Olav Martin Björnsen
MMA Special Collaborator · Honorary Collaborator
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit more than 2 years ago

Favorite Metal Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

96 reviews/ratings
MOONLIGHT - downWords Gothic Metal | review permalink
SUSPYRE - When Time Fades... Progressive Metal | review permalink
SUSPYRE - A Great Divide Progressive Metal | review permalink
SHADOW GALLERY - Digital Ghosts Progressive Metal | review permalink
PRESTO BALLET - The Lost Art of Time Travel Metal Related | review permalink
IAN PARRY - Visions Progressive Metal | review permalink
OSI - Free Alternative Metal | review permalink
MASTODON - Crack The Skye Sludge Metal | review permalink
GREEN CARNATION - The Acoustic Verses Non-Metal | review permalink
AYREON - 01011001 Progressive Metal | review permalink
KING'S X - XV Hard Rock | review permalink
A CHINESE FIREDRILL - Circles Progressive Metal | review permalink
CIRRHA NIVA - For Moments Never Done Progressive Metal | review permalink
DYNAHEAD - Antigen Progressive Metal | review permalink
DANTE - The Inner Circle Progressive Metal | review permalink
SLAVIOR - Slavior Progressive Metal | review permalink
ROYAL HUNT - Paper Blood Progressive Metal | review permalink
RIVERSIDE - Anno Domini High Definition Progressive Metal | review permalink
RICOCHET - Zarah: A Teartown Story Progressive Metal | review permalink
REDEMPTION - The Origins Of Ruin Progressive Metal | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Progressive Metal 50 3.74
2 Power Metal 7 3.36
3 Hard Rock 6 3.58
4 Heavy Metal 6 3.42
5 NWoBHM 5 3.60
6 Doom Metal 4 3.88
7 Alternative Metal 3 4.00
8 Metal Related 2 4.25
9 Non-Metal 2 4.00
10 Stoner Rock 2 3.50
11 Symphonic Metal 1 4.00
12 Sludge Metal 1 4.50
13 Speed Metal 1 3.00
14 Stoner Metal 1 3.50
15 Death Metal 1 3.50
16 Folk Metal 1 4.00
17 Gothic Metal 1 5.00
18 Heavy Psych 1 3.00
19 Industrial Metal 1 4.00

Latest Albums Reviews


EP · 2011 · Hard Rock
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This initial three track EP by UK act RHODE ISLAND RED bears testimony of a band with rather sharply honed commercial instincts. This isn't a band that seems to look for any true metal badge to proudly present to a handful of followers. At least musically the material on hand here seems to be made with the charts in mind. Having a female lead vocalist is always a good thing if you plan for success, in particular if she's a talented. And Lyla fits that description rather well I believe.

As far as the music goes, Rhode Island Red comes across as a bastard child sired by late 80's The Cult and early 90's alternative rockers Garbage. Opening effort Kerosene kicks off with dampened verse passages sporting a dark, slightly distorted bass, energetic rhythms and vocals, while just prior to the chorus section massive, compact riffs hits the speakers big time, continuing onwards into the chorus itself which is of the melodic singalong variety. The contrast between the melody, lead vocals and massive guitar sound is a feature the band explore rather well, and in particular on Kerosene the lead on back to the verse with a slightly less massive riff cascade supported by a gentle, light and clean guitar motif is stunning. And most likely familiar sounding to any Garbage fans that encounter it.

Second track Beige is the one I noted down as the most promising item. Not yet realized in my opinion, cutting off some atmospheric laden inserts and an elongated outro would transform this into a killer tune in my amateur, non-expert opinion. Other than that the contrasting elements previously described has been utilized on this song too, and with a real tasty guitar solo detail attached to the chorus which suits it perfectly.

Final effort Stalemate is another good effort, this time around with a gentler, ballad oriented verse followed by an aggressive yet melodic riff dominated chorus with a strong emotional emphasis on vocal delivery. Good stuff.

Those with a taste for metal with a strong commercial sheen and female lead vocals should find plenty to enjoy on this EP. Comparisons towards The Cult have already been mentioned, and if the sound they explored on an album such as "Sonic Temple" is to your liking Rhode Island Red is band I suggest you spend a few minutes investigating.

DIRTY PASSION Different Tomorrow

Album · 2010 · Hard Rock
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Swedish quartet DIRTY PASSION was formed back in 2006, and since then they have been an active quantity in the local and European live scene, steadily building themselves a fan base. Come 2010 and they decided it was time to record and release their debut album, apparently at least partially due to request from their fans. The end result became the 10 track disc "Different Tomorrow", which was issued by Transubstans Records imprint Denomination Records in December 2010.

Pop metal, hair metal, glam metal, AOR, melodic hard rock. Beloved children have many names it's said, and these five different monikers describing music sharing many similarities but with subtle differences avid fans of them will readily point out can all be used to describe the stylistic approach pursued by Dirty Passion.

Short to midpaced songs sporting melodic guitar riffs as the main feature is the dominating instrumental aspect of this production, backed by steady beats and with the main limelight shining on the lead vocalist. The songs are rather straight forwards affairs, no fluff and staying well away from any artsy sidetracks. Good, old fashioned hard rock in other words, but with the customary vocal harmonies and more often than not the trademark singalong chorus parts we heard by the thousands when metal had it's commercial heyday back in the 80's and early 90's.

It's a type of music where it's difficult to make a grand impact. The musical palette is limited, and extensively explored by everybody, their brother, sister, uncles, parents and (in some cases) grandparents too. Crafting less than impressive results with this type of music is much easier than crafting any material of note, and with that in mind I find this debut effort from Dirty Passion to be a pleasant production. The only piece that makes something of an impact for me is A Trip to Paradise however, featuring nifty contrasting guitar motifs in the verse parts, a clever percussion insert and sporting an energetic pace increase in the instrument solo passage at the midway point. Subtle variations to the sound and approach that makes this track stand out from the rest here. The other songs at hand are pleasant enough too, but more as good examples of the genre to be enjoyed by avid fans to a much greater extent than songs that will have an impact beyond the reach of their and their genres fanbase in my opinion. A thumbs up to the chorus on We're All Gonna Fall is also worth mentioning. The slight dramatic effects on this track doesn't quite work but the delightful guitar motif chosen for the chorus on this creation is a pure delight to listen to. Again, again and again.

Dirty Passion have chosen a tough field to be active in, and from what I can gather from their initial disc they have a lot going for them. Most likely an act better to experience live than on CD I suspect, but for fans of 80's melodic hard rock of the guitar and vocals driven kind this should be a pleasant acquaintance. For those keen on references I presume Dokken is as good a name to toss out as anything - if you like them you'll most likely enjoy the tunes of Dirty Passion too.

PRAVDA Monophobic

Album · 2009 · Progressive Metal
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Monophobic is the third effort by US proggers Pravda, and like their previous effort a bona fide instrumental affair.

This production offers an eclectic take on progressive rock, covering a wide range of stylistic expressions within these 9 compositions. Riff patterns with synth and keyboard textures fleshing out the sonic tapestry is something of a calling card for this band, and neat, slick developments of themes from one variation to the next as well as from one theme to the other a key feature of this album.

First and foremost it's an eclectic blend of multiple expressions though, ranging from metal-tinged energetic passages to slick, vintage jazz inspired sequences on the other side of the spectrum.

And an interesting experience for those with a wide, liberal taste in instrumental progressive rock.

PRAVDA Walking Through Walls

Album · 2006 · Progressive Metal
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US-based group Pravda consists of established musicians, cooperating in a band structure to give the world their own special mix of what instrumental music should sound like.

Mixing art rock, prog metal and fusion together in a blender, and spicing it all with some weirdness here and there seems to be the basic idea of the band.

Add to that songs where sounds and melodies are deemed just as important - if not more important - than soloing and instrumental show-offs, and you get an instrumental album that is an enjoyable listen - also for listeners that aren't already aficionados of instrumental music.

Well worth checking out.

EFFLORESCE Shades of Fate

EP · 2009 · Progressive Metal
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Nice initial effort from this German five-piece, taking their cues from the Dream Theater school of progressive metal but expanding it with gentle flute soloing, clear female lead vocals, the occasional growls to contrast it and some nifty features from the rhythm department.

The compositions as such have more of an emphasis in moods, atmospheres and resonances than pace-filled technical virtuosity however, and the slow to midpaced compositions are generally of the darker variety in sound. A few gentle passage inserts contrasts the otherwise rich and massive cascades provided by the riff constructions quite nicely, and while a few details short of impressive this is a fine initial effort by a band that comes across as creative and talented.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Controlled Bleeding to be reissued
    Name any given musical style and there’s a 99% chance that Controlled Bleeding had already explored it. Some still call them an industrial group, which is nothing short from inappropriate. Sure, their music is strongly based on electronics and most of their works is pure cybernetic noise but this formation goes beyond industrial and beyond music itself in that matter.   In 1992 the band surprised their fans, releasing “Penetration” for Roadrunner Records – a label known mainly for promoting metal. “Penetration” was not completely out of place in that matter, as the sound of distorted guitars could be heard all throughout the album. Especially “Auto-Grind” and “In-Penetration” showed strong metal influences, the latter being nothing more than a mechanized thrash number. As always, the band presented a whole variety of styles – one could find dark ambient in “Consecration Will”, funk in “Blessed is the Burning Room” and gothic in the final track, “Awakened Beneath The Ground”. Lemos & co. also served something special for the fans of their previous experiments – “Scrap Metal (Part 3 – Live” is a beautifully demented track full of piercing and paralyzing noise. All in all, with “Penetration”, Controlled Bleeding came closer than ever to sounding like such groups as Ministry or KMFDM…   “Penetration” remains one of the most significant albums in the band’s career. Delivering an impressive variety of styles and inspirations, this collection of unforgettable tracks can be truly called a masterpiece of experimental music. And today Metal Mind Productions re-release the album in the new digipak edition limited to 2000 copies. Digitally remastered using 24-Bit process, released on a golden disc. The album will be available on 2nd August in Europe and 5th October in USA (via MVD).   Controlled Bleeding “Penetration” (remastered) Label: Metal Mind RecordsCat. No.: MASS CD 1368 DGBarcode: 5907785036031Format: CD Digipak (limited edition of 2000 numbered copies)Genre: Industrial Release date: 02.08.2010 Europe / 5.10.2010 USA   Tracklist:   1. Blessed Is The Burning Room2. Now Is The Time3. Auto-Grind (Vocal Mix)4. Consecration’s Will5. Dead Man Reality6. In Penetration (J.A.T.H. Remix)7. Will To Power (And Throwin’ Down)8. Praying In Fire9. Scrap Metal (Part 3 – Live)10. Awakened Beneath The Ground   BioControlled Bleeding was originally formed around 1978 in Boston, Massachusetts by Paul Lemos, Dave Southerland and Jack Salerno. In an interview with Brian Duguid, Paul Lemos explained why the band emerged in the first place: “Music has been my only love since I was about 10 years old. I don't know what stimulated this, but it has existed as long as I can recall. I think that some people need a creative outlet to balance their overall existence and allow for stability, and music serves this need for me.” The original line-up did not last for long, as Lemos moved to Massapequa, New York, where he continued to work on his music with old school mates, Tony Meola and Gary Pecorino. Soon the group recorded their first material, delivering sounds that were best described as an eclectic, instrumental mixture of The Ramones and The Mahavishnu Orchestra. In the early 80’s they started playing live shows, most notably at the legendary CBGB’s and Stony Brook University. Some of the live tracks along with various demos and other recordings were released as the “Dutch” EP  (long out of print) – which the band issued under the name Body Sink. Tired of lack of response to instrumental music, the group decided to add a vocalist. Through a music paper add they found Joe Papa – a three hundred pound scat singing eccentric. His presence triggered the departure of Gary Pecorino, who wasn’t happy with the direction the band was heading for. With newly recruited drummer Chris Moriarty and some additional musicians, Controlled Bleeding went on to work on new material but after their first disastrous show the extended line-up got once again reduced to the one-man mastermind – Paul Lemos. Paul begun experimenting with noise music, which resulted in releasing a compilation tape called “Swallowing Scrap Metal” in 1982. “I've always been interested in the most extreme music I could find” – he later commented, “This has been the case all my life in the late 60s through the 90s.” The tape became a surprising success on the local underground scene. Lemos once again drafted Joe Papa and Chris Moriarty, and together they went on to compose tons of new material, releasing demo cassettes on a regular basis. The band’s album which is considered to be their official debut was released in 1983, under the title “Knees and Bones”. Throughout the following few years Controlled Bleeding recorded a number of albums, slowly progressing from noise to other musical styles. Mixing various influences  was always the key element to the band’s success. As Paul Lemos said: “I've always been very open to music of various styles and this openness just broadens as I get older and as my tastes move back to musics of the 1100s - 1500s, music that I knew little of when I was twenty years old. So, as I become involved with different musics, as a listener, I find inspiration.” Albums such as “Core”, “Body Samples” or “Songs From The Drain” brought a dazzling combination of noise, prog rock, free-jazz and sacred music. With the release of “Trudge” for WaxTrax! Records in 1990, Controlled Bleeding entered the more commercial market, offering recordings that were easier to get into by regular music lovers. In 1992 the band surprised their fans, releasing “Penetration” for Roadrunner Records – a label known mainly for promoting metal. “Penetration” was not completely out of place in that matter, as the sound of distorted guitars could be heard all throughout the album. Paul Lemos soon got tired with the commercial marketplace and went on back to creating purely experimental music, focused mainly on dark ambient sounds. This resulted in releasing such great albums as “The Drowning”, “Inanition” and “Poisoner”. After 1997 Chris Moriarty decided to pursue his own career with the group Body Clock, while Lemos and Papa continued to develop new, fascinating material.
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Skin Chamber to be reissued
    Skin Chamber was a short-lived industrial metal project, led by two members of the legendary experimental group Controlled Bleeding – Paul Lemos and Chris Moriarty. This oppressive music creation combined cold, raving electronics with brutal guitar riffs and sickening vocals. The duo released two full length albums – “Wound” and “Trial” – before ultimately disbanding in 1993. And today Metal Mind Productions presents an exclusive two-disc reissue which brings back a truly violent phenomenon in all its despicable glory…   The project emerged in 1991, after Controlled Bleeding had left their label WaxTrax!, which caused the group to put their artistic output on hold. The duo managed to interest Roadrunner Records in their work and this way, in 1991 they released their official debut album called “Wound”. This 13-track monstrosity delivered a powerful sonic attack, described by some as a soundtrack to a cybernetic nightmare. The band totally blurred the line between the synthetic and organic sounds, placing pounding late 80’s industrial (in the vein of Chemlab for instance) right next to slow, metallic brutality (think early Celtic Frost). It wasn’t an entirely new idea, as Godflesh paved this road long ago, but the combined talents of Moriarty and Lemos made up for an extremely intensive record. With such tracks as the upbeat “Skin Me” or the creepy, atmospheric “Slice of God” Skin Chamber managed to mark their name on the industrial map with capital letters. In 1993 the duo released their second album, entitled “Trial”. Lemos described it as a logical continuation of the band’s style: “It just kind of continues where Wound left off. It's a lot more focused than “Wound” (…) I think the production is a lot more interesting, and within it are certain structured frameworks; there's a lot of experimentation going on.” “Trail” was indeed a more diverse offering, presenting a very focused material filled with all the best qualities of brutally heavy industrial. The band’s love for sickening electronics was best heard in the track “Swallowing Scrap Metal  (Part 5)” – a 25-minute string of uncontrolled noise, depicting all known forms of destruction. Or, as the reviewers often called it, an “electronic Armageddon”. Paul Lemos was very thrilled with his project’s output: “I think Skin Chamber is something that's new, it has no history behind it, there's no big catalogue of obscure releases. And so it's kind of in a way a fresh start in a whole new orientation for us.” But in 1993 both Lemos and Moriarty decided that Controlled Bleeding should be their main focus and the spontaneously created side-project was soon shut down.   To fans of industrial all over the world, Skin Chamber was something much more than a mere project. Many scene activists point to both “Wound” and “Trial” as some the genre’s most overlooked and admired releases. With this exclusive double re-issue we give you a genuine industrial phenomenon, proving that metal and electronics can form a truly ferocious mixture.   “Wound” and “Tail” will be available in a double digipak edition limited to 2000 copies. “Wound” includes a bonus track. Digitally remastered using 24-Bit process, released on a golden disc. The release date is scheduled for 2nd August in Europe and 5th October in USA (via MVD).   Skin Chamber "Wound / Trial" (remastered + bonus track) Label: Metal Mind RecordsCat. No.: MASS CD 1367 DGDBarcode: 5907785036024Format: 2CD Digipak (limited edition of 2000 numbered copies)Genre: Industrial metalRelease date: 02.08.2010 Europe / 5.10.2010 USA   Tracklist: CD 1 - WOUND: 1. Carved In Skin (Apt. 213) 2. Slice Of God 3. Sucked Inside 4. Skin Me5. Mind Grinder 6. In The Sewer Of Dreams 7. Burning Power 8. The Nails Of Faith 9. Fat Hacker 10. Horde 11. Swollen Underground 12. Swallowing Scrap Metal (Pt. 2)   Bonus track:13. Healing Time   CD 2 - TRIAL: 1. On A Drunk2. Throb3. Bleached Bones4. Torturous World5. Sloven6. Glisten7. Slow Crime 8. Trial9. Swallowing Scrap Metal (Part 5)  --------------------------------------Metal Mind Productions - Promo Dept.
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Willard's Steel Mill to be reissued
    When you think of Willard, two words come to mind – identity crisis. You see, the band hails from Seattle, Washington – the birthplace of grunge. They emerged around 1989 – right in the middle of the 80’s – 90’s grunge movement. And to top it off, their debut album “Steel Mill” (1992) was produced by the legendary Jack Endino – the man responsible for Nirvana’s “Bleach”. And still, with everything around them screaming “grunge!”, Willard managed to deliver a sound of their own, compromising between the music they were surrounded by and the music that came from their various influences… Willard was heavier than Pearl Jam, rawer than Soundgarden and definitely more aggressive than say, Mudhoney. Plus they had this whole metal thing going on about them, making the album sound like Pantera meets early Nirvana. “Steel Mill” was a real treat for fans of heavy, groove-laden music. Twelve tracks, including a cover version of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom”, filled with sleazy, monstrous riffs and packed with hard rockin’ melodies – what else could you wish for?   The band remains a phantom from the past, one of those groups that were this close to making it big but never really got the golden ticket. Even after all these years “Steel Mill” is a fantastic listen, an album that gives a whole new perspective to the “grunge” label. Heavy and uncompromising, this re-release is sure to blow your speakers…   Metal Mind Productions presents a remastered edition of “Steel Mill”. The new digipak edition of the album is limited to 2000 copies. Digitally remastered using 24-Bit process on a golden disc. Release date is scheduled for 2nd August in Europe and 5th October in USA (via MVD).   Willard“Steel Mill” (remastered) Label: Metal Mind RecordsCat. No.: MASS CD 1365 DGBarcode: 5907785036000Format: CD Digipak (limited edition of 2000 numbered copies)Genre: Metal / Grunge / AlternativeRelease date: 02.08.2010 Europe / 5.10.2010 USA   Tracklist:   1. Fifteen2. Seasick3. Sweet Kali4. No Confession5. Steel Mill6. Monotony7. Stain8. High Moon9. Hod10. Double Dragon11. Folsom12. Water Sports   BioWillard was brought to life by five Seattle locals – guitarists Otis P. Otis and Mark Spiders, bassist Darren Peters, drummer Steve Wied (who originally played in TAD) and vocalist Johnny Clint who joined the band last. It wasn’t really clear at first what musical style they wanted to explore – it seemed that Willard took sludge, doom and heavy metal and threw it in one bag along with some hard rock and, yes, grunge. The result? Pretty close to what the Melvins were known for – a dirty, distorted guitar sound mixed with heavy slab bass and pounding drums, closed altogether in one psychedelic punch in the mouth. The group released their self-titled EP in 1991 through Green Gel Records. The tape contained only four tracks (“Stain”, “Little Monkey”, “Dark Chamber” and “Never B-4”) but this was more than enough to catch the attention of Bruce Pavitt of Sub Pop who was at that time “looking for a touring machine”. Surprisingly, the group’s guitarist Mark Spiders refused the offer saying that he didn’t want Willard to become a part of the “Grunge Bandwagon”. The band made it clear that their place was in the underground scene and they wouldn’t change it for the world. One particular event seemed to confirm this statement – after playing an outdoor show for the “Pain In The Grass” festival at the Seattle Center, Willard got banned by the Seattle Police Department and the City of Seattle. Soon the group proudly introduced their new T-shirts saying “Banned by the SPD!”. For them, this was a moment of glory comparable to hitting a gold record…Willard eventually released their debut album “Steel Mill” throughout Roadrunner Records on July 21st, 1992. Rumor has it that some of the band members actually worked at a steel mill, hence the album’s name. The critics instantly tagged the music as “grunge”, but Willard was heavier than Pearl Jam, rawer than Soundgarden and definitely more aggressive than say, Mudhoney. Plus they had this whole metal thing going on about them, making the album sound like Pantera meets early Nirvana. They owed a lot of it to the producer Jack Endino who apart from Nirvana’s debut, helped create a bunch of other memorable records by such groups as Gruntruck, Skin Yard, Screaming Trees, TAD (to whom Willard was often compared) and later in his career – Therapy? Willard’s debut offering was a real treat for fans of heavy, groove-laden music. Twelve tracks, including a cover version of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom”, filled with sleazy, monstrous riffs and packed with hard rockin’ melodies – what else could you wish for?Unfortunately, Willard disbanded after recording their second album – “Bone Grinder” – which eventually never got released (at that time the band played with a new bassist, Tyson Garcia). One of the demo tracks from that album, “Larie”, was later found on a compilation record called “Seattle Music Scene Volume 2”. Otis, Mark and Johnny went on to form Ditch Witch, where they played with Tad Doyle of TAD. The band never managed to release any material (except for a couple of bootlegs) and soon was re-named to Cluster Fuck featuring a line-up consisting of Doyle on drums and vocals, Garcia on bass and Spiders along with Martin Chandler (ex-Hog Molly) on guitars.  --------------------------------------Metal Mind Productions - Promo Dept.


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