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Paul
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2439 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

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Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Death Metal 401 3.78
2 Hard Rock 357 3.59
3 Heavy Metal 194 3.71
4 Progressive Metal 181 3.83
5 Thrash Metal 159 3.75
6 Technical Death Metal 102 3.89
7 Melodic Death Metal 96 3.71
8 Non-Metal 92 3.35
9 Black Metal 88 3.75
10 Glam Metal 60 3.31
11 Doom Metal 58 3.75
12 Metal Related 53 3.71
13 Proto-Metal 53 3.72
14 Power Metal 49 3.91
15 Brutal Death Metal 45 3.72
16 US Power Metal 42 3.81
17 Traditional Doom Metal 30 3.87
18 Stoner Metal 30 3.83
19 NWoBHM 28 3.80
20 Technical Thrash Metal 27 3.98
21 Melodic Black Metal 25 3.94
22 Groove Metal 24 3.67
23 Alternative Metal 24 3.33
24 Heavy Alternative Rock 21 3.36
25 Atmospheric Black Metal 18 3.58
26 Heavy Psych 17 4.00
27 Gothic Metal 14 3.61
28 Speed Metal 14 3.82
29 Death-Doom Metal 12 3.71
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 9 3.56
35 Sludge Metal 7 4.07
36 Avant-garde Metal 7 3.29
37 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 6 3.67
38 Metalcore 6 3.67
39 Death 'n' Roll 5 3.40
40 Folk Metal 5 3.80
41 Nu Metal 5 2.90
42 Stoner Rock 5 4.00
43 Deathgrind 4 3.75
44 Crossover Thrash 4 3.75
45 Melodic Metalcore 4 3.75
46 Grindcore 4 3.13
47 Industrial Metal 3 3.67
48 Mathcore 3 4.00
49 Crust Punk 3 3.17
50 Viking Metal 3 3.50
51 Pagan Black Metal 1 4.00
52 Rap Metal 1 2.00
53 Deathcore 1 3.50
54 Drone Metal 1 4.00
55 Hardcore Punk 1 3.50

Latest Albums Reviews

FLOURISHING The Sum of All Fossils

Album · 2011 · Technical Death Metal
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Metal Music Archives Reviewer's Challenge: June 2022

New York’s Flourishing are a new band to me and having released this, The Sum Of All Fossils, their one and only album back in 2011 it’s easy to see how they passed me by. Still, better late than never and I’m always intrigued by death metal bands that go down the dissonant road. It’s a branch of death metal that is difficult to do well as it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of producing a cacophonous mess. Bands like Immolation and Gorguts have been doing it so well for so long I find myself constantly referencing them when listening to like-minded bands. Okay, the former may not be as extreme as some but to my ears they have perfected it, with the right balance between discord and crushing compelling riffs.

The Sum Of All Fossils like most of its ilk won’t reveal itself immediately. This sort of stuff requires time and patience as by its nature you have to dig deeper to find the rewards. You don’t always get them of course but fortunately it’s worth spending some time with Flourishing. I could list far better examples of technical death metal on the dissonant side of things but these guys are no slouches. A pre-requisite is strong musicianship which this trio clearly have, to be able to follow all the twists and turns that they throw at you. Most importantly though it still needs great riffs to back it all up. This is where they lose a few marks as whilst you’ll find them at times I’m not convinced by them and not drawn in. They do introduce lighter moments which are welcome though don’t always work like on Momentary Senses but serve their purpose by making the heavier parts even more crushing. When they get it right though, which they do frequently, it’s really very good like on Summary. At just over four minutes it’s the shortest song on the album and cuts out any unnecessary flab.

The production is decent too though I would have preferred the drums a bit heavier as they are a bit on the thin side, but each instrument is clearly heard in the mix as are the vocals which whilst being unexceptional do the job.

Overall then I quite enjoyed The Sum Of All Fossils and it’s a shame they didn’t follow it up with album number 2 (they split up in 2014) as I’m sure they could have developed their songwriting skills considerably. They did however follow it up with an EP which showed promise. Still it’s a decent if small legacy.

IMMOLATION Acts Of God

Album · 2022 · Death Metal
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If there’s one band above all others in the death metal sub-genre you can always rely on to deliver the goods it’s Immolation. Eleven albums in and they’re still showing no signs of running out of steam. An early high point in their career was the highly rated Close To A World Below, regarded by many to be their best album. I’d find it hard to disagree though they have equalled it at least a couple of times since – Majesty and Decay and last album Atonement. Even the rest have not been far off the mark. Acts Of God comes five years after Atonement, the longest we’ve ever had to wait for a new album. I never doubted that it wouldn’t be brilliant and fortunately my faith has been rewarded.

Acts Of God may not contain any surprises – its Immolation just doing what they’re so good at and as long as the songs are great then that’s all I ask and want from them. After the short intro of Abandoned things really kick off with An Act Of God and there’s no mistaking who we’re listening to. All the recognisable Immolation hallmarks are in place – the dissonant guitar riffs from the master of dissonance Robert Vigna, aided by Alex Bouks for the second time. There’s Ross Dolan’s low guttural growl and thundering bass and Steve Shalaty’s constantly shifting rhythmic virtuosity. The sound is a bit sharper this time round which doesn’t mean better as I’m not impartial to a bit of murk, but it does enable each player’s contributions to be clearly heard. Whilst they hit a peak in the second half of the album with a relentless barrage of inventive riffing that never lets up, the first half contains gems like Noose Of Thorns and Shed The Light ensuring the high benchmark the band set themselves is never lowered. Robert Vigna’s prowess with the dissonant riff is well documented but I must mention again Steve Shalaty’s jaw dropping drumming here. He’s long been one of my favourites in the death metal arena but here he seems to have found a new level. He can lay down speedy blastbeats as required but it’s all the twists and turns and syncopated parts and fills he drops in, often on the slower sections, that really catch your attention. At 52 minutes Acts Of God is quite long but such is the quality of these songs it doesn’t feel like it.

Overall Acts Of God is another masterpiece of death metal from Immolation up there with their best albums. An almost perfect album that is currently and very likely to remain my album of the year. The only thing stopping me from giving it the full 5 stars is the first half as a whole doesn’t quite match the second but the difference is very slim. Oh sod it, I'm nitpicking, 5 stars it is, you couldn't really ask for a better album than this and it gets better each time!

LVCIFYRE The Broken Seal

Album · 2021 · Death Metal
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Based in the UK, though originally from Poland, Lvcifyre have been plying their trade of blackened death metal since 2007, releasing their debut album The Calling Depths in 2012. Their second album released in 2014, Svn Eater showed great promise and likewise the Sacrament EP released in 2019 showing greater growth. With The Broken Seal however the band have come of age and released their strongest collection to date.

The music on The Broken Seal sounds massive while still being darkly atmospheric. Dissonance rules here. Those who like their death metal on the murky side with brooding atonal riffs should find plenty to get their teeth into. If you were to mix in equal portions Morbid Angel, Sulphur Aeon, Immolation and throw in a bit of Deathspell Omega and Ulcerate for good measure you would probably come up with something like this. The raw but powerful production suits the music perfectly contributing greatly to the success of this album. Easier said than done to present each instrument with clarity whilst still maintaining a sound that sounds like it comes from the depths of hell. The years of experience have paid off, the musicianship is top notch as is the songwriting, each track expertly balancing the elements of atmospherics, dynamics and most importantly great riffs. It’s not easy to pick favourites as each song plays its part and integral to the whole, which is how this album is best appreciated with the slower atmospheric sections laying the ground for the next barrage of compelling riffs.

Lvcifyre are technically a duo rather than a band with T Kaos handling all the instrumentation apart from the drums. He also is responsible for the very effective vocals, mainly a guttural growl and the occasional higher scream. Menthor’s drums are integral to the band’s sound and his contribution should not be underestimated as he follows all the twists and turns easily. His inventive and busy playing ranging from blasts to slower syncopated sections, constantly shifting in line with the busy and restless song structures.

If there's any justice in this world this should be the album to break Lvcifyre to the next level. Whilst there was nothing wrong with their earlier work, here the band have realised the promise shown on those releases and made an album that’s up there with the best death metal 2021 has to offer. As we near the end of the year The Broken Seal will feature highly on my album of the year list for sure.

WHITE STONES Dancing into Oblivion

Album · 2021 · Death Metal
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Dancing Into Oblivion is the second album from White Stones, a band perhaps best known for featuring Opeth bassist Martín Méndez. I was quite impressed with their debut album, Kuarahy, an enjoyable collection of groove infused progressive death metal. Dancing Into Oblivion comes hot on its heels being released just over a year later and features the same line up, the band being completed by drummer Jordi Farré and vocalist Eloi Boucherie.

Dancing Into Oblivion treads the same ground as Kuarahy though far less pleasing as a whole. Perhaps they should have taken a bit longer as even though it’s only thirty five minutes long, it failed to keep my interest for even that. The riffs sound less inspired and mainly pale imitations of their debut though any song here wouldn’t be out of place there. Six minutes of the short running time is wasted on three far from essential instrumentals which meander aimlessly starting with the ambient La Menace. The other two are minimal guitar pieces that are pleasant enough but take up space that could have been better used. New age Of Dark kicks the album off proper and is the best track on the album, the only song that can compete with the better moments of Kuarhy. Perhaps a little too similar though with a main riff that feels very familiar. Clean by death metal standards guitar work laid over fast rolling kick drums create a groove that they have already used a few times on the debut. Iron Titans at nearly nine minutes is where they do try to do something a bit different. In four parts, the first three minutes are instrumental and have a bit of an Opeth vibe in their quieter moments. When it shifts up a couple of gears we’re back in more familiar territory followed by a strong guitar solo from guest João Sassetti who also leads the song out underpinned by some inventive drumming from Farré. Unfortunately by this point we’ve had the best from this album with four tracks still to go with only Freedom In Captivity mildly piquing my interest.

I feel a bit short changed with this one as if you remove the three instrumentals you’re only left with around twenty five minutes of music and around half of that is average at best. I wouldn’t write them off yet though as their debut showed they’re very capable but I’ll pass on this one for now. Disappointing.

ANGEL DUST To Dust You Will Decay

Album · 1988 · Speed Metal
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It’s only in the last year or two that I actually heard Angel Dust for the first time. After starting life as a speed metal band in the 80’s, they split up after two albums and reformed in 1997, re-inventing themselves as a power metal band, releasing a further four albums. It was on these later releases that were my first taste of the band. I’m quite selective with power metal, generally preferring the heavier USPM, but German PM bands can often be heavier than many of their other European counterparts as well. Such is the case with Angel Dust and I was impressed with their strong hooks and melodies that didn’t sacrifice heaviness.

To Dust You Will Decay, released in 1988, is the second of their original incarnation albums. It’s not surprisingly as slick as their later work but still has a powerful , full and professional sounding production, especially for the time when lesser known bands often released albums with a less than perfect sound to put it kindly. The band are tight and the nine songs are well played speed metal , occasionally verging on thrash, with no shortage of compelling riffs on not surprisingly, mainly up-tempo numbers. It’s on these songs where the band is at their best, the few mid-paced songs like Wings Of An Angel being less memorable though lesser bands would be glad of them. The songs often contain melodic elements making a bridge to their later power metal style. The increase in melody is more noticeable from their debut which was at the thrashier end of speed metal, which nevertheless was an equally fine album. Pick of the bunch? The King and the title track and The Duel are as good a choice as any, as I prefer my metal fast but there’s plenty of similar quality to pick from here.

I wish I’d been aware of this band in the 80’s as this is certainly an album I would have bought at the time but in those pre-internet days it wasn’t as easy to hear new albums as it is now. Still better late than never and I can recommend this along with Angel Dust’s other five albums very highly.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 8 days ago in Death Metal Kill Zone
    About time we had something new from Sulphur Aeon. All 3 of their albums so far have been awesome. Doesn't seem to be anything in the pipeline unfortunately but it's been 4 year's now since The Scythe of Cosmic Chaos.http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/artist/sulphur-aeon/?ac=sulphur%20aeo
  • Posted 8 days ago in Death Metal Kill Zone
    ^ I did have a listen to that at the time it came out I seem to remember and added it to my possible buy list but wanted to check it out again first as I was on the fence about it. Thanks for the reminder and I will certainly give it another go.
  • Posted 13 days ago in Kirk Hammett
    Thread now locked as per site policy.

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