The Block

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All Reviews/Ratings

88 reviews/ratings
DREAM THEATER - Octavarium Progressive Metal | review permalink
STAR ONE - Victims of the Modern Age Progressive Metal | review permalink
EDGE OF SANITY - Crimson Melodic Death Metal | review permalink
FEN - Epoch Atmospheric Black Metal | review permalink
DREAM THEATER - A Dramatic Turn of Events Progressive Metal | review permalink
IRON MAIDEN - Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son Heavy Metal | review permalink
BLACK SABBATH - Paranoid Heavy Metal | review permalink
HAKEN - Aquarius Progressive Metal | review permalink
DEATH - Symbolic Technical Death Metal
SAVATAGE - Streets: A Rock Opera Heavy Metal | review permalink
APPEARANCE OF NOTHING - All Gods Are Gone Progressive Metal | review permalink
OPETH - Watershed Progressive Metal | review permalink
OBSCURA - Omnivium Technical Death Metal | review permalink
AMENDFOIL - EON Progressive Metal | review permalink
SYMPHONY X - Iconoclast Progressive Metal | review permalink
DEVIN TOWNSEND - Deconstruction Progressive Metal | review permalink
DREAM THEATER - Black Clouds & Silver Linings Progressive Metal | review permalink
IRON MAIDEN - The Final Frontier Heavy Metal | review permalink
ATHEIST - Elements Technical Death Metal | review permalink
RUSH - 2112 Hard Rock | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Progressive Metal 26 3.98
2 Power Metal 10 3.45
3 Heavy Metal 8 3.75
4 Death Metal 6 3.25
5 Technical Death Metal 6 4.00
6 Atmospheric Black Metal 3 4.17
7 Black Metal 2 3.75
8 Folk Metal 2 3.25
9 Gothic Metal 2 3.25
10 Hard Rock 2 3.75
11 Mathcore 2 2.25
12 Metalcore 2 2.75
13 Thrash Metal 2 3.25
14 US Power Metal 1 4.00
15 Non-Metal 1 3.50
16 NWoBHM 1 2.50
17 Alternative Metal 1 4.00
18 Technical Thrash Metal 1 4.00
19 Sludge Metal 1 3.50
20 Symphonic Metal 1 3.50
21 Melodic Death Metal 1 5.00
22 Melodic Metalcore 1 3.50
23 Hardcore Punk 1 2.00
24 Deathcore 1 3.00
25 Grindcore 1 3.50
26 Groove Metal 1 3.50
27 Brutal Death Metal 1 2.50
28 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 1 3.00

Latest Albums Reviews

DREAM THEATER A Dramatic Turn of Events

Album · 2011 · Progressive Metal
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Ever since I first heard Octavarium, my first Dream Theater album, I was hooked on them. Since then I’ve come to own every single one of their albums. So when I heard that they would be releasing an album this year I couldn’t wait until it was released. Then the news came that Mike Portnoy, their drummer since the beginning, was leaving the band. As a fan, I really didn’t know what to think. Who would be their new drummer; could they replace who I think was irreplaceable? As time went on I was that, yes Dream Theater can still go on without their fabled drummer. When it was announced that Mike Mangini was to be their new drummer I was ecstatic. Since they filmed the auditions and made them into a mini series titled “The Spirit Carries On” I was able to see who the drummers were that tried out, and out of all of them Mangini was definitely my favorite. This album, the first album without the line-up that made the legendary Scenes From a Memory, returns to the sound leading up to and including Octavarium, which is my second favorite Dream Theater album, so that in itself is a huge plus. The song writing has also taken up a lighter sound that is also reminiscent of the Octavarium and before era. Unlike Black Clouds and Silver Linings, which was very dark, and depressing in spots, this album is very cheery and definitely reverts back to Dream Theater’s distinct progressive metal sound that many fans have loved for the past 25 years.

This album tells a story, maybe of them losing Portnoy and getting Mangini as the title suggests, and as John Petrucci states, “When you listen to it your whole experience will be more of a rollercoaster ride”. This roller coaster ride is definitely a light one, so if you enjoyed Black Clouds a lot, then this album will definitely be a whole different world. I tend to like Dream Theater’s lighter passages on their past albums, so with this album being mostly lighter progressive metal it adds a lot more enjoyment when I listening to it. A good thing with this album being lighter is that Jordan Rudess is spotlighted much more often. With the last couple of albums, DT has focused more on John Petrucci and Mike Portnoy, and now with Portnoy gone and there needed to be someone else to take the front seat, and thankfully that was Jordan Rudess. A lot of the keyboard and synth sections on this album also remind me a lot of his awesome synth lines on Octavarium, which were some of my favorite. Another thing about this album is that the drumming isn’t the main focus as it sometimes was during the Portnoy-era. Since Mike Mangini wasn’t there for the writing of the album, Petrucci, I believe, wrote most of the drum lines, so they are a bit toned down compared to past efforts. Also, up until this album I never really noticed John Myung’s bass playing that much. I always knew he was good, but I never expected this much personality from him, and this is definitely one of his best efforts on bass.

Right from the start this album is extremely melodic, especially the opening lines of “On the Backs of Angels”. This song, which was released as the only single off of A Dramatic Turn of Events, is definitely a signature Dream Theater song with very nice rock oriented rhythms and great choruses. “Build Me Up, Break Me Down” is really the weakest song on the album but it’s still a pretty good song. The catchy chorus makes it really good, but there are some industrial metal sections in it that make it a little weird. I don’t really know why they put those sections in it, but overall it’s not that bad. James Labrie’s voice on this song and all the other’s is absolutely superb, and probably the best it’s been since Octavarium. I never really got the people who didn’t like his singing, I think it’s very good and can never find much wrong with it. This album also features four epics, which are all quite amazing. “Lost Not Forgotten” starts with a great keyboard and drum intro the segments very well into some of the darker moments on the album. The guitar solos on this track are also very well done and mix perfectly with Labrie’s great vocals. “Bridges in the Sky” is yet another very riff driven track that excels in every way possible and features great bass parts by John Myung. The best epic on the album is definitely “Breaking all Illusions” because it returns to Dream Theater’s roots, or more specifically “Learning to Live”. This song features many of the melodies from the song before it, “Far From Heaven” so it adds very nice flow to the album. The technicality of the song is amazing, and each band member is at their greatest on “Breaking all Illusions”.

A lot of people have complained in the past about the production of Dream Theater albums, mainly because the band produced them, and they really didn’t like the tone of the albums, or something like that. I, for one, have loved the production on all Dream Theater releases, except When Dream And Day Unite. This album is no exception. The drums aren’t nearly as prominent as before, but that is to be expected with the absence of Portnoy. The bass, as I mentioned earlier, is finally noticeable and Myung’s talent shines through, for the first time in a long time.

This was definitely my most anticipated album of 2011 and it did not disappoint at all. Though this album might take time to grow on some people, though not on me, it is well worth the purchase. My love of Dram Theater has resurfaced after a brief decline since Black Clouds and Silver Linings. This album has jumped to the top of my 2011 charts, which I expected, and probably will stay there for the rest of the year. I really didn’t want it to be so easy to put it there because I’m such a big fanboy and I didn’t want to put it there just based on my fanboyism, but this album was so good that, fanboy or no, it is the easiest 5 star album I’ve given out in a long time.

REVOCATION Chaos of Forms

Album · 2011 · Technical Thrash Metal
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Revocation is an American thrash metal act that’s been around since 2006. They play a sort of melodic thrash metal, which sounds really good and suits the band very well. The album is really an all around effort with three out of the four band members contributing on vocals. This thrash metal band displays a bunch of extras to go along with their standard thrash sound that include some funky slap bass lines, melodic guitar passages that aren’t usually found on thrash metal releases, and even an organ section or two.

Usually thrash metal, at least for me, gets kind of boring after awhile, especially on the longer albums, but with this album that doesn’t happen at all. Though some of the songs sound very similar there is enough difference that it makes it highly enjoyable. The guitar solo to open up “Conjuring the Cataclysm”, for example, is absolutely killer, but other parts of the album sound kind of repetitive. The title track is another great track, perhaps my favorite on the album, with a bunch of awesome guitar solos and great drumming as well. Speaking of the drums, which are played excellently by Phil Dubois-Coyne, the drums on this album are very fast and they meld very well with the guitar work which is lightning fast as well. Besides great drumming and fast guitar work, this album also has some great vocals too. As I mentioned before, three of the band members sing so sometimes it’s hard to tell who’s singing, but the different vocal styles really help this album out. I really like the vocal parts where all of the band members sing together, even though it sometimes doesn’t fit the songs. On a couple of tracks, such as No Funeral, the harmony vocals don’t quite fit, but I still like the songs.

This album is in your face right from the start of the album, and it doesn’t pull always until the last chord of “Reprogrammed”. Filled with cruising guitar lines and staccato riffs that really add flavor to the album this album is highly recommended for any metal fan especially those of the thrash variety. Chaos of Forms easily deserves 4 stars.


Album · 2011 · Progressive Metal
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Loch Vostok is a progressive metal band from Sweden. As with most modern death metal, especially progressive death metal, their sound centers around the Gothenburg sound, which seems to be making a huge surge throughout the metal community. The fast riffs and harmonic guitar lines that have made the Gothenburg style popular over the past couple of years is very evident on this album, and is quite possibly the biggest factor of the album itself.

The music itself is very good, and comes in two versions. Some of it is simple guitar driven songs with blast beat drums to accompany it, while others are more complex and intricate prog melodies. The guitar work is absolutely excellent on this album and encompasses many styles from traditional heavy metal melodies to more djent flavored riffs. One thing I’ve noticed about newer progressive metal bands is that more and more of them are using this djent sound, which I’m not that big a fan of. On this album, though, it blends right in and I actually like what it does for the album. The vocals on this album are another high point. Like most Gothenburg style bands they use both clean and harsh vocals. The growls on this album are really cool, and well done, while the clean vocals kind of out there in terms of style. I enjoyed them a lot, but for some people they might take some getting used to because they really aren’t fit for the genre that much. Usually the clean vocals are deep and dark while these vocals tend to be a bit higher, and don’t have as dark of a tone. I love how they go with the music though so it was a big high point for me. One thing that stuck out to me the most about this album was the use of blast beats. Sometimes there would be blast beats during slow sections, like on “In the Wake of Humanity”, and this added a cool element that isn’t usually found in this style of music.

Any fan of melodic death metal would be as pleased as I was with this release, and many progressive fans will find this a good listen as well. The progressive leanings mixed with the djent riffing, and melodic death metal passages provide a great listen and an album well worthy of 4 stars.

ILIUM Genetic Memory

Album · 2011 · Power Metal
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Of all the genres out there it seems, at least to me, that power metal can be the most inconsistent. Mainly this can be because it has so many genre clichés or that bands don’t feel the need to gain any new ground, and just are fine with sticking with the same old routine. That’s why sometimes it’s hard to really find power metal albums that are consistent, except for the proven bands like Symphony X. But Genetic Memory is the second power metal album I’ve gotten in a week that is very good, and doesn’t fall into too many clichés.

Ilium has been around since 1998 and has yet to really hit it big, so to say. But Genetic Memory has that chance. This Australian based power metal group definitely has a more European power metal sound than an American sound, which I tend to enjoy more since it’s much more grand and symphonic, mostly. The use of keyboards on this album by Adam Smith, who also plays bass and guitar, really adds to that image of grandness. Ilium really brings something good to the table that doesn’t fall into every cliché that there is. The only problem with this album is that it’s pretty long for power metal without progressive leanings, averaging out at just over an hour long.

Overall this is a very good release from this rather tenured power metal group. The vocals are great, the riffing is superb, and all in all this is one heck of an album. I’m glad that there is still power metal out there that can break the mold, and isn’t the same old thing that’s been done for the past 20 years.

DEVIN TOWNSEND Deconstruction

Album · 2011 · Progressive Metal
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As weird as this may sound, Deconstruction was my introduction into the wacky and wonderful world of Devin Townsend. Though, I guess nothing is as weird as Deconstruction itself. Being new to this type of metal, I had no idea what to expect from the album itself, so I was definitely flustered the first time I listened to the album. But eventually it all came together, and I saw what a fantastic album this really was. Unlike most new music that you can either say you like or dislike right away, or after a few listens, Deconstruction took me a long time to actually appreciate it. After I finally started to enjoy the album, I found out what it was about; a man who receives a cheeseburger from the Devil, but can’t eat it because he is a vegetarian. If you’re like me and you immediately said, “What?”, you’re as equally as confused as I was. With all these weird topics, strange noises, and soaring guitars Devin Townsend almost reminds me of a metal version of Frank Zappa, with equal amounts of genius and craziness

Deconstruction was released along with a much softer, un-crazy Ghost, which is no where near as creative as the former. I’m glad that Devin Townsend put all his craziness into this one album because it makes it all the better. Also he put all the heavy stuff on this album while leaving the lighter stuff for Ghost. This I think is a brilliant idea because it provides two totally different albums from one person. Deconstruction, besides being very out there, has an almost avant-garde feel to it in spots to go along with its main genre, prog metal. Of the two epics on the album, “Planet of the Apes” and “The Mighty Masturbator”, “Planet of the Apes” is probably my favorite. “Planet of the Apes” has some great soaring guitar parts, especially some of the solos, and the vocals by both Townsend and Tommy Giles Rogers, of Between the Buried and Me, are absolutely amazing. “The Mighty Masturbator”, which you can probably guess the topic of the song, is another great track with more awesome vocals and colorful vocals. The only thing about “The Mighty Masturbator” is that, to me, it seems a little drawn out, but in the end it is still a fantastic song. My favorite track, though, is probably the title track. This is the song where our main character finds himself confronted by the Devil and offered the cheeseburger. This song is perhaps the craziest of them all, filled with great lines, complex guitar riffs, and fart noises. Yes, fart noises. At first I was skeptical about them, but they fit into the song just fine, and add to the overall weirdness level. All the other songs are just as good, and there truly are no weak spots on this album at all.

What surprised me the most about this album where the guest vocalists. I just assumed Devin Townsend worked on his own with a few studio musicians, but I was wrong. And these aren’t your run of the mill guests either. There’s the above mentioned Tommy Giles Rogers, Ihsahn of Emperor, Floor Jansen, who also works with Arjen Lucassen, and most notably Mikael Åkerfeldt of Opeth. All these vocalists are superb, and when mixed with the great compositions on this album, a great record is made.

After putting aside my skepticisms about this album to start off I discovered the genius that is Devin Townsend. This album is full of craziness, but there is control on this album too that keeps it grounded and easy to listen to. It might take some time to get into this album, but once you do you’ll enjoy it just as much as I have. This is yet another great release of 2011 and easily deserves 4.5 stars.

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