Peter Skov
MMA Special Collaborator · Proto-Metal and Hard Rock teams
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 41 days ago

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218 reviews/ratings
DEEP PURPLE - Deep Purple In Rock Hard Rock | review permalink
QUEENSRŸCHE - Rage For Order Heavy Metal | review permalink
HAKEN - The Mountain Progressive Metal | review permalink
SYMPHONY X - V: The New Mythology Suite Progressive Metal | review permalink
METALLICA - Master of Puppets Thrash Metal | review permalink
DEVIN TOWNSEND - Deconstruction Progressive Metal | review permalink
ANVIL - Metal on Metal Heavy Metal | review permalink
DEEP PURPLE - Now What?! Hard Rock | review permalink
STRAPPING YOUNG LAD - Alien Industrial Metal | review permalink
SÓLSTAFIR - Ótta Metal Related | review permalink
APRIL WINE - Electric Jewels Hard Rock | review permalink
ANVIL - Forged in Fire Heavy Metal | review permalink
DEVIN TOWNSEND - Synchestra Progressive Metal | review permalink
DEVIN TOWNSEND - Terria Progressive Metal | review permalink
SYMPHONY X - Iconoclast Progressive Metal | review permalink
OPETH - Ghost Reveries Progressive Metal | review permalink
DEEP PURPLE - Machine Head Hard Rock | review permalink
GORGUTS - Colored Sands Technical Death Metal | review permalink
SWORD - Metalized Heavy Metal | review permalink
SACRIFICE - The Ones I Condemn Thrash Metal | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Hard Rock 51 3.54
2 Proto-Metal 45 3.04
3 Progressive Metal 27 3.96
4 Heavy Metal 20 3.88
5 Death Metal 18 3.86
6 Thrash Metal 11 3.86
7 Technical Death Metal 10 4.10
8 Heavy Psych 8 3.50
9 Glam Metal 5 3.70
10 Black Metal 3 3.83
11 Industrial Metal 3 3.67
12 Melodic Death Metal 2 4.00
13 NWoBHM 2 3.50
14 Alternative Metal 2 3.75
15 Doom Metal 2 4.00
16 Death-Doom Metal 1 3.50
17 Atmospheric Black Metal 1 3.00
18 Avant-garde Metal 1 4.00
19 Death 'n' Roll 1 4.00
20 Sludge Metal 1 4.00
21 Stoner Metal 1 3.50
22 Metal Related 1 4.50
23 Non-Metal 1 3.50
24 Technical Thrash Metal 1 4.00

Latest Albums Reviews


Album · 1987 · Thrash Metal
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To think that a Canadian band had a hand in shaping death metal. Canadian bands rarely prove to be influential in much. It's not because the music isn't good. It's just that Canadian bands tend to get noticed by a few people who really appreciate what they hear and ignored by most other people. But my compatriots have made a mark here and there with Rush and Anvil probably being the most influential in shaping metal. Voivod are just Voivod: unique and inimitable.

Slaughter, originally called Slaughterhouse, are not to be confused with the glam metal band Slaughter. These Canucks were on a mission which was to play really noisy, aggressive music that combined influences from Hellhammer/Celtic Frost, Slayer, Venom, and Wendy Williams and the Plasmatics. They admit to not starting out as very good musicians and didn't entertain any lofty goals of becoming famous. Music was for enjoyment and sharing, meant to be heard. They often handed out cassettes at their shows and were all for the free trading of music. They also threw baby doll heads at their shows and blew their noses on the audience. In two interviews I read last night, I learned that they were also close friends with fellow Torontonian thrashers Sacrifice and got on well with the guys in Razor. One claim to fame they have is that Chuck Schuldiner (yes, THE Chuck Schuldiner!) played guitar in the band for a short time in 1986.

"Strappado" was recorded in 1986 and finally released in 1987. The CD reissue I picked up includes the entire album plus additional bonus tracks of unedited album material and outtakes. The sound quality of the album proper is as you might expect for an extreme metal band without big money backing their recording: it is pretty brutish and unclean, but that also suits the music very well. Really very well! The intent behind the music is exactly what the members admit to: that they were making extreme aggressive noise. The guitars are as dirty and ungraceful as a dung-smeared troll armory being tested as Gargantua's chainsaw teeth; the bass is in the mix somewhere; and the drums conjure up every image of a Goblin metal foundry whose machine press is in dire need of re-calibration. At one point, the drum mixing is so over-the-top that instead of sounding like solid snare hits with spaces in between, the spaces seem to be filled with the sound of compressed air swelling up like the rebound wave that comes up after you punch a waterbed.

The bonus tracks are even muddier but honestly don't sound any worse than some early death metal eps, and I'm of the impression that the bonus tracks are on par with early material by Dismember or Entombed. The vocals are suitably gruff and motorcycle gang member growly. Forget the blowing noses as you'd have been as likely to be showered in phlegm and spittle at one of Slaughter's shows.

A lot of Canadian bands have a certain unique charm about them. The members of Rush are nice and funny guys writing intelligent music; Helix has that night-of-the-hockey-game party rock sound; Anvil, the hardworking under-rated metal flag bearers. Slaughter was just about brashness, brutishness, and unclassy violent noise. And having fun doing it! Why did they quit so soon? The music industry tried to take all the fun out. And according to the interviews I read, they are not likely to come back either. Then again, those were old interviews.

Is this good "music"? I don't think so. The riffs are simple and almost cliche, the drumming way in the lack of interesting fills, the songs with every shred of melody hacksawed off. Does it achieve its goal? Oh, yeah! As an old high school friend of mine once said about some of my musical preferences, "This makes as much noise as an explosion with a back beat".

THIN LIZZY Jailbreak

Album · 1976 · Hard Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
I’ve never been a Thin Lizzy fan, and that may be surprising given my deep interest in seventies hard rock and metal. The song that was always on the radio was “The Boys Are Back in Town”, which for me was just another one of those classic rock songs that was played so many times that I became desensitized to it and basically ignored it. Classic rock radio tends to have that effect on music: it plays the same songs day in day out until they become as familiar and unnoticeable as the wallpaper in the staffroom at work. I can’t think of any other Thin Lizzy songs I might have known. But it’s often the case that I’ll become interested in a band, buy a couple of albums and discover that I’ve already heard a song or two countless times, I just didn’t know whose song it was.

The reason why I finally felt inclined to buy a Thin Lizzy album is thanks to 1977. I was listening to Judas Priest’s 1977 album “Sin After Sin” and began pondering the state of heavy metal in that year. It was just the first rumblings of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, and “heavy metal” as it was known in 1977 included mostly bands that we classify easily as hard rock today. So, as I checked out the year 1977 for hard rock and metal, I came to Thin Lizzy’s “Bad Reputation” but found the album to have too much non-hard stuff. “Jailbreak” sounded like it could be a little edgier.

Thin Lizzy is a band that I call “metal by association”. The band is often included in hard rock and heavy rock lists because of songs like “The Boys Are Back in Town” or “Jailbreak”. They are solid hard rockers with good riffs and cool solos. But Thin Lizzy didn’t start out very hard and if they even became a full-fledged hard rock outfit, I don’t know. What we have here is a typical hard rock album of the seventies, and that is one which includes a good balance of hard rock numbers and non-hard numbers. To be fair, the whole album is very well done. As an album to represent the band, my conclusion is that this is a prime example of what to expect. They even get close to a metal vibe in the darker and heavier tracks of “Warriors” and “Emerald”. “Running Back” has a simple hook but is quite catchy and easy to have running in your head, while “Romeo and the Lonely Girl” has a memorable and melodic chorus. “Cowboy Song” is mentioned in the liner notes as the style of song that appealed to rock and rollers who lead a lonely life on the road and inspired the concept of Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive”. I personally find this cowboy theme uninteresting and too obvious. It’s the one track I am tempted to skip when it comes on.

The remaster of this 1976 classic sounds great. The music is warm and clear, punches when it needs to, but doesn’t get over loud. Some remasters have all the levels pumped up and they sound like nothing you’d ever hear in the seventies while others keep everything flat. The turn-off point for me is that this album sounds very safe. The riffs and melodies are simple and repetitive. The four-piece band don’t challenge themselves beyond making a good album of hard rock riffs and catchy melodies. There’s no pushing of boundaries or envelopes, no going out on limbs, no daring attempts, no cunning stunts. It’s a very safe album that seems set to appeal to the lowest common denominator. As such, it’s an album to listen to when you need a break from ground-breaking, years-ahead-of-its-time, lost gem-type albums that strived to reach new territory or blow up old institutions. Nice, warm, comfortable rock and roll, this is.


Album · 1999 · Proto-Metal
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Today I am going to do two things for the first time. One is that I am going to review an album entirely from listening to it on YouTube and the other is that I am going to rate an album below 2 stars.

But first, a little about Supernaut. An English band formed in 1973, they were, as you can guess by the name, Black Sabbath fans and like their mentors, played music with heavy and dark-sounding riffs. Unlike Sabbath, however, they included a spacey keyboard in their compositions. The band cut a single self-titled album of seven tracks in 1974 which was later released on CD.

Searching about the Net, there is little more information, though one site includes some info from the CD booklet which states that the band recorded a demo (the album) and had Vertigo's interest. The label said they were too heavy and requested Supernaut to record some Eagles covers to which the band obliged but were "so disgusted" that they split up. There seems to be some question as to whether this was a real band and is cautiously considered fictitious on another metal site.

Listening to the album there are two things that you will notice immediately. The riffs are really doom heavy and the guitar playing sounds really amateur. Honestly, the first time I clicked the play icon, I was immediately transported to my 17-year-old self with my Anjo electric guitar, sitting in my bedroom with a Boss distortion pedal plugged into a small, inexpensive amp and cranking out a riff that I thought sounded cool but couldn't do anything with. And this is the one very huge drawback to the album: the guitar playing sounds really amateur. Unfortunately, most of the tracks are introduced by the guitarist indeterminably hammering out his riffs on his very cheap and poorly sounding equipment. Once the drums and bass are in and the keyboards (surprising they are at first) start playing, the guitar playing slips into the flow of the music a little better and the recordings are passable as early demos of a young band. The vocals, sparse as they are, don't sound any better than the guitar.

This is available as a CD still now and I listened to this on YouTube because I was at first interested in an early doom band from 1974 and had an eye on the disc. I am glad I decided to listen first though and saved my money. In comparison, the early recordings by Iron Claw, which have a pretty shoddy production and don't sound so good and don't have the ideal vocalist, at least have a better sense of composition and playing. Perhaps it's because Iron Claw used to play Black Sabbath's debut album in its entirety at their live shows. Also worthy to consider in comparison is Necromandus, who were actually taking under Toni Iommi's management and who played excellent progressive, early doom but were abandoned after recording their album as their manager went overseas to tour in America.

I think Supernaut needed to have a guitarist who could play a little more fluidly and professionally, a better recorded guitar sound, and a proper producer in the studio to help them flesh out their style more. The actual riffs are somewhat promising and the music indicates that the band had a vision and potential but in the end lacked what they needed to make their album sound good. They get points for effort and could possibly have been a great early doom metal band. Instead, we are left with an album that is almost painful to listen to at times and has attracted criticism and scorn in the YouTube comments and no praise.

Not to be confused with the 1974 release by the Perth, Australia glam rock band by the same name.

BATHORY The Return......

Album · 1985 · Black Metal
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Ah, Bathory! The Return.... Is that a double epsilon? I remember that day, that exciting day of going downtown with my paper route tip money and heading straight to the metal section of the music store, searching for something new to discover. And there amidst all the album covers of skulls, musclebound barbarians, acts of violence and blood, and Siamese twins tearing apart, was a simple cover of a gibbous moon shining through a gap in the clouds, a scene I had easily observed many times in my life. What kind of album would this be? I snatched it up!

Ah, Bathory! Some 32 years later and I finally decided to delve into black metal and see what there might be to captivate my constant craving for more diversity in my music collection. I brought home Immortal and thought, “The vocals really sound a lot like Quorthon of Bathory.” I brought home Darkthrone and Enslaved and thought the same. I checked out Emperor, Marduk, Gorgoroth, Satyricon, and more and each time I was reminded of Bathory. It soon dawned on me that if there was one band that inspired the sound of the second wave of black metal, it had to be Bathory.

You’ll find out very quickly that this is true when you watch any documentaries on YouTube or read anything about the development of the black metal scene. Bathory’s debut album and especially “Under the Sign of the Black Mark”, the third album, are frequently cited as the most highly influential albums in the developing black metal scene. The dark, distorted guitars and sinister riffs, the low production quality, and the back-of-the-throat, angry-burning-witch vocal style set the parameters of the black metal to come. For a riff-lover like me, “Born for Burning” had the most dread-inspiring and powerful guitar riff to make it to my cassette collection yet back in 1985, and songs like “Total Destruction”, “Sadist”, and “The Rite of Darkness / Reap of Evil” affirmed my love for this album.

On the plus side, I found the tracks I had forgotten, like “The Wind of Mayhem” and “Son of the Dammed” were at least worth hearing again, while the intro, “Revelation of Doom”, which once conjured up images of a demon in destructive rage approaching from afar, now sounds more like a giant baby crying for its formula bottle. Or is that a mammoth, Satanic tit?

Listening to this album now after at least three decades, I am reminded how the drumming mostly just keeps the beat and how there are few fills, though when one does come in, it sure feels effective. I also recall reading one single review of the album ever and the author saying that the band had an agile bassist. However, I am not hearing that bass so well. But perhaps it doesn’t matter. The real stars of the show are Quorthon’s original vocals, the heavy assault guitars, and the fuzzy production. This album impressed me much more than the debut and “Under the Sign of the Black Mark” actually turned me off the band. No one ever seems to talk about “The Return......” but for me this was/is an essential album in the tale of black metal and extreme metal in the eighties. Quorthon may have died far too young but his legacy can be heard in so many bands of the 1990’s. That’s gotta count for something!

SCORPIONS Virgin Killer

Album · 1976 · Hard Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
There’re no lead in sound effects, no acoustic intros, or any willy-nillying to the beginning of this album. The first song, “Pictured Life” just kicks off the album with a melodic hard rock song that features Uli Jon Roth’s lead melody. The guitar sound is high toned but backed with the bass of Francis Buchholz it takes on a heavier sound. Someone out there called this song a stand out track in the Scorpions catalogue.

For me though, the next track, “Catch Your Train” is even more exciting, erupting from the album with a sustained guitar note by Roth and slashing chords by Michael Schenker, then a flurry of notes off Roth’s fretboard. When Kirk Hammett appeared alongside Roth on Eddie Trunk’s “That Metal Show”, Hammett stated how that song, with its pyrotechnic lead guitar work, had inspired him as a young teenager. The song is hurried and powerful.

“Walk in Your Park” is an early power ballad but seemingly loud in the loud parts though quite gentle in the softer moments. “Backstage Queen” a good but typical rocker.

And then there’s the title track. “Virgin Killer” was inspired by KISS and the lyrics written by Roth are about how Time is the stealer of innocence. The album cover art was decided by the record company and it featured a nude ten-year-old girl posing seductively with her genitalia obscured by a crack in the glass supposedly covering the photograph. Though no one in the band considered this as promoting child pornography at the time, the album received serious criticism in the U.K. and the U.S. and had to be sold in a black cover in some countries whereas for other countries the cover photo was replaced with one of the band. Indeed the copy I had on cassette in Canada in the eighties was the band version. When Wikipedia included an article about the album using the original album art, protests and complaints created a case against Wikipedia using what many deemed as an image promoting child pornography and pedophilia. The FBI became involved although in the end no American laws were found to have been violated.

Side two of the album features two tracks with Roth on lead vocals, “Hell Cat” and “Polar Nights”. Both of these are stand out tracks because Roth’s deep love for Jimi Hendrix can be heard in the guitar riffs. Not the best choice for a lead vocalist, Roth would eventually leave the Scorpions and start his own band, Electric Sun and take the lead vocal duties.

Other tracks on side two include “Crying Time”, which to me still carries a bit of the psychedelic mood that was on early Scorpions recordings, and another slower, ballad type of song, “The Yellow Raven” which is very soft and delicate until the powerful, hard rock ending.

This album sees for a brief time the Roth-era Scorpions really coming into their sound. The previous two albums were each quite distinct: “Fly to the Rainbow” being basically Roth’s band, Dawn Road, writing material with Rudolf Schenker and Klaus Meine that still had some progressive tendencies, and “In Trance” the first step toward writing shorter hard rock sounds with producer Dieter Dierks. While both of these older albums have some strengths and weaknesses, I see “Virgin Killer” along with “Taken by Force” as two excellent albums featuring some seminal hard rock and early metal performances with Roth’s guitar work standing out. According to Wikipedia, at least three songs from this album have been covered by modern metal bands. As this album seems to be much appreciated in the metal music world, I feel vindicated for loving it in spite of the fact that among my friends in junior high school, I was the only one who liked Uli Jon Roth-era Scorpions.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 3 months ago in Modern heavy metal SUCKS!
    I enjoyed this video. I still spend about 96% of my music money on pre-1995 albums as I find the music really exciting. Heavy metal went through so many changes over its first two and a half decades. Recently the evolution has slowed down. Not as slow as pop mind you, but still things are not moving as quickly as they used to. This guy's explanation offers some reasons for why that evolution has lost pace. I don't know enough about modern metal to say whether or not he's totally right or way off the mark and I do enjoy a lot of modern albums. But it's true that music from the 60's through to the early eighties and maybe even nineties in the case of metal required a lot of innovation and ingenuity to get the music to sound as they musicians intended. If these days the goal is to get everyone to fit an easy mould then we are losing that spirit of adventure and innovation.His point about vocals I agree with though. I grew up on Rob Halford, Bruce Dickenson, Klaus Meine, Ronnie Dio and the likes and you can pick each one out easily from the others. I have also come to appreciate the skill of death growls and can recognize individual voices as well. And though I find some modern techniques interesting in sound, he's right about certain techniques making it impossible to maintain a distinct and individual voice tone.
  • Posted 4 months ago in Static on Reissues
    Rock Candy seem to be pretty big. They are reissuing albums all the time and each CD comes with a booklet explaining about the history of the album. Dissonance Productions I don’t know but Heavy Sounds (Tank) seem to have at least some reissues to their credit. When I buy from Discogs I have the luxury of choosing the label provided there are people selling them and for a reasonable price. But Amazon sometimes has only one option and so with Jaguar, which I bought from Amazon, I was disappointed that the sound is so shoddy. For old obscure albums that were independently recorded or “lost gem” demos, I am forgiving. But there’s no good excuse here except carelessness or lack of know how.
  • Posted 4 months ago in Static on Reissues
    A couple of years back, I bought Coney Hatch's second album and a Helix album on CD, reissued and remastered by the Rock Candy label. I had three or four other CDs on that label but these two albums had a major flaw in the sound quality: static. The first track on each were fine but as the album played on, a scratchy static sound gradually crept into the music, becoming worse as the album went on. Both albums sound so terrible that I don't even feel like listening to them because I notice the static more than the music. You should hear Brian Volmer singing a ballad with static clinging to his vocal work. Arrggh!At the beginning of this year I brought home Tank's debut "Filth Hounds of Hades" reissued on a label from Sweden and it too has this static sound. Then last week, Jaguar's "Power Games" on the Dissonance label made it into my collection and for @#&%'s sake it also has static!Currently three of these albums are available on other labels and I'm considering buying them again (at some point) and hoping that those have better sound quality.Has anyone else experienced this with reissues? If you have heard the same CD on two different labels, did one have a cleaner sound than the other? It really bugs me because it spoils my enjoyment of the music!


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