Kingcrimsonprog

Jimmy Neeson
MMA Special Collaborator · Honorary Collaborator
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 11 days ago

Favorite Metal Artists

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819 reviews/ratings
MASTODON - The Hunter Progressive Metal | review permalink
MASTODON - Crack The Skye Sludge Metal | review permalink
MASTODON - Blood Mountain Sludge Metal | review permalink
MASTODON - Leviathan Sludge Metal | review permalink
MASTODON - Live At The Aragon Sludge Metal | review permalink
AMON AMARTH - With Oden on Our Side Melodic Death Metal | review permalink
AMON AMARTH - Twilight of the Thunder God Melodic Death Metal | review permalink
AMON AMARTH - Wrath of the Norsemen Melodic Death Metal | review permalink
AMON AMARTH - Surtur Rising Melodic Death Metal | review permalink
ANNIHILATOR - Live at Masters of Rock Thrash Metal | review permalink
ANTHRAX - Worship Music Thrash Metal | review permalink
ARCHITECTS - The Here and Now Metalcore | review permalink
BRING ME THE HORIZON - Suicide Season Metalcore | review permalink
CARPATHIAN FOREST - We're Going to Hollywood for This Black Metal | review permalink
CHIMAIRA - Chimaira Groove Metal | review permalink
CHIMAIRA - The Infection Groove Metal | review permalink
CHIMAIRA - The Dehumanizing Process Groove Metal | review permalink
CHIMAIRA - Coming Alive Groove Metal | review permalink
CLUTCH - Live in Flint, Michigan Stoner Rock | review permalink
CLUTCH - Blast Tyrant Stoner Rock | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Heavy Metal 104 4.00
2 Thrash Metal 94 4.23
3 Hard Rock 62 3.65
4 Power Metal 60 4.12
5 Groove Metal 55 4.40
6 Stoner Metal 39 4.19
7 Nu Metal 36 3.85
8 Death Metal 34 3.74
9 Stoner Rock 32 4.39
10 Progressive Metal 31 4.21
11 Metalcore 30 4.35
12 Alternative Metal 27 3.87
13 Heavy Alternative Rock 26 4.00
14 Melodic Metalcore 25 4.28
15 Industrial Metal 24 3.94
16 NWoBHM 18 3.72
17 Sludge Metal 14 4.54
18 Melodic Death Metal 11 4.41
19 Metal Related 10 4.40
20 Non-Metal 9 3.72
21 Hardcore Punk 8 4.13
22 US Power Metal 8 3.94
23 Glam Metal 7 3.36
24 Gothic Metal 7 3.14
25 Proto-Metal 6 4.00
26 Rap Metal 5 3.70
27 Black Metal 5 3.90
28 Doom Metal 5 4.40
29 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 4 3.38
30 Speed Metal 4 3.00
31 Symphonic Black Metal 4 3.00
32 Melodic Black Metal 3 3.67
33 Grindcore 3 1.83
34 Death 'n' Roll 2 4.50
35 Heavy Psych 2 3.75
36 Crossover Thrash 1 3.50
37 Funk Metal 1 3.50
38 Deathcore 1 3.50
39 Technical Death Metal 1 4.00
40 Technical Thrash Metal 1 2.50

Latest Albums Reviews

ANNIHILATOR King of the Kill

Album · 1994 · Thrash Metal
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Annihilator have to be for my money, one of the absolute best Thrash Metal bands. Their greatest hits album calls the band ‘The Canadian Metallica’ and their virtuosos guitarist Jeff Waters ‘Canada’s answer to Eddie Van Halen.’ In terms of fame and size, this may be way off, but in terms of quality it is dead on. Their debut and sophomore albums, Alice In Hell and Never Neverland are near peerless masterpieces of the genre, full of concert classics. The blistering and incendiary lead guitar is some of the most impressive on any classic Thrash album.

Annihilator are a bit like Death, Nine Inch Nails or Megadeth in terms of having one key member and a revolving door cast of contributors. Their fourth album is their fourth in a row to feature a different singer. This time, lead guitarist Jeff Waters pulls the full Mustaine and becomes the singer. He may not be the most technically accomplished singer the band have ever had but he really suits the material. In fact; he pulls the full Schuldiner and is the bassist and rhythm guitarist too. The only other member on the album here is drummer Randy Black (Later of W.A.S.P, Primal Fear and Destruction).

As with many Thrash bands, they fell off the radar a bit in the ‘90s when Grunge and Alternative ruled the world. The extra interview tracks on the remasters of their ‘90s albums explain how their manager convinced them not to even put out their albums in North America during this time.

That’s a shame. Most fans only know the band for their first 2-3 albums. Less famous however, is the 1994 King Of The Kill album. For a Thrash band in the ‘90s this is a damn fine album and it’s a shame it isn’t better known. It remarkably well produced and clear without losing any bit. The lead guitar work is just as good if not better than before. There are some really memorable songs.

Fans of the band’s earlier thrashier material will fan in love with the concert favourite title track. Its tight riffing and punchy double kicks are everything that’s right with Thrash Metal. (About big cats. Jeff later comments it should have been ‘Queen of the Kill’ instead, as the female big cats actually do the hunting). ‘Second To None’ is equally hammering and would fit well on either of the band’s first two albums.

If you enjoyed the ballad from their third album you’ve got ‘In The Blood’ which is a more tasteful ballad with some nice classical guitar lines, or you enjoyed the slow quiet sections from the loud/quiet tracks on Never Neverland, then ‘Hell Is A War’ uses the same sort of style and tones but combines it with some mid-paced Pantera grooves and some Thrash. In the ‘90s some Thrash fans took umbridge with Thrash bands incorporating any Groove, but Annihilator do it right here.

There are admittedly a few other Groove moments that don’t work so well, like ‘The Box’ and ‘Annihilator’ which may be a bit too slow and repetitive for fans of the band’s technical, speedy, 200-ideas-per-song approach of yesteryear, but which add a bit of diversity to proceedings in all fairness. (The band made a mistake using ‘The Box’ as the opening track when the album was first issued, but future versions remedied this by making the title track first, which flows much better).

Speaking of diversity; fans of the band’s more eclectic and varied third album Set The World On Fire, will also find lots to love here. ‘21’ for example combines the Exodus’ ‘Brain Dead’-esque Thrash fun of ‘Knight Jumps Queen’ with the Van Halen worship of ‘Snake In The Grass’ and ‘Sounds Good To Me.’ You’ve also got the on-the-nose ‘Speed’ which lets Jeff show his guitar chops off further and ‘Fiasco’ is almost like a Thrash Metal version of something like ‘Romeo Delight’ or ‘Unchained.’ You can see how the band would come to cover aforementioned party-anthem later on their self-titled album.

I am a Thrash guy first and foremost. I got into the band for tracks like ‘Welcome To Your Death’ and ‘Wicked Mystic,’ fast, hard, aggressive and intense. That being said, one of the surprising album highlights here is the pure hard rock, cheeseball headbanger ‘Bad Child.’ It taps into the same AC/DC loving hard rock vein that the band would later drill on ‘Shallow Grave’ a few albums down the line. If you want pure catchy fun, this is the track for you.

There are also two very fine instrumentals in ‘Bliss’ and ‘Catch The Wind’ for the guitar aficionado. Jeff has a very unique and distinct musical vision and you can tell if he has written something right away.

Overall; King Of The Kill is another excellent album from Annihilator, and fans of Jeff’s Thrashier and more Hard Rock styles will both find a lot to like here. There’s also a few experiments but enough of what the fans want remains. It certainly retains the same quality the band are known for, even if you may not see it on quite so many Best Thrash Albums Ever lists as others. It may not be their most pure-Thrash album, but just in terms of being a good album, this is a must have.

ANNIHILATOR Refresh the Demon

Album · 1996 · Thrash Metal
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If Canada’s Annihilator are an underrated band, and their albums after the classic first debut and sophomore releases, (such as albums three & four; Set The World On Fire and King Of The Kill) are underrated by the media, then the albums after that are a triple-threat of underrated, being underrated by even their fanbase.

The best among those for me, is the Refresh The Demon album. The 1996 follow up to King Of The Kill, was the second album in a row where after a period of line-up instability, guitarist Jeff Waters took on vocal duties as well. This makes it the first studio album in their career to have the same singer as the previous album.

Stylistically; the album is very much a sequel to King Of The Kill. There are even some direct analogues, such as both having brief guitar based instrumentals, both having ballads, both having a few groove metal tracks that raise eye brows among the older fans, both having a ‘Knight Jumps Queen’/’Brain Dead’ style song with an in/out guitar line and rhythmic vocals, and a couple of true blue classic thrashers that raise horns with older fans.

This is a brilliant album, better than a Thrash album from 1996 is likely to be for most bands. Its arguably an even tighter, well rounded version of King Of The Kill and if you that album, this one is a must own. You can consider them a pair. They’re the two albums with Jeff singing but a live drummer and no drum machine (unlike the next album, 1997’s Remains).

Highlights include the speedy title track, its pure Waters-Thrash, the kind of thing that could have fit on the first two albums, ‘Pastor Of Disaster’ which is the aforementioned ‘Brain Dead’-style fun one, and ‘City Of Ice’ which is like a blend of ‘80s Judas Priest and ‘70s Van Halen.

If you are a big Thrash fan, there’s a lot of albums released in the ‘90s that are disappointing. Refresh The Demon ‘aint one of ‘em. Not by a long shot.

ANNIHILATOR Criteria for a Black Widow

Album · 1999 · Thrash Metal
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Canada’s superb Thrash Metal band started off strong, releasing their best two albums first, and the next three albums they released were also pretty darn good, but the critics and audiences drifted away. Then they released the ill-fated and misguided Remains album in 1997, and needed a major rethink to get back on track.

1999’s Criteria For A Black Widow was that rethink. The linear notes on the reissue state it was originally meant to be called Sonic Homicide but the record label at the time changed it. The big talking point on this record is that the line-up from the band’s classic debut Alice In Hell was back. The artwork harkens back to Alice In Hell. There’s even an instrumental track called ‘Schizos (Are Never Alone) Part III’ which harkens back to parts I & II of the same name from the debut too.

(Also, confusingly, there’s a track called ‘Back To The Palace’ that clearly refers both lyrically and musically to ‘The Fun Palace’ from not the debut, but the sophomore record. Hey its still calling back to some of their best material, but slightly off theme!).

Now; in terms of righting the ship, this album is undoubtedly a huge step up from the controversial Remains album which preceded it. Unfortunately however it didn’t reach the insanely high quality of the band’s near-perfect debut album. Arguably, its not even the best album they released during Thrash Metal’s wilderness period in the 1990s. King Of The Kill and Refresh The Demon were a lot better than you’d expect for their lack of fame, its just the grunge focused times and lack of record label/press support that hindered their success.

That’s not to say it’s a weak album, its just not the huge return to form and game-changer it was intended to be. There’s still some damn fine material to be found. The Pantera-influenced ‘Nothing Left,’ the speedy ‘Double Dare’ and the title track that never was especially, ‘Sonic Homicide’ are all worth checking out.

There are however a few draw backs, such as a few underwhelming tracks like the disappointing ‘Punctured’ and ‘Criteria For A Black Widow’ which don’t quite reach the band’s usual high standards, and returning singer Randy Rampage doesn’t quite recapture the old magic here either. This material would mostly probably have suited lead guitarist Jeff Waters singing on it like the last few albums.

Its not the worst Thrash Metal album from 1999 (Just ask Megadeth what they were up to at this time); but if you were expecting Alice In Hell part two, expect into one hand… you know how the old saying goes.

SEPULTURA Quadra

Album · 2020 · Thrash Metal
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Ever since Max left, legions of fans have been turning up their noses at new Sepultura albums with a verve normally saved for Bailey-era Maiden or Ripper-era Priest, but with a duration equivalent only to Derris-era Helloween.

Every so often, I’d see someone who really liked a Green-era Sepultura album, or an album like Dante XXI get a positive review in a magazine, but on the whole, the vast majority of the public seem to have decided that the band was over when Max left. Me included until about 3-4 years ago, when I bought their Live In Sao Paulo DVD on a friend’s recommendation and slowly started collecting the studio albums with Derick.

When I started collecting Green-era albums, I felt almost like a bit of a weirdo collecting them though, as despite my one good friend’s fandom, I almost fear I am wasting my money on albums so ignored and dismissed by the public. 90% of the time if I read something about Sepultura it was about how great the olden days were, or about how unloved the latter days are.

Then something interesting happened. In 2017, Sepultura released Machine Messiah, and it seemed like every review, blog, facebook comment and stray discussion was positive. Not just ‘good for a modern Sepultura album’ but full on, unqualified praise. Good, period. Sepultura, the band who could do no right in the public’s eye, had released an album everyone if not liked, then at least agreed was good. Maybe it was the Dream Theater influenced ‘Iceberg Dances’ that swung the pendulum of public credibility? Who knows. The bottom line was Sepultura were praised again.

I don’t know if aforementioned praise has revitalised their confidence, or they just landed upon the perfect line-up and got better with each album featuring that line-up, or indeed if its just inexplicable lightning in a bottle no one could predict… but 2020’s Quadra is a masterpiece. Its not ‘good for a modern Sepultura album’ its more like ‘possibly the best Sepultura album.’ This is undeniable album-of-the-year material, but more than that. You know when you hear an album, and you just know its special. Crack The Skye? The Blackening? Endgame? Sometimes you just get that ‘I’m hearing something special’ feeling, you know it’s a classic even before time has passed.

Its damn tempting to say the secret to this album’s success is drummer Eloy Casagrande. The man is quite possibly the best drummer in the genre right now. He throws in latin and world music beats sure, it is Sepultura after all; but he can also Thrash like Dave Lombardo, prog out like Thomas Pridgen and bounce like John Otto. Just listen to drum-centric ‘Raging Void’ and then all out Thrasher ‘Isolation’ one after the other to see what I mean. The man is amazing.

Another thing that its tempting to attribute the albums startling quality to, is the bells and whistles. Its almost like a Fleshgod Apocalypse album at times with the God-Of-War style hell-choirs and apocalyptic sounds, guest female vocals and dynamic production job. The album sounds gigantic. It sounds like an actual giant. Just listen to album closer ‘Fear, Pain, Chaos Suffering’ to see what I mean. It sounds like a videogame boss-fight where the player faces off against a giant/titan/colossus/take your pick of huge thing.

For a while, I also thought the secret to this album was the lead guitar. OK, I like Andreas Kisser, and for the past few years I particularly liked his rhythm work on tracks like ‘Choke’ and ‘Sepulnation’ …but I’d never consider him an amazing guitarist. Over the years however, he has clearly been listening to a lot of prog metal and become a crazily good lead player. Some of the guitar solos and leads on this record are fantastic. So unique, so interesting, so invigorating. Just check out the instrumental ‘The Pentagram’ or the track which follows it ‘Auetem’ for solid guitar gold.

All those factors certainly contribute to what elevate this album to that ‘special’ place, but I guess the main factor is simply the song-writing and the flow. Every song is needed. Every song contributes something new, but works well against the previous material. There’s no filler, but there’s no repetition either. It strikes a hell of a balance.

Furthermore; Where some other Sepultura albums like Nation or Kairos are jumbled and too varied for their own good, and others like Roots and Against are bloated and in need of an editor, this album just feels like one perfect, consistent, cohesive, singular journey. Wikipedia states it is structured in four parts, to represent the four classical arts, but it really flows like one story from beginning to end. It starts out fast and mean as hell, turns groovy, gets varied then turns prog. Sort of a summary of their career over the course of one record.

Overall; this is one hell of an album. A monster against which all their future efforts will be judged. An amazing sequel to the lauded Machine Messiah and a new standard for quality for aging bands in general. If you had told me in 2005 that Sepultura would release an album this brilliant this late in the game, then I’d have been very sceptical, but I’ll be damned it seems they’ve only gone and released arguably one of the best albums in their whole career

(Ps. For context; as above, this is coming from someone who spent the better part of the last 20 years thinking this band essentially began and ended with Chaos AD and the first half of Roots, so you can trust this is not just blind fanboy devotion).

TESTAMENT Brotherhood of the Snake

Album · 2016 · Thrash Metal
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After many years of loving Testament’s (and many other Thrash bands’) ‘80s output but being suspicious of anything new, in 2008, Testament blew my mind with their superb The Formation Of Damnation album, it was a real game changer. In 2012 they followed it up with Dark Roots Of The Earth which was also amazing, real album-of-the-year stuff.

Could Testament keep up the hot-streak of superb modern albums, like Exodus have been able to? Or would they have ups and downs like Anthrax and Megadeth have?

2016 saw them release Brotherhood Of The Snake and match all expectations. Yet another winner! The album opens really strongly, with its best two songs ‘Brotherhood Of The Snake’ and ‘The Pale King’ but isn’t front-loaded. Side two contains perhaps the hardest tune ‘Centuries Of Suffering’ and the ridiculously catchy and memorable late-album highlight ‘Canna-Business’ (Side note: Not just a typical rock ’n’ roll excess druggy song, but about them de-criminalizing it and using it for medicine).

The production, as with the last two albums, is spot on. Even though Andy Sneap is the best producer for modern albums by ‘80s Metal bands, and isn’t in charge this time (choosing to self-produce instead), they seem to have learned a lot from working with him last time around, and capture much of the same sound and energy.

Unlike some other veteran bands still putting albums out nowadays, Testament don’t let this snake outstay its welcome. At just 10 songs, there’s no filler and no flab. It makes the album much better. There’s no point filling the disc up with more songs and diluting the impact when you can just use only what you need and have a better experience overall. All the songs here are necessary.

The performance out of the band is great. Its precise and technical without loosing the crunch and power. The riffs pummel you and the leads impress. This is not an album that finds you loosing attention or letting your mind wonder.

Expertly produced, savagely played, finely crafted. Brotherhood’ is a firing-on-all-cylinders gem that is everything a Testament album should be… fast, hard, concise, musical and catchy as hell.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted more than 2 years ago in MMA's Top Stoner Metal Albums
    Shit, that's hard. Three-way-tie for me between Welcome To Sky Valley, Blast Tyrant and Deliverance.
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Helloween Albums (Updated 2016)
    Keeper 2, Then 1, Then Oath, Then 7 Sinners, Then God Given Right.
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in People's reaction after finding out you like metal
    I got nothing but grief for it in high school. Constant teasing, people shouting in the street from moving cars, people squaring up and starting fights, always having people talk shit behind my back. I even remember going up to a bar once and the non metal guy at the bar just looked pure hatred into my eyes and said 'get out of my face you're making me fucking sick.' That was a small, backwards town full of racists, homophobes and general idiots anyway though. In university it was just a bit more like, oh, well, I'll not be your friend but I won't actively be a dick about it. Nowadays as an adult, people just look at me like 'Why?' My stock answer is either 'Some people like horror films, if music was film, metal would be horror.' Or 'Not everyone can eat really spicy food, but that doesn't mean no-one can.' I generally don't bring it up. Recently, one of my co-workers noticed a motorhead pin on my backpack, and decided to throw the horns at me instead of greeting me for the next month or so, but not in a mean spirited way. 

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