Warthur

MMA Metal Reviewer · Metal Reviewer
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1653 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 139 3.65
2 Progressive Metal 127 3.39
3 Black Metal 122 3.93
4 Hard Rock 112 3.39
5 Non-Metal 109 3.78
6 Thrash Metal 81 3.79
7 Power Metal 79 3.44
8 Atmospheric Black Metal 64 3.94
9 Death Metal 57 3.94
10 Gothic Metal 54 3.43
11 Doom Metal 53 3.75
12 Metal Related 51 3.36
13 Proto-Metal 51 3.51
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 3.65
19 Symphonic Black Metal 30 3.27
20 Technical Death Metal 25 3.88
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 3.50
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 Viking Metal 8 4.06
39 Groove Metal 7 3.64
40 Grindcore 5 4.10
41 Brutal Death Metal 5 3.70
42 Death 'n' Roll 5 4.20
43 Crust Punk 3 4.00
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

PORCUPINE TREE Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape

Boxset / Compilation · 1994 · Non-Metal
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Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape is a compilation of those tracks from Porcupine Tree's early cassette releases which didn't make it onto their debut album, On the Sunday of Life. The first version of the album I heard was the 1994 CD issue, highly limited in its distribution, and I was only able to acquire an affordable copy of by searching high and low and being extremely patient; at the end of the day, I felt it was a wasted effort.

This, however, was due to that particular issue having a somewhat murky sound quality, which has been tuned up on the most easily-available rerelease, the 2013 CD from Headphone Dust. This has a cover of Prince's "The Cross" trimmed from it, due perhaps to copyright issues, but includes "Out", a track from one of the tape albums both this release and On The Sunday of Life were derived from.

This somewhat reconfigured version of the release reveals it to be something of a neo-psychedelic gem. It's pretty evident that when compiling On the Sunday of Life, Wilson erred towards somewhat more commercially palatable material - even then, the end album was deeply weird. This, if anything, is even more odd. It's more challenging both from a psychedelic perspective and from a prog perspective, with a more uncompromising focus on soundscapes and musicianship over well-formed songs.

I can quite understand why some gave this album a poor rating in the past, because the initial issue really did suffer in the sound quality stakes - but the Headphone Dust remaster really does correct a lot of this, and losing the Prince cover is a worthwhile price to pay in return for a much-improved album which, thanks to Wilson's diligent efforts in cleaning up the material, can now finally take its place as a companion piece to On the Sunday of Life. (The remaster was, according to Wilson's liner notes, prepared for the 2000 vinyl release of the album, though I have not heard that so I can't say for sure how well it sounds.)

JUDAS PRIEST Ram It Down

Album · 1988 · Heavy Metal
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Judas Priest had spent much of the 1980s balancing more hard-edged material with poppier, more accessible numbers, at least in terms of their studio output. Their live shows from the era showed how their more radio-friendly material could really get an extra bit of grit to it when given a more muscular spin, so it's clear where their hearts actually lay - but you can't blame them for catching the wave of metal's commercial peak when they could and securing their future to allow them to keep at their craft going forwards.

Still, it was evident from Turbo that they'd gone about as far in the pop-metal direction as they viably could. It would be on Painkiller that they'd produce a furious metal release which showed that they'd lost none of their bite over the years and could go toe-to-toe with any of their younger competitors, but it's on Ram It Down that they start charting the course back there.

However, don't expect anything as thunderously heavy as the title track (or the glorious Mark Wilkinson cover art) might lead you to expect. You see, Judas Priest hadn't yet picked up the secret weapon which so refreshed their sound on Painkiller - namely, Scott Travis, whose more modern approach to the drummer's craft was the special ingredient that made that whole album come together.

At the time the album was recorded, Dave Holland was running into health and family issues which forced him to cut back his involvement and ultimately led to him leaving the band. Between Holland being exposed as a child abuser in later years and Scott just plain being a better drummer than him, Holland's departure was all for the good once it happened - the problem here was that he had one foot in and one foot out of the band, which in practice means that much of the album was recorded with a drum machine.

You can get snotty here and suggest that the fact that the drum machine could fill in for Holland without anyone noticing much says a lot about Holland's capabilities as a drummer, but I'm not inclined to be that harsh. Indeed, since we're talking an 80s-vintage drum machines here, the replacement isn't as smooth as it could be: there's a certain cold air to drum machines of this era which bleeds over into the music.

To their credit, Priest seem to recognise this and try to work with it, and the album is at its best when they do so. Blood Red Skies is a particular highlight, coming across almost as a heavy metal answer to the Sisters of Mercy. On other songs, like Love You To Death, it feels like they aren't accounting for the drum machine enough... or maybe Holland was just off his game.

Either way, there's no getting around the fact that Priest had a malfunctioning rhythm section when they produced this album, which meant that they were working with one hand tied behind their back. Considered from this perspective, it's surprisingly good - but on an objective level, it's a bit hit-and-miss, though even the "misses" here pull out something interesting sooner or later (Love You To Death picks up a bit when it speeds up towards the end, for instance). The Johnny B. Goode cover even kind of works in context!

JUDAS PRIEST Priest... Live!

Live album · 1987 · Heavy Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
With a track listing avoiding songs which already had an outing on Unleashed In the East, this double live album from the Turbo tour showcases how Priest were able to work their material into a cohesive setlist, despite the studio albums the songs come from having very divergent sounds - Turbo and Point of Entry don't sound much like British Steel, for instance, and Screaming For Vengeance and Defenders of the Faith sound different from those other three, but the renditions here manage to make everything sit together naturally, revealing that perhaps it was more the production approach on those albums than anything inherent to the songwriting which was responsible for the apparent divergenve.

The recent 50 Years of Heavy Metal boxed set from Priest includes a Houston show from the same tour, recorded more or less exactly halfway between the Atlanta and Dallas shows these songs were sourced from. By comparison to this show, the setlist here is fairly similar in terms of song selection and running order - bar for the trimming of the 1970s-era songs - but the Houston show sounds rawer and punchier than this rather slick presentation; comparing the two, I think Priest... Live! suffers somewhat from a slight excess of studio polishing of the live material, whilst the Houston tapes show just how heavy Priest still were in 1986.

Nonetheless, that boxed set will set you back a fair amount, and there's no guarantee the live shows on it will see an independent release, so for those for whom the box is too pricey (or just represents more Priest than they really want) Priest... Live! remains the most viable source for 1980s live Judas Priest material. And in that function, it's pretty solid. Unleashed In the East mops the floor with it - but Unleashed In the East is one of the greatest metal live albums of all time, and coming second place to it is still a good accomplishment.

Still - if they get around to putting out that Houston show independently, or if you decide to drop your money on the 50 Years box, you might find the Houston set ends up displacing this one, since it offers close to everything this does, plus more, with greater ferocity.

JUDAS PRIEST Turbo

Album · 1986 · Heavy Metal
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In all of Judas Priest's 1980s albums, a tension between their aggressive metal roots and more radio-friendly hit-making fare exists. Sure, British Steel might have the comparatively raw Breaking the Law, but Living After Midnight and United are poppier numbers. Point of Entry leaned harder on the pop-metal side of the equation, Screaming For Vengeance went easier on the pop and harder on the metal, and Defenders of the Faith found the two sides of their 1980s sound more or less in balance.

On Turbo, the scales shift way back towards the pop side of their sound, and as with Point of Entry this has meant it's not dated quite so well as British Steel, Screaming For Vengeance, or Defenders; there's a thick aroma of cheese here, with the band using synthesisers and studio treatments of their guitars more than they ever had before.

That said, I actually think it succeeds better at this than Point of Entry did. Of all of Priest's attempts to go radio-friendly, this is certainly the most polished and hookiest. Just try not to sing along to Turbo Lover, if you don't believe me. I think Screaming For Vengeance showed the best of their purist metal side at the time, but as far as forays into finely-honed, studio-enhanced, synth-infused pop-metal go, Turbo is far more compelling than a lot of the material in this sort of vein that would issue forth in the 1980s; I'd rather listen to it than the vast majority of then-contemporary glam metal or hair metal.

If it's not your thing, then sure, it's not your thing - but let's not pretend that this was some sort of unexpected, unprecedented betrayal by Judas Priest of their earlier sound; there'd been an undercurrent of this sort of accessible, sing-along stuff in their repertoire for a good long while by the time they made this, Turbo just happens to be the album where they decided to concentrate on that aspect of their sound, and I think it's for the best that the band were open to putting out albums which put one side of their sound or the other under the microscope rather than sticking right to the middle of the road all the time.

MY DYING BRIDE The Thrash of Naked Limbs

EP · 1993 · Death-Doom Metal
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After Martin Powell had served as session violinist on My Dying Bride's debut album and the preceding EP, The Thrash of Naked Limbs marked his entry as a full member of the lineup, with his violin contributions adding a distinctive touch to the material here which helps My Dying Bride stand apart from labelmates Paradise Lost and other explorers of the death-doom subgenre.

Between this and the odd keyboard contribution, things seem to be drifting somewhat in the sort of gothic metal direction which Paradise Lost had at this point gone a little further in exploring, but by and large the centre of gravity is still within the realms already explored on As the Flower Withers. If you dig the sound of early My Dying Bride, this will make the EP (or its compilation appearance on Trilogy) a tempting proposition, offering 18 minutes of beautifully grim mope-metal.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 2 days 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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