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All reviews - Music (33)

First Daze Here: Vintage Collection review

Posted : 9 years, 5 months ago on 6 July 2012 03:53 (A review of First Daze Here: Vintage Collection)

The first (and best) of the 2 compilations released under the `First Daze Here` moniker, this excellent set is some of the best Sabbath inspired US metal money can buy.

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Holocross (Self-Titled) review

Posted : 9 years, 5 months ago on 1 July 2012 11:40 (A review of Holocross (Self-Titled))

Metallica meets Dark Angel with King Diamond on guest vocals is how I would describe the vibe of this heavy and slightly quirky sounding late 80s thrash debut from the notorious NRR label. Well above average and more consistent than most releases from the same period, it only loses out on a higher rating due to it`s homogenity and distasteful employment of those high end vocals.

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Escalation review

Posted : 9 years, 5 months ago on 30 June 2012 10:59 (A review of Escalation)

I`ve yet to hear `Apocalyptic Nightmare`, but album number 3 is tighter and more urgent than Necronomicon`s messy debut, `Black Frost` and `Skeletal Remains` (for example) giving the likes of Destruction and Violent Force a run for their money in the second division teutonic thrash stakes (I`m damning with faint praise a bit there).

I`m a sucker for 80s metal artwork, so an extra thumb up for the gnarly front cover, which got me spinning `Escalation` in the first place.

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Summoning - Lost Tales

Posted : 9 years, 7 months ago on 2 May 2012 05:41 (A review of Lost Tales)

An mcd of leftovers from the `Dol Guldur` era, this 2 track 17 minute curiousity has no vocals proper, just Tolkien soundbites on top of keyboard passages repeated ad nauseum. The decidely cast-off quality material on this ep is toothless, underdeveloped and misses the trance inducing effect of the full lengths by a mile.

A superfluous release in my book.

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Heic Noenum Pax review

Posted : 9 years, 7 months ago on 2 May 2012 05:39 (A review of Heic Noenum Pax)

The generic, indecipherable vocals, mindnumbingly tedious riffing and songs that do next to nothing to distinguish themselves from each other result in what is probably the worst metal release I have ever laid my ears on. On the bright side, it`s only an ep so I didn`t have to endure the boredom for very long.

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Usurper - Skeletal Season

Posted : 9 years, 7 months ago on 14 April 2012 12:37 (A review of Skeletal Season)

The best album Celtic Frost never wrote (?) this was a highlight of 99`, a pretty barren year for quality metal. The title track is an absolute killer, and though long-ish and too derivative of Tom Warrior & co at times (ungh.....heyyyy!), (nearly) every other song crushes on this release, with it`s shrieking vocals, colossal riffs and sinister lyrics.

Credit once again to Terrorizer magazine for turning me onto this (largely unheralded) gem; my next stop = their debut.

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System of a Down review

Posted : 9 years, 7 months ago on 13 April 2012 10:54 (A review of System of a Down)

OK debut from this Californian band of Armenian descent, which spawned the singles `Sugar` and `Spiders`. I looked for reference points whilst trying to pin down this album (tagged `alternative metal`) and found traces of Tool, Slayer, and (most markedly) Faith No More, but SOAD undoubtedly carved their own sound, this being an imaginative and varied effort in it`s own right. In someways I consider this the spiritual successor to `Angel Dust`, due to the off-kilter vibe and schizophrenic vocals, though the lyrics here are more happenstance and lacking the wit of Patton & co.

Serj Tankian is a capable and varied singer, though the `kitchen sink` approach to the vocals wears thin in parts, some of the OTT inflections throughout the album becoming irritating. On the upside, the short running time of each track suits the band down to the ground, considering the haphazard nature of much of the material (check out the stream of consciousness lyrics). Inevitably with 13 tracks on offer some are stronger than others, but there is enough diversity to keep things interesting even amongst the filler. At 40 minutes long, I can`t say the album outstays it`s welcome.

All told, SOAD`s debut is a fine effort, there`s just something insubstantial about the songwriting that stops from me wanting to hear more from the band. In any case it made an interesting diversion from the deluge of thrash, black and death metal cds I`ve been subjecting myself to recently and I daresay is superior to any of the crappy nu-metal outfits these guys find themselves compared to.

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Nifelheim review

Posted : 9 years, 8 months ago on 7 April 2012 11:23 (A review of Nifelheim)

These Iron Maiden loving maniacs deliver harsh black metal with melodic flourishes. Recommended debut.

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Tunes of War review

Posted : 9 years, 8 months ago on 2 April 2012 04:43 (A review of Tunes of War)

I bought this on the strength of `Rebellion` and ` The Dark of the Sun`, two excellent singles which appeared in video form on a GUN compilation tape I won in a competition through Terrorizer magazine about 12 years back. While these proved to be the album`s standouts, `The Truth` and `Culloden Muir` are powerful tracks that came close to leaving the same impact. Unfortunately, most of the remaining songs on ToW are too plodding or cheesy to get worked up about.

As a concept album about Scottish rebellion, I have no idea how historically accurate the whole thing is, but ToW`s best moments suggest it could have been a very good release given better quality control.

Chris Boltendahl`s unrefined vocals add to the rough charm of the band.

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Track of Doom review

Posted : 9 years, 8 months ago on 2 April 2012 04:36 (A review of Track of Doom)

`The apple of my eye, you get my feelings high`

It`s a stirring and worthwhile debut with some powerful moments (and a powerful vocalist). Unfortunately, many of the lyrics are bombastic and silly, and the clumsy grammar and phrasing make it obvious that English is not the band`s first language.

If you`re not already a fan of 80s metal, Track of Doom probably won`t be the release to convert you, but there`s definitely a good album in here trying to get out.

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