siLLy puPPy

MMA Special Collaborator · Prog/AG Team
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 6 hours ago

Favorite Metal Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

1790 reviews/ratings
THOUGHT INDUSTRY - Songs for Insects Technical Thrash Metal | review permalink
THOUGHT INDUSTRY - Mods Carve the Pig: Assassins, Toads and God's Flesh Technical Thrash Metal | review permalink
NOKTURNAL MORTUM - Lunar Poetry Symphonic Black Metal | review permalink
CARACH ANGREN - Where The Corpses Sink Forever Symphonic Black Metal | review permalink
GORGUTS - Obscura Technical Death Metal | review permalink
KING CRIMSON - In The Court Of The Crimson King Proto-Metal | review permalink
MEGADETH - Rust in Peace Thrash Metal | review permalink
QUEENSRŸCHE - Operation: Mindcrime Progressive Metal | review permalink
INFECTIOUS GROOVES - The Plague That Makes Your Booty Move... It's the Infectious Grooves Funk Metal | review permalink
BEHEMOTH - Demigod Death Metal | review permalink
KYUSS - Welcome To Sky Valley Stoner Metal | review permalink
METALLICA - Master of Puppets Thrash Metal | review permalink
METALLICA - ...And Justice for All Thrash Metal | review permalink
SLAYER - Reign in Blood Thrash Metal | review permalink
DARKTHRONE - A Blaze In The Northern Sky Black Metal | review permalink
BROCAS HELM - Black Death US Power Metal | review permalink
BROCAS HELM - Defender of the Crown US Power Metal | review permalink
BUMBLEFOOT - Ron Thal / Hermit Progressive Metal | review permalink
BUMBLEFOOT - Ron Thal / The Adventures Of Bumblefoot Progressive Metal | review permalink
EDGE OF SANITY - Crimson Melodic Death Metal | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Non-Metal 187 3.01
2 Progressive Metal 158 3.92
3 Alternative Metal 155 2.94
4 Avant-garde Metal 126 3.96
5 Hard Rock 110 3.51
6 Black Metal 98 3.73
7 Metal Related 89 3.58
8 Death Metal 83 3.70
9 Heavy Metal 68 3.78
10 Technical Death Metal 66 4.03
11 Thrash Metal 50 3.66
12 Atmospheric Black Metal 45 3.70
13 Proto-Metal 41 3.90
14 Power Metal 27 3.85
15 Sludge Metal 24 3.69
16 Melodic Death Metal 20 3.75
17 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 19 4.03
18 Technical Thrash Metal 19 3.84
19 Hardcore Punk 18 3.42
20 Folk Metal 17 3.88
21 Doom Metal 16 4.00
22 Death-Doom Metal 16 3.72
23 Brutal Death Metal 16 3.50
24 Symphonic Metal 16 3.78
25 NWoBHM 15 4.07
26 Glam Metal 15 3.57
27 Grindcore 15 3.60
28 Industrial Metal 15 3.60
29 Metalcore 14 3.54
30 US Power Metal 14 3.75
31 Heavy Alternative Rock 13 3.31
32 Funk Metal 13 4.08
33 Deathcore 12 3.25
34 Mathcore 12 3.88
35 Symphonic Black Metal 12 4.08
36 Stoner Metal 11 3.59
37 War Metal 11 3.36
38 Heavy Psych 11 3.95
39 Depressive Black Metal 11 3.14
40 Melodic Black Metal 10 4.05
41 Speed Metal 10 3.45
42 Gothic Metal 9 3.44
43 Groove Metal 9 3.39
44 Neoclassical metal 8 3.69
45 Funeral Doom Metal 8 4.06
46 Drone Metal 6 3.58
47 Pagan Black Metal 6 3.83
48 Traditional Doom Metal 5 3.60
49 Melodic Metalcore 5 3.10
50 Goregrind 5 3.10
51 Crossover Thrash 4 4.25
52 Crust Punk 4 3.38
53 Nu Metal 4 3.50
54 Rap Metal 3 3.00
55 Stoner Rock 3 3.83
56 Viking Metal 3 4.00
57 Deathgrind 3 3.33
58 Cybergrind 1 3.50
59 Death 'n' Roll 1 3.50
60 Electronicore 1 2.00
61 Nintendocore 1 3.50
62 Metal Related Genres 1 4.00
63 Trance Metal 1 1.00
64 Pornogrind 1 0.50

Latest Albums Reviews

ASHENSPIRE Hostile Architecture

Album · 2022 · Avant-garde Metal
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The avant-garde metal band ASHENSPIRE first hit the scene in the Scottish capital city Glasgow in 2013 and five years later released its debut “Speak Not Of The Laudanum Quandary” in 2017. The band stuck out like a sore thumb in the world of extreme metal with a bizarre mix of black metal guitar gallops, a lugubrious string-quartet violin presence, some sizzling saxophone squeaking and the most uncharacteristic attribute of all, an unhinged vocal narration that sounded more like a madman on a rant rather than any proper singer in the world of metal. As much anarcho-punk as jazz-metal, the debut tackled the multi-century exploitation and brutality of the British Empire across the planet and with a less than subtle declarative decree, ASHENSPIRE was on the scene.


Skip ahead five years and the band is back with its second offering of hostility titled HOSTILE ARCHITECTURE all dressed for a riot in its favorite chimeric mix of black metal, gypsy / chamber swing, soul jazz and madman poetry only this time the band has been getting more than its share of attention for its acrid societal critique of the collapsing social order. Basically HOSTILE ARCHITECTURE is a manic report of the failures of the New World Order and the elite power structures that have crafted the pyramid system of control that propels them to the lap of luxury at the expense of the masses which now find themselves in utter decay as they increasingly live in squalor with fetid infrastructure and inequality ubiquitous.

This is an album that’s gotten a lot of coverage in 2022 for its unorthodox mix of black metal savagery pacified by a melodic sax and violin dueling stabilizing force. Sounding like he escaped the insane asylum and forgot his meds, drummer / lead vocalist Alasdair Dunn delivers all his scathing societal reviews like an adrenalized protester with steadfast supplications of remedy while the thundering force of a black metal freight train finds the rampaging post-metal processions decorated by sultry cyclical sax squawking and ear-piercing ostinato violin grooves haunting the depressive anxious dissonant protest.

Musically, this band reminds me a lot of Norway’s Shining with its depressive disso-black metal joined by a jazzified form of brutal prog only with the extra touches of a chamber rock violin performance. All in all the music is quite impressive with with lyrics that evoke the pungent explosive pluckiness not heard since Crass haunted the UK with its angsty art punk in the early 1980s. While the musical procession is quite unique to ASHENSPIRE, the album tends to run on the same high octane fuel for its duration with the exception of the intermezzo interstitial interrupting “How The Mighty Have Vision” which recalls the bizarre style of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum which also made ample use of violins in an avant-metal context.

This is an album i really want to love because it has everything that i love about a creative passionate modern day metal band that is setting the world on fire however as flexibie and far-reaching as my musical insatiability is, there are still a few stylistic approaches that totally rub me the wrong way and therefore i find myself on an opposite spin from my music loving contemporaries in the world. Musically this is spot on in about every way from the frenetic syncopation of the guitar, bass and drums to the lenifying efficacy of the violin and sax combo and the morbid mix of it all. What really keeps me from hella lovin’ ASHENSPIRE simply boils down to the vocal style. I just can’t get into spoken word musical performances with the exception of some sort of frantic weirdness in the vein of Captain Beefheart who recited his beat poetry like a mutant reject of the Montauk Project.

On the one hand the half-spoken, half-sung lyrics do allow the lyrics to be understood which is not the case in the vast majority of growly voiced extreme metal these days however for a lead vocalist to pull this off convincingly, the said singer must shave some sort of above average charisma or stylistic approach that adds to the one / two punch of the musical performances. That is how i find this album completely lopsided. For those who can tolerate the vocals, you will absolutely love this one. Excellent lyrical content, outstanding musical content. For me it’s like eating a delicious cinnamon roll with raisins in it. I hate raisins :(

RETROSPECTIVE iNtroVert

Album · 2022 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
RETROSPECTIVE is one of the many Polish bands that have emerged in the 21st century that straddles the line between neo-prog / symphonic prog and progressive metal in the vein of the nation’s most popular export of this ilk, Riverside. Founded in 2005, this band almost goes as far back as Riverside itself. Amazingly enough despite almost 20 years on the scene and six albums under its belt, RETROSPECTIVE has featured the same lineup all this time with the sole exception of guitarist Darek Kaźmierczak joining ranks to make this band a six-piece instead of a mere quintet.

So what is this band exactly? Hard neo-prog or wimpy prog metal. I don’t know. Labels and boxes don’t interest me except to get a general gist of what to expect but what one can clearly state about INTROVERT (sorry this is my first experience with this band so the only reference i have thus far) is that this band is clearly focused on instantly catchy melodies in the vein of neo-prog while casting a wider net of including a pseudo-metallic guitar heft that eschews the excesses of Riverside’s aerie fairy atmospheric ambience and rather steers the band’s approach more into a Pink Floyd style of space rock that meets an 80s new wave demeanor not unlike The Psychedelic Furs in the beginning.

Yeah there’s a very 80s new wave style of crafting the melodic touches here. Is that a bad thing? Well only if you hate poppy easy-listening musical compositions. What’s cool about this one is it doesn’t try to pretend it’s something its not (like Riverside). It’s not trying to be another band (like Riverside) but rather just delivering some great music that has obvious influences that happen to be from an era where unadulterated melodic performances weren’t frowned upon. This album BTW features six tracks at almost 45 minutes. What sets this apart from other similar bands is the male / female vocal tradeoffs of Jakub Roszak and Beata Łagoda who share equal billing on the opening track “Log Out” (should be “Log In’’ no? :/ )

In comparisons to Riverside, this band doesn’t try to craft ambitious excesses in the vein of Porcupine Tree which obfuscate the pop hooks but rather just lets it all hang out so to speak. Yeah one could consider this a pop metal band that embellishes its charm with ample atmospheres and other personal touches but what’s wrong with that? Basically these types of bands are highly idiosyncratic. Does it work for you or not? Well, for me this band works incredibly well. Although i have not experienced another RETROSPECTIVE release i can say that i have enjoyed this one thoroughly from beginning to end. Warning though. For metalheads this is barely metal and for prog rock lovers this may be too metallic. Oh limbo here we go.

Yeah this isn’t a perfect album or the next level of quantum metal mechanics. Oh well. This one has an emotional pull unlike many albums even remotely metal these days and on the prog side of the equation likewise. Basically this is crossover prog of the 21st century really. It’s catchy as hell. The vocals, instrumentation and compositions are stellar for what they are and the band sounds somewhat unique really. Not a masterpiece of all ages but i really enjoyed this much more than i could’ve imagined. This is one of the few examples where a foreign accent singing in English actually works amazingly well. I know this music has nothing to do with the 80s post-punk / new wave band The Psychedelic Furs but vocalist Jakub Roszak really sounds like Richard Butler at times!

IMPERIAL TRIUMPHANT Spirit of Ecstasy

Album · 2022 · Avant-garde Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Hard to believe that once upon a time metal music, then simply existing as heavy metal was considered immature and deemed just an adolescent phase that gullible minds fell victim to. Of course it was a plot by ole Satan himself to lead us away from a good Christian ethos. Fast forward some four decades and there is no denying that metal music has conquered the world and like a sordid slut with rampaging hormones has spread its libertine legs open wide for virtually every other musical genre to impregnate its contemptible corruption of the rock music paradigm. And here we are in the early 2020’s where it seems there is no end in sight with new strains of avant-garde metal usurping the world of prog, jazz, ethnic folk and just about every other musical expression throughout history.

As metal has become more extreme it has also become more confident with the knowing that no musical expression must go unconquered and on the top of the list for unfathomable musical colonization strategies is the New York City based IMPERIAL TRIUMPHANT which has declared with a thundering decree that metal music is your master now so bow down and smell the glove! Formed as far back as 2005 by mastermind lead vocalist / guitarist and avant-garde connoisseur Zachary Ezrin, IMPERIAL TRIUMPHANT started out as a somewhat typical black metal act albeit with a propensity for adding technical death metal chops and unhealthy doses of dissonance. The 2012 debut album “Abominamentvm” showcased a restless unsettling mix of the technically adept in the midst of swarming angsty chaos and ominous dissonance.

The following “Abyssal Gods” followed suit only the creative pangs were churning and the addition of piano, cello, trumpet and choir seeped into the mix. The floodgates were opened but with 2018’s “Vile Luxury” the dam truly burst and the true IMPERIAL TRIUMPHANT reared its ugly head as a bizarre brutal chimera of blackened dissonant death metal with New York City jazz club sophistication. The world would never be the same. Fast forward to the following year in 2019 and Colin Marston of Behold…The Arctopus / Dysrhythmia / Krallice / Gorguts fame entered the scene. And then so too did Trey Spruance of Mr Bungle / Secret Chiefs 3 / Faxed Head prestige. Yep, things were about to get weird and i when i say weird i mean sky’s the limit weird where fertile creative bat shit crazy weird meets the world of technical complexity. The real IMPERIAL TRIUMPHANT was born!

Back for the attack in 2022, IT releases its fifth installment of musical terror SPIRIT OF ECSTASY with a star-studded cast of musical freaks. While still very much the baby of Zachary Ezrin who handles guitars, vocals and orchestrations along with partners in crime drummer Kenny Grohowski better known for jazz-fusion bands like Abraxas as well as bassist Steve Blanco, this one features an impressive guest roster of Colin Marston on drums, guest lead guitarists Max Gorelick, Testament’s Alex Skolnick and Trey Spruance. Add a few guest vocalists, a choir, trombone and trumpet and we’re ready for a riot in the Big Apple. If that’s not weird enough the album also finds a cameo appearance by, um, are you ready for this?…. Kenny G! Yeah, for those not familiar with smooth jazz from the 80s, this guy was the heartthrob of post-menopausal housewives all across the USA with his smooth inoffensive elevator jazz musical style. Told ya this was a weird one!

OK get to the friggin music already! SPIRIT OF ECSTASY is a brutal bestial affair of disso-death metal cranked up to the max but set to the compositional flair of avant-garde jazz. Add some spoken word samples and unorthodox, well everything and you are guaranteed to experience something that could only find avant-garde masters like Marston and Spruance on board! With a total of eight tracks that just miss 55 minutes, this one is a wild ride and a grand declaration that screams disdain for any pesky conventional labeling systems and while jazz-infused extreme metal is hardly anything new under the sun, this chimeric hybridization has never really been carried out to its logical conclusion with such finesse and equanimity.

As this thundering stampede of blackened disso-death ferociously delivers an avant-exodus from the status quo, IMPERIAL TRIUMPHANT delivers a veritable bizarre pendulum swing from the darkest and most inaccessible extremes of modern metal to the unexpected swanky club action of jazz-fusion savoir-faire. What sounds like a train wreck in Grand Central Station in reality unleashes some of the most competent musicianship forging new unifying forces between hitherto totally separate opposing musical forces. Through the album’s run we experience not only unrestrained metal mayhem but also superb excursions into jazz-fusion plenteousness but also eerie off road journeys into dark ambient episodes of mind-fuc.kery that would sit well in the golden years of Krautrock but metalheads don’t fret!… the cacophonous din of distortion and adrenaline fueled percussive outbursts are never too far in the distance.

In many ways SPIRIT OF ECSTASY sums up the world we find ourselves in at this point of the 21st century. Cacophonous din from every direction laced with tangible moments of short-attention span motifs that fluctuate like a kaleidoscope for the ears as angsty riffs and metal bombast pummel the senses. Metal dressing for an otherwise atmospheric avant-jazz album is what SPIRTY OF ECSTASY inculcates and the spirt of valiant vanguard is in full display here. I mean where else in the universe could you truly find the crazed intractability of Colin Marston sitting side by side with the mainstream as it gets 80s vanilla smooth jazz king Kenny G? This is a true work of art on so many levels showcasing the fact that extreme metal truly is the new prog of the modern era. Definitely not for the feint at heart. This is difficult listening music at its finest as it will take many years to wrap their head around this one. All i can say is this one is quite TRIUMPHANT in its unorthodox approach and doesn’t hold back one iota.

FARAZ ANWAR Tale Of The Lunatics

Album · 2022 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Pakistan is a geographical spot on the map that many of us Westerners are woefully ignorant of except for the occasional news blurbs casting this ancient region in a negative spin. This region of the world is actually quite fascinating not only for its multi-millennial history but as it turns out, for its modern contributions to the world as well. Musically speaking when one thinks of Pakistan (if one thinks of it at all), the immediate musical genre that comes to mind would be the qawwali with perhaps Pakistan's most famous musical export Nusrat Ali Khan as the nation's ambassador in the musical sense. While ethnic music is pretty much celebrated in every culture of the world, i have to admit that i wasn't aware of the fact that progressive metal has been a thing there for quite some time now.

Guitarist FARAZ ANWAR has been on the scene for quite a while as a member of the Karachi based Dusk and also his other band Mizraab. Both bands have been dabbling in the world of progressive metal since the mid-1990s and as a solo artist ANWAR released his debut "Abstract Point Of View" as far back as 2001. Although it took sixteen years between the last two albums, ANWAR returns only two years later with a followup. TALES OF THE LUNATICS is a concept album that tells the tale of a fictional angel named Afaiel who was sent to this 3D Earth by his master to be a human being. The album is an interesting mix of spoken word narration (in English) with ANWAR's stellar guitar works that range from a sensual Eric Johnson tone-rich blues oriented style to more aggressive shredding.

While primarily a guitar oriented release, TALE OF THE LUNATICS also features some excellent precision, divine choirs and chorus as well as some orchestration that is placed in the right places. While the term progressive metal can mean different things, in this case the album is very much a mix of slower symphonic prog moments with heavier prog metal alternating between intricate passages that allow ANWAR to showcase his guitar playing skills. Basically narrated vocals introduce an overarching theme and the instrumental interpretation ensues. Well i should say mostly instrumental because a few vocal tracks do occur such as on "Throw Your Swords." I should mention this this album is solely performed by ANWAR who handles not only guitars but bass, keys, drums as well as vocals.

Well i'm simultaneously impressed and underwhelmed at the same time with this one. While the concept is an interesting one and the narrative is pretty intriguing, i can't say the musical accompaniments match the magnanimity of the intent. No doubt that ANWAR is a gifted musician who can master all instruments set in front of him. My main problem is that the music doesn't convey the message of the storyline. Musically speaking this is a mix of Dream Theater, Kansas, other prog metal acts and a bit of Middle Eastern and local Pakistani flavors. There's even a few neo-prog moments however nothing really seems like it fits the narrative and therefore it seems like the whole concept was an afterthought than rather being the impetus for the entire album experience.

This is a fun album but i guess i expected more from the whole thing. It's really just an average prog metal experience with a better than average concept that doesn't quite gel with the musical performances. The most impressive track is the closing "Lap Lost" which features a more diverse roster of ideas and musical mojo. I'm torn between this album as i like a lot of what it represents and the musical skills showcased but i can't quite gel with the vocal performances nor can i get over the fact that i've heard this type of prog metal a million times prior. Overall this is a pleasant enough experience but not one that invites me to return time and time again. There is much room for improvement and i hope ANWAR continues to pursue a more sophisticated compositional development protocol. Good but not essential.

ARTIFICIAL BRAIN Artificial Brain

Album · 2022 · Technical Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Tech death metal is one thing and progressive death metal is another but sometimes the two trajectories cross paths like a supply stop on the silk road so many centuries ago. ARTIFICIAL BRAIN has the perfect moniker for the modern world where A.I. threatens to become self-aware and take over the planet as we carbon-based lifeforms become expendable commodities but i digress. This Long Island, NY band has been around for just over a decade now and has tackled the dilemma of how to evolve death metal into the next phase like many a band struggling to take its compositional fortitude beyond the beefy machismo of incessant physicality.

Ever since Gorguts upped the ante there’s been a sort of arms race to seamlessly merge the world of progressive rock with the technical brutality of death metal and while many have failed in this daunting task, some like ARTIFICIAL BRAIN seem to have been born for this task. This quintet of deathly noise makers is unusual in that it features six members which includes the occasional use of a saxophone :o No worries death metal stalwarts, this is pummel your friggin’ brains out central with no signs of jazzy interludes interfering with the mission of unleashing blackened death metal riffage from the depths of Hades through sonic portals via modern technology.

I must say that this set of ten tracks successfully employs all the benefits of brutal death metal characteristic well with the progressive underbelly of a rock in opposition convention without sacrificing the lamb of death metal standards. Tough tightrope act i know but ARTIFICIAL BRAIN on its third and eponymously titled album seem to pull it off remarkably well after a tech death focused debut and a blackened atmospheric sophomore release. On this third installment of the ARTIFICIAL BRAIN universe everything comes together very well with a bizarre merging of the savagery of extreme metal bombast with a keen sense of rhythmic turbulence that is as unrelenting as a prostitute in the red light district of Amsterdam (OMG have you been there?)

This album really nails the holy trilogy of melding black metal, death metal and progressive rock into a holy union. Whether animals were sacrificed to achieve that remains a mystery but somehow this group of Long Islanders found the stabilizing elixir of sound to make this disco-death mess work so well. Everything is balanced perfectly with the tones, timbres and extremes of death metal in the sonority perfectly blending with the progressive compositional doughtiness. This album packs a punch for sure and is that really a tree emerging from the forest and giving the middle finger? Oh how my imagination gets out of control sometimes. Just listen to the track “Embalmed With Magma” and then you’ll get the gist of how this band has totally created a prog / death metal chimera of unthinkableness.

While a lot of death metal can sound the same to those not indoctrinated into its stealth bombing of the senses, close attentive listens can be quite rewarding since the genre demands a careful inspection of its mechanical underpinnings to differentiate it from a multitude of similarly hyperactive speed freaks. To perform such antics at these breakneck speeds is impressive indeed and ARTIFICIAL BRAIN has either sold out to A.I. to make this album possible or is indeed a very talented posse of carbon-based human lifeforms that has done its homework in constructed a chimera of utmost beauty blackened by the harshness of aural ugliness. Well, any way you slice it i’m in. What really works about this is a) the growly vocals are low in the mix b) the production is stellar and c) the musicianship is above average. Not a masterpiece of the ages but an excellent proggy death metal experience for sure.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 6 days ago in MMA Best of Year 2022 Discussion Thread
    ^ the new Blind Guardian is excellent. Thanks for reminding me to check out Wormrot
  • Posted 8 days ago in MMA Best of Year 2022 Discussion Thread
    Wow. 2022 was a great year for metal, prog and all kinds of music. This is the first year i had so many more candidates for my list than we were allowed to vote for!My list my change a tad in the next few days but at least i finally posted it in case i don't find something new to blow me away.
  • Posted 8 days ago in MMA Best of Year 2022 Voting Thread
    Sigh - ShikiQrixkuor - ZoetropeOdd Fiction - Puzzle MachineArtificial Brain - Artificial BrainImperial Triumphant - Spirit Of EcstasyBuckethead - Pike 322 - Dr Lorcas WorkWiegedood - There's Always Blood at the End of the RoadHath - All That Was PromisedOde To Elegy - Ode To ElegyImmolation - Acts Of GodBlut Aus Nord - Disharmonium - Undreamable AbyssesHammers of Misfortune - OvertakerVehemence - OrdaliesDark Millennium - Acid RiverDeathhammer - Electric WarfareBloodywood - RakshakBlind Guardian - The God MachineYawn - MaterialismDon Bolo - BahamutKostnatÄ›ní - Oheň hoří tam, kde padl Septicflesh - Modern PrimitiveZeal and Ardor - Zeal and Ardor (2022)Voivod - Synchro AnarchyGrima - FrostbittenShape Of Despair - Return To The VoidDeathspell Omega - The Long DefeatVorga - Striving Toward OblivionOstots - MadarikazioaCabinet - Claustrophobic Dysentery siLLy puPPy2023-01-29 08:44:49

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