Warthur

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1693 reviews/ratings
BLACK SABBATH - Black Sabbath Heavy Metal | review permalink
BLACK SABBATH - Paranoid Heavy Metal | review permalink
THE STOOGES - Fun House Proto-Metal | review permalink
THE STOOGES - Raw Power Proto-Metal | review permalink
BLUE ÖYSTER CULT - Secret Treaties Hard Rock | review permalink
KISS - Alive! Hard Rock | review permalink
JUDAS PRIEST - Sad Wings Of Destiny Heavy Metal | review permalink
RUSH - A Farewell to Kings Hard Rock | review permalink
RUSH - Permanent Waves Hard Rock | review permalink
MOTÖRHEAD - Ace of Spades Heavy Metal | review permalink
RUSH - Moving Pictures Hard Rock | review permalink
IRON MAIDEN - The Number Of The Beast NWoBHM | review permalink
MERCYFUL FATE - Don't Break the Oath Heavy Metal | review permalink
METALLICA - Ride the Lightning Thrash Metal | review permalink
IRON MAIDEN - Powerslave NWoBHM | review permalink
METALLICA - Master of Puppets Thrash Metal | review permalink
CANDLEMASS - Epicus Doomicus Metallicus Traditional Doom Metal | review permalink
SLAYER - Reign in Blood Thrash Metal | review permalink
KING DIAMOND - Abigail Heavy Metal | review permalink
TROUBLE - Run to the Light Traditional Doom Metal | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Heavy Metal 141 3.66
2 Non-Metal 139 3.85
3 Progressive Metal 130 3.49
4 Black Metal 122 3.90
5 Hard Rock 111 3.38
6 Thrash Metal 81 3.79
7 Power Metal 79 3.44
8 Atmospheric Black Metal 64 3.94
9 Death Metal 59 3.97
10 Gothic Metal 54 3.38
11 Metal Related 54 3.41
12 Doom Metal 53 3.77
13 Proto-Metal 51 3.56
14 Traditional Doom Metal 45 3.89
15 US Power Metal 41 3.46
16 Stoner Metal 38 3.80
17 Avant-garde Metal 38 3.78
18 Industrial Metal 33 3.44
19 Symphonic Black Metal 30 3.23
20 Technical Death Metal 25 3.84
21 Melodic Death Metal 25 3.96
22 Melodic Black Metal 22 3.98
23 Death-Doom Metal 21 4.17
24 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 20 4.00
25 Hardcore Punk 19 4.21
26 Heavy Psych 16 4.09
27 Funeral Doom Metal 15 3.70
28 Folk Metal 14 3.39
29 Symphonic Metal 14 3.04
30 NWoBHM 13 4.23
31 Alternative Metal 12 3.33
32 Technical Thrash Metal 12 4.13
33 Sludge Metal 11 3.95
34 Speed Metal 11 3.73
35 Depressive Black Metal 10 4.25
36 Drone Metal 9 4.11
37 Funk Metal 9 3.78
38 Groove Metal 8 3.63
39 Viking Metal 8 4.06
40 Grindcore 5 4.10
41 Brutal Death Metal 5 3.70
42 Crust Punk 4 3.75
43 Death 'n' Roll 4 4.50
44 Crossover Thrash 2 4.50
45 Glam Metal 2 2.50
46 Heavy Alternative Rock 2 3.00
47 Pagan Black Metal 2 3.50
48 Nu Metal 2 4.00
49 Metalcore 2 3.00
50 War Metal 2 4.00
51 Stoner Rock 2 3.50
52 Neoclassical metal 1 4.00
53 Mathcore 1 3.00

Latest Albums Reviews

DREAM THEATER Once in a LIVEtime

Live album · 1998 · Progressive Metal
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Dream Theater have made gargantuan live albums part of their schtick now, so it's weird to think the first of these was Once In a Livetime, since it captures the band at a rather unrepresentative moment in their history. After all, Falling Into Infinity is one of the less well-received albums - I think it's alright, but a clear stumble compared to the preceding three albums (and the Change of Seasons EP), and part of that was because the band were being tugged in different directions in a tug-of-war between commercial leanings and prog purism which would eventually resolve with the monster success of the Metropolis Part 2 concept album, where they demonstrated that they could do both at once.

What you end up getting here is a live album which certainly leans on the "metal" side of Dream Theater's prog metal equation, but the combination of its sheer length (two and a half hours!) and the nature of most of their back catalogue means that their prog chops end up being well-represented anyway. In addition, whilst the band might have needed to please studio executives in the studio, in the live context they were still throwing in a healthy dose of improvisation and soloing.

This is, of course, the main live album from Derek Sherinian's stint in the band, and hails from towards the end of his tour of duty. When he's on form and gelling with the rest of the band, his presence is certainly helpful in making the album stand out in the mountain of Dream Theater live output - after all, even if the band have gone over a lot of the same ground in later live releases, they haven't exactly included many Derek Sherinian keyboard solos on those.

At the same time, however, there's some spots where you start realising why Sherinian's time in the band just wasn't working out. There's a few too many moments where his keyboards are either a little overwhelmed by what the rest of the band is doing, or absolutely dominating everything, and he seems to struggle to find the sweet spot in between those extremes. It doesn't happen so often to derail things, but it happens just often enough that I notice it. Of course, it isn't necessarily clear whether this is the side effect of occasionally shaky sound quality - there's a mild fuzziness which creeps in at points on the recording, at least to my ear, and it's especially unflattering as far as Sherinian's keyboards are concerned.

On the whole, it's a solid live album which delivers a fat chunk of music and finds Dream Theater giving a lot of great material a spin in a configuration that you won't find on most of their other live releases, and when you put all that together that earns a good solid four stars - but there's just enough hiccups to stop it going beyond that.

JUDAS PRIEST '98 Live Meltdown

Live album · 1998 · Heavy Metal
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As I said on my review on it, Jugulator was a good 1990s metal album, but not a great one, and it didn't really sound like a Priest album. '98 Live Meltdown, the first live release from the Ripper Owens-fronted era of the band, does a fair amount to course-correct.

Of course, it certainly helps that on a 24 song setlist, only five come from Jugulator, and they're largely buried in the middle of the set. The remaining 19 songs are various Priest classics, distinguished from previous renditions largely by Ripper being on vocals instead of Rob Halford.

It's here where Ripper really gets to prove himself. Sure, in terms of the instrumental backing, the team of Tipton, Downing, Hill, and Travis do the excellent job playing these we expect of them, but Ripper's ability to tackle the Halford-material establishes him as an impressive vocalist in his own right. You can tell why he was a successful frontman of a Priest tribute group before getting his chance with the real deal, because he has a similarly impressively wide range as Halford himself, but he's able to put just enough of his own take on the material that he's not just in tribute act mode.

As for the Jugulator material, the band do a good job of choosing the better songs from that album to perform, and offer renditions which bring them a little closer to the classic Judas Priest sound. Indeed, the quality of '98 Live Meltdown does have the side effect of making seem Jugulator seem all the worse by comparison. Perhaps the production was off, or perhaps the band went into the studio too soon and needed a little more time to workshop and refine the material before setting it down, but either way I prefer these live versions to those we got on the studio album.

Whilst I'm not sad that Rob came back to Priest - the greatest gig I've attended in my life was probably their Bloodstock 2021 headlining set - '98 Live Meltdown does go some way towards rehabilitating the Ripper years for me. I wouldn't give it more than four stars - it's a solid but not groundbreaking set based largely on Priest classics, and the patchier Jugulator material does pull it down - but I wouldn't give it less either.

SPOCK'S BEARD The Kindness of Strangers

Album · 1998 · Metal Related
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The Kindness of Strangers is the album where Spock's Beard don't quite go pop, but don't put such an emphasis on keeping the prog dial turned to 11 all the time. It had been apparent at least since Beware of Darkness that Neal Morse and company had a healthy respect for the 1960s psych-pop forefathers of prog, and for its middle run of shorter songs the band seem to dip into the sunny world of that pop era and save the prog workouts for the longer pieces which bookend the album.

Part of this may well be motivated by the desire to make the band a viable commercial unit going forwards - the plethora of radio edits available as bonus tracks on some editions of the album attest to that. Then again, Kansas - whose influence had always been part of the early Spock's Beard sound - also navigated a territory between full-on prog and prog-tinged pop, so whilst this gear shift might not be to the taste of listeners who'd prefer Spock's Beard to more consistently lean into their prog side, it's not a totally out of left field direction for the band to take.

As it stands, they aren't bad at it - though equally, they aren't great. Of the first three Spock's Beard studio albums, this is probably my least favourite. That doesn't mean it's bad - it's usually entertaining, June is genuinely beautiful, and you do get a sense of the band continuing to evolve their sound, which is welcome and necessary. At the same time, I wouldn't prioritise it above The Light or Beware of Darkness.

JUDAS PRIEST Jugulator

Album · 1997 · Groove Metal
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Jugulator kicked off a new era for Judas Priest with a new lead vocalist, with Ripper Owens attempting to fill the boots of the almighty Rob Halford. That's one of the toughest roles to fill in metal, and in retrospect it was inevitable that a certain chunk of the fanbase would never accept Ripper as lead vocalist of the band, no matter how good he was.

And let's be clear - Ripper's not bad! He makes sure to slip in a scream or two early on in the opening title track to reassure us that he can indeed pull off something comparable to Halford's range, and I'd actually say his vocals might be the closest part of this album to "classic Priest". You see, as well as taking on a new vocalist, Priest took this opportunity to take on a new sound - a sort of doom-y groove metal approach with a healthy dose of Metallica influence, much more reminiscent of then-modern sounds in metal than of the classic Priest sound (or of the high-intensity variant of it which they'd premiered on Painkiller).

Now, I've nothing against bands experimenting with their sound (though some experiments would be better off left on the cutting room floor, rather than making it onto a record) - but this does mean that the vocals and instruments on this album are working at cross-purposes. Ripper's trying to sell us on the idea that he can deliver old-school Judas Priest vocals like Halford could, whilst the musical backing is saying "this ain't the old Judas Priest any more, we've got a whole new deal going on".

It's no surprise that Jugulator gets a bad rap, then. Fans might have accepted Judas Priest trying out a bold new sound if Halford were still fronting the band, and they might have accepted Ripper as the new vocalist if his first album with the group had more continuity with the previous sound of the group than this one does, but changing the singer and changing the musical style at the same time was most likely a bridge too far.

Is it a good Judas Priest album? Probably not, because beyond the odd yell from Ripper it's got almost none of the stuff you go to a Judas Priest album hoping to hear beyond being broadly in the metal genre. Is it an entertaining 1990s metal album? I'd say so - but not to the extent that it made any great contribution to the genre. And when you're a band of the stature and age of Judas Priest, any album which doesn't either push the genre you co-created forward or at the very least evoke the spirit of your classic material is going to be a tough sell. Jugulator is OK, but it's not much better than OK.

PORCUPINE TREE Metanoia

Promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs) · 1998 · Non-Metal
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The Signify period, which saw Porcupine Tree gelling further as a band (having been more of a Steven Wilson solo project prior to The Sky Moves Sideways), certainly yielded plenty of material beyond the studio album itself. As well as the Coma Divine live album from the tour and the Insignificance collection of studio off-cuts, it also provided us with Metanoia, a collection of live-in-the studio improvised jam sessions which the band indulged in.

Some of the material here would be picked up and used as the basis of more polished tracks - Intermediate Jesus on the Signify album had its backing track derived from an edit of one of these improvisations, for example - but most of this is unique to Metanoia, and all of it is offered in a rather different context.

If you like the more song-oriented side of Porcupine Tree, you won't find that here: what you will find is material remarkably like the sort of spacey, jazzy jams which the early 1970s krautrock scene was fond of turning out. If you like the spacier, less focused parts of On the Sunday of Life or Voyage 34, you're in the right sort of territory, though the Edwin/Maitland rhythm section adds a certain amount of drive to these jams not present in those earlier works which helps ensure that the release isn't just going over old ground.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 3 months ago in A name for "progressive metal punk?"
    If most of the examples LightningRider's thinking of are usually described as some flavour of 'core, why not just go with "progcore"?
  • Posted 1 year ago in Sean Reinert R.I.P.
    An ugly coda to the story: despite strongly believing in organ donation, and despite the fact that he was clean of STDs, Sean's wish to donate his organs was denied simply because he was a gay man with a normal, active sex life:https://www.metalsucks.net/2020/02/11/sean-reinerts-organ-donor-request-was-denied-because-of-his-sexual-orientation/If any of us want to do some small thing in Sean's memory, I'd say making a monetary donation to a charity that supports transplant patients wouldn't be a terrible idea.
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Favorite Mk. II-era Electric Wizard album?
    I'm pretty keen on Time To Die myself, but I could understand voting for any of those albums - they're so consistent.I agree with UMUR though - doing the poll this way is more interesting because if we took in their whole career, Dopethrone would beat out everything by a mile.

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Stephen wrote:
more than 2 years ago
agree, welcome to the site and please keep them coming friend
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more than 2 years ago
You write some really good quality reviews. I hope to see more from you in the future.

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