 4 3.50
44 Melodic Death Metal 4 4.00
45 Nu Metal 3 3.33
46 Traditional Doom Metal 3 3.33
47 Pagan Black Metal 2 4.50
48 Stoner Rock 2 4.25
49 Heavy Psych 2 4.50
50 Goregrind 2 2.50
51 Crossover Thrash 2 4.75
52 Funeral Doom Metal 2 4.25
53 Electronicore 1 2.00
54 Crust Punk 1 2.50
55 Cybergrind 1 3.50
56 Death 'n' Roll 1 3.50
57 Deathgrind 1 3.00
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

MGŁA Age of Excuse

Album · 2019 · Melodic Black Metal
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Black metal has emerged as one of the most creative and fertile grounds in all the metal universe where countless hybrids of musical genres have cross-pollinated and resulted in some of the most forward-thinking stylistic approaches in the entire metal universe so it always boggles my mind when a rather ordinary run of the mill band seems to emerge from the darkened battlefields and achieve a major victory in terms of commercial success and popularity. The Polish black metal outfit MGŁA is exactly one of those types of bands that i’m talking about and this band ain’t no Behemoth or Batushka.

Having formed in 2000 as the duo of multi-instrumentalist Mikołaj "M." Żentara with the collaboration of drummer Dariusz "Daren" Piper after playing together in Kriegmaschine, Daren moved on in 2006 just as M continued on to create a series of EPs and full-length albums and since then has steadily enamored the black metal world like very few have in recent days once the current drummer / percussionist Darkside (Maciej Kowalski) joined forces and conspired to conquer the world from their dark metal headquarters in Krakow, Poland.

MGŁA found its niche and has stuck to it ever since rarely deviating from its status quo and has been called the Amon Amarth of black metal in the process and that’s not an unthinkable comparison actually. Just like its death metal Swedish counterpart, MGŁA takes a melodic approach on the more extreme examples of the sub-genre and tames the once dissonant rage into more harmonic and accessible chunks of the blackened noise parade. Here in 2019, this duo has released its fourth full-length album AGE OF EXCUSE and not surprisingly continues where the previous “Exercises In Futility” left off.

While i’ve been aware of MGŁA (Polish for “fog”) for many years now, my scant exposure to a few tracks here and there has never prompted me to actually investigate further. Well, after the band releases another album with many fans going gaga, i figured it was probably time to fully digest a complete album in its entirety and AGE OF EXCUSE proved to be the easiest point of reference since it’s the most current album at this moment. Accusations of Nazi sympathies and other vicious rumors aside, MGŁA comes off as a rather generic black metal band that does everything by the books and really adds zilch to the sub-genre of black metal at all and no matter how hard i try to understand what the big whoopty-do is about this band, i remained baffled.

While nothing on AGE OF EXCUSE (or any other MGŁA release) is bad by any stretch of the imagination, neither does this band add any creative interpretations nor does it excel in any technical wizardry that sets it apart from the legions of imitators out there. The one thing they do exhibit quite well is the fact that the melodic constructs are instantly catchy much like Amon Amarth, Rotting Christ, Dimmu Borgir or a whole host of others however unlike all of THOSE bands, MGŁA just seems insincere to me and going through the motions. My first impression is that the band is basically copping a melodic take on the Deathspell Omega sound. Miikko Aspa styled raspy vocals drenched in evil, slightly off tune guitar on dissonance light and rather monotonous drumming techniques dominate AGE OF EXCUSE from beginning to end.

Another complaint about this album (and band) is that it begins to sound quite monotonous halfway through. Now it’s quite common for many to claim that a black metal album is monotonous and that is quite true for the untrained ear but the genre is all about detecting the subtleties beneath the carpet bombing of din that assaults the senses from every perceived angle. MGŁA delivers the same tritone laced chord progressions and monotonous groove with impunity. Yeah, there are some drumming outbursts from time to time and as i’ve stated, the album is perfectly listenable but as someone who has spanned the entire spectrum of black metal from its nascent origins with bands like Celtic Frost and Bathory to the more avant-garde experiments that range from Ukraine’s Graal to Norway’s Dødheimsgard, i just do not detect anything spectacular here.

Repeated listens do offer that magical ear hook experience for sure but at the end of the day i just can’t shake that this band is just playing the melodic alter ego of the much superior Deathspell Omega. Yeah, i do understand to a point. As metal ages and artists develop bolder and more avant-garde styles of musical expression, some of it is a little alienating for newbies trying to latch onto the relevance of the sub-genre but personally i would always recommend going back to the earliest examples of melodic black metal over this been-there-dont-that-before retro metal any day. Excluding bands like Emperor or Dimmu Borgir that implemented synthesizers to nurture a more melodic approach, bands like Dissection, Kvist, Nagelfar, Melechesh, Windir or Sacramentum just to name a few were much more creative in their delivery. As open minded as i am about music, once in a while a certain band makes me hit a brick wall and i just have an immediate reaction and in the case of MGŁA i am perplexed why it has become so revered while i just get a meh ho hum reaction. Oh well.

MASTODON Leviathan

Album · 2004 · Sludge Metal
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Atlanta’s MASTODON made quite the thundering debut with 2002’s “Remission,” an album that sounded like a herd of ancient pachyderms rampaging across the Siberian tundra en masse with such force that the very ground below them quaked and split the continents in two. The album introduced a new kind of progressive sludge to the metal universe and excelled at creating murky dark soundscapes that added touches of suffocating atmospheric gloom and doom. The story of MASTODON has been pretty much that it incrementally at a snail’s pace slinked into more accessible stylistic approaches that would de-emphasize the chaotic paranoia and settle into more streamlined even melodic approaches. This trend began all the way back on the group’s second full-length release LEVIATHAN.

It’s more accurate to state that the band made some tradeoffs. While jettisoning the fear porn of the debut, the band instead adopted characteristics of the progressive world and on LEVIATHAN the band’s very first concept album was born which was loosely based on Herman Melville’s 1851 novel Moby-Dick. While taming the wild antics of the debut album, LEVIATHAN by no means slowed things down and continued a rampaging parade of ten sonic attacks of sonic ferocity well intact. Decorated with more progressive compositional workouts and tight consistent instrumental interplay, LEVIATHAN was the album that saw the band taking both the progressive and metal world’s by storm and catapulted the band into the big boys’ club. Laced with the raging angst of hardcore crust punk and the ambitiousness of tech metal wankery, MASTODON hit the scene like a derailed train colliding with an anvil factory.

With the first hard-hitting riffs of “Blood And Thunder,” MASTODON sets the tone for LEVIATHAN that never lets up until the bitter end. Laced with venomous guitar distortion and interchange of Brent Hinds’ and Bill Kelliher’s dual double axe attack, MASTODON takes the timbre-based sinew of sludge metal and coerces it into performing technical gymnastics that subtly sneak in and steer the aggressive assaults into more advanced creatures. The tracks seamlessly blend together with an idiosyncratic series of riffing made all the more outrageous by Brann Dailor’s approach of alternating the lazy slug drumming experience in the Eyehategod school of drumming along with more tech infused jazzy outbursts. Brett Hinds also delivers his madman vocal approach from under the cacophonous din of the relentless tempo drives save the short instrumental contrasts as heard on the intro and subsections of “Seabeast.”

Another interesting factor and what ties the band’s first four albums together is that each one symbolizes one of the four elements of tetralogy. While “Remission” was not a concept album, it was still considered to have the theme of the element of fire. LEVIATHAN therefore not surprisingly represents the water element however the turbulent paths forged throughout this relentless metal madness is more like the Drake’s passage between South America and Antarctica which is known to have the most devastating channels and highest waves on the entire planet. Of interest as well is the stunning artwork on the album cover created by Paul Romano which is a revamped version of Martin Heemskerck’s 16th century interpretation of the “Pharos of Alexandria” as well as the wave representing Hokusai’s “The Great Wave Off Kanagawa.” It’s also notable that the vinyl edition has a different track listing with “I Am Ahab” and “Island” appearing toward the end of the album, presumably so that the tracks could be spaced out more cozily.

Of the ten tracks on board, “Heart’s Alive” exercises the band’s complete progressive workouts and at 13 and a half minutes runs the gamut of tender arpeggiated sequences to galloping metal fury and a healthy dose of Viking metal mythos as well as NWOBHM sensibilities. While Brent Hinds is the clear lead vocalist of the band, on LEVIATHAN, Neil Fallon picks up the task on the opening “Blood And Thunder” and Scott Kelly likewise on “Aqua Dementia,” but you know what? They all growl alike so it’s unlikely you could tell the difference anyways. “Aqua” also has a cello cameo and the final instrumental features organ by Joseph Merrick who strangely has the track named after him. Some kind of endorsement scheme here? My mind is so suspicious. Back to “Hearts Alive.” Despite it being the longest track it doesn’t seem to make the most of the progressive opportunities and actually becomes a big stagnant, however LEVIATHAN is an outrageously fun romp through the world of stampede style sludge metal with a few progressive candles channeling the spirits of technical wizardry. A great album that continues the band’s unique style.


Album · 1975 · Heavy Metal
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What sounds like just like a form of wordplay on the band name BLACK SABBATH, SABOTAGE, the final album of the classic mandatory six found the quartet of Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward culminating all the heavy metal thunder one last time before the band effectively lost all momentum and quickly fell from grace. SABOTAGE is also one of the most misunderstood and least appreciated of the big six but for us diehard fans the album ranks very well near the top of the mighty SABBATH’s canon for being one of the most intricately crafted and esoterically interesting of the bunch. Graced with epic proto-prog compositions that eschew conventional songwriting with a fiery passion reinvigorated that allowed more experimental touches to seep in, SABOTAGE allowed SABBATH one last moment of musical glory before the band hit a creative brick wall. The album while seemingly random in many ways actually makes a lot more sense once the story behind it is unmasked. The tale is somewhat hinted upon with the oddball album cover that shows the band’s reflection in the mirror behind being SABOTAGED.

SABBATH had a phenomenally successful run with the first five albums but like many rock bands of the era found themselves in the spoils of riches which led to hedonistic drug abuse rituals and incessant bouts of self-indulgence. Around the time of “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” the band discovered that the management had been ripping them off all along and siphoning funds like a parasitic scourge. SABOTAGE was created during the time when the litigation against former manager Patrick Meehan and others was taking place. Many of the references on the album are derived from the experiences of this period of time and despite the stress that the never-ending legal battles generated, the incident seems to have reinvigorated the fiery passion of distrust, paranoia and rage against the machine that made the first two SABBATH albums so amazingly focused. Despite all odds, the band seemed to channel all of the angst into crafting one of the most sophisticated and fine-tuned albums of its career. While SABOTAGE usually ranks last of the classic period amongst the general fanbase, the album that requires more than the average spins before digesting is actually one of the band’s highest artistic statements.

SABOTAGE is a unique mix of stylistic approaches. Not only does it contain some of the band’s heaviest moments such as the crushing “Symptom Of The Universe” which some cite as one of the first blueprints of thrash metal (another would be Queen’s “Sheer Heart Attack” the prior year) but the album also contains the bizarre “Supertzar” which while based on Iommi’s guitar riffing, employed the English Chamber Choir to ululate wordless vocalizations which eerily accompanied the heavy metal thunder. The opening “Hole In The Sky” sets an important tone of blistering heaviness that evokes the zeitgeist of earlier albums like “Paranoid” and the short acoustic guitar snippet “Don’t Start (Too Late)” which i always assumed was about taking political action was actually an inside joke that referred to tape operator David Harris who was often frustrated because they band would start playing before he was ready to begin recording. The less than a minute echoed guitar sequence reminisces of the short instrumentals on “Master Of Reality” and provides the perfect fluffer between the heavy metal bombast of “Hole In The Sky” and the soul crushing uptempo heaviness of “Symptom Of The Universe, arguably one of the band’s finest moments.

Starting with “Megalomania” the album becomes much more experimental. While heavy metal guitar riffs remain aplenty, the track which approaches the 10-minute mark displays SABBATH’s most proto-prog leanings that begins with a sinister mid-tempo slice of echoey guitar fueled paranoia that slowly morphs into a heavy metal guitar riff based powerhouse. The track not only provides the perfect canvas for Ozzy Osbourne to vent his rage and discontent but also allows his much improved vocal style to hit a new level of sophistication by exploring a wider range of octaves as well as some of the most powerfully emotive deliveries of his career. The rest of the album only builds off of the momentum. “Thrill Of It All” follows suit with another dualistic one-two punch of melodic constructs. It begins with Iommi’s guitar parts, both rhythm and lead generating a fiery metal experience that shifts into a more keyboard dominated second half which displayed the band’s much improved integration of keyboards.

After the choral metal experience of “Supertzar,” the sole single of the album “Am I Going Insane (Radio)” also proved to be one of the most hated of the band’s career right up their with “Changes” from “Vol 4.” While the “(Radio)” annex to the title insinuated an edit of some sort and the cause of much confusion, the title actually was derived from the Cockney slang term “radio-rental” which means “mental” and if like me you’re not up on your English dialects especially in the slang department it is an understandable misunderstanding. The song itself is hardly a throwaway despite its commercial appeal. By far the most accessible of the SABOTAGE track listing, it was also one of the few tracks where Ozzy wrote the lyrics, a job mostly performed by bassist Geezer Butler. While Ozzy’s lyrics usurp the guitar playing of Iommi on this one as his playing becomes subordinate, the track is quite arty in in display of heavy and soft alternate passages and Ozzy’s emotive vocal delivery and lyrical content narrated the depression that the band was in the middle of.

The biggest mindfuck of the album has to be the fact that “Am I Going Insane (Radio)” was a title of the penultimate track however it was the final track “The Writ” that actually repeated the lyrics “Am I Going Insane.” The closer wasn’t really a bona fide song of sorts but rather a melodic declaration of frustration and paranoia not experienced since the band’s earliest albums of 1970. The pop melody is the most repetitive of the album and IMHO was the ultimate statement of a band truly losing its shit before the inevitable downturn which was prolonged for an agonizing two more albums which finally resulted in Ozzy leaving the band. The track is also rather symbolic. As Ozzy repeats the lyrics like a deranged declarative chant of sorts, the album ends by sinister laughing voices mocking him as if the lawyers had the last laugh. So many ways to interpret all of this but the ambiguity of it all plus the stellar instrumental performances of SABOTAGE are what has made this one of the hardcore fan favorites. While not as immediately accessible as the first three albums, SABOTAGE was in reality the peak of SABBATH’s Ozzy-era creative prowess and for true fans where the six year party officially ended. A more careful analysis and the proper time for its magic to sink in will reveal SABBATH’s most crowning achievements made all the more remarkable by the traumatic events that surrounded it.

TOOL Undertow

Album · 1993 · Alternative Metal
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While TOOL gets much of the credit for keeping the metal universe relevant during the early 90s at least in commercial terms, the truth is that the band was simply riding the wave of the harder edged alternative rock bands like Jane’s Addiction, Alice In Chains and Faith No More that were finding commercial success however as the glam metal world experienced a sudden upheaval and suddenly grunge was the dominate commercial force with Nirvana and Soundgarden suddenly becoming household names, TOOL was right there beside them. The band of Maynard James Keenan (vocals), Adam Jones (guitar, sitar), Pal D’Amour (bass) and Danny Carey (drums) gained momentum on the 1992 debut EP “Opiate” with a fiery aggressive brand of alternative metal that focused on lengthy progressive cyclical grooves but on the band’s full-length debut UNDERTOW the progressiveness had really blossomed into a totally unique sound that implemented crazy time signatures that once taken further on future albums like “Ænima” and “Lateralus” would make TOOL one of the hottest bands of the entire 90s.

Love em or hate em, one thing is is for sure. When TOOL debuted with UNDERTOW there was nothing that sounded like the dark, angry and lengthy complex sprawling soundscapes that TOOL had crafted. While bands like Alice in Chains and Soundgarden were still reliant on blues rock constructs for the compositions, TOOL completely eschewed the familiarities of what came before and crafted a mysterious mix of metal, grunge and even post-rock however the music itself sounds like none of those genres but usually gets lumped into progressive metal or in the case of UNDERTOW simply alternative metal. Having settled on Zoo Records, where both Keenan and Carey experienced a surprise gold album as a part of the comedy metal act Green Jellÿ, the album struck a nerve with the public with the creepy stop-animated videos for “Sober” and “Prison Sex” and shot up to the top 20 albums in no time. As of 2010, the album has been certified double platinum which shows TOOL’s

Unlike “Opiate,” a hard hitting more straight forward slice of alternative metal, UNDERTOW displayed a more focused sprawled out series of guitar and bass riffs augmented by Carey’s percussive delineations that often took on the characteristics of an African drum circle or an Indian tabla session. Eastern elements occasionally creep in as heard with the sitar addition on “Bottom” (Henry Rollins also appeared as a guest vocalist on this one).There is a resolute industrial grittiness to the music as well coming to full roost on the album’s closer “Disgustipated” which included Henry Rollins’ guitarist Chris Haskett playing sledge hammers. The final track “Disgustipated” displayed another factor that would make TOOL standout from the pack namely social commentary in the form of spoken narration, extended noise effects, darkened whispered singing styles and a propensity to end an album with a series of noises and silence before a final musical statement which nixed the main guitar and bass sounds. In this case at 6:45 the sounds of crickets are heard for just over seven minutes. This was actually a popular but annoying trend of 90s alternative music.

While UNDERTOW was somewhat of a rough draft for the more artistic statements that followed, the band’s basic stylistic approach had been laid out here. The rhythm section had already developed the crazy polyrhythms, Carey’s drumming style had already adopted the tabla percussive style at certain points and although the musical flow is a more nonchalant shuffle, the time signatures offbeats have awoken to realize the far reaching potentials. Another proclivity of TOOL’s albums is that they insist on lengthy albums that take up as much playing time as possible. UNDERTOW clocks in at 69:13 and even subtracting the final several minutes of cricket chirping time is still over an hour’s run. While steeped in the experimental elements that would continue to expand their horizons into the stratosphere, UNDERTOW is still firmly planted in the world of alternative metal without all the crazy artsy extras that decorate “Ænima,” therefore the album becomes a bit tedious to experience in a single listening session. Overall not a bad debut at all but in the end UNDERTOW lacks the excitement of what was to come and i didn’t discover this debut until after the rest so i’ve never been blown away by it.


Album · 1972 · Hard Rock
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BLUE OYSTER CULT has its roots originating all the way back to 1967 when founder and guitarist Donald Roeser who would become better known as Buck Dharma started the first version of what would become BOC in the form of the psych-tinged jam band Soft White Underbelly which was centered around Dharma’s guitar playing and would provide a BLUEprint for the mystical CULT to come. The band went through a few changes before finding its own voice. It would take singer Eric Bloom to replace the original frontman before the band started to cohesively gel around the more boogie rock blues based hard rock sounds they have become known for. At this stage the band took the moniker Stalk-Forrest Group and was discovered by rock theorist Sandy Pearlman who was always on the look out for sharp new talent for Elektra Records. After a brief stint in California and a short trip down a dead end street, the band that would become the BLUE OYSTER CULT came to fruition when keyboardist and rhythm guitarist Allen Lanier joined the team. It was he who contributed the band’s more famous moniker that simulated the mystical occult demeanor that they were striving for.

After the failed California adventure, the BOC headed back to its native New York City where they spent 1971 fine-tuning a more heavy handed rock approach that kept a tad of the 60s psychedelia but according to Dharma the band was trying to become America’s answer to Black Sabbath and while BOC could never even remotely be accused of ripping off the classic English band’s style or sound in any possible way, BOC did however evoke a sense of awe with an interesting mix of occult philosophies, surrealism and heaviness that was rooted in a twin guitar dominated bluesy hard rock with some progressive touches along with an occasional slice of avant-garde. The band’s self-titled debut album appeared early in January 1972 after being discovered by Columbia Records and while not exactly lighting the world on fire quite yet found enough support that many tours arose albeit with the unlikely parings of The Byrds and Mahavishnu Orchestra. Only the tour with Alice Cooper actually seemed like a legit fit but nevertheless with a strong batch of catchy tunes amplified and soaked in acid baths, BLUE OYSTER CULT hit hard from the getgo and continued to expand its new stylistic approach.

Having latched onto a unique sound fairly early, BLUE OYSTER CULT found the perfect balance between a more demented form of bluesy boogie rock as if a parallel universe version of a more psych-tinged Allman Brothers had seeped into our reality during the Montauk Project. Equally laced with a trippy guitar twang and the Godzilla power stomps that would define the BOC’s rhythmic delivery, this eponymous debut cemented the band’s later success in its nascent BLUEprints for future hits. “Cities On Flame With Rock And Roll” provided the first glimpse of the monster stomp guitar and drum rhythmic prowess that would later spawn such hits as “Godzilla” whereas “Screams” provided that haunting occult feel that took the twangy guitar sounds, a bit of psychedelic keyboard charm and super catchy vocal melodies that would pave the way for tracks like “Burning For You” and “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper.” Likewise Dharma showcased a rather eccentric psych-fueled blues guitar soloing style that is as distinctive as anything Jimmy Page, Brian May or Tony Iommi were cranking out on the other side of the pond.

BLUE OYSTER CULT’s debut is a masterful mix of diverse sounds that the band made all their own. The heavy hitters of the bunch such as the two openers “Transmaniacon MC” and “I’m On The Lambe But I Ain’t No Sheep” displayed the knack for capturing a traditional style of hard rock but adding heavy doses of surreality to the lyrics as well as the changes that took place within the individual tracks. Perhaps the most diverse is the rowdy heavy rock “Before The Kiss, A Redcap” which starts out somewhat like something the Edgar Winter Band were famous for in the early 70s but the track shifts into a series of melodic deliveries including a ska-fueled toe-tapping section with early rapped vocals which adds some serious skank and alternates with heavy guitar heft outbursts. The so-called thinking man’s heavy metal band also graced the album with a few drug fueled slower trippy tracks. “Then Came The Last Days Of May,” “Screams” and the most oddly titled song of all time “She’s As Beautiful As A Foot” all showed a slowed down version of the band that focused as much on atmospheric as guitar based magic.

While “Cities On Flame With Rock And Roll” remains the album’s most famous track for its Zeppelin meets Sabbath guitar stomps that gave the band its signature sound, there are several heavy unsung classics on this album including “Stairway To The Stars” and “Workshop Of The Telescopes” along with the two openers. Really the only track that doesn’t sound like it fits in is the closing “Redeemed” which exhibits a rather odd sounding Grateful Dead style of country rock which as far as i’m concerned should’ve been nixed from the final mix as it sounds woefully out of place and could easily be inserted on Dead album’s like “American Beauty” and nobody would even notice. All in all, BOC cranked out a smokin’ hot slice of early hard rock of the early 70s. All the musicians perfectly played their parts and crafted their idiosyncrasies perfectly. The unique drumming style of Albert Bouchard perfectly suited the twin guitar wilderness provided by Buck Dharma and Eric Bloom while Bloom’s vocals suited this hybrid of psychedelic rock and hard blues based rock perfectly. Not even their best album but this debut is without a doubt one of the essential classic BOC albums to acquire and savor. While the album didn’t make BOC a household name at this point the album sold fairly well and allowed the band to delve further into the heavier side of their sound and would slowly jettison the more psychedelic touches or to be more precise diminish them.

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