Thursday, February 28, 2013

FMA Reviews: Unburied: Murder 101

Originally reviewed here.
I like Obituary as much as the next metalhead. At least when they are doing something entertaining. Unfortunately at times, Obituary gets bogged down in a groove and refuses to let it go. The result is extremely tedious. At least having Ralph Santolla around to make things more interesting with a blazing guitar solo evens some of that out.

Now why in the hell did I open an Unburied album review with a discussion of Obituary? Because Unburied sound like Obituary. At their most ridiculously boring. That is not a good sign by the way. Imagine an entire album full of Obituary-stuck-in-a-groove with absolutely no release. Does not sound like much fun does it? After hearing this album I can attest that no, no it is not much fun. I happen to like death metal with a fair amount of groove (I love Jungle Rot), but Unburied really takes it way too far.

The real problem is the predictability. Unburied uses about one or two riffs per song and get stuck there. There are no guitar solos to add a little bit of color and the vocals are just the same grunt/growls all the way through. Once in awhile a sample from some movie or other will show up, but that is about it as far as interesting elements go. The rest of the album just sort of carries on with its grooving death metal riffs.

There is a lot of hardcore influence in the music as well. This does not bother me much, but neither does it really add anything to spice up the otherwise very ordinary proceedings.

This album is not really bad per se. It is just boring. And sometimes that is worse. I can listen to a bad album and be entertained by some of the bizarre attempts at creating something. And at least bad albums are often memorable for how bad they may be. When an album is boring, it quickly fades into obscurity.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 114

ARTIST:  Amorphis
ORIGIN:  Helsinki, Finland
TITLE:  Elegy
LABEL:  Relapse Records
YEAR:  1996
GENRE:  Folk/Death Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Against Widows"
NOTES:  I bought this one shortly before a family vacation.  It was due to my love of Tuonela that I bought this one.  I will say that this album is quite a bit different from that one, mostly due to the fact that it came out earlier and had more death metal elements, particularly in the vocal style.  The folk melodies used throughout the album are the real attraction.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Black Dawn: Age of Reason

I would have loved this album in college.  Actually it originally came out shortly after my college days, in 2004.  So I probably still would have loved it had I discovered it when it came out.  It is the kind of driving, aggressive, yet catchy and grooving kind of metal that I really enjoyed when I was younger.  My tastes have matured a bit since then, so while I recognize I would have loved it when I was younger, it is not as impressive now.

Black Dawn is a groove metal band from New York who were probably just a few years late in forming or they may have been able to capitalize on the market for bands that sounded like Pantera and Machine Head.  Those are the main points of reference for their sound.  They are very close to Supercharger-era Machine Head in particular.

The music is certainly energetic and typically fast-paced.  The reference points listed above probably would cause a lot of people to avoid the band, but if not, listeners would probably find something to enjoy here.  The band members are all competent musicians and the songwriting is pretty good.  The vocals are rough, yet emotional.  This is catchy and infectious music that is filled with a lot of angst.

There is still a market for this music.  Fans of the aformentioned Pantera and Machine Head will likely enjoy this one as well.  I have personally outgrown this style, but I could see myself listening to it again.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 113

ARTIST:  Testament
ORIGIN:  Oakland, CA (United States)
TITLE:  The Gathering
LABEL:  Spitfire Records
YEAR:  1999
GENRE:  Thrash/Death Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "True Believer"
NOTES:  I picked this CD up at the local music store.  Testament was in town for a concert and did a signing at the store.  I got the CD and an autographed poster (which I have since lost unfortunately).   The band was very nice and asked if my friend and I would be going to the concert.  Unfortunately since it was a 19 and over show and we were both 18, we could not go.  The band thought that was ridiculous.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 112

ARTIST:  Dissection
ORIGIN:  Stockholm, Sweden
TITLE:  Storm of the Light's Bane
LABEL:  Nuclear Blast
YEAR:  1995
GENRE:  Melodic Black/Death Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Thorns of Crimson Death"
NOTES:  I believe that I ordered this through Barnes and Noble in high school.  I remember searching for the most evil-looking album I could find, and this cover art grabbed me.  So I went ahead and ordered it.  I had not heard much like this at that time in my metal listening experience, but something about it really captured my attention.  This is one of my all time Top 5 albums, and for very good reason.  I love listening to this album.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Philip H. Anselmo/Warbeast: War of the Gargantuas

This is probably one of the most heavily anticipated splits in quite a long time.  Phil Anselmo, the once-controversial vocalist of Pantera and Down has decided to create his own project.  The split features two songs from Philip H. Anselmo and the Illegals and two songs from dirty-thrash metallers Warbeast.

Anselmo has been rehabilitating his image quite a bit in the eyes of metalheads these days.  Pantera was very popular with the more mainstream crowd, but significantly less so in the eyes of the underground.  His feud with the Abbott brothers also raised some eyebrows, particularly after the death of Dimebag.  But he has since been heavily involved with Down as well as a host of other extreme metal projects such as Arson Anthem, Christ Inversion, Necrophagia, Viking Crown, and more, many of which he takes a supporting role in.  He also recently started Housecore Records which is responsible for Warbest and haarp among other bands.

This is Anselmo's first solo recording.  There are only two tracks here so there is not a lot to go by to determine if the solo project will be worthwhile or not, but the two tracks present here are certainly interesting.  They are growers definitely.  I was not as impressed by them the first time I heard them.  Anselmo utilizes his trademark hardcore shouted vocals throughout, often alternating tone within the same breath.  That has always been Anselmo's strength.  The songs are fairly typical sludgy groove/thrash metal with some seriously heavy riffs.

Warbeast created one of the best thrash metal albums of the last few years with Krush the Enemy.  This is their first recorded output since their 2010 debut and it does everything that made that album so terrific.  It flies by like a runaway truck, crushing everything.  The blazing guitar solos and shouted vocals are the highlights on their tracks, as well as their take-no-prisoners approach to thrash metal.

I still prefer Warbeast to the Anselmo project and am much more likely to pick up their new album, but I will probably give Anselmo a shot.

FMA Reviews: Eliminator: Krieg Thrash

Originally reviewed here.
I may be in the minority here but I never tire of retro German thrash. And no, I am not being sarcastic. Yes, the old masters Kreator, Sodom, and Destruction did it better. But I love it when a band decides to play music clearly influenced by that old bestial, neck-wrecking style.

Eliminator is one of the better new bands that play a style similar to the German Big Three. In fact, with the vocals and musical style, they sound like a slightly more-refined Kreator in their early days when Ventor provided the vocals instead of Mille Petrozza. It is slightly more-refined due the fact that this band sounds like it has had a bit more practice, tightening things up than Kreator in those days. It is not as raw and unpredictable. Eliminator is maniacally fast. This is definitely not the same fluid style as Metallica or the other Bay Area bands. It is nasty and hyperactive thrash that is full of aggression and anger.

The only real complaint I have about this album is that the speed almost never wavers. Eliminator is a rampaging beast, and I certainly like that fact but there is not a lot to separate one song from another. In addition, Eliminator does not really do anything that a lot of other bands have already done. Not a problem for me but people looking for something fresh and new probably need not bother with Eliminator.

I quite like this album. It is even more impressive that it is Eliminator's debut album.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 111

ARTIST:  Amorphis
ORIGIN:  Helsinki, Finland
TITLE:  Tuonela
LABEL:  Relapse Records
YEAR:  1999
GENRE:  Progressive Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Nightfall"
NOTES:  I heard "Divinity" for the first time on some MTV special looking at smaller labels.  The song was incredible.  I went out the next day to seek out this album.  It captured my attention immediately and Amorphis became one of my favorite bands.  I especially liked the fact that the band used wind instruments in several songs.  As a saxophone player myself, those parts were my favorite.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 110

ARTIST:  Fear Factory
ORIGIN:  Los Angeles, CA (United States)
TITLE:  Obsolete
LABEL:  Roardrunner Records
YEAR:  1998
GENRE:  Groove Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Edgecrusher"
NOTES:  This one was a bit more stripped-down than Fear Factory's prior album.  It has taken out more of the death metal elements that were present in the band's sound when they first came out.  At this point they were almost solely a groove metal band with some industrial influences.  Nevertheless, I still like this album quite a bit.  Burton Bell's clean vocals sound terrific mixed with his rougher style.  I still come back to this one occasionally.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 109

ARTIST:  Testament
ORIGIN:  Oakland, CA (United States)
TITLE:  Live at the Fillmore
LABEL:  Burnt Offerings
YEAR:  1995
GENRE:  Thrash Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Return to Serenity"
NOTES:  Despite the fact that this album was released in 1995, I did not see it for a couple of years.  As I have said before, I am not the biggest fan of live albums, but this one is one of my favorites.  Testament sounds amazing throughout the live portion of the album.  It is mostly a package of songs covering the band's debut through Low.  So it is definitely covering the band's most productive period.  Then the final three songs are acoustic versions of the band's ballads.  This version of "Return to Serenity" is perhaps my favorite.

Friday, February 22, 2013

FMA Reviews: Weapons to Hunt: Blessed in Sin

Originally reviewed here.
The first time I heard this album I thought they were probably Swedish. Then I listened to them a couple more times and determined that was most likely not the case. I began to detect the subtle hints of a more Dutch sound, shades of Hail of Bullets really. Then I actually did some damn research and that set everything straight for me.

Sure enough, Weapons to Hunt is a Dutch death/thrash metal similar in sound to Thanatos and Asphyx among other groups. This is the first album for Weapons to Hunt, though three of the four members were in the previous incarnation of the band called Infinited Hate. Someone somewhere along the way probably pointed out that "infinite" is not a verb and you cannot "infinite" or previously "infinite" so the band name did not make sense.

Weapons to Hunt is particularly interesting to me because all of the members have previously been involved with Sinister in some capacity or other, a band for whom I am becoming a big fan. And this band definitely has that Sinister sound. It is a dark and heavy death metal album utilizing thrash metal riffs at times. The album is mostly mid-paced with crunching riffs and some impressive Van Drunen-esque vocals. It definitely has a Swedeath sound to it, without overtly using the buzzsaw guitar tone that the scene was best known for.

The album is a juggernaut. Once it gets going, it rarely lets up. There are a few slower parts, but Weapons to Hunt always kick it back into high gear soon thereafter. The problem with this is that everything tends to run together when it does not slow down. The band is a destructive force, that is for sure. But it leaves you reeling at the end wondering what happened.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 108

ARTIST:  Metallica
ORIGIN:  San Francisco, CA (United States)
TITLE:  Garage Inc.
LABEL:  Vertigo Records
YEAR:  1998
GENRE:  Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Blitzkrieg"
NOTES:  This is the double album of covers that Metallica put out.  The first disc is new recordings of songs by artists as diverse as Diamond Head, Bob Seger, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Blue Oyster Cult.  There were a couple of very good tracks there and it lead to me checking out Misfits, Diamond Head, and Mercyful Fate. Of course the second disc is the highlight here with the covers Metallica had recorded over the course of their career to that point.  The music was generally more raw and faster.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Chaos Synopsis: The Art of Killing

It does not surprise me at all that Chaos Synopsis is Brazilian.  I did not know this fact when I started listening to the album.  I immediately thought that they sounded like a cross between Arise-era Sepultura and Krisiun.  Both Brazilian bands.  So when I looked into the band a little bit and saw that they were from Brazil, it all clicked.

The album immediately captured my attention with a very impressive opening riff.  From there, they refused to let go, building into an infectious groove quickly.  This turned out to be a surprisingly good album all the way through, with some genuinely unexpected moments just to keep the listener on his toes.  

Chaos Synopsis blends death metal and thrash metal into a caustic mix.  The drumming is done in much more of a thrash metal style.  It is oftentimes incredibly fast, with a lot of double bass and some well-done fills.  I do not usually pay a lot of attention to the drums.  They are often lost in the music and are not typically noteworthy unless they are very good or very bad.  In the case of Chaos Synopsis, they are very good.

The guitar tone is very crisp which allows the riffs to really bite.  They do throw in some tremolo riffs on occasion and some riffs with a lot of picking.  The band even delves a little into more of a brutal death metal sound, particularly on the beginning moments to "Bay Harbor Butcher".  Much of the guitar work sounds a lot like the earlier comparison that I made to early 90's Sepultura and Krisiun.  It is a highly energetic style that manages to keep the energy going throughout much of the album.

There are some surprising moments at times.  The band cuts the speed down considerably and goes into a more melodic interlude, then just as quickly reverts to the high speed riffing that makes up the bulk of the album.  Solos are generally done pretty well.  The use of the slide guitar on "B.T.K." and the title track also stands out as a unique moment.  It comes across quite well actually, giving the tracks a bit of a Southern swagger.

I was not familiar with Chaos Synopsis prior to being contacted to review the band, but I do have to say that I was surprised.  While they are not recreating the wheel here, this is some decent stuff.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt 107

ARTIST:  Slayer
ORIGIN:  Huntington Park, CA (United States)
TITLE:  Seasons in the Abyss
LABEL:  Def American
YEAR:  1990
GENRE:  Thrash Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Seasons in the Abyss"
NOTES:  This was my first Slayer album.  I figured I was about due at this point and I chose this one because I already had the title track on a compilation album.  And I liked it quite a bit.  I don't think I was prepared for how different Slayer's typical songs were.  Slayer is all about speed.  And that definitely shows on this album.  It took a little while, but it really grew on me.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Newsted: Metal

It has been a popular source of debate among fans that Metallica may have sounded differently had they allowed bassist Jason Newsted more creative input when he joined the band.  ...And Justice for All worked out fine, other than the fact that the bass could not be heard very well.  But from that point on, Metallica began a full-court press towards mainstream popularity.  Newsted received a few songwriting credits here and there, but overall did not have a lot of input.  That was a large reason behind his eventual leaving of the band.  He then joined Voivod for a couple of albums then just bounced around a bit with his own projects.

Well here we have Jason Newsted's new band, oddly enough called Newsted.  On this short EP, Newsted, the person not the band, performs the vocals and bass work.  He has brought in a couple of other individuals to play guitar and drums.  Newsted also writes all of the songs.

This is undoubtedly heavier than much of Metallica's recent output, sounding closest to a mix between later era Pantera and Death Magnetic-era Metallica.  It is not quite what fans debated that Metallica could have sounded like if Newsted had more control.  It is not a full-blown thrash metal EP.  Instead it settles somewhere on the border between groove and thrash metal with mostly mid-paced, crunching riffs.

Newsted's bass is of course very apparent throughout the EP.  His vocals are decent, but not really anything to get very excited about.  I always liked him fairly well as a backup vocalist and that is probably where his vocals would be best-served.  The only real issue I have with this EP is that the songs are somewhat lengthy. This has been a problem for Metallica in recent years as well, so it is not horribly shocking that three of the four songs are more than five minutes in length.

It is impossible to talk about this EP without a lengthy discussion of Metallica as well.  I do think this is a pretty decent starting point for Newsted to become recognized more for his own individual talents than his work as part of a cohesive unit.  There is some decent stuff here.  I look forward to more.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 106

ARTIST:  King's X
ORIGIN:  Springfield, MO (United States)
TITLE:  Dogman
LABEL:  Atlantic Records
YEAR:  1994
GENRE:  Heavy Metal/Hard Rock
NOTES:  I had always heard a lot of great things about King's X.  The couple of songs I had heard from soundtracks to that point certainly had not done anything to change that impression.  Unfortunately I have always found this album a little underwhelming.  There is certainly nothing musically wrong with it.  The trio are terrific musicians.  However some of the songs just fall a little flat.  There are some damn good songs here and the performances are very impressive.  It just seems that the sum of the parts is not as great as the individual parts.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Iron Dogs: Cold Bitch

I would be lying if I said that the cover art for this release did not capture my attention.  So I am not going to say that.  It is pretty damn cheesy, yes, but then there is a naked woman on the cover, holding a sword, covered in blood, and flanked by a couple of wolves.  How much more metal can you get?

There have been a lot of bands from Canada recently that play 1980's style true metal.  And what could you expect from a country that gave us Slaughter, Sacrifice, Anvil, Razor, and Exciter, among others?  Canada has a rich metal history.  And it would appear that Iron Dogs is very much aware of that and paying tribute to it, while also pushing forward.

This is heavy and speed metal that definitely and defiantly calls to mind the above-named bands.  It is not just the music that sounds like a 1980's band.  The production is done in such a way as to accurately capture the sound of those bands.  The vocals sound like a cross between early 1980's metal and Misfits-style punk.  It is another aspect of the sound of Iron Dogs that sounds like an homage to their countrymen.  This is a very short, but very fun record, clocking in at just over 30 minutes.

Of course Iron Dogs is doing something that other bands have done before.  Not only older bands whose sounds Iron Dogs obviously build upon, but newer bands as well.  Cauldron still stands at the front of the pack of Canadian retro metal bands.  But Iron Dogs is definitely making waves.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 105

ARTIST:  Machine Head
ORIGIN:  Oakland, CA (United States)
TITLE:  Burn My Eyes
LABEL:  Roadrunner Records
YEAR:  1994
GENRE:  Groove Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Davidian"
NOTES:  I have picked up three Machine Head albums over the years.  This was the first one and is of course the band's debut album.  This was one of the albums that helped signal the onslaught of groove metal in 1994, along with Pantera's album.  There are some pretty good songs on here, but it became pretty apparent later on that Machine Head was a trend-hopping band.

Monday, February 18, 2013

FMA Reviews: Aeon: Aeons Black

Originally reviewed here.
Aeon is a Swedish death metal band. Now when I say that, many people will have a certain sound in mind for what they think that the band will sound like. They would be wrong in this case. You see when I say that Aeon is a Swedish death metal band, what I mean is that Aeon is a death metal band that happens to be from Sweden. Their sound owes far more to the early New York death metal scene than to the Swedish scene. Think Immolation, Suffocation, and Incantation. There is a little bit of technicality, but that is more along the same lines as saying that Cannibal Corpse is technical.

Aeon's music deals with anti-Christianity, which is certainly nothing new in the genre. So the music is of course dark and heavy. Unfortunately this is all just more of the same from Aeon who have been doing this type of death metal for years now. Most of their albums sound basically the same as well. This one added a little bit to the mix, mainly short acoustic tracks to break up the monotony of the pounding riffs.

I have been somewhat impressed by Aeon in the past. In particular I enjoyed Rise to Dominate but even then I felt that Aeon did not really have much to offer that was new and different from virtually any other death metal band. That is the same impression I have of the band on this release. While their music is certainly interesting while listening to it, it does not leave enough of an impression after it is over. The music is predictable and formulaic without really doing anything to distinguish Aeon from anyone else.

None of this is to suggest that I disliked this album. There is certainly a market for old-school leaning death metal, especially groups that sound like Immolation, but people looking for something new and innovative probably should look elsewhere. Aeon is good at what they do, but they are not terribly original.

Lucifer's Legion: Abominations

One of the results of sites like Myspace and Bandcamp, as well as the fact that recording software is easy to get, is that a lot of people are now able to get their music recorded and available to anyone at any time.  Of course the result of this is that there is a proliferation of music out there of any and all types.  One man black metal bands have become increasingly visible.

Lucifer's Legion is a one-man black metal band from Australia.  Brad Dillon handles all aspects of the band, which is listed in the liner notes as "guitars, keyboards, programming bass, vocals, custom percussion".  That explains most of the necessary information right there.  The drums are programmed, the bass is not real, and there are a lot of keyboards.

Lucifer's Legion is a very ambitious band.  Dillon definitely has a lot of ideas.  The style of the music is somewhat of a symphonic black metal band in the vein of Ancient and early Dimmu Borgir.  The keyboards are often performed in a way to sound like a symphony, or at the very least some wind instruments such as the oboe.

The real issue with this album is that, though Dillon has a lot of ideas and some technical skill, he has a difficult time putting things together.  The keyboards are especially problematic because they are playing something completely different than the guitars.  At times it sounds as if there are two completely different songs playing at the same time.  This could have been alleviated somewhat if the keyboards were not as loud.

I will give Lucifer's Legion credit for being ambitious.  There are some decent parts here and there.  I think the band has some talent.  Hopefully with time the songwriting will improve.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 104

ARTIST:  Sepultura
ORIGIN:  Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais (Brazil)
TITLE:  Against
LABEL:  Roadrunner Records
YEAR:  1998
GENRE:  Groove Metal
NOTES:  I picked this one up at the same time as the prior Testament album, so it was the night before I took the ACT.  I had not heard anything about this album prior to buying it, and if I had I probably would not have gotten it at all.  I did not even know Sepultura had a new album out until seeing this on the shelf.  This was the first album without Max Cavalera.  Derrick Green was the new vocalist and he is not significantly different than Max, but it was still a little tough to get used to him.  Musically this album is not much different than Roots.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 103

ARTIST:  Testament
ORIGIN:  Oakland, CA (United States)
TITLE:  The Ritual
LABEL:  Atlantic Records
YEAR:  1992
GENRE:  Thrash/Heavy Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Return to Serenity"
NOTES:  I remember picking this one up the night before I took the ACT.  I had been studying a lot for it and I was ready for a break.  I went over to the music store and bought this as well as another album.  Testament has always been a favorite band and "Return to Serenity" was already my favorite song.  This was Testament's answer to Metallica's Black Album and the increased use of melodies was obvious.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Wife-Approved Metal

I mentioned in my post on Valentine's Day that I had a post in mind about my wife and metal.  For the most part, she really does not like a lot of the music that I listen to, yet she has gone to five concerts with me now and has generally liked some of the bands.  This post is about metal that my wife has actually approved of.

Kamelot was one of the first bands that I realized that she liked.  She really likes the material off of The Black Halo, which of course everyone should.  That album is amazing.  Unfortunately I have not been able to come up with too many similar bands that she actually likes.

I have one CD from the Scorpions and it actually used to belong to my wife.  So it is safe to say that she really enjoys the German early metal band.  Of course our first dance at our reception was to a Scorpions song.  Unusual, but I like that about her.

My wife has really started to like 1980's hair bands and of course there are some more metallic bands out there.  This is something that has really taken off in the last year or so since she got Sirius satellite radio on her car.  Quiet Riot, Motley Crue, and Twisted Sister are all bands that she really enjoys from this era.

Another band from the 1980's that my wife really enjoys.  Def Leppard of course was only really a metal band on their first three albums.  After that they were much more of a hard rock band.  They arose out of the NWOBHM movement but quickly fit in with the hair scene.

There is one song that my wife really likes by Metallica.  I don't totally understand but there is nothing wrong with that.  Hey at least my wife likes a Metallica song.

Another band that is not always a metal band, I took her to a TSO concert in Kansas City when we were dating.  That was the night I told her I loved her.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 102

ARTIST:  Ozzy Osbourne
ORIGIN:  Birmingham, England
TITLE:  Bark at the Moon
LABEL:  Epic
YEAR:  1983
GENRE:  Heavy Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Waiting for Darkness"
NOTES:  This was the last of the classic-era Ozzy Osbourne albums I picked up.  It was quite a bit different than Ozzy's first couple of releases, mostly due to the addition of Jake Lee on guitar to replace the deceased Randy Rhoads.  Lee had a significantly different style than Rhoads, one more suited to a traditional heavy metal sound than the more classically influenced style of Rhoads.  The title track is the most well-known song on the album.  By and large this was a heavier release without a lot of filler, a common problem with Ozzy albums.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 101

ARTIST:  Faith No More
ORIGIN:  San Francisco, CA (United States)
TITLE:  Album of the Year
LABEL:  Slash Records
YEAR:  1997
GENRE:  Alternative Rock/Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Collision"
NOTES:  Quite the ironic album title, because this one is fairly boring.  That is a big problem for Faith No More because one major thing they always had going for them was that they were almost never boring.  Their metalness has been in dispute, but they could always craft some decent songs.  This one is tedious all the way through.  The band broke up soon after.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day to My Wife

I had planned a post for today, but I was stuck in court most of the day.  So here is the song we had our first dance to.

FMA Reviews: Deceased...: Supernatural Addiction

Originally reviewed here.
This is not a new release, rather this is the reissue of Deceased's fourth album. The more I hear from this band, the more I love them. Which is saying something because I have been completely on board with their style since the first time I heard them a few years ago. How this band continues to put out terrific album after terrific album with almost no notoriety whatsoever is completely beyond me. But we are not really here to discuss that. What we are to do is to take a look at this release.

I have not heard everything released by this band yet, but this is probably the most melodic album that I have heard yet from them. The guitar leads in particular are incredible. The beginning melody to opening track "The Premonition" grabs the listener right away and refuses to let go. It is a harbinger of things to come on this release because the album never lets up. Deceased plow through this album like a rampaging beast. The album is fast and furious.

Deceased is a band that is a little hard to classify. They started out as a death metal band, but they quickly began incorporating influences from thrash metal and traditional heavy metal. This is much more of a traditional metal album with only King Fowley's rougher-edged vocals showing any extreme metal influences. As I previously mentioned, this is as melodic as I have ever heard Deceased.

This is also one of the more interesting albums from a lyrical standpoint that I have heard from this band. Deceased here are weaving classically-influenced tales of the macabre and supernatural. The lyrics are well-crafted and call to mind writers such as Poe, who is a clear influence. That has always been one factor that has been unique to Deceased. Their lyrics are often incredible.

But ultimately, it is the riffs that keep things interesting. Deceased never lets up but they never keep to one riff for two long either. They have a real sense for how to make interesting and engaging songs that never lose focus. And this album is probably one of the clearest examples of this gift in all of Deceased's long discography.

This is another classic. If you have not checked out Deceased yet. Do it.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 100

ARTIST:  Prong
ORIGIN:  New York, NY
TITLE:  Cleansing
LABEL:  Sony Music
YEAR:  1994
GENRE:  Crossover/Thrash Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck"
NOTES:  I always wanted this album, mostly for "Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck", which was once one of the heaviest songs I had ever heard.  Plus it was incredibly violent.  Unfortunately other than a few other decent songs on the album, this is the least impressive overall Prong album I had heard to this point.  To this date, it is still the last album by the band I have picked up.  But "Snap Your Fingers" is still fun.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

FMA Reviews: Vomitor: The Escalation

Originally reviewed here.
Vomitor is yet another filthy and dirty band blending extreme metal styles from Australia. The band is made up of members who have spent time in Bestial Warlust, Gospel of the Horns, Portal and others, demonstrating the ever-fluctuating nature of extreme metal in Australia. So right away, you know this is going to be some nasty stuff. And with a name like Vomitor, you can pretty much bet that they will be about as subtle as a sledgehammer to the groin.

Vomitor makes a lot of noise. So much that listening to them is likely to net you a disturbing the peace charge. That would be a Misdemeanor III in Nebraska, punishable by up to 90 days in jail or a $500.00 fine or both. Sorry, lawyer moment there.

The sound is a mix of the more raw and brutal bands from the early 1980's. We are talking about groups like Sodom, Sarcofago, Possessed, and the like. It is a savage sound that calls to mind the bands that were first experimenting with extreme forms of metal. The vocals are also performed well, with an emphasis on a deep guttural bark like a rabid, angry dog. The guitar tone is crisp and thick with riffs influenced by the old school masters.

This is not the most original sound in the world. A lot of other bands have used this same sound to similar results. It is a fun listen when it is on but does not have a lot of classic potential. That being said, when something extreme is desired, this is a good one to turn to.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 99

ARTIST:  Ozzy Osbourne
ORIGIN:  Birmingham, England
TITLE:  Blizzard of Ozz
LABEL:  Jet Records
YEAR:  1980
GENRE:  Heavy Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Mr. Crowley"
NOTES:  Ozzy's debut album after being kicked out of Black Sabbath.  I do not know whether he would have been able to do as well or become as popular had it not been for the stunning guitar work of Randy Rhoads.  His classically-based solo work really steals the show on this album.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Evocation: Illusions of Grandeur

Among the litany of bands that came out of the Swedish death metal scene, both the Gothenburg and Stockholm sound bands, Evocation somehow got lost in the shuffle.  They were only able to put out two demos in the early 1990's before disappearing entirely for over a decade.  That is something of a shame because Evocation is every bit the equal musically as Entombed, Dismember, At the Gates, and any number of other bands well-known from the scene.

Despite originally forming in the early 1990's, Evocation did not release their debut full-length until 2007.  Since then, they have been prolific, with this 2012 album being their fourth full-length.  Their first three were more of the Stockholm, buzzsaw-style of death metal.  This one changes pace a little bit.

Evocation has gone for an overall more melodic sound on this release.  The result is something of a mix between Dismember and Amon Amarth.  This is something of a letdown really, but the album still sounds pretty good.  Evocation has always been about a fast, crunching riff style with a very good sense for writing catchy songs.  Unfortunately on this album the band goes a little bit too far in seeking catchiness and winds up sounding a lot like the latest from Sweden's favorite Viking enthusiasts.

The songs are all very interesting, in particular "Divide and Conquer" and "Perception of Reality".  The band still fuses the Stockholm sound and the Gothenburg sound, crafting intricate melodies that go along well with the otherwise intense death metal riffing style and they can alternate or blend the two with ease.  But they went a little too melodic on this one as opposed to past albums.

I really do enjoy listening to this album.  It is definitely catchy and, dare I say, fun.  However it is a shame that somewhere along the line Evocation lost their personal identity.  I blame Century Media personally.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 98

ARTIST:  Metallica
ORIGIN:  San Francisco, CA (United States)
TITLE:  ReLoad
LABEL:  Vertigo Records
YEAR:  1997
GENRE:  Heavy Metal/Hard Rock
NOTES:  Originally, Load and ReLoad were supposed to be a double album.  That would have been a really tedious double album though so thankfully they did not do that.  I think I like ReLoad slightly better than Load, but I really do not like either one all that much.  There are some decent songs here, but nothing like their material prior to The Black Album.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 97

ARTIST:  Sepultura
ORIGIN:  Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais (Brazil)
TITLE:  Blood-Rooted
LABEL:  Roadrunner Records
YEAR:  1997
GENRE:  Groove Metal/Thrash Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Procreation of the Wicked"
NOTES:  This was a collection of oddities, mostly collected from early to mid 1990's and included covers, live tracks, demos, and remixes.  There is some decent stuff on here and it is nice that these harder-to-find tracks are combined into one release, rather than having to track them all down, but this is still the less-interesting part of Sepultura's history.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Goes to...


I still have no fucking clue who the hell this band is.  Fail.

Concert Review: In Flames and More

Last night as part of my Valentine's Day gift from my wife, we went to the Bourbon Theater in Lincoln, Nebraska to see In Flames with some other bands.  I did not expect to make in on time, but we did actually get to see all four bands, which is very good for reasons I will get into soon.

This was actually a fairly decent concert experience.  Typically I have been to concerts jammed into some small stage area with very little room to move around and no seating.  The Bourbon actually has kind of a nice set up with some seating room and a decent sized area in front of the stage for a pit.  I usually stick near the back and sit since my wife has no interest in being in the pit.

This was the surprise of the night.  Battlecross plays melodic death metal in a Slaughter of the Soul vein with more brutality.  They sounded great and really interacted well with the crowd.  They had the presence of a band that has been going for a very long time.  Not bad for one who has only put out two albums to this point.  I will be picking up the CD and I did get a t-shirt.

Chugga-chugga-breakdown-ree-ree-chugga-chugga-breakdown-breakdown-ree-breakdown.  Ridiculous.

I almost fell asleep a couple of times.  This band is apparently inexplicably popular in Lincoln.  A ton of people rushed in from the bar area to see them.  I do not get it.

They exceeded my expectations playing a number of older songs mixed in with three or four from their newest album.  They played songs from Whoracle, Clayman, and even Colony, three of my favorite albums from the band.  Most of their material was from Reroute to Remain and Soundtrack to Your Escape, but I love both of those as well, so I had no problem with it.  I was a little annoyed with the lighting which would often shine brightly right in my eyes, but it was not intolerable.

Overall the band sounded pretty good.  They have softened the edges of some of their harder material as their music has become less metallic.  But they definitely know how to move the crowd.  And they do acknowledge the popularity of their older material, though they do stick more to the last five albums.
The blurry photo is my fault.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 96

ARTIST:  Iron Maiden
ORIGIN:  London, England
TITLE:  The X Factor
LABEL:  EMI Records
YEAR:  1995
GENRE:  Heavy Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Lord of the Flies"
NOTES:  This was only my second Iron Maiden album, and it is not one of my favorites.  This one caused me to back off on the band for quite awhile because I never really cared that much for it.  The biggest problem is how long and boring it really is.  There are some decent moments, but Blaze Bayley's voice just never really fit in.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Concert Tonight

My wife has been pretty good to me on Valentine's Day over the years.  Last year she gave me the most recent CDs from Vektor and Disma, two fantastic albums.  The year before that she gave me a Napalm Death 3 CD set.  This year, she bought tickets to a concert in Lincoln.  The concert will feature four bands, though we will most likely not see all of them.

I have not heard of this band before, but they seem like they would be up my alley.  Unfortunately with a two hour drive there and back and lots of things to take care of at home, we don't really want to be gone too long.  So we will likely miss Battlecross.

They are one of the more interesting deathcore bands, but that is akin to saying something is the best-tasting piece of animal feces.  It may be true but in the end you're still eating shit.

I could not give less of a fuck about Demon Hunter.  Their nu-metal-tinged metalcore has never struck a chord with me, even when I did not mind those genres.

This is why we are going.  I did not even check out their last album after disliking A Sense of Purpose.  But I enjoyed all of their other stuff.  I guess I am hoping for an even-distributed concert since it has been two years since the last release.  In Flames was vital in my metal experience during law school and shortly afterwards.  They were once one of my favorite bands.

I missed a concert a couple of weeks ago.  Hatebreed, Shadows Fall, Dying Fetus, and The Contortionist were in Omaha, but it was on a Monday night and things have been incredibly hectic at work lately.  Also I don't care for Hatebreed, Shadows Fall was once mildly interesting and I have never heard of The Contortionist.  Still Dying Fetus would have been worth it.  And I would have loved to pick up a t-shirt and wear it around town here.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 95

ARTIST:  Various
ORIGIN:  Various
TITLE:  Metalmeister
LABEL:  Metal Blade Records
YEAR:  1996
GENRE:  Various
FAVORITE SONG:  Decoryah: "Fall Dark Waters"
NOTES:  Another compilation, this time one by Metal Blade Records.  I still love this compilation and it introduced me to a ton of new bands.  Immolation, Crisis, Armored Saint, Mercyful Fate, Six Feet Under, and Desultory were all new bands to me on this album.  A pretty good introduction into Metal Blade as well.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Just Sharing

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 94

ARTIST:  Skrew
ORIGIN:  Austin, TX (United States)
TITLE:  Angel Seed XXIII
LABEL:  Metal Blade Records
YEAR:  1997
GENRE:  Industrial Metal
NOTES:  I think I got this one used, almost positive of it in fact.  This was at a time when I really liked industrial-tinged metal, and Skrew certainly qualifies.  I remember dating a girl in high school who really loved this album and borrowed it all the time from me.  It may have been my first Metal Blade Records release.  Not much else to say about this one.  I don't listen to it much anymore, in fact I can't remember the last time I did.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

FMA Reviews: Black Jesus: Black Jesus Saves

Originally reviewed here.
Some of the absolute filthiest, most depraved metal in the world has been coming from Australia for the last couple of decades. There must be some reason for it. Perhaps it is because every single animal on the godforsaken island is constantly trying to kill people. Even the koalas should be feared. With death at every turn, it is bound to have an effect on the psyches of the people. Which has to be the reason that there are so many ungodly extreme metal bands to come from the continent/country/island thingy.

In 2010, Aussies Black Jesus released their demo in cassette form only. Hell's Headbangers did what it typically does and found some nasty demo, feeling that it deserved a wider release, and re-released it on vinyl. That is just one of the many reasons why I like the label so much, their undying devotion to the metal underground.

This is a nice, grimy slab of death metal done in the older style. It sounds a lot like demo-era Nihilist, Carnage, and Nirvana 2002, you know the Swedish forebears of Entombed, Dismember, and their ilk. Which means all the songs are short, sharp, and straight from the crypts. The production is fairly decent but retains enough of a murky quality to make this sound like a suitable old school death metal album. The riffs definitely have that old Swedish death feel to them and the grunted vocals sound authentic as well.

This is a short reminder of how great some of the demo-era old school Swedish death metal bands were. It will be interesting to see what this band does. Will they follow the footsteps of their influences, or will they continue to put out filthy death metal. Only time will tell.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 93

ARTIST:  Jerry Cantrell
ORIGIN:  Seattle, WA (United States)
TITLE:  Boggy Depot
LABEL:  Columbia Records
YEAR:  1998
GENRE:  Heavy Metal/Grunge Metal
NOTES:  The guitarist from Alice in Chains released a solo album which had its roots when the band was beginning to have some difficulties.  Some of the songs were meant to appear on a new Alice in Chains album, but that never came to fruition as Layne Staley became a recluse for years before he died.  This has some decent songs on it and I can definitely see some of the tracks as potential Alice in Chains material.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Manilla Road: Spiral Castle

Somewhere in the recesses of my brain I keep a list of bands that I want to check out some day.  It is a list that I keep somewhat updated.  Bands I have not heard but have generally heard good things about.  I keep this list in mind in case I should ever happen to run across one of these bands randomly in a store, even though the chances are not great in Nebraska.

Well Manilla Road is one of the bands at the top of that list.  I have always wanted to check them out but their stuff is sometimes hard to come across.  In fact I have never seen a Manilla Road album in a store.  This one was actually a late Christmas gift from my wife.  She bought this for me from Hell's Headbangers on vinyl, she picked it out off of a list of about six or seven albums I was interested in.  So now I have finally heard Manilla Road.

So I am a little late to the game on Manilla Road.  And I definitely apologize for missing out on a great, highly underrated band for so long.  They have been around for a long time releasing their first full-length album in 1980 and have been part of the same general scene as Omen, Trouble, and Cirith Ungol in the early days, epic heavy metal from the United States.

The cover of this album is pretty much the ultimate in 1980's cheesy metal cliches.  It is definitely Conan-esque.  It is not even a particularly good piece of art.  Surprising then that this album is from 2002.  But the art is fairly standard for Manilla Road, a band belonging to the swords and sorcery theme of heavy metal as much as any other.

Manilla Road's sound is very much rooted in early American heavy metal, with some doom and even the occasional thrash and death influence.  Apparently the band has changed their sound a little bit over the years, going full-on thrash metal for a few albums at one point.  Most of the thrash influences have been stripped away on this one but the doom can still be heard, particularly on tracks like "Merchants of Death".  If I had to use one over-used word to describe the music of Manilla Road, it would be epic.  The album feels like it is telling the story of some fantasy realm involving magic and barbarians, just like the album cover.

The music does sometimes meander a little bit.  Particularly late in the album when the band seemingly starts to do a full-on jazz improvisational section.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the incredible vocals of Mark Shelton.  Shelton has long been considered one of the greatest American heavy metal vocalists.  It is easy to see why.  He utilizes a variety of vocal styles throughout this album, from coarse singing, to something of a falsetto wail.  He sounds terrific, which is rare for someone who has been doing it as long as he has.

I will definitely be checking out more Manilla Road and this is the year to do it as many of their albums will be reissued this year.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 92

ARTIST:  Testament
ORIGIN:  Oakland, CA (United States)
TITLE:  Signs of Chaos: The Best of Testament
LABEL:  Burnt Offerings
YEAR:  1997
GENRE:  Thrash Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Return to Serenity"
NOTES:  Another rare Greatest Hits albums in my collection.  I got it because I loved "Return to Serenity" and at the time this was the only album by the band with that song on it that I could find.  This also has a couple of unreleased covers which are basically worthless.  It does provide a nice mix of the band's albums released to that point, including the decidedly more death metal Demonic album.  It was a nice look into the band's larger history that I was previously unaware of, but that is pretty much it.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

FMA Reviews: Sathanas/The Spawn of Satan Split

Originally reviewed here.
Released on Halloween this year, this split features a band from the same dank depths (Cleveland, OH) as the almighty Nunslaughter, and another one from the even more depressing Pennsylvania. I was not previously familiar with either band so this split serves as a nice introduction to two very deep underground American blackened death metal bands. Sathanas has been around since the late 1980's and have released a number of full-lengths over that time, yet somehow eluded me. The Spawn of Satan has only been recording music since 2002 and has never released a full-length, though they have been active for almost as long as Sathanas.

The Spawn of Satan is up first with "Ritual Murder". The Spawn of Satan is more of a straightforward death metal band with some thrash metal influences featuring members of Crucified Mortals and the aforementioned Nunslaughter. The sound is very similar to Nunslaughter (third mention of this band so far but it makes sense, trust me). The song is fast-paced and driven forward with a powerful riff. It has a very sinister and evil atmosphere.

Sathanas steps up to the plate with "Unholy Eternal" next. Their sound is more of a blackened death metal sound with tremolo-picked riffs and a coarse, blackened raspy death growl. It is also a fast-paced song. There is a little more variation in this track than the last one. The drums are particularly interesting on this song with some impressive fills.

With a two-song split, about the best one can hope for is a decent introduction to new bands with some incentive to check out more. Both bands here are decent but not particularly memorable. I would probably be more likely to check out Sathanas personally, but both are possible.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 91

ARTIST:  Faith No More
ORIGIN:  San Francisco, CA (United States)
TITLE:  Angel Dust
LABEL:  Slash Records
YEAR:  1992
GENRE:  Alternative Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Land of Sunshine"
NOTES:  I bought this one used, just the same as the band's prior album.  This is another one that I had been exposed to from an early time in becoming a metalhead.  This is a little less commercially viable than the prior Faith No More release but it was a very interesting mix of metal, funk, and punk, with some other completely bizarre and off-the-wall elements.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 90

ARTIST:  Paradise Lost
ORIGIN:  Halifax, England
TITLE:  One Second
LABEL:  Music for Nations
YEAR:  1997
GENRE:  Gothic Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Say Just Words"
NOTES:  I had really gotten into Paradise Lost's brand of gothic metal with the preceding release.  So I was very excited when a new album was due to be released.  Unfortunately, Paradise Lost took things a little bit too far in the gothic rock direction on this album.  It was catchy and sounded pretty decent but most of the metal was gone.  It would get even worse after this and it would be years before I picked up another new Paradise Lost album.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 89

ARTIST:  Sepultura
ORIGIN:  Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais (Brazil)
TITLE:  Third World Posse
LABEL:  Roadracer Records
YEAR:  1992
GENRE:  Thrash Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Inner Self"
NOTES:  This is a very short but brutal EP, featuring a few live songs, a cover of the Dead Kennedys "Drug Me" and the track "Dead Embryonic Cells".  It certainly is not an essential release, but I was still picking up as many Sepultura albums as I could find at this time.  Anything would do, and this one was pretty cheap.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Agalloch: Ashes Against the Grain

Believe it or not, up until a few weeks ago, I had never heard Agalloch.  I had heard of them, but I never really checked them out.  I am not really sure why.  Perhaps it is due to the band's well-regarded status in the more hipster-oriented metal circles.  Alongside groups like Neurosis and Isis, Agalloch was one of the bands that made it okay for hipsters to enjoy metal.  Or maybe it was just that I never got around to it.  Whatever the reason, when I was recently at the used music store and picking up a couple of W.A.S.P. albums, I also decided to get my first Agalloch album.

The music on this album is very rich and textured.  I read an interview with the band recently in which they stated that they were heavily influenced by films, yes the hipster flag went up when I read that.  I would agree very strongly that Agalloch's sound is very cinematic.  The band would be able to easily make the transition to fully instrumental band.  It is extremely dramatic and does sound like something that would be playing in the background of some artsy film involving the forests in the Pacific Northwest.

Agalloch's music is clearly based in black metal.  But to call them a black metal band would be a gross oversimplification.  There is so much more going on here and the band definitely does not sound like a stereotypical black metal band.  For the most obvious reason, their music actually borders on the beautiful.  Agalloch have smoothed out the rough edges, improved the production value, and added layer upon layer of melody.  They have also allowed for the influence of folk music to shine through in parts.  The result is impressive, if not terribly aggressive.

I mentioned that they would be able to make the transition to an instrumental band earlier.  It is not as if the vocals are bad in any way.  The clean vocals fit the music quite well, and the raspier black metal vocals also sound surprisingly good.  I just think that this band could go that route without any real problem.  There are hardly any vocals on this album as it is.  Agalloch lets their music do the talking most of the time anyway.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 88

ARTIST:  Prong
ORIGIN:  New York, NY (United States)
TITLE:  Prove You Wrong
LABEL:  Epic
YEAR:  1991
GENRE:  Crossover/Thrash Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Irrelevant Thoughts"
NOTES:  This album is seriously worth listening to just for the amazing drumming.  Ted Parsons has always been an amazing drummer but he really showed that off on this release.  I had not really listened to this a lot lately, but used to quite a bit when I was in high school.  Every once in awhile, I will get an urge to listen to some crossover and that is when this album comes out.

Friday, February 1, 2013

FMA Reviews: Bestial Warlust: Satan's Fist

Originally reviewed here.
Have I mentioned that I love the Australian "war metal" scene? I am sure it's come up before at some point or another. Well Hell's Headbangers loves it too and the label has been one of my principal sources for finding releases by these bands. The ones that they have not released new have at least been reissued. That is the case with this one.

Bestial Warlust is one of the founding bands of the scene. They recorded two terrific albums in the mid 1990's that were nonetheless plagued by terrible production. But their sound on those albums was taken by a number of other Australian bands and improved upon. Without Bestial Warlust, we likely would not have had Deströyer 666, Gospel of the Horns, Abominator, or many of the other terrific bands to come out of the land down under with the same bestial apocalyptic sound.

This is the band's 1996 demo. The tracks were originally untitled and were not named until the demo was reissued by Hell's Headbangers this year. The sound quality is much improved from the quality on the band's two full-length releases. I would assume this was improved upon by Hell's Headbangers as well. I am guessing the original demo in 1996 did not sound that much better than the albums. This was one of the final recordings of Bestial Warlust other than a track on the Headbangers Against Disco split with Sabbat, Gehennah, and Inferno.

With the improved sound quality it becomes even more clear how much of an influence on the "war metal" scene Bestial Warlust had. These three tracks are excellent examples of blackened death metal with some thrash metal riff moments. The sound is raw and primal, with tremolo riffing and pounding drums, and the blackened roar of Joe Skullfucker (probably not his natural name). The best thing about the whole thing is that it can actually be heard.

Dark Blu: Crushing Blow

Dark Blu is the project of guitarist Daemon Blak, who has been in and out of the music scene for thirty plus years now.  He played in a number of metal cover bands in the 1980's and 1990's before retiring.  He recently re-emerged and has been apparently pretty prolific at writing songs in the last few years.

This collection of songs feels a little bit incomplete.  The production is a little lacking, which is not surprising given the nature of this output.  It feels more like a demo showing off what Daemon Blak is capable of on the guitar and writing songs than being a serious release.  Two of the tracks are instrumentals and display Blak's considerable guitar talents.  The other three do feature a female vocalist, but she is not named.  Blak also performs bass on the tracks.  The drums are programmed.

Musically, this is on the borderline of hard rock and heavy metal.  It is clear that Blak is aiming for a somewhat mainstream audience acceptance, the kind of people who would listen to Lacuna Coil, Evanescence, and groups of that nature.  He has some very impressive guitar chops and the riffs are well-written as well.  The solos are also very interesting.

Blak definitely has talent, it is just a question of harnessing that talent and putting together something in the studio capable of showing it off.  This is a sign of what is to come from Dark Blu.  Nothing more.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 87

ARTIST:  Ozzy Osbourne
ORIGIN:  Birmingham, England
TITLE:  The Ozzman Cometh
LABEL:  Epic
YEAR:  1997
GENRE:  Heavy Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Mr. Crowley"
NOTES:  I do not have a lot of Greatest Hits albums.  Usually there has to be something that makes the album worth the money, bonus tracks or something.  It has not always been like this though.  Certain artists lend themselves well to a Greatest Hits album.  Ozzy is one of those, due to the large amount of filler material that shows up, particularly on his more recent albums.  This did feature the unreleased track "Back on Earth" which is a decent song, for later Ozzy material.  It also featured demo tracks of early Sabbath material and an interview with Ozzy, that I am not sure I have ever listened to.