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Peter Skov
MMA Special Collaborator · Proto Team
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 6 days ago

Favorite Metal Artists

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230 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 52 3.54
2 Proto-Metal 47 3.05
3 Progressive Metal 28 3.98
4 Heavy Metal 21 3.88
5 Death Metal 18 3.86
6 Thrash Metal 13 3.81
7 Technical Death Metal 11 4.14
8 Heavy Psych 9 3.50
9 Glam Metal 4 3.75
10 Black Metal 3 3.83
11 Industrial Metal 3 3.67
12 Melodic Death Metal 2 4.00
13 Alternative Metal 2 3.75
14 Atmospheric Black Metal 2 3.75
15 Avant-garde Metal 2 4.25
16 Doom Metal 2 4.00
17 NWoBHM 2 3.50
18 Technical Thrash Metal 1 4.00
19 US Power Metal 1 3.00
20 Death-Doom Metal 1 3.50
21 Death 'n' Roll 1 4.00
22 Metal Related 1 4.50
23 Non-Metal 1 3.50
24 Sludge Metal 1 4.00
25 Speed Metal 1 3.00
26 Stoner Metal 1 3.50

Latest Albums Reviews

VIRGIN STEELE The Black Light Bacchanalia

Album · 2010 · US Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Way back in the eighties, there was an advert somewhere near the back of Circus magazine (or was it Hit Parader) for an album by a band called Virgin Steele. It was their second album, and the text quoted a review of their first album which expressed that it was "the album Judas Priest should have made." The original American releases of both albums were not available in Canada; however, two albums with different cover art and different track listings were to be found, and I snapped them both up fairly soon. Aside from the rough production, specifically for the debut, I though the music offered a lot of metal thrills, and there was no mistaking the outstanding high shrilling shrieks of singer David DeFeis.

The third album was "Noble Savage" and I'm afraid it was less to my liking. I dropped interest in any further releases, and though I stopped to check out the band's CDs several years later, the cover art convinced me that Virgin Steele had become darker and more sinister. I forgot about them.

Perhaps because I bought the second album, "Guardians of the Flame" on CD around 2010, "The Black Light Bacchanalia" showed up in recommended albums on my Amazon page. Curious, I ordered it and was rather surprised. Here was David DeFeis still puncturing eardrums with those shrieks that were high enough to challenge any first grade elementary school girl on the playground. The music was still metal, but there had been an obvious evolution in the Virgin Steele sound. I decided that i liked it, but didn't love it. Good enough for the one album; no hurry to get any others.

And now it's 2019. For the last two months, I've had my ears buried in eighties thrash metal, old school death metal, and the second wave of black metal. I've begun dabbling in power metal and slowly, little by little, adding to my doom and stoner metal collection. And for some reason, I suddenly felt like listening to "The Black Light Bacchanalia" again.

Thoughts! Impressions!

On this album, Virgin Steele are power metal by lyrical topics and presentation, not to mention the essential inclusion of keyboard piano or keyboard orchestra. But the music is not like the group sing-a-longs of some bands or the speedy and precise agility of others. In fact, I can't help but feel this album is more like a theatrical performance, with DeFeis playing the lead role of the protagonist and the lyrics serving as his monologue when speaking to himself or his enemies. To read here on MMA that Virgin Steele play "romantic-barbaric" metal really hits the minion on the head. The music is bold and at times forceful but it more often has a graceful caress to it than straight out brutality and force. It is the Noble Savage, swinging his sword sunward and striking a symbolic pose with pectoral muscles bronzed in the sun.

Though there are some cool riffs as well as some tremolo picked chords backed by double kick drum, there are plenty of chords struck and left to support the vocals. The drums can be a flurry of sticks at times but often they hold a modest place keeping a steady beat. My feeling at one point was like the music is a bit like driving a standard transmission sports car down a city street: sometimes you can speed up and swoop around in traffic but more often you're changing gears, slowing down and speeding up just a little as you deal with traffic and intersection lights. Again, the reason seems to be that the music is a theatrical performance with the lyrics and vocals taking the lead role.

DeFeis tends to sing in a calm, smooth voice throughout most of the songs. It's almost like the lines are meant to be whispered with conviction but need to be sung. He throws in some snarls and growls but more like a wild cat and not like thrash metal sneers and barks or death metal roars and bellows. He can also sing in a higher register and again does so softly as if to serenade the sorceress. Then there will be another one of those sky high notes.

The songs have a pretty decent length and at times almost seen more like progressive metal or symphonic metal. The keyboard piano (which I distinguish from real piano) does more than offer safe, pretty notes and in a track or two it takes over for the rhythm guitar as the primary instrument of melody. Some dramatic symphonic blasts give a grandness to certain passages.

I'm not familiar with Virgin Steele's releases between Noble Savage and 2010 so I can't compare my impressions here with other albums. But I feel thrilled enough by my return visit to have ordered another Virgin Steele album. This music is not for everyone. It doesn't have the rush and charge of thrash metal, the pulverizing assault of death metal, or the cold grimness of black metal. There might be too many abrupt changes in the music without a steady supply of full-on metal power for some folks. It does not have enough of that power metal conqueror swing to it. But if you've come to hear some of Virgin Steele's story telling and drama, then this album offers some rewards.

PILEDRIVER Stay Ugly

Album · 1986 · Speed Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
It’s a funny thing because I can remember seeing both Piledriver album covers advertised in Metallion magazine back in the eighties. But at the time I had become a little disillusioned by the metal scene. It seemed that there were just too many anybody bands coming along, and just by posing in leather and bullets they could somehow sell albums of run-of-the-mill music. That’s what Piledriver’s albums made me think of and they were not the only ones.

Strangely enough, as it turns out, I was not too far off base. A few weeks back, Piledriver got mentioned in something I was reading or watching, and as I could remember their album covers easily, I decided to check out more about the band. And that’s how I came to know about “metalploitation”.

The person I heard use this cockamamie term was the young fellow of Nasty Metal Productions, a U-Choob channel about metal music. The way he said, “metalploiTAtion”, emphasizing the second last syllable and spitting it out with venom, made me think he was a nutter for making up the word. However, it was not he who coined it. “Metalploitation”, however you want to say it, was a real phenomenon in the eighties, and companies like Germany’s Metal Industries and Cobra Records in the Canada are among the guilty parties. I’m sure nearly everyone knows about this sordid period in metal history but to spell it out in brief, record companies would create fake bands, usually using real artists and get them to write and record some music to help them pay off debts, and then the record companies would release the records to be sold to undiscriminating teenagers who just had to be the one to find new, exciting bands. Searching the Internet turns up dozens of hits for music blogs and U-Choob music channels.

One such band was Piledriver. As the story goes, a guitarist wanted to fund an album he wanted to record and someone suggested that he write and record a metal album and release it because metal albums could easily sell 20,000 copies, especially if they had an outrageous cover and crazy song titles. The music was written and singer Gord Kirchen was called up by his guitarist friend and asked to sing. In an interview with Gord, he explains that he got paid $250 for the job and forgot about it again, figuring the album wasn’t going anywhere anyway but at least he got his voice on some vinyl and some rent money. The album, “Metal Inquisition” was released on Cobra in Canada and Roadrunner in Europe. It was also released in the States but with some changes to the song titles and track list because the album was too dirty for American standards. One interesting note about the album cover is that the guy on the cover who is getting jackhammered by the guitar is actually wearing a band shirt with the same album cover on it. This means that a T-shirt had to be created with the album cover art on it, and then that shirt worn for the photo shoot that would be the final album cover. This couldn't have been just a simple throw away project.

A year or so later, David DeFeis of Virgin Steele got told by his manager that DeFeis owed some money. His debt would be forgotten however if he would write some albums for fake band projects. He and his guitarist, Edward Pursino, worked together on three projects: Convict, Exorcist, and Piledriver. DeFeis stated in an interview that even though Virgin Steele was his band, he always enjoyed the opportunity to be creative and so he made a serious effort at creating the material for each project. In the same interview, he claimed that Exorcist was where his best work went while Convict received the least love and not surprisingly, the album disappeared quickly. Gord Kirchen was called in to sing for the Convict and Piledriver albums. Kirchen agreed because, hey, more rent money and he could appear on two more pieces of vinyl. When the projects were completed, DeFeis and Pursino went back to work on Virgin Steele while Kirchen started a band called Dogs with Jobs. It wasn’t until nearly a decade later that Kirchen discovered that the two Piledriver albums had become underground classics. According to the Wikipedia article, the two albums together have sold over 500,000 copies worldwide! Kirchen has since revived the band under a new name, Exalted Piledriver, and has received blessings from DeFeis to continue using the material that he wrote.

That’s all for the history lesson. So now how about this Piledriver album, “Stay Ugly”? Interestingly, it gets a lot of praise. At least two U-Choobers declare this to be an awesome album and so do a few bloggers. It sits somewhere on the fence between speed metal/thrash metal and American power metal. Though different from Virgin Steele, the fact that two VS dudes wrote the album does give it more class than just any slap shod project, like the ones I read about from Metal Enterprises on THE CORROSEUM music blog. This actually does sound pretty good for the day. Lots of power, speed, and killer riffs. The lyrics are a bit dorky to listen to now. I suppose if I’d heard this when I was fifteen I might have been singing along but now at forty-seven I crave something a little more profound or inspiring. Nevertheless, this does sound like a one of the better obscure band albums of the mid-eighties.

I have two issues with this album. The first is that the CD I have sounds like it was copied from a vinyl record. Little pops and scratches can be heard. I don’t know if that’s because the re-release used a record as the master source or if it’s just because my version was copied from vinyl. I bought it through Amazon so I’d like to believe it’s an official release.

The second issue is the drumming. It not only has that echoing mid-eighties sound but for most of the album the drums just stick to keeping the beat with the snare and there are few fills, while other drums such as toms or the bass don’t stand out much if they’re being used at all. The bass guitar? I guess I’d notice it if it was not there. The overall production sounds pretty low quality, and DeFeis said that the album cost almost nothing to make. But then again so did the first Virgin Steele album and, despite some excellent songs, I always remember the sound being pretty poor on that one as well.

Other than that, “Stay Ugly” is a decent enough album for what it is. I think if it weren’t for the fact that Kirchen is Canadian, David DeFeis was involved, and the interesting background story, I wouldn’t really need this in my collection. Kirchen himself seems like a loveable guy who really believes in Piledriver. As for me, I think this is as far into metalploitation I will dip.

KILLING FLOOR Out of Uranus

Album · 1970 · Proto-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
The title track of this album caught my ear a few years back and I always meant to get back to this band. Finally I did!

Killing Floor were a late comer to the British blues scene of the late sixties and cut one album and then sat back to watch their career... go nowhere. After some soul-searching and some in-band disagreements, a second album came together and was released in 1971. This album catches the band still clinging to their blues roots but also reaching for more powerful guitar rock.

The album's namesake opens the album and is a pretty decent rocker that the album notes compare to The Who and The Yardbirds. As a sample of the band's abilities, it's a pretty cool track. The title of the album is made apparent here as the band criticizes religion's hypocrisy of permitting killing in the name of God and then asking for forgiveness of sins: "It's from out of their ass!"

"Soon There Will Be Everything" is more of a doomy heavy psyche number with some very mellow and melancholy parts punctuated by faster, harder parts. "Acid Bean" is an almost punk-tinged hard rocker; "Where Nobody Ever Goes" is a harmonica-lead, hard blues number; and "Sun Keeps Shining" is based on classic rock and roll.

I guess we're on side two with "Call for the Politicians" which sounds like it could have been written by the same band that originally did "I Fought the Law". There appears to be a bit of a punk edge turning up in places. "Fido Castrol", a humorous title I think, is again on the hard rocking side of things but again not your typical blues-based track. Lots of thumps and pounds that almost gets a little weary when it carries on. Not a bad track when it gets good. "Lost Alone" is a combination of psychedelic rock with harmonica but book-ended with an "I'm a Man" type of blues rock. And then there's "Son of Wet" which is a bit of a heavy rock, stoner track that clutches a drum solo. Yes, another drum solo! What would bands of the early seventies do without their drum solo tracks?!

"Milkman" is a funny country rock track about a milkman making the guy's wife while he's away from home. The song gets more rocking after the first minute and has some decent lead guitar work though it's quite typical for the day. Oh, the song is alright and in a small way it reminds me of "Ice Cream Man" by Van Halen, although I wouldn't put the two of them in a boxing ring together.

This album has some pretty decent rocking tracks and manages to let go of the band's blues roots enough to let them pound and stomp with some hard hitting drums and guitar. The vocals could use some more excitement. Not a killer album but some pretty solid, heavy guitar rock.

BANG Mother / Bow To The King

Album · 1972 · Heavy Psych
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Bang! or BANG were an American heavy rock band in the early seventies. Their first album, "Death of a Country" was not released on account of it being a concept album. So the band went ahead and recorded another album and it was released as a self-titled debut in 1971. I got this album as a double album along with their final seventies release, "Music", which was pretty disappointing as the heavy, almost Sabbath-esque riff rock from the debut had been abandoned. "Mother / Bow to the King" sits snuggley in between and I always wondered which way it leaned.

Fortunately for us early seventies heavy rock fans, it's heavy enough to drop like an anvil on "Music" and totally crush that acoustic pussy rock sucker. Oh, sure, this album is not heavy through and throughout. The song "Mother" starts off the album with acoustic guitar and sounds a bit down home at first. It's all foot-stomping and hand clapping. That is until about 1:30 when it turns into a foot-stomper, hand-clapper with a rock out electric guitar. "Humble" leads in with some gentle, clean electric guitar but this song also soon goes heavy rock around 0:55. At times the lead vocals resemble Ozzy's voice when coupled with those heavy guitar riffs. But then this dude, I'm not sure if it's Frank Ferrara or Frankie Glicken, is able to belt out the lyrics with more power than Ozzy typical gave.

Side one simply gets better with "Keep On", a grooving heavy rock number, and "Idealist Realist", which also hints a bit at Black Sabbath when the riff gets darker.

Side Two begins with a cover of "No Sugar Tonight" by The Guess Who. It sounds quite pretty until we get to the hard rock, power chord chorus. The Guess Who version is a dual track combined with "The New Mother Nature". Bang just stick with "No Sugar Tonight" but they do a pretty cool job of it. "Feel the Hurt" is a bit more like heavy country rock like some Nazareth songs and "Tomorrow" takes us into melodic hard rock with a catchy chorus. The final song, "Bow to the King" is a clean electric track, slow like a ballad but about a boxing champion. It's okay.

Well, there are enough cool, hard rock/heavy rock tracks on here to make this worth picking up for my collection. The only complaint I'd have is that - like many old albums - it sounds like the CD was cut from a nice piece of vinyl instead of a master tape. I don't know if there are other versions out there with a better sound. It's not bad but with ear buds you can really hear the tiny scratches and pops which I think don't belong on CD.

JERONIMO Jeronimo

Album · 1971 · Proto-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
I had never heard of Jeronimo (the band) until a few years back when they showed up on a compilation video of proto-metal bands. Once I finally got an album on CD, I was surprised to read in the liner notes that this band had been at the top of the German charts and a hit across Europe back in the day. Seriously, I had never heard of this band!

Although Jeronimo seem to have been labeled as a progressive rock band, there's nothing on this, their second album, that hints of progressive rock. This is a solid hard rock/early heavy metal album. In fact, among all the proto-metal bands to release albums (or at least record albums and have them released a couple of decades later), Jeronimo's self-titled sophomore belongs in the upper half of the heavy hitters. The guitar sound is not really distorted but still sounds pretty wicked when hit up for some heavy power chords. The drumming hammers hard but still has grace. The bass in some tracks is really quite outstanding. Lead vocals are shared by two of the members, one a little higher register and the other more standard guitar rock vocals.

Most of the tracks on this album rock out pretty hard and heavy. "Shades", "How I'd Love to Be Home", and "End of Our Time" are excellent early metal tracks. "Silence of the Night" has a really cool bass line but sadly the rhythm guitar is kept back in the mix a little. "Reminiscensis" is a short acoustic guitar instrumental, and "You Know I Do" is a kind of straight forward groovy rocker about a guy trying to get a girl.

As with so many albums from this time, there is an obligatory drum solo track. "Hugudila" begins with the full band in full swing but soon the drum solo begins. It's good enough as it is but there are just so many drum solo tracks from this period that hearing yet another is enough to roll one's eyes. The only good news is that this drum solo includes a kettle drum bit, so there's that as a surprise.

The final track here, "Save Our Souls - S.O.S." has the same band sound but the recording sounds warmer than the rest of the album. It's also more of a power chord rocker than most of the other tracks. It seems to be about the band calling out to their fans to help keep the band alive. There's a kind of funny line that says, "When Lucifer's Friend eats your bread," and I can't help but wonder if Jeronimo were worried about losing fans to fellow-German band, Lucifer's Friend. "When we are sure / We're getting older/ Ideas are dying / We are trying / To keep us young / So we are crying". Well, they did manage one more album, their third, after this.

If you're looking for progressive rock, keep moving along, there's nothing to hear here. But for a good, solid rocker that in a way reminds me of Wolfmother's debut but without the keyboards, then this is a good place to lend your ears.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 13 days ago in Clear Light (Proto-Metal)
    I’ve ordered the CD. I’ll see what liner notes come with it. There are bonus tracks too. Maybe another heavy hitter is hiding in there.
  • Posted 14 days ago in Clear Light (Proto-Metal)
    The one song could be a precursor to doom. But not the band’s overall style.
  • Posted 14 days ago in Clear Light (Proto-Metal)
    Clear Light have crossed my path at least twice before. "Street Singer" is just the thing I'm looking for when proto-metal hunting. "Mr. Blue" is a big theatrical but the middle of the song gets flying with fuzz-toned guitar and a fast beat. Two other tracks also had a kind of early metal approach to the chords, lyrics, and atmosphere even though the fuzz tone was limited. The other tracks were more like the California bands of the day like The Doors and Jefferson Airplane, but that doesn't mean Clear Light should be brushed off. There's also a short instrumental clip from a movie where the band is playing pretty fast and blazing away on the guitar.A lot of these 67/68 albums only feature a track or two that really qualify as proto-metal but still what they do is really an obvious predecessor to metal. I wouldn't be averse to including Clear Light as long as the bio includes why (what songs) earn the band a place here.

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