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Peter Skov
MMA Special Collaborator · Proto Team
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 33 days ago

Favorite Metal Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

297 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 63 3.52
2 Proto-Metal 42 3.11
3 Progressive Metal 34 4.01
4 Heavy Metal 32 3.97
5 Death Metal 20 3.85
6 Heavy Psych 17 3.44
7 Thrash Metal 17 3.82
8 Technical Death Metal 14 4.11
9 Power Metal 5 4.00
10 Black Metal 5 4.10
11 Doom Metal 4 4.38
12 Glam Metal 4 3.75
13 Melodic Death Metal 4 3.75
14 NWoBHM 4 3.75
15 Sludge Metal 4 4.00
16 Stoner Rock 4 3.75
17 Stoner Metal 3 3.67
18 Industrial Metal 3 3.67
19 Atmospheric Black Metal 3 3.83
20 Avant-garde Metal 3 4.17
21 Alternative Metal 2 3.75
22 Metal Related 2 4.00
23 Technical Thrash Metal 2 4.00
24 Speed Metal 2 3.75
25 US Power Metal 1 3.00
26 Melodic Black Metal 1 4.50
27 Death 'n' Roll 1 4.00
28 Death-Doom Metal 1 3.50

Latest Albums Reviews

TOO MUCH Too Much

Album · 1971 · Proto-Metal
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Wow! I did a search for this band twice on this site and got nothing. I created a page for them, wrote a bio, and then found there was a page already somewhere. Searched again and it came up right away. Go figure!

So, anyway, here we have a band from Japan lead by their guitarist with aspirations for playing loud, heavy music in the vein of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, and then got told by their record label to add some ballads and a cover song in hopes of broadening their potential audience. The result? The band split up!

Let's see. What do we have here then. The first track, "Grease It Out" certainly shows the band's desire to play loud and heavy. While Black Sabbath influence is likely there, the riffs sound closer to their compatriots Flower Travelin' Band although vocalist Juni Lush (credited as Joko Lush in my CD copy) has more of a hard rock voice. It's a pretty killer track for some straight forward hard/heavy rock of 1971.

"Love That Binds Me" is a mid-tempo, blues-based, bummed out dude song that includes piano. It is very clearly a song heavily influenced by Led Zeppelin's "Since I've Been Lovin' You", most obviously in the lyric "Yes, I'm working everyday from early in the morning, babe / Til late at night everyday / It's such a drag, baby". On its own, I'd say the song would be pretty good, but the derivative lyrics just shout "copy cat!" and I'm afraid it loses points for that.

Thankfully, the next track is "Love Is You", another heavy rock track with some cool riffs and mood. One thing is for sure, guitarist Tsutomu Ogawa is pretty good at coming up with heavy rock riffs!

Alright, "Reminiscence" is next and it begins like a classic Vanilla Fudge song with organ and hard guitars, then shifts into a slower gear with acoustic guitar and electric lead. This is out first real slow and sentimental track. I'd say it could have worked out alright except that Lush's vocals are not very lush. He sounds like quieting down makes it harder for him to hit the notes right. For that, there are a few flinching moments.

And now the cover of "I Shall Be Released", which is missing the final "d" in the official track listing. This is country western folk ballad and a pretty good effort for a Japanese band. However, it sounds off and totally unnecessary for the album. Sure, lots of bands had to have that one track that showed their "other side" back in the day, but as this is a cover I think there are other bands who could have done a better job and this band could likely have written a better song for them to play and record.

"Gonna Take You" sets us back on course with another heavy rocker, and that's three pretty cool heavies out of the first six tracks. The lyrics however once again show the band borrowing from their overseas influences and they sound like they just cut and pasted lyrics from a Led Zeppelin song (which the mighty Zep actually took from someone else). "I'm gonna bring it on home to you / I got my ticket, I got that load / Gone up, go higher, all aboard / Take my seat a-right way back / Watch this train goin' down the track". It seems that even though the band is capable of creating some pretty good rockin' music, there's a problem with lyric writing and sometimes I think with the vocal delivery. Fortunately, the lead guitar parts get a fair bit of emphasis and run time in the songs.

And so we reach the 12:12 epic ballad, "Song for My lady (Now I Found)" with acoustic guitar, flute, strings, the works! It reminds me a little like a cross between Deep Purple's "April" from their self-titled third album and The Moody Blues. And here is where I feel like the lyrics are similar to early Scorpions' lyrics. Alright, you are writing a ballad in a second language and trying to make it meaningful and also flow with the rhythm of the music. But something is just missing for English ears. Perhaps it worked for Japanese audiences of the early seventies. I don't know. Again, the music is actually pretty good. I'm alright with the progressive nature of this longer track and in fact it has more musically advanced than much of what we heard up to here. My main beef is the efforts of Juni Lush to try to imitate western singers instead of developing his own style more. Here he sounds like a fan of Rod Evans.

To wrap it up, this is a band that probably could have made a much better second album but they were discouraged early on and left us with this one slab of vinyl. There are some good heavy tracks and some half decent other music. Just for my money, more work was needed on the lyrics.

BLUE ÖYSTER CULT The Symbol Remains

Album · 2020 · Hard Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
So here we have a classic band of the seventies whose fortunes declined in the eighties, who were in disarray throughout most of the nineties, tried to get back in gear in at the turn of the century and who then carried on mostly as a classic rock band playing their classic tunes. Then after 19 years of silence from the recording studio, Blue Oyster Cult drop a new release. The title, "The Symbol Remains" seems less like a victory shout and more like confident statement made through weathered and grim lips with a knife edge of a smile. "It's 2020. BOC is still here."

I was curious. I had never been a huge fan, but my musical travels brought me to BOC Base on a few occasions, allowing one or two more albums to nestle into my collection. My recent reacquaintance with the much-derided "Club Ninja" exposed me to the new album's cover. Somehow, I felt it had to be good.

Of the original line-up, only the two guitarists and principal singers, Buck Dharma and Eric Bloom remain. That's something important though as what defines a band's sound is mostly in the vocals and lead instruments, as well as the songwriting. And to my delight, I feel that this is very much a Blue Oyster Cult album!

The band's familiar heavy side opens the album with "That Was Me", a song that I thought was a reflection back on a "career of evil". At this age, I think this song is very suitable and it is executed in the familiar style of Blue Oyster Cult.

The next two, "Box In My Head" (about his brain), and "Tainted Blood" (a vampire song) continue that familiar sound and style. Obviously, the two legendary members are that much older and the sounds of the instruments and recording is very modern, but they deliver songs worthy of the legendary band name.

I'll confess, though, that partway through the album, it begins to sound more like a generic old dudes' rock album. While at the start I felt it was without a doubt a BOC album, by the middle I thought had I heard this without knowing who it was, I don't think I would have even suspected that I knew what band it was.

Fortunately, once we reach "Stand and Fight" we know who put out this platter. It is actually a heavy tune, perhaps in the sense of classic heavy metal of the seventies but again with a modern sound. "Florida Man" is pretty good, but "The Alchemist" is totally a Blue Oyster Cult track with the heavy guitars, some piano, and an epic tale of fantasy and a quest. Had the album ended here (and I expected that it would as I was listening while walking and not looking at the track list), I would have applauded the band.

However, there is yet another track, and another, and another. It became a game to guess if I had heard the final track yet. I would think, "Now there's a great conclusion to a song and a great way to finish up the album." But then another track would begin. Not that the last five tracks were bad or dull. There are still some very good ones there and some even better than those in the middle of the album where I was wondering if I would recognize the band. I suppose after 19 years, the band had enough material for a 60-minute album. But I personally feel the album could have been more cohesive and more like a BOC album if some of the songs - three or four - had been relegated to CD/download bonus tracks that were separate from the rest of the songs.

My impression is that Blue Oyster Cult have released a surprisingly good album for a mature band. They keep the BOC flame burning for us with songs that both musically and lyrically are congruent with the classic sound of the band.

Any disappointments would be in two or three tracks that could have been either left off or come after the main album track list. I think the album would have had more of a wow impact at somewhere around 10 or 11 tracks.

Overall though, it's a solid release!

BLUE ÖYSTER CULT Club Ninja

Album · 1985 · Hard Rock
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Blue Oyster Cult were on the top of their game in the early eighties. They’d scored a huge hit with “Burnin’ for You”, they had contributed to the soundtrack of the animated film, “Heavy Metal”, and they’d been touring with Black Sabbath. Unfortunately, things would start sliding for the band. Drummer Albert Bouchard was fired, seeing the first change in the classic and long-running line-up. Then came the disappointing sales of 1983’s “The Revolution by Night”, which failed to reach gold. By the time the band was ready to record their tenth studio album, keyboard player Allen Lanier also parted ways with the band. Former manager, Sandy Pearlman was called in, perhaps in hopes of restoring something from the band’s classic days.

As the band had done in the past, outside songwriters were contacted to write some of the lyrics, and one song, “White Flags” was a cover song from the Canadian Leggatt Brothers 1981 album. Pearlman was very meticulous about the sound he wanted from the band and some of the eighties pop sounding percussion and synthesizers were at his insistence.

“Club Ninja” was for many a big disappointment, even though the song “Dancing in the Ruins” became a minor charting hit. The road of fortune from here on would lead to the band losing bassist Joe Bouchard, the confusing “Imaginos” album that was not meant to be a BOC album, the band being released from CBS, and ultimately, Blue Oyster Cult spending most of the nineties without releasing any new material.

“Club Ninja” was my second BOC purchase after “The Revolution by Night”, so you could say that my introduction to the band was through two of their lowest rated and ranked albums. At the time of the release of “Club Ninja”, I was getting into more extreme heavy metal all the while balancing my musical taste with more melodic glam metal and hard rock. “Club Ninja” surprised me. I wasn’t sure what to make of it. There were the hard rocking and heavy guitars but there were also bright, eighties pop synth sounds which I still cringe at to this day. There was dramatic music with really catchy vocal melodies but there were also electronic drums which I have never cared for much. Did I like the album?

I found certain songs intriguing as they offered something new or at least rare in my cassette collection. That jangly eighties guitar sound I didn’t like actually sounded pretty good on “Perfect Water”, and in spite of the keyboard sounds, I felt the song drawing me back for repeated listens, eventually becoming one of my favourite tracks on the album. It had a mysterious and also beautifully serene atmosphere to it. Not one band in my music collection had a song like this.

Then there was “White Flags”. A song packed with tension and spots of release sometimes simply through a keyboard effect but more so with the break into the chorus. One of my favourite parts was the organ bit that follows the, “Take me away! Yeeeaaahhh!” part. When I finally heard the original version recorded by the Leggatt Brothers, I was disappointed that there was no organ part.

“Shadow Warrior” was a wonderfully ominous and dark track with lyrical imagery typical of the band’s works – a kind of future, science fiction / fantasy tale. And “Madness to the Method” had this dynamiic piano solo in the song’s dramatic conclusion. “Spy in the House of Night” also was not my usual cup of tea but somehow strangely attracted my ears. In fact, the only songs that I thought were a little silly were “Make Rock Not War” and “Beat ‘Em Up”, mostly for their atrocious meathead rock band-sounding titles. Musically, they were actually not so bad except for the keyboard sounds.

I finally bought this album on CD and listened to it for the first time in about 30 years. I was surprised how much I remembered of the songs. I must have listened to this album more than I thought because I felt like I was listening to an old classic or an old favourite. True, I still flinch at some keyboards parts and “Beat ‘Em Up” is still a goofy title. But I found that I actually really like this album! In fact, I think one of the things I appreciate about it now more than before is the prog element. In the mid-eighites, prog was carefully concealed beneath the pop flash of former prog kings or in the more complex music of some metal bands. “Club Ninja” on the other hand grasps hard and heavy rock, pop sounds and melodies, classic rock, and progressive flare (heavy organ and dramatic piano solos plus seven-minute songs with sci-fi and fantasy concepts) and sets them all out on the table. The album was costly to produce and took nearly a year to put together under the strict guidance of visionary Sandy Pearlman. In the end, the results were probably more baffling to most people who couldn’t make sense of what the band was trying to do. My opinion is that Blue Oyster Cult created an album of intelligent lyrical content, music of atmosphere, drama, energy, and dark and light, and many modern sounds that captured both the light, popular side and the harder-edged rock side.

Having this album back again, I appreciate it even more now after decades of exploring heavy and progressive music much, much further. For fans of heavy music, this album cannot be said to be an excellent addition to any heavy metal collection. It’s really a matter of preference in this case. I give it four and a half stars out of my own taste, but for this site, I’ll give it three.

BOREALIS Fall From Grace

Album · 2011 · Power Metal
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The sticker on the shrink wrap said "for fans of Kamelot, Evergrey..." and one more band. My impression is that this sounds like classic Symphony X meets Evergrey. According to a couple of reviews I read, this album is the midpoint of Borealis's transition from a power metal band to a progressive metal one.

Vocalist Matt Marinelli really does sound an awful lot like Tom S. Englund of Evergrey. The guitar sound is full, the bass adds appropriate weight, synthesizer is used as a support rhythm instrument or to give a symphonic feeling. The songs don't strike me as being too overly from the power metal fold and more - really more! - like Evergrey, though I have only one Evergrey album.

The music here is really solid, melodic heavy metal. There are some speedy or heavy riffs but contrasted with the symphonic sounds of the synthesizer and the strong vocal melodies. The progressive aspect is more in the song structures or playing skill rather than being an overt display of time-signature juggling or technical hocus pocus. I do agree that this is, from a musical and song-writing perspective, a very good album. Like, done by professionals who really know what they want to achieve. The main problem I have is how similar it sounds too Evergrey. I can't help but feel that I'm listening to an Everygrey recording!

Special mention should go to the acoustic track, "Watch the World Collapse", which is a lovely track and a nice diversion from all the heavy numbers. Then there's the bonus track, "The Journey" which is such a perfect wedding song and seriously must have been written as one!

This and the follow-up album, "Purgatory" are Borealis's two highest rated albums, scoring in the nineties on Encyclopedia Metallum. I think it's a solid product but the more I listen, the more I hear Tom S. Englund, and that might be putting me off the album more and more because the singer should be developing his own voice. That and I like Evergrey but don't love the band.

EPITAPH Epitaph

Album · 1971 · Proto-Metal
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Three and a half stars for the heavy metal content, but actually I quite like this album. Since I turned 50 early this year, I decided to check out albums in my collection that were released the year I was born, and then I went ahead and ordered about a dozen more. Epitaph was a band that showed up as an early seventies heavy rock, hard rock outfit, but when I listened to samples on YouTube, I wasn't convinced that I needed to add their albums to my collection. Then I got this album and I'll say that I am pleasantly surprised!

Nearly every band that played heavy rock or fell in with the first wave of heavy metal - now respectfully known as proto-metal - was not consistently heavy and intense. Most bands had one or two killer heavy tracks, a couple more that included heavy parts, and then the rest of the songs would be boogie rock, blues rock, an acoustic ballad, a folky number, and maybe something not so heavy but possibly proggy. This album isn't one of the few exceptions. However, it thankfully avoids some of the cliches that can frequently heard on American or British releases.

The opening track "Moving to the Country" features a grooving riff with slightly distorted guitars that sounds like early Eloy. It soon changes into a swinging bluesy number similar to early Wishbone Ash. However, at 3:15 there's a guitar solo that sounds suspiciously like finger tapping or at least a sequence of notes that sound similar to a tapped solo. That perked up my ears. The rest of the track revisits some of the more heavy rock sound that kicked off the song.

"Visions" is a slow track with strings or Mellotron that sounds a bit like "In the Court of the Crimson King" or a Moody Blues-inspired song. "Hopelessly" carries over from the hippy melodies of 69/70 before changing into a bass-grooving, upbeat jazz-tinged rocker like some early Uriah Heep. Then there's "Little Maggie" which a fun, southern rock-ish, track that gets rocking like Mountain or early Grand Funk Railroad. This one puts a smile on my face once the guitar solo starts carrying on.

"Early Morning" is the epic track that appears on many albums of the early seventies and it is in this track where the early heavy metal atmosphere rises through the rock. It's a slow number at first that builds the tension a little before releasing some intense drumming and guitar work. After the 8-minute mark we're into that sweet heavy rock of the 1969-72 era.

The original album is over here but the four CD bonus tracks are really worth mentioning because aside from the single version of "Visions" each of the tracks feature more of that scratchy wah-wah's guitar, hard-hammered riffs and intense drumming. "I'm Trying" once again brings to mind Wishbone Ash while "Changing World" actually nears Black Sabbath territory with some hard and heavy chords in one part while otherwise just being a showcase for speedy guitar rock with some heavy bass lines and frenetic drumming. This track is the best pick for an example of early seventies heavy rock.

Epitaph's debut is not going to make it to the top ten heavy albums of 1971 but it has a decent set of varying styles of guitar rock tracks which include some of those early heavy examples that I love to seek out. Overall, it's a pretty cool album and one that will get repeat listens simply because I enjoy listening to it.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 52 days ago in Hello!
    Hi, MrBlond. Good to see a new face!I came here for the old proto-metal stuff but I've since expanded to nearly right across the board. Recently, I've been adding lots of Canadian bands. What do you think of Chron Goblin or Wizards of Kaos? Both are stoner bands.
  • Posted 6 months 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 8 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!

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