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Peter Skov
MMA Special Collaborator · Proto Team
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 13 days ago

Favorite Metal Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

300 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
NINGEN ISU - Ningen Shikkaku (No Longer Human) Stoner Rock | review permalink
NINGEN ISU - Ougon no Yoake Progressive Metal | review permalink
HÄG - HÄG Doom 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

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Hard Rock 65 3.52
2 Proto-Metal 42 3.11
3 Progressive Metal 37 4.01
4 Heavy Metal 34 3.97
5 Death Metal 18 3.83
6 Heavy Psych 17 3.44
7 Thrash Metal 17 3.82
8 Technical Death Metal 13 4.12
9 Power Metal 5 4.00
10 Black Metal 5 4.10
11 Doom Metal 4 4.38
12 Melodic Death Metal 4 3.75
13 NWoBHM 4 3.75
14 Sludge Metal 4 4.00
15 Stoner Rock 4 3.75
16 Stoner Metal 3 3.67
17 Industrial Metal 3 3.67
18 Glam Metal 3 3.67
19 Atmospheric Black Metal 3 3.83
20 Avant-garde Metal 3 4.17
21 Alternative Metal 2 3.75
22 Metal Related 2 4.00
23 Technical Thrash Metal 2 4.00
24 Speed Metal 2 3.75
25 US Power Metal 1 3.00
26 Melodic Black Metal 1 4.50
27 Death 'n' Roll 1 4.00
28 Death-Doom Metal 1 3.50

Latest Albums Reviews

STARCHILD Children of the Stars

Album · 1978 · Hard Rock
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Starchild was a progressive-edged hard rock act from Cambridge, Ontario that formed in 1975. The drummer, Greg "Fritz" Hinz would later go on to play for Helix.

The band released one album in 1978 on the Axe Records label, "Children of the Stars". The album showcases the bands hard rock style but also their endeavours to be a little on the progressive side, not unlike compatriots Triumph.

The recording is not lavish. It's more or less vocals, guitar, bass, and drums without much else in terms of overdubs or additional instrumentation, though a touch of synthesizer is added for spacey effect. Basically, the album sounds like the band could have recorded it playing live in the studio if they wanted to.

Lyrically, the songs traverse sci-fi (the title track), dark fantasy (Wooden Steaks and Mashed Potatoes), fantasy of females (Wizard Woman), and social commentary. The song Groove Man is a somewhat comical observation of an ex-punk rocker who's gone disco.

The album shows a band with a lot of promise but at the same time, an album by a band in the studio for the first time. The songs rock out and the efforts at musical complexity are earnest and appreciable. However, I can't help but feel that there was a confusion about letting the band be a progressive hard rock act while approaching the recording in a punk rock fashion. It's raw and the production sounds simple even though the band is clearly striving to be more.

It's not as good as Triumph and certainly a far cry from Rush, but nevertheless it's an interesting find, being a rather obscure album. CDs are available from Axe Records.

ANVIL Impact Is Imminent

Album · 2022 · Heavy Metal
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I hadn't bought any Anvil albums since Metal on Metal and Forged in Fire, and aside from these two, I had no idea of what the band had been doing all these years until that movie about them came out. I thought about buying a newer Anvil album at the time, but it never became a priority until this year when I heard there was another new album coming out. After a few months, I finally got it.

After ordering it, I checked a review on Angry Metal Guy that said it was a bit better than their last few albums. Anvil are known for being one of those bands that stick with one formula and every album adheres to it. Anvil are a core old school metal band, and all of their albums don't deviate except where some albums might feature more speed metal and others might have more connection to metal's hard rock and blues-based roots. As one reviewer on Rate Your Music said, all the albums are pretty much the same, so comparisons will mostly be about production value and song-writing.

I was pleasantly surprised. No, there was nothing unexpected, but right from the get go I noticed the excellent sound quality. Metal albums can suffer various production problems such as dense or muddy sound quality, lackluster drum or vocal recording quality, tinny guitar sounds, or overly compressed sound. This album is very rich and clean with all instruments clear in the mix. The bass might seem in the background a bit, but if you listen for it, it's right in there providing the weight for the guitar riffs and adding some accent points here and there.

The songs are mostly quite fun (the "Lockdown" song about COVID-19 runs dry because of the theme, I find), and there are a few tracks that perk up my ears with each listen such as "Ghost Shadow" and "Gunfight". Lips sounds very gruff and tough. His vocals aren't a winner for everyone, and I've read a few criticisms about them on older albums. But for me, he does a fine job for the music on this album. Actually, I find it impressive knowing the age of both Lips and Rob because this album is full of energy!

I have since picked up a few older albums and I can say that Impact Is Imminent is not as intense as some, e.g. Plugged In Permanent. But as an album with which to become reacquainted with Anvil, I think it's certainly good enough. Rather than a tepid response, I am inspired to hear more, so that's a plus sign.

Reviews of this album generally fall between the Angry Metal Guy view of not a great album, no reinventing of the wheel, but at least somewhat interesting to a rather impressive piece of work for a band's 19th studio release.

I watched a podcast interview with Lips and Rob and Sacha Gervasi, who made the Anvil movie, and I learned that the two instrumental tracks on the album, "Teabag" and "Gomez" are both nicknames for Sacha. When he was fifteen, Sacha got himself invited to work as a drum tech for Anvil for three weeks during his summer holiday, and being English, he was given the nickname. Later on he earned the nickname "Gomez" when he announced that he had the best train set in Hollywood, and Lips and Rob said he was like Gomez Adams.

Impact Is Imminent might not exactly be a must have album for everyone, but Anvil fans shouldn't miss it and for those who has a casual acquaintance with the band's music should at least check it out.

NINGEN ISU Kuraku

Album · 2021 · Heavy Metal
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It's been two years and two months since the release of "Shin Seinen", the album that included the song "Mujou no Scat - Heartless Scat" whose promotion on YouTube made heavy music fans around the world go, "Wow! Who are these guys?!" The band had maintained a small following for over two decades before an appearance at Ozz Fest in Japan in 2013 gave them exposure to an international audience. For the next few years, Ningen Isu concentrated on making each of their heavy metal (think 70's inspired traditional doom/stoner metal with a flare for getting a bit thrashy or speedy at times) albums attractive to the foreign market but always maintaining their unique sound and approach to heavy music: they are very much a Japanese band playing western heavy metal. But their 21st album released in 2019 took them to a whole new level of international popularity. This resulted in their first ever trip overseas where they played two shows in Germany and one in England. They were scheduled to appear at the SXSW Festival in Texas in March of 2020, but COVID-19 shut that down.

"Kuraku" ("Suffering and Joy", or "Pain and Comfort" if you believe the Wikipedia translation of the title) is the band's 22nd album and the first new release since their overseas episodes of February, 2020. Fans of the band's last few albums will find that Ningen Isu are ploughing along in the same style. There have been no efforts to adjust their sound for any imagined possibility of broadening their audience, and this is what new fans to the band probably hoped for and expected. (Fans of the band's entire catalogue know that the band has explored different directions but always maintained a heavy base).

The album is 13 tracks and 71 minutes of Ningen Isu-styled heavy metal with lyrical themes such as space pirates ("Uchuu Kaizoku), ghosts ("Nikutai no Bourei"), kings of darkness ("Ankoku Ou"), motorcycles ("Hashire GT"), and robots ("Ningen Robot"). If I understood correctly, the album's concept was based around the vision of the future held by Japanese a hundred years ago. They believed in a utopian society free of hardship and strife. However, Ningen Isu are saying what we may have achieved is the opposite. The album title comes from a 1920's periodical of the same name, which was a magazine that published stories by Edogawa Ranpo, whose story "Ningen Isu - The Human Chair" was where the band took its name.

The opening track begins with an unusual sound for Ningen Isu, a strummed electric guitar that some may think inspired by Led Zeppelin but I hear as being similar to The Tea Party, though I am sure Ningen Isu has never heard of that Canadian band. The music soon changes into a typical Ningen Isu heavy rocker and plays out long enough for some change ups to happen in the music. The song title, "Toshishun" is from the title of a short story written by a famous Japanese author, Akutagawa Ryunosuke, who wrote many famous stories from 1914 until his death by suicide in 1927. This song, written and sung by Shinji Wajima, exemplifies Ningen Isu's ability to write heavy tracks with a slight progressive edge.

Though every track on the album is heavy (Ningen Isu don't do power ballads and have rarely touched acoustic only numbers), there are a few worth mentioning for their outstanding or unusual points. "Uchuu Kaizoku" has a guitar effects intro and features a Theremin in the solo section. Shinji Wajima has used a Theremin on several songs in the past, always space-themed ones. "Seikimatsu Jinta (End of the Century Jinta)" has a really groovy riff that sounds like it was pulled straight out of 1976. Wajima plays a bit of Taishogoto - a Japanese instrument based on the koto - on the tracks "Seikimatsu Jinta" and "Nayami wo Tsukinekete, Kanki wo Idare (Overcome Your Worries and Be Joyous)". "Koukotsu no Tourou (Ecstatic Mantis)" is the shortest track and one of Ken'ichi Suzuki's short but speedy and aggressive tracks. "Shijou no Kuchibiru" features drummer Nobu Nakajima on lead vocals. And the closing track, "Yoake Mae (Before the Dawn)" is one of those longer, dark and heavy tracks that Ningen Isu like to do.

The album is what you'd expect from Ningen Isu: heavy stoner, doom, and trad metal riffs, and a good mix of themes and approaches, plus a their unique sound cultivated over three decades. What the album doesn't include are any experiments with new sounds or directions or revisiting any of the one-track diversions of the past. I personally like a surprise or two on an album, and among my favourites are the albums where the band dropped in either something very progressive or something inspired by traditional Japanese music. "Kuraku" is a solid, heavy banger from start to finish.

So, once again, fans who love the last few albums will be just as thrilled to hear this one. Ningen Isu are veterans of what they play and don't make any mistakes. They know who they are and how they should sound. Once again, they have achieved that flawlessly.

TOO MUCH Too Much

Album · 1971 · Proto-Metal
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Wow! I did a search for this band twice on this site and got nothing. I created a page for them, wrote a bio, and then found there was a page already somewhere. Searched again and it came up right away. Go figure!

So, anyway, here we have a band from Japan lead by their guitarist with aspirations for playing loud, heavy music in the vein of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, and then got told by their record label to add some ballads and a cover song in hopes of broadening their potential audience. The result? The band split up!

Let's see. What do we have here then. The first track, "Grease It Out" certainly shows the band's desire to play loud and heavy. While Black Sabbath influence is likely there, the riffs sound closer to their compatriots Flower Travelin' Band although vocalist Juni Lush (credited as Joko Lush in my CD copy) has more of a hard rock voice. It's a pretty killer track for some straight forward hard/heavy rock of 1971.

"Love That Binds Me" is a mid-tempo, blues-based, bummed out dude song that includes piano. It is very clearly a song heavily influenced by Led Zeppelin's "Since I've Been Lovin' You", most obviously in the lyric "Yes, I'm working everyday from early in the morning, babe / Til late at night everyday / It's such a drag, baby". On its own, I'd say the song would be pretty good, but the derivative lyrics just shout "copy cat!" and I'm afraid it loses points for that.

Thankfully, the next track is "Love Is You", another heavy rock track with some cool riffs and mood. One thing is for sure, guitarist Tsutomu Ogawa is pretty good at coming up with heavy rock riffs!

Alright, "Reminiscence" is next and it begins like a classic Vanilla Fudge song with organ and hard guitars, then shifts into a slower gear with acoustic guitar and electric lead. This is out first real slow and sentimental track. I'd say it could have worked out alright except that Lush's vocals are not very lush. He sounds like quieting down makes it harder for him to hit the notes right. For that, there are a few flinching moments.

And now the cover of "I Shall Be Released", which is missing the final "d" in the official track listing. This is country western folk ballad and a pretty good effort for a Japanese band. However, it sounds off and totally unnecessary for the album. Sure, lots of bands had to have that one track that showed their "other side" back in the day, but as this is a cover I think there are other bands who could have done a better job and this band could likely have written a better song for them to play and record.

"Gonna Take You" sets us back on course with another heavy rocker, and that's three pretty cool heavies out of the first six tracks. The lyrics however once again show the band borrowing from their overseas influences and they sound like they just cut and pasted lyrics from a Led Zeppelin song (which the mighty Zep actually took from someone else). "I'm gonna bring it on home to you / I got my ticket, I got that load / Gone up, go higher, all aboard / Take my seat a-right way back / Watch this train goin' down the track". It seems that even though the band is capable of creating some pretty good rockin' music, there's a problem with lyric writing and sometimes I think with the vocal delivery. Fortunately, the lead guitar parts get a fair bit of emphasis and run time in the songs.

And so we reach the 12:12 epic ballad, "Song for My lady (Now I Found)" with acoustic guitar, flute, strings, the works! It reminds me a little like a cross between Deep Purple's "April" from their self-titled third album and The Moody Blues. And here is where I feel like the lyrics are similar to early Scorpions' lyrics. Alright, you are writing a ballad in a second language and trying to make it meaningful and also flow with the rhythm of the music. But something is just missing for English ears. Perhaps it worked for Japanese audiences of the early seventies. I don't know. Again, the music is actually pretty good. I'm alright with the progressive nature of this longer track and in fact it has more musically advanced than much of what we heard up to here. My main beef is the efforts of Juni Lush to try to imitate western singers instead of developing his own style more. Here he sounds like a fan of Rod Evans.

To wrap it up, this is a band that probably could have made a much better second album but they were discouraged early on and left us with this one slab of vinyl. There are some good heavy tracks and some half decent other music. Just for my money, more work was needed on the lyrics.

BLUE ÖYSTER CULT The Symbol Remains

Album · 2020 · Hard Rock
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So here we have a classic band of the seventies whose fortunes declined in the eighties, who were in disarray throughout most of the nineties, tried to get back in gear in at the turn of the century and who then carried on mostly as a classic rock band playing their classic tunes. Then after 19 years of silence from the recording studio, Blue Oyster Cult drop a new release. The title, "The Symbol Remains" seems less like a victory shout and more like confident statement made through weathered and grim lips with a knife edge of a smile. "It's 2020. BOC is still here."

I was curious. I had never been a huge fan, but my musical travels brought me to BOC Base on a few occasions, allowing one or two more albums to nestle into my collection. My recent reacquaintance with the much-derided "Club Ninja" exposed me to the new album's cover. Somehow, I felt it had to be good.

Of the original line-up, only the two guitarists and principal singers, Buck Dharma and Eric Bloom remain. That's something important though as what defines a band's sound is mostly in the vocals and lead instruments, as well as the songwriting. And to my delight, I feel that this is very much a Blue Oyster Cult album!

The band's familiar heavy side opens the album with "That Was Me", a song that I thought was a reflection back on a "career of evil". At this age, I think this song is very suitable and it is executed in the familiar style of Blue Oyster Cult.

The next two, "Box In My Head" (about his brain), and "Tainted Blood" (a vampire song) continue that familiar sound and style. Obviously, the two legendary members are that much older and the sounds of the instruments and recording is very modern, but they deliver songs worthy of the legendary band name.

I'll confess, though, that partway through the album, it begins to sound more like a generic old dudes' rock album. While at the start I felt it was without a doubt a BOC album, by the middle I thought had I heard this without knowing who it was, I don't think I would have even suspected that I knew what band it was.

Fortunately, once we reach "Stand and Fight" we know who put out this platter. It is actually a heavy tune, perhaps in the sense of classic heavy metal of the seventies but again with a modern sound. "Florida Man" is pretty good, but "The Alchemist" is totally a Blue Oyster Cult track with the heavy guitars, some piano, and an epic tale of fantasy and a quest. Had the album ended here (and I expected that it would as I was listening while walking and not looking at the track list), I would have applauded the band.

However, there is yet another track, and another, and another. It became a game to guess if I had heard the final track yet. I would think, "Now there's a great conclusion to a song and a great way to finish up the album." But then another track would begin. Not that the last five tracks were bad or dull. There are still some very good ones there and some even better than those in the middle of the album where I was wondering if I would recognize the band. I suppose after 19 years, the band had enough material for a 60-minute album. But I personally feel the album could have been more cohesive and more like a BOC album if some of the songs - three or four - had been relegated to CD/download bonus tracks that were separate from the rest of the songs.

My impression is that Blue Oyster Cult have released a surprisingly good album for a mature band. They keep the BOC flame burning for us with songs that both musically and lyrically are congruent with the classic sound of the band.

Any disappointments would be in two or three tracks that could have been either left off or come after the main album track list. I think the album would have had more of a wow impact at somewhere around 10 or 11 tracks.

Overall though, it's a solid release!

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 7 months ago in It's All Meat 1970
    I just wanted to share this track with fans of old school raw and intense psychedelic rock crossed with early punk. I only recently found out about this band, It's All Meat. Their name was inspired by a dog food commercial advertising 100% beef in their product. It was not inspired by The Animals' song. They released one pretty awesome album in 1970 and a single in '69. The CD has some bonus tracks. There are some pretty cool tracks on here. They remind me of a garage / psychedelic version of the New York Dolls, Mick Jagger singing for The Stooges, or Jim Morrison's tough older brother. The best track for me is this one, Roll My Own. Incidentally, the principal songwriters in the band produced four tracks in 1968 for a garage band called The Underworld whose drummer was Gil Moore - the future drummer for Triumph.https://youtu.be/vJ5MZUG3jPs
  • Posted 1 year ago in Hello!
    Hi, MrBlond. Good to see a new face!I came here for the old proto-metal stuff but I've since expanded to nearly right across the board. Recently, I've been adding lots of Canadian bands. What do you think of Chron Goblin or Wizards of Kaos? Both are stoner bands.
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in R.I.P. Lee Kerslake
    I opened YouTube the other day and saw a video of Lee playing Crazy Train with some young dude on guitar. Lee was so fat that I said to the video, "Dude, for god's sake, lose some weight. This will kill you!" I then checked Wikipedia to see what he was doing these days and the entry read (...- September 19, 2020). Well, it was cancer not a heart attack. Funny thing, I didn't hear anything about his passing in any of the music groups on Facebook that I follow. Had it not been for that video, I'd have been surprised to find this notification here.

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