siLLy puPPy

MMA Special Collaborator · Prog/AG Team
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Favorite Metal Artists

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1615 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 171 3.02
2 Progressive Metal 141 3.92
3 Alternative Metal 137 2.95
4 Avant-garde Metal 109 3.97
5 Hard Rock 103 3.54
6 Black Metal 93 3.72
7 Metal Related 82 3.55
8 Heavy Metal 67 3.78
9 Technical Death Metal 67 4.00
10 Death Metal 60 3.75
11 Thrash Metal 45 3.66
12 Proto-Metal 37 4.00
13 Atmospheric Black Metal 36 3.68
14 Sludge Metal 23 3.70
15 Power Metal 22 3.86
16 Melodic Death Metal 18 3.78
17 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 17 4.09
18 Folk Metal 17 3.88
19 Death-Doom Metal 16 3.72
20 Brutal Death Metal 16 3.50
21 Hardcore Punk 16 3.41
22 Symphonic Metal 16 3.78
23 Technical Thrash Metal 16 3.81
24 NWoBHM 15 4.07
25 Glam Metal 15 3.57
26 Doom Metal 15 4.00
27 Funk Metal 13 4.08
28 Industrial Metal 13 3.62
29 Grindcore 12 3.58
30 Metalcore 12 3.46
31 Symphonic Black Metal 11 4.14
32 US Power Metal 11 3.77
33 Heavy Alternative Rock 11 3.23
34 Depressive Black Metal 11 3.14
35 Mathcore 11 3.95
36 Deathcore 11 3.32
37 Heavy Psych 10 3.95
38 War Metal 10 3.45
39 Groove Metal 9 3.39
40 Melodic Black Metal 8 4.06
41 Speed Metal 8 3.50
42 Stoner Metal 8 3.69
43 Neoclassical metal 8 3.69
44 Gothic Metal 7 3.43
45 Funeral Doom Metal 7 4.07
46 Pagan Black Metal 6 3.83
47 Traditional Doom Metal 5 3.60
48 Drone Metal 5 3.50
49 Melodic Metalcore 5 3.10
50 Goregrind 5 3.10
51 Crust Punk 4 3.38
52 Crossover Thrash 3 4.33
53 Viking Metal 3 4.00
54 Nu Metal 3 3.33
55 Stoner Rock 3 3.83
56 Rap Metal 3 3.00
57 Deathgrind 2 3.50
58 Electronicore 1 2.00
59 Cybergrind 1 3.50
60 Death 'n' Roll 1 3.50
61 Metal Related Genres 1 4.00
62 Nintendocore 1 3.50
63 Pornogrind 1 0.50
64 Trance Metal 1 1.00

Latest Albums Reviews

LEPROUS Aphelion

Album · 2021 · Metal Related
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LEPROUS still seems to be going strong after 20 years of existence and although the band led by lead singer Einar Solberg has been hailed as one of Norway’s greatest modern progressive metal bands, the last few albums starting with “Molina” have seen a massive shedding of much of the metal and taken on more standard progressive rock as its modus operandi. With the band’s eighth album to emerge in 2021, LEPROUS seems to de-emphasize the metal even further and adds all kinds of new sounds including but not limited to pop, funk, trip hop, electronica along with the progressive rock shining with a crispy clean production and the spotlight on Solberg’s passionate vocal delivery.

There are still metal sounds on board however the moments of djent and guitar heft are primarily limited to power chords and the scant guitar workouts that offer a bit of contrast to the otherwise new LEPROUS sound of crafting highly sophisticated art rock with strong pop hooks. Long gone are the days of unabashed metal freneticism as heard on “Tall Poppy Syndrome” and “Bilateral.” APHELION rather delivers an interesting and original hybrid between progressive rock, synthpop and what sounds like chamber rock. In addition the five official members who handle guitars, bass, drums and synthesizer includes a team of five guest musicians who offer the sounds of violin, cello and even a trumpet.

The result is an emotive display of ten tracks that in many ways follows both in “Malina” and “Pitfalls” in the mellowed LEPROUS years and for many a metal band gone this direction would’ve resulted in a total train wreck and scaring away of the fanbase, but LEPROUS proved long ago that this was no ordinary act and had the uncanny ability to tackle myriad sounds, timbres, textures and tones and fortify substantial composiitons delivered in a unique and oft unorthodox manner all without abandoning the pop sensibilities that have kept their music so addictive upon first experiences. Excluding the three year timespan between the band’s true debut “Aeolia” and “Tall Poppy Syndrome,” LEPROUS has also delivered like clockwork with a new album ever two years.

The band has released two singles off APHELION which means the point on the orbit of a celestial body that is farthest from the sun. The first was “Running Low” which shows LEPROUS in fine form in its new style with progressive rock hooks married with power chords, emotive synthesized atmospheres accompanied by the string section that delivers an excellent cello solo. With so much energy dedicated to the electronica wizardry and dedication to the perfect atmospheric ambience does tend to ignore the rock aspects much less the metal but with the second single “The Silent Revelation” the band does deliver a bit of rock guitar heft even if it seems like the odd track out on the otherwise sombre and earnest tracks tenderly crafted with the crooning moxie of Mr Solberg.

In many ways LEPROUS has followed some of the nu jazz artists from Norway such as Jaga Jazzist only it has left out the jazz but rather paints synthesized motifs around the borders of where certain jazz parts should fit. By now most older fans of LEPROUS have either adapted to the new style or thrown them out with yesterday’s trash. I do personally prefer the older more aggressive LEPROUS sound but i have to admit that these guys have done an excellent job reinventing themselves as a serious art pop rock band this late in the game. While on the mellow and even maudlin side, APHELION does a stellar job of mixing synthesized driven pop hooks with chamber rock mojo. Perhaps what turns me off most about the “new” LEPROUS is that Solberg’s vocals are almost set to permanent falsetto sounding something like a Norwegian version of Prince. I can live without the metal aspects but the vocal diversity? Needs more.


Album · 2021 · Atmospheric Black Metal
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Black metal bands come and go and seem a dime a dozen these days but once in a while there are trailblazers who take the metal world on a completely new journey. WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM was once such the trailblazer by taking the atmospheric black metal of the 1990s and mixing it with dark ambient, progressive electronic and long drawn out compositions styles that emulated post-rock and even progressive rock. Led by brothers Nathan and Aaron Weaver, the band put the USA’s Northwest on the map as a viable contender for Scandinavian nature worshipping black metal acts and made it clear that the region was not just about grunge!

WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM cranked out four excellent albums in the aforementioned hybridized stylistic approach but then 2011’s “Celestial Lineage” dabbled in blackgaze and with the following “Celestite” pretty much abandoned the metal aspects altogether in favor of an electronic space ambient album with only traces of drone metal. This did not go over well with fans and the band has sort of been licking its wounds ever since and although WITTR returned in 2017 with the excellent “Thrice Woven,” so many new bands had come onto the scene that it seemed that this band sort of sputtered out of the race. 
Oh how finicky metal fans can be! Four years later WOLVES returns with its ninth overall studio album PRIMORDIAL ARCANA and makes a welcome return to the full-on atmospheric black metal from the past. While some are crying retrograde and others are castigating the band for backpedaling and relying too much on its past glories rather than innovation, the truth is WOLVES needed to re-establish itself as the atmospheric black metal band that it once was if it wanted to remain relevant in the black metal game. In recent years all sorts of metal bands ranging from Leprous, Haken and The Ruins of Beverast just to name a few have toned down their metal ferocity and in the process have alienated quite a few fans although they surely must have gained some new ones.

WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM has suffered like many a popular band trying to experiment outside of their fanbase comfort zone but by no means has cranked out anything utterly unlistenable in its entire canon. PRIMORDIAL ARCANA reestablishes WOLVES as a viable atmospheric black metal band that deftly integrates the dungeon synth and electronic sounds into its Pagan black metal world which tackles eight atmospheric tracks that enjoy a sleek silky production as the mid-tempo compositions slink along alternating between the melodic keyboard hooks and the thundering guitar riffs and blastbeats. You know, the very stuff that made albums like “Diadem of 12 Stars” and “Two Hunters” stand out amongst the rest of the pack. However it’s not 2006-07 any longer and a new legion of black metal bands have taken things to even stranger and more innovative pastures and that’s exactly where PRIMORDIAL ARCANA falters.

There seems to be an opinion by many that unless any given band changes its sound or evolves in some way that the entire process is an utter waste of time. Well true that some bands that recycle an album for over 20 years are completely boring to my ears, the truth is that when a band like WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM never really exhausted the magnanimous bounty of their developed sound then it’s actually not a bad thing to retread and recapture those moments that worked so well. It’s even more amazing that WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM has been able to work its way back to over a decade and recapture the inspiration that made that period so innovative. While PRIMORDIAL ARCANA won’t win any awards for most creative or innovative album of the year, i do have to say that this is indeed an enjoyable slice of atmospheric black metal emphasizes the band’s strengths that have been proven to be a winning formula.

To my ears this is an excellent album that delivers everything you would expect from an icy cold Pagan black metal that emphasizes atmospheric ambience over all else and the compositions are tight and brilliantly laid out as well. Somehow despite a misstep with “Celestial” (which probably should’ve been released as an EP), WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM is like the Olympic gymnast who falls flat on his/her face only to get up and dazzle the audience with unexpected resilience. While it’s easy to criticize any given act for taking the easy way out and taking the path of least resistance, i have to wonder why anybody would consider retreading a brilliant blend of progressive black metal with electronic nuances an easy task to repeat. This album is simply flawless in its execution and will yield many return listens unlike some of the band’s most recent albums.

DISKORD Degenerations

Album · 2021 · Technical Death Metal
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DISKORD has been around since as far back as 1999 before the Y2K scare even panicked the world but this Norwegian band can hardly begin accused of flooding the market with too much product. In fact it took the an ever-changing lineup and eight years before its debut “Doomscapes” finally saw the light of day but if you count demos and EPs then there were three beforehand. Still though it would take another five years for the band’s second album “Dystopics” to be released and finally in the year 2021 DISKORD’s third album DEGENERATIONS has finally found its way out of the crypts.

While quantity is clearly not this Oslo band’s modus operandi, quality on the other hand is something that this band has clearly nurtured from one album to the next. This band has always been a little out there as far as death metal is concerned. While rooted in old school 90s death metal DISKORD has pretty much never abandoned those old school elements that made early 90s death metal so fucking badass! While “Doomscapes” entertained old school death metal with a touch of doom metal and technical workouts, the band has slowly but surely acquired a little more of an avant-garde taste on each subsequent album.

On this newest release DEGENERATIONS, DISKORD takes those progressive and technical infused liberties even further with a majorly satisfying run of 12 tracks that never stray far over the four minute playing time yet offer some of the most interesting stylistic shifts within what one could deem an old school death metal context. No band other than maybe Japan’s Defiled has so spectacularly maintained an old school sheen while infusing highly sophisticated and oft complex technical deviations laced with moments of progressiveness and downright psychedelic surprises. While all these elements were present as far back as “Doomscapes,” DISKORD has fully mastered its distinct sound although DEGENERATIONS seems to have tamped down the doom metal aspects in favor of a more dissonant style of modern death metal (dissodeath) which is right out of the Immolation, Gorguts, Ulcerate, Portal and Ad Nauseam.

Add to that some unexpected funky jazz grooves (like on “Bionic Tom Eternal”) and strange pick sliding meets power chords and doomy bass stomps such as on “The Endless Spiral” and what DISKORD delivers with DEGENERATIONS is its most complex and varied album of its career. In recent years modern metal bands have really excelled at marrying the old school rhythmic regularities with the more chaotic, dissonant and atonal aspects of modern tech death. DISKORD retains its 90s origins only updates their sound to fit in perfectly with the modern world of more sci-fi infused extreme metal. While some bands like Blood Incantation can craft sprawling psychedelic journeys laced with chugging death metal riffs (Qrixkuor takes this to the ultimate extreme on its latest “Poison Palinopsia,” DISKORD on the other hand keeps the tracks short and to the point with the artistic expression being truncated into micro-riffing, exotic grooves and off-kilter time signature deviations.

Despite the crafty experiments, once again DISKORD maintains its old school death metal charm with the easily recognizable tremolo guitar riffing, blastbeat percussive bombast and of course nasty guttural growls but successfully incorporate myriad experimental approach without allowing things to get too wild and unpredictable. The old school stomps keep the whole thing anchored to the 90s scene yet the spaced out accouterments add an interesting update to the old school sound and while most modern death metal is interested in heading to the stars these days it’s cool that some of these bands are simply OK flying into space for a day or two and coming back down to Earth. Well played, well produced and laced with outstanding compositions, DISKORD proves with DEGENERATIONS that its here for the long term however at this rate we’ll have to wait another ten years for the next album!


Album · 2021 · Mathcore
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Mathcore is one of the ultimate extreme expressions of the metal universe by incorporating caustic jackhammer musical deliveries and fortifying them with brutal prog time signatures, unrelenting random breakdowns and dungeon torture vocals that must surely have torn a few lead vocalists throats to shreds. While an interesting subsection at the metal supermarket, mathcore also has the unfortunate attribute of possibly becoming very sterile and one-dimensional as a pummeling sonic haze sort of passes the listener by like an exploding warehouse of stored fireworks with everything happening to fast for the casual listener to comprehend.

That’s part of the appeal for me actually is that this style of music demands that you fixate your attention upon it like a pileup of motor vehicles in a bloody accident on the freeway. While it seems the supply of mathcore bands is endless, it’s actually one of the lesser roads travelled in the metal world due to the stamina and technical prowess required to perform such virtuosic wankery as well as the fact that this isn’t the biggest money maker in the world of music by attracting only the most hardcore and extreme noise addicts out there. True that this is not music i would play nonstop lest i lose my sanity however it certainly is a challenging and explosive type of cacophony that gets my juices flowing. Sort of like swallowing a whole bottle of niacin pills!

FRONTIERER is one of many mathcore bands out there these days. This band comes from Edinburgh, Scotland and formed in 2011. The band released its debut EP “The Collapse” in 2013 and then followed with two albums “Orange Mathematics” and Unloved” in 2015 and 2018. While following the standards of loud, abrasive djent fueled guitar riffing at mathcore speeds, FRONTIERER has pretty much remained a true underground noise making act that has caught on fire. Things have changed a bit with the band’s third album OXIDIZED released on Oct 1, 2021. While retaining all those mathcore elements that delivery orotund bombast and angst fueled complexities into a tapestry of dissonance, abstractness and surreality, FRONTIERER takes the genre into a slightly different arena than its competition.

Heavy as ever, OXIDIZE has corralled the frenetic loose electric wire in water effect randomness of many a mathcore band and created a more dare i say “mature” package of sixteen tracks that collectively blast the eardrums with over 49 minutes of uncompromising extreme core metal fury. What’s different about OXIDIZE from most it that it doesn’t mellow out the speed and agression to add all the other elements like bands like Converge and Botch have done. Rather it employs a form of glitch electronica to offer an equally chaotic electronic counterpoint as well as offering a few moments of melodic recesses from the otherwise manic madness that is unrelenting. Even within the most technically demanding speedcore meltdowns there are more variations in riffing styles, rhythmic drives and breakdowns.

Add to that there are even moments of downtempo with sort of rapped vocals. In many ways FRONTIERER has followed Between The Buried And Me with its lauded album “Colors” and simply adds more textures and timbres to an otherwise bleak core soundscape. While the general delivery is indeed like a nuclear bomb detonated on an unsuspecting city, the key moments of melodic touches and electronic extras provide just the perfect recipe to smooth things over enough to sweeten the bitter poison but make no mistake about it, FRONTIERER do not skimp on the extremities that make mathcore so violently repugnant to even most hardened metalheads. These guitar riffs sounds like they’re juggling electrons while the machine-gun rapid-fire blastbeats exhibit irregular but discernible carnage.

Oh yeah! The glitch electronica may sounds like a bad idea but it is used sparingly and as an equivalent to making an “ambient” accompaniment. In other words it’s an angry and equally chaotic counterpoint to the chaotic apocalyptic soundscape of a sonic battle in full force but given these extra sounds makes it sound more futuristic than most music in the core section of the metal supermarket. Thing of Car Bomb with The Prodigy and you’re on the right track. Fiery fueled mathcore with a futuristic touch and lead singer dude sounds a bit like a more manic version of Rage Against The Machine’s Zack de la Rocha at times! I like!


Album · 2021 · Heavy Metal
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Very few bands succeed in getting me excited about releasing a new album since there is so much music to discover that was released over the decades prior and i have no need to be current or contemporarily “correct,” however there are a few bands that just seem to have won me over and remain relevant despite having been on the scene for decades. IRON MAIDEN is certainly a band that has cast its spell on me and continues to enchant me with its musical style that has been a fascinating mishmash of metal, punk, prog and other elements since its self-titled debut emerged in 1980. While there are many classic bands like Deep Purple, Yes and Metallica that were once all time favorite bands, their new products are so pathetically weak that i cringe when i hear that they are actually contemplating a relevancy in the modern era! Well, that’s not the case with IRON MAIDEN.

This band has always been a cut above the competition and over time has virtually established itself as the pinnacle of heavy metal longevity having churned out one excellent album after another and although it’s true that these guys may not be up to the level as their classic seven album run, they still manage to unleash an unexpected surprise that while not their peak always seems to satisfy. Such is the case with the band’s 17th studio album SENJUTSU which in Japanese ( 戦術 ) loosely translates as “tactics and strategy” and the first time the mighty MAIDEN has used a Japanese theme since its lesser known live EP “Maiden Japan” was released all the way back in 1981. However this time around, MAIDEN implements Japanese music sounds (such as the taiko drumming on the title track) and subject matter.

So… what about this new album? How does it stack up against the classics of the past? How is it relevant for the modern world of metal? Does it even matter? Well, after a few spins of actually buying this double CD set i have to say, awesome! OK, let’s just get this out of the way right now. IRON MAIDEN clearly peaked in the 1980s with its masterpiece “Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son” and has never topped that crowning achievement and all the six albums that preceded for that matter which are unabashed classics of metal as well that have likewise never been topped but that does not mean for a minute that IRON MAIDEN are not relevant or enjoyable even in the third decade of the 21st century where metal has branched off into myriad mind-numbing directions. MAIDEN clearly established its core sound in the 1980s and has been simply refining and recycling those ideas ever since. But for me it totally works!

When it comes to aging bands that are clearly using past ideas to perpetuate a longevity in the metal universe there are a few trends i’ve noticed. Firstly, aging bands try to be relevant in the brave new world and try to tackle trends that they have no business doing so. Think, Queensryche of the 90s, well hell many 80s bands trying to become more “alternative” in the 90s! Then there are bands like Judas Priest that decided to go full on prog. Well, “Nostradamus” was a complete shit show and ultimately they reverted back to their classic 80s sound. And then there are those bands that just never change. You know the ones. They had their heyday in the 1990s and have had umpteen renditions of the classic album that everyone revers so deeply. But then there’s IRON MAIDEN which somehow manages to be classic and new at the same time. Playing it somewhat safe yet taking a few risks.

SENJUTSU is the perfect modern representation of IRON MAIDEN really and an excellent followup to “The Book Of Souls” which for the most part simply cannibalized its past glory in the form of riffs, melodies and subject matter and crafted an unthinkable double album that followed another double album! That little tidbit which is both the boon and bane of this band who having achieved unthinkable success really has no fucks left to give and sallies forth like nobody’s business. This leads us to the fact that musicians who have the financial success to do what they want may not always coincide with what the fans want. Granted that IRON MAIDEN has been very generous in not getting too “out there” for their fans and keeping a consistent sound for all these decades but still many will deem this band as one that has become irrelevant as they approach retirement age. I beg to differ. Unlike many a band of the modern era who has traversed a multi-decade career, i find IRON MAIDEN to be extraordinarily adept at walking the razors edge as they run to the hills.

OK, get to the friggin album already! In short it won’t win over any haters but will surely please fans who have incorporated this band’s overall sound into their musical lexicon. SENJUTSU is a very atmospheric album and sounds like an extended version of the atmospheric parts of “Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son.” One of the complaints is that this album doesn’t have enough metal in it. It is true that it’s lacking the sizzling solos and riffing frenzies of the past but still retains the classic MAIDEN compositional fortitude. Side one is pretty strong with all those classic ear worms that MAIDEN has always had a penchant towards and continues even in the modern era. Bruce Dickinson’s vocals seem as strong as ever although a bit less energetic than in the past. That could be said for the entire band. They have slowed down a bit but without the aggro-metal angst of the past, however it makes the compositions sounds even stronger and reveals MAIDEN as masters of compositional fortitude with the metal virtuosity simply icing on the cake.

Side two is by far the less exciting of the two sides. Padded with 10-minute plus tracks minus the opening “Darkest Hour,” side two is more of a jamming session whereas side one is more about extended variations. Thinks of this like George Harrison’s “All Things Will Pass” metal style and you’ll get over it. Even the extended metal jams are IRON MAIDEN style and given the interesting musical scales and band interplay, i still find these jams satisfying musical experiences. Yeah, IRON MAIDEN is past its prime. So friggin’ what! I’m more impressed that these guys are still making music that i find enjoyable well into their sixties! These days metal is more than just playing fast and loud and IRON MAIDEN is holding a space for 80s metal while other bands are expanding into unthinkable creative metal madness. While many bands of this stature simply release albums as an excuse for a tour, i have to say that i find each and every album released by IRON MAIDEN to be quite enjoyable even if not on the same level. True i’m like others and don’t love the Blaze Bailey years but i can’t say that any Dickinson album isn’t enjoyable on some level and this one is no exception. In fact this one has delivered an unthinkable return value! Long live MAIDEN!

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