Vim Fuego

Patrick Stott
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1121 reviews/ratings
MORBID ANGEL - Altars of Madness Death Metal | review permalink
PUNGENT STENCH - Been Caught Buttering Death Metal | review permalink
CATHEDRAL - Forest of Equilibrium Doom Metal | review permalink
BRUTAL TRUTH - Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses Deathgrind | review permalink
FIGHT - War of Words Groove Metal | review permalink
ANNIHILATOR - Alice in Hell Thrash Metal | review permalink
DARK ANGEL - Darkness Descends Thrash Metal | review permalink
CARNIVORE - Retaliation Crossover Thrash | review permalink
EXODUS - Fabulous Disaster Thrash Metal | review permalink
HOLY TERROR - Mind Wars Thrash Metal | review permalink
CARCASS - Symphonies of Sickness Goregrind | review permalink
CARNIVORE - Carnivore Crossover Thrash | review permalink
DARKTHRONE - Soulside Journey Death Metal
DEICIDE - Deicide Death Metal | review permalink
DESTRUCTION - Sentence of Death Thrash Metal | review permalink
BAD NEWS - Bad News Heavy Metal | review permalink
EXHORDER - Slaughter in the Vatican Thrash Metal | review permalink
8 FOOT SATIVA - Season for Assault Thrash Metal | review permalink
TERRORIZER - World Downfall Deathgrind | review permalink
METALLICA - ...And Justice for All Thrash Metal | review permalink

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Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Thrash Metal 231 4.01
2 Heavy Metal 135 3.72
3 Death Metal 127 4.11
4 Grindcore 77 3.97
5 Hard Rock 50 3.12
6 Crossover Thrash 41 4.21
7 Groove Metal 38 3.54
8 Black Metal 35 3.43
9 Hardcore Punk 30 4.53
10 Alternative Metal 28 2.48
11 Industrial Metal 23 3.83
12 Glam Metal 22 3.30
13 Non-Metal 21 2.33
14 Melodic Death Metal 18 3.36
15 Goregrind 16 4.16
16 NWoBHM 15 3.97
17 Progressive Metal 14 2.82
18 Technical Death Metal 13 3.85
19 Power Metal 11 3.86
20 Gothic Metal 11 3.82
21 Nu Metal 10 1.70
22 Sludge Metal 10 3.50
23 US Power Metal 10 4.00
24 Brutal Death Metal 9 3.61
25 Deathgrind 9 4.17
26 Folk Metal 9 4.06
27 Symphonic Metal 8 2.44
28 Speed Metal 7 3.64
29 Technical Thrash Metal 6 2.83
30 Heavy Alternative Rock 6 3.83
31 Metal Related 5 4.10
32 Funk Metal 5 2.50
33 Doom Metal 5 4.50
34 Death-Doom Metal 5 3.30
35 Deathcore 5 2.80
36 Cybergrind 5 4.50
37 Death 'n' Roll 5 2.40
38 Stoner Metal 5 2.90
39 Pornogrind 5 3.80
40 Avant-garde Metal 4 4.25
41 Rap Metal 4 3.00
42 Metalcore 4 3.25
43 Melodic Black Metal 3 1.50
44 Atmospheric Black Metal 3 2.83
45 Proto-Metal 3 4.33
46 Traditional Doom Metal 3 4.00
47 Symphonic Black Metal 3 4.33
48 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 2 4.75
49 Crust Punk 2 4.75
50 Depressive Black Metal 1 4.50
51 Drone Metal 1 4.00
52 Melodic Metalcore 1 3.50
53 Heavy Psych 1 0.50
54 Viking Metal 1 3.00

Latest Albums Reviews


Album · 1998 · Heavy Metal
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The 1990s saw Metallica start the decade as thrash metal’s biggest band. The band and genre was somewhat niche, and not particularly well known outside metal and alternative music scenes. By the turn of the millennium, Metallica had become the biggest band in metal bar none, and was surpassed in popular music by only a handful of artists, but in creating new music thrash metal had been left far behind. “Garage Inc.” as a covers and B-sides compilation album lays bare the influences mixed in to Metallica’s thrash metal roots which made “Metallica”, “Load”, and “Re-Load” the albums which led the band to world domination.

Disc 1 of this double album is freshly recorded covers. These run the full gamut of Metallica’s musical tastes, and some work better than others. Metallica can do punk, and do it well. We know this because of their covers excellent of The Misfits, and Anti-Nowhere League’s utterly filthy “So What”. However, Metallica aren’t too good at Discharge, with “Free Speech For The Dumb” and “The More I See” bookending this disc. These versions are too… clean. Discharge’s originals are scuzzy and discordant, from a band on the verge of starvation. Metallica just can’t reproduce the same feel. It’s hard to sound desperate when you’re a multi-millionaire living comfortably. Bob Rock does big, fat, and comfortable as a producer, with the latest in studio technology at his fingertips, while Discharge would have been recorded as quickly as possible on zero budget. The guitars are too warm, and too big. The bass doesn’t have enough distortion. And Lars just can’t play D-beat drums. Still, without Discharge, thrash metal wouldn’t have been thrash metal.

Metallica’s love of NWOBHM band Diamond Head is well known, so a Diamond Head song was inevitable here, and while “It’s Electric” is no “Am I Evil?”, in the same vein as that famous cover, it’s not far removed from Metallica’s own style.

Covering Black Sabbath isn’t always as easy as it seems. Slayer stumbled with their version of “Hand of Doom”, and Megadeth’s “Paranoid” is almost an unintentional parody. Metallica don’t fuck it up as badly as those covers, but “Sabbra Cadabra” isn’t particularly impressive. They just can’t reproduce Sabbath’s whacked-out stoner groove.

The first really impressive track here is “Turn The Page”, originally by Bob Seger. It’s a brooding tale of life on the road. James Hetfield’s vocals and the ruminating main riff seem to be an indicator of where “The Memory Remains” came from.

“Die, Die My Darling” is a welcome addition to the existing collection of Misfits covers. It’s not near as rough as “Last Caress/Green Hell” recorded a decade earlier, but it retains the boisterous energy and wicked dark humour of the original.

The inclusion of Nick Cave and The Bad Seed’s “Loverman” is the biggest what-the-fuck on the whole album. The original switches between minimalist restraint and raucous post-punk anarchy, and Metallica doesn’t attempt to pull it off, but instead smooths out the rough edges and makes it their own. Cave’s introspective oblique lyrics are somewhat different to the Metallica norm, but like “Turn The Page”, the song illustrates James Hetfield’s varied vocal abilities.

The five song Mercyful Fate medley is more traditional fare. The songs don’t exactly merge seamlessly, and of course there’s no King Diamond helium vocals, but it’s 11 minutes of 80s satanic metal goodness.

Blue Öyster Cult don’t often get the love they deserve, even though they are the band who wrote monster rockers like “Godzilla”, “Burnin’ For You”, and “Don’t Fear The Reaper”. “Astronomy” isn’t one of those monster rockers, but Metallica turn it into one.

“Whiskey In The Jar” is the best song on the first disc. It’s a boisterous, catchy party anthem, and a new take on Thin Lizzy’s take of the traditional Irish folk song.

“Tuesday’s Gone” was recorded during a radio broadcast in 1997 with a number of guest musicians, including members of Alice in Chains, Corrosion of Conformity, Lynyrd Skynrd, and even Les Claypool on banjo, and… it’s fucking tedious. Yep, it’s an all-star acoustic jam that’s an all-star acoustic bore. It also indicates where Metallica found the Southern rock and country influences which popped up on the Load albums.

Disc 2 is older stuff which already existed, but was sometimes hard to come by until this release. The first five tracks come from “The $5.98 E.P.: Garage Days Re-Revisited”, which had been out of print for the best part of a decade, and dedicated collectors had been paying exorbitant prices for copies of it. The E.P. also featured the first recordings of Jason Newsted with Metallica. This sloppy spontaneous recording is a little rough around the edges, but that’s a big part of it’s charm.

The next pair of NWOBHM covers were initially recorded as B-sides for the 12” vinyl version of “Creeping Death”, released as a single in 1984. The epic “Am I Evil?” is Metallica’s most famous cover, and is so well known it may as well be their own song. Diamond Head have done very well from it over the years, with Metallica’s cover helping revive their career and earning the band a decent sum from royalties over the years too. The other song is “Blitzkrieg”, originally by Blitzkrieg, is an up-tempo blitzkrieg of a song (is that too many blitzkriegs?), and it’s choppy riffing shows how influential the NWOBHM was on thrash metal.

“Breadfan” (originally by Budgie) and “The Prince” (originally by Diamond Head) were B-sides to the 1988 single “Harvester of Sorrow” may have been another couple of Metallica’s favourites, but these are two of the lesser tracks here, and aren’t particularly exciting.

In 1990 Elektra Records marked the label’s 40th anniversary by releasing a compilation of covers by their current roster of artists from their historic catalogue of artists. Metallica’s contribution was a version of Queen’s “Stone Cold Crazy”, which didn’t need much tarting up to make it a thrash metal song. It was later used as the B-side for the “Enter Sandman” single, and it also won Metallica the consolation Grammy for Best Metal Performance in 1991.

“So What” is Metallica’s most notorious cover. The filthy song by Anti-Nowhere League was originally a B-side for their own single “Streets of London”, and had at one stage been seized as an obscene publication in the U.K. The simplistic structure of the song and it’s exaggerated profane lyrics make it a lot of fun, and it remained a live staple for many years.

“Killing Time” by Sweet Savage is another NWOBHM cover, another B-side, and another not particularly remarkable song.

There are four Motörhead songs that aren’t exactly live, but were recorded during a rehearsal for a live performance in 1995. The performance was to celebrate the legendary Lemmy’s 50th birthday, where all the members of Metallica dressed as Lemmy and banged out some Motörhead tunes. A recording of the live performance would have been better, even if it was technically worse, because these four songs are flat and lifeless, especially “Too Late, Too Late”. Even a really rough recording of a live performance would have had more energy, and maybe a bit of spirit which is missing here.

Overall, the entire album is something of a mixed bag. The new tracks on disc one show a surprising breadth of musical likes and influences, and despite a couple of missteps is about as good as cover albums ever get. The second disc gathered together in one place all the covers recorded for various different releases, which was something of a relief for fans of the band struggling to collect them all.

That it followed the relatively poorly received Load albums (relatively – "Load" and "ReLoad" have both sold more than five million copies, as has this album) may contribute to how "Garage Inc." is perceived, but it is still a strong release in Metallica’s catalogue.

ULTRA VOMIT Panzer Surprise!

Album · 2017 · Grindcore
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French humour can be a bit hard to understand for non-French people. It takes huge chunks of absurdity and mixes it with social commentary, word play (“jeux de mots”, often untranslatable to other languages), and elements of what-the-fuck weirdness. Those of us who aren’t French can laugh along with the bits we do get, but we aren’t getting the full burn. However, not getting the full joke isn’t a problem when the bits you do get are actually really fucking funny. Take “Panzer Surprise!” here as an example.

You’re not going to expect anything too intellectual from a grindcore band called Ultra Vomit which has produced a previous album called “M. Patate” (Mr Potato), and another called “Objectif: Thunes” which has a piss take of a power metal album cover. And piss-taking absurdity is exactly what you get on “Panzer Surprise!”

(Now, a warning: my French isn’t too good. I used to take French at school mainly because the teacher was hot, and I was a horny teenage boy. I remember a few things, like merde is French for shit, fantôme means ghost, and saying “j'aime tes seins” to a girl is not very polite (it means “I like your tits”, and that was the last time I ever said anything in class when I didn’t know what it meant first!) Due to my linguistic deficiencies Google Translate has been used extensively here. If there are any language fuck ups, blame the interweb, not me!)

The funny starts with the cover art. “Panzer Surprise!” has a cartoon caricature of the band riding a tank through the Looney Toons famous end card, presumably squashing Porky Pig. That’s all, folks!

Intro track “Entooned” previews the musical madness here. Yes, the name is a play on Entombed, and you get a death metal version of the Looney Toons theme song.

Second track “Kammthaar” is more Rammstein than Rammstein. It has a massive martial main riff, a chantable chorus even if you don’t understand the language, it has the solemn almost-spoken breakdown, choral backing. It seems quite earnest and meaningful until you realise kammthar is a word play on the word “camtar”, or van. Yep, it’s a Rammstein style song about driving a truck.

Next comes “Un Chien Géant”, which literally translates to “A Giant Dog” (I guessed that even with my stunted French!) and is apparently in the style of French metal band Tagada Jones. Not heard of them, so not sure how accurate the parody is – it’s probably one of those jokes only the French would get. And the whole album continues like this. “Takoyaki” starts out sounding like a System of a Down parody, then the song breaks down, and out come the Japanese kawaii vocals a la Babymetal. “Super Sexe” is a dance club (maybe a strip club?) and it inspired a cowpunk song. “Hyper Sexe” is just the word “sexe” repeated 124 times. “Le Train Fantôme” is about a trip on train 666, a ghost train.

The next obvious parody is “Calojira”. It it’s a note-perfect homage to Gojira, combined with the lyrics of French singer/songwriter Calogero. Er, except Ultra Vomit shoot a seagull mid-song.

“Jésus” is perhaps the sharpest parody on show here. It turns AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” into a slick Christian rock anthem ripping TV preachers, and then somehow morphs into an homage to footballer Lionel Messi. It could be a comment on sport, religion, and mass media, or it could just be a really funny song. “Pink Pantera” almost reaches the same height of absurdity. Yep, the Pink Panther theme tune done Pantera style. And “Pipi Vs Caca”? Straight toilet humour. Not clever, but always funny.

For a grindcore band, there isn’t much grind on this album, so it looks like full on pig squeal pornogrind track “La Ch'nille” was thrown in as a reminder of what these guys can do when they put their minds to it.

And just to wind up this whole crazy, mostly illogical album, “Évier Metal” is a near five minute ode to a kitchen tap or sink, or some combination of the two (I don’t fucking know, I’m not French!) simply because the name Évier Metal sounds a lot like heavy metal. As stupid as it sounds, it’s a fucking banging straight up trad metal anthem.

All in all, it’s really best to just listen and enjoy, and not try too hard to understand exactly what these guys are on about. Making “Panzer Surprise!” a covers album would have been too easy and a bit dull. A parody album like this is far superior. Completely fucking insane.

VIPER Coma Rage

Album · 1995 · Speed Metal
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A&R man logic 101: If Band A comes from Country X, then Band B from Country X equals Band A. And just in case, grab Band C, Band D, and Band E before anyone else does!

Just so this makes more sense to those who don't work as music label A&R people, I'll explain. Band A is Sepultura, a band who gave thrash metal the biggest kick in the ass since Slayer's "Reign In Blood". Country X is Brazil. Bands B, C, D and E are the likes of Overdose, Ratos De Porao, Korzus, or this lot, Viper.

To be brutally honest right from the start, this album simply is not very good. It is the type of album critics of thrash metal would use as an example of why thrash is crap. It is simplistic, a little moronic in the lyrical department, and was several years out of date when released. The album sounds like it is full of songs and ideas Metal Church rejected for their debut album. It would have been a solid enough album in the early days of thrash in 1985, but for 1995, it's anachronistic and really a bit of a joke.

The essence of thrash was originally taking a hardcore influence and adding it to metal. While Sepultura were listening to Discharge and the Dead Kennedys and were taking it all in, Viper were listening to Bad Religion and The Ramones. The songs are bouncy, cheerful and vapid. In places, it sounds like early Helloween on happy pills, but with worse vocals.

A few allowances need to be made in the lyric department for these guys, naturally being Portuguese speakers, but the lyrics are like something out of a Motley Crue record, or a 13 year old attempting to write songs for the first time– "Makin' Love", "Somebody Told Me You're Dead", "Far And Near".

There are some positives though. There's the odd unusual percussive flourish, like the instrumental "405 South", and the songs are toe–tappingly catchy. Vocalist Pit Passarell has an excellent sense of vocal melody, and would do well fronting a pop–punk band.

While Brazil's underground scene undoubtedly produced some excellent bands, Viper is not one of them. The A&R man from Roadrunner who picked these guys up managed to find another filler for bargain bins the world over.

CARCASS Torn Arteries

Album · 2021 · Melodic Death Metal
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“For fuck’s sake, give it here and let me show you how to do it properly!” – Carcass to every other melodic death metal band.

OK, this quote is obviously made up, but this is what “Torn Arteries” feels like Carcass is saying to other bands. After all, Carcass gave them the blueprints back in the early 90s. “Necroticism: Descanting The Insalubrious” showed societal satire could be combined with glorified gore and head kicking metal. And then with “Heartwork” they threw in huge chunks of unexpected melody, mountainous riffs, and a crystal clear yet distinctly deathly sound, and defined a whole new metal sub-genre. The band then got justifiably pissed off with the music business and fucked off for more than a decade. The creaky old zombie was stitched back together in 2007, and since then seems to be on a fairly relaxed album cycle. It’s been 8 years since “Surgical Steel”, and “Torn Arteries” was well and truly worth the wait.

You see, when it comes to melodic death metal, Carcass focuses on the death metal, and the melody comes second, and not the other way round. This is evident right from the first bars of the first track on the album, also the title track. It has a punishing drum intro and then into the trademark riffs. No samples, no atmospheric fucking about, just foot to the floor metal. Yes, there’s melody, but it’s dialled way back and comes more through lead guitars than vocals. It’s the perfect mix of “Necroticism...” and “Heartwork”, but dragged battered and bleeding into the 21st century.

The humour, both philosophic and comedic, drips from almost every track. “Dance of Ixtab (Psychopomp & Circumstance March No.1 in B)” refers to the Mayan goddess of suicide by hanging. “Eleanor Rigor Mortis” has the fastest intro this band has written since 1991, and thankfully has nothing to do with The Beatles song this title parodies.

“Under The Scalpel Blade” seems to be a pointed examination of the cradle-to-grave medical industrial complex, which profits from pain. “The Devil Rides Out” is an anti-Satanism song, but most definitely isn’t pro-Christian, with some evil, twisted riffs, an outro which could almost be a black metal parody. And then just to fuck with you, the intro to “Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment Limited” is some gentle acoustic picking… and then the song then smashes into full death metal fury, transforming into a near 10 minute epic. Yeah, they nearly went prog here, but kept it interesting.

From a band which seems to have produced masterpiece after masterpiece (consider “Swansong” a minor blip on the radar), and is justifiably said to have produced the best album of their career each time a new disc drops (yes, skip “Swansong” again), Carcass have done it again. Only the most primitive gore freaks who never moved on from the “Reek of Putrefaction” days could be dissatisfied with this album.

“Torn Arteries” takes everything Carcass has created over the past 35 years and distilled it down to the finest essence du mélodique morte métal. No one else is going to do it better than this.

ROGUE MALE First Visit

Album · 1985 · Heavy Metal
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There is a famous incident now fondly recalled in metal lore where the legend who was Lemmy saved the career and possibly the lives of an up-and-coming Twisted Sister. The incident took place on July 24, 1982 at the Wrexham Racecourse Ground. Motorhead were already legends in their own lifetime, while Twisted Sister had been a huge fish in a small pond in their native New York/New Jersey, but weren’t terribly well known outside the East Coast of the United States. Twisted Sister’s manager wangled the band a spot in a line-up which also included such NWOBHM luminaries as Tank and Raven, and the veteran Budgie. Spot the mismatch? In a line-up of denim and leather there was Twisted Sister in spandex, stack heels, hair extensions, and gaudy make-up.

Due to cancellations and bands pulling out of the gig, Twisted Sister ended up in the slot directly before Motorhead. To say the band were shitting themselves was an understatement. In recent times the band Girl, featuring Phil Colleen in his pre-Def Leppard days, who had a less outrageous look than Twisted Sister, had been bottled off the stage. Anvil had received a similar reception for the crime of Lips wearing fishnet sleeves and playing his guitar with a dildo. Dee Snider and co. were anticipating a rough reception complete with a hail of bottles.

Lemmy, being the gent and rock and roll lover he was, said “I'll introduce you”. And he did. Lemmy told his loyal crowd to be respectful and behave themselves. And they did. Twisted Sister showed their true mettle (metal?) and eventually left the stage to what Dee Snider described as “ of the greatest ovations of my life.”

If you’re wondering about the relevance of this story as it relates to Rogue Male, then here it is: Rogue Male never got their Lemmy introduction. If they had, then who knows what they might have done. The band had an outrageous look like Twisted Sister, but rather than psycho-glam, their schtick was more Mad Max meets Duran Duran. And they had a hard rocking sound – the second reason for the Lemmy/Dee Snider story – equal parts Motorhead and Twisted Sister.

Lead-off track on “First Visit”, their debut album, “Crazy Motorcycle” charges out of the speakers with the tempo of “Ace of Spades” or “Bomber”, with singer/guitarist Jim Lyttle rasping like a gravelly Biff Byford. Then second track “All Over You” rocks out like something from “Under The Blade”, a little more conventional and less frenetic than the previous track, but of no less a quality. “Unemployment” could almost be an alternate take on “Tear It Loose” – it actually comes uncomfortably close to the Twisted Sister song in riffs and vocal arrangements.

Title track “First Visit” is a blues-y rocker with a cocky, self-confident swagger. “Get Off My Back” is a high-paced jangling singalong, reminiscent of a cleaner sounding GBH. Throughout the album there’s no shortage of riffs and good, honest hard rock leads and solos. And the band seemed to slide effortlessly from style to style, from anthemic hard rock to near D-beat freak-out to triumphant NWOBHM majesty.

But Rogue Male just didn’t make it, and it’s hard to tell exactly why. They were touted by Kerrang! as a band to watch, so they weren’t without support. The album artwork on “First Visit” is a bit shit, like a high school art student’s take on the original Terminator, but a lot of bands with awful album covers have had long and successful careers. Hell, the album even turned up in Bad News’ touring van photo. It could have been the lack of an obvious single to promote in the different musical climate of the 1980s – while the entire album is better than average, there’s not really an outstanding song which jumps out and bores it’s way into your brain. This also means it’s hard to call “First Visit” a forgotten classic, because it isn’t, but it’s also better than a forgettable also-ran. Perhaps it’s easiest to describe this as an awkward to place album for those in the know to reminisce about and imagine what might have been.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 18 hours ago in Recently Watched Films
    Musical time! I did lighting for a production of this a very long time (follow spot). Unfortunately, it's not a great show and the story isn't strong. However, there's a couple of great songs (Too Darn Hot and Brush Up Your Shakespeare), and this version has some excellent singing and amazing dancing.
  • Posted 21 hours ago in Recently Watched Films
    A really cool movie. Don't know that it could be made now because of all the racist language, but that made it more authentic. Clint plays the tough guy so well, whatever age he is.
  • Posted 1 day ago in Melancholic metal songs
    My Dying Bride - Anything up to and including The Angel and The Dark River (I haven't listened to much beyond it)Cathedral - The Forest of Equilibrium albumCeltic Frost - A Dying God[TUBE]dW6RXTjm4iA[/TUBE]


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