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467 reviews/ratings
ARSIS - We Are the Nightmare Technical Death Metal
SLAYER - Reign in Blood Thrash Metal
SPASTIC INK - Ink Compatible Thrash Metal
WATCHTOWER - Control And Resistance Technical Thrash Metal
BLACK SABBATH - Sabbath Bloody Sabbath Heavy Metal
DREAM THEATER - Metropolis, Part 2: Scenes From a Memory Progressive Metal
MESHUGGAH - Destroy Erase Improve Progressive Metal
RUSH - A Farewell to Kings Hard Rock
KING CRIMSON - Red Proto-Metal
KING CRIMSON - Heavy ConstruKction Non-Metal
EXIVIOUS - Exivious Progressive Metal | review permalink
ALICE COOPER - Billion Dollar Babies Hard Rock
FATES WARNING - Perfect Symmetry Progressive Metal
HAKEN - The Mountain Progressive Metal
JIMI HENDRIX - Are You Experienced? Proto-Metal
MARTYR - Feeding the Abscess Technical Death Metal
MOTORPSYCHO - The Death Defying Unicorn Non-Metal
OPETH - Watershed Progressive Metal

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Progressive Metal 121 3.61
2 Heavy Metal 43 2.86
3 Hard Rock 40 3.15
4 Thrash Metal 38 3.28
5 Non-Metal 31 3.21
6 Funk Metal 21 3.38
7 Metal Related 18 3.44
8 Proto-Metal 17 3.79
9 Avant-garde Metal 16 3.94
10 Technical Death Metal 15 3.87
11 Technical Thrash Metal 14 3.82
12 Crossover Thrash 10 3.50
13 Hardcore Punk 9 3.72
14 Industrial Metal 9 3.33
15 Mathcore 9 2.83
16 Deathcore 9 3.39
17 NWoBHM 5 3.70
18 Death Metal 5 3.60
19 Gothic Metal 5 3.70
20 Speed Metal 4 3.38
21 Metalcore 3 3.17
22 Groove Metal 3 3.17
23 Alternative Metal 3 2.83
24 Melodic Death Metal 3 4.00
25 Heavy Alternative Rock 3 3.83
26 Melodic Metalcore 2 3.75
27 Brutal Death Metal 2 4.00
28 Stoner Metal 2 3.50
29 Symphonic Metal 2 3.50
30 Nu Metal 1 2.50
31 Power Metal 1 2.00
32 Rap Metal 1 2.50
33 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 1 4.00
34 Heavy Psych 1 4.00

Latest Albums Reviews


Album · 2018 · Progressive Metal
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As an old metal fan who has experienced the great era's of metal's genesis with bands like Black Sabbath, the emergence of the NWOBHM, the speed metal and punk crossover scenes of the 1980's, then the rise of progressive metal in its various forms derived from those various scenes, it has been an absolute pleasure to experience the metamorphosis of the genre as the decades have passed. Unfortunately, metal has also experienced great expanses of stagnation and unapologetic mimicry. It has become increasingly difficult to find artists who seek there own creative space in the metal paradigm without wrapping themselves in redundant clichés. Fortunately, the diligent fan willing to dig through heaps of pretenders can occasionally stumble upon a creative gem like Köln, Germany's COLONEL PETROV'S GOOD JUDGEMENT. Their sophomore release Among Servants is a major step in creativity from their sludgy debut, Moral Machine. While undeniably metal, this album is highly experimental. A dark and dystopian blend of organized anarchy. The instrumentation comes to mind immediately in pushing the album's experimentalism with several well placed saxophone parts played by vocalist Leonhard Huhn. The second song, Resistor, for example, has a wild, rangy sax solo that breaks from the song's classic hardcore punk sounding intro. Sebastian Müller's guitar tones stray from the ubiquitous "djent" delivery that permeates a large portion of current metal output. He brings a tenacious bag of dirty influences from punky overdriven power chords to RIO-ish atonal chord structures to heavily reverbed psychedelia. The band's experimental machine is further driven by several rhythmic devices not frequently used in metal. The instrumental, Ascension, being the first piece that comes to mind with its drunkish slow-to-fast verses, textured by minimalist guitar and bass phrasing and eerie ambient saxophone reverb backgrounds. More delirium laced passages issue forth from songs like Bad Shepherd (which features vocals from Valborg and OWL's Christian Kolf), with its descending chromatic run emanating from a droning chant intro. Among Servants repeatedly shifts from the familiar to a seemingly endless pool of the unorthodox, unrepentant experimentation. The lyrical themes of the album are political and psycho/social in nature. This is an extremely strong album for those seeking something off the beaten path. Perhaps not a masterpiece, but well down the road to it. Among Servants is an album I will listen to for years to come. Hopefully COLONEL PETROV'S GOOD JUDGEMENT will continue the creative process in this manner.

COPROFAGO Unorthodox Creative Criteria

Album · 2005 · Thrash Metal
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For Fans of: Destroy, Erase, Improve era Meshuggah, Cynic, Martyr

Vocal Style: Cookie Monster

Guitar Style: Broad range of Metal/Rock/Jazz tones. Many Holdsworth style solos over heavy compresed metal grinds

Keyboard Style: Polysynth saw waves with various string and brass patches

Percussion Style: Standard rock kit used with extreme dynamics

Bass Style: Fretless electric ranging from heavy picked to slapped and jazzy walks

Other Instruments: Beautiful string arrangement on Glimpses

Summary: Chile's Coprofago is often accused of being a Meshuggah clone. It is true that much of their sound is remeniscent of Meshuggah, the booming guitars, polyrhythmic drumming, Holdsworth-esque guitar solos, and death Metal vocals. But Coprofago maintains a firm foothold on their jazz roots. Previous work by Coprofago was peppered with jazzy undistorted breaks, but Unorthadox Creative Criteria takes their love of jazz to a new level. In fact, the second half of the album has only two songs that would be even remotely considered metal. It is best to review the album on a song be song basis. Song ratings take into account how the fit in the overall work, not just how the work individually.

1. Crippled Tracker - A staccato blast of polyrhythmic metal, similar to much of what was offered on Genesis, complete with a spacey close and Holdsworth toned guitar solo.(4/5)

2. The Inborn Mechanics - Starts as a thrashing metal piece that morphs into a jazzy bridge with atonal guitar solo and short bass answer. Fades to an ambient mix of metal guitars and synth. (5/5)

3. Neutralized - Intro speed is increased for this number. The strength in this song is in the break. An expansive reverbed out guitar solo gives the song character, but the machine gun style of the main theme is a little hard to enjoy. (3/5)

4. Merge Into - A quiet interlude of guitar synth very much like late 80's Holdsworth (4/5)

5. Fractures - The most uninteresting part of the album. Pretty much a straight forward Death Metal song (2/5)

6. Hostile Silent Raptures - Polyrhythmic grind, much stronger and more interesting than Fractures. Bridge is a talk back part with a funky bass break. Closes with a long resolution guitar solo and synth guitar. (4/5)

7. Streams - Album starts to get really interesting at this point. Difficult song to describe. Electronica elements interspersed with Eric Johnson-esque guitar work. Short chamber string break included. (4.5/5)

8. Isolated through Multiplicity - Very strong instrumental jazz/metal fusion song. Opens with guitar-synth sqare waves backed by double bass. Much of this song sounds like it could have come from Holdsworths Sand. Perhaps the best song on the album. (5/5)

9. Individual Choice - Another smoking jazz piece with a short metal break. Its just a lot of fun to hear these guys go off on this kind of stuff. (5/5)

10. Glimpses - One would think that a band known for playing metal would have a metal song be their most sinister piece, but this song consists entirely of chamber strings and background subteranean ambience. Very evil sounding with absolutely no distorted guitars. Exemplifies the album title to an extreme. (5/5)

11. Constriction - These guys want to beat you silly with contrast. Coming out of Glimpses, we get assaulted with the noisiest part of the album. It works pretty well when taken in context. (3.5/5)

12. Motion - Starts with a simple bass line and almost electronica sound with ambient synth vibes. Resolves into a beautiful instrumental jazz/fusion piece. Some of their best work. (5/5)

13. Wavelength - Interesting piece in that they incorporate the death metal vox into jazz/fusion directly for the first time. Alarming at first, it starts to grow. This song cycles repeatedly through fusion/metal and throws in strings to add to the mix. (4.5/5)

Overall the strong parts of Unorthadox Creative Criteria are extremely strong, the weak parts are short and tolerable. For my part, I consider this a 5 star album. But it is definitely not for everybody. Undoubtedly hated by metal purists. Get Unorthadox Creative Criteria if you: 1. Like stylistic blends. 2. Are tolerant of death metal vocals for the sake of wonderfully creative music.

LAUNDRY Motivator

Album · 1999 · Funk Metal
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It took 5 years for Laundry to follow up their 1994 debut release, Black Tongue, with their second and final album, Motivator. The band's core of Tim "Herb" Alexander, Ian Varriale, and Tom Butler remained. The major difference was the departure of vocalist Toby Hawkins, whose duties were absorbed by "Herb", ultimately to his discontent. Varriale, while not necessarily changing his duties, slightly modified his string tapping stage presence by exchanging his Chapman Stick for a Warr Guitar.

Motivator is a slightly more refined production than Black Tongue. The overall recording has a similar tone but a cleaner mix. Musically, the album is decidedly more accessible than its predecessor. There is a far more pedestrian, groove oriented rhythmic consistency that was not apparent on Black Tongue. Compositionally, it has less complex passages and obscure instrumental interplay. While the overall dark hews of predominantly minor keys remain, there is less of an affinity for atonal passages, whole tones, or dissonance. The combination remains heavy with overdriven guitar sounds, but not crossing the heavy metal distortion barrier. Tim Alexander's vocals are in a higher register and use a significant amount of reverb compared to Toby Hawkins'. While competent and in tune, it is readily apparent that vocals are not his primary function. There is something intangible that makes the vocals less cohesive with the music. Perhaps it is only a listener preference issue. Despite the differences noted, it is readily apparent that this is the same band 5 years removed.

In general I find Motivator to be a good album, but the less enjoyable of the two. As stated earlier, its just a listener preference issue. And really, I can't identify any unappealing movements within the album, just nothing as outstanding as I found with Black Tongue. The album highlight for me is "So Mean", with its spacey bridge; probably the song with the most dynamic contrast. From a rating standpoint, I would call it a good but not essential 3 stars.

After the supporting tour for Motivator, Laundry would disband. "Herb" would go on to play in many more projects; including The Blue Man Group, A Perfect Circle, and eventually rejoining his old mates with Primus.

LAUNDRY Blacktongue

Album · 1994 · Funk Metal
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The 5-10 years around the turn of the millennium was a fantastic time for music fans everywhere. Especially for those that lived in areas that did not have an exceptionally deep music scene and less than optimal music stores. The internet would open the gates to hidden gems that people in those areas had never enjoyed access to up to that point. Not only was the communication flow opening up, but the burgeoning digital compression era had created more accessibility, but also a bit of a ideological war, and people were taking sides. My discovery of the band Laundry had a link to that war and the fact that the band appeared to have chosen a side not popular with the bulk of the music industry. One of my frequent way-too-late nights of internet music discovery in the early- 2000's found me following a thread from the band Primus to drummer Tim "Herb" Alexander's band, Laundry . Their website was complete with full mp3 downloads of both their albums. Thus, I set about the rather enjoyable experience of discovery as I dove into their debut album, Black Tongue.

One of the links that I followed to find Laundry was of course a biography of Herb. I can not recall the precise source so exact quotes are not possible, but I recall comments to the effect that Herb wished to expand beyond the cartoonish elements of Primus (the particular that was mentioned was "Winona's Big Brown Beaver"). It can be said that Black Tongue takes a decidedly darker tone than his previous band's themes from the outset. But as the easiest link to establish, it is almost essential to compare the two bands. Aside from the overall thematic tone of the compositions, differences in the instrumental makeup were also readily apparent. As talented as Les Claypool is, one of the best descriptions of his playing style is "precision mud" (not at all pejorative, I love that sound). The bass sounds used by Laundry's Chapman stick player, Ian Varriale, while not completely dissimilar, strayed from the muddiness with its tap style madness. As Varriale lays the string foundation to the opener, Windshield, another comparison invites itself; Tony Levin era King Crimson. But that comparison begins and ends with the Chapman stick. Guitarist Tom Butler's playing style, if one could imagine the exact middle, lays between the atonal minimalism of Larry Lalonde and the virtuosity of Robert Fripp. It fits the music perfectly, but is definitely in its own zone. Herb's drumming is similarly groove oriented, but with less funky, dare I say, danceability than his more familiar works.

Song highlights are the similarly swirling, spacey, psychosis inducing "Monarch Man" and "Canvas". Near the end is a piece called "19", that includes answering machine spoken word self deprecating diatribe with underlying stick work that is mildly reminiscent of King Crimson's "Indiscipline". Overall, there are really no bad songs on this album.

Of the two albums released by Laundry, the more interesting and deep is Black Tongue. As previously mentioned, the overall color of the music is dark, but never with a traditional metal heaviness. The songs alternate from driving beats to seemingly backwards slithering of delirium laced passages. While one might argue it is certainly not as tight as 1999's Motivator, it makes up for it in adventurousness. Black Tongue would definitely not be the choice for the passive listener and passes the prog litmus test more resolutely. And it easily accomplished Tim "Herb" Alexander's goal of distancing himself from comic overtones. Not a masterpiece, but a highly enjoyable, recommended listen.

MESHUGGAH Catch Thirtythree

Album · 2005 · Progressive Metal
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From the "wall of sound" section of my collection comes Swedish metal kingpins, Meshuggah, with their fifth full length LP-CD and first attempt at a concept album, Catch-33. Released approximately 3 years after the less than enjoyable LP Nothing, the shift in album structure to a continuous piece on Catch-33 was prefaced a year earlier with the EP I, not only in its compositional presentation, but also in its lyrical theme. I may be completely off base as the lyrics contain enough metaphoric ambiguity, and there is a significant amount of interpretative discussion to be found on the internet about Catch- 33, that the concept of I appear to be expanding on the concept of self, inner struggles/paradoxes and pitfalls of defining self in reflection of others. To a lesser extent, one might even look at Catch-33 as a microcosmic extension of the concepts used in guitarist Fredrik Thordendal's Sol Niger Within. The ideas expressed in these thick metaphors are abundant with images of self being the primary perpetrator of psychological torture, even in the chemically stable mind. The summation of ideas seems to be presented early on in the album in one of its most recognizable lines, "The struggle to free myself from restraint, becomes my very shackles". Many of these ideas are expressed in the basic ubiquitous teachings of Zen philosophy and the core tenets of Buddhism. From a delivery standpoint, it is understandable that many may feel the ideas and depth of concept are lost in the profoundly distorted and incomprehensible screaming vocals of Jens Kidman. But in the case of Catch-33, there is a dichotomy in that loss of understanding by the listener is the representation of what is conveyed by that soft inner voice that speaks in paradoxes and generates the internal torment of confusion and loss of self. Instrumentally the band uses 8-string guitars for an extremely thick bottom end. The processing of the guitar sound is peculiar in that even during the most distorted sections the lowest guitar sound less like the distortion of amplification overdrive and more like two metal pieces (wire/fret) vibrating against each other. This creates unconventional accents in the rhythmic patterns that are mimicced frequently today, but were very unique at the time of this release. Thordendal's typical Holdsworthian soloing style is used primarily as a texturing tool throughout the album. A particularly unusual aspect of this album is that Tomas Haake's drum tracks are actually programmed rather than recorded. Haake explains that this occured in the writing process, the programming was used for laying down the guitar tracks and the band as a whole decided the samples "sounded really good" and just went with it. Interestingly, they did perform some of the Catch-33 material live with Haake playing. Catch-33 is separated into tracks for indexing purposes, but is presented as a single composition with different movements that seem irrespective of the track assignments. The composition displays a great deal more dynamic contrast than previous work. And while the use of "quiet" parts are nothing new to a Meshuggah album, they are never quite as extended as they are delivered on Catch-33. Nor are they ever delivered with as much of an avant-garde musical approach. Previous songs like Unanything, Acrid Placidity had a more generic "this is the mellow song on the metal album" feel to them. Even later, The Last Vigil, approached the use of undistorted strings in a similar vein, but did not come close in the complexity of musical idea. The sections of particular note I am speaking of are at the end of the tracks In Death...Is Death and Sum. There are a couple shorter undistorted sections, but these are the two longest. Each has intertwining guitar patterns and both contain some of the eeriest, most sinister sounding passages in the body of Meshuggah's work. I should hope that Thordendal and Mårten Hagström will employ more of this approach or even explore a separate project in the future. There is something truly majestic about that style. And even the percussive portions of the music display a depth of musical understanding that exceeds that of bands considered in the same paradigm. From the rhythmic structures that use multiple time signatures simultaneously, to use of jazzy dodecaphonics (12-tone), Meshuggah was, and continue to be unbound by expectation. When taking into account Meshuggah's body of work I find Catch-33 at the forefront of my appreciation for its unconventionality, diversity, and thoughtfulness. It is held from the regard of masterpiece outside of the metal world simply by the vocals. And as I stated previously, there is a fundamental value to that style in the story.I believe that the listener who is up for a challenge will find a very deep and rewarding experience in the intricacies and complex build of this mammoth construction. 4.5 stars.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted more than 2 years ago in MMA best of the 2010s - discussion thread
    As a show of respect for our sibling site with the forum that has the gorgeous black screen that ISN'T A BRIGHT BACKGROUND WITH PURPLE HIGHLIGHTS THAT MAKES ME WANT TO GOUGE MY EYEBALLS OUT MUCH OF THE TIME! ... I decided that I could come up with about 50 albums from the last 10 years to participate in the event. I have to say, out of the ridiculous number of bands on this site, there were several I thought for sure would be here. Cthulu Rise for one, would have ranked high. Anyway, looks like most of my top 10 isn't repeated anywhere. I have seen The Wake and The Mountain at least once each.I did remove the numbers for the official list:1. Voivod - The Wake2. Pryapisme - Hyperblast Super Collider3. Haken - The Mountain4. Watchtower - Concepts in Mathematics Book 15. Colonel Petrov's Good Judgement - Among Servants6. Syk - I-Optikon7. Helium Horse Fly - Helium Horse Fly8. Atheist - Jupiter9. Panzerballett - Breaking Brain10. Pryapisme - Diabolicus Felinae Pandemonium11. Chimp Spanner - All Roads Lead Here12. Electro Quarterstaff - Aykroyd13. Exivious - Liminal14. Opeth - Ina Cauda Venenum15. Mestis - Basal Ganglia16. Schitzofrantik - Oddities17. Rings of Saturn - Lugal Ki En18. Canvas Solaris - Irradiance19. Virus - Momento Collider20. Voivod - Target Earth21. Unexpect - Fables of the Sleepless Empire22. Blotted Science - The Animation of Entomology23. Dysrhythmia - Terminal Threshold24. Special Providence - Essence of Change25. Protest the Hero - Fortress26. Pain of Salvation - In the Passing Light of Day27. Scale the Summit - The Migration28. Dethklok - Dethalbum III29. Syk - Atoma30. Meshuggah - The Violent Sleep of Reason31. Virus - The Agent That Shapes the Desert32. Felix Martin - The Scenic Album33. Counter-World Experience - Pulsar34. Schizofrantik - Ripping Heartaches35. Nova Collective - The Further Side36. Dying Fetus - Reign Supreme37. Dysrhythmia - Test of Submission38. Haken - Visions39. Rings of Saturn - Dingir40. Animals as Leaders - Weightless41. Portal - Ion42. Pryapisme - Rococo Holocaust 43. Periphery - Periphery (Instrumental)44. Intronaut - Valley of Smoke45. Theory in Practice - Crescendo Dezign46. Meshuggah - Koloss 47. Panzerballett - Xmas Death Jazz  tapfret2020-06-30 17:05:27
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in MMA Best of the 2010s Voting Thread
    Voivod - The WakePryapisme - Hyperblast Super ColliderHaken - The MountainWatchtower - Concepts in Mathematics Book 1Colonel Petrov's Good Judgement - Among ServantsSyk - I-OptikonHelium Horse Fly - Helium Horse FlyAtheist - JupiterPanzerballett - Breaking BrainPryapisme - Diabolicus Felinae PandemoniumChimp Spanner - All Roads Lead HereElectro Quarterstaff - AykroydExivious - LiminalOpeth - Ina Cauda VenenumMestis - Basal GangliaSchitzofrantik - OdditiesRings of Saturn - Lugal Ki EnCanvas Solaris - IrradianceVirus - Momento ColliderVoivod - Target EarthUnexpect - Fables of the Sleepless EmpireBlotted Science - The Animation of EntomologyDysrhythmia - Terminal ThresholdSpecial Providence - Essence of ChangeProtest the Hero - FortressPain of Salvation - In the Passing Light of DayScale the Summit - The MigrationDethklok - Dethalbum IIISyk - AtomaMeshuggah - The Violent Sleep of ReasonVirus - The Agent That Shapes the DesertFelix Martin - The Scenic AlbumCounter-World Experience - PulsarSchizofrantik - Ripping HeartachesNova Collective - The Further SideDying Fetus - Reign SupremeDysrhythmia - Test of SubmissionHaken - VisionsRings of Saturn - DingirAnimals as Leaders - WeightlessPortal - IonPryapisme - Rococo Holocaust Periphery - Periphery (Instrumental)Intronaut - Valley of SmokeTheory in Practice - Crescendo DezignMeshuggah - Koloss Panzerballett - Xmas Death Jazz  tapfret2020-06-30 17:06:10
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in MMA Best of Year 2019 Results
    Just posted the Progarchives 2019 Collaborators top albums today. I definitely don't go as deep in the list for cover art or descriptions. As usual a lot of crossover on the 2 lists. As a matter of fact, Waste of Space Orchestra is in the exact same #8 spot on both lists.


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