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The Heavy Metal Review Thread

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Band         Darkthrone

Year          1991 

Album       Soulside Journey




This is Darkthrone's first album before becoming a Black Metal legend.



Darkthrone is famous for being the great early genre changing Black Metal band. A Blaze In The Northern Sky, Transilvanion Hunger and Under A Funeral Moon are basic albums in any Metal-head's favorite collection. 


What is amazing now, some 22 years later, is how wonderful this epic piece of Death really is. It was remastered in 2003 and even though recorded at Sunlight studios for a super low cost, it holds it's own today along with the other Sunlight recordings by Nihilist and Entombed. So many listeners at the time got into Darkthrone's Black Metal albums and disregarded this first record, myself included. Surprise, surprise! And what a great new treat it is.


As the years passed and music changed, many found how special the dirty sound and texture of Swedish death metal was. The stuff is not really the most clear. The music does though have a charm that is copied even in today's releases. One hundred percent atmosphere! The style has a thin drum sound with added echo. The guitar is super dirty and low. You only get guitar tone like this by turning the amps up to level 10. The vocals are both rough and echo sounding. So why would anyone be into it all these years later? Energy! Too much energy to fit into a single recording!


The Energy of Swedish Death Metal is ferocious and huge. The bands are famous and few. Darkthrone is really from Norway but has nailed the sound completely! What we have here is pure and clear in statement. An amazing record that is both fun to listen to and bittersweet as it represents the one and only Death Metal release from Darkthrone. We also hear wild guitar leads which seem to become missing from later records by the band. Yep.....big dark unclean statico-saw guitar, whammy-bar-leads and crazy screams, this record has all the trimmings of a classic Death Metal feast.



We have abrupt stops and tempo changes keeping us on our toes from start to finish. I don't think I have ever heard a tribute to the forever classic Black Sabbath bass lines in such true form. The drums are punk-rock and both minimal and detailed, this is not your Dad's Heavy Metal record! We hear cool 1990s keyboard parts just to spice thing up. The real question is how many perfect double buzz-saw rhythm leads and flowing bass lines can you take on a single CD? This was the successor to Speed-metal and Thrash in it's day. 


When this record stops you wish it just kept playing. Lets push play again!


And the groove! This album almost ends up being experimental in sounds. We have clear bass lines, we have super startling cat like screams but most of all we have an underlying groove changing tempo threw-out, always a change-up and never boring. Many a listener has wondered that maybe in a parallel universe another Darkthrone could have completed their whole complete Death Metal output and never went Black.


To tell you the truth, I can't get enough of this album. I looked at it so many times at the CD store but thought that if Darkthone was so good at Death Metal they would not have thought to change their musical style. I guess the time is right to get into this beast now! An epic statement from a time long gone by a band that has crossed genres three times and released 14 full albums of metal. Could this be their best album ever? Did they do it right from the start? When you consider they went from this big sounding "world" called Soulside Journey, to recording cold raw minimalist Black Metal on a four-track tape machine, it really makes you wonder about the musical aesthetics of the time! eek.gif



I love this record.



This album, with it's cool strange sounds and multi-tempos is never boring and goes to show the world the bright talent these guys owned before the dawn of Black Metal. 

Edited by Redcarmoose - 6/28/12 at 3:57am
post #2 of 9

You should write little blurbs on most of the albums you listen to. You keep up so well with metal that I always want to try everything you listen to but never have time. Tell me what's good!:D

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by MorbidToaster View Post

You should write little blurbs on most of the albums you listen to. You keep up so well with metal that I always want to try everything you listen to but never have time. Tell me what's good!:D




I really maybe would be a little shy to write some reviews, as even though I'm listening to many metal sub-genres, others would have a much better understanding of the bands.



Who knows though, maybe I could just write whatever?  banger2.gif

post #4 of 9

Not even reviews. Just like...'This album is pretty good/bad. The sub-genre is ____.'




Originally Posted by Redcarmoose View Post




I really maybe would be a little shy to write some reviews, as even though I'm listening to many metal sub-genres, others would have a much better understanding of the bands.



Who knows though, maybe I could just write whatever?  banger2.gif

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by MorbidToaster View Post

Not even reviews. Just like...'This album is pretty good/bad. The sub-genre is ____.'




The purpose of these reviews is to bring to light the character of the albums in detail. The first album I review here is an example. Years ago I read a review of Soulside Journey which stated that it was a middle level quality release. That is the power of music reviews. I stayed away from it for years due to that specific review, when in the end it would have been an album I loved. I feel at times it takes more than a few words to give a CD it's value and due respect.


If this thread was ever to really get rocking it would end with multi-reviews by different authors with different opinions about one specific release. The Lets Talk Metal thread has given me a great chance to get into sub-genres that I had written off as a waist of time, only to grab onto another members enthusiasm for a release and become enlightened.


I'm not just interested if a release is good or bad. I want to know how and why.

Edited by Redcarmoose - 6/28/12 at 10:09am
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 





Band      Mencea

Year       2012

Album    Pyrophoric




This album starts out with a guitar cycle arpeggio straight out of a Philip Glass soundtrack. They are letting us know this is progressive death and sure enough the grand theme starts perfectly syncopated with the guitar arpeggio cycle. We will hear this same technique used later in the album. Is it original in Death Metal? These guys are very different in a giant pack of progressive metal releases that seem to grow by the numbers every year.


This ends up being a rare little known Death Metal release of 2012. Their second release straight out of Athens Greece, and after replacing their old drummer and vocalist, they produced, mixed and mastered this 36 minute gem all themselves. Maybe that is why we have a very unique pyrophoric slab of Death here. The drums are fast, syncopated and right up front in the mix. This is one of the few drum tracks which don't have blindingly loud cymbal crashes all over the place. The cymbals end up being a little salt sprinkled on top of tight synced consistent blasts.


Somehow the whole album does have the same guitar sound, and I'm into it. There is even songs that sound the same. Music this good can overcome these little annoyances. There is a composite whole which takes place in their sound. A big meaty production makes this a repeat player. After a number of listens the detail starts to open-up. As with much progressive technical death the sound is tight and repetitious and with only the song writing we start to really understand the symphony of guitar placement. It is the mix and dynamics of loud and soft guitar sounds along with the following and support by the other players acting as a great team putting the whole sound in place. So it's this story we start to hear, a story with-out words but repeating guitar Glass-like cycles changing key, stopping and starting all blended together in narration. This is an album of guitar effects and perfect breaks. We always hear the bass,vocals and drums but the guitar is the star here. The almost non existent air-cymbals and hi-hats add the finish. At times I thought I heard some Rush influence, little as any derivative musical influences in their wholly original musical presentation. Yep.............. in an ocean of cross breeding and copy catists, we may have an original sound here. Yes, there is a small tribute to Opeth riffs but it's few and far between as these guys have their own gig.


Some may have an issue with the single tone vocals. This style of music is not in need of Freddy Mercury or King Diamond ranges. The vocals end up being just like the cymbals as not adding or distracting from the final production. Remember this is a guitar fireworks album complete with-out a single lead, just a ton of improvisation and sonic art. We even get a dose of keys or guitar synth here and there adding back melody to a perfect balance.  


After a couple weeks of life with this swaying dragon there ends up being memorable song structures and combining with the instant accessibility, it has it all. I can't wait to hear where we go with release number three. Of course I still will not be sick of this repetitive beast. It's that little slight change-up of nuances here and there in between the chugs, or maybe the fact that the breaks are just that good.


This one writes the rules and makes up it's own language as it goes along. Any reviews cutting this up have not taken the time to hear it for what's inside under the first five go arounds.

Edited by Redcarmoose - 6/28/12 at 10:17am
post #7 of 9


CD:Hell Destroyer




First off I find cage to be a SERIOUSLY underrated band with nearly no mainstream popularity and that's a DAYUM shame. Hell Destroyer is the story of the new testament with a seriously wicked power metal twist. This is also my favorite Cage album to date. This CD will not disappoint those who listen to thrash or even those who are death metal fans. Wicked cannot describe this CD, the tones of the songs carry a biblical evil in them despite not being satanic *fun fact, the members of the band sought the help of there churches before making the CD wondering if it would be heresy, it was not* . The Vocalist is the likes of kind diamond with a 3 inches of blood screech so to speak but is very melodic and never harsh. The guitar is tuned in a more classic power metal tone, not thrashy but not like doom or death, very energetic and fast with a snappy sting.

I am pressed for time right now but I urge you to take a listen to this CD, it will not disappoint and catalogs the great battle for the souls of mankind between the Hell Destroyer and Metal Devil. there sadly is no climax of there battle and it is later finished during there new CD (Supremacy of Steal *3/10 only three go0d songs sad fully* )

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 



Band  Black Sabbath

Year 1970

Album Black Sabbath


Geeeze..........take a chick home on the first date, put this on and turn off the lights!!!!!   


So this album has been reviewed a lot. I don't know if I can bring any more information to what has already been said. Still it needs a place in this thread for just what it is. I have been playing this, or at least some songs from this as far back as 1973 when I was in fourth grade. This is a record I never get sick of. Some say it may be one of the first Heavy Metal records and single handily created the doom genre.


The album still holds up today due to the same merits that made it great when it came out in 1970. If someone was to start getting Black Sabbath records maybe Paranoid would be a better place to start. Sooner or later though every metal-head needs to have this in their collection. For a first listen the album is a little rough and hard to digest I would think. Reviews in 1970 ran this album into the ground. Still it stayed alive reaching number 8 in the UK charts. Led Zeppelin number one had already come out as the new heavy in town and then this. The amazing thing is it is still super heavy and carries a punch all these years later. The album is simple and has a pureness that you can't get away from. The first song has ample atmosphere starting off with the sound of rain with a church bell ringing. Moments later we hear the legendary "the devil in music" tri-tone introduced to modern rock fans. If music can be scary with a simple guitar cord then this is it.


The guitar sound has always been copied and there is a basic understanding for metal musicians to completely "get" Black Sabbath before they can move on in the world of heavy metal. In many ways we hear Black Sabbath everywhere and in almost all metal albums. The guitar sound still is a little different on this album. Tony Iommi had lost a small section of the tips of his fingers in a factory accident and being that they were his guitar neck fingers, he melted plastic bottle pieces and used leather strips to fashion tips so the strings did not hurt his fingers and helped him play. This fundamental difference, along with de-tuning  the guitar strings lower changed the sound of rock and helped create the real sound of metal. Bands at the same time were also very heavy, still this guitar and the lyrical content made Black Sabbath special. Today much of the album could come off as strange, being a mixture of heavy electric blues and all out jams.


Much has been criticized about Ozzy's vocal delivery on this, expressing that it is the only sector that is sub-par in the performance. I just think it is what it is. It would be both imposable to take out the vocals and have the album be what it is and no one can imagine it with a different singer. We have what we have. New listeners may find this first outing with Ozzy rough. After getting used to the songs Ozzy does make the whole affair memorable and unforgettable. His voice is different, strange and over the top as the guitar was for the time.  


When you first hear this it comes off as a sort of impromptu jam-out, where maybe these four drank a six-pack or two then went into the studio for some fun. It is this off the wall spontaneity we think we hear and feel though-out the LP. Nothing could be farther from the truth as in hearing other recordings from the time, we find all this music was worked out note for note. These guys did nothing by accident but the results were obtained from a lot of practice and detail. Seeing video recordings from the time lets us understand just how worked out all this was. This music was experimental in it's day and was derived from the use of jazz rhythms. The little known fact was these guys were sitting at home at night listening to John Coltrane records. The jazz influence is sometimes hard to hear at first but becomes very noticeable once you start to listen to it. The album is just looked at as an old electric blues record today but in it's day it was cutting edge experimental and the changes in modern music were a direct verification of this.



When this is played for a group of people today it always gets a warm reception. Try it with about 80% of music recorded in 1969 and see what happens. In as far as it was a low cost recording done in a short time by a group of lower- middle class touring club musicians, it sounds pretty cool even now. I always think about the albums sound in relation to the multi-track epic LPs which were to come later. Sometimes there is a beauty to the simplicity of a recording like this. They were able to put down the raw energy they delivered so well to their live club audience. Black Sabbaths first record will always get mentioned as one of the favorites in somebodies Black Sabbath collection. It seldom if ever gets called the one favorite in the bunch but none the less ends up being played year in and year out. It is this graceful and slow test of time (and the fact that next year it ends up being something I have listened to for 40 years and still like) that makes the album a winner. It may be that the album is good and not great, still the complete understanding of the album is a 100% necessity for anyone to understand Metal 100%.

In this regard it becomes special and timeless in this day of disposable trends.

Edited by Redcarmoose - 7/4/12 at 6:32pm
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 



Who the heck is Carpathian Forest?


Never heard of Black Shining Leather?



Band     Carpathian Forest

Year      1998

Album    Black Shining Leather




Well it's true that they have not come out with any new albums. 2006s' ****-you All!!! may have been there final warm send-off into even more obscurity? So they had their day in the sun so to speak with every mall rat who was as cool as their day-glow hair that had ditched their Manson t-shirts for seeing Carpathian Forest something a little more radical. Well..............They Are! So distasteful and this album has no "Hail Satan" shouts at all. They are just like rude people who you love to love! 


That being said The Forest really do have it all.......nasty......dark.....heavy.........ugly. The ugly taken to a new level with crazy corpse paint strippers on stage and scantily dressed guitar players. These guys are taking it seriously not taking it seriously. This is the start of that trend for the band. Just cool creativity here in giant amounts. All the special effects have their use and are of purpose. Yep......... keyboards, talking over songs, yelling.......they have the confidence and style to do what ever here and it works out well. Nothing seems out of place or can I say over-done?




This is my favorite Carpathian Forest album and I have purchased them all!




But why would we even be into this little plastic disk? Well it seems it's a turning point in their out-put as well as a great place to start. It would not be the very best Black Metal disk to start out with but it could be a great second. Gone are the low-fi ultra thin ancient ways of the early second wave. We may even hear a sound of the current Black Metal third wave which is upon us now as I speak! Just super cool guitar tone. The groove is pure rebel and the drums are clear. It's got it's share of different tempos and they totally change from song to song. Some getting us way slowed down and others getting us up into a frenzy. This is exactly the kind of music people who hate this type of music hate. This is the album which shows us the new direction they are going to take, but the band is still young and dumb enough to be in their prime. Every part it totally clear and there is a great balance in both the recording and the focus in parts. The guitar sound is streamlined and smooth, loud and dirty. Perfect. The guitar makes this. Vocals are great too and amazingly Natterfrost seems to let every thing fall into it's place with no overpowering by any member or mixer in the recording. We get the feeling that total teamwork is going on here. Bombastic teamwork at it's best!!!!


The vibe is fantastic. The sounds that remind you why Black Metal is not part of the world but another world all to itself. The color changes in the song style go on and on to make this the Disneyland of Black Metal records. A dark fantastic world where the bass in holding us, the drums are moving us along in the magic and the walls of the canyon are giant and 500 feet tall. As this dark river bends and twists it's tangent we are forever amazed at the places we are and never bored.


They did it with tone. A writing style which is not contrived or fake. This album is special in that it carries the energy and edge of early 1993 but it being 10 years after Carpathian Forest was formed we hear a mature band doing a once in a lifetime movie soundtrack epic release. The edge is complex with talking sound effects of interest and an overall master of their skills. And they really don't care. They have a confidence here to play A Forest by The Cure. They can really do anything and they watch no one. This is where the Black-N-Roll started. It was the bands confidence at this point to do what they wanted to become original and the recording is a unique reference point in the history of both Black Metal and Carpathian Forest. They did it their way!


At 44.53 the album is normal for a Black Metal time frame but I really never want to leave this dark Disneyland and return to the world. The album could be never improved by rerecording or remastering........it's that good!

Edited by Redcarmoose - 7/4/12 at 9:03pm
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