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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

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Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Non-Metal 158 3.89
2 Heavy Metal 148 3.64
3 Progressive Metal 145 3.61
4 Black Metal 124 3.80
5 Hard Rock 118 3.52
6 Thrash Metal 81 3.76
7 Power Metal 79 3.41
8 Metal Related 76 3.66
9 Atmospheric Black Metal 64 3.86
10 Death Metal 59 3.95
11 Gothic Metal 57 3.34
12 Doom Metal 55 3.76
13 Proto-Metal 52 3.60
14 Traditional Doom Metal 45 3.87
15 US Power Metal 41 3.46
16 Stoner Metal 38 3.78
17 Avant-garde Metal 38 3.78
18 Industrial Metal 33 3.44
19 Symphonic Black Metal 30 3.20
20 Technical Death Metal 25 3.84
21 Melodic Death Metal 25 3.94
22 Death-Doom Metal 23 4.13
23 Melodic Black Metal 22 3.91
24 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 20 3.98
25 Hardcore Punk 19 4.21
26 Heavy Psych 16 4.06
27 Funeral Doom Metal 15 3.70
28 Folk Metal 14 3.32
29 Symphonic Metal 14 3.04
30 NWoBHM 13 4.23
31 Alternative Metal 12 3.25
32 Technical Thrash Metal 12 4.13
33 Sludge Metal 11 3.95
34 Speed Metal 11 3.73
35 Depressive Black Metal 10 3.75
36 Drone Metal 9 4.00
37 Funk Metal 9 3.78
38 Groove Metal 8 3.63
39 Viking Metal 8 3.63
40 Crust Punk 7 2.93
41 Brutal Death Metal 5 3.70
42 Grindcore 5 4.10
43 Death 'n' Roll 4 4.50
44 Crossover Thrash 2 4.50
45 Glam Metal 2 2.50
46 Pagan Black Metal 2 3.50
47 Nu Metal 2 4.00
48 Metalcore 2 3.00
49 War Metal 2 3.00
50 Stoner Rock 2 3.50
51 Neoclassical metal 1 4.00
52 Heavy Alternative Rock 1 3.00
53 Mathcore 1 3.00

Latest Albums Reviews

OPETH Sorceress

Album · 2016 · Metal Related
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Sorceress finds Opeth continuing the run of nostalgic prog albums that began with Heritage and continued through Pale Communion. As on those two albums, the band show a keen appreciation of not just the prog rock bands of the past, but also the sounds which were influencing and inspiring those bands.

Pale Communion had its moments where it took on influence from the heavier end of psychedelic rock, and Sorceress finds the band deepening their appreciation of and drawing on the psychedelic sounds which the early prog scene coalesced out of. Indeed, one song is named The Wilde Flowers, after the band which would, post-fracture, spawn Caravan and The Soft Machine, and whilst I wouldn't say the band go full Canterbury here, I would say there's passages on here which aren't entirely incompatible with that.

Other tracks, such as Will O the Wisp, have a folky air to them and a general production approach highly reminiscent of Jethro Tull from the early 1970s, or heavier moments. The band have still more or less exited the metal sphere on this album, but Chrysalis is hard rocking enough to suggest a potential route back, with a pulsing intensity which puts me in mind of Hawkwind.

Whilst many Opeth albums took a while to grow on me, Sorceress gripped me from the start, and I think it's an excellent further improvement of the approach of Heritage and Pale Communion.


EP · 2001 · Non-Metal
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This live release from the tour King Crimson undertook with Tool - now available a bit more widely thanks to being republished on the Heaven & Earth boxed set - finds the band both salvaging material from the Construction of Light album (the original studio version of which even Robert Fripp has expressed dissatisfaction with) and giving audiences a taste of what would later come on The Power To Believe.

It also happens to delve into some of Crimson's darkest, heaviest material yet, with an oppressive atmosphere more powerful than anything since, perhaps, the absolute darkest moments of the mid-1970s lineup. Perhaps the influence of Tool is to blame; either way, it feels like Crimson here finally break their way into the alt-prog-metal seam they'd glancingly dabbled in on THRAK and had bounced off on The Construction of Light.


EP · 1994 · Non-Metal
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Take the 1980s King Crimson, add Pat Mastelotto and Trey Gunn as a second rhythm section, and you have the infamous "double trio" lineup, who unveiled themselves to the public here on this EP of early renditions of key songs that would get a later airing (after being workshopped on the intervening tour) on THRAK.

The overall approach seems to be a mashup of the harder-edged sections styles of the mid-1970s group with the 1980s lineup - an overlap particularly evident if you've heard the 1980s Crimson's live renditions of Red or Larks' Tongues In Aspic II - with just a pinch of inspiration from industrial rock when it comes to some of the textures and production approach. It's taken me a while to appreciate the double trio era of King Crimson, but the VROOOM EP is actually a good taster for the sounds to come.

DREAM THEATER The Astonishing

Album · 2016 · Progressive Metal
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What is it about bands continually going back to the "what if in the future the GOVERNMENT banned ROCK MUSIC" well? Rush did the definitive take on the subject on 2112 and still had a whole side of the record left to do some self-contained songs; Zappa did an exhaustive treatment of it on Joe's Garage; Styx blew themselves up when they tried it on Kilroy Was Here; the Queen jukebox musical adopted it as the plot. It's possibly one of the most overused plots in rock opera, next to "I had a bad childhood and now I have a sad" (hello Tommy, hello The Wall, hello S.F. Sorrow...).

So for Dream Theater to do a two-CD concept album about the idea, running at over two hours... it was always going to be a bit of a hard sell to me. It's just not that clever or original a lyrical concept, and seriously, since the early 1990s rock music (and the less extreme flavours of metal) have been absolutely establishment. If any musical form is about to get banned these days, it's far more likely to be rap or drill music. The mild references to music fading away because mainstream society "has no time for it" would be an original twist... except, oops, the arbiters of popular culture take exactly the same stance in Rush's 2112! Just cover that song if you want to tell that story, lads, it's a banger and you've got the chops to do it justice.

So, lyrically speaking this is worn-out old rubbish, recycling an idea which has already been rehashed far too many times since Rush made bank with it. Musically speaking, on the other hand, it's a bit of a departure. Rather than being produced collaboratively, with all the band members making contributions, John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess went into a room, wrote all the music, and Petrucci knocked out the lyrics (and therefore must take the lion's share of the blame for the crushingly unoriginal concept).

The end result is a rather simpler, smoother take on Dream Theater - there's shimmers of their usual ornate style, but much of it is more straightforward, or dips into more symphonic styles of metal than we're used to hearing from them. It's all rather accessible - to the point where it can be accused of being Falling Into Infinity 2.0.

All that said, I don't think trying something very different from business as usual was a bad idea at this stage. A Dramatic Turn of Events was very much a Business As Usual album, because with Portnoy out and Mangini in the band needed to demonstrate that they weren't about to fall apart. Fine. Then there was their self-titled album, and the whole thing felt a little TOO "business as usual" - it's not that it was bad, but none of it felt special because it was all the sort of thing we've heard from the band a lot.

So in terms of compositional approach and being a two-CD concept album, The Astonishing can't be accused of being business as usual - and sometimes you need to do an exercise like this to shake things up creatively. Even if you go straight back to the old formula, you'll often still find new ways to refine it after this sort of diversion.

What you get here, though, is 2 hours of Dream Theater taking a bit of a break from being the Dream Theater we've gotten used to. It's actually not bad - not Astonishing, despite the title, but not bad. Like many concept albums which botch the concept, it's far more entertaining if you don't even bother to try to follow the story and just let it wash over you. Nonetheless, I'd tend to sit it alongside the preceding album; it's the product of Dream Theater being in a little bit of a creative slump, but whilst the previous album saw them sliding into that fallow patch without changing course, this finds them doing something bold to try and climb out of the rut.

As a result, I think I prefer this one mildly to their self-titled album: they might be flailing a little, but at least some interesting stuff results from it, and you can't really accuse this album of sounding like yet another rehash of A Dramatic Turn of Events. If the idea of Dream Theater applying their cheesiest instincts to a sub-Hunger Games dystopian plotline sounds either entertaining or amusingly bad to you, check it out; otherwise, I wouldn't make this your first port of call in exploring their discography.

SPOCK'S BEARD The Oblivion Particle

Album · 2015 · Metal Related
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The second studio album of the Ted Leonard era of Spock's Beard finds the band exploring another fresh blend of prog sounds. Minion, for instance, starts out by reminding me of what might happen if Kansas ended up jamming with Jadis, with a combination of harmony vocals, sunny neo-prog guitar lines and synth - but then adds in jazzy drum fills and heavier moments to shake up that combination just as I think I've got it figured out. Much of the rest of the album is the same - there's a deeper, richer bench of influences than just the usual touchstones that retro-prog bands often go to time and time again, and the new subtlety and sophistication in how the band blend them together showcased on Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep continues to surprise.

As foundational as the Neal Morse era was for Spock's Beard, I think it only produced two absolutely top-tier classics (The Light and V), with the other albums of the era being good - often very good - but a little patchier. As for the Nick D'Virgilio era of the band - well, I think Nick was no slouch and did a fine job of stepping into the lead vocalist role under challenging circumstances. However, there's no getting around the fact that the band had to switch from a mode where Neal Morse was composing most of their material to one where they needed to all pitch in more to get those songs pieced together - and while they quickly righted the ship, none of the Nick-fronted albums quite hit the five-star tier.

This Ted Leonard era of the band, however... that's got me intrigued. Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep I thought was the band's first five-star classic since V - in fact, I sneakily think it was better than that - and I actually think this one has the edge on it, not least because Ted Leonard gets to show more personality. (Mental note: revisit the Enchant back catalogue, this Ted guy's clearly got something good going on.) The centre of gravity of the album puts me in mind of a somewhat more avant-garde take on Crucible, whose Tall Tales so deftly mashed up the approach of Trick of the Tail-era Genesis and classic Kansas back in 1997.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 11 days ago in Scott Kelly (Neurosis) retires from music
    Coming to this late but echoing what other people have said: I don't trust Kelly's statement an inch.I've known people who've gotten into a cycle of regularly making big dramatic apologies for their behaviour and spurting all sorts of promises they're going to change... but actually, the apologies and promises are what they do instead of working on themselves. They just use them as a delaying tactic to convince people to give them a bit more time before writing them off entirely.Apparently, this isn't the first time Scott's done this particular dance - just the most public one - so it smells like a similar situation to me. If the band don't see any reason to back him up on this - and they might have been out of touch with him a while, but they surely know him better than me - I don't see any reason to differ.
  • Posted 11 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 more than 2 years 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.


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Stephen wrote:
more than 2 years ago
agree, welcome to the site and please keep them coming friend
UMUR wrote:
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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