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Paul
Forum Admin Group · Death, D/S/D, T/S/G Teams
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 7 hours ago

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2254 reviews/ratings
MASTODON - Crack The Skye Sludge Metal | review permalink
LED ZEPPELIN - Led Zeppelin Hard Rock | review permalink
LED ZEPPELIN - Led Zeppelin II Hard Rock | review permalink
LED ZEPPELIN - Led Zeppelin IV Hard Rock | review permalink
LED ZEPPELIN - Physical Graffiti Hard Rock | review permalink
SAVATAGE - Hall Of The Mountain King US Power Metal | review permalink
DEEP PURPLE - Made In Japan Hard Rock | review permalink
KING'S X - Gretchen Goes To Nebraska Hard Rock | review permalink
OPETH - Watershed Progressive Metal | review permalink
RUSH - A Farewell to Kings Hard Rock | review permalink
VOIVOD - Killing Technology Technical Thrash Metal | review permalink
METALLICA - Master of Puppets Thrash Metal
SLAYER - Reign in Blood Thrash Metal
PANTERA - Cowboys From Hell Groove Metal
RUSH - Hemispheres Hard Rock
RUSH - 2112 Hard Rock
OPETH - Ghost Reveries Progressive Metal
IRON MAIDEN - Powerslave NWoBHM
MONTROSE - Montrose Hard Rock
KING CRIMSON - Red Proto-Metal

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Death Metal 359 3.76
2 Hard Rock 344 3.58
3 Heavy Metal 182 3.67
4 Progressive Metal 166 3.83
5 Thrash Metal 154 3.74
6 Technical Death Metal 95 3.91
7 Melodic Death Metal 88 3.69
8 Non-Metal 84 3.34
9 Black Metal 76 3.76
10 Glam Metal 59 3.31
11 Doom Metal 53 3.76
12 Proto-Metal 53 3.72
13 Metal Related 50 3.71
14 Brutal Death Metal 43 3.71
15 US Power Metal 34 3.75
16 Power Metal 31 3.82
17 Traditional Doom Metal 30 3.85
18 Stoner Metal 29 3.83
19 NWoBHM 28 3.77
20 Alternative Metal 24 3.33
21 Technical Thrash Metal 23 3.93
22 Groove Metal 22 3.66
23 Melodic Black Metal 21 3.93
24 Heavy Alternative Rock 20 3.35
25 Heavy Psych 16 4.00
26 Atmospheric Black Metal 16 3.56
27 Gothic Metal 14 3.61
28 Death-Doom Metal 12 3.71
29 Speed Metal 12 3.75
30 Neoclassical metal 10 3.60
31 Funeral Doom Metal 9 3.78
32 Funk Metal 9 3.28
33 Symphonic Black Metal 9 3.72
34 Symphonic Metal 7 3.36
35 Sludge Metal 7 4.07
36 Avant-garde Metal 7 3.29
37 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 6 3.67
38 Death 'n' Roll 5 3.40
39 Folk Metal 5 3.80
40 Nu Metal 5 2.90
41 Metalcore 5 3.60
42 Stoner Rock 5 4.00
43 Melodic Metalcore 4 3.75
44 Grindcore 4 3.13
45 Crust Punk 3 3.17
46 Industrial Metal 3 3.67
47 Mathcore 3 4.00
48 Deathgrind 2 3.75
49 Crossover Thrash 2 3.50
50 Viking Metal 2 3.25
51 Pagan Black Metal 1 4.00
52 Rap Metal 1 2.00
53 Drone Metal 1 4.00
54 Hardcore Punk 1 3.50

Latest Albums Reviews

THE DEAD DAISIES Holy Ground

Album · 2021 · Hard Rock
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The Dead Daisies have had a revolving door of members since their eponymous debut in 2013, the only ever present member being Australian guitarist David Lowy. Practically a who’s who of hard rock, members who’ve come and mostly gone include bassist Marco Mendoza, vocalist john Corabi, keyboardist Dizzy Reed, guitarist Doug Aldrich, drummer Brian Tichy and drummer Deen Castronovo as well as some high profile guests like Slash and Jimmy Barnes. The band have so far released four never less than solid studio albums, the pick of the bunch for me being 2016’s Make Some Noise. After 2018’s Burn It Down vocalist John Corabi and bassist Marco Mendoza jumped ship. A great loss to any band but the perfect time to bring in Glenn Hughes, replacing both of them in one go. Hughes and Aldrich already have history, the guitarist having played on one of his solo tours back in 2015 I believe it was, one of the dates in Newcastle I was lucky enough to have seen.

It’s clear from the off that bringing in Hughes was the smartest move the band could have made. As soon as the title track Holy Ground kicks in its apparent that he’s had a big influence on the band’s sound. Of course there’s his vocal. I’ve long held the belief that his powerful and soulful delivery is the finest in rock but on a musical level a lot of the songs could have sat comfortably on many of his solo albums. Holy Ground is undoubtedly the bands finest album to date but all the credit can’t be given to Hughes who with one or two exceptions has made his strongest albums in band settings – Trapeze, Deep Purple, Hughes/Thrall and most recently Black Country Communion. The Dead Daisies are on fire here with eleven songs of hard hitting rock bursting with big riffs and powerful hooks backed by top notch musicianship. Every song here is a killer, even the seemingly obligatory ballad Far Away that closes the album which Hughes’s soulful vocals fit perfectly and Aldrich reels off perhaps his best guitar solo on the album. There’s also a cover of Humble Pie’s 30 Days In The Hole. The Daisies seem to have at least one cover on every album but here they make the song their own adding power to the original and also featuring Castronovo sharing vocals, a fine singer in his own right.

It’s perhaps on the other nine tracks where the real gems lie though where the band really kick ass, heavier than they’ve ever been. The songs, mostly mid-pace, have plenty of groove and are driven along by the powerful Hughes/Castronovo rhythm section overlaid by Aldrich and Lowy’s crushing and infectious riffs. Favourites include Like No Other (Bassline) for strongest hook and a pummelling dirty bassline and perhaps Hughes’s finest vocal performance on the album. Then there’s Unspoken, the first song unveiled by this line-up and a grand statement of intent that really made me very impatient to hear the rest. Righteous Days is another highlight for the same reasons that I’ve already mentioned above but as I already said, every song here is a killer.

In view of the many line-up changes this band has had and Hughes seems to get itchy feet fairly often, I really hope this incarnation can hold it together for a few more albums as they work so well together and it’s hard to see how they could improve on this formula they’ve developed. An early contender for album of the year for sure.

TRIBULATION Where The Gloom Becomes Sound

Album · 2021 · Gothic Metal
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Big news in the Tribulation camp recently was that longtime guitarist Jonathan Hultén has left the band after 16 years. As he was one of the main songwriters his leaving may in the future have an impact on the sound and direction of the band. Not so on the band’s latest album though as Where The Gloom Becomes sound was written and recorded while Hultén was still on board.

Where The Gloom Becomes Sound finds Tribulation in the same musical territory they’ve been in since 2015’s Children Of The Night where they ditched the death metal in favour of a gothic rock/metal approach. The only thing retained being Johannes Andersson’s growling vocal delivery. The new album wasn’t as immediate as the last couple, apart from a few tracks like Hour Of The Wolf and Leviathans which with their strong hooks and (often used) guitar arpeggios got under the skin straight away. A few plays though and it’s apparent all is well on a musical level as their melancholic melodies take hold. WTGBS is probably slightly heavier than Children Of The Night and Down Below in places like on the driving Daughters of Djinn and Funeral Pyre though the band’s sound remains intact with few changes overall. A minor criticism is the album finds Tribulation re-treading old ground a bit too close for comfort here and there and as a whole the strength of the songs doesn’t quite live up to the last two albums. That aside WTGBS remains another strong collection of quality songwriting.

With new guitarist Joseph Tholl now in place it’ll be interesting to see if he has any impact on the direction Tribulation take. At a release rate of an album every three years or so we may be waiting a while yet , but for now this one will do very nicely.

TOXAEMIA Where Paths Divide

Album · 2020 · Death Metal
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My last review for MMA was Skelethal’s 2020 album Unveiling The Threshold, a French death metal band whose sound owed a lot to the original Swedish death metal bands like Dismember and Entombed. My next comes from Toxaemia, a band who can claim to have been around at the start of the Swedish death metal movement. Unfortunately for them, they only stuck around long enough to release an EP and a couple of demos, splitting up in 1991. Incidentally, these early recordings can be heard to best effect on the Burried To Rise compilation. As well as the original mixes there are remixed and remastered versions done by Dan Swano who has worked wonders with them. The band could have been nothing more than a footnote in Swedish death metal but reformed in 2017 and over thirty years after their original formation have finally released their debut album.

Where Paths Divide kicks off proper, after the almost obligatory atmospheric intro piece, in this case the album title track, with Delusions. It’s a great start with a powerful slab of mid paced old school death metal. It’s one of the best songs on the album as is following track Pestilence. Here they up the pace without sacrificing any of the power, ferocious riffs not in short supply on either track. The band never betters these early high benchmarks but nevertheless retain a high standard of compelling and pulverising death metal for most of the album. The albums not about speed, though it has its faster moments, but more about crushing riffs, sometimes slowed to a steady groove, which is aided by the Dan Swano mix who adds an organic and muscular edge to the band’s sound. The playing is solid from band originals Pontus Cervin (Bass) and Stevo Bolgakoff (guitars) aided by new guys Rasmus Axelsson (guitars), Perra Karlsson (drums) and Dennis Johansson (vocals). The album does tail off slightly towards the end but with only a minimal dip in quality Toxaemia have still managed to produce a high quality death metal album.

I was originally leaning towards a 3 star rating before starting my review but repeated plays have allowed most of these songs to get under my skin. Where Paths Divide is an album I’ll enjoy returning to from time to time so it’s definitely worth a good 3 ½ stars. Hopefully there will be more to come from Toxaemia in the future.

SKELETHAL Unveiling The Threshold

Album · 2020 · Death Metal
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A late entry in my 2020 death metal explorations is this second album from French band Skelethal. Released late November, I’ve been living with it since the run up to Christmas and didn’t have as much time to spend with it as I would have liked. It’s only now in these dark, miserable January days, under our third Covid-19 lockdown here in the UK, that I’ve found the time to devote to it that it deserves.

I’m certainly glad to have found the time, as give Unveiling The Threshold a few plays and you’ll discover an excellent old school death metal album that could have been released back in the nineties. Leaning more to the Swedish style, buzzsaw guitars and all, it’s packed with infectiously raw riffs with a dual guitar attack. The sound is authentically raw and organic with just enough of a modern edge to add some extra punch. It’s not only the guitars that benefit from this as the drums really cut through with plenty of visceral power and there’s no shortage of bottom end from the bass. The vocals from Gui Haunting, who also doubles up on guitar, do the job nicely, or should I say horribly. It’s your typical low guttural growl as you’d expect and sits well in the mix without being too in your face. The pace rarely lets up but there’s enough twists and turns to keep things interesting and at thirty seven minutes is just about the perfect length. No songs particularly stand out as a favourite as none really stray from the bands template but the overall quality remains high throughout.

This is pretty much your meat and potatoes no frills death metal, you’ve certainly heard the like many times before if this is your thing. However, Skelethal do it with such enthusiasm and conviction on a consistently strong collection of songs that it’s hard not to be won over by it. Looks like I’m going to have to make some adjustments to my album of the year list here on MMA.

ARMORED SAINT Punching the Sky

Album · 2020 · Heavy Metal
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Armored Saint and me go back a long way. The first album I bought by them was their second, Delirious Nomad when it was released in 1985. On the face of it they should have had a lot more success than they did and I’m not quite sure why they didn’t, as from day one the band have been releasing quality heavy metal. In a career that has seen them split up and reform a few times, their latest run from 2006, Punching The Sky is their eighth studio album. Despite the quality of earlier releases I felt the band reached a career high on 2015’s Win Hands Down, a perfect example of traditional heavy metal with barely a weak moment.

The good news is if you enjoyed Win Hands Down you’re going to also love Punching The Sky. It’s another strong collection of heavy metal full of great songs, melodic but heavy and packed with great riffs and memorable well thought out guitar solos. The bands not so secret weapon has always been the incomparable vocals of John Bush who of course spent time with Anthrax. He’s on fine form as expected here with the right balance of raw power and the ability to carry a tune which he always does magnificently. Of course any fan of Armored Saint knows that the rest of band are fine players and they all put in strong performances here. Like last time around the album is strong as a whole but favourites include the up-tempo End Of The Attention Span and then there’s Lone Wolf which wins the award for catchiest chorus. Then there’s the chugging palm muted riffing of Do Wrong To None alternating between a steady groove and a more up-tempo chorus. In fact the songs on the whole maintain the listeners’ interest with plenty of dynamics, well placed accents and tempo changes, no better demonstrated than on Fly in The Ointment.

Armored Saint have done it again and released an album of classy heavy metal to equal anyone in their field. As a whole it may not quite equal Win Hands Down but that’s more to do with the high bar they set themselves last time than any defects here. It’s not far off though and if they continue to release albums of this quality I’ll be more than happy.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 8 hours ago in Metal Music Archives List Challenges
    [QUOTE=adg211288]Prog Metal top 20. A hard one to pick and there's definitely some acts that got shafted so I could double dip on others. Also avoided any prog death/black etc unless I consider them much more firmly in the extreme prog camp. Also didn't include prog power for a similar reason. https://www.listchallenges.com/adams-ultimate-top-20s-progressive-metal-albums[/QUOTE] That's better, 14/20 there.
  • Posted 8 hours ago in Metal Music Archives List Challenges
    [QUOTE=adg211288]Also done black metal today, a little tougher to pick 20.https://www.listchallenges.com/adams-ultimate-top-20s-black-metal-albums[/QUOTE] a bit better on that one. 10/20.
  • Posted 1 day ago in Metal Music Archives List Challenges
    ^ Only heard 4/20 in full though bits of some of the others.

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