Peter Skov
MMA Special Collaborator · Proto-Metal team
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 12 days ago

Favorite Metal Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

186 reviews/ratings
DEEP PURPLE - Deep Purple In Rock Hard Rock | review permalink
QUEENSRŸCHE - Rage For Order Traditional 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 Traditional 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 Traditional 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 Traditional heavy metal | review permalink
SACRIFICE - The Ones I Condemn Thrash Metal | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Proto-Metal 63 3.18
2 Hard Rock 36 3.54
3 Progressive Metal 25 3.96
4 Traditional heavy metal 17 3.97
5 Thrash Metal 11 3.91
6 Technical Death Metal 7 4.07
7 Death Metal 6 4.00
8 Glam Metal 5 3.70
9 Alternative Metal 2 3.75
10 Industrial Metal 2 3.75
11 Melodic Death Metal 2 4.00
12 Black Metal 2 3.50
13 NWoBHM 2 3.50
14 Sludge Metal 1 4.00
15 Stoner Metal 1 3.50
16 Metal Related 1 4.50
17 Non-Metal 1 3.50
18 Atmospheric Black Metal 1 3.00
19 Avant-garde Metal 1 4.00

Latest Albums Reviews

NILE Those Whom the Gods Detest

Album · 2009 · Technical Death Metal
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At the beginning of my new journey into extreme metal, I recalled the band Nile being mentioned a few times on MMA and decided to check them out. This album became my first acquisition and I have decided it will be only the first of a few.

Nile are a band that stick with an ancient Egyptian theme, and I think for many bands, commencing their careers with such a theme can be exciting because of all the possibilities they imagine ahead. However, a few albums later and the theme can start to run a little thin. Knowing that this is the band's sixth album, I had to wonder what stage in their theme's evolution I was at. Had they begun with a very strong emphasis on the Egyptian theme and then eased back on it? Had they almost dropped it and were now bringing it back a little? Did they more or less maintain the Egyptian theme at the same level? Until I hear more albums I will not know for sure. But here are my impressions of "Those Whom the Gods Detest".

First off, the Egyptian theme is mostly in the artwork, the song titles, and the lyrics, though at times we can hear what sounds like ancient brass, shamic chanting, ancient stringed instruments and percussion, and voices chanting or wailing. I like how the band has included these as additional colour and tone without relying too heavily on them. They don't fill or lead the song but add atmosphere and interest.

As a brutal death metal band you can expect some furious drumming. I have been really impressed with drummer George Kollias because he not only has perfected all the standard death metal chops of double kick bass, blast beats, and speedy fills, but he actually uses the his drum fills to emphasis beats. Usually drum fills replace beats by filling the space with a flurry of snare and tom activity. But Kollias strikes the toms hitting each drum hard first before letting the sticks do their dance on the skins. Instead of a drum fill going brrrr, prrrat-ta-tat (sorry for the crude omomatopeaia), Kollias does a brr-brr-brrah-brrat-tarr-trr-brr kind of thing. Yes, they way I write it sounds silly and there's probably a percussion speak term that describes it. Anyway, I enjoy listening to his drum tricks.

The guitar parts of the music are an interesting pallette of breakneck speedy riffs, mid-tempo crushing riffs, and slow, ponderous riffs that are so slow and heavy they are like the feet of a ressurected mummy dragging across the limestone slabs. Way back in the early days of thrash metal, it was common for guitarists to tremolo pick chords at high speeds while drummers had to stick with just fairly fast beats. These days, drumming techniques can allow drummers to play beats faster than the guitarists can keep up. So here we have some songs with mid-tempo riffs and high-speed percussion. I think Nile marry this combination with great skill here.

The vocals are really awesome. We have the tough, ragged throat brutal vocals, and deeper death growls, and also a share of the deep, gutteral, toilet-bowl-gurgling vocals. Some extreme bands vocalize everything in this deep rumble and the lyrics are completely incomprehensible. Nile use this method of vocalizing for effect and drop it in mid-sentence so that it's possible to still follow the lyrics if you listen carefully. I think it really works!

Last, the production quality is super sharp which is necessary for an album like this to succeed sonically. With all the percussive effects, the additional voices and so on, it's a real treat to hear them enhance the mood and music. The track called "Yezd Desert Ghul Ritual in the Abandoned Towers of Silence" has these fabulous slapping percussive instruments, deep growls like from a beast the size of Jabba the Hutt, swishing sounds, chanting, wailing, clinking, and an ancient stringed instrument. It's like listening to a scene from an Egyptian horror movie in THX in the movie theater.

For my first Nile album, "Those Whom the Gods Detest" has made a considerable impression. Before the summer is over I will be sure to add at least one more album to my collection and for sure a third before the year is out.

MAYHEM Deathcrush

EP · 1987 · Black Metal
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As my revived interest in extreme metal had me looking at what I had missed over the last 30 years and a book of photographs of the Norwegian black metal scene aroused my curiosity in the culture behind the music, I sat there before the computer with my finger hovering over the mouse, trying to decide between two Mayhem albums in my Amazon shopping cart. Which would be my first purchase: Deathcrush or De Mysteriis dom Sathanas? One more visit to YouTube confirmed it. That riff at the beginning of "Deathcrush" had to be in my music collection!

I'll admit that I am not a fan of lo-fi albums. There's lo-fi that's passable and then there's just low, very low fidelity. It's so low that it might as well be called infidelity. And that's a conundrum I was facing in deciding to bring home some Norwegian black metal. Would I be able to accept the lower quality in sound production? The answer was a resounding yes. I mean that's what the scene was all about, and as I soon found out, there were a lot of awesome guitar riffs coming out of the culture that sounded quite alright in all the scratchy scrunchy sound, the riff in "Deathcrush" being the best one I had heard yet.

The vocalist, Maniac, is pretty much that: a maniac screaming with a bleeding throat like he doesn't care, scaring children and old ladies, like a madman in a complete rage. Pretty cool, huh-huh. Add to that Necrobutcher's buzzing bass guitar and the chaos on drums that is Manheim, and of course Euronymous's thrash-influenced speedy riffing and you have a recipe for Mayhem indeed.

The album is madness and sounds like madness. They mess with your head opening the album with that weirdo instrumental composed by Conrad Schnitzler and seems to serve no comprehensible reason for being on the album and that warped piano bit by Manhein that preludes "Pure Fucking Armageddon". Then there's "Chainsaw Gutsfuck" which was at sometime credited with being the most gory song of whatever period before gorier songs came out (always trying to one up on the last one), and a cover of Venom's "Witching Hour" which I failed to recognize until I read that it was a cover of that song.

I'll say this: the band's mission statement seems to have been established within these meagre 18 minutes or so. It's either that you get it and think positively of the result or you think it's utter rubbish. Personally, I rather like it. After watching a few documentaries with Necrobutcher speaking about Mayhem and death metal, I don't think they plan to change their sound much either.

IMMORTAL Sons of Northern Darkness

Album · 2002 · Black Metal
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Not long ago I said to a friend that I was not interested in Norwegian black metal but that I had ordered Peter Beste's coffee table book of the Norwegian black metal scene because I was interested in the photography and the culture. A month later I was trying to decide which would be good albums as starters into this notorious and dark music scene. Another friend suggested Immortal's “Sons of Northern Darkness” and I decided to take his advice and added it to my first four black metal albums.

As it has turned out, I have become interested in Immortal. Abbath is such a character, and Immortal's fantasy northern winter world is a little more comfortable to me than all the hail Satan lyrics that I imagine are lurking out there in the world of Norwegian black metal. Not that I am offended for religious reasons but rather I quickly tire of any pontificating in music lyrics, be they religious or political. When I read that many of the lyrics of Immortal's songs were inspired by the Norwegian winter scenery, the forests and the mountains, I felt I could understand that much better.

First off, I like the sound of this album. The guitar tone is not really heavy but together with the bass the two instruments weigh in together pretty heavily. The drumming is solid and the double bass is put to good use without being relied upon too much. The opening track, “One by One” is a great way to kick off the album and grab my interest as a new listener. It's a great thundering, epic-sounding track. The album continues in a similar vein with “Demonium” offering some blast beats and a speedy tempo in parts, a style I think is more like their older work based on what I have heard from “Pure Holocaust” and “Battles in the North”.

Each of the eight songs here has its own sound and style, making it easy to differentiate between tracks even after the first couple of listens. I find some extreme metal bands follow the same recipe for destruction song after song and sometimes I wonder what ever happened to making albums like “Screaming for Vengeance” or “Number of the Beast” where each song was a creation independent of other tracks and sounded that way. The songs on this album are distinct enough from one another and I am glad for that.

I will say that by the time we are half way through “Antarctica” the fascination with frost, ice, snow, coldness, and bleakness is starting to wear a little thin for me. This track and the album closer, “Beyond the North Waves” are good enough on their own but listening to the album through, I find myself approaching the “meh” stage before “Antarctica” is over. Still, a consistent album in sound and atmosphere.

Finally, I want to comment on Abbath's vocals. I was surprised at how similar they are to Quorthon's of Bathory. Then later I checked out more black metal bands and I have come to the conclusion that Quorthon inspired a whole movement of vocal style. In one part of “Demonium” when the song is charging along, Abbath vocalizes something that immediately reminded me of Popeye the Sailor. That has stuck with me now, too. And so if death metal vocals can be called Cookie Monster vocals then I think black metal vocals could be called Popeye vocals. Or perhaps they already are. Well, if anything, Immortal made me want to go out and buy another Bathory album.

Anyway, “Sons of Northern Darkness” is good enough that I want to get a couple more Immortal albums. And Abbath is such a funny character to see in interviews!

DISILLUSION Back to Times of Splendor

Album · 2004 · Melodic Death Metal
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This is the only album I have by Disillusion (they only ever released two) but my opinion of it and the band it really high thanks to this release. This is a band that combines many of the elements I enjoy in heavy metal and progressive rock. We have longer songs with complex and varied song structure, fast technical playing, an excellent rhythm section with a great drummer, awesome riffs and a good variety between high speed playing and slower riffs with melodic riffs as well, and softer parts with piano or strings added in as a welcome mood changer but without sounding superfluous. In the two longer tracks, "Back to Times of Splendor" and "The Sleep of Restless Hours" there are parts that stray from the heavier death metal side and wander determined into more progressive territory. There are no flambouyant instrumental sections of blatant exhibitionism. Instrumental passages can be technical but used with a purpose within the song structure.

As has been mentioned in other reviews, the album does an excellent job of combining the technical side of prog metal with the brutal side of death metal. I listened to the album again for the first time in a year or so and once again found myself impressed with the skill and song writing. In particular, the guitar sound is a winner for me. The production quality is also great and only in two parts where the music intentionally becomes chaotic and noisy does the clarity of the sound disappear.

There is only one thing that doesn't totally impress me and that is the clean vocals of Andy Schmidt (Vurtox). There's nothing wrong with them and they affect a certain theatrical sense that suits the music very well. But they make me think of a hardcore punk singer who has decided to sing cleanly with a hint of an operetic tone. The two-part harmoney vocals reduce this effect and the brutal vocals are just fine as they are. Those clean vocals are the only thing that doesn't sit exactly right with me. A minor detail really.

That being stated, once again I will emphasize what a terrific album this is musically. I'm not sure where Disillusion went after this. I think I listened a bit to their sophomore album when I considered which album to get but at the time was more impressed with this one. An easy four and a half stars!

T2 It'll All Work Out In Boomland

Album · 1970 · Proto-Metal
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I’m of the opinion that progressive rock and heavy metal share a strong bond from infancy. It’s true that many of the metal bands of the eighties and nineties were heavily influenced by prog bands of the seventies, but more than just that, I believe that way back in the late sixties as both progressive rock and the first generation of heavy rock artists were developing their crafts, both subgenres had emerged from the nexus of psychedelic music. Simply speaking, progressive rock would borrow a lot from jazz and classical while early heavy metal would come from a combination of acid rock or heavy psych and a revamped version of the blues. Yet thanks to the experimental psychedelic rock years, both subgenres would freely choose items from the other’s bag of tricks. One needs look no further than King Crimson’s 21st Century Schizoid Man to hear how both prog and metal could be presented in a single song.

T.2. were an English band that took heavy guitar rock and blended it with a jazzy rhythm and created extended songs which sometimes featured psychedelic guitar distortion and feedback sections and other times soft, acoustic moments. In the simplest description of their music, imagine “Fire and Water” era Free with the largely unknown Necromandus. They released a single album in 1972 and a second album’s worth of material was shelved until 1997. They released three albums in the nineties which seem to have been mostly overlooked.

“It’ll All Work Out in Boomland” is an album of four tracks with side B being taken up by the 21-minute “Morning”. The song that ends up on YouTube proto-metal and early heavy rock compilations is “No More White Horses”, which opens with a simple three-chord riff played muted at first but then opens up as the music intensifies. It’s a great example of early doom metal as indeed was the music of many English bands at the time. The band is joined by a trumpet (possibly two) and then the song mellows down for the verses while powering up for the choruses. It closes with lots of drum action and blazing guitar work.

The album opener, “Circles” is also a very worthy track to mention for its jazz-based drumming and bass work and some of the guitar playing as well. But there are open chords and barre chords played with crashing bursts of distortion. Near the end, the music lays back for some experimental jazz-type playing as the guitar goes from clean jazzy exploratory notes to psychedelic distortion rumbles and feedback.

The middle track on side A, “J.L.T.” is a mostly acoustic track not unlike something Pink Floyd might have done on the soundtrack for “More”.

Side B’s “Morning” is basically in two parts, with a slow acoustic opening that leads into a mid-tempo rock song with more Free-like hard rock chords. There’s a two-minute psychedelic/experimental interlude before the second part begins, which is characterized by a more up-tempo rock number that then becomes a showcase for wild guitar soloing. Note that during these lead guitar showcases, the drums are often going nuts in parts while the bass is holding down a repetitive but frantic rhythm. The bass does stand out a lot on this album and though it often repeats its lines, bass player Bernard Jinks says in the CD re-issue booklet that he intentionally restrained himself to allow for Keith Cross (guitar) and Peter Dunton (drums) to be able to show off their talents more.

The re-issue comes with three bonus tracks, all of which are BBC sessions. “Questions and Answers” and “CD” are not on the album and feature a more psychedelic guitar sound and playing style, leading me to believe that these are older recordings. “CD” must be the hardest hitting track on the whole, uh, CD. I also feel the guitar solos on these two tracks are more emotive than what we hear on the actual studio album. The final track is “Circles” again, though I feel it’s less effective here with the BBC because the drums are not mixed very loudly and the heavier guitar chords are also quieted down.

T.2. were a band that took the jazzy blend of rock, intensified the guitar sound with lots of hard-hitting open chords and barre chords, and added some frantic lead guitar. They played longer tracks and like most bands of the day, they added mellow acoustic parts. There is also the presence of brass on a couple of tracks. They are not progressive like Genesis or Yes or even King Crimson but more like the psychedelic bands of the late sixties who added parts to songs that allowed for a galloping rhythm section to provide a backdrop for fast fingers on the guitar fretboard. An album recommended more to people who enjoy heavy psychedelic rock and early hard rock / heavy metal and less to people who enjoy experimental jazz or symphonic rock.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 26 days ago in Extreme Metal
    [QUOTE=Vim Fuego]Those can be very variable, just like any compilation. Sometimes you have to wade through seas of crap to find a few gems.[/QUOTE] That's exactly what I love doing. There's a lot of similar sounding stuff but in between there are songs that really catch my attention. I looked over those compilations and recognized some names. My list is growing!
  • Posted 27 days ago in Extreme Metal
    [QUOTE=siLLy puPPy]Most of the used CDs i get are in mint condition but i will lower my standards for thrift store cheapies which i have gotten some extremely excellent music. I understand the option of scantily used CDs in mint condition isn't available in too many places but i save a crap load of $$$ this way ;)[/QUOTE] Oh, I totally understand that. If I would go for used that wasn't totally perfect and pay half the price or less, I'd be running out of space in my house. I guess paying more for new does keep a check on my expenditures. 
  • Posted 28 days ago in Extreme Metal
    [QUOTE=Vim Fuego]The times where you were out of touch with extreme metal were the times when I was discovering it. Magazines were the go for discovering new stuff back then.[/QUOTE]We had a magazine in Canada in the 80's called Metallion. It was great because it covered homegrown bands, famous bands, thrash and extreme metal, and featured a "Roots of Metal" page that I loved. If magazines were the only way for me now, I'd probably have saved lots of money. YouTube is like a whole universe opening up. The other day I found 46 different bands covering "Dethroned Emperor" by Celtic Frost and I only knew the names of a few of them![QUOTE=Vim Fuego]And compilations. Here's a few I found really useful.[/QUOTE]I removed the list from my reply for saving space but I will be checking them all out. I keep finding lists on YouTube and I keep wanting to listen to them.


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