siLLy puPPy

MMA Special Collaborator · Prog/AG Team
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Favorite Metal Artists

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1567 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 169 3.01
2 Progressive Metal 138 3.92
3 Alternative Metal 133 2.94
4 Avant-garde Metal 106 3.97
5 Hard Rock 99 3.53
6 Black Metal 92 3.72
7 Metal Related 79 3.54
8 Heavy Metal 63 3.77
9 Technical Death Metal 60 3.96
10 Death Metal 57 3.75
11 Thrash Metal 45 3.66
12 Proto-Metal 37 4.00
13 Atmospheric Black Metal 35 3.67
14 Sludge Metal 23 3.70
15 Power Metal 22 3.86
16 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 17 4.09
17 Folk Metal 17 3.88
18 Melodic Death Metal 17 3.79
19 Hardcore Punk 16 3.41
20 Death-Doom Metal 16 3.72
21 Symphonic Metal 16 3.78
22 Technical Thrash Metal 16 3.81
23 NWoBHM 15 4.07
24 Doom Metal 15 4.00
25 Brutal Death Metal 15 3.53
26 Glam Metal 15 3.57
27 Industrial Metal 13 3.62
28 Funk Metal 12 4.17
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 Depressive Black Metal 11 3.14
34 Deathcore 11 3.32
35 Mathcore 10 3.95
36 Groove Metal 9 3.39
37 Heavy Alternative Rock 9 3.00
38 War Metal 9 3.44
39 Speed Metal 8 3.50
40 Stoner Metal 8 3.69
41 Neoclassical metal 8 3.69
42 Melodic Black Metal 8 4.06
43 Heavy Psych 7 3.93
44 Funeral Doom Metal 7 4.07
45 Gothic Metal 7 3.43
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 Nu Metal 3 3.33
54 Stoner Rock 2 4.25
55 Rap Metal 2 2.00
56 Viking Metal 2 4.00
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 Trance Metal 1 1.00
63 Nintendocore 1 3.50
64 Pornogrind 1 0.50

Latest Albums Reviews


Album · 2014 · Avant-garde Metal
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Perhaps one of the only bands i’ve ever heard from the tiny principality of Monaco, HAH which is short for Hardcore Anal Hydrogen is a strange avant-garde metal band that hasn’t gone down the Gorguts road of atonal dissonance and creepy atmospheric otherworldliness but rather has somewhat adopted the more melodic approaches of Mr Bungle, Secret Chiefs 3, Sigh, Igorrr and even noise bands like Melt Banana.

This band was formed all the way back in 2009 when Martyn Clement (guitar, backing vocals) and Sacha Vanony (vocals, keyboards, flute) honored each other’s divine freakery and discovered a passion for making crazy mind fuck metal. After forming a bonafide band, HAH released two independent releases titled “Fork You : ( ) { : | : & };::” and “Division Zero” before releasing this first label debut THE TALAS OF SATAN on the Apathia label.

Graced by a rather cool album cover art, THE TALAS OF SATAN is a rather cool album as well as it mixes all kinds of metal styles along with various world music and electronica. On this fairly brief yet frenetic expression of metal fusion we hear classic heavy metal, thrash metal, death metal, grindcore and trance metal mixed with Asian ethnic music, breakbeat and digital hardcore. While some bands can be quite sloppy in melding things together, HAH is very talented in how it all fuses together seamlessly.

Personally i’d say this band most reminds me of a more extreme metal oriented Secret Chiefs 3 as the mixing and production job are outstandingly brilliant. The ethnic elements don’t sound the least bit cheesy with real flutes, beautiful tribal percussion and other exotic instruments and as far as the metal goes these guys are the real deal as they nail all the genera perfectly. The death metal is balls to the wall, neoclassical solos erupt from time to time and best of all nothing sounds forced as everything organically unfolds at the proper pace.

While more often than not i’m left cold with these kinds of bands that fail to achieve what sounds good on paper, HAH actually pulls it off and leaves me wanting more! Luckily they have two more albums that come before and two more after so no lack of product. Highly recommended for all those avant-garde metal heads who like things on the melodic side. The ingenuity here is top notch and the satisfaction level is quite high.

SCHIZOID LLOYD The Last Note in God's Magnum Opus

Album · 2014 · Avant-garde Metal
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Another one of those bizarre and utterly unique avant-garde metal bands in the vein of Mr Bungle, Sigh and Unexpect, SCHIZOID LLOYD may get lumped into good company but sounds like no other. This Dutch band was formed in Haarlem in 2007 and soon won the Rob Acda Award which allowed these circus freaks to release its first EP titled “Virus” in 2008. Assisted by Ayreon and Within Temptation producer Oscar Hollemann, SCHIZOID LLOYD received a few positive reviews for its bombastic experimental metal that was part Queen, part Frank Zappa and part Mr Bungle all the while incorporating as many other inspirations as possible.

It took a few years but the band that featured Remo Kuhlmann (guitar, lead vocals), Ruben Kuhlmann (drums, keyboards, backing vocals), Thom Lich (guitar, vocals), Daan Divendal (keyboards) and Guus van Oosterum (bass, vocals) to release its first full-length titled THE LAST NOTE IN GOD’S MAGNUM OPUS in 2014 but hasn’t been heard from since despite no official announcement of breaking up (as far as i’m aware.) Having signed to the infamous Blood Records which specializes in all things metal especially in the experimental realms which includes Sigh, maudlin of the Well, Lykathea Aflame, Ihsahn and Thy Catalfalque just to name a few, SCHIZOID LLOYD couldn’t have found a more perfect fit but in reality sounds very unique in its approach despite similarities.

While some avant-garde metal these days drifts off into bizarre jaggedly atonal soundscapes and more alienating than inviting to the uninitiated, SCHIZOID LLOYD successfully crafts its composiitons with strong melodic hooks that come right out of the classic Queen playbook along with a crisp production job that allows the myriad elements of death metal, progressive rock, folk, Pink Floydian space rock, symphonic touches and even circus music along with a tiny bit of hip hop to exist side by side with really nothing sounding forced and cliche in the least. For the careful listener you will hear all kinds of references to many, many artists of the past including not only the most obvious Queen but also Faith No More, System of a Down, Opeth, Gorguts, Leprous and what many deem the band’s closest genetic relative Diablo Swing Orchestra yet curious there is no jazz, no swing and no opera!

THE LAST NOTE IN GOD’S MAGNUM OPUS features ten tracks and extends past the 57 minute mark and through its run takes the listener on a roller coaster ride of wild adventurous metal-infused progressive rock and metal. The opening “Suicide Penguin” is probably the most instantly addictive as it opens with a classic Queen bombast as its compositional fortitude and adds all kinds of slick elements to give SCHIZOID LLOYD an equally instant uniqueness which is definitely something not so common in modern music where there are literally a thousand clones lingering about. Like many of these metal hybrid albums where metal is only one ingredient, it’s best to consider this album a progressive rock album that implements generous doses of metal at key moments and although such extremes such as death metal are present, they are fairly rare occurrences with just as much time dedicated to classical piano (“Film Noir Hero”) and bizarre musical counterpoints all the way through with special props to circus music and avant-prog Zappa influences.

For all the creativity on display here it would amount to nothing if the compositions weren’t delivered properly and completed with the competency of a great lead singer and excellent musicians. THE LAST NOTE IN GOD’S MAGNUM OPUS excels in all those regards with lead vocalist Ruben Kuhlmann displaying an excellent command of his multi-octave vocal range more in the vein of Leprous than any other band but still not exactly a clone. Despite the eclectic nature of this band the instruments are still pretty much limited to guitars, keyboards, bass and drums although a sitar is used occasionally. A dense and clustered work for sure, SCHIZOID LLOYD is definitely an acquired taste for seasoned proggers who crave some of the most adventurous music that can be found but the newbie need not be worried due to the instantly accessible melodies and vocal harmonies that prevent a specialized club membership to gain access to the album’s secrets. All in all pretty cool album!

THE MARS VOLTA De-Loused in the Comatorium

Album · 2003 · Metal Related
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In the world of progressive punk = pronk, perhaps nobody pulled it off better and more dramatically than THE MARS VOLTA. Sure the Cardiacs may have popularized the unthinkable fusional possibilities but at the heart of their sound was a zolo art pop approach that took catchy infectious melodies and nerded them out big time. THE MARS VOLTA on the other hand went for the prog jugular with highbrow concept albums and sprawling soundscapes that mixed post-hardcore, psychedelic rock, progressive electronica and even Latin jazz. The band seemed to have come from nowhere with its lauded debut DE-LOUSED IN THE COMATORIUM which despite almost no promotion still managed to make the top spot on favorite lists when it arrived in 2003 from its sheer boldness to take prog and punk to incredible new heights.

Riding the wave of the 90s prog revival that flourished, El Paso, TX based THE MARS VOLTA arose from the ashes of the up and coming post-hardcore band At The Drive-In, which was at the verge of crossing over into the mainstream but the bored duo of vocalist and lyricist Cedric Bixler-Zavala along with guitarist Omar Rodríguez-López grew tired of their bandmates unwillingness to experiment and instead opted to go it alone. THE MARS VOLTA spent the next 13 years releasing one mind-altering experimental album after another beginning with what many consider their best, the abstractly titled DE-LOUSED IN THE COMATORIUM. While this duo’s former bandmates would form the post-hardcore Sparta and dwell in the world of generic uninventiveness, Bixler-Zavala and Rodríguez-López were hell bent for leather to craft some of the most bizarre constructs of psychedelic post-hardcore enveloped in the reverie of classic 70s prog extremities.

This is one of those albums that has just as bizarre of a story behind it as the music presented. While the song titles, lyrics and overall themes are just as abstract and surreal as the album cover art, the album’s concept revolves around the tale of Cerpin Taxt, a man who enters a week-long coma after overdosing on a mixture of morphine and rat poison and is indirectly dedicated to the death of Bixler-Zavala’s friend Julio Venegas who was an El Paso artist. Ironically the album coincided with the death of another close friend and collaborator Jeremy Michael Ward who was a founding member of THE MARS VOLTA as the sound manipulator that gave the band that extra edge over the competition much in the vein of other production rich artists like Porcupine Tree and Riverside. Ward was found dead after a heroin overdose which was the moment when the due of Bixler-Zavala and Rodríguez-López took a cold hard look at their own drug habits and went cold turkey. The duo henceforth put its energy into crafting material for THE MARS VOLTA which apparently paid off.

While Bixler-Zavala and Rodríguez-López would be the only two consistent members and main creative contributors to THE MARS VOLTA, this debut showcases what was truly a band effort with Jon Theodore on drums, Isaiah Owens on keyboards, a guest appearance of Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers on bass and is the only album to feature the now deceased Jeremy Michael Ward who produced the myriad effects and sound manipulations. The album also found extra help from Lenny Castro providing the Latin jazz percussion, John Frusicante also of the Red Hot Chili Peppers contributing additional guitar parts and synthesizers and acoustic bass parts from Justin Meldal-Johnson. The album also attracted a ridiculous amount of producers mixing and mastering personal as well as the legendary Rick Rubin joining Rodríguez-López in the producer’s seat. In other words, there was a LOT of effort put into this densely packed hour’s run of fine-crafted musical output and the efforts were quite triumphant in their delivery.

Although the simplified formula of THE MARS VOLTA is to juxtapose brash post-hardcore guitar riffs, bantering bass grooves and a tumultuous percussive drive that sat equidistantly between metal and punk, the band excelled at filling the connective tissue of transitions with extremely psychedelic and surreal electronic motifs that completely broke free from Earth’s gravitational pull and took a trip into the spaced out world of artists such as Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze. While sonically oft tied to the post-hardcore of At The Drive-In, the lay out of the composiitons was much more akin to the heavyweights of 1970s progressive rock thus earning THE MARS VOLTA as one of the best newer prog bands to usher in the 21st century for its innovative approach that actually suited the oft abused term “progressive.” Add to that the emo bellowing wails of Bixler-Zavala’s vocal style and you’re in for one unique musical experience.

While the above mentioned formula straddles the album’s hour long run, the 12 minute plus “Cicatriz E.S.P.” takes things even further as the opening proggy post-hardcore beginning morphs into one of the most surreal electronic free floats into the astral plane outside of that famous deleted scene from Avatar. This truly is one of the most unique albums of the 21st century that runs the gamut from highly pyroclastic displays of post-hardcore orotundity to the saucerful of secrets escape from reality that takes a ride on the astral side and craft some of the trippiest electronic sequences since the early Krautrock and progressive electronic scenes of decades prior. THE MARS VOLTA was by no means an easy band for me to get into. Bixler-Zavala’s vocal style is very much an acquired taste and although the music has always resonated especially in the complex compositional approach, the vocals took me a lot longer to jive with but after the proper acclimation i find they actually serve the music quite well and keep it in the world of totally unique and idiosyncratic. True that DE-LOUSED IN THE COMATORIUM may seem weird for the sake of weirdness but after considerable attention paid to the details, i can only glean a inexplicable admiration for the amount of detail to every single second of this album’s run. In other words, this is a utterly brilliant!

SUFFERING HOUR In Passing Ascension

Album · 2017 · Death Metal
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Out of all the styles of metal that have evolved over the decades it seems that the death and black metal camps have become the most productive with countless new bands crafting new methodologies of creativity infused with elements of outlying musical genres and hitherto unexplored hybridization. While war metal began all the way back with Blasphemy in the early 90s which basically mixed the aggressive fury of old school death metal with the atmospheric mindfuckery of black metal, the two have proven time and time again to make a compelling dynamic duo of torturous metallic fury and with myriad modern record labels ranging from Dark Descent to Blood Harvest cranking out the legions of new acts.

SUFFERING HOUR is among the newer bands in this current wave of blackened death metal that borrows the immediacy of classic Morbid Angel with the angular dissonance that jars the senses a la Incantation and adds elements of atmospheric doom and gloom right out of the black metal realms along with moments of pseudo-progressiveness with off-kilter time signature deviations, extended playing times and an overall focus on an album’s run experience over the strength of any particular track. This band that consists of Dylan Haseltine (vocals, bass), Josh Raiken (guitar, vocals) and Jason Oberuc (drums, vocals) was formed in the Minneapolis suburb of Forest Lake and IN PASSING ASCENSION is the debut which emerged in 2017.

Talk about a gluttony of excess! It seems that so many bands are so talented these days that it’s really hard to keep up with it all and SUFFERING HOUR is just one more band to craft exquisitely designed musical dread in the form of blackened death metal which ticks off all the boxes in the proper proportions. For this kind of music it’s almost mandatory to create a short introductory mood setting intro in this case the opening “Insufferable Scorn” which immediately yanks your consciousness out of the benevolence of sanity and plunges it deep into the dark recesses of a hellish soundscape dominated by atonal doomy guitar riffs, murky atmospheric frightfulness and slinking rhythmic cadences.

After the proper tone has been set the first fully fueled metal track “For The Putridity Of Man” cranks things up a few notches and goes for the death metal gusto with fully fueled chugga chug action and freewheeling frenzies of dissonant sound clusters bantering the senses with high octane intensity. While true that what SUFFERING HOUR performs here may not be exactly groundbreaking at this stage in the metal timeline, where the band succeeds brilliantly is in crafting an album’s worth of aggressive modern blackened death metal that allows enough diverse elements to keep the album from hitting any brick walls. “The Abrasive Black Dust” for example perfectly punctuates the muddled murky madness with an occulted melody of sorts that is dressed up with delightfully designed riffing motifs that oscillate like swells from the sea with the proper amount of distorted feedback bleeding into every nook and cranny culminating in the album’s highlight, the near 9-minute monster “Procession To Obscure Infinity.”

Ugly is certainly the new beautiful in the world of unhinged brutality in the world of modern day death metal and in the case of SUFFERING HOUR is met with an arsenal of creative tricks and trinkets that are intelligently designed to enhance the whole shebang rather than derail. The band mastered the art of balance on IN PASSING ASCENSION and eschewed the pitfalls of adding filler simply for the sake of making a longer playing time. There’s something about the classic playing time of around 40 minutes that is in the human psyche and by sticking to this principle, the overbearing intensity of the album resonates rather than enervates. Add to that the extraordinary musicianship of this trio and it’s no wonder by SUFFERING HOUR received so many plaudits from the world of the underground metal scene when this was released. This is recommended to those who love those dissonant spidery guitar workouts in the vein of Deathspell Omega, Ad Nauseum, Gorguts and similarly minded techy black death.

GOJIRA Fortitude

Album · 2021 · Progressive Metal
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Rising again like its namesake icon, the French extreme metal band GOJIRA is back with its seventh studio album FORTITUDE which finds the band further exploring hitherto unpursued sonic palettes like few others in the world of metal who more often than not become fairly cozy in a comfort zone. This head banging quartet of Joe Duplantier (vocals, guitar), Mario Duplantier (drums), Christian Andreu (guitar) and Jean-Michel Labadie (bass) has never been one to rest on its laurels and although GORJIRA has taken a somewhat more accessible, dare i say even more commercial route on its previous album “Magma,” somehow this quartet successfully maintains its core integrity of infusing the disparate metal subgenera of death metal, groove metal and alternative metal into one cauldron of hot steaming sonic sensationalism.

It’s been a five year break since “Magma” and the metal world has changed a lot getting even weirder and more diverse but somehow GORJIRA continues the path of exploring new sonic textures while maintaining the energetic chugging drive, extraordinary musical dexterity and metal hybridism. What’s new on FORTITUDE is that the band takes the previous alternative metal approach that debuted on “Magma” and branches out into myriad directions thus creating a delightful mix of moods, dynamics and rhythmic bombast unlike any other album in its canon. While the progressive excesses of the first two albums have long been tamped down as well as the epic progressive feel of the following pair of albums that followed, FORTITUDE still stays connected to all those previous eras while exploring a more varied range of timbres, tones, echo effects and production values.

While many have long written off this band as some sort of sellout, i personally find these later albums to be quite dynamic as they provide instantly catchy metal hooks in the classic sense while exploring various detours into moments of clean vocal progressive rock, Pantera-esque groove metal as well as the intense urgency of a Rage Against The Machine album most likely courtesy of engineer Andy Wallace who worked with that band as well as Nirvana thus giving that angry 90s grunge feel at times. And of course it wouldn’t be a GOJIRA album without a plethora of polyrhythms where barrages of guitar riffs, pummeling percussion and bantering bass grooves provide crushing metal monstrosities while Joe Duplantier brazenly belts out his soul crushing screams.

Perhaps the most noticeable difference for FORTITUDE is the production and the heavy uses of atmospheres which provides the perfect counterpoint to the galloping grooving guitar riffs and the incessant guitar sailing that accompanies. As far as tempo changes go, FORTITUDE may not embrace the chaotic free-for-all proggy complexities as “Terra Incognita” and “The Link” but still manages to squeeze in a few oddball time signatures between the steady rhythmic drive as well as delivering extreme curve balls as heard on the tribal percussion dominated title track accompanied by unorthodox wordless vocal harmonizing which actually serves as an intro to the following track “The Chant.”

When all is said and done i can totally understand why many may not be too thrilled with these easier listening experiences of GOJIRA when compared to the epic and experimental sounds of yore but as far as an accessible melodic metal album is concerned, GOJIRA does an excellent job keeping FORTITUDE engaging from beginning to end in my book. These songs are not only catchy but crafty and creative with subtleties that may require a few spins before really sinking in. I think i actually prefer this one to “Magma” as that previous album didn’t quite have the repeat visit enjoyability but this one has just enough ear wormy hooks to signify a respite into its majesty! While i wouldn’t call FORTITUDE my all time GOJIRA album by any means, i’m actually quite surprise how much i love this one. What will this monstrous band come up with next? Will we have to wait another five years? Chances are a new phase of the band will begin.

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