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598 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
FATES WARNING - Parallels 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
ANACRUSIS - Reason Thrash Metal
DEATH - Spiritual Healing Death Metal
SLAYER - Seasons in the Abyss Thrash Metal
ANACRUSIS - Manic Impressions Thrash Metal
SEPULTURA - Arise Thrash Metal | review permalink

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Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Heavy Metal 150 2.44
2 Thrash Metal 98 3.25
3 US Power Metal 38 2.89
4 Death Metal 30 3.32
5 Hard Rock 29 2.05
6 Speed Metal 24 2.77
7 Power Metal 23 2.89
8 Traditional Doom Metal 20 2.40
9 Black Metal 17 2.35
10 Proto-Metal 16 1.69
11 Technical Thrash Metal 16 3.00
12 Progressive Metal 14 3.18
13 Neoclassical metal 14 2.57
14 Hardcore Punk 14 1.57
15 NWoBHM 13 2.42
16 Funk Metal 11 1.59
17 Alternative Metal 7 1.36
18 Industrial Metal 7 1.36
19 Metal Related 5 1.10
20 Sludge Metal 5 1.30
21 Crossover Thrash 5 2.00
22 Grindcore 5 1.00
23 Doom Metal 4 2.38
24 Death-Doom Metal 4 2.13
25 Groove Metal 3 2.17
26 Technical Death Metal 3 3.17
27 Heavy Psych 3 1.83
28 Stoner Metal 2 1.25
29 Heavy Alternative Rock 2 2.00
30 Glam Metal 2 1.25
31 Goregrind 2 1.25
32 Avant-garde Metal 2 1.50
33 Brutal Death Metal 2 3.50
34 Viking Metal 2 3.00
35 War Metal 1 2.00
36 Deathgrind 1 3.00
37 Gothic Metal 1 1.00
38 Rap Metal 1 1.00
39 Melodic Black Metal 1 1.50
40 Metalcore 1 2.50

Latest Albums Reviews


Album · 1990 · Black Metal
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Master’s Hammer’s debut is a surprisingly melodic package of classic Black Metal material. Somewhat similar to Bathory’s transitioning stages as they add elements of “epic” sound with synthed choirs, but always stay strictly in first wave Black Metal territory. The band really lean into simple melodic leads, and they work the hell out of it. Every track has got some really memorable riffs despite them being quite simple and containing just a few notes. The drumming is actually a few levels above the other instruments, containing a nice variety of groovy Heavy Metal beats and classic Black Metal blast beating.

The band had plenty of time to perfect their craft with multiple demos and EPs, but this is still technically a debut, and a great one at that. Ritual isn’t the most unique album in the scene, but everything about it is executed extremely well, and the album is a fun, epic, evil ride. Not mind-blowing, but there are really no weaknesses to this thing, a classic example of melodic first wave Black Metal.

SANCTUARY Into The Mirror Black

Album · 1989 · US Power Metal
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Back in 1990, making a sullen, introspective USPM album was certainly new ground in itself. Sanctuary’s small dosages of technicality and prog along with a pinch of Thrash in both the vocal delivery and riffs further make this a standout release for the time. Indeed, you could certainly call this thinking man’s metal, with its more philosophical approach to the genre.

Underneath all that though, it’s not pretentious in the slightest. It’s just very competent USPM with some fantastic riffs and melodies, good vocal performance and lyrics, and always interesting rhythm section. It’s not exactly mind-blowing music, but everything comes together here quite perfectly, and it has a very fresh sound to it even now. Every track is top quality, not a minute of wasted space, what more could you want.

X JAPAN Jealousy

Album · 1991 · Power Metal
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Jealousy has always been a hard album for me to rate. The dilemma starts with the fact that a lot of X Japan’s most mediocre material is on this album. That’s not to say any of it is bad – most is actually still great, considering this is X we’re talking about – but this album is not consistent.

I will disclose that nostalgia has rendered many of these more mediocre songs incredibly enjoyable for me now, but there’s no denying the weaknesses here. Desperate Angel and Joker are kind of odd rockers, kind of commercial but lacking any real hooks or staying power. There are 3 instrumentals here, the first track being a beautiful example, but the others are rather take or leave. And then there’s Voiceless Screaming, a beautiful acoustic track which is a very fine song, but most will probably find it about 3 minutes too long.

There’s about half an album left now…

Miscast is an all-around solid track with some fantastic riffs and solos. It’s not their most unique song, but it’s just really good for what it is; a hard rocking melodic riff fest. Stab Me in the Back, on the other hand, is some much-needed energy and aggression for the album. Apparently written years earlier, this track is straight up Thrash Metal, up there with Orgasm as their heaviest and fastest material yet. For fans of their earliest work, this song is a highlight.

So what could possibly hold this all together and warrant such high marks?

Bookending Jealousy are not just the best songs on the album, but (for me at least) among the greatest songs ever written, bar none. Silent Jealousy is one of the earliest (and still most well-done) marriages of actual classical string composition and fast, aggressive metal. Silent Jealousy somehow manages to sound like both a ballad and a thrashing speed metal masterpiece. It is quite simply one of the most powerful displays of sorrow there ever has been, as the track laments about Jealousy, yes, but more specifically what seems like unrequited love. Every musician plays along at lightning speed, breaking their back for over 6 minutes straight, yet the entire song carries a tone of melancholic beauty. This is true catharsis, the exorcising of pain through sweat and art, finally turning it into beauty.

The first time I listened to this album way back when, I remember hoping the closer would be some energetic thrasher or something because the album had been so slow. Beautiful, but slow, and lacking the edge of their previous albums. Well, I didn’t get what I wanted, because Say Anything is an 8 minute ballad finishing off with that theme of unrequited love. Even now, I struggle to find the words for this song. X Japan have written many ballads, almost all of them being top class, heart-rending beauty that plays off that Japanese cheese so well. This one is my favorite of them all, and I could never do justice to it trying to explain the eloquence of the actual compositions. What I can say, is that it captures this feeling of “unrequited love” better than any other song, better than any attempted explanation of the phenomenon in any medium I’ve yet found. Elegant, lovely, fragile, vulnerable, painful. The song is a masterpiece on its own, but for anyone who has experienced this feeling, it is a flawless embodiment of one of the most painful experiences a human can go through.

Closing statement: “I believed if time passes, everything turns into beauty If the rains stops, tears clean the scars of memory away Everything starts wearing fresh colors Every sound begins playing a heartfelt melody Jealousy embellishes a page of the epic Desire is embraced in a dream But my mind is still in chaos and...”

VOIVOD Angel Rat

Album · 1991 · Progressive Metal
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One of those albums where everything just feels off… except after repeated listens, I have determined this to be quite intentional, and done in the best way.

You see, Voivod get bored easily, and they had already been down many musical avenues, and pushed the limits of music (and their own abilities) multiple times. On Killing Technology, they showcased the extent of how fast, aggressive, and technical they could play. On the following Dimension Hatross and Nothingface, they were at the forefront of slightly avant-garde Progressive Metal, making albums quite bizarre in musical structure, showcasing complex songwriting ability. And now we have Angel Rat, which at first listen just sounds like them giving up on trying to prove anything anymore. Only faint glimpses of their progressive technicality remain on what is almost a poppy, Post-Punk inspired Alternative Metal album.

I was disappointed at first, as I think anyone would be. But something about the album kept me coming back, and I realized something. Voivod have transcended using technical speed or complex songwriting. They are taking the term “progressive” to a new frontier here, and focusing on creating very complex, ever changing MOODS. If you can imagine a mood having an odd time signature, this is absolutely it. Every song here, despite having relatively simple instrumentation and structure, jumps between some of the most schizophrenic, bipolar moods I’ve ever heard, all without janky start-stop instrumental tricks. The songs flow as smoothly as pop songs, and although the instrumentation can actually be quite intense and complex at times, you wouldn’t really know it without focused listening.

They place the most normal tracks at the beginning. As long as you weren’t listening to the lyrics (which are beyond strange) you could convince yourself that the first 5 tracks were all normal, though they just don’t sound right for some reason… And were those double bass Thrash beats playing under the chorus at the end of Clouds in My House? That’s right, this IS a metal album after all, and don’t forget it!

Track 6, Twin Dummy, is where you could no longer convince yourself this album is normal. The way Snake anxiously yells “The circus left without me!” and then sinisterly muses “And I’m alone with you now…” is unnerving to say the least, especially surrounded with off-kilter lyricism about carousels, dummies, and whatnot. From here on out it becomes more obvious that there is something wrong with this album.

The title track, Angel Rat, capitalizes this best. The opening line “The idiot walks along the canvas…” as Snake then paints a dark and unnerving picture much like the album cover. Gloomy, ominous chords and soft spoken vocals shake through this hideous landscape of darkness and hopelessness… and then a sugary sweet, smooth chorus kicks in about how nice flying away would be. At first this chorus kind of ruined the song for me, but after sitting with it, I totally get it. The figure in the song is an idiot precisely because they still have this innocent, childlike hope of flying away from this horrid picture. Yet they are painted into the canvas just as everything else is. They are stuck there for eternity. The question “rat or angel, does one really know?” is such an interesting comparison. They aren’t comparing good or evil. They’re comparing something significant, powerful, and bright, with a wholly insignificant pest (that cannot fly, mind you). The song is a masterpiece in cryptic writing and mood distortion, and the rest of the album walks the same line.

There are a couple other factors that make this album work so well. For one, I’ve always maintained that Snake’s yells are much better than his singing, and that was a big reason why Voivod’s duo of Prog albums weren’t as great for me. But here, Snake’s vocals are perfect. Not that he’s improved much, no… rather, his shaky, strained voice works wonders for the kind of atmosphere they’re going for here. He’s got an anxious tone to his voice that shines through even during the poppy choruses, and this makes them catchy but never anthemic. Even when he sings smoothly, like in Clouds in My House or Angel Rat, it just doesn’t sound right, and that is precisely why this album succeeds in such simple verse chorus format. The drumming is another fantastic element here. Usually it’s pretty simple, but never boring, and best of all, more than occasionally it just breaks out into full on double bass metal beats. However, the drumming is pushed low in the mix so that it never overpowers the music, and it really serves as another backbone of hidden elements you wouldn’t appreciate unless you listened intently for it. Layered guitar melodies, vocal harmonies and atmospheric soundscape textures work the same, hidden at first listen but uncovered after due attention.

This album is a massive grower and has so much to offer to those willing to delve into the depths of its dark, demented canvas. Voivod have successfully taken progressive music to a new level!


Album · 1991 · Progressive Metal
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Blows my mind that Ray Alder isn’t considered one of the canon greats of metal vocalists. The music here is technical and complex Prog Metal, but the vocals are total AOR a la Queensryche. Ray’s range is very impressive, he can hit incredibly high registers without getting pitchy or strained, and carry a passionate weight all the while. The way he harmonizes with himself are flawless, and again making comparisons to Queensryche, the choruses on this thing are catchier than the vast majority of Pop music. The lyrics aren’t shallow by a longshot, but pretty clearly revolve around feelings of lost human connection, letting go, and moving on. Or in Pop terms, breakup songs.

Probably an odd way to praise a Prog Metal album by immediately comparing it to Pop music and focusing on the vocals, but whatever. The songwriting is quite similar to the prior Perfect Symmetry, but it’s a bit simpler in structure and with better production. There was an obvious emphasis on melody and catchiness when writing this one. Fates Warning certainly tread the softer side of the genre, but unlike Queensryche, the musicianship is very technical indeed, and simple choruses where the vocals can shine often give way to incredibly intricate verses and instrumental segments. Though most of the album is the simple Rock ensemble of instruments, layering and production effects ensure a depth to the sound that reveals more with each listen.

While every song here is fantastic, I will admit the ending tracks are weaker, except for “We Only Say Goodbye” which is a Pop Prog masterpiece. Probably my favorite song by the band by this point, the lyricism and emotion in Alder’s voice play over simple yet evocative guitar lines that pull every heart string. Such a beautifully passionate song that is sad yet strong. Like much of this album, really. Despite how catchy and melodic it is, “Parallels” is a truly somber package, best enjoyed when you are reeling from loss but still want to sing along to some good music.

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