Metal Music Reviews from Xaxaar

DISCORDANCE AXIS The Inalienable Dreamless

Album · 2001 · Grindcore
Cover art 2.87 | 5 ratings
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Xaxaar
Not being a grindcore expert, this review may be like a grindcore song: short. But I'll give you 10 short reasons why I like the album.

1) I hear definite mathcore undertonings, and for me that keeps the album interesting. Along the many time signatures, there are many different speeds as well.

2) Past the scary grindcore coating, there is some life to be found in the record. So for me, this satisfies both sides of me which want to analyze and feel.

3) The production, relative to other grindcore releases I've heard is great.

4) This record has a ton of riffs, and they never really get boring. This is just a rollercoaster that never really goes down, just slows down.

5) The vocal-styles, having both a high-pitched and pig-y low voice, are very well done. Their technique sounds flawless for their style to me.

6) Got some good grindcore drummin'.

7) To me, this was a breath of fresh air with grindcore. I heard some of the stuff they did with other mathcore bands, but to hear grindcore + mathcore, and executed well, was a treat.

8) I like the art.

9) Incredibly consistent.

10) Sounds like Converge at times.

DEATHSPELL OMEGA Drought

EP · 2012 · Black Metal
Cover art 4.00 | 11 ratings
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Xaxaar
Deathspell Omega has been a very consistent black metal band starting from their release "Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice", the first of the trilogy, and this EP doesn't break the chain. They have been releasing some of the most interesting releases in the modern era of black metal. And along with their black metal roots, they have been adding plenty of progressive metal elements to their sound, and especially in this EP.

With progressive metal, I can see I'm very picky. Now I know I'm generalizing here, but a lot of progressive metal just sounds very dreary, dull, drab, and dry. Sometimes it doesn't even feel like you're listening to a band, just a machine that makes music in some odd time signature. But I believe Deathspell Omega is far from that. When I hear this EP, I always hear the raw roots where they came from and that helps put life into this release for me.

The production helps a lot with this album as well. Everything is textured so nicely and everything feels so tangible and you can really hear the instruments...if you get what I mean. Everything just feels so rugged, raw, rich and real.

As the EP starts off with a very atmospheric and slow song, it quickly picks up. The guitars are...excited, as they never really stay in a single riff for all too long and just seem to be jumping all over the place, which I like, but is an acquired taste. If you like having a lot of song structure, this may not be the EP for you because sometimes it does sound a bit scattered. But in all the chaos, you still get to go back to the black metal roots with the types of chords they choose.

Also, besides the instruments, there are of course the vocals. They haven't changed much, they're still the DSO vocals you either love or hate. There still isn't much in the ways of singing as there are a narration, but for some reason I'm always attracted to that style, love the classics like Spiderland and Trout Mask Replica that have plenty of that style. But if you've been turned away by previous Deathspell Omega, I'd recommending checking out this release. It has to be one of their most accessible releases along with the last ofthe trilogy, Paracletus.

Some complaints are that I feel that the EP ends too suddenly. Not that the EP is too short, although it could be longer, it just feels like a sudden stop and I wish it could have gone on longer. But I know this isn't their last release, and I'm excited that after the trilogy, they're still releasing awesome music.

CIRCLE TAKES THE SQUARE As The Roots Undo

Album · 2003 · Hardcore and crust
Cover art 4.25 | 2 ratings
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Xaxaar
As the Roots Undo is a screamo/post-hardcore album with some elements of mathcore, as there are some odd time signatures with polyrhythms and what have you.

To quote the album's booklet: "In a nutshell the concept behind the songs was to document the different points on a path to self-realization." Now, this is by no means the most original topic to make an album about, but as the song Kill the Switch says: "I know its all been done before, I want to do it again." And I'm very glad they did because the lyrics on this album are really phenomenal. The lyrics range from being very emotional to being outstandingly vivid. Just to throw out another quote out there, here's one of my favorite lyrics from the album:

"My dad's favorite novel on top of the pile, in the self concious first light shake the memory of his smile, igniting these volumes, igniting these volumes I'm warmed by the flames. Alter the deafening earthen tones... In the nervous light, I dance in the nervous light and I'm warmed by the flames. Dance to the sound of his weight bearing back fucking breaking."

I guess you can't really relate to the emotional part until you hear it and how it's delivered, but I'm sure by reading it you can even so how the lyrics are even slightly poetic. Now, how the vocals are delivered is where this album may be a bit challenging to get into. The screamo vocals aren't for everyone, but I think if you can learn to appreciate them you'll be rewarded with great lyrics and fantastic delivery.

But as this album also has some instruments in it, let's talk about those now. There's the conventional bass, guitar, drum set, but every so often there is another instrument thrown in for added texture. The intro song is actually nothing but flute, playing the main melody of the song, which does come back every-so-often, and most notably in the song "Interview at the Ruins", where they chant the lyrics "A murmur from the ruins echoes softly as the roots undo, and the branch becomes..." using the notes from the into track. And there are also some piano and random percussion thrown in as well. Fun stuff.

The drumming is very good. I'd say it sounds a bit like the drumming in Jane Doe, being very chaotic and sporadic as most mathcore drumming sounds. Basically, if you ever heard a mathcore album in your life, this is that drumming, but definitely above the average drumming, but still not quite "amazing" standards. It gets the job done, adds a good spine to the band, and keeps the songs driving that want to be driven, so it does everything a drummer is supposed to do and does it well.

The guitar/bass are also very well done, even better than the drums if I do say so. The riffs they make up often stand out in a very good way. The riffs are very diverse, not just focusing on one style too long. The quantity and quality you get with their riffs is great and definitely a reason to go back to the album.

Some criticisms of the album is that sometimes it feels to over-the-top, not because it's so extreme, but just how they express themselves it may seem kind of silly. After all, it's a bunch of youngsters letting out their angst with the tool of music. But I argue if one can handle this crazy, maybe even perhaps immature, album, you'll be glad you gave the effort.

CONVERGE Jane Doe

Album · 2001 · Mathcore
Cover art 4.13 | 23 ratings
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Xaxaar
Jane Doe really took me by surprise. As someone who's opinion of "core" has been contaminated by bands such as Bring Me The Horizon and Emmure, this album was sort of "Well, let's give the best of this genre a shot and see if it can redeem itself." And it has. Jane Doe is a whirlwind of emotion and technicality that never ceases and makes you longing for more when it does finally fade out. Every song is a cohesive experience, you're not going to "get it" by just listening to Homewrecker or Concubine by itself; it needs the context of the album to fully appreciate. Every song is absolutely essential, feeling like a mad house until the last track fills you with some sense of closure, but still longing for more.

The lyrics have no real structure to them and instead every song feels like a poem, but with hXe screams. Most people are put-off from the vocal style, but I think if you can get over that fact you can find some really meaningful stuff. Jane Doe's lyrics were written from Jacob Bannon's heart and I really do think it blends very well. He takes you on a journey where you feel everything from: shock, to denial, to depression, to hatred, defeat, self-loathing, loneliness, and hope. When all our roads have been travelled and all have come to a most bitter end: Today I thaw.

And of course there are the instruments. There are nothing short of being some of the most creative I've heard in a while. There is no question that this is also a masterpiece regarding technicality. Right away within the first 30 seconds of the album, it throws you into odd time signatures, crazy riffing, blast beats, and screaming. Concubine sure kicks off the album with haste. And it really doesn't slow down with Fault and Fracture, continuing on with Concubine's crazy theme. But what I like about this song so much is the outro. The drums crashing in and then speeding up the song is just great. After that is Distance and Meaning which actually utilizes clean vocals. And yes, I have to say it has calmed down a bit here, although that riff in the beginning still sounds pretty clustered. Now, Hell to Pay is when it really calms down. No doubt the calmest song on the album, and it has a very climatic song structure. It also has some great lyrics and how they're presented are great:

"That night, I think he cried himself to sleep Just maybe, he felt more than we could ever know And I think he pulled that trigger to empty that memory I think he cut the weight to end the floods of you Let him soar, let him ride as budding gravestones do Just sleep, girl, just dream well"

Then it goes into Homewrecker, which is kind of a 'rocking' song, believe it or not...at least I think so. It's still mathcore, don't get me wrong, but it has a certain drive to it that kinda makes it feel like that. Maybe it's the cowbell. Then there's The Broken Vow which is a pleasant little 2 minute'r. Starts off sounding like hardcore punk, but then quickly switches to a more mellow song until it finally hits you with the outro. And then it hits you with an even shorter song. This one just has a very punk-y tone through-out, I think. Heaven In Her Arms is when the album starts to take a turn. It's pretty fast the first half, but then it quickly goes into a more heavy sounding riff and then slows down until it fades off into Phoenix in Flight. Phoenix in Flight is like any other song on here, as it's just kinda slow and has an epic (forgive me for using that word) feel to it. It just sort of builds on itself instrumentally and then brings it home with a driving outro. And then there Phoenix in Flames which is just nuts. Just screaming and drums and the production turns kinda shotty. It serves as an excellent transition to Thaw, which is one of my favorites. It just never gets dull; it starts off with an awesome riff, and then just erupts with, yes you guessed it, an awesome outro. I know I kinda used that phrase a lot, but it's true: a lot of these songs' finishes are just golden. And I have to say, the best outro, and reward for the best song on the album, goes to Jane Doe: the epic to end it all. This song practically makes the album. I don't like to throw around the word 'perfect' a lot, but this song may just be. It's not as chaotic as you would think, but the song is driven by such emotion that it can be easily forgiven and in fact you wouldn't want it either way.

Jane Doe has went far beyond my expectations and deserves a 5 star for how much it enlightened me on other genres. It gives me hope for all of those other genres I disregarded. Maybe they will have a Jane Doe of their own.

Run on girl, run on.

DREAM THEATER Octavarium

Album · 2005 · Progressive Metal
Cover art 3.62 | 117 ratings
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Xaxaar
A lot of people absolutely love this album, and a lot of people absolutely hate it. I'm a bit more on the hate side.

Let me just say that this album is incredibly inconsistent. It has a bunch of ups and downs, but as you can tell with the rating I give it, a bit more downs.

It starts off the album with "The Root of All Evil." This is song, as well with others from various albums, is about Mike Portnoy's AA experience. Personally, I don't like any of the songs that deal with those; they all sound extremely cheesy to me and this is no exception sadly. I do like the intro to the song, though.

Now that we're on the second song, "The Answer Lies Within," I realize I'm going to use the word "cheese" a lot. I'm sorry for my weak vocabulary, but yes, this song does smell of the cheese. It doesn't really have any redeeming qualities for me, just nothing works here.

Next we have "These Walls." Dare I say, the first good song? Yep, I do enjoy this song quite a bit. I mean it's not absolutely great, but it is a good song. No really bad or really awesome moments, just consistent all the way through.

And after all those compliments, we come to this monstrosity. Remember when I said I was going to say cheese too much? Well, "I Walk Beside You" is the king of the cheese on the album. Kinda makes me gag of just the odor it gives off. Probably the worst track of the album.

Next we have...oh this one, if I have to hear this song on the radio again I'm gonna hurt someone. "Panic Attack" is definitely their most overrated piece of music. Now, it's not a horrible song, but I have no idea why it's so popular. It's just kind of the equivalent to decent filler. At least it's better than its predecessor.

"Never Enough" is the next song and it's not quite as cheesy as it is corny. Yes, those are different to me. The instruments aren't actually too bad on this one, it's the vocals that slap me across the face with corn. I am not a huge James fan, I will not hide that, but I feel like this was even bad for him.

Now this is when the song starts getting enjoyable for me, better late than never, eh? "Sacrificed Sons" has a very nice build-up going for itself in the beginning, and then when it goes off the song is actually quite great. Definitely the better than the songs before it. Oh, and I'm sure everyone knows it has to do with 9/11 and all that junk...which is actually quite fitting for when I'm doing this review. This is the first song that gets a solid thumbs up from me.

Now "Octavarium," the self-titled track, the 24 minute long epic, it just HAS to be good, right? ...Right! This is actually my favorite track on the album, not close. If this wasn't here, this album would probably be even rated lower than I have it now, but luckily this song is here. And yes, it is a masterpiece, and I don't like to throw that word around. This song is sooooo much better than the rest of the album, it's even where I coined something I say quite a bit "Octavarium Syndrome."

So yes, enjoy your 24 minute long epic, and Sacrificed Sons too, because that's all this album really has going for it.

TOBY DRIVER In The L..L..Library Loft

Album · 2005 · Non-Metal
Cover art 3.77 | 4 ratings
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Xaxaar
"In the L..L..Library Loft" is Toby Driver's solo masterpiece. The way this music is constructed really immerses you and makes you feel like you're in a nightmare. That being said, yes, it is quite dark and not everyone may enjoy it. But it's okay! This is one of those albums that if you do "get it," it brings many gifts and a truly awesome experience.

It must always be stated that this album is quite slow. This album is certainly for more of the Kayo Dot fan than one of maudlin of the Well. And even so, it's not like this is a straight Kayo Dot incarnation. If you thought Kayo Dot would make your kids cry (yes, I've seen people say that), then you ain't seen nothing yet!

The album's atmosphere is incredibly intense, and thus does drive some people away from this album. To summarize the music in a couple of words, it would probably: insanity and tension. Sound like a good time? I thought so. It's also a very climatic album. At first, you're just kind of wallowing around in the ambience of things, yes, still with that creepy, intense atmosphere, but gradually it seems start weighing down on you even more, until you are in some storm of, yes, insanity.

As this minimalist style of song structure may drive people away, people who embrace the music can really find something special in this piece. Probably the darkest album I've heard since Heresie by Univers Zero, definitely recommended from me!

PORCUPINE TREE Fear Of A Blank Planet

Album · 2007 · Metal Related
Cover art 3.98 | 68 ratings
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Xaxaar
Many people would call this Porcupine Tree's masterpiece. Is it PT's best album? Perhaps. Is it a masterpiece? Well, at least one song is.

Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy this album very much-so (or else I wouldn't give it 4 stars), I just feel like there is one song that shoots way above the others. I find this album suffers from Octavarium syndrome, if you will (not everyone will agree with that, I know). I feel like there are obvious flaws in every song but the one. Obviously not too many flaws to get this rating, but some nonetheless. I'm sure most of you know what song is the one I am referring to, but let's just start a track by track review in cause you can't quite guess yet.

Fear Of a Blank Planet - A very solid intro to the album. Sometimes the lyrics can get a bit direct and cheesy, but the singing itself is pretty great. And also that being said, there are also some fantastic lyrics in this song. It's pretty hit-or-miss for me with Steven Wilson most of the time. That being said, the instruments are quite solid to good drumming to good tone with the guitars. With this song you know you're in for an excellent album with awesome musicianship and production.

My Ashes - Pretty straight forward, a nice short and sweet song that fits the concept of the whole album. If you're not emotionally invested in the album it's just going to be a snore-fest, but if you are and agree with the concept (stupid teenagers, basically) that Steven Wilson is trying to portray, then this should just be another enjoyable song on an enjoyable album.

Anesthetize - Yep. The Masterpiece. If every song was like this one, this would be one of my top 5 favorite albums, but alas, not every song is. Everything about this song is great. The production is great and the thoughts and ideas that come into this song are awesome. The more metal riffs or just the slower parts, everything is fantastic. It has a great mix of complexity and emotional, one of my all-time favorite songs.

Sentimental - Did you like My Ashes? Well, you'll love this! It has the same sort of chilled factor that My Ashes has, but I just think the piano works a lot better with the mood. Also, the lyrics are great on this song. Once again, you have to be emotionally invested to listen to this song. Not one of those where you can just turn on this one song without hearing the context of the whole album. I mean, I'm sure some people have turned it on and liked it just from this one song, but I'm sure the vast majority learned to appreciate even more when they finally "got it."

Way Out Of Here - Besides the lyrics at the start being the apex of Steven Wilson's cheesy and direct nature, it's a good song. But yes, the intro...those lyrics just don't do it for me. It just seems silly, but not in the good way. And to be honest, the lyrics don't get much better as the song goes along, it's the instruments that save this song. I love the part that switches from the heavy riff to the chorus multiple times, that part is very well done, and there are no lyrics. Besides the occasional "Waaaaaaaaay out, way out of here!" jargon smargon. And yes, on this part the lyrics are used well, just everywhere else is kinda...bleh. But the instruments are exquisite. This song is still fantastic, just could have been better.

Sleep Together - The worst song on the album. I mean, it still has good production and everything, it's just that nothing really shines on this song for me. I suppose the grand violin solo is a nice way to go out, but ehh...the lyrics are poor and it's just one song I don't get into. Usually when Steven Wilson goes into a chorus on this album I am reminded on how good it is, but not here. The good news about this song is that the last 2 minutes or so are quite excellent so the album doesn't leave a bad taste in your mouth.

Would I recommend this album? Of course! Is it their best? Best song, but not a consistent album. If you want to hear an album that's consistent all the way through, but doesn't quite have that awesome high-point, I'd give In Absentia a listen. Don't like that either? Well I'd give up, I guess some people like Deadwing a lot, but I just see so many flaws in that album that I don't get how others compare it to FoaBT or In Absentia, but that's for a different review, I suppose.

In conclusion: Highly recommended if you want like prog-rock/metal with a bit of emotion. Or if you hate those angst-filled teenagers.

MR. BUNGLE Disco Volante

Album · 1995 · Metal Related
Cover art 4.13 | 54 ratings
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Xaxaar
Mike Patton's best work.

It is really hard to say anything bad about this album. The only thing I could say would be some songs are not up to par with the other. Some would call this "filler," but there really is none on this album. So I hear you say doesn't that mean there's filler? I think there's enough originality in all of these songs to justify none of them being called filler, all of it adds to the album. I just think some songs are better than others, simple as that...but NONE are bad. Some are just masterpieces.

I'd like to start with the vocals because I think that's the major hilight of the album. Mike Patton is certainly an awesome vocalist. I couldn't imagine an album without him and only he could make an album like this be so great. The shear talent and raw skill is something to admire, but then he goes above and beyond and shows incomparable creativity.

Past the vocals are, well, the instruments. This has a very wide selection and all of them are great. I don't think any one of these really overshadow the rest or fall in comparison, they are just all really solid. All of them seem to share the spot-light here, all though some instruments appear more than others.

Also besides the instruments are the miscellaneous noise. This I can't really call "masterfully done" considering it's just, well, misc. noise, but I do think it enhances the weird zany mood this album gives off.

Hilights of the album include: "Sleep (Part II): Carry Stress in the Jaw" and "Merry Go Bye Bye" while the not-as-good ones consist of: "Everyone I Went to High School With Is Dead" and "Violenza Domestica."

Definitely recommended from me!

UNEXPECT Fables of the Sleepless Empire

Album · 2011 · Avant-garde Metal
Cover art 4.03 | 42 ratings
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Xaxaar
It's kinda sad that by this album's rating, this review is taking down its average score. Don't get me wrong, this is one of my favorite albums of 2011, I just think it has a flaw (if you want to call it that) that's a bit too large to over-look and rate it any higher.

The flaw I've been talking about was basically just half of the album. I feel like the first (let's just use "In The Mind Of The Last Whale" as a divider) half of the album is much better than the second. My favorite songs being "Words," "Orange Vigilantes," and "Mechanical Phoenix," it's kind of hard to call the two halves equal. Don't get me wrong, the second half is not bad by any stretch, I just think the first half is so well-done it's sad to see the second half fall in comparison. I'd probably give part 1 a 4.5, but part 2 (keep in mind there are no parts to this album, just making this up) a 3.5, hence the 4/5 rating.

To just talk about the music for a moment, if you don't like avant-garde, I would avoid this one. As sad as it seems, I have seen people call this album "clown trash trying to be technical" and whatnot. It's just not up everyone's alley, I suppose. I will not deny that it's a weird one, indeed, but it's not a factor that turns me off to music. If anything, I absolutely love the innovation. Stuff like violins in metal, when used correctly, can be so beautiful, but still had to the whole metal feel. This band knows what they're doing, I know for a fact. Truly great musicians making original music.

If you're not scared of blackened death thrash progressive melodic heavy classical dark operatic medieval jazz funk electro ambient noise gypsy circus metal, I would definitely pick this one up. If you have no idea if this genre is for you, then I'd definitely say give it a shot! Just brace yourself for the odd ride to come.

DEVIN TOWNSEND Ziltoid The Omniscient

Album · 2007 · Progressive Metal
Cover art 4.15 | 95 ratings
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Xaxaar
If I were to review this album track by track you would not think it would be a 4.5 star album. I realize that not every track is not some master-piece, but the reason why I give this album such a high mark is just how much it has impacted me. This wacky character Devin created has really changed my perspective on music. Not only that, but to this day I still think it is the most entertaining to hear out of my collection. As everyone not have the same sense of humor as I, I found this album to be absolutely hilarious. I practically quote Ziltoid in my day-to-day life.

As I did say that the tracks don't add up to being 4.5 star worthy, I'd still like to clarify they are by no means bad. They are fantastic and they are songs like "Color Your World" that are just mind-blowing. But yes, songs like "N9" are noticeably weaker, but I would never go as far as to calling them bad. Never, ever, ever.

So to sum up here, Ziltoid is one of my favorite album, even though it may not be my favorite track-list. The concept of Ziltoid is enough to convince me that I should give this album 4.5 stars considering on how much it has impacted me. It's just a fantastic universe to get enthralled in. As Lateralus is a sublime serious experience, I think Ziltoid the Omniscient gets the other half of the spectrum by creating an awesome, entertaining, comedic experience. CAN'T wait for Z2 to come out!

Long live Ziltoid!

DEATHSPELL OMEGA Veritas Diaboli Manet in Aeternum: Chaining the Katechon

EP · 2008 · Black Metal
Cover art 4.37 | 11 ratings
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Xaxaar
If any of you read my Isa review, you'd recall me calling "Return to Yggdrasil" my favorite black metal song. Well, it has been dethroned by none other than "Chaining the Katechon."

I am fairly new to the world of Deathspell Omega, but "Fas – Ite, Maledicti, In Ignem Aeternum" was the album that got me hooked. Let me tell you, that is also an amazing piece, but that is a review for another time. They're primarily a black metal band, but they do have elements of avant-garde thrown in every-so-often. This is both technically powerful along with musically. I can imagine the excessive blast beats being a bit too much for some people, but not I.

Well on that note, let's grade the drumming. The blast beats are something I really like in this track. They don't sound repetitive because the drummer really knows his stuff. He changes the blast beats around with the cymbals enough to it doesn't sound like he's rehashing the same thing. Looking beyond the blast beats, I also do like the parts where his bass drum aligns with the bass to really get a full sound. The fills are really nothing to write home about technically, but they complement the feel of the song and feel so seamless that it is easily forgivable. The drummer is the spine of the band and this drummer certainly provides a very strong one. Exceptional in its context.

Since I already talked about the bass a bit, I'll continue on that. It pretty much does the same thing as the drums job which is make the song feel that much more powerful. The bass never really steals the spot-light, but like I said with the drums, the bass is perfect in its context. It does what the band wants it to do, all though I do find myself wondering how it would have sounded with a different bassist. Sometimes the bass really surprises me on albums on how good it is, but not really this one. I'm not saying it's bad, actually quite the opposite, I still love it, but it never really "WOW'd" me at any point besides when it doing some slides behind the guitar or really giving more power to the song on the powerful kick-drum hits.

Now the guitars are just fucking great. I mean, they're technical and atmospheric. This album does have an evil sort of vibe to it and the guitars definitely help. Their tone is absolutely perfect for an album like this. There is quite a lot of variety. Everything from the slow atmospheric, haunting feel to the blazing fast technical feel, but while still retaining the mood of the album. The guitars definitely make the album what it is. I honestly can't think of any down-sides.

Now the lyrics and vocals. The majority of the song are growls, but there are some clean vocals too. The clean vocals do their job, helping the song play out. They're very welcome in the whole atmosphere, nothing to complain about, nothing really exceptional either. But now, I do think the growls are exceptional. They have an excellent amount of force to them and he balances them quite well. Another plus is I think they are quite easy to understand. I'm not saying that your mother would be able to, but if you listen to black metal often I'm sure you can as well. The lyrics are also great. If you read them just on a website I know you won't think too much of them, but the way the band presents them through-out the song is exceptional. Being able to understand these powerful lyrics is certainly an upside. Nothing at all to complain about here.

There are also misc. instruments around the album that add to the feel of the album so very well. They don't get played enough for me to really crack down on everyone, but they're all great (especially the brass instrument near the end!). All in all, this is a 22 minute epic that no black metal fan, or even any metal fan who isn't afraid of growling and blast beats, should check out. It's just too good to pass up. Also, listen on full-blast! This song definitely has a lot of things you won't notice the first time through, but every detail adds to the mood.

EMMURE Speaker of the Dead

Album · 2011 · Deathcore
Cover art 0.80 | 7 ratings
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Xaxaar
This is the worst album I've heard in a while, if not ever.

This review is not so much a review as a therapeutic expression on my part. I honestly have no idea how people like this stuff. I assure you, people do actually listen to this stuff. That is depressing. The people that listen to this music are often the ones mocking bands like maudlin of the Well for making songs too "long and boring" or the people mocking new and innovative elements in music just calling it "stupid" (they usually give no other reason). The fans I've met that listen to this are among the worst of the mouth breathers. There is just no upside to this music or this album. Never mind, I take that back, the album is quite short.

First let's start with the vocals. They're one of those bands that try and be br00tal. Let me just save you the suspense and say that their growls are horrible. They're either low or high pitch, both equally terrible. The vocalist also tries to throw in some clean vocals, but it doesn't even sound like singing. Most of the time, it just ends up with him sounding like he's rapping. As you can imagine from a band like this, the lyrics just don't make sense. Half of the time they're just trying to be witty, and believe me, it's not very witty.

Next are the guitars. Equally shitty? You betcha. You cannot get less unoriginal. They come up with this painfully simple riffs [sarcasm] that are just oh-so very heavy [/sarcasm]. There is absolutely no redeeming quality for these guitars that would make me change my mind. It's just stupid and simple. Since the bass isn't worth its own paragraph, I will just say that you can barely hear it. All it does is mimic the guitars. Another unoriginal piece to the puzzle? You shouldn't be surprised...I wasn't.

Lastly are the drums. Well...he hits the snare drum on 3, hits the crash cymbals on 1, 2, 3, and 4 and he hits the bass drum whenever the guitars play a note. Yep, that's about it. Oh, sometimes he does some thing on the toms that mimics the guitar strums as well. And he does fills!...sometimes...rarely...I can't actually recall one off the top of my head, but I'm sure they're in there.

This is where I would usually review one track one by one, but I want to preserve my sanity. Just trust me. They're all bad.

Well this was a shit-fest. To summarize the review, here are the pros and cons:

Pros:



...it eventually ended.

Cons: Everything.

CULT OF LUNA Somewhere Along the Highway

Album · 2006 · Atmospheric Sludge Metal
Cover art 4.04 | 29 ratings
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It's truly a beautiful and emotional trip, this album is.

I think many people would agree with me when I say that this is Cult of Luna's best piece. That being said, it's an album that requires all of your attention while listening. It's also not an album for the ones with short attention spans. As you can imagine, it being a post metal album and all, there is a lot of repetition. As some look at this as a bad thing, I truly feel more immersed in the whole experience.

The bass and guitars are just so perfect on this album. They have a perfect tone and add to what the album is all about. They also add another element to the music. Besides the main melody and the bass riff, you'll often hear the other guitar(s) doing something to enhance the mood even further. You can tell how much thought they put into these songs, just trying to get it absolutely perfect. These are the things you can really miss and thus if you pay attention to it you'll have a more enjoyable listening experience.

Now one thing that definitely surprised me about this album is how good the drumming is. Is it the most technical stuff ever? Of course not; the whole album is not one you listen to for technicality. The drumming is just very creative. It's hard to imagine another drummer on this album just because he has so many memorable parts. But what I will say is that the drumming could have definitely went a more basic and uninspiring route and I'm very glad it didn't. Oddly enough, the drumming is one of the hilights for me on this post metal record.

Lastly, the vocals and lyrics. To me, the lyrics are perfectly reflected by the vocals. The whole album gives this sense of claustrophobic loneliness and the vocals do not disappoint in that respect. The shouting vocals in the climax of their songs never gets old and the haunting clean vocals in songs like "And With Her Came The Birds" are just wonderful. This album really has no weak points in the line-up; everyone is just so strong. Truly the best post metal record I've heard.

Marching To The Heartbeats - the first song off the album. It is just an intro, though, but it greatly succeeds at what it's trying to do: sets you up for the journey to come. Basically a bunch of droning guitars with the clean vocals, definitely an excellent start to the album, though.

Finland - this is where the album kicks off. After you heard all of that ambience, the drums just come in with full force. It then later calms back down to another ambient guitar thing, but this time with some drums, and they do really add a very nice touch. The things beyond the basics of this song are the things you have to pay attention to to really "get it." The song climaxes perfectly and everything scaling up to that is a wonderfully memorable experience. An awesome song, indeed.

Back To Chapel Town - Droning guitars, we meet again. That's another thing I should add, if you're against guitars being ambient to enhance the mood, you'll absolutely hate this album. But personally, I love it, as I also do the way the use it in this song. When the drums kick in, it's another great-sounding composed drum beat. I really do appreciate the drums in this album because I could imagine just a normal beat going there and it doesn't sound nearly as awesome. But this song achieves what it's trying to do. Sorta slowly fade in, then climax, then slowly fade out again. The synergy that all of these instruments have between each other in this song is also something great.

And With Her Came The Birds - For me, this song is kind of the intermission. It's 6 minutes of very ambient stuff. By intermission, I do not mean "Oh and it's this, going to get up and get a drink real quick." No, not at all, it's a very good song, it's just here I feel like the album divides itself. The calm before the storm is the best way I can describe it.

Thirtyfour - One of the more interesting songs of the album song structure wise. It kinda slowly climaxes up, introduces the drums, they start doing those awesome fills and whatnot, but then it just kinda drops again. But I do like it. That drop gives more of a claustrophobic feeling for when the real climax actually does hit. But then it drops out again after that climax and then builds towards another one. I do love a song with song structures like this and this is sure no exception.

Dim - Now this song is really an experience. Definitely one of the hilights on the album. The first 8 minutes of the song are just pure instrumental genius. The mood is actually kind of up-beat, almost giving a sense of hope. But then, like I said 8 minutes in, the more distorted guitar along with the shouting vocals come back in and you get that old sense the album had on you. And, probably how weird it is to point out alone, I really like the keyboard outro. You can faintly hear it growing in the back until that's the only thing you can hear. Well, of course not including the next song.

Dark City, Dead Man - This song I can safely say IS an utter masterpiece. My favorite song on this wonderful album, hands down. Definitely in my "top 5 songs of all time." It's just so perfect and so powerful. Whenever I hear this song, it always is just such a powerhouse. Every moment after the drums first go on the toms and then flams on the snare twice. It's just awesome stuff. I also can't say how cool I think that riff really is. I also love how the drums slowly progress in the song by only utilizing the hi-hat. Opening to get a more powerful effect and also just using more hits to get a feel of more of a driving force. You get such a sense of darkness and being sealed in at this point. The ending is one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful, ending I have heard. The sense of drag that the instruments give is just magical, honestly. It's the best way to sum up this song, and this album in fact: it's just powerful.

If you're on the fence about picking up this album, I will definitely be the one to push you over. One of the best musical journies I have taken and this one may have the best ending.

Highly recommended!

TOOL Lateralus

Album · 2001 · Progressive Metal
Cover art 4.36 | 115 ratings
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Lateralus: one of the greatest albums ever created.

Lateralus has been with me since the start of my prog-rock/metal journey, but I can never seem to find an album to surpass it in its genre. This is the one album I believe everyone should hear before they die; it's just really that good of an experience.

Now for the synopsis: Lateralus flows like a concept album as there are intro-songs for a good portion of the tracks on the album. It is also quite dark. I can tell you right now that you sure as hell don't listen to this album if you want something up-beat to brighten up your day. It's just a very powerful trip, is all I can say. This album creates the perfect mood.

Maynard's vocals fit perfectly in the album as his voice can certainly convey that dark tone the album has. He's also quite the skillful vocalist as well; hitting a wide range of notes. But along with the vocals come with the lyrics which are also some of my favorite. The only lyrics that I can say impact me as much are the lyrics in Ziltoid, but that's a WHOLE different experience. I can say safely these are my favorites lyrics in a serious piece. The combination of awesome vocals with creative and dark lyrics really make just Maynard's portion of the album a breath taking experience.

Next we move on to Danny's role. Let me just get it over with and say, yes, this is also my favorite album as regards to drumming. Being a drummer myself, I'm not awed by the immense technicality of the drumming, but the creativity. Just the shear imagination of the guy to put poly-rhythms where I never would have thought to in a million years makes this album so much more memorable. You can tell how much effort they put into this. Truly something to be studied by fellow drummers.

And then there's Adam and Justin. The most technical guitars you'll ever here? Not even close, but that's not the point of Lateralus. What they try to do they do perfectly. I will say that I never heard a guitar sing in such a beautiful tone before. They really are just perfect. And I will stress the point that Lateralus is not about technicality, but it's about creativity. I think the guitars perfectly reflect what Lateralus is about.

The Grudge - Just a way of saying, "Welcome to Lateralus!" The majority of the song is in 5/4, but it still flows very smoothly. The odd time signature does not feel forced by any stretch of imagination. The long scream paired with the drum "solo" at the end really sets up you up for the type of journey and you can feel confident that these musicians are the real deal.

Eon Blue Apocalypse/The Patient - It's just beautiful. It's such a dark song with a sense of loneliness and it has such a climatic ending. So beautiful it hurts. Everything is also just so perfect: the lyrics, vocals, drumming, guitars, they just all help create this crushing feel to the song. When I saw Tool live, my favorite song (next to Third Eye) that they played. Dark masterpiece.

Mantra/Schism - Another fantastic piece. All though this song maintains to the dark theme of the album, it's not quite like the previous ones. It's not a crushing dark, but more of an atmospheric dark. This being said, it certainly does have its points of aggression. The stop in the middle of the song is just another moment of beauty. Then when the drums come in, it just drives the song to the end with such force...it's just great. The album definitely does not let you down with this song.

Parabol/Parabola - A fantastic intro that foreshadows the main course. It maintains the dark ambient feel for a while, but then it just hits you again, going back to kinda how The Grudge made you feel. But then it just stops. It goes back into the ambient mood of things and I do really love this part. The drumming is just so very intricate. This album just has so many forms of dark and they all meld together perfectly. Along with the sublime outro to end the song, an awesome experience in itself.

Ticks and Leeches - I know I've been saying "creativity before technicality" for a while, but sometimes you can have both. The drums are just insane on this song. Even with the drums being so good, it's not the hi-light of the song for me, that would be the sucker punch they give right after the acoustic guitar. The first time I heard the album, I thought they were playing the song out. Needless to say I was...surprised. It's such a unique song, and yes, the drumming does stay often through-out.

Lateralus - Ah yes, the song with the Fibonacci Sequence. If that's not enough to show you how creative this album is, I'm not sure what is. Along with just using the Fibonacci Sequence, the lyrics also are very well done to correlate with the song. As you probably know, the Fibonacci Sequence creates a perfect spiral and some of the lyrics are "spiraling out," you can do the rest of the math. This is also one of the songs that have an array of poly-rhythms. And that ending! Oh, it's just a great song. Truly a song worthy of being the self titled track.

Disposition/Reflection - Disposition and Reflection are the calm tracks to begin closing off the album. They're kinda hypnotic as taking some ambient guitar and bass along with tribal drums. Reflection does have a climax and, yes, it is also awesome. I just really enjoy the longing feel the song gives. It's a very good atmosphere and would have been an excellent closer to an album.

Triad - The final song off Lateralus (not counting Faaip De Oaid). This song brings my only complaint to the album. Let me start first by emphasizing this is by no means a bad instrumental; it's actually very good, I'm just questioning why they needed it. For me, it feels like the album should have ended with Reflection as that was the epic to send it off, not some 6 and a half minute instrumental. But in a sense, I am just complaining about getting more music on my CD. I think that's the way Tool intended it to feel. You get the epic ending in Reflection, but then they come back with an encore to finish the job!...but then I can't really forget Faaip De Oaid, can I?

Even with ending on such a sour note there, it is not enough to convince me otherwise that this is the greatest album ever created in this genre. It has too many good features within for me to put this down for giving me too much content in one CD. If there is such thing as a prgoressive masterpiece, thy name is Lateralus.

DØDHEIMSGARD 666 International

Album · 1999 · Black Metal
Cover art 4.00 | 16 ratings
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Criminally underrated masterpiece of experimental black metal.

This album is the turning point in Dodheimsgard's musical career; before this album, they were just fairly raw black metal. Why others would say Satanic Art would be this turning point, I have to say this is when they started to really shine. THIS is when the music came out of the stone age into something intelligent and unique. This is the album people should look back on and realize just how damn good it is.

Just calling this album "black metal" is very misleading. It's mix of black metal, avant-garde, industrial, and even some thrash thrown in. This being said, it's a tough pill to swallow. I know it took me 10 or 20 listens to realize how good it is and every listen it just gets better and better. All of the separate elements of the album are mixed perfectly together to get an excellent mix of complexity and musicality. This album really has so much to offer and I hate to see people turn it aside off the first listen. I can't help but think that they just didn't really give it a shot; I'm not sure how you can dislike this if you are a fan of intelligent and experimental metal.

Shiva-Interfere - What a start this is. Starts off with piano in the first few seconds (calm enough, right?), but then the blast beats just come out of nowhere. It's such a new experience that when I first heard it, I kinda laughed; not because I thought it was stupid, it was just THAT COOL. Then afterwards it just stops, kinda reminding me of the calm after the storm. The ambience they add is a nice touch. It then comes back in to show its more industrial roots as the effect they add that makes the snare drum sound like an anvil adds a certain power to it. Along with Aldrahn's vocal performance, this song creatures a dark, tortured mood, but yet it is still very powerful. Beautiful song.

Ion Storm - A bit more straightforward than Shiva-Interfere as it seems the whole song is blast beats with small breaks. But if anything it shows the stamina of the drummer, I mean my god! That is some fast blast beating. But what makes this song amazing are all the small things. I won't list them all, but there are just so many, such as how they use the piano, that you will miss if you don't pay attention that really make the song that much better.

Carpet Bombing - A nice piano piece to give your head a break after all that blast beating and noise. Not only is it a nice break, but it's nice to keep a constant theme to the album. The haunting piano comes back every so often and I just love when artists do stuff like this. Great small addition that adds to the whole album.

Regno Potir - The epic centerpiece of the album. All of the effects they do to the drums just add so much. Not one feels forced, maybe just attempting to be weird, they all feel like they blend in to the song. Also all of the industrial elements added just make this song awesome. This goes for every song on the album, but especially this one: listen VERY carefully. I'm telling you, you cannot comprehend everything this on the first listen, not even the second. There are just too many things that can go over your head. The song fades out of its industrial influences and then is slowly greeted by the haunting piano...just to smack you across the face with this next song!

Final Conquest - I think I like this one more than most. It's one of the more "sound good" songs on the album, and does it sound good! It's also one (reached 666 words! how fitting...) of the more heavy songs on the album. And yes, of course it has to have the return of the haunting piano. Typing this review is just reminding me of how much I love this album. It's really THAT GOOD.

Logic - Another piano piece like "Carpet Bombing," but a bit shorter...by that a mean it's only a minute, but still very good. Retains to the feel of the album. And yes, the next song does smack you in the face again...

Sonar Bliss - Another gem. It's another song on the album that has a lot to offer along with the others. It has some more very original electronic sounds, and yes, the piano! I'm sure you get the whole "piano" point by now, but still, I love it.

Magic - The last piano piece on the album and probably my favorite. This one just really sets you up for the mood which is the last song on the album...

Completion - This one is just crazy. This song makes the album go out with a bang. I think it's safe to say this is the most experimental song on the album. Just let me get this over with: there's a piano part! But moving on, the electronics on this album are just so exciting and innovative, it really is an excellent closer to an album. As Completion pt. 1 is quite crazy, the much shorter Completion part. 2 just kinda comes back that haunting mood and plays the album on it. Both of them representing two very different sides of the album. Excellent.

I said enough - I adore this album.

...Piano.

SLEEPYTIME GORILLA MUSEUM Of Natural History

Album · 2004 · Avant-garde Metal
Cover art 4.14 | 37 ratings
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Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - Of Natural History

Definitely one of the better avant-garde albums I have heard. The amount of tension this band creates with instrumentation is pretty unreal; it helps settle a truly dark mood. And as some people think the lyrics sound forced, I actually enjoy them quite a lot.

The lyrics tend to have a deeper meaning to them. Take for example "The Creature." This song has a blatantly obvious reference to politics, I think. But even if it is obvious, it does not take away anything from the song. I usually do like when symbolism is not up for interpretation for I see, and I quote the great Devin Townsend, "People going up their own ass." Besides the political themes that travel through the album, the lyrics also help create that atmosphere I like so much. Not only the lyrics, but just the vocals themselves, too. "A Hymn To The Morning Star" shows the range they have and it just makes the album feel that much more unique. "Phthisis" also shows off the talents of Carla as her voice definitely fits the album perfectly. There is definitely a group of talented singers doing the vocals for this album as they know what they're doing.

The band uses their fair share of wacky time signatures, but the way they use them has been so different than what I've heard before...in a good way! Usually when I hear an odd time signature it's just to add some complexity in the music. Sure, I guess you could say that they're doing this too, but what I love about the way they use the time signatures is the tension it builds. Like in "Phthisis," when they skip a beat, for some reason these small details make the album that much more solid for me. It helps create the atmosphere they were looking for, no doubt. Also another thing to take note on is that they don't sound forced. I see bands adding time signatures just for the sake of being complicated and those are usually the type of bands I try to avoid. It just doesn't sound good when you try and make some wacky polyrhythm, it just should come naturally in the unfolding of the music.

I am also quite a big fan of the instrumentation of the album. The use of instruments like the glockenspiel and the xylophone help to that tense atmosphere I keep going back to as it gives a sense of atmosphere. The array of percussion instruments is also a nice touch and is certainly welcomed in the album. As, of course, there are guitars, bass, and drums, they don't take as big of a role as other metal bands. As of course these instruments are used often, they just feel like they compliment the rest of the band, not so much that they ARE the band (as most metal is).

Overall, I really have nothing bad to say about the album; I love everything about it. I have heard complaints that there is too much filler and ambience, but for me that helps the tone further. Plus, the album is fairly lengthy, I think they have some leg-room to just create some haunting aura. If it was a Cynic album, then maybe I would be a bit more concerned they were filling the album with pure ambience. My personal favorites are "The Creature" and "The Donkey-Headed Adversary of Humanity Opens the Discussion," even though I don't think there is one song that I would consider to be a disappointment. All of them are good in their own unique way and help catapult this album to a 4 star rating from me.

KLONE The Eye of Needle

EP · 2011 · Alternative Metal
Cover art 3.83 | 3 ratings
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I've never heard of Klone before this EP came out, but I must say it does inspire me to check out more of their discog. With obvious influences like Tool, Isis, and Devin Townsend (at least his more mellow stuff), this is one of the most well-done EPs I have heard. The album consists of two tracks, "The Eye of Needle (Part 1)" and "The Eye of Needle (Part 2)."

The Eye of Needle (Part 1) - I prefer this track over the second part. It's the calmer one of the two. It kicks off the EP with an ambient intro, setting up the whole mood of the album. The small orchestral element they add also helps the mood and this is very important. Since this album really isn't trying to be wow you with its technical prowess, it's good that it sets up an excellent atmosphere. The song structure seems very reflective of most post metal songs, meaning it starts off very collected and then hits a climax towards the last few minutes of the song. And as most of the song is in 4/4, it does throw in some odd rhythms once and a while. It's a very nice set-up to the more fast-paced (relatively speaking, of course) The Eye of Needle (Part 2).

The Eye of Needle (Part 2) - As it may not be as good as the first part, it's not bad by any means. It starts off a shuffle groove ,something I don't hear very often in this type of music, but it does work, I assure you. All though it is still not my favorite part of the song. Once the the drummer starts playing on the toms is when the song starts to get really good for me. Once again, maintaining that atmosphere that the album really never loses, but while still being interesting.

All in all, a very good EP and look forward to hearing more of Klone.

DEVIN TOWNSEND Deconstruction

Album · 2011 · Progressive Metal
Cover art 3.90 | 51 ratings
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"Fart noises ruined Deconstruction." ...What?!

My favorite album of the year so far (and it'll likely stay that way). This album is the most entertaining thing I've heard since Ziltoid. Along with genius instrumental song writing, Devin Townsend blends an element of comedy with his lyrics. Even with the comedic elements, there are still serious moments in the album that make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. The cameos in the album also make this album really something else.

Praise the Lowered - An excellent start to the album if nothing else. It starts off calm, but then hits to a more extreme tone. I doubt anyone will say that this is the best song off the album, but I don't think it's trying to be. It's just an excellent kick off to an excellent album.

Stand - I STAND! Damn, this song is good. Mikael Akerfeldt and Devin Townsend together, how could you possibly give this less than a 10? The song is definitely very climatic, hitting off the climax when Mikael Akerfeldt gives off his signature growl. I could just keep on glorifying the song in this review, but better off just hearing it yourself.

Juular - Not really filler, but just glue to put the epic songs on the album together. Once again, I think the song does what it's trying to do. The particular feel this song gives is the circus-like aspect and it does it very well.

Planet of the Apes - The second longest song on the album and my least favorite "epic" one...but it still retains a 9/10 from me so I hope it shows how much I like this album. It definitely has some great moments, as all the songs do, but this song does have the low points as well. And to be honest, I'm just being very critical; it is a very, very good song, but it is still shadowed by others.

Sumeria - Joe Duplantier AND Paul Masvidal in the same song. It uses Joe's harsh vocals perfectly to create a heavier mood and the outro with Paul Masvidal is flawless; also a great transition into my favorite song on the album: The Mighty Masturbator.

The Mighty Masturbator - Definitely my favorite song on the album. The 16 and a half minute long epic does not disappoint by any stretch of the imagination. This is Devin Townsend's longest song to date and I hope to see more songs of this length in the future. This song is what the album is about. Having humorous lines and using Greg Puciato's vocals for the serious, more agressive parts. Even has a guest appearance from Ziltoid! One of my favorite songs ever created. Ever.

Pandemic - This song definitely shows Devin Townsend's more crazy, chaotic, fast paced side. After the circus-like outro of The Mighty Masturbator, it is a good brace for the song Deconstruction.

Deconstruction - Now this song is just plain crazy, but I love it. This song is indeed crazy, it still does have good musical quality. I really don't know what else to say, just that this song is absolutely absurd. If you take all your music seriously, this is definitely not for you; but if you think you can laugh at your music, this song should be one of the best experiences you will have.

Poltergeist - The last song of the album. This album doesn't really go out with a bang, but it definitely is an enjoyable piece. Once again, I'm just being extra critical of this song because it is on such a good album. But this song definitely leaves a good taste in your mouth after finishing the album.





ULVER Themes From William Blake's The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell

Album · 1998 · Avant-garde Metal
Cover art 3.29 | 14 ratings
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This album is not the Ulver you've been used to hearing. It was definitely a risky project to attempt. It seems like 90% of the album is spoken word over a drum beat with some ambients. Given this, it does create the exact mood that they intended, I'm sure, which is probably the hi-light of the album. And you would think that an album that repeats the same philosophy on music in every song would get boring, especially because the album is so long, but it really doesn't. The calm and haunting feel is easy to get lost in; just sit back and soak it in. I enjoyed it from start to finish, even though the last song deceived me a bit. When I first saw it, I was excited for a 26 minute long epic at the end, but sadly it's just one of those 5 minute songs with silence at the end for a small bonus track. Admittedly, The Way of All Flesh fooled me too. But that being said, the 5 minute song at the end is one of the better songs on the album. But all in all, a very good interpretation of Blake's TMOHAH, if nothing else. It's a very difficult album to try and describe. Even though it is very simple, it does require all of your attention to really get the mood of it all (definitely not something you listen to in the background while working or something). It was a good experience, but not quite the masterpiece I heard others praise it as. Nonetheless, I would still recommend it if the concept sounds appealing to you. I surely don't fault people for praising this album so highly, but to me it falls short of being considered a legendary piece.

ENSLAVED Isa

Album · 2004 · Black Metal
Cover art 4.12 | 43 ratings
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No idea how it happened, but Isa went from being the top black metal album on the site to not even in the top twelve. Let's see if this review will help it at all. Let's begin:

Green Reflection/Lunar Force - The album starts off very strong with one of the best black metal songs created. I like the small details on the drumming like hitting the snare hit on the count of 1 instead of 3 and the hits across the toms every so often in replace of the snare rhythm. The chorus and the verse also compliment each other perfectly. And the odd time signature break is also very well written. Also how the song just comes back in after all the ambiance is just too good.

Isa The self titled track. It's a very short and sweet song with the vocal performance being the highlight of it all. It's an overall great song, even if it doesn't stand up to some of the others on this album, but this album is after all Isa, so it still gets a 9.

Ascension - An overall interesting song that never ceases to let loose of my attention. It has a lot of interesting parts where the drums seem to align with the instruments perfectly. But another thing I adore about the song is the keyboard. It adds so much to the verse and the chorus of the song, making it just that much better.

Bounded By Allegiance - It may start off a bit uninteresting and slow, but the whole song just keeps getting better and better. Even though I don't think it's a bad intro by any means, it still doesn't stand up to the rest of the song; having the clean vocals and the growling vocals fit their part perfectly and add to the mood of the song. This song just has a lot going on for it for being only 6 and a half minutes.

Violent Dawning - Another short and sweet one like Isa. What makes this song isn't the verse, but the chorus. As the verse is not bad, but maybe a bit repetitive, the chorus is the thing that shines in this song. One of the "beautiful" moments of the album.

Return to Yggrdasil - Probably my favorite black metal song of all time. I love the powerful intro to it, especially after the outro to Violent Dawning, and then it's gradual climb down again. The acoustic guitar is some of the best that I've ever heard in black metal (given there is not too much). But I just think the whole feel of it is empowering. Just that's the best way to describe the song: Empowering.

Secrets of the Flesh - The last of the "short and sweet" collection I so deemed it. This is the only instrumental on the album, but it still has room for the random screams. It's just a cool riff matched along with some creative song writing. A very good instrumental.

Neogenesis/Communion - The epic to end the album. Starts off right away with a clean vocal entrance and a fantastic riff to boot. Then about two minutes in it starts to transform into a more fast paced song. The riff is just...cool, I have no other way to explain it. I just really like the song structure of this song in general. It picks up again and then ends up fading out with a guitar solo. Just an overall epic song to end one of my favorite albums.

GOJIRA From Mars to Sirius

Album · 2005 · Death Metal
Cover art 3.75 | 33 ratings
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Since this album has a score of 2.71, I feel almost like it's an obligation that I write a review to bump it up a few points. I feel like this is Gojira's best album and to see it being the worst is, well, wrong...to me. Well, let's see if this review actually matters, shall we? This review is going to be one of those annoying "song by song" ones, 'cause that's what I do best.

Ocean Planet - Not exactly a roaring start for the album, but it is still not a bad song. It still definitely has its moments, but it does take a while for the song to get good. This song is definitely outmatched by most of the other songs on the album, though.

Backbon - Now this is what the whole album's about. This is truly a great song. It opens up with a very heavy riff and then later transverses into blast beats and THEN goes into the fast riff with double bass underneath. I think all these riffs sound excellent together, transitioning beautifully.

From the Sky - I know you're looking at the rating I gave the album and then at the individual songs and wondering "how?," but I promise it gets better from here. This is just the worst song off the album, the filler of the album if you will. Not a terrible song, just not really providing anything new to the album.

Unicorn - This was a hard song to give a rating to, but I gave it a four just because it's, well...nice. After the intense, heavy riffs of the first three songs, it's just nice to take a breather for a while to prepare you for the rest of the album ahead.

Where Dragons Dwell - A nice transition from the oh so peaceful song into another double bass fest. It actually has quite a pleasant riff to go along with its more heavier moments of the song. Just a very good over all song. The fade out at the end of the song is also very musical and a very welcome addition to this otherwise short song.

The Heaviest Matter in the Universe - This song, for lack of a better term, is just all over the place, but in a very good way. One of the more, if not the most, interesting songs on the album. The clean vocal section is also something to be appreciative of.

Flying Whales - The staple song off the album. Starts off with a mellow intro, but then just hits ya with that riff and then the song just starts to take off. This song has a very nice portion of heaviness to it and if you going to decide if you should hear this album or not, this song should be the one that persuades you.

In the Wilderness - This song is one of the better songs on the side of drumming and vocals. The format is very similar to Where Dragons Dwell as they both have the long outro that fades out, but I enjoy both very much so this isn't an issue for me. The reason why it's not 5 stars is because I'm not in love with the most played riff and the middle of the song is rather bland 'cause of this, but still by no means bad; in fact, very good!

World to Com - This definitely an interesting one; almost two separate songs in one. The reason why I like this song so much is just how unique it is. How odd it is in the rest of the context album and the song structure of it all. It's just an interesting song, holding your attention on to the album s'more.

From Mars (and) To Sirius - "From Mars" is the intro song to "To Sirius," kinda like how "Parabol" is the intro song to "Parabola" on Lateralus. The two songs compliment each other very well and I think "From Mars" is an excellent appetizer for the main course. Now focusing on "To Sirius" it opens up with a odd time signature riff, but by no means too odd. It's just a nice mix that keeps it even more interesting. Then the song eventually climaxes into a blast beat segment and, as you can imagine, ends with a fade out. A very excellent song.

Global Warming - A surprisingly great song. The whole song is practically made up of tapping riffs, but it also has a heavy segment as well. I also really enjoy the lyrics to this song as you should probably hear it with a page open to read along. It's probably the most emotional song off the album and I think they pull it off magnificently. An excellent closer to an excellent album.

Here's hoping that the review bumps up the album!



CYNIC Focus

Album · 1993 · Technical Death Metal
Cover art 4.01 | 62 ratings
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Cynic's Focus

Focus was an absolute turning point in the death metal genre. This album was released in 1993 and nothing sounded like it (the closest you could probably get was either Human by Death or Unquestionable Presence by Atheist). The hilights are definitely near the beginning and end of the album, but the variety you get with this album is ridiculous. There are beautiful instrumentals, fast paced proggy songs, and just songs which are just plain masterfully crafted. Anyone who appreciates technical and beautiful aspects in their death metal should not pass this album up. A wonderful masterpiece of art that is way ahead of its time and still holds water to this day as brilliant. If all the songs were as good as How Could I, Veil of Maya, and Textures, this album could have taken itself to the next level. All though like I said, the variety the rest of the songs give warrant a 4 star rating.

SEPTICFLESH Communion

Album · 2008 · Death Metal
Cover art 4.01 | 15 ratings
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Septic Flesh's Communion

This album's rating on this site is way too low and hope to show why in this review. The whole album creates a wonderful, symphonic, atmospheric mood throughout with each song (even though some are noticeably better than others).

Lovecraft's Death - starts off the album. This song has a lot of elements that make it unique. As the guitar work isn't the most unique, it adds a heaviness to it that, combined with the symphonic elements, creates a very good song.

Anubis - my personal favorite off the album. It starts off with a very calm riff, and then the drums come in and the song starts to kick off. But the punch really comes in at about 1:11. Another highlight of the song are the lyrics - the beckoning of the dying man to Anubis to save his soul (showed with growling vocals and clean vocals) is truly great.

Communion - at first listen to may sound like the Meow Mix jingle, but it actually quite a good song. It's a bit more basic than the other songs, but it still definitely has its moments. Once again, the lyrics are what makes this song more enjoyable for me. I like how this band can capture you in a story through the use of well thought-out diction along with the instruments (of course). Solid song over all.

Babel's Gate - very interesting song indeed. It starts off very quickly, but only about 13 seconds in it starts this very odd combination of almost a duet between the drums and the orchestra - very good though. The rest of the song just seems to be pure Septic Flesh in the sense of using blast beats and heavy guitar along with a symphony to create a well-written piece of music.

We, The Gods - sadly, the worst song on the album. It's not that it's bad, I just feel it doesn't brings anything quite relevant to the album - I would call it filler, but it's too good for that. It's not a bad song by any stretch of the imagination, just lacking where all of the other songs have succeeded so greatly on this album.

Sunlight Moonlight - a truly great song. It changes the mood up a bit and brings back the clean vocals (which we haven't hears since Anubis) and uses them to great effect. One of the better songs on the album considering the guitar work and the drumming, but not too much orchestral work - which is okay! The song makes up for it and then some.

Persepolis - this song using the orchestra to great effect. They use a lot of low winds on this song along with some low brass. This song is heavy and haunting at the same time. It creates this mood that almost makes you feel empowered. And, once again, the good lyrics also make a come back. The tale that this song is based off is an interesting one and they adapt it well into musical form.

Sangreal - probably the best written song on the album. It starts off with a very ambient intro and then the riff comes in. Personally, I'm a big fan of this riff - I love how it switches from the main beat to the and-beat. This song also has very good vocals, as the clean vocals and growling vocals mix very well. The song also has quite a nice mood change at about 3:13. It hits you with a very solid, heavy riff and abandons the orchestra for a while, but then returns with that riff I adore so much to play the song out.

Narcissus - the last song on the album. Goes back to the sort of mood that Sunlight Moonlight had, but is still very unique. It's a good song to send the album off of, even though it may not be the best. It has a similar theme to the song writing, but still feels unique in its own right. Has a neat guitar solo in it, for whatever that's worth to you. Overall, not the best song on the album, but not the worst - a good closer is all the song is.

Hope this review helped anyone who was considering getting the album to actually get it. This is my first review on this site, so hopefully it's not dreadful (also not bothering to spell check so excuse the grammar - I need to get some sleep).

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