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Peter Skov
MMA Special Collaborator · Proto Team
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 2 days ago

Favorite Metal Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

266 reviews/ratings
DEEP PURPLE - Deep Purple In Rock Hard Rock | review permalink
QUEENSRŸCHE - Rage For Order Heavy Metal | review permalink
HAKEN - The Mountain Progressive Metal | review permalink
SYMPHONY X - V: The New Mythology Suite Progressive Metal | review permalink
METALLICA - Master of Puppets Thrash Metal | review permalink
DEVIN TOWNSEND - Deconstruction Progressive Metal | review permalink
ANVIL - Metal on Metal Heavy Metal | review permalink
NINGEN ISU - Ningen Shikkaku (No Longer Human) Stoner Rock | review permalink
NINGEN ISU - Ougon no Yoake Progressive Metal | review permalink
HÄG - HÄG Doom Metal | review permalink
DEEP PURPLE - Now What?! Hard Rock | review permalink
STRAPPING YOUNG LAD - Alien Industrial Metal | review permalink
SÓLSTAFIR - Ótta Metal Related | review permalink
APRIL WINE - Electric Jewels Hard Rock | review permalink
ANVIL - Forged in Fire Heavy Metal | review permalink
DEVIN TOWNSEND - Synchestra Progressive Metal | review permalink
DEVIN TOWNSEND - Terria Progressive Metal | review permalink
SYMPHONY X - Iconoclast Progressive Metal | review permalink
OPETH - Ghost Reveries Progressive Metal | review permalink
DEEP PURPLE - Machine Head Hard Rock | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Hard Rock 60 3.52
2 Proto-Metal 40 3.09
3 Progressive Metal 31 4.02
4 Heavy Metal 28 3.95
5 Death Metal 18 3.86
6 Heavy Psych 17 3.44
7 Thrash Metal 15 3.83
8 Technical Death Metal 14 4.11
9 Doom Metal 4 4.38
10 Glam Metal 4 3.75
11 Avant-garde Metal 3 4.17
12 Black Metal 3 3.83
13 Industrial Metal 3 3.67
14 NWoBHM 3 3.50
15 Stoner Metal 3 3.67
16 Stoner Rock 3 4.00
17 Power Metal 2 4.25
18 Melodic Death Metal 2 4.00
19 Metal Related 2 4.00
20 Alternative Metal 2 3.75
21 Atmospheric Black Metal 2 3.75
22 Death 'n' Roll 1 4.00
23 Death-Doom Metal 1 3.50
24 Melodic Black Metal 1 4.50
25 Sludge Metal 1 4.00
26 Speed Metal 1 3.00
27 Technical Thrash Metal 1 4.00
28 US Power Metal 1 3.00

Latest Albums Reviews

FLAMING ROW The Pure Shine

Album · 2019 · Progressive Metal
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The music on this album is so incredible that they released it with a second disc of just the music! Yes, I didn’t quite expect to enjoy the second disc so much. After all, the songs and vocal parts are fabulous and tell the story of this conceptual piece, which is based on Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower” series. That whole first album is a treat with astounding instrumental passages between the rock opera vocals with a host of singers taking up the different parts. It’s a brilliant piece of work! But very soon I found that the music was just so exciting, so involved, so beautiful that it really could stand up on its own.

Flaming Row released their third album in December of 2019. After chalking up their previous album “Mirage: A Portrayal of Figures” as one of my favourite prog metal albums and favourite concept narrative albums of all time, I was both excited and hesitant to get the new album. The former is like Ayreon meets Dream Theater meets Haken. Since I hadn’t heard the first album “Elinoire” I didn’t know if “Mirage” was just a special thing or if this complex, varied and thrilling music was just how the band worked.

My first observation was that the metal element was relegated way in back of the acoustic side. In fact, it's quite the opposite of "Mirage" where the album was mostly electric with acoustic interludes. Here the acoustic instrumentation takes over and the heavier electric sequences are present and effective, but not at the front of the stage as much this time. However, that was not anything to disappoint me. All the acoustic guitar, piano, strings, woodwinds, and percussion easily won my ears over in an instant. There is simply so much beauty in the music here! So once again, I'm listening to just the instrumental versions of the tracks after having heard the whole first disc with the vocals once more through.

There’s something very interesting about some the music on this new album. Right from the first listen, I recognized at least a couple of the powerful and memorable melodies. I’d heard them on “Mirage: A Portrayal of Figures”. But the two stories were completely different. “Mirage” is about an alien species that tries to eliminate humans from the earth before it's destroyed by human beings, and how the survivours struggle to find a way to keep the human race from being snuffed out. “The Pure Shine” is from the Stephen King novel series mentioned above. Was there some connection?

I contacted guitarist Martin Schnella and asked about the repeated melodies. He replied saying that they had actually written much of the music for a trilogy back in 2011-13. But as his acoustic project with Melanie Mau overtook Flaming Row in popularity and also some key members left the band, the trilogy fell through. However, Martin loved much of the music he had written and decided to pass it along to the third album. It seems a bit puzzling to hear the same melodies for two different stories, but I really like hearing these again in a new sound pallet. Catch the powerful melody at 13:12 in "The Sorcerer" and compare it to "Pictures" from "Mirage: A Portrayal of Figures"at 2:39. There's also the flute melody in "Jake's Destiny" - incidentally, my pick for most awesome track on the album - that sounds really close to one in the opening track of "Mirage".

So, whether you enjoy the whole of album one with the lyrical parts and wonderfully good vocal executions or you can get into just letting the instruments speak, this album is a special work. I can enjoy either disc equally.

And if you can, I highly recommend checking out “Mirage: A Portrayal of Figures” because it's such a tremendous piece of work.

I'm giving this album 4 stars because it is not a masterpiece of METAL music but it does make an excellent addition to a metal music collection. As a prog album, though, I'd give it a full five stars.

CATEGORY VI War Is Hell

Album · 2017 · Power Metal
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"War Is Hell" is the second full-length release (and to date the latest full-length) by St. John's, Newfoundlanders Category VI. Though the band is generally categorized as power metal, this album is more specifically classic metal with some additions of speed metal and power metal. The album sound and song styles are very true to eighties metal. It's perhaps Amanda Gosse's vocals that give this album a power metal feel. In an interview, the band members themselves affirmed my conclusion that this album strives to be more classic metal than power metal.

The positive sides to this album are that the band relentlessly thunders on, rarely slowing down (and no ballads), the clarity of all instruments in the mix, and the very successful capture of that eighties metal feel without being stuck in the eighties. Amanda's vocals have power and she belts out the notes. She does stick with clean, power metal vocals so don't expect any growls or shrieks from her. But she can hit hit notes and hold her notes as she expertly exhibits in the track "Mirror", lighting up the skies with three different lengthy notes between 3:07 and 3:42, the last one soaring way up there.

Guitarist Geoff Waye dishes out riff after riff of heavily distorted guitar chords. Growing up in central Newfoundland, there was not a lot of metal action, so he would drift over to St. John's and catch any bands that blew into town. He's committed to supporting the metal scene and keeps the spirit alive with his guitar playing.

Keith Jackman's bass is of the heavy chunky and clunky nature. It's not lost in the mix beneath the flood of guitar distortion and it stands out in the track "Arise" where it sounds a lot like John Wetton's bass in Kind Crimson's "Providence" on the "Red" album. It's also given prominence in the track "Crossing the Avalon" though that's more for melodic colouring.

The album is tight and the songs all quite strong. Special mention goes to "Strike of the Axe", "Full Metal Jacket", and the longer title track, though it's a solid metal affair throughout the album.

There's one thing about the album that stays my mouse from clicking on 5 stars. I'm not sure if its because the guitar sound is so rich in distortion it sounds potentially overdone. or if there's another reason. Something tempers my opinion. But basically this album captures a band with a clear focus and a lot of energy and a desire to make a heavy metal album that honours the classic sound.

THE DANIEL BAND Straight Ahead

Album · 1983 · Hard Rock
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I remember getting into Stryper and the Christian heavy metal thing going on in the eighties. In those days I only knew about Stryper. But one night, a current trends in entertainment program was on TV and the topic was Christian heavy metal. Because the program was from Toronto, the local boys from The Daniel Band were included in the program. I later bought their album, “Running Out of Time”, which was their fifth and final studio album. The band has never officially broken up, according to Wikipedia. They perform from time to time but haven’t released any new material since 1987 except for a few bonus track new recordings on re-releases.

I never heard any of The Daniel Band’s other albums. I think they were not so easy to get a hold off. After some years, I got rid of about half of my Christian albums, but “Running Out of Time” I kept. Then recently, I felt inspired to dig the remaining albums out and I listened to a couple of tracks from that old album. Man! It sure sounds dated! It’s that late eighties big production sound except that it’s a four-piece band who are not playing big production music. Something is amiss. But I was curious enough to check out the band’s discography, listen a bit on YouTube, and decide to get a hold of their second album, “Straight Ahead”, from 1983.

I am not going to come out and say that this album is a lost classic, a gem, a killer album that everyone should hear. But I do think it’s a really good album of the day. First of all, I guess because they were from Toronto, it’s very easy to hear a Triumph/Rush/Coney Hatch sound to the music – those held keyboard chords like Triumph used, that bass sound that Geddy had, those hard rock chords like Coney Hatch played, and vocals that sound like Rik Emmett with a bit of Geddy Lee mixed in. The band’s style moves between rock and hard rock. The overall sound quality is rather good, though I feel there’s a bit of extra scratch in a couple of tracks near the end. Nothing too detrimental though. This is a really good guitar rock/hard rock album from the early eighties but sounds more like late seventies!

One thing I have to appreciate is that even though this is a Christian album and the lyrics mostly all deal with a Christian way of life, the messages in the songs are not in-your-face praise but laid out plain and simple. (I find the praise songs to be a little uncomfortable.) In fact, some of the songs could actually be heard as love songs because I didn’t hear the lyrics actually mention who these love songs were about, assuming that many if not most Christian songs about love are about Jesus or God. Unlike a band like Petra who are leading the faithful on in their faith and commitment with every song, The Danial Band just seem less obvious if you’re just listening casually. “What? Did he just say something about Jesus?”

Guitarist Tony Rossi should get some credit here. I've read a couple of reviews of Daniel Band albums that call him an unsung guitar hero of the eighties. His style is rooted in seventies hard rock but he is good!

Anyway, if you like Triumph, Rush, and Coney Hatch but without the highly advanced skills of Rush and Rik Emmett and more like Coney Hatch, then this album is a strong piece of work. On the strength of the music presented here, I am now curious to hear what their other albums sound like. Word is that “Running Out of Time” was remastered in 2012 and the sound quality difference in the original release and the remaster is like day and night.

UNLEASH THE ARCHERS Abyss

Album · 2020 · Power Metal
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It’s only been a couple of days since I received my copy of “Abyss” and I am sure without a doubt that I haven’t properly heard the album yet. Nevertheless, I’ve been reading reviews and interviews and watching videos with Britney's commentary in order to get an idea of exactly how monumental this album is supposed to be and to prepare myself.

Unleash the Archers released their fourth full-length album, “Apex”, in 2017. It was a concept story about a character named Immortal and a nemesis named the Grand Matriarch and I think something about a battle for the souls of people. I first heard about the band on a video on Banger TV’s YouTube channel. I checked out a couple of songs, thinking UtA was pretty good. Then I heard “Awakening” and I was blown through the stratosphere. I hadn’t really shown much interest in power metal until I heard that song. Even now, after picking up a few of power metal’s classic albums and bands, that song remains my favourite.

So, “Abyss” is the sequel to “Apex”. Immortal’s saga continues and the Grand Matriarch is still out there. I’m afraid I haven’t really followed the story, but I heard there’s a graphic novel series in the works. The first track I heard was “Faster Than Light”, which I heard while enjoying the humorous but a little dark video of the four runners and their race against death. The song exhibits the high speed, high precision playing of guitarists Andrew Kingsley and Grant Truesdell as well as the incredible drumming of Scott Buchanan while Britney alternates between tension-filled vocal deliveries for the verses and a melody that will have you soaring amidst towers of cumulous clouds for the chorus.

That’s enough preamble. Let’s get on with the album.

“Apex” has been praised by many, calling it that album that delivered a solid but non-exemplary heavy metal band of mixed subgenres into the eyes of the global power metal community. Indeed, that album seems to have so much praise on the Internet that it could be an album UtA could never top. Whether they did with “Abyss” or not is up to the listener, but the band has certainly pushed themselves and their sound even further. While the charged, high-tech, power metal style they executed so brilliantly on “Apex” is here is spadefuls (I’m already considering “Faster Than Light” to be on equal grounds of excellence with “Awakening”), the band has approached this album as a big production. They even brought in Flesh God Apocalypse’s Francesco Ferrini to add orchestral contributions for the closing track, “Afterlife”.

You’ll certainly notice the addition of keyboards, sometimes quite subtle as a supporting instrument, other times very much to the forefront as in “Through the Stars”, which sounds like a late eighties track by some Swedish band like TNT or Europe or perhaps a bit like Queensryche with keyboards. There’s a hefty use of keyboards in the title track too, though that one still keeps a power metal pace and feel to the music. Tracks like “Legacy” and “Return to Me” have such a big production quality that I’m really reminded of Devin Townsend Project albums like “Epicloud” and “Sky Blue”.

Probably the biggest surprise here is the second last track, “Carry the Flame”, yet another late eighties-sounding track like one of Whitesnake’s or Lita Ford’s melodic mid-tempo power rockers except that this track is a duet between Britney Slayes and growler/screamer Andrew Kingsley (guitars) who is singing with clean vocals. Seriously, if you love late eighties/early nineties melodic hard rock like Joe Lynn Turner, Harem Scarem and the likes, you’ll be in heaven. Me, I’m not totally keen on it usually but I can’t deny that they have pulled it off extremely well.

There are some reasons why fans of the older style of Unleash the Archers might not like this album and for those same reasons, some power metal fans and even metal fans might not like this album - big production and keyboards being stand out features. My opinion is that all the work and effort they put into making this has really paid off. I like a band that pushes themselves in new directions and doesn’t shy away from trying new things. I wouldn’t want a whole album of “Through the Stars” or “Carry the Flame”, but songs like that nestled in between other tracks like “Legacy”, “Faster Than Light”, “The Wind That Shapes the Land” and “Afterlife” make for a diverse album with lots of texture and atmosphere.

I’d love to give this album five stars but something is holding me back. Will the synth wave influence in a couple of tracks eventually taint my opinion of this album? Or will I tire of the big production sound? Maybe or maybe not. When the dust has settled a little more, I might just come back to this review and tweak my rating a half star this way or that.

SHEAVY The Electric Sleep

Album · 1998 · Stoner Metal
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It was while I was searching for heavy metal bands from Newfoundland and Labrador that I discovered Sheavy. One listen from "The Electric Sleep" and I was sure this was a band worthy of shelling out for a couple of discs at least. The problem was that actually buying CDs meant going to Discogs and looking for near mint if not mint. And hey, I found some!

According to the Wikipedia article about this band, this, their second album, saw a big improvement from the debut, and the band went over to Europe (not so far from St. John's, actually) to play and promote their music. Critics who heard the album were divided, with some claiming that this was a long lost Sabbath album and others putting down Sheavy as Sabbath clones at best. Now, I recently started to become of the opinion that nearly every stoner and doom metal band had to have Black Sabbath's "Master of Reality" played on daily rotation several hours at a time from their day of birth until they were teens just to ensure total and absolute indoctrination into how to create stoner and doom metal. However, I do contend that Sheavy's music is largely not Sabbath-like. Yes, there are a few riffs on this album the have the Tony Iommi call of doom feeling, but many other riffs seem to go a different route. I think the drumming and bass work is also more like what you'd hear from a band experimenting with the sounds and music rather than emulating it.

So we've got some really cool, heavy riffs and a band that sounds very comfortable in their own corner of the stoner rock arena. But those vocals! Man, if Ozzy just put his vocals through a filter that made them more scratchy - like Greg Lake's vocals in "21st Century Schizoid Man" - well then he'd sound just like Steve Hennessy. It's really uncanny how similar Steve sounds like classic Ozzy. On the second track, "Velvet", his voice is a little different because it's an acoustic track with a retro electric guitar sound and bass guitar that make the song sound like it's from 1969. But the rest of the album, man, Steve really could be mistaken for Ozzy.

One unusual thing is in the track "Oracle" which features a didgeridoo throughout the song. I've heard didgeridoos on other albums as an intro instrument (I think Cryptopsy has a song like that) but never used for an entire track, in this case 6:50 long!

This album is really for people who dig that slow and heavy atmosphere of stoner metal bands, but it doesn't feature any of those really low-toned, dragged out, over-distorted guitars like some bands have. Sheavy keeps the riffs moving. Some songs are a little less exciting. I mean, they start off cool and easy and bring in a bit of tension, but then they take time to really go anywhere. When they do, it's a sweet killer riff and sometimes a contrasting change of tempo. But then the song soon ends. That and the dense production sound are my only real criticisms of the album. Basically, it's a great 1990's, stoner metal album for when you're in the mood. But as I understand it, the band's sound evolved over the years and so I had to check out at least one more album...

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 15 days ago in R.I.P. Lee Kerslake
    I opened YouTube the other day and saw a video of Lee playing Crazy Train with some young dude on guitar. Lee was so fat that I said to the video, "Dude, for god's sake, lose some weight. This will kill you!" I then checked Wikipedia to see what he was doing these days and the entry read (...- September 19, 2020). Well, it was cancer not a heart attack. Funny thing, I didn't hear anything about his passing in any of the music groups on Facebook that I follow. Had it not been for that video, I'd have been surprised to find this notification here.
  • Posted 2 months ago in Martin Birch dies
    What a legacy he left behind though. I remember seeing and reading his name a lot in the eighties. He's part of metal music history! Thanks for all the great productions, sir. Play it loud and heavy in the next world!
  • Posted 2 months ago in MMA Best of the Decade 2010s Results
    From where I am at, I'm glad to see quite a few Canadian bands and Japan's Ningen Isu and Lovebites up there twice. Plus I actually have about 20 of the albums on the list, so I'm happy! I shared this on Twitter. I hope the link works!

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