Joel G
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Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit more than 2 years ago

Favorite Metal Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

7 reviews/ratings
MAUDLIN OF THE WELL - Bath Avant-garde Metal | review permalink
TOOL - Lateralus Progressive Metal | review permalink
CLOUDKICKER - Beacons Progressive Metal | review permalink
OPETH - Lamentations, Live At Shepherd's Bush Empire, 2003 Progressive Metal | review permalink
CLOUDKICKER - ]]][[[ (aka A New Heavenly Body) Progressive Metal | review permalink
MAUDLIN OF THE WELL - Secret Song Avant-garde Metal | review permalink
DREAM THEATER - Greatest Hit (...and 21 Other Pretty Cool Songs) Progressive Metal | review permalink

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Progressive Metal 5 3.90
2 Avant-garde Metal 2 4.25

Latest Albums Reviews


Album · 2010 · Progressive Metal
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Sharp's strongest effort yet!

Cloudkicker, the solo project of multi-instrumentalist, has developed over the years to become an incredibly strong and full fledged outlet for great metal, and this album demonstrates the subtle evolution since his debut album of 2008. What we have here is a much more mature, diverse, technical and overall interesting Cloudkicker, still capable of blasting beats and eardrums.

The music here is much more diverse and less djent than Cloudkicker's previous album, The Discovery, with a much more melodically driven tone and feeling. This album also seems to be sonically better than his previous releases. The album starts slowly with the intro then jumps into full Cloudkicker mode with the opener 'Here, Wait A Minute! Dammit!', a progression which continues throughout the whole album through several climaxes and peaks.

The album is still full of headbanging and air-drumming spectaculars, with evenly paced levels of heaviness and head pounding rhythms. The music here is much more likely to please straight metal fans, as the sound is slightly more radio friendly than his previous releases - although this is not a bad thing. On the contrary, B. M. Sharp manages to make his own mix of prog, djent and metal into a much more thoroughly thought out and well structured record. Tracks like 'Oh, god.' also have a refreshing emotional sensibility to them. This album is worthy of any progger, mettaler or djentleman's record collection.

4.5/5 stars, although incredibly close to being a 5 star album, I feel this album could have been a bit more solid throughout, and does become slightly repetitive in sections.

Regardless of my minor tiff with one aspect of the album, this 44 minute slice of delight is highly recommended to any and every music fan.

DREAM THEATER Greatest Hit (...and 21 Other Pretty Cool Songs)

Boxset / Compilation · 2008 · Progressive Metal
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Reading the other reviews for this compilation, I'm not sure why it has such incredibly bad reviews - Its NOT made for Dream Theater fans, its made for newcomers to the band, and as such, it isn't really meant to add any B-Sides or material unavailable on their full studio albums. As an impartial listener of Dream Theater, I picked this up as my first CD from the band to sample their sound and style...

Although I found out Dream Theater wasn't a band I would follow completely, these discs did give me a great sample of the various genres this band has played, and gave me a lot of understanding of why some people do love DT.

There are no bad tracks on this compilation, but at the same time, there are no tracks which make me genuinely "wow"... It is a good compilation, although it was foolish for the band to exclude their fan-favourite "In The Presence Of Enemies", or for that matter, any material from Systematic Chaos, considering this set was released one full year after SC.

Until next time, keep proggin'


TOOL Lateralus

Album · 2001 · Progressive Metal
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Tool's 2001 release, Lateralus, is considered by many to be the best of the band's small catalogue. Featuring a massive spread of musical influence, from straight up metal, to experimental to avant-garde, if their ever was an essential piece to their catalogue, this is it.

1. The Grudge

Opening with a distorted riff and heavily intoxicated drum beat, this song continues in such a fashion until it finds its feet in a yelled, overlapped, complicatedly tempo'd vocal riff, this then travels into a much more soft guitar riff and some stereophonic drum use. From there on, it leads into a song proper, featuring a solid vocal tempo contrasted by distorted guitar and bass. Continuing in this fashion, yet picking up intensity through many fills and the use of interesting dynamics, this track never gets old, even in its 8 and a half minute length. A very solid track, this is incredibly energetic and plays out in a typical TOOL fashion. Floating out in the same way it made its entrance, albeit much louder, this track features one of the longest yells I've ever heard in a song. A solid opener, which also showcases each members technical potential and ability.

2. Eon Blue Apocalypse

Not much can be said about this one minute track - A short instrumental featuring a nice guitar riff and overall atmosphere, but nothing overall special.

3. The Patient

An iconic TOOL guitar riff opens this one up. A fan favourite from the album, this is much slower than GRUDGE, and features a much cleaner overall sound. This carries on into another heavy chorus, featuring an excellent rhythmic section overlapped perfectly by the vocal section and guitar melodies. Featuring a somewhat repetitive continuation of the riff and heaviness, this is a good track, although somewhat thin and repetitive.

4. Mantra

Another one minute instrumental, this is one of TOOL's more post-metal moments. Nothing to really say about this one, its nothing special.

5. Schism

One of TOOL's best ever tracks, this features what is perhaps their best ever riff. This track features excellent lyrics, aswell as an intense rhythmic section. One of the best tracks on the album, its obvious to see why fans and new listeners find this to be a great track. Carrying into an interesting guitar bridge, this track never gets repetitive, even after hundreds of listens. Excellently overlapping guitar melodies and vocal patterns are a standout towards this track's end, helping to take this song to a new level already. Closing in a different riff to the one in which it began, this is a great track and should be heard by any self-respecting prog, metal, or straight up rock fan.

6. Parabol

Meant as an interlude into Parabola, the album's single, this mellow track is good, but not amazing. Featuring some atmospheric effects a la Brian Eno, this track carries a good guitar riff and picks up volume towards the end. This track also features many of the lyrics in the next track, PARABOLA.

7. Parabola

The obvious single from this album, this is the most mainstream and accessible of the album. Another great track, this features a solid formula of vocals, guitar and drums. All work together in tandem to make a great tune which fans of any genre can usually enjoy. Featuring some great guitar soloing work aswell as solid rhythmic and chord musicianship, this makes a great addition to an overall very good album. At around half way through at 3 minutes, this takes a turn back into the regular TOOL channels, but still keeping up an overall more heavy metal feel than the rest of their tracks on this album. The last two minutes of this album are particularly interesting, as they feature the same lyrics as the intro, in a much less upbeat tone and at a completely different rhythm. Towards the end of this track, guitar distortion reigns supreme with a heavy yet defined tone. A very good track, although much more mainstream than one should usually expect from this band.

8. Ticks And Leeches

This track opens with a marked change from the one which preceded it due to its heavily rhythmic drum track and eventual flow of distortion. Featuring much higher pitched guitar noise than all of the tracks which come before it on the album, this feels a lot less formulaic in comparison to the other tracks on the album, and also features an inspiringly technical yet well grounded drum rhythm similar to something Gavin Harrison (PORCUPINE TREE) or Carl Palmer (EMERSON LAKE AND PALMER) would play. At around halfway through, this also reverts to a softer repeat of the intro. Continuing into a once more distorted repetition of this riff with much heavier over (and under) tones, this is an interesting track, although follows an incredibly repetitive format which drags its quality down as a stand alone track.

9. Lateralus

Ahh, here it is! The best track on the album, and also one of (if not) the best ever TOOL songs, this opens with a great guitar riff, which it carries for around a minute before picking up momentum and (Yep, you guessed it!) grabbing some distortion and continuing the riff in a much heavier fashion. Another great guitar riff, this is backed up by a mathematically perfect rhythmic section. Vocals carry the usual TOOL feel in this track, although feature a much more interesting lyric and are underplayed by another great drum track. Excellent verses carry this track into its brilliant chorus, and this track really can't disappoint anyone. Another brilliant drum track helps this track keep fresh and interesting. Eventually flowing into a great, short, but great guitar solo, this track keeps the TOOL standard high and features some of their best songwriting and composing ever, all rolled into one excellent song. One of my favourite ever moments from TOOL centers this piece, carrying the same riff from the intro with another great lyric, I can't see how anyone can dislike this track. Its obvious the band tried hard with this one, and its even more obvious that it paid off. Another great guitar solo eventually arises, and carries this song into the same riff which it filled itself with. The last two minutes of this track are simply excellent ? Brilliant musicianship and songwriting combine in a rare way, which we see even less with bands these days. In my opinion, this is easily the best track on the album, and deserves its status as a fan favourite.

10. Disposition

A huge change in pace from the title track, this is another great track, although much quieter and reflective than the other tracks so far on the album. A repetition of the same lyric "Watch the weather change" continues through out this track.

11. Reflection

The longest, and in my opinion, the darkest track on this album, I can't see whats really very good about this track. It feels very bland and repetitive, and doesn't do justice to the rest of this album. It is interesting for the first listen, but seems paper-thin after more than one spin. Its good ? Just nothing special or at all great, and I can't see why it was necessary to carry this track out over the space of eleven minutes. Its not bad, but it does wear thing after a couple of minutes of incredibly monotonous repetitions.

12. Triad

Similar to DISPOSITION, although much more lively, this is another solid track in this album. A mar of guitar squeals and effects pedals provide the harmony for this track, played over another interesting, eastern drum track. Towards the halfway mark, this track completely changes its pace to become much more like other TOOL tracks. Not a bad thing, but due to the fact this sound and atmosphere is used in every track on this album, it does feel a bit old. Two minutes of silence close off this track's 8 minute length.

13. Faaip De Oaid

The final track on this album is filled with eerie white noise, and more Eno-esque atmospheric effects and soundscaping. A decent closer to a good album, but once again, nothing special in any way or form.

Lateralus is a masterpiece after you let it settle in, and I don't know where I'd be without this album now. An absolutely briliant disc.

Keep proggin', and enjoy!


CLOUDKICKER ]]][[[ (aka A New Heavenly Body)

EP · 2010 · Progressive Metal
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An incredibly solid 2010 outing from Ben Sharp! Cloudkicker is an incredibly quality project by Ben Sharp, multi-instrumentalist from Columbus, Ohio, combining the heaviness and atonal metal grooves of bands like Meshuggah with beautiful post-metal and rock passages not unlike those from bands like Sigur Ros and The American Dollar. What makes this EP the standout from his discography is the quality of music, both technical and emotional, that Mr. Sharp can fit into slightly over 15 minutes. All these tracks are fantastic, although my favourite is '%', which has a beautiful crescendo, similar to a conventional post-rock song, although with a heavier and more fulfilled sound. My only real complaint with this EP is the length; obviously, I'm not going to come into an EP and expect a 60 minute album, but more would have been very nice.

The album opens with '#', which opens with a soft-ish drum rhythm leading into a guitar riff. The thumping bass soon comes in, with two more guitar riffs layered over the top. This continues, picking up more guitar and bass as it continues, all masterfully played. After this build-up, a perfectly executed guitar solo hops right in on top of brilliant drumming. Ben Sharp not only masters the guitar here, but bass and drums as well.

As I said, the second track, '%' is my favourite, and also the most well rounded. A thumping guitar rhythm opens up, and is then repeated with a different melody at a much softer pace. Then comes the repetition of the epic melody comes in, which crescendos throughout the tracks length, gaining more and more momentum to make a wonderful metal track. The playing is truly fantastic on this track, and is definitely the highlight of the EP, and I'd also dare to say the highlight in Cloudkicker's discography.

The EP closes with '$', another great metal track. The playing here is at its technical best for the album, a choir of slamming guitar, drums and bass perfectly interwoven to create a dense sound. This closes the EP well, although it doesn't have the same cutting sound as '%'. This is really just good ol' Cloudkicker doing his thing, a quality track.

This EP isn't a 5 star masterpiece, but it is incredibly quality, and because its free, I'm giving it 4 stars.


OPETH Lamentations, Live At Shepherd's Bush Empire, 2003

Movie · 2003 · Progressive Metal
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A good first live recording from one of modern prog's, and metal's, finest. Opeth's first DVD, Lamentations Live at Sheperd's Bush Empire, is a good showcase of the two extremes the band is able to play flawlessly - Acoustic, folky based prog rock, and death metal, often with progressive tendencies and sections. The two sets are recorded lovingly and played flawlessly. The atmosphere is brutal at times, and beautiful at others. The lighting suits the concert perfectly - Black and grey, laced with shades of green, purple and blue. The band is tight, and the interplay between the members is perfect. The presence of the now full-time member Per Wilberg on keyboards adds a little extra atmosphere, like a finishing touch. Unfortunately, Wilberg's presence is hidden in the metal tracks, which may dissapoint.

The playing is all fantastic on this disc - Some stellarly soft moments, and some ear-bleedingly brutal segments. The two things which make Opeth special for me are their unpredictability and their quick changes from fast to slow, heavy to soft, a angry to heartbroken, or any combination of the few. These always change up the atmosphere and emotion of the songs, and they are displayed here in full force.

My only complaint is about the acoustic set - I find Damnation to be one of the band's least dynamic and thrilling albums, although this may be a plus for a viewer who is a large fan of this album. The second set, however, is quite a bit better, playing two of the band's best (and heaviest!) tracks in The Drapery Falls and Deliverance. Its hard to believe a band can play such soft music so perfectly and genuinely, and then play such brutal metal with such vigor and enthusiasm. It really does still surprise me after multiple listens and watches of this DVD and the album it concerns - At one moment I'm stunned by the beauty of Hope Leaves, and the next I'm picking myself up off the floor from Master's Apprentices.

This DVD never reaches into 5 star territory in my opinion - Its a great showcase of the band, but it is not a masterpiece in any way, so I'm giving this DVD four stars.

Stay prog.


Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Top 3 Solid Drummers
    Sam Gutterman from maudlin of the Well has the most solid/hard sound I've heard to date, such pure drum slamming when needed and so incredibly respectful and soft when necessary. Check this out from about 4:30, the last section blows my mind: [tube]eFQ_aON2Wc8[/tube]Martin Lopez and Danney Carey are obligatory, two of my other favourites from the metal field.
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in New Cloudkicker Album
    Yeah, Beacons is his best overall. Much more diverse. Awesome stuff!
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in New Cloudkicker Album
    Awesome, thanks Ben. Can't get enough Cloudkicker! This is a great track, over this year he really seems to be diversifying his style.


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