Welcome to Alex’s Album Reviews where I review Metal albums of the past and current times. I will also review requested songs and albums of other genres but I will mainly be reviewing Metal and Rock Albums of the past and by month. Please be free to talk to me in person or ask someone who knows me to review an album, I will review anything you ask me to.
May 22, 2019
Hello everyone, and welcome to my final album review on “Alex’s Album Reviews.” It has been a good go, but all good things must eventually end. I’m going to start this review by giving a quick background on the band Cynic. Cynic, for those unfamiliar, is the death metal version of Tool before Tool formed as a band. Cynic has had an essential place in death metal history due to influencing other groups such as Atheist and Chuck Schuldiner’s legendary band called Death, otherwise known as “The Godfather of Death Metal.
Cynic in their early career conceptualized three different demos before uniting, and many of these same songs will be discussed as we review Cynic’s albums. Eventually, in 1991, the two founding members of Cynic, Paul Masvidal, and Sean Reinert joined Death and helped create the album Human, which I reviewed in my Death discography review. Anyways, in 1993, the album Focus was recorded featuring Sean Malone who replaced the infamous bassist Tony Choy, who joined Atheist when Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert were on tour with Death. The Focus is tremendous due to the exciting blend of death metal vocals, Paul Mastival’s vocoder vocals which create unusual robotic vocal sounds. Death remains the only band in death metal (that I am aware of) to use this effect on vocals. It’s difficult to find any wrongdoings in this album, making it incredible, if only the record could’ve been longer. Choosing the two best songs off of this album were quite challenging to select, but these two certainly stand out, “Veil of Maya” and “How Could I.” This album is undoubtedly a 10/10 and is one of the all-time greatest albums from a technical death metal band.
After the release of Focus, Cynic decided to embark on a tour with Cannibal Corpse to promote their new album. Cynic was met with overwhelming public disappointment because they are an incompatible match to tour with brutal death metal bands such as Cannibal Corpse; their styles don’t mix very well. Due in part to public disappointment, amongst many other reasons, the group decided to end Cynic, only later to reunite in 2006 to record a new album called Traced In Air. Traced In Air is an excellent album overall and suggesting it came out after Focus was released rather than in 2008.
Traced In Air a great follow up to Focus but sadly doesn’t include Tony Teegarden on the unclean vocals. Instead, Tymon Kruidenier replaces Tony Teegarden on the Death growls with fewer growls overall. The best songs off of this album are “The Space for This” and “Evolutionary Sleeper.” “The Space for This,” is a fascinating song reminding me of King Crimson, as the Chapman stick is quite pronounced on this song, far more interesting in use than on Focus. A Chapman Stick is a guitar combined with the bass with a maple neck and played by tapping the fretboard. It is a fascinating instrument with very peculiar sounds, also tough to play from what I have heard. “Evolutionary Sleeper” is an enjoyable song to listen and is tough to play, making me appreciate the technical skill involved. Traced In Air overall is an excellent follow up to Focus – not entirely perfect but terrific. Main problems are fewer brutal-style vocals and their transition from a Technical Death Metal Band to Prog Metal band on this album. Traced In Air gets a solid 8/10 and remains an easy listen for those who dislike very heavy songs.
After Traced In Air, Cynic toured across the country and made some lineup changes before deciding to release Kindly Bent to Free Us. Kindly Bent to Free Us is a very different album and a step in a new direction for Cynic that is unexpected. Guitar work was completely overhauled as compared to earlier styles in their career in favor of a more “spacious” tone, less heavy yet a great tone nonetheless. Growls have been stripped from the band entirely, the bass sounds much different, and the vocal effects are extremely repetitive and overbearing. The vocal mixing on this album is sub-par to what was done on earlier albums, but it doesn’t do anything different for me as I would’ve preferred fewer chorus effects on the vocals since it is extremely overbearing and overdone.
No effort was placed into mixing and felt rushed. But, with all of these problems, there are good things such as the song composition, the Chapman Stick and Bass tone, the guitar leads, and the amazing drumming. This album has no standout songs other than the title track which is mediocre overall although the effort was certainly put into the songwriting. Kindly Bent to Free Us gets a solid 6.5/10 as it strips many of the death metal aspects away from this band which is what made them so special when they debuted in the 1990s.
Cynic is currently in the process of releasing a new album as they have teased a song in 2018 that persons assume will be the title track of the album but we don’t know for certain. Tool, on the other hand, will be finally releasing their new album on August 30th of this year according to rumors and a video which was posted on Tool’s twitter about the release date of the album. So it does look like after 13 arduous year-long wait. Thankfully we will not have to wait 10,000 days as many joked about it because of the last album’s name. Anyways the Tool album 10,000 days is a total masterpiece and is debatably the best Tool album ever released next to Lateralus.
This album is as all Tool albums are very cryptic and spooky. The tracks on this album all sound great and heavy. The riffs on songs such as “Vicarious” and “The Pot” are amazing and extremely memorable. My favorites being the last two songs mentioned. This album gets a solid 10/10 as it is a masterpiece and is a very interesting album to listen to.
I will wish you all luck on your metal listening endeavors and I hope that even if you didn’t like any of the bands I reviewed that at least you now have a better view of metal and the metalhead culture in the different genres. This page might continue under a different name and a different person possibly but this will certainly be my final review. I will miss this page and I wish you all happy listenings.
May 16, 2019
Hello everyone and welcome to my Opeth part two and Tool’s Lateralus. Let’s start with the remainder of Opeth’s discography. Opeth, after the album Blackwater Park, decided to undergo further changes to their sound to become progressively more comparable to Dream Theater and Tool, rather than death metal bands like Death and Cynic. Opeth decided to do this via duality of their sound in a double album called Deliverance and Damnation – a showcase of the band’s heavy death metal sound (Deliverance) and their sweeter prog rock sound (Damnation.) The record company ultimately decided that it would be better for sales to release the two albums separately, Deliverance in the year 2002 and Damnation in 2003.
Let’s review Deliverance, the heavier brother to Damnation. Deliverance honestly, in my opinion, is not as good an album due to the excessive repetition of vocal style and guitar tone with zero standout tracks that I am able to identify. It doesn’t appear that Opeth took the time to conceptualize a fitting title for this album, such as ‘Damnation‘ which sounds far more appropriate for a massive and brutal death metal album. Deliverance overall is very mediocre, deserving a 5/10 only. Damnation is also an extremely average progressive rock that would have been better if it had variety within the tracks instead of just plain prog rock. Damnation receives 4/10 as it is just very stale and boring.
Next up in Opeth’s lineup is Ghost Reveries, an overall very refreshing and good return to what made Opeth great on earlier albums. The vocals are also to-die-for on this album, as it reminds me of other bands that Åkerfeldt had worked with such as Bloodbath, a popular death metal supergroup. This album was initially intended to be a concept album about a man who killed his mother who delves into hidden mysteries and forbidden knowledge over his guilt. Åkerfeldt details that after he veered off track with the storyline, he decided to write an album with a clairvoyant style theme which ended up becoming very brutal and evil. I must say that Åkerfeldt certainly did succeed in giving dark sounds life, making this album one of Opeth’s darkest and most brutal sounding albums. The best songs off of this album are “Ghost of Perdition” and “The Grand Conjuration.” Although “Ghost of Perdition” has many prog themes, it holds onto Åkerfeldt’s harsh vocals characterizing the emotions heard on this album. “The Grand Conjuration” is a horrifying and suspenseful song and undoubtedly is one of Opeth’s most musically creative and theatrical when performed live. Ghost Reveries gets a very deserving and refreshing 7.5/10, making it the best out of the ‘New Opeth’ era so far.
The next album Opeth released was Watershed, an overall hot mess. Although Watershed has a good musical quality, it’s cookie cutter boring with no real point. One decent track is “Heir Apparent,” an overall very mediocre, semi-solid track. After Watershed, Opeth decided to end growls altogether (for the second time) to never reunite. On the album, Heritage, was a total miss or hit had it not been conceptualized from a non-metal band but rather from Opeth. It wasn’t good; thus, let’s break it down into two ratings. If you like non-heavy music in general, this is your album, and you’d most likely rate it an 8/10. When looking through metal lenses, the rating is 1/10 because it epically fails at every aspect of being an album for a metal band. I say skip it; otherwise, you risk wishing for spent time. If you don’t mind that this album isn’t heavy, buy it used.
The next album released was Pale Communion – a generic, boring prog metal album which did nothing for me. Overall I’d give it a 5/10 due to some good quality vocals with exciting mixing. The final album so far in ‘Opeth’s discography is Sorceress, a surprisingly good record with great songs and interesting musical choices. The artistic decisions I think are interesting are the increased use of backing vocals, incorporated melodic sounds, keyboard solos, and lastly a change in bass tone. This album marks a comeback for Opeth, and it might just usher in a new era of Opeth when the next album releases.
I think the best songs off of this album are “Sorceress” and “Strange Brew.” “Sorceress,” the main track, is a staple of the album, but also one of the greatest Opeth songs of all time. It certainly is in my top 10 favorite songs of all time. “Strange Brew” can fittingly be described as being “strange,” a beautiful song mainly because of the great bass riffs and fantastic vocals by Åkerfeldt. Sorceress gets a solid 8/10, a great album overall and worthy listen.
Now for the Tool album of the week, called Lateralus, which in my opinion is a fantastic album with great tracks all around. The best songs on this album are “Lateralus” and “Schism.” “Lateralus” is a total masterpiece written using the Fibonacci sequence for all aspects of the song. I can’t even begin to understand this song because of how complex and thoughtful it is. “Schism” is a cool song with a monumental bass riff at the beginning that is surprisingly hard to play. Lateralus gets a solid 10/10 and is an album, my readers, should listen to as soon as possible.
Sadly, next week will be my final installment on the album review page indefinitely. Thus, I am going to try to cover as much metal as possible before my departure. Next week’s review will be on Cynic’s discography and Tool’s 10,000 Days. As always, stay tuned for next week’s report.
May 10, 2019
Hello everyone and welcome to my first part of my Opeth discography review for my official 12th metal review. A quick background on Opeth is that one day Mikael Åkerfeldt responded to a call to join a band called Opeth and when he arrived the frontman; David Isberg, fired the entire band. Mikael Åkerfeldt then started making a lineup of friends he knew when David Isberg decided to leave the band which made Mikael Åkerfeldt replace him making him both rhythm guitarist and vocalist. Opeth has had numerous lineup changes and even a change of genres halfway through their career. Opeth has two different main styles which are put into two categories which are defined as “New Opeth” and “Old Opeth.”
“Old Opeth” is all Opeth albums before Heritage which are characterized mainly by death metal vocals and a death metal style. “New Opeth” removes much of the death metal characteristics like the growls and some of the heavier riffs on guitar in the alternative for a prog metal sound. The only two great things about this, in my opinion, is that Opeth is very consistent with album quality and that there are many different sections and acoustic guitar parts used in both categories. We will now be officially starting our review with Opeth’s debut album Orchid. Orchid is known as a masterpiece of a death metal album that came out of nowhere since Opeth was a universally hated band in the underground in Stockholm, Sweden as their early shows and reputation was awful. Songs off of this album that are great are “In Mist She Was Standing,” “Forest Of October,” and “The Apostle In Triumph.” “In Mist She Was Standing” is a great overall track but it is some of the most interesting sounding Death Metal I have ever heard in my entire life.
Surprisingly it is very uplifting and has a soaring feel which later diminishes after the acoustic interlude which makes Mikael Åkerfeldt’s vocals which are younger and not as developed as they will be exceptionally heavy and brutal. “Forest Of October” is the real masterpiece of this album which starts with a moody and swaying groove which makes way for the vocals which are extremely brutal in a quick black metal groove. “Forest Of October” also interestingly enough contains very melodic sections with acoustic guitars that have become a staple in Opeth’s “Old Opeth” albums. “The Apostle In Triumph” opens with a beautiful acoustic guitar progression before going into a death metal style song over a thirteen minute period of an amazing piece. Also, there is a part of what sounds like cellos or some type of stringed instrument at the ending section of the song which then goes along with the guitar in a swaying feel.
This album has very little faults but my one main complaint with this album is that Mikael Åkerfeldt’s vocals are very primitive and they don’t suit this album whatsoever. Also, the cover art chosen for this album is very interesting as it is just the Orchid flower which is uncommon for death metal in general. Orchid gets a resounding 9/10 and it is a must listen to album. The next Opeth album that was released was Morningrise which was overall an improvement and an even better version of Orchid. Morningrise is a perfect album in every way but the two best songs off of this album are literal musical masterpieces that are some of the creme de la creme that Opeth has produced through years of writing and musical perfection.
The songs “Advent” and “Black Rose Immortal” are each perfect songs in their own that are amazing in each of their own rights. Do yourself a favor and listen to these songs because they are absolute masterpieces. Morningrise overall is an extremely good album and gets an extremely solid 9/10 as it is almost perfect. The next album that Opeth released was My Arms, Your Hearse which is an absolutely perfect album which in turn is topped by the fact that it is a concept album. For those who don’t know what a concept album is I will explain promptly, a concept album is an album that has songs that are linked together and tell a story.
So the best way to listen to these albums is in one sitting as they were intended for you to hear. A popular example of such is Pink Floyd’s The Wall. Overall, this album is perfect in almost every sense of the way and it also utilizes a new lineup from the least. The former drummer Anders Nordin left the band and he was quickly replaced when Martin Lopez decided to join Opeth, then he recommended Martín Méndez to play bass in which he was quickly picked up. Sadly, Martin Méndez couldn’t play bass on this record as he didn’t have time to learn all the bass parts in time for recording so Mikael Åkerfeldt decided to take over on bass so he did vocals and lead guitar; bass guitar and a grand piano on this album.
Also, an interesting fact on this album is that the final word in each song is the next song on the album. The best songs on this album are certainly “Demon of the Fall” and “Credence.” “Demon of the Fall” is my favorite song off of this record and is my favorite song to hear performed live, especially because of the acoustic section which progresses into a heavy section where I think truly Mikael Åkerfeldt gains the title of his harsh vocals being “beyond death.” “Credence” is another stand out song mainly because I think it is very interesting and it is a pleasure to listen to, it also is a nice closer for a very heavy album My Arms, Your Hearse gets a solid 10/10 and is an album that I and many others thought would be impossible to top. One year later Opeth decided to release an album to top My Arms, Your Hearse called simply Still Life. Still Life is also a concept album about a man who struggles with his faith and wishes to return to his hometown where he was exiled for his one true love. I won’t spoil the ending since the story is very good overall and works well with the emotion within the record.
The best songs off of this album are “Moonlapse Vertigo” and “Serenity Painted Death” which are each very heavy tracks and tell a great descriptive story in each of them. “Moonlapse Vertigo” is mainly very interesting because of the interesting jazz solo in the middle of the song which fits well with the acoustic style parts and overall makes the death metal parts in the song much more pronounced and heavy. “Serenity Painted Death” is an absolute showstopper as the pure fury and brutality really encompass this song and that this song is the show-stopping finale before the reveal of the peaceful end. Still Life gets a resounding 10/10 and is Opeth’s greatest album that they ever made and produced. Next, Opeth made another album called Blackwater Park which is another amazing album that I think was the first album to really put Opeth out “in the spotlight” for metal as they were much lesser known before this album which was also perfect.
The best songs off of this album are “The Leper Affinity” and “Dirge for November.” “The Leper Affinity” is the opener on this album which sets the incoming mood with a resonating almost inaudible sound which crescendos into a really heavy riff with extremely heavy vocals. “Dirge for November” is a very good track with really great acoustic sections which also has some great death metal style riffs. Blackwater park gets a solid 10/10 as it is a very good album overall another track I would recommend is “The Funeral Portrait.” I will continue the rest of Opeth’s discography in the next review as their discography is very long and extensive to review.
For today’s Tool album we will be reviewing Ænema which is an absolute masterpiece overall but it is the worst Tool album because of some flaws. For example, the songs “Die Eier von Satan” (literally the eggs of satan in English) and the many instrumental tracks off of this album really are boring to me as I think what makes Tool a great band is their vocals and interesting lyrical themes. I think the best songs off of this album are “Stinkfist,” “Forty-six & 2,” and “Third Eye” mainly because of the great riffs in each of these songs and also the awesome symbolism in the lyrics which really makes you think. I give Ænema a solid 8/10 as it is a good album but has wasted potential. Next week we will be finishing Opeth’s discography and Tool’s Lateralus.
May 3, 2019
Today I would like to share one of my favorite bands of all time called Atheist. A little background on Atheist is that they are from Tampa Florida (as with almost every good death metal band.) Atheist was founded in 1984 and began writing and defining the Technical Death Metal genre but never gaining quite the popularity of other bands like Death or Cynic has gotten over the years. This is an exciting band because of the emphasis placed on the bass in some songs rather than on the guitar which paves the way for lots of interesting bass solos. Also, the drum sound is interestingly jazzy which opens up lots of interesting musical possibilities.
We will start with the first Atheist album which is Piece Of Time which was frustratingly released in Europe one year before Atheist released the album in America. I think that this album is slightly overrated partially because of how influential it was, but overall I feel it is just an unrefined version of Unquestionable Presence. The best songs off of this album are “Why Bother?” and “Room with a View.” Mainly what I like about these songs is the amazing bass playing and the amazing bass tone off of this album from Roger Patterson. Roger Patterson sadly was killed in a car crash accident before he was able to lend his bass skill to the second Atheist album Unquestionable Presence.
“Why Bother?” and “Room with a View,” I think are the main songs that paved the way for Atheists’ career and eventually made them the legends that they currently are. Piece of Time gets a solid 9.5/10 as it is a great album but isn’t quite perfect and refined which would’ve been needed to make this album a perfect 10/10. The next album that was released was Atheist’s magnum opus known as Unquestionable Presence which to this day is Atheist’s best album and one of the greatest albums ever written of all time. First of all this album is so good that every single song is phenomenal and perfect in every way.
The bass work is so good that every time I hear this album, I can instantly recognize the amount of time and effort that was put into this album. The drums are amazing with Steve Flynn’s usual amazing jazzy style drumming. The guitars and vocals also really shine on this album with Kelly Schaefer’s great vocals and guitar work. Unquestionable Presence gets a resounding 10/10 and is a must listen to the album for anyone who likes jazz, death metal, metal, or any classical music as it is complex and has lots of nuances.
Sadly, Atheist disbanded for the first time in 1992 and then decided to get back together to release a new album which would follow up Unquestionable Presence. The next album released by Atheist was Elements which was overall pretty good and was much less jazzy than the last album Unquestionable Presence. Sadly the ripping leads from Kelly Shaefer were gone because of his development of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome which confined him to playing rhythm guitar on the rest of the album. The bass on this album is outstanding as always, but most interestingly are the level of production on this album which is extremely refined and professional which brings a new level of clarity to this album. The songs off of this album are all exciting as they follow a theme of the “elements” such as earth, wind, water, and fire.
I believe the best songs on this album overall are “Fire,” “Water,” and “Air.” In all honesty, you should listen to this album yourself as it is one of the most interesting albums I have ever heard which has many weird Latin style rhythms that I have never heard before in metal. Elements gets a resounding 8/10 and is an entire album overall. Atheist then decided to disband in 1994 and to throw in the towel until 2010 when Atheist decided to release Jupiter which is overall decent but didn’t stand up to its earlier contemporaries. The best songs off of this album for me are “Third Person” and “Fraudulent Cloth” which are equally mediocre songs that I feel stand out a little though they no longer have the nice bass touch of Tony Choy who did really well playing Roger Patterson’s bass lines and wrote some pretty great bass lines on Elements which I enjoyed a lot.
Jupiter gets a solid 6.5/10 as it is good but not as good as its contemporaries. And for today’s Tool album we are reviewing Undertow which is their first groundbreaking album which is a must listen to album. Tool is one of the greatest bands of all time and has some great tracks even if you don’t like metal or rock because they always have something good that everyone can enjoy. The best songs off of this album are “Sober” and “Undertow.” Unlike much other progressive metal Tool is surprisingly very scary and dark with their themes and Undertow is the beginning of the start of that mindset and thought that goes behind Tool.
“Sober” is an excellent track as it is very calm at parts but also cumbersome and impactful which touches on themes of alcoholism and abuse. “Undertow” in all honesty is just weird and heavy at times which makes it such a great track overall. Undertow gets a solid 10/10 and has some of the greatest prog metal riffs since Dream Theatres’ Images And Words. Next week we will be taking a look at Opeth’s discography so far and Tool’s Ænema.
April 26, 2019
This week we will be continuing our pursuit to review Early Death Metal bands with Morbid Angel. A quick background on Morbid Angel is that they formed in 1983 in Tampa Florida. They then recorded their first album in 1986 after firing Michael Manson and Sterling von Scarborough so that David “Evil D” Vincent could be the new vocalist/bassist. That album was Altars Of Madness and then three years later Morbid Angel became one of the most influential bands ever with the release of Altars Of Madness. Altars Of Madness has three main standout songs which are “Immortal Rites,” “Chapel Of Ghouls,” and “Maze Of Torment.”
“Immortal Rites” is the first song on this record which tells you from the beginning exactly what you are in for. “Immortal Rites” utilizes fast tremolo picking during the chorus with a ripping fast whammy bar solo which is common in Death Metal and in Morbid Angel songs but was new and interesting at the time of the album’s release. “Chapel Of Ghouls” is a fun thrashy song with a very long interesting solo which then stops and goes into a heavy mid-section chugging riff which then lets David Vincent demonstrate his vocal skill which sounds like it is layered to give it a brutal effect. “Maze Of Torment” in all honesty has a great main riff which is just fun which makes this song a fun song to play and to listen to overall. This album has perfected the double kick bass drum sound which is very apparent and fast as it sounds like a percussive barrage which was new for its time and wasn’t as common, also this record was one of the first records to have the blast beat on it as the drummer Pete Sandoval is the inventor of this particular way of playing the drums.
Altars Of Madness gets a complete 10/10 and is a must listen to album which makes it the best Morbid Angel album that has been made in human history so far. After the release of Altars Of Madness, Morbid Angel will keep their members together and release their next album Blessed Are the Sick which is a very good album that shows all of what Morbid Angel’s “original lineup” has to offer. The two songs “Day of Suffering” and “Fall from Grace” are the main classics on this album which are much slower and focused on chugging guitar riffs that are heavy rather than just technical skill which will carry one and define a large amount of Morbid Angel’s songs with fast drums and moderate to slow guitar riffs but also quick tremolo picking and insanely fast whammy bar solos. Blessed Are the Sick is in basics a continuation of Altars Of Madness but of lower quality, because I think that the edge and the gripping intensity of the first album diminished somewhat over the two years that took to write Blessed Are the Sick. Blessed Are the Sick gets a solid 9/10 as it is still good but not perfect in every way. The next album that came out saw the departure of Richard Brunelle and the first “mainstream” success of Morbid Angel.
Covenant was the new album released which was an absolutely revolutionary album that put Morbid Angel into the mainstream which even got a reaction from Beavis and Butthead on MTV. Covenant has two main songs which I regard as two of the greatest songs in Classic Death Metal history which are “Angel Of Disease” and “Rapture.” “Angel Of Disease” is just a very heavy and brutal song which mainly gets its fame from the lyrics which are very brutal and have lots of meaning in describing this character. “Rapture” is one of the best opening tracks of all time for any album. Which comes in guns blazing immediately and takes no prisoners.
Covenant has a very good mix which makes the album sounds very pronounced and professional overall. Covenant gets a resounding 10/10 and is a must listen to album. Two years later Morbid Angel’s last good album came out which is called Domination. The end of this album marks the end of the first period of what is known as the first part of the “David Vincent Era.” Domination takes many of the earlier themes from Morbid Angel and just ignores them completely.
This is where the main problems with Morbid Angel started between David Vincent and Trey Azagthoth. The outcome of the end of their tour was that David Vincent left the band which solidified Trey’s control and ownership over the band. The two best songs off of this album are “Where the Slime Live,” and “Domination.” “Domination” is an overall great track that I have heard is a great track to hear live. “Where the Slime Live” is my favorite song off of this album and is perfect in almost every way. What bothers me with this song is the vocal effect choice with a weird bubbling underwater sound which makes the album version of this song absolutely awful.
If you have a choice please listen to a live version of “Where the Slime Live” because David Vincent in all renditions of playing it live has abandoned that awful effect. Domination gets a disappointing 7/10 as it would have sounded way better overall. The replacement for David Vincent was Steve Tucker who is in my personal opinion a better bassist but has lesser vocals and is much less entertaining on stage overall. The next album is called Formulas Fatal to the Flesh which is overall simply mediocre. The two songs off of this record that I think are the best are “Covenant Of Death” and “Prayer Of Hatred” which are each cool songs.
“Covenant Of Death” has a really interesting clean section at the end of the song with an experimental tapping riff which is clean much, unlike other Morbid Angel songs. “Prayer Of Hatred” one the other hand is much of the same but I feel it is Steve Tucker’s best performance on this album. Formulas Fatal to the Flesh gets a solid 5/10 which makes it a completely mediocre album overall. Two years later Morbid Angel released Gateways to Annihilation which I personally think is the best album in the early Steve Tucker era. On this album, Steve Tucker demonstrated his ability to write really good lyrics for Morbid Angel which pairs very well with Trey Azagthoth’s songwriting ability.
Honestly there isn’t one bad song off of Gateways To Annihilation but there is certainly a top three which are “To The Victor The Spoils,” “Opening of the Gates,” and “Ageless, Still I Am.” An honorable mention is certainly “Summoning Redemption” which is a great track overall. Honestly, the entire album is a must listen and you should have a listen as soon as possible. “Opening of the Gates” is certainly the most atmospheric track; at least at the beginning, on this album which then evolves into a quick succession of blast beats and quick tremolo picking which is similar to the common material but features a new vocal technique which really makes it heavier. “To The Victor The Spoils” and “Ageless, I Still Am” are really great tracks also and what draws me in is the very technical drumming and the solos which seem to have more feeling on this record than any other.
Gateways to Annihilation gets a resounding 10/10 as it is a masterpiece of an album. The next album Morbid Angel released, in the year of 2003 was Heretic which wasn’t very good but had two things I enjoyed. The first thing I enjoyed was the vocals which are always good from Steve Tucker since he is an amazing vocalist. The second thing I enjoyed was the addition of Karl Sanders who performed the solo on the track “God of Our Own Divinity” which was a fun addition. I felt that this album was extremely weak and a huge disappointment because of the interesting new addition of keyboards and guitar synthesizer since I am a sucker for atmospheric tracks.
In all this album could’ve been really interesting and good but it proved to be a failure which ended the first Steve Tucker Era with the band after he left. Heretic gets a disappointing 4/10 as I enjoy some aspects but many just fall flat and don’t stick the landing whatsoever. The next album in 2011 had David Vincent return to Morbid Angel with what would’ve hopefully been the “comeback” album for Morbid Angel with a return to their roots with an Altars Of Madness type album with the original tone. Morbid Angel then released their worst album of all time which was another experimental type album called Illud Divinum Insansus. Illud Divinum Insansus, in short, is just absolutely awful.
There are no redeemable aspects on this album that it can be compared to the disastrously awful St. Anger by Metallica which I think was actually better than this confusing mess of an album. There is no reason to listen to this album as it is just non-memorable Death Metal songs (written by Trey Azagthoth) whilst the other songs are industrial/experimental metal (written by David Vincent) which isn’t very good. Illud Divinum Insansus gets an extremely disappointing 1/10. Because of the utter failure of Illud Divinum Insansus David Vincent was kicked out of Morbid Angel once more which commenced The Second Steve Tucker Era in 2017 with the release of Kingdoms Distained. I have some minor problems with this album but the shining problem is the mixing.
The mixing on this album is horrendous which makes the drums way louder than they need to be which makes the guitar and the bass almost impossible to hear in the mix. I prefer listening to this album’s songs on live videos if possible because it sounds much more balanced overall through a live video. “Garden of Disdain” and “Architect and Ionoclast” are the real gems off of this album which adds some great material to the to the Steve Tucker lineup. Kingdoms Distained gets a solid 7.5/10. Tune in next week for a review on Atheist’s discography and a review of one singular Tool album which will go along with each new album review in order to hype up the new Tool album which is rumored to release this year after multiple delays.
April 16, 2019
Today we will be reviewing the band Death and all of their albums. This will be our first formal introduction into Death Metal and I am going to start this review with a warning. I am telling you to not listen to Death Metal until you are 100% ready. To pinpoint when you are ready for Death Metal isn’t easy and it is only when you are feeling like you need something heavier than what you are currently listening to. For me, after I really got into Slayer I then discovered Kreator, Sepultura, and Midnight which then got me into heavier stuff like Revocation, Carcass, and eventually Death which made me a fan of Death Metal and extreme metal in general.
Let’s start at the beginning with the history of Death. Death is the first death metal band in America and pioneered the genre along with other Tampa Bay Florida bands like Deicide, Obituary, and Morbid Angel. Now there is a debate between whether or not Possessed is the first Death Metal band as they coined the genre and put out their album Seven Churches. I personally think that Possessed coined it and Death perfected it. The first album we will review now is Scream Bloody Gore.
Scream Bloody Gore or as I will be referring to it as SBG is Death’s debut album and is the most primitive and simplest album they released. Songs that stand out on this album are “Evil Dead,” “Mutilation,” and “Zombie Ritual.” “Evil Dead” opens with a cryptic arpeggio on the lead guitar while the other plays power chords until the main riff comes in full speed ahead while Chuck Schuldiner sums up the plot of the popular cult horror film Evil Dead. “Mutilation” is a great track simply because of the great utilization of the bass which I really like to hear especially when it is nice and pronounced like one this track. “Zombie Ritual” is just a really great song overall and has my favorite solo off of this album which shows the early steps to Chuck becoming one of the greatest guitarists who ever existed and an absolute guitar legend.
SBG gets a 9/10 mainly because of the vocal effects and mixes which I think sounds very bad. Death then had a lineup change and made another legendary album called Leprosy which is a very underrated album. Leprosy is an album that I feel is very uniform and similar that has mainly three good songs being “Leprosy,” “Pull The Plug,” and “Open Casket.” These songs along with the album are all magnificent and I think that “Pull The Plug” and “Leprosy” are the best songs mainly since they show the early philosophical side of Death since “Leprosy” is about the Lepers being exiled and that they are rotting from missing their families just like their flesh. “Pull The Plug” is a favorite of mine because it is my favorite Death song to play on guitar also the main riff is amazing. Leprosy gets an 8/10 though it is good it feels very uniform which bores me while I listen to it.
The next album Death released was Spiritual Healing which is my favorite Death album of all time. I really like this album because of the technical skill on the guitar as shown with the tapping riff parts which is when you take your hand and tap the fingerboard of the guitar in order to make a unique noise. This guitar trick was popularized by Eddie Van Halen of the band, Van Halen. Here you can see Eddie Van Halen tapping on his song “Eruption” which is a very famous shredding song.
The songs on this album that stand out are “Spiritual Healing,” “Altering The Future,” and “Living Monstrosity.” “Living Monstrosity” is the opening track of this album which comes in with a bang, the lyrics are very brutal and detail a child being born disfigured because his mother did drugs which forever ruined his life. “Altering The Future” is another great track which is very slow ling gets a resounding 10/10.
Then brooding at the beginning but then quickly speeds up to a more progressive solo which encompasses a great portion of the song. My favorite song on this record is “Spiritual Healing” which opens with an interesting tapping riff which then progresses into a brutal combination of power chords in which Chuck details a story of a person who committed a crime; presumably murder, and has a journey of regret and realization of what that person did. Also, the chorus is extremely catchy and fun to hear. Spiritual Healing next and most influential album death put out was Human which is the most innovative and interesting Death album that ever came out. This album sounds and feels different mainly because two then members of Death were Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert of the band Cynic. The two songs I really enjoy off of this album are “Lack of Comprehension” which shows a cleaner and more refined opening which lulls you into a sense of security only to be surprised by the main riff which defines the entire track and album, also the arpeggio fills are a nice touch. The Second song I really enjoy off of this record is “Suicide Machine” which has a really great bass tone and incorporates the technique of slapping the bass with your thumb or your thumb to make an interesting and unique sound. Human for its time was completely revolutionary and new which really innovated and set the blueprint for future Death Metal albums. Human gets a 10/10 and is a must listen to album.
Two years later Individual Thought Patterns was released and with it my favorite bass tone within Death Metal. The two songs one this record that I enjoy is mainly because of the bass riffs. The songs “Trapped in a Corner” and “The Philosopher” are my favorite songs off this record. “Trapped in a Corner” has a great opening riff which is very interesting and progressive but also has a very heavy bass which is also fretless which is very cool since it was done correctly. “The Philosopher” is another favorite because of the amazing bass solo at the end which is very technical and interesting.
The issues with this record are that it can be somewhat boring after the first listen but when listening in chunks it is very good. Individual Thought Patterns gets a solid 8.5/10.
The next album released is what I and many others is Chuck’s power metal tribute known as Symbolic. Symbolic has ripping leads and ascending arpeggios which are unlike any other record I have listened to. This album overall is a 10/10 and has all extremely good tracks overall. If I were to choose three that are the best I would choose “Crystal Mountain,” “Symbolic,” and “Empty Words.” Please listen to these songs yourself since they are really great songs to hear to get into Death Metal and especially into more heavier stuff.
“Crystal Mountain” has a very energetic track which has ripping dueling guitars and very somewhat clean sections which are interestingly a great choice on a very energetic and quick song. “Symbolic” and “Empty Words” are many different and interesting songs but I will not do them justice by stating what they are since they are truly works of art that you need to hear even if you can’t stand metal. Symbolic gets a solid 10/10 and is a great starter for those who want to get into Death and Death Metal.
The final album that Death released because of Chuck’s unfortunate passing is The Sound of Perseverance. The Sound of Perseverance, in my opinion, is Death’s worst album and it is honestly the most progressive to the point of almost bordering one Prog Metal which makes it a very interesting album. In all honesty, I think that this album is completely uniform and that all songs on it are completely the same to me. Tracks that somewhat stand out are “Spirit Crusher” and “The Flesh and the Power It Holds” which are really good tracks like everything on this album. Another mentionable is “Scavenger Of Human Sorrow” which is also a really good track.
Things I like on this album is the drums which sound amazing, the vocals which sound really refined, and a great guitar tone. The Sound of Perseverance gets a 7/10 for being fun but overall uniform album.
Bonus Review, I have been asked by Paisley Austin to review the song “Baby” by Justin Bieber. I would like to preface this song review by saying that I listened to this song fifteen times to find anything that I thought was redeemable, in short, I didn’t. I would like to mention that this song is extremely repetitive which I think was an attempt at making the song catchy. I think Justin Beiber did this song incorrectly because of the main reason that repeating something doesn’t make it catchy. For example, the song “Under Pressure” by Queen as much as I can’t stand Queen is catchy because of the underlining bassline along with the piano which is memorable.
Another example is with the song “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr. which is catchy because of the lyrics and how they mesh together with the instruments and the changes from verse to the chorus which makes it catchy and memorable. “Baby” by Justin Bieber gets a solid 1/10 mainly because I will never give a 0/10 since at least it’s an actual song and not just rocks hitting sticks (though I would prefer that any day over this song.) Next week I will be reviewing the band Morbid Angel.
April 8, 2019
I wish to preface this review by sharing, Havok is one of my all-time favorite bands, and I rate this album as a “must listen.” This album is Conformicide by Havok. Let’s talk about the technical wizardry of perfectly crafted, quality sound production in this album. First, the bass is not diminished to a deficient volume whereby one can only hear thunderous, threatening, grind of drums, as heard on the album, And Justice For All. The drums sound very good and aren’t entirely overpowering like many currently released albums whereby the drums and vocals are all that you can hear, such as the creation from Kingdoms Disdained. Guitar sound and vocals are refined, not overpowering, working wonders with chilling melodies.
Onto the actual writing and songs; I must say that the bass work is polished metal. The bass is very complex and different from what I traditionally hear in Thrash Metal; it’s prefaced doom-death before rage is something expected in Technical Death Metal like Atheist. Nick Schendzielos reveals that he has crazy skills on the bass. I hope that he remains in the band, as he is my favorite bassist to observe on stage due to his endless explosive energy. Now before I get into the songs, I must provide a warning to readers.
This album is profoundly political, much like Megadeth with its political grind, so if you are easily offended with political content, you may want to refrain from listening to this album. Let’s start with the songs I feel are good, such as “F.P.C,” “Intention to Deceive,” and “Circling the Drain.” Each of these songs is amazing and have great bass parts with a message that sticks with you. For example, in “Intention to Deceive” it begins with an announcer on the evening news stating, “Here’s what we want you to think.” This quote sets the theme and tone of this album which primarily refers to the American political system and its corruption, lying, backroom dealings, and fake news.
Sadly, this song doesn’t introduce the album, which it should, but it is a great song nonetheless. “Circling the Drain” really stands out to me because of the prodigious bass riff and great bass solo which shines on it. “F.P.C” has an amazing intro riff and it’s a fun song overall. Mentionable on this record is “Wake Up” and “Dogmanical,” both overall pretty cool songs with powerful bass. This album was an absolute joy to listen due to its great pace, and I rate it as a 7:10.
Another mentionable album by Havok is “Time Is Up,” their best album to date, also a great listen. A local band worth mentioning is Assault, an up-and-coming thrash metal band born right here in Cleveland. They have a demo preview out on their website which I highly recommend. My next review will be on the band, Death, one of the originators of Death Metal.
March 20, 2019
Welcome to my next throwback album review of “Heartwork” by Carcass. A little backstory of Carcass is that they were one of the first-ever Grindcore bands within the Grindcore genre. Grindcore is a genre that is characterized by breakneck tempos, fast drumming (blast beats), and finally what is known as “harsh vocals” familiar in both Black Metal and Death Metal. I am currently going to be focusing on their turning point as a band and how they moved away from Grindcore blast beats and insanely fast guitars to feeling melodic solos with cunning guitar sound.
In late 1993, the first-ever Melodic Death Metal album released, this album was put out by Carcass, and it is entitled “Heartwork.” This album blew my mind when I heard it back in the 6th grade turning me into a fan of Carcass forever. The first track “Buried Dreams” brings in a melodic, slower guitar that is both brooding and cunning. It has a big groovy feel to the song, and it’s especially fascinating because of the way the solo is executed, as I can hear what seems to be a reverb pedal placing a lot of character to the piece. “Buried Dreams” is a 10/10 must listen song, especially for the good feels it gives. “Carnal Forge” is the next track which is overall a 7/10 in my opinion since it is a pretty generic but excellent carcass track. The next track “No Love Lost” is a very groovy track much like “Buried Dreams,” but it has much less finesse than the ladder making it a very long monotonous song until the solo. The solo gives technical spice to this song but becomes lost due to being concise. “No Love Lost” is a solid 7.5/10. The next song is my favorite song to play on guitar which is “Heartwork.” The title track makes this album shine because of the amount of feeling and technical skill required to play it. You can hear the technicality and feel directly off the bat because of the different approach this song takes on this album. Every song before this album easies you into the music for a nice heavy groove.
Meanwhile, “Heartwork” hits you with a technical barrage of tremolo picking at a breakneck pace, throwing the listener directly into the fire, which provides a very thrashy style to the piece. The bass sounds wonderful, and it shines on this track, good job Jeff Walker with both vocals and bass work! The ripping lead work of Bill Steer on this album is insane, and it shows the extensive effort placed into this album. Drumming is fantastic with Ken Owen’s skills, and I hope he fully recovers from his brain hemorrhage so he can maybe reach the peak of what he used to be. The song “Heartwork” gets a 10/10 being my favorite song on this record.
The next two songs, “Embodiment” and “This Mortal Coil,” are both masterpieces and deserve 9/10. I cannot do them justice through words; please take the time to listen to these to songs even if you listen to nothing else on this album. “Death Certificate” is the last song on this record and it is overall an excellent track. The other three songs “Arbeit Macht Fleisch,” “Blind Bleeding the Blind,” and “Doctrinal Expletives.” Are very overall decent songs that feel run of the mill to me and each get a solid 6/10. The album “Heartwork” by Carcass gets a solid 10/10 and is an excellent starter to those new to Death Metal in general since it is easier to stomach than most other bands. After Spring Break I will be reviewing a new school thrash band album called Havok and their newest album “Conformicide.” Make sure to stay tuned everyone!
March 15, 2019
Today is the day where I finish our review on the glorious Big Four with the almighty Slayer which is the heaviest of the Big Four. I will now give you the first warning I will give on this page. This warning is to only listen to Slayer when you are ready because it is a bit much for those who aren’t accustomed to thrash metal and it acts as a gateway to heavier genres like grindcore, black/unblack metal, and death metal. Each of which I pride myself in listening to. Slayer is an American thrash metal band whose main lineup was made up of Tom Araya, Kerry King, Jeff Hanneman, and Dave Lombardo. The current original members are Tom Araya and Kerry King which wish to end the legacy of Slayer with one final world tour that will be coming to Youngstown in Ohio so that is your one last chance to see them live. I think that Slayer has the right to retire because they have been together as a band since 1981 and they deserve a break. So in order to honor the legacy of Slayer, I will be reviewing every Slayer album in existence.
Starting with their debut “Show No Mercy” which has a very different feel with a much more primitive sound and it almost feels like it’s from a completely different band, with all this in hand it is still a start and has many flaws so it gets an 8/10 as a whole. After “Show No Mercy” Slayer came out within 1985 “Hell Awaits” which is the defining album for Slayer’s sound and demeanor. “Hell Awaits” is an amazing album but it doesn’t stand out too much to me so it feels a little less than amazing since I only really enjoy the title track and not much else on it but other people say it is much better than I think so I would listen for yourself on this one. “Hell Awaits” gets a solid 7/10. Slayer then decided to release in 1986 what many hold as their best album to date known as “Reign In Blood” which is my favorite Slayer album because of the songs “Postmortem” and “Altar Of Sacrifice” which are not as prominent as the very popular tracks “Angel Of Death” and “Raining Blood” which also each are thrashterpeices within themselves. “Reign In Blood” gets a solid 10/10 and is a must listen thrash metal album.
Two years later Slayer decided to release “South Of Heaven” which is the most poetic of an album which mentions many problems with our society and problems with war. This album is a bit of a change in pace from Slayer’s “Reign In Blood” but it proves to be a good thing and an amazing album with a track criticizing the draft and war (“Mandatory Suicide”) and a track speaking out about the many things that aren’t ok within our society (“South Of Heaven.”) “South Of Heaven” gets a solid 10/10 being a must listen. Two years after the release of “South Of Heaven” Slayer as a band made another thrasherpiece known as “Seasons in the Abyss” which is basically a mixed combination of the last two albums in one album that is one of Slayer’s best albums. Songs on this album are absolutely amazing and give a large variety of thrashy songs like “War Ensemble” to slower songs like “Spirit In Black” or “Skeletons of Society.” “Seasons in the Abyss” gets a 10/10 and is a must listen to album.
The next album that was released was “Divine Intervention” which overall for me was a dud and is a mediocre album which sits at a 5/10 for me. The next album “Undisputed Attitude” was a cover album which is interesting but isn’t a Slayer album so I won’t give it a recommendation but I think it is at least a 4/10 since I really don’t enjoy the album as a whole and I like to just see Slayer do their own thing. After “Undisputed Attitude” Slayer decided to release a new album known as “Diabolus in Musica” which is simply awful and gets a 3/10 from me. Kerry King referred to “Diabolus in Musica” was Slayer’s “Turbo” which is a Judas Priest record that is just as awful which also gets a 1/10 so I don’t have to review that abomination of an album (Judas Priest is a good band by the way it is honestly that album that is so bad.) The only somewhat good song off of “Diabolus In Musica” which is “Death’s Head” simply since it is a very brutal song and has some cool lyrics such as “Death is your name You’re facing your grave” which is a little edgy but it really gives you that cool feeling.
Slayer decided in 2001 to make a comeback album known as “God Hates Us All” which is a very good comeback and it has great songs off it such as “Disciple” and “Bloodline” being the best racks off of the album. “God Hates Us All” gets a solid 7/10. The next album is “Christ Illusion” which honestly is full of great tracks and gets a solid 8/10. “World Painted Blood” marked Slayer’s next album after three years that surely didn’t disappoint but it is the last album the late Jeff Hanneman will perform on because of his late death on May 2nd, 2013. “World Painted Blood” is a solid 7/10 with an experience you need to hear for yourself. Finally, Slayer finishes with a 9/10 on “Repentless” to mark their final album with a memory of Jeff Hanneman and his lifestyle that drove the band to greatness.
Make sure to see Slayer in Youngstown at the Covelli Center on their Final World Tour on May 20th, I will certainly be there! Next review will be “Heartwork” by the melodic death metal band Carcass. See you next week!
March 11, 2019
Today’s review is going to be on the thrash metal band called Megadeth. A quick backstory to this band is that Dave Mustaine was kicked out of Metallica with “no warning, no second chance,” and decided to make a new band that will destroy Metallica and over compass it completely. In my opinion and many others, he succeeded in every category except in the mainstream music competition. Megadeth’s greatest albums are “Rust In Peace,” “Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good,” “Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying,” and “Dystopia” though I personally recommend every Megadeth album except, “The World Needs a Hero” and “United Abominations.” The first album I will be reviewing is their first album “Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good.” The album KIMB is Megadeth’s debut album which is a smashing entrance into the thrash metal scene which starts the war of Metallica and Megadeth both trying to one-up each other constantly. Three songs off of this album that I would recommend and that really stand out are “The Skull Beneath The Skin” which is a very unique song in that it describes the band’s mascot Vic Rattlehead who is depicted on most of Megadeth’s albums. The beginning of “The Skull Beneath The Skin” starts with a guitar intro that completely shreds then Dave Mustaine hits a high note while the guitar progresses into the main riff. The next song I really enjoy off of this album is “The Mechanix” which is a very fun headbanging song. This song is very similar to Metallica’s “The Four Horsemen” which is because Metallica used Dave’s riffs without his permission which is still something that the bands fight about to this day. The next song that stands out on this album is “Rattlehead” which is the Thrashterpeice of the album which just makes you want to start a mosh pit wherever you are. KIMB gets a 10/10 making it a perfect album in every way except the mixing but even that can be overlooked.
The next album I will be reviewing is “Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying.” This album is perfect in every way but the song Good Mourning/Black Friday isn’t my favorite but many friends of mine and other Metalheads really like it so I’d make up my own opinion one that if I were you and not trust me saying that Good Mourning/Black Friday is a bad song. “Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying” gets a solid 9.5/10. “Rust In Peace” is the next Megadeth album but it is also undoubtedly when Megadeth was at their peak as a band. “Rust In Peace” has many thrashterpeices one the album including “Hangar 18,” “Holy Wars…The Punishment Due,” and “Five Magics” are all personal favorites of mine each of which is unique and absolutely wonderful, also “Tornado Of Souls” is an honorable mention and it is also up there as a close second to “Five Magics.” Please listen to this album for yourself because it is an experience in music like none other. “Rust In Peace” gets a 10/10 making it a perfect album in every way because all songs are good, the songs fit, the songs are unique, and every track compliments this album.
The final album I will be reviewing is Megadeth’s latest album “Dystopia.” This album is one of my favorite albums in recent times and it is instantly a Megadeth classic. The new guitarist Kiko Loureiro is my favorite guitarist in Megadeth (besides Dave Mustaine) who adds a different style of playing classic Megadeth songs and a new style to playing on this album. Chris Adler replaces Shawn Drover and brings with him his Lamb Of God style drumming skills with utterly amazing double bass work and great drumming overall. He was replaced shortly after with Dirk Verbeuren who is debatably the best drummer that Megadeth ever had. I love the current lineup for Megadeth and I will be seeing them with Ozzy over the summer but now back to the review. This album is a solid 10/10 in which you should listen to the whole album because each and every song on this album is an absolute thrasherpiece especially the track “Lying In State” which is a personal favorite of mine. Next review will be on the heaviest out of the big four known as Slayer.
March 4, 2019
Today’s review is going to be on Metallica which is a still somewhat thrash metal band that is a part of the big four. Metallica is one of the first thrash metal bands that has popularized the genre but many of their popular songs aren’t thrash metal whatsoever. I will be talking about their four first albums or in my opinion the only good Metallica albums. Starting with their debut album “Kill Em All” which is an absolute thrashterpeice and has many great songs on the album mainly because of what I like to call Mustaine Juice. Mustaine Juice is a term I like to use for Dave Mustaine’s writing in Metallica and how his riffs were used by them without his consent after he was kicked out of the band for rampant drug use and other problems with him. Anyways most to all Metallica songs off of the first three albums that stand out and sound different were most likely written by Dave Mustaine if you look them up. “Kill Em All” is one of the greatest thrash albums of all time and it is a classic album among thrash fans and since every song is very good off this album I will not be listing best songs. The next album that Metalica produced is “Ride The Lightning” which has less Dave Mustaine influenced songs but it is still an amazing album. Three good songs off of this album are “Ride The Lightning” which is the title track but it is one of the first songs where I truly thought of lyrics being brutal, this song describes a man being sentenced to death by electric chair and being electrocuted. The Second song I will like to review is “Trapped Under Ice” which is one of the fastest thrashiest songs off of the album which is about a guy who is trapped under ice. The final song I would like to review is “Fight Fire With Fire” which starts with an acoustic beginning but then later gets into a brutal thrash riff that really makes you want to start a mosh pit wherever you are. This album gets a solid 8/10 but still, it is absolutely amazing. The Next Album I will like to review is “Master Of Puppets” which is when the Mustaine Juice has run out, except for the song “Leper Messiah” which is highly disputed upon for who wrote the song. I choose to believe that Dave Mustaine wrote the song because it seems like something off of a Megadeth album like Killing Is My Business… And Business Is Good. The first song I would like to mention is “Disposable Heroes” which is an absolute thrashterpeice and it is an anti-war song about the treatment of our soldiers and a protest against the draft and war in general. The next song I would like to mention is Battery simply because of how hard it is to play and what a great song it is to mosh to. The final song I would like to mention is “Leper Messiah” which is a Megadeth sounding track that I enjoy because of the awesome lyrics and the groove metal vibe. “Master Of Puppets” gets a solid 7/10 which shows the slippery slope of Metallica’s decline in quality. The final album I will review is “…And Justice For All” which is a badly produced album that has no Mustaine Juice whatsoever. The bass is unhearable which is a shame since I love many of the riffs on this album for the bass and the guitar feels extremely weak without it which is very sad because this album would have sounded great. Two songs off of this album that are great are the title track and “Blackened” which are the only real redeemable songs off of this album. This album gets a solid 6/10 because of the awful mixing choices, lack of creativity, appeal to popularity, and God awful drum sound that sounds extremely processed and superficial especially on the kick. After this album, Metallica produced the black album and sold out to the mainstream so I refuse to review any of their other albums unless asked to which I will begrudgingly review them. The next big four band I will be reviewing will be a much better band overall and a band which stemmed off from this one known as Megadeth.
February 27, 2019
This review is going to be the first of the big 4 band introduction. Today’s review is about Anthrax which is one of the big 4 and a band I have personally seen live. Anthrax isn’t the heaviest band and doesn’t have the best track record out of the big 4 in albums, but it certainly doesn’t have the worst. This band hails from New York City and is one of the largest bands in thrash to this day. Their approach on vocals is very interesting because Joey Belladonna has a higher voice range than normal thrash singers with him singing in tenor. Joey Belladonna seems to not be the best vocalist for this band in general but surprisingly he fits the band very well. Essential albums from Anthrax would be “State Of Euphoria,” “Spreading The Disease,” and my personal favorite ”Among The Living.” Starting with “State Of Euphoria” which overall is a solid album with few flaws but relistening to it really makes me remember why I don’t listen to it so often but it is a solid 7/10. It has two main tracks I really enjoy which are “Who Cares Wins” which has an absolutely amazing solo which is unparalleled by any other one song on the album, the other song is “Antisocial” which is a very fun crowd participation song and I thoroughly enjoyed it when I saw Anthrax on the Slayer North American Tour leg one. The next album “Spreading The Disease” which is one of my favorite thrash albums ever shows how Anthrax can really play and showcases that classic crunchy thrashy guitar tone that is right in your face. Songs I really enjoy on this album are “Madhouse,” “Lone Justice,” and “Gung-Ho.” Starting with “Madhouse” this song demonstrations that Anthrax knows how to be heavy but not necessarily extremely thrashy. The vocals really shine on this album and especially this song with Joey really reaching for high notes along with an amazing guitar tone, check out the music video here it’s pretty wacky. “Lone Justice” is a great thrashy song but it really shows how Anthrax can tell a good story through a simple song. “Gung-Ho” is another great song off of this album which showcases how fast Anthrax can go and it shows the overall peak of their ability on an album where they weren’t even at their prime. Overall I give “Spreading The Disease” a solid 9/10. “Among The Living” is the best album that Anthrax ever put out and it was their exact peak of them as a band overall. I would now generally list songs from this album that are the best but this album in every way is flawless. The only song that is in my opinion very boring is “One World” which bores me to be in such a good album but many people tell me that it is a great song overall so I am probably just picky. I give Anthrax’s “Among The Living” a solid 10/10 as it is flawless in every which way and it is a good place to get into thrash metal. My next review will be on another large thrash band within the big four which is very mainstream known as Metallica.
February 26, 2019
Today’s review is going to be my first throwback review to an album I listened to a lot in the past that I am now revisiting. This throwback review will be a great album for early and newer metal listeners that are ready to get into thrash metal. “Bonded By Blood” by Exodus is an instant thrash classic album that is a pure adrenaline rush and one of my early thrash metal albums besides listening to big 4 albums (the big 4 are Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax.) This album came out in 1985 when thrash metal was in its hay day and it was easily the heaviest stuff around. The album is a never-ending thrash attack masterpiece, or a thrashterpeice as I call it. A little history for this band is that they started in Richmond California which constitutes them as a “bay area thrash band.” There have been 19 different members in Exodus but this one is considered to be the best of them all partially because Paul Baloff was in the band during the recording of this album, sadly Paul is no longer within this world and has passed on in 2002. The tracks that stand out on this album are “Strike of the Beast,” “Bonded By Blood,” “Exodus,” and “Piranha’ being songs that are commonly played on their tours and shows. “Strike of the Beast” is my favorite track off of the album and it is my favorite Exodus song over their entire discography. “Bonded By Blood” is the title track and the first track on the album which immediately drops you straight into the fire without any warning whatsoever, this is one of the reasons why this album is great is because of the pure adrenaline and thrashing feel that carries over the whole album. “Exodus” is a very party-like song which is the crowd participation moment for the band which makes it the “Toxic Waltz” before the “Toxic Waltz” ever existed. “Exodus” overall is a great song and is pretty cool to see performed live and it’s a good listen. “Piranha” is the final unique track I must mention because it simply showcases an amazing drum intro which is though short one of my favorites to ever hear second to Anthrax’s “Indians’ intro which will be apart of my next part 4 review on the big four. The album ‘Bonded By Blood” by Exodus gets a solid 10/10 making this album absolutely legendary and a must-listen to any lover of metal or any metal beginner.
February 22, 2019
Today Overkill just released their 19th studio album titled, “The Wings Of War.” This album is in all honestly one of the best Overkill releases in recent times. Songs on this album that seem to stand out are “Believe In the Fight” and “Where Few Dare to Walk.” The former song I mentioned shows that Overkill can pull off some decent backing vocals but not to the point to where it becomes overbearing or gives the impression that the vocalist isn’t very good or that he doesn’t know what he’s doing (these problems are common with bands like Bloodbath especially in their later work). Thankfully Bobby Ellsworth has still got an absolute pristine voice ever since the band’s inception in 1980. The ladder song I mentioned gives me good vibes from other thrash songs such as “Dawn Patrol” by Megadeth which it feels very similar to. Other great tracks on this album are “Welcome to the Garden State”, “Distortion”, and “Head of a Pin.” The bass work is certainly here on this album as common in many Thrash records. The real question is that is this the new “Under The Influence” or the new “The Years Of Decay”? In short, no but this is one of the best Overkill thrash albums. Some of the flaws of this album are that it suffers from R.C.L or “Really Cool Lyrics” which means that the music sounds cool but doesn’t have much actual substance to it, not all songs on this album apply to R.C.L but it is certainly a problem. The second problem this album suffers from is what I call “album fatigue” which is common with some bands such as Overkill. On the two previous albums I mentioned (“Under The Influence” and “The Years Of Decay”) there is no album fatigue whatsoever. Overall, this is one of the greatest thrash records I have heard in a long while. I give this headbanging masterpiece a solid 8/10.