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

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199 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 56 3.16
2 Hard Rock 44 3.51
3 Progressive Metal 25 3.96
4 Traditional heavy metal 18 3.94
5 Death Metal 13 3.85
6 Thrash Metal 11 3.91
7 Technical Death Metal 9 4.11
8 Glam Metal 5 3.70
9 Industrial Metal 3 3.67
10 Melodic Death Metal 2 4.00
11 Alternative Metal 2 3.75
12 Black Metal 2 3.50
13 NWoBHM 2 3.50
14 Sludge Metal 1 4.00
15 Stoner Metal 1 3.50
16 Atmospheric Black Metal 1 3.00
17 Avant-garde Metal 1 4.00
18 Death-Doom Metal 1 3.50
19 Metal Related 1 4.50
20 Non-Metal 1 3.50

Latest Albums Reviews

AMORPHIS The Karelian Isthmus

Album · 1992 · Death Metal
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Once again, I have Banger TV on YouTube and its Lock Horns program to thank for pointing me to yet another band that I felt interesting enough to merit purchasing an album. On the episode about early death / doom metal, Amorphis' name came up, and as I had already heard about their "Land of a Thousand Lakes" album from checking out compilation and "best" videos on YouTube, I began sampling albums in an effort to decide which to buy first. My choice was "Land of a Thousand Lakes", but thriftiness prevailed and I bought the cheaper debut album, "The Keralian Isthmus".

This is also yet another case of me learning something through a heavy metal band as I was unfamiliar with the Keralian Isthmus and its history. The album, however, is not about that; I had to check Wikipedia.

The re-issue of the debut I have also includes five songs from the "Privilege of Evil" EP that the band recorded around the time the original project called Abhorrence was dissolving into Amorphis. Thus, even though three songs appear on both albums, they have a different sound from "The Keralian Isthmus" with one of the most noticeable being that the EP version of "Vulgar Necrolaty" has a different vocalist and a death metal-styled guitar solo.

The album's begins with a short acoustic guitar track and from there on its heavy electric guitars all the way. The music typically follows a mid-tempo speed but does have both faster and slower moments. Each song generally changes rhythm and tempo a few times, making any individual track interesting to listen to. You can expect chugging heavy guitars, barre chords, and riffs comprised of melodic, single-note-picked riffs. Sometimes I am reminded of Iron Maiden's melodic guitar riffs though the actual melodies played by Amorphis are different in style, and I'm sure there's a bit of Celtic Frost in "The Sign from the North Side". The vocals are the deep, guttural style, and the double bass drums are used more to enhance the feeling of speed in the faster moments. With song titles like "Black Embrace" and "The Lost Name of God" you might wonder about any black metal influence in the roots of the band. The production of the main album is good enough for an early nineties, metal debut, the EP tracks sounded a little rougher.

The album is a good listen overall, though I found that even after three or four times through I wasn't checking out any song titles. That's because the songs, which pack various riffs, styles, and tempo changes in each song, end up becoming not so obviously distinguishable from one another. They each play like a mini version of the album. When you hear the guitar melody at the end of "The Pilgrimage" followed by the guitar melody in "Misery Path", you could be easily misled into thinking it was the same song sped up a little.

For that reason, "The Karelian Isthmus" is a good enough album to listen to but doesn't have any truly outstanding tracks. I could recommend "Vulgar Necrolatry" as the song to listen to but really nearly any track is a good introduction to the album.

I have listened to some of the band's later material and they have really evolved their sound drastically. Comparing "Sky Forger" to this album, you'd think they were two entirely different bands!

A good album for slower, more complex death metal with elements of doom and also melodic riffs. Three solid stars!

VADER Necropolis

Album · 2009 · Death Metal
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My second Vader purchase, following the "less is more" purchasing scheme. Effectively, spending less money per CD (i.e. cheaper CDs) means being able to buy more. Yes, there were two other albums I wanted more but decided to go instead for a highly rated album that was under ¥900 from Amazon's marketplace.

I was really thrilled about my first purchase, "Revelations", and after sampling various Vader albums on YouTube, I concluded that pretty much any album would be a suitable follow up. And true to expectation, "Necropolis" delivers just about everything I loved about "Revelations". Same brutal, heavy guitars; same aggressive attack on the drums; and most importantly, same Piotr "Peter" Wiwczarek scary, angry biker vocals.

The album includes eleven tracks, many of which run under three minutes and a couple under two minutes, so this is not an album about long conceptual songs. Still, some of the tracks flow from one to the next, suggesting there could be some concept, maybe. Two of the tracks are not actual songs. "The Seal" is some deep chanted word that sounds like "zuel" or "zoo" and some deep, ominous chuckling, and "Summoning the Futura" is a summoning rite conducted on a stormy night with booms of thunder.

The rest of the tracks are quite similar really: crushing, explosive metal played either at mid-tempo or high speed. I think the combination of Wiwczarek's vocals, the heavier-than-Slayer guitars, and the percussive assault make any of these songs stand out as pretty fecking awesome heavy music. I am tempted to point out that there is no real deviation from the formula established by the band. Based on the two albums I own plus what I have sampled, I could suggest that Vader are the KISS of death metal, meaning they release album after album without any surprises. These guys don't appear to be heading towards prog or goth metal anytime soon, or bringing in any piano or harmonica. It expect there's just brutal, heavy, sometimes fast, non-technical, non-complex death metal. It could almost make owning more than a few albums redundant, but I really like the sound of this band so much that I have ordered a third album and I'm eyeballing at least two more.

One thing I don't like however is the 2:30 seconds of empty space after the rather awesome "Where the Sun Drowns the Dark", which is then concluded with some guitar effects and an impossibly deep growl. I despise blank spaces at the end of albums, especially when the last song is a good one.

If you've never heard Vader, this album might not be the first anyone would recommend, but it does give a very good idea of how the band sounds and what they're about.

ASPHYX Incoming Death

Album · 2016 · Death Metal
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Newsweek, April 28, 1991 - "The jazz trombonist Ray Anderson noticed some years back that when he sang at certain pitches, his voice split in two. His vocal cords produced one note, and the skin outside the larynx produced a second. The first is a cartoonish Satchmo styling; its shadow sounds like Satchmo through an aerosol can. Together, vying their way through a standard like Duke Ellington's 'I'm Just a Lucky So and So,' they're as queerly beautiful and weird a voice as you're likely to hear."

My trombonist friend let me hear Ray Anderson's unique vocal style back in the early nineties, and I bring it up here because I have never heard anyone sing that way since until now. Well, alright, Anderson sings and Asphyx's vocalist Martin van Drunen does whatever it is death vocalists do: growl, bellow, roar, vociferate. But van Drunen does so with a maniacal-sounding second tone that seems to come from projecting his voice into the far back of his nasal passages, giving his vocal style quality unique to death metal vocal styles. It may give you chills, drive you mad, make you wince, or elicit a bout of uncontrollable laughter. In any case, this vocal sound is not going to be for everyone.

This was not my first choice for an Asphyx purchase. "The Rack", "Last One on Earth" (creepy cover!), or the latest release sounded better from the previews, or rather pre-listens I had. But if I was going to bring home as many new bands to my collection as possible then I had to go for albums under ¥1,000. I chose "Incoming Death".

This is not altogether speedy or technical death metal. The doom elements are strong in the riffs and tempo. The overall sound is really heavy and sometimes it feels like the audio equivalent of lying face down flat on the street while a 500kg weight is dragged back and forth over your body. The only reprieve we get is a solemn acoustic guitar outro to "The Grand Denial" and a similarly forlorn piano outro to "Subterra Incognito". Otherwise it's just absolute unrelenting heaviness to mash your brain to a quivering pulp.

Though much of the album stays fairly Black Sabbath-esque mid-tempo, there are pulverizing moments of slow and thunderous power chords as well as charged speed burners. The title track is a mere 1:56 and has all the grace and subtlety of a nuclear-powered locomotive exploding through the caverns of Hell. The opening track "Candiru", about a fish in the Amazon that enters its prey through the anal orifice and proceeds to eat the delicate innards from the inside, is a perfectly brutal beast to kick off the album. "Wardroid" has one of those crushing riffs that astound because I can't help but be awed by the fact that after 65 years of guitar riff-based music people are still coming up with simple but highly exciting and evocative riffs.

The overall album leaves a favourable impression; however, not every track is a thriller. Personally I find some like "It Came from the Skies" or "The Grand Denial" to be moments where the excitement dips a little. But what keeps me interested are the lyrical topics. Van Drunen's vocals are often clear enough to pick out the lyrics and there's a theme of innocents becoming victims of evil deliberate or initiated through other actions. "The Feeder" had me puzzled at first because it seemed the "feeder" was a woman who lures a man into a romantic relationship where he spends lots of money on her and eventually letting her move in, thus giving her control over his life to her wicked satisfaction. Not very death metal. But the story ends with him murdering her and eating her corpse, revealing the feeder to be the man who lured the woman!

I can't say if this is the best album in Asphyx's discography but I am suitably impressed enough to take a look at ordering one of their older releases, perhaps "Last One on Earth". For really heavy death / doom, Asphyx would be a good band to check out.

ATHEIST Unquestionable Presence

Album · 1991 · Technical Death Metal
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Yes, I'm a bit of a music history buff, particularly when it comes to early heavy metal. Recently, though, I have become fascinated by the development of the heavy metal subgenres in the 1980's, many of which reached full fruition by the late eighties and early nineties. Death metal, or at least the American take on death metal, strikes me as originally being the Floridian interpretation of Californian thrash metal. Most American death metal recordings I've recently acquired either originated in Florida or the bands were from other eastern parts of the country but moved to Florida.

Athiest were one of the Florida scene bands to emerge in the eighties. Though formed in 1984 under a different name, they became Athiest as death metal was coming into its own in the late 80's and released their debut before the decade was spent. Their sophomore effort, however, is held in particular high regard for its bold steps toward technical death metal. While some bands I have heard remind me of Slayer/Possessed/Kreator, Athiest's sound on this album mostly suggest a more traditional thrash metal root, with early Metallica and Exodus frequently coming to mind. The guitar sound and riffs, as well as the lead solos, are closer to the early thrash sound to my ears; songs like "Your Life's Retribution" and "Enthralled in Essence" suggesting the guitarists honed their chops on "Kill 'em All" and "Ride the Lightning". The vocals too are more aggressive, thrash-like shouting than death metal's gravelly growls.

Thrash metal connotations aside, the more interesting aspect of this album is the giant leap toward technical death metal. Athiest' second album is said to have pushed the technical envelope further and it is very obvious that the band were out to succinctly combine aggressive speed with technical agility. In a way, I find this album to be a perfect bridge between thrash and technical death metal, at once being reminded of Sacrifice's "Soldiers of Misfortune" and Metallica on the thrash side and Cynic and later Death on the death side.

One key element to Athiest's sound was the bass playing prowess of bassist Roger Patterson, who brought incredible technical skill and composition-writing ability. Tragically, he suffered the fate of too many band members when his tour van crashed on the way back to Florida from California in the wee hours, yet another case of the driver pushing himself too far and dozing off at the wheel. The liner notes to the CD's re-release say that had the band been higher profile, Patterson's death would have been as shocking to the metal community as Cliff Burton's.

For the music on this album, Patterson had already come up with all the bass parts, and being the highly skilled player he was, it was not easy to find someone who could play his parts. The band called in Tony Choy of Cynic, perhaps not a surprise as Cynic were another band eagerly pursuing the technical death metal gauntlet. The results are stupendous as the bass playing stands out amidst the intense guitar and drum work. I feel, though, that the bass and guitar levels are rendered a bit louder over the vocals and drums, at least on the re-issue with bonus tracks.

And how about this re-issue? It includes several pre-production versions of songs, which sound as good as the album tracks on my ear buds, and some demos and instrumental versions. Though not essential for appreciating this album, the additional tracks are one of the better bonus collections I have heard.

It seems most consider this a highly important album in the annals of death metal history and I won't be one to disagree. It's an impressive piece of work!

AUTOPSY Skull Grinder

EP · 2015 · Death Metal
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I knew "Severed Survival" was probably the Autopsy album to get but I had recently found that many "classic" and "influencial" albums were also the most expensive. Also, the sound quality of more recent albums was often better than the old school classics. So, in the case of Autopsy, I decided to sample listen to a few albums and pick the one that sounded best and that was also not too expensive. It's no surprise then that the album I ordered was also an EP, explaining why it was cheaper than others.

Thus, "Skull Grinder", the band's most recent release to date from what I can see on MMA, became my introduction to this death metal band that also skirt the edges of death / doom.

Things I like: Chris Reifert's merciless and unappologetic gravel-throated vocals, which are not entirely unitelligible; the guitar sound and some of the monster heavy riffs; the mad drumming by Chris Reifert; and the speed changes within songs.

A lot of death metal bands are about blasting through at high speeds with little time to slow down and stomp on your feet and boot your hiney a few times. Autopsy easily blast you with speed and aggression and then pull back and paddle you silly.

There are two short tracks on this release: "Sanity Bleeds" and "Return to Dead". The first is slower with a simple guitar melody and no drums. Reifert bellows like some diabolical warlord and then we get lots of crazy guitar effects. I can't say that this is one worth stand-alone play. "Return to Dead" comes on sounding like a horror movie theme song done by a metal band. It's got this eerie, demented-sounding melody. More wailing, crazy guitar effects enhance the aura of madness. Again, not a fav but interesting.

The other five tracks, though, sound awesome. Just straightforward Autopsy-style death metal. I might be mistaken but I think they have used some wah-wah on a couple of tracks which almost gives the guitar a retro feel. A possible favourite is "Waiting for the Screams" because it has one of those spine-chilling, doom metal riffs.

My only disappointment is that the album is just an EP. I would have loved a full album of songs like the five that are over three minutes. Now I have two Autopsy albums and I'll surely be checking out a third sometime in the not too distant future.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 15 days ago in Debate: Satori by Flower Travellin' Band is metal
    The first track is excellent early doom metal and very obviously inspired by Black Sabbath. It's actually quite unusual to find a song that intense and dark in those years. I don't recall tracks 2-4 so well but track 5 also has some great heavy stuff if I recall correctly. I bought this album two, maybe three years ago. I believe I wrote a review for it. I think it's proto-metal.
  • Posted 48 days ago in Classic Heavy Metal Album Battle Round 3: Poll 1
    If it had been Screaming for Vengeance, I would have gone for Priest. 
  • Posted 2 months 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!


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