Metal Music Reviews from Sleepwalker

ULVER Bergtatt: Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler

Album · 1995 · Atmospheric Black Metal
Cover art 4.23 | 39 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
Sleepwalker
Bergtatt is the marvelous debut album of Ulver, at the time a very influential black metal band. Unlike many of its contemporaries, Bergtatt does not only include the harshness of black metal, but combines this with the beauty of Norse folk music expressed through a concept revolving around a girl lost in a forest of trolls.

The album opens with a brief drum fill, taking us to what might be the best piece on this album. “I Troldskog Faren Vild” showcases the excellent combination of beauty and beast. Rough riffs drive the song, but the vocals that are sung over it are no conventional black metal vocals. No, they’re chanted choir-like vocals that work very well in creating a beautiful feeling. Though these kind of vocals make a frequent appearance on other songs too, vocalist Garm also uses the more conventional ferocious black metal shrieks frequently, like on the second song, “Soelen Haaer Bag Aase Need”.

Like already mentioned earlier, Ulver combines black metal with folk on this album. Most of the songs have classical acoustic passages, and there even is a completely acoustic track on the album, “Een Stemme Locker”. Another memorable part of the album are the middle few minutes of the third song, where sounds are heard of the girl making her way through the forest accompanied by gentle and delicate piano playing. The combination of these benign acoustic parts and the fierce black metal gives Bergtatt a feeling of beauty with a solitary and melancholic undertone.

Ulver has created a fantastic album with Bergtatt. Its combination of black metal and acoustic folk takes care of all possible repetitivity that one could find in black metal and therefore might even attract those who don’t enjoy the genre in general.

UARAL Lamentos a poema muerto

Album · 2007 · Doom Metal
Cover art 3.67 | 6 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
Sleepwalker
Released as a legal free download, Uaral's second full-length album is an utterly depressing journey driven by mostly acoustic instrumentation, having a folky nature with some clear native influences. This sets a melancholic and atmospheric mood. A very intriguing one, as Lamentos A Poema Muerto features some innovative and unconventional vocals, ranging from dense growls to screams and even cried vocals.

The somber atmoshpere on the the album is truly beautiful. Benign classical guitar drives nearly every song on this album, with drums and keys only every now and then appearing to strengthen the mood. What stands out the most on this album is the innovative use of unusual vocals over the acoustic music. Very low growls make a frequent appearance in the music and sound incredible. They are nowhere as ferocious as typical growls, but instead have a mournful and desolate feel. The same goes for the screams and the sheer melancholy of the cried vocals. Despite that I don't understand the Spanish lyrics, it is not very difficult to sense the sorrowful emotions in them. All of these elemts work so well together, with the result being an incredible and unique album. The album is quite a consistent thing as well, with no weak songs and all of them having a haunting and desolate feel. The two pieces here that cross the 10 minute mark probably are my favorites though.

Lamentos A Poema Muerto is definitely an album worth checking out, though it certainly won't appeal to anyone. I could imagine one could feel the vocals here are a bit too much. Nevertheless, I consider the album to be excellent, especially for something that is released as a free download.

OPETH Damnation

Album · 2003 · Non-Metal
Cover art 3.80 | 109 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
Sleepwalker
Released in 2003, Damnation is the soft and melodic follow-up to what many claim to be Opeth’s heaviest release up to date, Deliverance. Yes, soft and melodic. Damnation features no growls and is mainly driven by clean and acoustic instrumentation. This is what makes the album a much more attractive effort than Opeth’s other albums to those who dislike the ferocious growls or crushing riffs.

Damnation opens with the memorable riff of “Windowpane”, one of Opeth’s best known songs and righteously, as it is a fantastic track. The beautiful melodic vocals of Mikael Akerfeldt together with the subtle instrumentation creates a hauntingly melancholic setting, which is very common for the album. Another song that does quite reach the greatness of the opener is “Death Whispered A Lullaby”, another melancholic piece that features some dissonant yet calm lead guitar. The album is far from a masterpiece though. My main issue with it is that it’s not very diverse and therefore somwhat dull at times. Most of the songs are somewhat similair to each other in sound, often being driven by clean guitar riffs with a mellotron to create a more rich and haunting feel. 6 out of 8 songs open with a clean or acoustic guitar riff before the drums and bass come in. This is just to give you an idea of what I mean when I say most songs have a similair sound. Composition-wise, some songs are far inferior to songs like “Windowpane”. “Hope Leaves” and “Weakness” for example sound much less memorable than some others and have an overall dull feel.

Damnation is, though being a nice album, far from a masterpiece and lacks consistency to keep me interested for the whole 43 minutes it lasts. Nevertheless, I completely agree with the people who state this is the album to start with when having trouble getting into Opeth, because of it’s soft nature. Though it’s always interesting to hear a metal band make such a soft and melodic album, Damnation certainly doesn’t rank among Opeth’s best.

KAYO DOT Choirs Of The Eye

Album · 2003 · Avant-garde Metal
Cover art 4.00 | 53 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
Sleepwalker
“I was swept away when the choirs in your eyes cast little drops of water on everything”

Already mentioned in the lyrics of a song on Maudlin Of The Well’s debut album, Choirs Of The Eye is the title the first release of Kayo Dot, another project of Toby Driver rising from the ashes of Maudlin Of The Well. The music on Choirs Of The Eye is more avant-garde than that of Maudlin Of The Well, and the modern classical music influences seem to play a bigger role here as well. This can be seen in the line-up of the band, which features a bigger amount of woodwind and brass players than Maudlin Of The Well did. Also notable in this line-up is violinist Mia Matsumiya, who would remain a consistent member of the band up to date.

In a striking way “Marathon”, a very typical Kayo Dot piece, opens the album. The already mentioned modern classical music influences are very evident here, as a melancholic trumpet creates a beautiful soundscape, which is a typical case of the emotional instrumentalism of Kayo Dot. This beauty doesn’t last too long however, as monstrous growls and crushing distorted guitars change the setting. These changes between beauty and beast make frequent appearances in the music and play a very important role in the progression of the pieces. Most notable here perhaps is “The Manifold Curiosity”, probably the most impressive and mind-blowing piece on the album. Starting out quite softly, it gradually turns into some of the most fierce and intense music I’ve ever heard, with high-pitched screams and ferocious riffs included.

These intense and heavy parts of the music often serve as climaxes of their respective piece. However, the softer and more benign parts of the album can easily be just as impressive. A good example is “Wayfarer”, a song driven by acoustic guitar, beautiful vocals and a delicate, melancholic violin. Though roufh distorted guitars also make their appearance in this piece every now and then, they serve a much less dominant role. Pretty much the same goes for “A Pitcher Of Summer”, which is probably the most lightweight song on the album with its feeling of solace.

Another thing that is evident on some of the pieces on Choirs Of the Eye is a droning ambience. This means for example a couple of minutes of dreamy atmosphere, or an acoustic guitar gently strummed for some time with spoken words over it. The longest piece on the album and also its closer is “The Antique”, which features more droning music than perhaps any of the other pieces on Choirs Of The Eye. The first 6 minutes or so feature a constantly repeating riff gradually growing heavier, to become what probably is the most dark and gloomy piece on the album. Doom metal influences, which also were present in Maudlin Of The Well’s music, clearly can be heard here.

The broad range of musical styles integrated in their sound basically makes Kayo Dot unclassifiable. Nevertheless, they certainly have created a consistent and solid sound on Choirs Of The Eye, which is probably an even more impressive one than that of Maudlin Of The Well. Choirs Of The Eye to me feels like one marvelous journey driven by melancholy and somberness, either beautiful or ferocious, with every now and then a feeling of modest delight or relief.

ZU Carboniferous

Album · 2009 · Avant-garde Metal
Cover art 4.10 | 15 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
Sleepwalker
Zu is a three-piece band making music bred from the experimental combination of several genres including, among others, technical metal and free-jazz. This blend of styles creates a mind-blowing and intense sound more menacing and striking than most music I’ve ever heard. As I write this review, Carboniferous is the band’s most recent creation.

Notable is the somewhat unconventional lead here, which is Luca Mai’s baritone saxophone that proves to be very suitable to this kind of heavy music, performing some fierce shrieks and deep, heavy growls. The rhythm section as well is important for the distinctive sound created here. It’s a very strong one, consisting of Jacopo Battaglia’s aggressive drumming and Massimo Pupillo’s bass playing, which often has a thick sound and frequently is distorted. Apart from playing the drums, Jacopa Battaglia also is responsible for the electronics and even some mellotron, that manage to give the album a somewhat amospheric feel.

Zu’s intense sound can already be heard in the first riff of the heavy opener “Ostia”, with it’s distorted bass and dissonant saxophone playing, reminding one of free-jazz. The majority of music on the album is in this vein, dynamic and intense, though it still maintains a diverse feel and keeps me completely interested even after the many times I’ve listened to it. Also worth mentioning are the collaborations with other musicians on this album, among them Mike Patton’s vocal performance on “Soulolympics” and King Buzzo’s (Melvins) guitar playing on “Chthonian”.

After the many times I’ve listened to Carboniferous it still manages to amaze me. This might have something to do with the energetic and intense sound Zu creates here, which is an unique and distictive one. I’d recommend this album to those who might enjoy a combination of the dissonance of free-jazz and the monstrous power of a heavy rhythm section.

NEUROSIS A Sun That Never Sets

Album · 2001 · Atmospheric Sludge Metal
Cover art 4.17 | 15 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
Sleepwalker
Neurosis is a band with a distinctive sound driven by sludgy guitars and aggresive screaming vocals while still maintaining atmospheric. They are often regarded as the pioneers of post-metal and have influenced many major bands in that genre, like Isis and Pelican. The band’s seventh full length studio album, A Sun That Never Sets, shows the band taking a more avant-garde and experimental direction than before.

The album features very frequent softer and atmospheric parts, making the album very atmospheric. The songs often progress, starting out with clean guitar playing and slowly moving towards sludgy riffs and fierce screams. Despite the low tempos that the sludgy riffs are played in, they rarely fail to sound powerful, fierce and rough. Every now and then the typical instruments are accompanied by violin or something that sounds like a bagpipe. This proves to work out really well and helps to make the album more diverse in sound. Apart from the album having a very fine overall atmosphere, most of the individual pieces are able to stand on their own legs perfectly as well. The first half of the album clearly features more heavy outbursts than the music after the exotic piece “From Where Its Roots Run”, serving as some kind of turning point in the album’s flow. The sound of the music after this interlude is less fierce and aggresive, though still very angst laden. The album knows several highlights, like “From The Hill” with its bagpipes; the title track with its experimental tendencies; the epic finale of “Falling Unknown; and “Stones From the Sky”, probably being my favorite track of the album. I personally don’t think this album really has any weak tracks, though some are significantly less outstanding than others.

A Sun That Never Sets is a great album, though not what I would call a masterpiece. Lasting almost 70 minutes, it tends to drag a bit when listening to the entire album. Still, the album doesn’t lack roughness, aggresion and slow, sludgy riffs. Therefore, I feel the album is worth four stars, being an excellent album but no masterpiece.

MAUDLIN OF THE WELL Bath

Album · 2001 · Avant-garde Metal
Cover art 4.08 | 54 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
Sleepwalker
Maudlin Of The Well has managed to forge some very unique music, blending elements of various music styles into their distinctive sound. Bath was released in 2001, together with companion album Leaving Your Body Map. Where Leaving Your Body Map shows a lot of the bands heavy side, Bath is much more delicate and features more dreamy soundscapes, though still having its fierce moments every now and then.

Bath is such a beautiful album, full of musical translations of dream-like places. The band’s sound is very diverse, blending Metal, Prog, Classical, Jazz, Psychedelica and many others into one. The 61 minutes that Bath lasts are very varied, though this doesn’t seem to harm the album’s very consistent flow. I’ve already mentioned that most of the music on the album is very dreamy and somewhat soft. There still are some very rough moments on the album though, like the fierce “They Aren’t All Beautiful” and the organ driven and haunting “The Ferryman”. There also are frequent heavy parts in the longer songs that have an overall softer feel, often serving as a climax. These softer songs often create a beautiful mood driven by melodic guitar playing, atmospheric keys and now and then some soothing wind instruments. The album never tends to drag and is a great journey from beginning to end.

A masterpiece full of innovativity, that’s what Bath is. Full of hauntingly beautiful delicacy and mind-blowing climatic parts, Bath is one of the very best albums I’ve heard in my life. Listened together with its rougher and more aggresive companion album, Leaving Your Body Map, it truly is the musical translation of some paradise. A wonderful journey full of innovativity, distinctiveness and a fantastic feel.

CYNIC Traced in Air

Album · 2008 · Progressive Metal
Cover art 4.06 | 54 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
Sleepwalker
Cynic is a band with a very distinctive sound, blending progressive death metal with jazzy passages, highly complicated song structures and pretty unusual vocals. Fourteen years after their first studio release, Focus, Cynic decided to return with this album: an astonishingly technical release that leaves me ultimately cold.

Despite this, i can still name a lot of the album that I do like. The band proves to be one of a kind with their distinctive style. Very notable are the vocals, which vary from fierce growls to the futuristic, robotic sounding vocals. Also, the musicianship is nothing less than excellent. Highly technical song structures with riffs and passages that go everywhere. That sounds good, but I’d also like to point out that things feel overly dynamic. The album is a constanty exploding, and therefore lacking a constant flow. This is excactly why I find the album to be somewhat tiresome (and therefore uninteresting) and feel it tends to drag.

Somewhat enjoyable, but in the end tiresome, those are my main thoughts on this album. If you’re looking for some highly technical extreme metal, you might enjoy this. If you want the album to have a nice flow rather than being 34 minutes of non-stop climatic moments, you might like this album much less. Anyway, despite my negative words, I don’t find Traced In Air to be a really bad release, it just fails to enjoy me as much as some other music does.

TOOL Opiate

EP · 1992 · Alternative Metal
Cover art 3.16 | 35 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
Sleepwalker
Tool’s debut EP, Opiate, features a completely different sound from later releases. Actually, the sound seems not to have very much in common with the following release, Undertow. Despite this, there are some elements that are distictive for Tool’s style that are also present on this album. Most notable being the aggresive bass playing by Paul D’amour, that has quite a few things in common with future bassist Justin Chancellor; Maynard James Keenan’s excellent vocals; and the grungy guitar playing by Adam Jones. Danny Carey doesn’t seem to have developed his distictive drum patterns on this album, although the drumming sounds good nevertheless.

Personally, I didn’t expect much of this EP at all. The album doesn’t get all too high ratings on the internet, which was the main reason for these expectations. I was very pleasantly surprised though. The album started with “Sweat”, an aggresive song that sounds absolutely great. Somewhat immature perhaps, compared to the bands later work, but nevertheless an excellent track. The EP continues in this mood, which is aggresive and grungy. “Hush” was Tool’s first single. A controversial one, looking at the lyrics and video. It’s not quite as good as “Sweat”, if you ask me, but still very enjoyable and raw. About the same goes for “Part Of Me”, good but not outstanding. Next we find two tracks that are live recordings actually. Both share an intruduction that contributes to the raw nature of the music. “Cold and Ugly” is performed “for that Bob Marley wannabe motherf*cker out here”. I like these two live tracks more than the preceding two tracks and once again the songs are angry, raw and aggresive. The album closes with the title track, which also features a hidden track called “The Gaping Lotus Experience”. Being perhaps the least straight-forward track of the EP, “Opiate” is probably my least favorite piece here. The hidden track already mentioned is a nice and unexpected ending of the album, featuring some very present flanger effects and funny lyrics. Not aggresive this time, but somewhat psychedelic.

I personally don’t see why Opiate is seen by many as not much of a good debut album. Sure, it might sound a little immature compared to future releases and it doesn’t yet show much of Tool’s distictive sound, but it’s a great release anyway, full of passionate anger, rawness and sheer aggresion. Not quite a masterpiece, no, not at all, but a great release for sure. Tool’s Opiate most definitely deserves four stars in my opinion.

ISIS Wavering Radiant

Album · 2009 · Atmospheric Sludge Metal
Cover art 4.13 | 41 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
Sleepwalker
Isis is a band that’s constantly evolving. Starting out as a rough Sludge Metal band, they’ve moved towards a different sound. A more open sound perhaps. There still are the heavy riffs that are distinctive for Isis’ sound, though they aren’t as overwhelming as on an album like Oceanic. Instead, the music tends to focus more on creating a more atmospheric experience with a more progressive approach.

Still, Isis’ sound is dominated by heavy guitars and pretty distinctive sounding drums. Also, the bass is a very important part of Isis’ sound, contributing a lot to the heavy and thick sound that the band creates. Another important factor to the new Isis’ sound are the very present keyboards, that produce some brooding atmosphere. Despite the album being very good overall, it tends to drag a bit. The music never quite reaches the heights of an album like for example Oceanic and while most of the songs contain some climaxes, those often don’t sound all too dynamic and passionate as I suppose they could have been. Nevertheless, the vast majority of the music on the album is very enjoyable and songs like “Hall Of The Dead”, “Ghost Key” and “Threshold Of Transformation” are just great.

Wavering Radiant doesn’t quite reach the heights of some other Isis releases, but is a good album nevertheless. Therefore, three and a half stars suit it very well I think. If you enjoy atmospheric yet heavy Post-Metal, you probably will enjoy this album.

NINE INCH NAILS The Slip

Album · 2008 · Non-Metal
Cover art 3.59 | 14 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
Sleepwalker
2008 saw the release of The Slip, Trent Reznor’s seventh full length studio album under the moniker Nine Inch Nails. Being an Industrial Metal album, The Slip features lots of fierce synth sounds, heavy and rough guitars and an overall dark and harsh feel. Also very notable are the pounding drums that take a very dominant role on this album.

I must say that I have some mixed thoughts about The Slip. The album overall is quite good and features some great moments, of which some for example the fierce “Letting You”, the much more delicate “Lights In The Sky” and the electronic “The Four Of Us Are Dying”. The problem that I have with this album is that it sounds somewhat repetative at times. Part of this is due to the fact that the majority of songs on the album open with pounding drums that soon get joined by synths, bass, guitar etc. This gives the album a somewhat blank feel at times. I find it hard to say, but sometimes the album seems to lack inspiration. Things might sound a bit expectable at times, but despite this the music still if pretty enjoyable. The album opens pretty fierce and agressive, but on the second half of the album significantly slows down with some more atmospheric tracks, only to close the album again in a heavy and aggresive manner.

The Slip is very far from being a masterpiece, but it is a good album nevertheless. It features some great moments, both agressive and rough to gloomy and ambient. Also, Trent Reznor has released this album as a free legal download, which means you can’t go wrong getting it.

ISIS Oceanic

Album · 2002 · Atmospheric Sludge Metal
Cover art 4.07 | 40 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
Sleepwalker
Oceanic is the second full length studio album by Isis, characterized by sludgy guitars, dominant instrumentation and frequent interplay between delicacy and roughness. This distinctive sound has been highly influential to Post-Metal bands such as Pelican. Listening to the album, it doesn’t feel strange that Oceanic is Isis’ highest regarded album up to date alongside Panopticon.

Like already mentioned, the album features a notable interplay between delicate ambient music and crushing metal, making the album sound diverse and exciting. The musicianship is excellent, to say the least. The music isn’t incredibly complex or technically outstanding, but the band rather relies on powerful, thick sounding riffs varying from explosive and sludgy to more melodic. The riffs sound original and strong, often with chugging downtuned guitars, pounding drums and groovy basslines. All in all, the music is very energetic and dynamic. The album is a concept album (like other Isis albums), telling the dramatic story of a relationship that makes a man commit suicide by drowning himself. Aaron Turner’s vocals also are great, varying from beautiful melodies to fierce screams. Sometimes the clean vocals tend to sound a bit lost in the mix, but I can’t blame the riffs for being as powerful and dominating as they are.

The album is driven by instrumentation rather than vocals, but doesn’t tend to drag at all. Every single piece of the album is a great and unique experience, though they all share the same conceptual theme. Oceanic is an incredible album and is sure to blow fans of heavy and sludgy post-metal of their chairs. Absolutely mind-blowing, hence the rating.

CLOUDKICKER ]]][[[ (aka A New Heavenly Body)

EP · 2010 · Progressive Metal
Cover art 3.30 | 12 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
Sleepwalker
This somewhat strangely titled 2010 release by Ben Sharp is quite a big leap forward from the previous releases. Personally, I wasn’t all too happy about Cloudkicker’s previous EP, portmanteau, which suffered from sounding too overwhelming, stiff and unbalanced. ]]][[[ still features some of these elements, but less overwhelming and dominating as they were on Portmanteau.

The first piece on the EP already shows a difference from the music on Portmanteau. A groovy drum pattern gets accompanied by distorted guitar and heavy bass, but the song doesn’t tend to sound unbalanced or overly thick. Halfway through, the technical playing that is destinctive for Cloudkicker makes its appearance. While I find it a bit stiff and mechanical sounding at times, I can appreciate it much more in the context of this album than on Portmanteau, because of this release sounding more balanced and diverse. The second piece on the album, “%”, is another great piece. The track is driving my thick distorted chugging guitars playing a climatic sounding chord pattern. I prefer the album opener over it, but this song is very likeable nevertheless. The third and final track of this short release opens in a more technical way than the previous songs and sounds more like most of the material on previously released material. The song turns out to feature some diversity as well though, in the form of slower sections and pleasant use of the drum machine.

Though I think ]]][[[ still suffers from elements that were also present on previous Cloudkicker releases, I feel that this is a significantly better release than Portmanteau. The EP is only 15 minutes in length, which is pretty short but I’ll take it for what it is. The release can be legally downloaded (among other Cloudkicker releases) for free. So, you can’t really go wrong by getting it.

MAUDLIN OF THE WELL Leaving Your Body Map

Album · 2001 · Avant-garde Metal
Cover art 4.04 | 49 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
Sleepwalker
Maudlin Of The Well must be one of the most unique and memorable bands from this decade. Blending elements of several very different styles of music into one mold would shape two unique and astounding albums: Bath and Leaving Your Body Map. Two companion albums of which Leaving Your Body Map is the heavy counterpart of the more delicate Bath, though both share the same level of innovativity and distinctiveness.

Leaving Your Body Map shows a lot of metal with death growls, heavy guitars and some very aggresive moments. Metal is only one of the many musical styles blended in the sound of this album though. Others are jazz, classical, psychedelica and countless others. This is probably what makes Maudlin Of The Well such an unique band, they manage to blend so many musical styles into the 61 minutes of music that Leaving Your Body Map is and don’t make it sound unnatural or forced at all. I think It’s pretty much impossible to fully describe the sound that Maudlin Of The Well creates with words and the music really has to be heard to believed, which I think is a very good thing.

Leaving Your Body Map is not an album full of innovative heaviness though. There are plenty of more delicate parts like the majority of the music on Bath that give the album a very diverse sound and make it a great experience from the beginning to the end. I must say that I prefer Bath to this album, though it is essential to hear both albums which makes their distinctiveness and strengths more clear. I give Leaving Your Body Map a four and a half star rating.

AEROSMITH Draw The Line

Album · 1977 · Hard Rock
Cover art 3.63 | 24 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
Sleepwalker
Draw The Line is considered to be less impressive as Aerosmith’s previous releases. This is said to be because of excessive use of drugs by several members of the band, and their fast-paced lifestyle. This also made the band split up for a while, to be reunited again after several releases.

Does this mean Draw The Line is a bad album? Oh no, it features some moments that I consider to be among the biggest highlights in Aerosmith’s career. A good example of this is the stunning title track that opens the album with absolute raw strength. Same goes for “Kings and Queens”, a song in a slightly unconventional style for Aerosmith, featuring a very thick bass sound and having an overall epic feel to it. Other notable tracks are the catchy “I Wanna Know Why”, the agressive “Sight For Eyes” and the rough album closer “Milk Cow Blues”. Now, where an album like Rocks is very consistent and great from the beginning to the end, Draw The Line leaves me unsatisfied. All the songs I haven’t mentioned yet are not very interesting. Though there are some good moments among them, they give the album an uncomplete feel, which dissapoints me.

Draw The Line is a very inconsistent album, featuring both uninteresting and fantastic moments. I rate the album three and a half stars, as it’s still a great album and definitely worth getting, though not as essential as other albums from Aerosmith's classic period.

AEROSMITH Rocks

Album · 1976 · Hard Rock
Cover art 4.06 | 35 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
Sleepwalker
As the title suggests, Aerosmith’s fourth studio album rocks. It’s often regarded as one of the band’s best releases, along with the preceding Toys In The Attic. There are some differences between the two albums, most notable probably is that Rocks probably is heavier and a tad less blues-oriented than Toys In The Attic. Also, it sounds more complete to my ears.

The album kicks off in an excellent way. “Back In The Saddle” is a heavy opener, followed by the more melodic first single, “Last Child”. “Rats In The Cellar” is another heavy rocker in the vein of the album opener, although it has faster tempo and is more bluesy. There are some less notable tracks on the album, like “Combination”, “Lick and a Promise” and the most bluesy track on the album “Get The Lead Out”. None of these tracks are bad by any means, though definitely not on the same level as most of the other tracks. “Nobody’s Fault” was the album’s second single. It’s a very vicious track, featuring a somewhat unexpected melodic chorus. “Sick as a Dog” is another great track, featuring a mesmerizing intro that turns into groovy song. The album closes, just like Toys In The Attic, with a ballad. “Home Tonight” is the perfect ending for Rocks, and certainly a highlight in Aerosmith’s career.

As “Home Tonight” fades out the album ends. A great album it was, not having any bad moments, though some parts weren’t as satisfying as others. Fortunately, this goes only for a small minority of the music and therefore I rate this album 4 stars without any doubt at all.

CLOUDKICKER Portmanteau

EP · 2009 · Progressive Metal
Cover art 3.01 | 6 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
Sleepwalker
Portmanteau is the second EP release by Ben Shrap under the name Cloudkicker. The EP features four songs and is 20 minutes in length. The EP can be legally downloaded for free along with the rest of Cloudkickers discography. Cloudkicker’s music features a heavy and thick guitar sound most of the time, backed up with a drum machine.

Apart from the often very heavy guitar driven metal, there are softer, atmospheric moments on the EP too. These moments are an excellent addition, as they give the EP a much more atmospheric feel. The heavy parts of the album often are very technical, featuring several guitar tracks creating a thick wall of sound. Sometimes this wall gets a bit too thick in my opinion, and makes me unable to fully enjoy the music. Another reason for this is the sound of the drum machine, which sounds very unbalanced at times. Definitely the cymbals sound incredibly overwhelming most of the time. This all doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the EP. No, Ben Sharp is a very talented musician and he really shows what he is capable of here. Unfortunately I feel that the EP could be a much more enjoyable effort with a better and more balanced production.

I rate this EP two stars. It’s still a somewhat enjoyable EP at times and one must keep in mind as well that it’s released as a free download. Because of that, people should bear in mind that you can't really go wrong downloading it.

ATHEIST Unquestionable Presence

Album · 1991 · Technical Death Metal
Cover art 4.37 | 58 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
Sleepwalker
Atheist is an unique band, blending elements of jazz and death metal into one. Their second album, Unquestionable Presence, if often seen as their masterpiece. I’m not sure where those thoughts come from though, as I don’t hear much more than a good album in it.

Don’t get me wrong here. Unquestionable Presence is a very innovative and interesting album, featuring some great pieces of music. The album opener, “Mother Man”, for example is one of those tracks. A lovely rythm section underneath a layer of crunchy guitars and Kelly Shaefer’s aggresive vocal style. Another great song is the aggresive “Enthralled In Essence”, being a very heavy and complicated piece of music. Also very notable is “An Incarnation’s Dream”. The song opens with a wonderful gentle intro, before exploding into a heavy beast. I find these the best tracks on the album, and though there are no really bad tracks on the album I think the other’s are much less interesting.

So though the album has no music on it that I dislike, I feel that the album has too few moments that are more than just good. Therefore I rate the album three stars, though I think that the combination of melodic jazz and crushing metal could have been a far more successful one.

TOOL Lateralus

Album · 2001 · Progressive Metal
Cover art 4.36 | 115 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
Sleepwalker
Tool is not one of the most productive bands. After a five year gap they released Lateralus, which is regarded their masterpiece by many. On Lateralus Tool would create a sound that is now often seen as their distinctive sound, featuring grungy riffs, lots of triplets and unconventional song structures. Parts of this style had already made an appearance on the band’s previous release, Ænima, but on Lateralus they are more dominant.

Lateralus opens with “The Grudge”, the most aggresive song on the album together with “Ticks & Leeches”. Both of these songs are absolutely mind-blowing in terms of power. The latter was the final track on the album to be recorded, because of the strain that the aggresive vocals would give to vocalist Maynard James Keenan’s throat. Despite being great tracks, both of these tracks might not be the most representative of the musical style mentioned earlier in this review. Songs like “Schism”, the two part suite “Parabol/Parabola” and the absolutely brilliant “Lateralus” are more distinctive.

There is very few negative to say about Lateralus, except maybe that the song “Triad” doesn’t have much to offer to my ears and feels a bit out of place on this album. Also, I enjoy listening to albums as a whole. I’m usually not able to sit through 80 minutes of music, even if it’s as amazing as the music on Lateralus. Apart from this, the album really is astounding in my opinion.

I’ve been doubting if I should give the album 4.5 or 5 stars. I went for the latter, as I don’t feel that the length of the album should affect its rating. The music on this album is some of the most amazing I’ve ever heard. Lateralus is one of the biggest highlights in the history of music.

DEATH Individual Thought Patterns

Album · 1993 · Technical Death Metal
Cover art 4.27 | 96 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
Sleepwalker
Death, often said to be the pioneers of death metal, released their fifth studio album Individual Thought Patterns in 1993. The album was released in the part of Death’s career that’s said by many to feature their best albums. It struck me on first listen what an unique album Individual Thought Patterns is. Chuck Schuldiner’s unique growling style obviously is very important for the sound of Death, so is Gene Hoglans highly regarded drumming. What I might even love most about this album, is the addition of fretless bass by Steve DiGiorgio. Death metal combined with the elegance of the fretless bass, what a combination!

The album opens in the best way possible, with the astounding “Overactive Imagination”. The song takes the listener through various mezmerizing rythms and riffs, that never tend to get dull or uninteresting in any way. I don’t think any of the other pieces on the album reaches the brilliance of this track, though some get very close. “Jealousy” is one of those songs. On this particular track the fretless bass makes the music sound very curvy. Also the following track “Trapped In A Corner” is among the very best of this album. The title track deserves a mention as well. “Individual Thought Patterns” must be one of the most aggresive songs on the album, with it’s ominous intro and aggresive drumming.

The only track that I think brings this album down is “Out Of Touch”. The track is pretty complicated like many pieces on the album. Unlike those, this one sounds somewhat messy and therefore perhaps even out of place. Fortunately, I can’t think of any other songs on Individual Thought Patterns that aren’t good at all. The tracks I didn’t mention in this review all are great songs, like the vast majority of music on the album. One more thing that has to be said is that the song Death probably is best known for is featured on this album. “The Philosopher” closes the album in a great way. It proves what the fretless bass is worth for the final time on this album, with an intense ending featuring variated guitar and bass solos.

Individual Thought Patterns is a brilliant album. I’d reccomend it to anyone who is interested in a fantastic death metal album and to anyone who might agree with me that fretless bass and death metal are a great combination.

TOOL Ænima

Album · 1996 · Alternative Metal
Cover art 4.02 | 77 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
Sleepwalker
Ænima is a big leap forward compared to their previous album, Undertow. Tool decided to focus more on creating an atmosphere than on their previous release. This doesn't mean they didn't pay any attention to the music itself though, as most of the music on this album is very good. A rough sound, which has some similarities with Stoner Metal opens the album. "Stinkfist" is a pretty accesible song with slow, heavy riffs. This isn't the only song on this album that isn't conventional metal. Songs like "Eulogy" and "Pushit" have a very atmospheric feel to them, though being very rough and aggresive at times. The album contains several songs that really stand out, like the haunting "Jimmy", the mellow "H.", the mysterious "Forty-Six & 2" and the epic "Third Eye", which is one of the most ambitious pieces of music Tool has ever made . Some of these songs are definitely among the best in Tool's catalogue.

Many people claim this album has a lot of filler and unnecessary material. I haven't heard any of it, though I know what people are pointing at. They are pointing at the several one minute songs that this album features, that are full of strange noises like crying babies, white noise, and strange, electric sounds. These songs are all meant to create a certain atmosphere, and in my opinion they definitely succeed in doing that.

Ænima is a dark and atmospheric album. It is not as diverse as later Tool albums like Lateralus, but has a great atmosphere and contains some of Tool's best songs. I give it a four star rating, as it isn't a masterpiece, but a fantastic album indeed.

AEROSMITH Get A Grip

Album · 1993 · Hard Rock
Cover art 3.22 | 29 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
Sleepwalker
In 1993 Aerosmith released an album that’s quite nostalgic for me. When I was just getting into music in general I had a few Floyd albums and a Rush album or two. I knew a few Aerosmith songs, which I quite liked and saw this hilarious cover in a record store. So, I bought it.

Get A Grip album opens with a quite unusual intro that features Steven Tyler rapping. After those 30 seconds one of the best tracks on the album starts. “Eat The Rich” is a crunchy rocker of which part reminded me slightly of Rush’s “Tom Sawyer”, actually. After those lovely four minutes a burb takes us to the title track. “Get A Grip” is probably the heaviest on the album. Joe Perry proves himself to be a very fine guitarist on this track. The next song, “Fever”, is quite an unexpected one. It’s a bluesy rocker, with some psychedelic touches. Lovely rough guitar playing is heard throughut the song and a nice addition is the harmonica.

Next is a power ballad. “Livin’ On The Edge” is musically one of the very best tracks on the album. I couldn’t care less about the lyrics though, but that’s mainly because I completely disagree with them. “Flesh”, the next track, starts with some atmospheric noises before turning into cranky rocker. It’s not a bad song, though not among the best of this album. The same goes for the more conventional rocker “Walk On Down”. The heavy “Shut Up And Dance” is a rough song featuring some very nice solo guitar by Joe Perry. After this rough song we move to what might very well be the best song on this album “Cryin” is one of Aerosmith’s best known songs. Usually a song being a single doesn’t say much to me, but this track really is the highlight of the album. The melody in the verses is truly stunning, and the song doesn’t lack any power either.

“Gotta Love It” is a song driven by a heavy rythm section. Pounding drums and roaring bass make this track a pleasure for my ears. Apart from this it isn’t among the highlights of the album though. “Crazy”, which is part of the “Cryin/Crazy/Amazing” trilogy, isn’t among the best of the album either. It’s a power ballad that just doesn’t manage to enjoy me much at all. I must mention though that it is quite an ambitious song, featuring some jazzy chords, frequent harmonica fills and I can hear some eclectic touches in it as well. The following piece is a heavy rocker somewhat in the vein of “Fever”, that’s not all too interesting. Apart from “Cryin” there is another astounding piece on this album. “Amazing” is, simply amazing. It reminds me somewhat of Aerosmith’s best known song “Dream On”. The song features a string section in the choruses, giving it a pretty epic feel. The closing track, “Boogie Man”, is unlike the title might suggest a melancholic piece. It’s a big surprise, as it’s not like anything else on the album at all. It’s a bluesy and more or less psychedelic instrumental.

Get A Grip is a very fine album, though I really wouldn’t have minded if some tracks were excluded. The albums tends to drag a bit because of this. For that reason, I rate the album three stars. It’s a very enjoyable album but lacks consistency.

RUSH Permanent Waves

Album · 1980 · Hard Rock
Cover art 4.19 | 109 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
Sleepwalker
Permanent Waves is a huge leap forward from Rush’s previous album, Hemispheres. In my opinion, this is Rush’s masterpiece. It’s really easy to hear the progress in the sound of different Rush albums. The synthesizer has a much bigger role than ever before, and its role will be even bigger on following albums. Musically this album is incredible. Alex throws some crunchy riffs and as a bassist myself it’s undeniable that Geddy Lee’s incredible bass playing is a very important factor for Rush’s distinctive sound.

The album kicks off with a striking intro of “The Spirit Of radio”. This song is quite radio friendly, but a stunning piece nevertheless. The song features some groovy riffs, making it a very catchy piece. Another radio friendly track follows. “Freewill” is among Rush’s very best. It features some catchy riffs and great lyrics. Don’t let its radio friendliness fool you though, as the song is very complicated. In this stage of their career Rush relies less on epic tracks and more on shorter pieces, unlike on previous albums. Permanent Waves features two epic tracks though. The first of them is “Jacob’s Ladder”, an astounding piece of music. The song starts with a march-like rythm with some vocals on top. The vocals are scarce in this song, as it relies mainly on incredible instrumentation. After some ominous and heavy riffs, the songs takes a softer direction, only to slowly build up to a wonderful climax.

The next song, “Entre Nous” was oddly issued as a single. In my opinion songs like “Freewill” would be much better candidates for this. Nevertheless, “Entre Nous” is a very good song, though probably the least interesting of the album. Next is a ballad called “Different Strings”. The song is very mezmerizing and peaceful sounding. There is a melancholic undertone though. A fading guitar solo takes the listener to the sound of streaming water. An ambient guitar comes in and the absolute epic of this album starts. “Natural Science” is most definitely the most epic piece on the album. The song takes the listener through various parts and themes. From a soaring acoustic guitar introduction the song moves to what might very well be Rush’s heaviest thing so far. This middle section of the song has been incredible important for inspiring the sound of several future prog metal bands. The third part of the song is much less agressive than the middle section, and takes us to the sounds of streaming water again, just to close the album in a brilliant way.

Every time I listen to this album it’s a wonderful experience. This truly is the absolute highlight in Rush’s career. This masterpiece deserves five stars, and absolutely nothing less!

RUSH Hemispheres

Album · 1978 · Hard Rock
Cover art 4.33 | 112 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
Sleepwalker
Hemispheres, Rush's 1978 release, is seen by many as the best album Rush has ever made. It is a very ambitious album I must say, with an 18 minute sequel to "Cygnus X-1", from the previous album A Farewell To Kings. The album is more synth driven than the previous album was. This synth sound would eventually get much more important for Rush's unique sound. I have to say I am not very fond of this album at all. Most of the music on this album actually is good, but compared to the other albums Rush released in this part of their carreer this one is kind of dissapointing.

The main reason for this album being somewhat dissapointing is the first half of the album. The 18 minute long "Cygnus X-1 Book II" is the sequel to "Cygnus X-1" and Rush did make this sequel because people expected them to do so. The result is a repetative song, that sounds forced. The riffs of the song are pretty good, though not Rush's best. It's a shame that they last way to long, to eventually become boring. The second half is better, though the first song here, "Circumstances", isn't a killer either. The remaining songs, "The Trees" and "La Villa Strangiato" are some of the best songs in Rush's catalogue though. The first is a great song that really shows a glimpse of what Rush would sound like on later albums like Moving Pictures. "La Villa Strangiato" is a lengthy instrumental, featuring some truely memorable music, though not being perfect.

This album has two sides. One of them is pretty uninteresting, being forced, repetative and eventually becoming boring. The other is very good, even featuring some of the best and most memorable material Rush has ever written. Because of this I will rate the album three stars, which is what I think it deserves.

RUSH A Farewell to Kings

Album · 1977 · Hard Rock
Cover art 4.34 | 110 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
Sleepwalker
A Farewell To Kings is Rush's fifth studion album, being released in 1977. The album has a more progressive sound than previous Rush albums did and shows a glimpse of what would become essential to Rush's sound on following albums: synths. The album isn't full of them, but some songs do contain some synth sounds. The album is not very consistent I must say, as it has some of Rush's masterpieces and several weak and uninteresting songs. Some of those weaker songs are the poppy "closer To The Heart" which I absolutely dislike, the soft "Madrigal" and the title track. The title track is also the opening of the album. With a pleasant classical guitar intro the song sounds very promising. Unfortunately the song turns into a pretty uninteresting track, what a shame. Much more decent is "Cinderella Man". This song is not a classic, but it's a nice piece with lyrics by Geddy Lee.

Fortunately the album has some great songs too. "Xanadu" might be Rush's best song ever. It is a very progressive piece, with lots of different riffs, changes etc. It also is one of the only Rush songs, though I am a big fan, that really manages to make me shiver. The other song on the album that is among the best in the bands catalogue is "Cygnus X-1". After the introduction the song has an incredibily evil and striking sound. Alex Lifeson does a great job on this song, and manages to make his chords sound even more striking than most solos. This song also knows several different riffs and vocal parts.

This really is a tough album to rate, as it features both Rush's best and worst songs. Because of that I will rate the album with three and a half stars. I do recommend this album to all Rush fans though, as both "Xanadu" and "Cygnus X-1" are essential pieces for any Rush fan.

RIVERSIDE Anno Domini High Definition

Album · 2009 · Progressive Metal
Cover art 4.17 | 71 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
Sleepwalker
Riverside's most recent release and fourth full-length studio album is Anno Domini High Definition. The album shows the heavy side of the band more than on previous releases, which means that there is less focus on creating atmosphere. This is probably my main issue with the album. It isn't bad though, not at all. The album shows excellent musicianship and does really feature some great music.

The album opens with the haunting piano playing of "Hyperactive". This will soon change in menacing metal that's very rich of synths. The song is very powerful, like most songs on the album, though it isn't a masterpiece. The same goes for "Driven To Destruction"; a good song, but nothing more. The following songs are longer ,more progressive, and also more interesting. "Egoist Hedonist" features some cheesy melodies but in the end is a very nice song. "Left Out" is probably the most atmospheric song on the album and in my opinion the best. It shows some excellent musicianship and I can't really say much bad about it. The closing track, "Hybrid Times" starts with a piano intro, like "Hyperactive". Soon the song will burst out into the heaviest track on the album, that isn't much less good than "Left Out".

There aren't really bad songs on here, though none are really overwhelming. All songs are incredibly powerful though, and while that might sound positive I don't think it is. The album sounds a bit unbalanced because of this, which I think really is a shame. The bonus DVD, which is recorded at the Paradiso in the Netherlands is a nice feature. The performance is excellent, and much more atmospheric than the album itself. This is because it features songs from the previous albums. This live performance also shows the excellent musicianship of the band.

Three stars seems like a very good rating for this album. It isn't bad by any means, but just lacks the atmosphere that is so defining for Riverside's sound. I'd recommend this to anyone liking some powerful prog metal with psychedelic influences and not minding a bit of cheese here and there.

TOOL 10,000 Days

Album · 2006 · Progressive Metal
Cover art 4.00 | 72 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
Sleepwalker
10,000 Days is Tool's fourth full-length studio album, being released in 2006. The album's sound is very similar to the sound the band had created on Lateralus, though it is more eclectic and the band explores some territories on it they didn't on Lateralus. The band combines the modern style of Lateralus, which is full of triplets and grunge-like riffs, with exotic sounding drums and some of Tool's most emotional and ambitious pieces ever.

Some examples of this unique musical style are songs like the powerful "Right In Two", the softer "Intension" and the epic "Wings For Marie/10,000 Days" suite. The album does feature some more conventional Tool songs though, like "Vicarious" and "The Pot", which are both more accesible than most of the other songs on the album, but are some of the best songs Tool has ever created. Not all music on the album is as fantastic as those songs though.

The album focuses less on atmosphere than Ænima, though it does feature some typical songs meant to create a certain mood. One of them being the closing track of the album, "Viginti Tres", which might sound like a somewhat dull ending but serves a much more interesting function. This means combining it with some other music on the album. I won't be too specific on it, as I don't want to spoil anything.

Also worth being mentioned is the very original artwork. The packaging contains three-dimensional pictures of the band members, artwork by Alex Grey, and other pictures. Really something that was a pleasant surprise when I bought the album.

Overall a very solid album and arguably the bands best. I rate it with four stars, as I think it is a fantastic album, but lacks that final touch to make it worth five stars.

PELICAN What We All Come to Need

Album · 2009 · Atmospheric Sludge Metal
Cover art 3.62 | 10 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
Sleepwalker
Pelican is known for their sludgy and powerful instrumental songs. Where many bands aren't able to create exciting songs without vocals, Pelican is. The band's songs are very simply said composed out of several sludgy and unconventional riffs played by some talented musicians on extremely thick sounding guitars. Although this discribtion might sound a bit boring to the ears of some, I assure you the music isn't. The album features seven instrumental tracks and one song featuring guest vocals. Each song is unique, and apart from the sound of the instruments very different in terms of composition. "Glimmer" is the album's fantastic opener. Starting out quite slow and mysterious, it builds up to a brilliant song. "The Creeper" is a more sludgy piece. It also is a bit less interesting I think, though being a great track as well. "Ephemeral" is the album's biggest highlight, featuring a series of thick, heavy and interesting riffs. The song is, though only five minutes, a very diverse one. The fourth song, "Specks Of Light" starts out with a dark, complicated riff. The middle part features enchanting clean guitar playing but will return to the heaviness after a while.

"Strung Up From The Sky" is one of the softer songs on the album, though it still features some thick, sludgy riffs. Most of the music in this song sounds pretty clean and smooth though. "An Inch Above Sand" is one of the least interesting songs on the album. Though it features a few good riffs, it also features several much less interesting riffs. The title track is like most tracks pretty sludgy. It isn't in a very dark mood though, like most of the other songs. The final song, "Final Breath", features apart from the bands incredible music also guest vocals. The vocals fit the song well, making it an interesting piece, though I prefer the unique instrumental Pelican honestly.

What We All Come To Need is a very interesting release full of epic climaxes, sludgy and thick instrumentalism and a dark, atmospheric sound. This probably is my favorite release of 2009. I give it a 3.5 rating because of it being an interesting, innovative and unique album. A fan of thick, sludgy and unconventional guitar playing should definitely check this album out.

OPETH Blackwater Park

Album · 2001 · Progressive Metal
Cover art 4.11 | 135 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
Sleepwalker
According to many people Blackwater Park is among the most accomplished of Opeth's releases, or even their best album. This is often because Blackwater Park shows a more melodic Opeth than ever before, and the album has a better production than the band's earlier releases (Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson is responsible for this, for a part). I completely agree with these things, but apart from them I don't see what makes Blackwater Park such an exceptional album. Most of the songs are just decent, with some obvious exceptions, and I think the album sounds kind of blank compared to some of Opeth's other releases.

Many of the songs on this album are good, but nothing more. "The Drapery Falls" for example is a song that sounds excellent for a minute or two, but it just can't keep me interested, while a lot of other Opeth songs definitely can. The same thing can be said from the entire second half of the album. "Dirge For November" is probably the best on the second half. The song starts ot soft, but will turn into a much heavier song. It is nothing more than a good song though. "Blackwater Park", the title track, is also decent, though just like "The Drapery Falls" just doesn't really do anything to me. The second half also features "The Funeral Portrait", which is one of the few Opeth songs that I don't like at all. The songs acoustic intro is the only thing that sounds nice.

Fortunately there is some great music on the album as well. "Harvest" is one of Opeth's more accesible and mellower songs. It sounds very melancholic and is a very beautiful piece of music. "The Leper Affinity" is one of Opeth's heaviest songs. From the crushing first guitar chords to the melodic soling later in the song, it all is great. The song is, though being fantastic, not as brilliant as "Bleak". "Bleak" is more straight forward than the usual Opeth song, but really features some killer riffs and music. The song also features Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson on the vocals. Those vocals (that sound very different from Mikael's) being combined with Mikael's growling makes the song sound very interesting and diverse.

Definately not as great as I expected it to be. Blackwater Park is a nice album nevertheless, and therefore I rate it three stars. I would recommend it to anyone who likes Opeth, though I think they have made much better music than what's on this album.

OPETH Deliverance

Album · 2002 · Progressive Metal
Cover art 3.65 | 101 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
Sleepwalker
Deliverance is one of Opeth's heaviest albums, which is the excact opposite of Damnation, which was released just slightly after it. Many people accuse the album of not doing anything new, having bad songwriting and being kind of blank. I don't agree with any of these, and I think Deliverance is a very good piece of music. It is slightly more straight forward than most other Opeth releases, and does have some sort of cheesy sounding riffs, but what's important that it all is done very well, resulting in a very enjoyable record. The album opens with the rough "Wreath". A more typical metal song that's not as progressive as most of Opeth's songs. It also is one of their heaviest, featuring lots of heavy, distorted guitar playing and growling vocals. It is by no means a bad track, though far from the bands best. The title track, "Deliverance" is a much more excellent composition. The song is very progressive, as it combines heavy parts with softer parts, and has some very technical musicianship in it. The final minutes are absolutely wonderful, and among the best Opeth has ever done. Just as much as "Deliverance" I enjoy "Master's Apprentices", that just like "Wreath" is less progressive than most Opeth has done. The song starts of incredibly heavy, with a typical metal riff and double bass druming. After a while it becomes more variated and mellow though, which results in a very enjoyable song.

"A Fair Judgement" is a softer track, though still having its louder moments. The song features a nice piano intro, but the song doesn't reach the greatness of "Master's Apprentices" and the title track. "For Absent Friends" is a short instrumental interlude. It gives us a soft break from all the roughness on the album, and is a nice little piece. Unfortunately the album isn't all good. "By The Pain I See In Others" is a song I don't like at all. The opening riff sounds terribly annoying, and although being pretty diverse, the song doesn't do anything to me at all. A very weak ending of an excellent album.

Apart from the final track the album is full of good music. It isn't the bands best effort, but it definately is enjoyable and has some brilliant moments. I would recommend this album to anybody who likes the heaviest side of Opeth and doesn't mind a some less progressive metal than an album like Blackwater Park. An excellent album.

OPETH Ghost Reveries

Album · 2005 · Progressive Metal
Cover art 4.28 | 134 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
Sleepwalker
Ghost Reveries was my first Opeth album, and I really can't imagine a better way to get into the music of Opeth. This album is much more melodic than the previous releases of Opeth. Many melodic passages can be heard throughout the album. Also, Ghost Reveries combines the heavy growls and death metal riffs with softer music, which clearly is influenced by the 70's prog bands. This album might as well be Opeth's most progressive up to date. The album starts out with the heavy growls of "Ghost Of Perdition", a very diverse and progressive song. The sng takes us through many changes and passages, and really is a brilliant piece of music. The second song on the album, "The Baying Of The Hounds" starts out, just like the opener, very loud. Heavy growls and distorted riffs make this song one of the most striking songs I know. The song has a softer middle section though, but after about six minutes becomes just as powerful as the way it starts. "The Grand Conjuration" is another heavy song, though it is much less good than the previous two. It still is very enjoyable though.

The album has several softer songs, like Hours Of Wealth and Isolation years. The songs give the album some nice atmosphere, and make the album a very diverse thing. Another soft, atmospheric song is Atonement, of which the final minute is called "Reverie". Though the final minute is included in track 4, your CD player will tell you it's track 5 already. "Harlequin Forest" is probably my favorite Opeth track ever. The song starts out hauntingly powerful, though nowhere as loud as "Ghost Of Perdition". The second half is much more melodic though, and really is brilliant. Another great song is "Beneath The Mire". It opens with an eastern riff, but soon turns into a heavy masterpiece in the vein of "Baying Of The Hounds".

Ghost Reveries is a brilliant album, but I don't think it really is a masterpiece. The album definitely is worth four stars, but it just comes a very slight bit short to get five stars. Songs like "Baying Of The Hounds" and "Reverie/Harlequin Forest" are among the very best of Opeth though.

OPETH Still Life

Album · 1999 · Progressive Metal
Cover art 4.41 | 171 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
Sleepwalker
Still Life shows a more mature Opeth than ever before. This can be heard through the music, which is arguably Opeth's most solid work ever, but also through the production. Still Life also is a concept album, and though the story isn't very complicated it is definitely good and gives the album a dark and gloomy mood. This mood really is very present on the album. Some moments in songs sound like they are supposed give some hope, but most of the times the music is dark and haunting. This, in my opinion, is a very good thing, as I really like the dark mood. The music on Still Life is simply said amazing. The album takes the listener from striking death metal riffs to beautiful clean, psychedelic sounding parts. The album opens with the soft, haunting intro of "The Moor", which will soon into a heavy masterpiece. The second song, "Godhead's Lament" is even better, and probably is my favorite Opeth song ever. It starts of very striking, with a brilliant intro riff. The song knows many different riffs though, of which some are soft and acoustic, and others are rough and heavy. "Benighted", the third song, is the shortest on the album. It's abeautiful acoustic track, and one of the few moments on the album that doesn't have a gloomy mood. The following track is "Moonlapse Vertigo". This song has a brilliant melodic intro, and after about two minutes it turns into a haunting masterpiece. This song really is among Opeth's best ever.

Next is "Face Of Melinda", which opens in the vein of "Benighted". The song features excellent fretless bass playing by Martin Mendez and jazzy drumming by Martin Lopez. The second half of the song is not soft and acoustic anymore, but features lots of distorted guitar playing. It doesn't become as heavy as for example "Godhead's Lament" though. "Serenity Painted Death" is the next song and is, though probably the weakest song on the album, very good too. The song features lots of striking guitars and vocals, but knows some softer parts too. The song ends very strange though, as a beautiful clean part suddenly stops. "White Cluster" is the album's epic final track. This song really features some of the best riffs and musicianship I've ever heard. Many solo guitar playing can be heard in the song and there are many changes between soft and heavy.

This definitely is my favorite Opeth album. It features some excellent musicianship and music, and also some of Opeth's most memorable moments. The music is pretty variated, though most of it is dark and gloomy and connected by the concept. This album definitely deserves a five star rating in my opinion as I think this album definitely is a masterpiece.

MMA TOP 5 Metal ALBUMS

Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
Master of Puppets Thrash Metal
METALLICA
Buy this album from our partners
Rust in Peace Thrash Metal
MEGADETH
Buy this album from our partners
Rising Traditional heavy metal
RAINBOW
Buy this album from our partners
Reign in Blood Thrash Metal
SLAYER
Buy this album from our partners
Ride the Lightning Thrash Metal
METALLICA
Buy this album from our partners

New Metal Artists

New Metal Releases

Kingslayer Symphonic Metal
ALMANAC
Buy this album from MMA partners
Raging Out Thrash Metal
OUTRAGE
Buy this album from MMA partners
War is Coming Groove Metal
SOULDRINKER
Buy this album from MMA partners
We Are the War Thrash Metal
IN THE NAME OF GOD
Buy this album from MMA partners
Eventide Atmospheric Black Metal
ENEFERENS
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Free Metal MP3 download/stream

New Metal Online Videos

More videos

New MMA Metal Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions

More...

Latest Metal News

members-submitted

More in the forums

Social Media

Share this site
Follow us

Buy Metal Music Online