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450 reviews/ratings
SLAYER - Show No Mercy Thrash Metal | review permalink
SLAYER - Hell Awaits Thrash Metal | review permalink
SLAYER - Reign in Blood Thrash Metal | review permalink
SLAYER - South of Heaven Thrash Metal | review permalink
FATES WARNING - Perfect Symmetry Progressive Metal | review permalink
EXODUS - Bonded by Blood Thrash Metal
QUEENSRŸCHE - Rage For Order Heavy Metal
KREATOR - Terrible Certainty Thrash Metal
SLAYER - Haunting the Chapel Thrash Metal
QUEENSRŸCHE - Operation: Mindcrime Progressive Metal | review permalink
CORONER - No More Color Technical Thrash Metal
SODOM - Agent Orange Thrash Metal
KREATOR - Extreme Aggression Thrash Metal
MORBID ANGEL - Altars of Madness Death Metal | review permalink
METAL CHURCH - Metal Church US Power Metal
POSSESSED - Seven Churches Death Metal | review permalink
WATCHTOWER - Energetic Disassembly Technical Thrash Metal | review permalink
TROUBLE - The Skull Traditional Doom Metal | review permalink
METAL CHURCH - The Dark US Power Metal
KREATOR - Pleasure to Kill Thrash Metal

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Heavy Metal 134 2.42
2 Thrash Metal 72 3.22
3 US Power Metal 33 2.85
4 Hard Rock 25 2.08
5 Speed Metal 24 2.77
6 Proto-Metal 16 1.69
7 Traditional Doom Metal 15 2.40
8 Technical Thrash Metal 14 3.00
9 Power Metal 14 2.71
10 NWoBHM 13 2.42
11 Neoclassical metal 12 2.63
12 Death Metal 12 3.13
13 Hardcore Punk 11 1.50
14 Black Metal 9 2.50
15 Progressive Metal 7 3.14
16 Funk Metal 5 1.90
17 Industrial Metal 5 1.10
18 Crossover Thrash 4 2.00
19 Alternative Metal 4 1.38
20 Heavy Psych 3 1.83
21 Grindcore 3 0.83
22 Metal Related 2 1.00
23 Glam Metal 2 1.25
24 Goregrind 2 1.25
25 Doom Metal 2 3.00
26 Sludge Metal 2 1.00
27 Rap Metal 1 1.00
28 Death-Doom Metal 1 2.50
29 Deathgrind 1 3.00
30 Avant-garde Metal 1 2.00
31 Groove Metal 1 1.50

Latest Albums Reviews

FATES WARNING Perfect Symmetry

Album · 1989 · Progressive Metal
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Most people consider “Awaken the Guardian” to be Fates Warning’s shining moment, but the album that outshone everything else by miles to me is “Perfect Symmetry.”

Perfect Symmetry is the band’s transition from a fantastical, proggy almost-Power Metal band into a full fledged modern Progressive Metal band, and one of the first albums ever to conceptualize this sound. Gone are the tales of high fantasy and abandoned are the speedy and uplifting metal epics that iconized their earlier sound. Here, they have traded their swords and steeds in acceptance of the reality that the world is a cold, unfriendly place that eats dreamers alive. They have become part of a machine of finely tuned skill and technicality – here the whole band play incredibly complex parts, alone but in unison, creating a cacophony of different melodies and rhythms that never play against each other.

One mistake you could make in reading that is to think they have become technical cogs incapable of producing melodies of beautiful passion. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Vocalist Ray Alder commands his voice like an instrument, but never shies away from simply crying out the sorrows of being smothered in the constraints of modern society. The lyrics across the board sound like those of a man who dreamed of grandeur as a child, but had those dreams quashed by reality. The only options are to hold out a last shred of hope that tomorrow holds something new, or allow oneself to die internally in order to carry on.

The music knows exactly when to dance the lines between progressive technical showcasing, soft passages of pure beauty, or simply catchy melodies. The band does include some strings on a few tracks that harken back to their fantasy sound (interestingly, it’s the least bleak songs with this touch). The titles might also fool you into thinking they’re still a fantasy band – tracks like “At Fate’s Hands” sound entirely medieval in nature. In reality, the song is about being helpless to make your own way in a world where people are smothered to fit roles and voices of the common are not heard. The burden of a modern society is disguised by poetic and timeless words that could apply just about anywhere if not for the context of the album.

It is a jarring shift from their old sound. It’s probably not what fans wanted. It’s also entirely pessimistic, introspective and subtly conscious. To me, it’s the perfect album from Fates Warning.

TERRORIZER World Downfall

Album · 1989 · Deathgrind
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World Downfall is by far my favorite Grindcore album of the 80’s. It’s become really clear to me why most Grindcore doesn’t do it for me while Terrorizer kicks ass.

1. I don’t like silly/humorous music, which a fair portion of Grindcore is. This means lyrically and sonically – Terrorizer is full of hardcore riffs and angry, pessimistic messages that mesh well with the chaotic, manic wall of aggression.

2. Unlike most Punk genres, if you want to play Grindcore, you have to know how to play your instruments… Doing everything as fast as physically possible without having some amazing technique and precision just sounds awful. Terrorizer is full of extreme talent and capability. They nail everything they aim for and always sound precise (save the vocalist… more on that later).

3. If you want to play Grindcore, you need decent production. If you’re just going hard on every instrument as aggressively as possible, and you don’t have some sort of production job that can individualize those instruments, it just sounds like noise. World Downfall has some very good production without compromising the grit or making it sound clean. There is no sheen to it; simply a very good job of making sure every awesome riff is still audible over those pounding drums, and the bass gets some great treatment too.

There is one huge weakness here, else it would be a near perfect grind record. The vocalist.

I know what people say, “you don’t listen to extreme music for the vocals! It’s for the riffs!” Never for a second have I felt that way, and never have I understood it. If vocals are present, they matter, and if lyrics are present, they matter. They are pieces of the art that forms the whole.

The vocalist here doesn’t have a bad sound, and the lyrics are fine. The written lyrics are fine. The words that come out of the vocalist’s mouth hit about 50% of what’s written, 40% of the time shout random words or syllables that are not understandable, and 10% of the time completely skips a verse or chorus and says absolutely nothing. There are no full sentences or lines, at best a few of the words are launched out, sometimes not even in order. It’s like the vocalist had never seen the lyrics before, they just gave him a paper while they jammed and he decided to wing it.

Imagine if any other band member did that with their instrument. The album would sound like absolute crap. Why do vocalists get a pass? Not from me. Really drags down an otherwise top-notch grind album.

GODFLESH Streetcleaner

Album · 1989 · Industrial Metal
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Sometimes when you listen to one of these acclaimed albums and don’t like them so much, you can still see what makes the album so great. You can recognize what other people see in it and write it off as just not being your thing. But sometimes, you might just be left mystified, wondering “What am I missing?”

Just before Streetcleaner, I had been listening to Peter Gabriel’s Passion, one of his most revered releases and a widely acclaimed New Age/World Music album. The album didn’t do anything for me, mostly because I’m not a fan of the style of music. However, I could still acknowledge the great compositions and brilliant atmospheres crafted in the soundscapes, and it was no mystery to me why it is so well liked.

Streetcleaner is a different case. I love metal. I love dark, misanthropic, heavy music. But listening to Streetcleaner, I struggle to find any appeal at all. The songs are all incredibly simple, and it sounds much less like a performance and much more like each member came up with one loop and just had it repeat for 5 minutes. There’s nothing innately wrong with this, but if you’re gonna repeat something for so long, at least make it good. The riffs are barely there; boring, slow, uninspired guitar that does little other than add a sludgy atmosphere, and ditto for the bass. The drum beats are equally boring and uninspired, and aside from some occasional addition of double bass, never do anything interesting. The vocals are sometimes there, and that’s all I can say about them.

The album is certainly dark, but the problem is that it is not active in achieving this. All the music is incredibly passive, and by that I mean there’s a lot of nothing going on aside from sounding heavy and dissonant, and it becomes the listener’s job to project any actual mood to it. The music doesn’t invoke anything on its own, but rather acts as a pool to collect such projected feelings. Unique at the time, and influential for everything that came after… but I’d say this is another case of influenced far surpassing the influencer.

RUNNING WILD Death or Glory

Album · 1989 · Power Metal
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Running Wild are one of the earliest Power Metal bands around, starting as Speed/Heavy Metal but moving closer to true Power Metal by the end of the 80’s. With each release, they sailed further from mediocracy to uniquely speedy melodic pirate metal with delicious riffs and gruff but talented vocals. Death or Glory is the peak of their 80’s material and often cited as their magnum opus.

The opening track “Riding the Storm” is indeed possibly the finest Power Metal song that had been laid to record by 1989. The guitar leads weave melodic, infectious riffs around a constantly pummeling rhythm section that keeps the song at full energy the whole ride through. The vocal performance is just awesome. Never a dull moment in the epic rocking of over 6 minutes. The title track “Death or Glory” captures this in a similar vein. Though much shorter, the atmosphere is just as epic and powerful, and that chorus stands against the best. Two prime examples of what a perfect Power Metal song should be.

Unfortunately, while the rest of album is great, there’s nothing else that can really hold its own against the aforementioned tracks. It mostly just blends together as strong but unmemorable material. It’s also a bit of a problem when the album starts on its highest note and ends on its lowest (the slower “March On” leaves a bit to be desired and sounds like an arena rocker). Truly, Running Wild wrote some of the best Power Metal songs of all time, but Death or Glory as an album doesn’t quite match such standards.

VOIVOD Nothingface

Album · 1989 · Progressive Metal
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As someone who much prefers Voivod’s true Thrash days, this is a hard album for me to rate. What Voivod were doing in their career with this and their previous album was pretty much unprecedented. No one had really combined Tech Thrash Prog Metal with weirdo avant-garde intricacies yet. Hell, there were barely any normal Prog Metal bands at the time. Voivod were already living in the 2000’s by the time they recorded Nothingface.

And yes, it is as interesting as it’s made out to be. Everything about it is odd in a very well done and endearing way. Never too odd to make it unapproachable (it was actually by far their catchiest album upon release) but always packing enough surprises to keep in interesting. The songs stand out with memorable riffs and some surprisingly catchy hooks, but they are all so odd that you never really get them memorized. There’s always something new to catch.

The weaknesses here are that there are a lot of start-stop tactics that just fracture the listening experience. They seem to change tempos and rhythms with the purpose of jolting you. Since they go for a much more melodic sound here, it’s really not enjoyable to be jolted and thrown when getting into some of the fantastic melodies and rhythms they lay down. Missing Sequences is a prime example of this; most of the song features speedy drumming and some of their best lead guitarwork to date, with some fantastic harmonized riffs. And then there are segments where everything just stops, ripping you from the trance they had crafted. Maybe to some this is an extra interest factor, but it takes away a lot for me.

Snake is also much better at doing harsh yells than singing. Another point their true Thrash days have over this.

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