The Angry Scotsman

Brian L
MMA Special Collaborator · Honorary Collaborator
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 4 months ago

Favorite Metal Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

321 reviews/ratings
METALLICA - ...And Justice for All Thrash Metal | review permalink
SLAYER - Reign in Blood Thrash Metal | review permalink
MEGADETH - Rust in Peace Thrash Metal | review permalink
LYKATHEA AFLAME - Elvenefris Technical Death Metal | review permalink
AGALLOCH - The Mantle Folk Metal | review permalink
ATHEIST - Elements Technical Death Metal | review permalink
OPETH - Still Life Progressive Metal | review permalink
BLACK SABBATH - Black Sabbath Heavy Metal | review permalink
DEATH - Individual Thought Patterns Technical Death Metal | review permalink
DEATH - The Sound of Perseverance Technical Death Metal | review permalink
SEPULTURA - Beneath the Remains Thrash Metal | review permalink
BLACK SABBATH - Paranoid Heavy Metal | review permalink
ISIS - Panopticon Atmospheric Sludge Metal | review permalink
ISIS - In The Absence Of Truth Atmospheric Sludge Metal | review permalink
SYMPHONY X - The Odyssey Progressive Metal
SYMPHONY X - Paradise Lost Progressive Metal
SYSTEM OF A DOWN - System of a Down Alternative Metal
SEPULTURA - Arise Thrash Metal
CLOUDKICKER - Beacons Progressive Metal
RUSSIAN CIRCLES - Enter Metal Related

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Progressive Metal 63 3.80
2 Thrash Metal 53 3.65
3 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 26 3.85
4 Heavy Metal 16 3.16
5 Atmospheric Black Metal 15 3.63
6 Death Metal 15 3.17
7 Technical Death Metal 14 4.14
8 Metal Related 13 4.00
9 Alternative Metal 13 3.50
10 Groove Metal 11 3.45
11 Melodic Death Metal 9 3.83
12 Non-Metal 8 3.19
13 Technical Thrash Metal 7 3.43
14 Folk Metal 6 3.92
15 Avant-garde Metal 6 4.08
16 Black Metal 5 1.60
17 Industrial Metal 5 3.00
18 Sludge Metal 5 4.00
19 Stoner Metal 4 3.13
20 Nu Metal 4 2.13
21 NWoBHM 4 4.13
22 Hard Rock 3 3.50
23 Hardcore Punk 3 2.50
24 Power Metal 2 4.00
25 Proto-Metal 2 3.50
26 Traditional Doom Metal 2 4.00
27 Viking Metal 1 3.50
28 Rap Metal 1 3.00
29 Funk Metal 1 4.00
30 Melodic Black Metal 1 3.00
31 Heavy Psych 1 4.50
32 Brutal Death Metal 1 2.00
33 Doom Metal 1 3.00

Latest Albums Reviews

PELICAN Nighttime Stories

Album · 2019 · Atmospheric Sludge Metal
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6 years since their last release, Pelican shows they are still a force to be reckoned with.

This album continues their drift from post metal to, well not quite sure what to call it. Instrumental progressive sludge metal? Perhaps atmospheric metal is the most fitting genre to lump it under. What I call it is: awesome.

"Nighttime Stories" is in some ways classic Pelican, (super heavy, killer riffs, grooves, and melodies, quiet peaceful movements) but in some ways quite different. For one, I was quite shocked to here blast beats. In general, "Nighttime Stories" is less "post" and more riff oriented metal. Don't get me wrong, Pelican has always been based on the almighty riff, but here their songs continue their shorter trajectory, all except one clocking in at under 7 minutes, and there's less collective wall of sound, long building sound and more traditional riffy driven metal songs.

This is not unwelcome. It keeps the band fresh, and given the countless number of post metal bands that have faded away with the tide of that genre, I'm glad to see some of the founders of it managing to fight past and stay relevant. This is not to say there isn't still wonderful atmospheres created, because their are, as well as some of the classic slowly progressing old school sound.

The music on "Nighttime Stories" is not as compelling or thought provoking as older Pelican, it's not quite as energetic as some newer, and I found the drumming a bit lackluster, but the music is still interesting enough to hold up without any vocals. The major driver of this album is its biggest difference from previous output: emotion. This is a very emotional work. Not surprising giving the band's various difficulties and changes, and it really comes out. It can't be put into words, but you feel it.

FOUR STARS

MORTIFICATION Scrolls of the Megilloth

Album · 1992 · Death Metal
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Music to feel the power of Christ move through you...like a coked up jet fighter in mid dog fight.

This album is famous for being one of the giants of "Christian Metal" and I suppose that is accurate, as this album is based on the 5 books of the Old Testament, though personally lyrical content means little to me, (not like you can understand 90% of what Steve Rowe says anyway), it's all about the music. No doubt, the music here is straight up death metal. The guitar work is near entirely low register, tremolo picking, blast beats and double bass drumming abound, there are no guitar solos, and the vocals are quite brutal. No clean singing or even screaming here, it's entirely guttural growls, (often delivered with a real force behind it), shrieks that verge on black metal or bellows so deep and inhuman it actually sounds demonic. This is a no frills, nothing superfluous, straightforward Death Metal album.

That doesn't mean it's uninteresting. Quite the contrary, "Scrolls of the Megilloth" is a well composed piece of music. There is a lot here, from balls to the wall blast beats, doom metal-esque dirges, mid tempo parts, thrash beats, lots of good riffs and movements varying in speed, feel and brutality. There's lots of groove to be found, solid drumming, and plucky sounding bass that reminds me of Death. None of these parts last for too long. They linger for a minute or so, sometimes shorter or longer, before moving onto a different part. The progression is always different. You don't get bored at any part, it never lasts too long or goes away too soon, you don't know exactly what's coming next, and the songs aren't too long. It's an extremely well crafted album. It's finale, the near 12 minute "Ancient Prophesy" does everything in one track. It's like a microcosm of the album in one flowing piece. Hell, I'd nominate it for "best summary of death metal" out there.

To conclude, this is a very good, albeit unspectacular, death metal album. While it is nothing mind blowing or stand out, it does what it does very well. It's brutal, it's groovy, it holds your interest. "Scrolls of the Megilloth" is an extremely well composed album. This is what makes up for its fairly standard style. Though there are touches here and there to keep it a tad unique, like organ, church bells and choirs, natural noises all of which add freshness and contribute to it's creepy feel. Christian or not, a break that consists of fire and people screaming in agony is some brutal s***

FOUR STARS

METALLICA Lulu (with Lou Reed)

Album · 2011 · Heavy Metal
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Oh my...here to begin?

When I heard Metallica and Lou Reed were doing a collaboration, I was intrigued to say the least. What on Earth would that sound like? While I had no idea what to expect, safe to say it was not this.

I have to have a bit of fun, there were some young, (my age) Metallica fans that started discussing Lou Reed, and I knew they had absolutely no idea who he was. I thus enjoyed their utter horror at this album, clearly having no idea this was never going to be a standard Metallica album.

Then there's the Metallica purists who haven't liked the band since "selling out" 20 years before, and the die hard Metallica fans, who hated this because it doesn't sound like Metallica. Some of course hate anything this band does, while fans of Lou Reed were also pretty displeased with this. Never have I seen such a diverse hatred for an album.

Well, what about the music itself? This has been a difficult review to write. I tried to free myself of all these outside influences, sat down and really listened to this, digested it and really wanted to think about the music. Keep in mind, I actually think St Anger isn't so bad, so I'd say I'm fair as possible. What did I finally come up with for "Lulu"?

Messy. Random. Boring. Laborious. Painful. Unrewarding. A failed attempt at being experimental.

"Lulu" is a lot of simple, boring music. Emphasis on a lot. 87 minutes! Most of it sounds random, like it was not even constructed but just thrown together and the songs drag on and on. Lou Reed does spoken word over this musical train wreck, and age has gotten the best of him. There's no way to put it: he sounds terrible. His singing is no better, and in all fairness I think James Hetfield doesn't sound very good either.

There is no hand holding, this album goes right into it. A nice acoustic guitar intro leads into Reed's nasaly, raspy voice delivering the fairly hilarious opener "I would cut my legs and tits off". There's a cool droning riff that kicks in with James howling while Lou continues on. It works, for a bit. It became quite boring though and felt longer than a 4 minute song should.

"The View" became a bit of an internet sensation due to the line "I am the table!" being shouted by James, but this song is actually pretty good! There is a simple, but cool, riff that plays as Lou Reed delivers spoken word over it, slowly and subtly building to a brief, moderately up tempo crescendo with James singing. It shifts back to Lou, building back up to another James crescendo and finishing off with some shred like soloing, transitioning back to that churning, chuggy riff.

The reason this song works is because it was well constructed. It never grows tiresome because it builds. There are some minor changes to the drum work as the riff drones on, there is progression opposed to simply going on without change. The crescendos hit hard, the settle downs feel more impactful, there are some solos and neat guitar work sprinkled throughout. There is variation, progress, a coherent song structure. Thus no part gets stale or feels awkward, and there is enough going on to keep you there.

Unfortunately this can't be said for the rest of the album. Sure there are good moments sprinkled throughout, but it's like dumpster diving to find them, a big dumpster and all you find are nickles. There's not much reward for all the work and filth. Whenever "Metallica" comes through, it's generally simple and uninteresting. Little technical skill or songwriting ability is displayed.

The album actually finishes on a pretty good note. The only other good song, "Junior Dad" is a 19 minute journey, and I don't use that word lightly. The song actually moves. Peaks and valleys, builds, some nice riffs, melodies and songwriting. There are many textured parts and the drumming is simple but effective, and throws enough unexpected moments and fills in there to keep your head bobbing. Much of the second half are just strings, but it's quite beautiful and is a fitting end to this slow paced, gentle yet moving song.

I wanted to emphasize those two songs, "The View" and "Junior Dad" to give this album some positive words. The pretty good pieces of bread that hold together this sandwich of minimalist droning, noise, spoken word, hard rock all smushed together randomly. I have read that most of this album is improv, and it shows. Kudos for the ambition, but it's not something I think Metallica proved very capable of doing.

I always applaud a band for doing something different, for experimenting and for challenging their fans. I understand this is what Metallica was doing with "Lulu". They have always been a band to try something new, no matter the criticism, and "Lulu" takes it to the nth degree. Metallica is saying we've been around for 30 years, sold 100 million albums, we have everything we could want so we're gunna do something different, something we want and no fucks are gunna be given. While I admire the effort, it is not successful. Just like how people shouldn't automatically hate something without giving it a fair try, a band experimenting doesn't mean it needs to win our approval just for doing so.

"Lulu" has 2 good songs, the rest of which is boring and frankly, terrible. Sometimes hilarious, sometimes painful, I am hesitant to give this album even a one star rating, because even a completionist will be A OK not having this album in their collection. Yes, it may not even be worth having solely to complete a collection, no one would blame you. That said, it's not 100% garbage so I can't give it a half.

ONE STAR

MEGADETH Dystopia

Album · 2016 · Thrash Metal
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A standard album for Megadeth over the previous decade: Dave Mustaine has surrounded himself with very good talent, and managed to melt it all into a pot of mediocrity.

While Megadeth's last two albums were increasingly depressing efforts, I couldn't help but find myself intrigued by Dystopia because it's Megadeth...and I was impressed with the additions of Kiko Loureiro of Angra and Chris Adler of Lamb of God. I have long been a fan of Adler's drumming, and after exploring Angra it's no doubt Loureiro is a very talented musician.

Loureiro does lay down some nasty solos, (and damn impressive acoustic work), and Adler's drumming is solid, but his unique style has been shoved into the Megadeth formula...and that's really the way I'd describe "Dystopia". Formulaic.

The album isn't bad, though it isn't anything special, there are some great riffs, melodies, solos and moments sprinkled throughout, while the rest is filled with uninspired, generic music. It's modern Megadeth by the numbers: lots of mid temp chugging, mix in speed metal riffs and double bass chain drumming, some unique moments, shred solos and very rare thrashing. There's really just not much about this album that stands out either way.

Mustaine's vocals continue to show signs of age, but aren't too bad honestly. Recent attempts at singing have been abandoned for his trademark gruff, talk-singing style that does remind me of his classic days, though no doubt it lacks its past ferociousness and sarcastic bite.

"Dystopia" starts on a high note with "The Threat is Real" a very solid song, then "Dystopia" which may be the best on the album with its awesome riffs, melodies, solos and song structure...it really moves, never lingers too long or grows boring. "Fatal Illusion" is another good song that reminds me of classic Megadeth: dueling guitars, harmonized melodies, explosive solos and anarchic structure. After this 3 song burst the album goes bland, exception being the instrumental "Conquer or Die". This song competes for best on the album, opening with an awesome acoustic lick before launching into some wonderful dual guitar work. Spidery riffs, blazing yet varied solos all within a slowly building framework. Right out of the classic Megadeth playbook.

So what to make of Dystopia? There are some good songs, but nothing spectacular, which stand out in an album of generic, frankly uninspired feeling, music. Those who worship at the church of thrash shouldn't bother with this, those that enjoy the newer, modern metal style Megadeth, will probably like it. I don't feel it's thrash or nothing myself, I just believe Mustaine is not good at writing non thrash music, which "Dystopia" continues to prove correct. The two best songs sound like good ol fashion 80's Megadeth, while the rest spins its wheels in the mud that has been the band's 4 of their last 5 albums.

Overall, an OK album that won't blow anyone's mind. Fans of newer Megadeth will find it acceptable, and it's certainly better than the disaster that was "Super Collider". You won't find anything new, but nothing really bad. Fans of pre mid 90s Megadeth will find little to enjoy here.

TWO AND A HALF STARS

SYMPHONY X Underworld

Album · 2015 · Progressive Metal
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The New Jersey Prog Metal Masters are back with their newest album "Underworld"

The album is an in between Paradise Lost and Iconoclast. It is clearly grounded in the bands new style: heavy and intense, (there are even a few blast beats thrown in one part!) darker, less progressive and less shred riffing/neoclassical insanity of their old days...however "Underworld" drifts a little more towards the style of "Paradise Lost" rather than "Iconoclast" meaning this album is a little more progressive, features more keyboard, less "hardcore" vocals and is just more varied in style.

While I am a fan of Iconoclast, I greatly appreciate the drift away from there and back to a more classic sound. Don't misunderstand, this is firmly within the band's new sound and you should not expect The Odyssey or V or Divine Wings here, but there are plenty of classic Symphony X riffs, melodies, sounds and staples to please any fan.

Style aside, all the musicianship is superb, as is to be expected, the songwriting tight and well composed, the audio quality is great and I particularly love the sound of the bass. The songwriting of Symphony X is what always struck me, their ability to create songs with great flow, surprise, technicality and musicianship but without wasting any of our time, and they have done so yet again. There are still moments that surprise you, and all the instruments, while getting to showcase the skill of the musicians, work together.

"Underworld" is not a perfect album, there are some weak moments, and there is nothing here really unexpected, but it's another great output that continues to walk the line of pleasing fans and originality, technicality and musician ship, heaviness and progressiveness, and they walk the line superbly. The vocals of Russell Allen are brilliant as always, displaying a great range, there are riffs galore, and Jason Rullo, (one of my all time favorite drummers) continues to increasingly show off his drumming prowess. Michael Romeo still solos like the best of them, and the composition is a bit more progressive than Iconoclast, with some truly beautiful movements sprinkled throughout.

Standout tracks are: Without You, Kiss of Fire and Legend.

Symphony X is one of the greatest metal bands of their time, and continue to prove it with yet another strong output. "Underworld" should be a great addition for Symphony X fans, and please prog metal fans. Excellent album.

FOUR STARS

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Now -- what are you listening to? V2
    P/S! I had the pleasure of seeing them live in Brooklyn and meeting the bandmates, hanging with them later at their place. Was one helluva show, and not just saying that as online friends, they were pretty damn rockin.PA pays off sometimes Really cool people too 
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in The Shadow Gallery (post pics of yourself)
    You know my love for Scandanavia so if I do get out though, Denmark is a guarantee :D    
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in The Shadow Gallery (post pics of yourself)
    Ah, still great stuff! Hope the Merkans were friendly, we're not all such bad people.   I'll get myself out to Europe soon.

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