Average Rating: 3.36
Rating Variance: 0.41
Objectivity Score: 79% (Well Balanced)
Sort by: Rating | Release Date | Rating Date | Name2013 And So I Watch You From Afar All Hail Bright Futures3.5Intronaut Habitual Levitations4.0Feeling like arguably the band's most focused work, elements of Intronaut's back catelogue can be found throughout Habitual Levitations. Though some fans are undoubted put off by a seemingly new embracing of cleaner vocals, it could also be seen as a refreshing take on an already honed sound. In Vain AEnigma4.0Omnium Gatherum Beyond4.0Feeling like easily their most accomplished and focused work to date, Omnium Gatherum?s 5th full-length offering, Beyond, is a monster of a record and a must have treat for fans of melodic death metal. This band ? who refers to their style as Life and Death Metal ? has always had a unique and particular approach to melodic death metal, giving them more than enough of an identity to stand above the legion of peers within the genre. It?s hard to find a track here that isn?t entertaining, and each offers up enough individualism to stand strongly on their own. The real beauty of this record is the sum of its parts though, with all tracks coming together to form a beast of a metal album and one with a nice, uniform feel. If the band was floundering in its past release or two, they?ve come back stronger than ever, and hopefully can continue to expand on their niche within the genre. Cult of Luna Vertikal3.5Moth Endlessly In Motion4.02012 Soundgarden King Animal3.5Admittedly, I was never the biggest fan of Soundgarden. Despite loving the music of the 90s (and still do), I found Chris Cornell and company off-putting for whatever reason. Sure, the odd song or two was entertaining, but all in all I didn?t find much special about the band. Fast forward to 2012, a time when bands from the grunge-era seem to be making another go of things for whatever reason (those who managed to survive the decade, that is) and Soundgarden, while a little late to the party, is right alongside their peers in releasing new material. What?s most surprising here is that while most modern releases from bands that haven?t been around for more than a decade have more of a nostalgic feel to them, King Animal has a refreshing quality to it. It almost sounds like the band is truly excited at the notion of playing together again, and have come rejuvenated rather than lazily slapping tracks together. While more time is needed to go through the band?s back catalogue, I would think most fans of this band would be happy with what this album has to offer. Deftones Koi No Yokan3.5Dark Tranquillity Zero Distance3.5Dethklok Dethalbum III4.0Wintersun Time I3.0Leaving large gaps between album releases is always risky business for any band, regardless of how well established they might be. Within a half decade or more (as is often the case) tastes can change wildly between listeners, with some finding it hard to relive a musical part of their life that may feel like forever ago. The more hardcore fans, on the other hand, may have used this time away from their favourite band to build up hype, while relying on a back catalogue, constantly putting more stock on those records. In short, when the time finally comes, it can be hard to live up to all the expectations the listen may have created by this point.rThis was the problem with epic/extreme metal band Wintersun, taking 8 years (with a series of promised dates and push-backs) between their self-titled debut (a ridiculously awesome piece) and the sophomore effort, Time I. Perhaps I?ve fallen to the hype-train I so often try to avoid, but this album just seems to lack the punch of its predecessor. The obvious Japanese influences feel forced and out of place, as do most of the tracks here. The end result here isn?t something awful; as far as symphonic metal goes, this is right on par with the rest of them. The problem is, this album could?ve been so much farther beyond its peers, but instead comes off as a pretty forgettable release. rEllie Goulding Halcyon3.0While a major draw for listeners here is the more mature, darker sound that breaks from her sun-soaked pop sound on Lights, I actually prefer her debut to this one. Some of the tracks feel too gimmicky in comparison, and while I can see the overly upbeat stuff getting annoying, some of this has a similar effect. Goulding is still a great talent and will be fun to watch in the future.Between the Buried and Me The Parallax II: Future Sequence4.0Sounding like the most concise and entertaining recording since the bands heyday (arguably Alaska/Colors era) The Parallax II feels much less like the second part to the fun but confusing EP and more like a step back in the right direction. Honestly, this band has never followed a particular set of rules, and as time goes on their stray farther and farther from the convention, seemingly hellbent on squeezing in every possible influence that crosses the members' minds. But even amid all the stops, starts, changing signatures and proggier-than-prog mentality, this band is back to their entertaining ways, and that's a good thing. For what it's worth, this is my 1000th album rating on here Enslaved RIITIIR4.5The Devin Townsend Project Epicloud4.0Easy Star All Stars Thrillah3.0A worthy and well-executed tribute to a legendary album, the Easy Star All Stars get back to what made them successful, covering the works of other artists with a heavy reggae/dub twist. While making a career out of other people's music is probably not the best way to gain respect, this band has carved out a pretty devoted following thanks to their attention to detail and preservation of the original material their paying homage to. Minus the Bear Infinity Overhead3.5Katatonia Dead End Kings4.0Slightly Stoopid Top Of The World3.0Matisyahu Spark Seeker3.0It feels like too long since Matisyahu soared at the top of his game, with his first pair of releases, Shake Off the Dust and Youth feeling like refreshing reggae that reinvigorated the genre. After these mind-blowing performances, it seemed as if Matthew Miller lost some of his root sound and opted for a more polished, studio-magic vibe. rWhile some of this is probably due to the fact that his original backing band is no longer in the picture, fans can only hope that Light and Spark were just a few minor blips on the radar of an otherwise promising career. (Rating: 2.9/5)Baroness Yellow and Green4.0Childish Gambino Royalty3.5The Royalty Mixtape sees Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) continuing to grow as an artist/rapper, picking up more and more big names to accompany him each time out. While not as hard hitting as his Camp studio album, this mixtape is more than entertaining, and shouldn't be missed, even if it's to check out Tina Fey rapping...Gojira L'Enfant Sauvage4.0Rush Clockwork Angels4.5Be'lakor Of Breath And Bone3.5Tenacious D Rize of the Fenix3.5Silversun Pickups Neck of the Woods3.5While finding both the band's previous releases pretty striking in sound, Neck of the Woods almost feels like a step back from previous awesomeness. While possibly a slightly deeper outing then its predecessors (though that may be a tough task to accomplish) the overall impact after four or five listens comes off a little disappointing considering how much hope I had for this album. Hopefully the depth of the record will translate into a grower after giving it a little time to sink in. The Samuel Jackson Five The Samuel Jackson Five4.0The band's best effort since Easily Misunderstood, this long-awaited outing from jazz/prog/rock quintet Samuel Jackson Five is another example of how talented (if not under appreciated) this band is. Storm Corrosion Storm Corrosion3.5In Mourning The Weight of Oceans3.5Anathema Weather Systems3.0Agreed with this album's review; the disc is a pretty record, with beautiful changes and melodies throughout, but it feels like it's lacking that substance from its predecessor. It's pretty clear by this point what direction Anathema is heading in, and they really do wear this style well. A much more emotional record this time out, Weather Systems may drive off some fans of the band who have been waning since the last few records, but any listeners who's a fan of the change in sound should eat this record up. Woods of Ypres Woods V: Grey Skies & Electric Light3.5Meshuggah Koloss3.5The Mars Volta Noctourniquet4.0After a bit of a lull with Amputechture and Octehedron, The Mars Volta finally sound like a band that's enjoying recording again. This doesn't quite get back to the days of Deloused, but it does harken back to the latter days, when the band still had a little bit of focus to their music. Astra The Black Chord4.5Eluveitie Helvetios3.0While still managing to offer up some pretty badass riffage, celtic-metallers Eluveitie seem to find themselves struggling a bit to breath new life into their particular sound. One can't help upon hearing this record that they've heard it before, with redundancy starting to become a mainstay for the band. This isn't to say Eluveitie is necessarily stuck so early into their career, but evolution of their musical style may be a must for the continuance of their survival. Soen Cognitive3.5Chimp Spanner All Roads Lead Here3.02011 Metallica Beyond Magnetic3.0While this one will still leave most fans pining for the long lost days of Metallica, this EP is a pretty decent entry in the new era discography of the band. The tracks try their best to harken back to the band's thrash metal roots, and actually does a decent job meshing with the bands evolved sound. If anything, the EP should instill a little more hope in the struggling Metallica fan. Silversun Pickups Seasick3.5Childish Gambino Camp4.0Cynic Carbon-Based Anatomy3.5David Lynch Crazy Clown Time3.0Animals as Leaders Weightless4.0Mastodon The Hunter4.5Opeth Heritage3.5Bush Sea Of Memories3.0Seemingly finding a way to replicate their past sound, Bush returns with Sea of Memories, an album that, upon first listen is somewhat entertaining. At first, nostelgia seemed to set in and this record seemed to offer more than it actually was; unfortunately, multiple plays are not a big friend of Sea of Memories, exposing weaknesses or filler tracks along the way. This record isn't a total loss though, with a few good tracks kicking around and will no doubt still be able to please the average Bush fan still hanging around. Red Hot Chili Peppers I'm with You3.5Gotye Making Mirrors3.0Jeff Bridges Jeff Bridges3.0Jay-Z and Kanye West Watch the Throne2.5311 Universal Pulse3.0Sublime with Rome Yours Truly2.5Distinguishing Sublime with Rome from the legacy left behind in the band?s original incarnation ? three records that have long transcended cult-favourite status ? when frontman Brad Nowell died will undoubtedly be the biggest pitfall facing the legions of fans that both cringed and perked their ears at the possibility of this album. On Yours Truly, you find three musicians (alongside some session helpers) putting out a decent third-wave ska record; unfortunately, it never really goes any farther than that, and it?s not the late 90?s anymore. That means pulling off this stale, almost forced sound comes off as somewhat confusing. Even the basslines and drum beats are a far cry from what the musicians playing the instruments used to sound like. There seems to be an overall lack of creativity here, but rather a rehashing of other decent ska units (see Slightly Stoopid, Pepper, etc.) which leaves the ?Sublime? moniker all the more confusing. All that seemed to make Sublime what they were ? that hodge-podge of musical ideas coming together to create a sound that didn?t fit anything, let alone clear definition. It?s understandable that Wilson and Gaugh would want to use the name they?d played under for decades and was as much theirs as it was Nowell?s; it ?s just sad to see that flag flying over a record that sounds like a couple of guys just going through the motions. Incubus If Not Now, When?3.0Fair to Midland Arrows and Anchors4.0In Flames Sounds of a Playground Fading3.0The Devin Townsend Project Ghost4.5The Devin Townsend Project Deconstruction4.5WU LYF Go Tell Fire to the Mountain3.0City and Colour Little Hell3.0Foster The People Torches3.0The Lonely Island Turtleneck and Chain3.5Enslaved The Sleeping Gods3.5And So I Watch You From Afar Gangs3.0Minus the Bear Hold Me Down3.0dredg Chuckles & Mr. Squeezy2.5Blackfield Welcome To My DNA3.0Between the Buried and Me The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues3.0Easy Star All Stars First Light3.0A valiant effort, but this collective's real talents lie in masterful covers of wicked albums done in a reggae style. Amon Amarth Surtur Rising4.0Protest the Hero Scurrilous3.5The Sheepdogs Learn and Burn3.5Classified Hand Shakes and Middle Fingers4.0Children of Bodom Relentless Reckless Forever3.5Omnium Gatherum New World Shadows4.0Radiohead The King of Limbs3.0The Aggrolites Rugged Road2.5Travelling down the trodden path of familiarity, reggae unit The Aggrolites take things safe by continuing to offer up essentially the same record for the last three studio outings. While the band, whose sound stems from a throwback to classic reggae and the production sound it utilized has never been an act to really push the envelope, though after a pair of records that couldíve been mirror images of each other, the shtick is getting a little frustrating to fans. Consistency is definitely the key to this bands success, but if theyíre not careful they could find their sound more pigeon-holed than it already is. Cake Showroom Of Compassion3.0Cakeís long-awaited 6th studio offering, Showroom of Compassion, may be a bit of an unfortunately surprise for long-time fans of the band who were eager to see which direction they would take after a 6-7 year break from recording. The results arenít all that unexpected: the usual stuff found in most Cake recipes (sorry) is all here, and still being done pretty well. That may be the problem with the record, however, since it leaves a pretty stale sound in the listener's ear. There are definitely some good tracks on here, but as a whole the album feels more like another B-sides offering than something the band had been working at for some time. There is still promise for this bandís particularly quirky style of alternative rock, but it seems like theyíll have to start progressing at least a little bit if they hope to stay somewhat relative in another decade of activity. 2010 Ellie Goulding Bright Lights4.0Agalloch Marrow Of The Spirit4.0After the Burial In Dreams3.5Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy4.0Easy Star All Stars Dubber Side of the Moon4.0Retouching upon their past tribute (and relative success in the process) New York-based reggae/dub collective Easy Star All-Stars once again cover Pink Floyd's classic album "Dark Side of the Moon" in its entirety. Obviously this is no real new ground, as it is both a cover album, as well as the second effort at it by some of the same musicians. This time around, some new players add their own spins to the classic tracks, while some effects are retained from the original Dub Side of the Moon release. All in all another enjoyable listen for any fan of Pink Floyd and reggae music. Pure Reason Revolution Hammer & Anvil3.0The jump modern progressive-rockers Pure Reason Revolution made between the darling days of their debut The Dark Third and 2009ís Amor Vincit Omnia to the bandís 2010 follow-up Hammer and Anvil will undoubtedly be a bit startling to fans of the unit. Embracing a heavily electronic presence, there are moments on this disc where the band is unrecognizable from their former selves. The stylistic changes are admirable, as the band obviously wants their sound to grow and evolve with modern music rather than stagnate with the sounds of the past. Still, instead of feeling comfortably meshed into the bandís progressive sound, the electronic vibe seems to permeate the overall output, leaving very little prog-rock in the traditional sense. The album is far from a bad listen; it will probably take a couple spins or more to get a decent handle on the new sound, but the direction is still promising. Hopefully this new flirtation with experimentation (too much?) will lead to a symbiotic relationship between the 70ís Ėinfluenced prog and the modern influenced electronica. Kings of Leon Come Around Sundown3.5Kings of Leon have slowly been paving the way for their brand of slightly southern-tinged rock music, apparently with their sights becoming focused on breaking into the mainstream market. This mission was undeniably accomplished with the bandís immensely popular 2008 airwaves dominator Only By the Night. Spawning multiple singles and generating great interest for the band, it may have been difficult to figure out where to go from that point. Does a band now go back to their humble, less popular roots? Rather, does the unit aim to keep their relevance at its highest point by repeating a successful formula at the risk of fan-alienation and critic panning? I suppose to really properly answer these questions one either has to be a devout follower of the band, or look past the record for what it really is. Avoiding both these pit-falls, this listener has found that Kings of Leon have perhaps found a happy medium, retaining that southern twang without risking their radio-potential. Donít get me wrong; this can be pretty frustrating considering some of the material the band has put out in the past. Still, the first half of the album goes full-steam ahead, and while there is a bit of a quality drop on the latter half, Kings of Leon seem to have found a comfortably niche that isnít completely against nature. All That Remains For We Are Many2.5Seemingly taking all the good things that transcended the bandís first pair of recordings that produced that breakout third offering, The Fall of Ideals, metalcore outfit All That Remains continues on a disappointing path of mediocrity. With death vocals/growls, fierce soloing and attention to melody and harmony thrust firmly in the background of the bandís compositions, much of what made this band seem like a promising breakout from the traditional restraints of the floundering metalcore genre feels lost in translation. Perhaps with a goal towards a more radio-friendly, mainstream take on their prior sound, the results feels rather alienating to fans that have followed the band through changes in style and lineup problems. Bedouin Soundclash Light the Horizon3.0Though its minimalistic approach my initially deter steadfast Soundclash fans, the bandís fourth full-length LP, Light the Horizon is an album that seems to yield more to its listener upon repetition. While the absence of the bands former drummer does make a slight alteration to the overall rhythm of the band, this, for the most part, seems like a blessing in disguise; new-comer Sekou Lumumba is more than an adequate replacement, and even seems far more technical and creative. Granted, the record feels much more like a Jay Malinowski outing, finding bassist Eon Sinclairís lines either overly simplified or downgraded to more of a background noise to what makes for a mellow-atmosphere sound. On the whole the overall product still feels weaker than the bandís breakout record, Sounding a Mosaic; that being said, however, this still has more of a growth potential than the previous outing in 2007ís Street Gospels. If fans will take anything from this disc, it should be that the band, though suffering from a bit of a stutter-step, does seem committed to the growth and progression of their overall sound; hopefully this works out for the best for both band and fan alike. Enslaved Axioma Ethica Odini4.0Yet another impressive outing from progressive black metallers Enslaved, showcasing the bands ability to grow and unwillingness to allow their sound to stagnate. Probably the most progressive influenced of the band's work, Axioma Ethica Odini is a staggering display of modernized black metal and experimentation, putting the band on a path that transcends the bonds of tradtional death/black metal. The Nova Echo Voyager3.0Apocalyptica 7th Symphony3.0Soilwork The Panic Broadcast3.5Eminem Recovery3.5Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Mojo2.5Nevermore The Obsidian Conspiracy3.0Tokyo Police Club Champ3.0Hailing from surrounding areas around me and having a buddy who really got into the band from the get go (alongside meeting them to boot) Tokyo Police Club was around me in some form or another from almost their inception. For whatever reason, I found the band pretty much annoying trendy rock with that nasal-vocal quality that just wasnít for me. My friend tried and tried to get me into the band, but it was to no avail. A lot of time had passed, and so had my interest in even trash-talking this band. That was, until I was out for a late night drive, switched it to the EDGE and heard something that really caught my attention. This song had all the markings of a modern, trendy band trying to get heard on the radio; the thing was, they were pulling it off in a way that was giving me a reason to nod my headÖa rare occurrence indeed. For whatever reason, I managed to space on the song and it was lost to me, until a friend and I heard it come up again, he too finding it rather interesting as well. Our research led to the surprise that it was a track from Tokyo Police Club (heíd be pushed hard by the same friend of mine to get into the band, but just couldnít get past their overall sound). This track, Bambi, helped to open up our collective minds, if only for a little bit.rNow, neither of us is closed minded when it comes to music by any means Ė this stuff just isnít typically for us. I canít say that this album totally pushed me past the point of acceptance, but it definitely opened me up a little bit; as a whole this record has a pretty fun atmosphere, which is ultimately how it should be listened to.Anathema We're Here Because We're Here4.5Anathemaís first studio offering in the last seven years is a pretty startling display of what this band can accomplish when firing on all creative cylinders. Though the band has been consistently honing their craft since making the shift from a death/doom metal band to a full-fledge progressive rock unit, something about ďWeíre Here Because Weíre HereĒ screams focus. The tracks here flow pretty damn smoothly with each other, offering up a full album of music rather than some scattered songs, and the quality of musicianship on each is a marked improvement from the albumís predecessor ďA Natural DisasterĒ. At timeís channeling Porcupine Tree, and others just holding their own with a unique sound, the choices made for this record Ė even down to HIMís Ville Valoís guest vocals - were all the right ones.Rosetta A Determinism of Morality3.5Cynic Re-Traced3.0Awolnation Back From Earth3.5Minus the Bear Omni3.5Deftones Diamond Eyes3.5Periphery Periphery3.0While definitely offering up some promising ideas on their debut, Periphery find themselves struggling to move past a barrier seemingly put up by the band's intent on calling back to a metalcore/post-hardcore influence. What you get with this self-titled is not a complete package, but rather the hope that there will be greater things to come in this band's future. Some more than competent musicianship makes up for the misdirection in the majority of this album?s tracks, but overall the vocals here are a matter of taste (or maybe just more than enough plays to get used to them). All in all, I?ll be checking out the one these guys just released (Periphery II?) mainly out of curiosity, and the aforementioned hope I managed to squeeze out of this one. While this really is more deserving of a 2.8 or so, I'll round up because I like a few of the riffs on here.Klone Black Days3.0Band names usually do little in describing the sound of their creators, but in french prog-metaller's Klone case, it does a little too good a job in summing up their creative output. The idea that the band's name is a spin on the fact that they sound like a great deal of other bands may be intriguing to fans of those particular bands. What "Black Days" offers up, however, is a bunch of rehashed ideas from various progressive/metal records. Perhaps the biggest shame here is that the band is actually quite talented...had they not decided to sound a little like Tool, a little like Fair to Midland, with a little bit of Gojira and Meshuggah(?) thrown in, and instead attempted to tread some sort of original path, things could've been really promising. All in all, the record is pretty forgettable, if not slightly entertaining for perhaps a listen or two. (2.8/5). MGMT Congratulations2.5In attempting to discard the success that their debut Orcular Spectacular brought them, the band's focus now seems to be on NOT getting singles played, and rather that the album works as a whole. This idea would be respectable, if the album actually could pull that feat off. Really, this feels like a rag-tag collection of songs that don't fit together in any way I can decifer. I get that artists can get overwhelmed by sudden success, but this attempt to thoart their previous good fortune seems extremely confusing and made for a pretty disappointing listen. I'm sure that this process of alienating their fanbase will show them who their really fans were - those who stuck around - if that's really worth something. (2.7/5)Arms ARMS2.5Ikuinen Kaamos Fall of Icons3.5Kalmah 12 Gauge3.0Perhaps it's my growing tastes within the genre, but I've found Kalmah getting into an increasingly uncomfortable niche with their last three albums or so. Whereas I felt For the Revolution was a bit of a return to form of the band's early days, this latest offering feels redudant. That isn't to say there really is anything wrong with this disc, or that it really sounds all that different from For the Revolution or The Black Waltz. The problem seems to be that Kalmah have found a formula they feel comfortable repeating continuously, and it feels like it's taken them as far as they can go with it. Soundtrack God of War III: Blood & Metal EP3.0This was surprisingly entertaining considering a video game was the source of inspiration (alongside some coin I'm sure) with a couple pleasant surprises. Though I was expecting more of a metally tune from Opeth, I was really pleased with the overall result; sort of like a jam session vibe goin' on there. Killswitch and Dream Theater tune out some decent tunes, and the EP helps serve as a introduction to the likes of Taking Dawn, Mutiny Within, and The Turtlenecks to a good chunk of the EP's listeners. Dark Tranquillity We Are The Void3.5Amongst a slue of disappointing, yet highly anticipated metal releases within the last few months, Dark Tranquillityís We Are the Void seems to tower above the rest (at least for the time being). The veteran melodic death metallers have crafted a better record than predecessor Fiction, using an approach that resembles a culmination of the bandís various stages throughout their career. There is no doubt that this record puts forth a greater focus on keys than some fans may be used to, but they work so well with the dark and gloomy DT riffs itís almost hard to imagine the band without them. This is far from a perfect record or even amongst the bandís better outings, but itís definitely a big step in the right direction, and shows that theyíre not too set in their ways to experiment a bit without ruining their sound. Eluveitie Everything Remains As It Never Was3.5Despite really getting into this band when I first stumbled across them, I canít help but feel theyíve started to carve themselves a little niche that seems a little too comfortable. Their latest offering, Everything Remains As It Never Was doesnít do anything new as far as this band is concerned, instead relying on rehashing previous material to a point of somewhat redundancy. This isnít to say that this is a bad record though; there is still a hell of a lot that would keep an Eluveitie fan listening or appeal to a new-comer. Still, given the immense amount of promise this band seemed to have behind them, itís a little sad to see them starting to go stale so fast. I'd give 'er a 3.3/5.In Mourning Monolith4.5In Vain Mantra4.5Vampire Weekend Contra3.0Childish Gambino Culdesac3.52009 Chimp Spanner At the Dream's Edge3.5Animal Collective Fall Be Kind3.0Them Crooked Vultures Them Crooked Vultures3.5A pretty nifty debut from some of modern rock and classic rocks major players. This one pretty much sounded like a mashup of old and new approaches to rock music, with the obvious Zeppelin influence throughout. This was pretty enjoyable and hopefully they'll move on to bigger and better things with their next. One thing I'd definitely like to see with this band is more of their rhythm section and a little less Homme.The Devin Townsend Project Addicted4.0The Morningside Moving Crosscurrent of Time3.5Katatonia Night Is the New Day3.5Shpongle Ineffable Mysteries From Shpongleland4.0ZX Spectrum Alms EP3.5The Red Chord Fed Through the Teeth Machine2.5Between the Buried and Me The Great Misdirect3.5Not exactly a far cry from Colours (not that that's a bad thing by any means) The Great Misdirect finds BtBaM somewhat building on their sound (is that even possible anymore?). Regardless, they've put forth another fantastic record, though at points it seems to meander and I question some of the lengths of the songs. Still, this is a nice addition to the band's discography. Rating: 3.8/5Priestess Prior to the Fire3.5Freak Kitchen Land of the Freaks3.5Rammstein Liebe Ist F√ľr Alle Da3.5Though not as strong as some of the band's work from their heyday, it's pretty amazing how little the band's 2009 offering strays from the traditional Rammstein sound. There are a few moments that sound like things they've never done (or at least not to this extent) namely on "Fr?ng In Paris", "Mehr", and "Roter Sand". These tracks only build on the quality of the album, however, finding Rammstein reaching out (however slightly) to new sounds and hitting their mark perfectly. I wasn't sure quite what to expect with this one, and though I wasn't totally blown away with it, I was pleasantly surprised at this band's consistency and their loyalty to their sound. Baroness Blue Record4.0Though still an interesting band in the metal vain, progressive sludge metallers (sorry) seem to have lost a bit of step from their debut Red Album to this sophomore follow-up. That isn?t to say there are more than enough moments to keep a fan interested, but more that this one lacks that certain punch its predecessor held so strongly. Perhaps the departure of former lead guitarist Brian Blickle did more than a little bit to throw the band?s chemistry off balance, something that definitely came out in some of these tracks. There just seems to be an overall lack of focus in comparison to their first record, though I suppose the listener should try to treat both releases very different. I?d still recommend starting with the Red Album or even digging back a little farther and checking out the band?s early EPs. Sole and the Skyrider Band Plastique4.0HORSE the band Desperate Living3.5Mumford and Sons Sigh No More3.5What seems to stand Mumford & Sonsí music Ė a hybrid of folk and indie-rock (with a touch of a Celtic influence?) Ė above a slew of imitators is how endearing the record can become to its listener. Though itíll probably take a few listens for this one to start to sink in, I found it making an almost immediate impact on me, a listener who generally is put off by this style of music. There are some definite stand-outs Ė The Cave and Little Lion Man being some of the stronger points on the record Ė and whatís nice about the rest of the album is the majority doesnít have that Ďfillerí feeling. Sure, there are going to be some tracks you just canít get into; but as a whole, I think the average listener of rock tunes should be able to get at least a little something out of this one. I look forward to this bandís future, as they definitely seem like theyíll be a promising act. Converge Axe to Fall3.0Dethklok Dethalbum II3.5Alice in Chains Black Gives Way to Blue3.5Skindred Shark Bites And Dog Fights2.5As a young stoner, I often had long discussions with friends over the possible hybrid of a heavy metal and reggae fusion. Seeing as these were both my favourite genres at the time, the prospect of putting them both together just seemed good sense. Discussions quickly warranted the paradox of metalís aggression and reggaeís laid-back good nature and their ability to coexist in the same realm without sounding completely ridiculous. After Iíd long abandoned the dream of hearing such a sound, a buddy who had been involved in the previous discussions told me about Skindred. He cautioned that they were far from the best thing around, but if my curiosity still needed to be satisfied, I should give them a spin. Iíve looked into the bandís material for a few years now, always casually Iíll admit, and still cannot find something endearing about their music. It was disappointing to truly experience the failure that came at the culmination of metal and reggaeís, but one has to experience the atrocity for themselves. This band obviously has some sort of following, but any reggae aspects come off as more of a gimmick (mainly playing off the lead vocalistís heritage) and underneath Skindred is little more than another nu-metal act. Porcupine Tree The Incident3.0Skyfire Esoteric3.5Threat Signal Vigilance2.5When Threat Signal burst out of a virtually nonexistent metal scene in the filth that comes to mind when hearing Hamilton, Ontario and into a position to start getting signed to labels and finding themselves supporting some of their musical idols in the process, it was pretty exciting for Canadian metal fans, especially those of us born in that area, to see some of the boys making it out into the big world of melodic death metal. The bandís first release was a pretty stellar combination of various influences of the band, resulting in pretty entertaining metal music; unfortunately, shortly after this release, the majority of the band (in fact, all but vocalist Jon Howard remain from the original lineup) decided they couldnít work with their singer or something in that vein and moved on. While the vocals were a nice draw to this first record, the instrumentation was what I was really in it for. Upon these events unfolding, I figured the band was done (for me anyway) and I would go on my continuous search for new music all the same. This would not be the case, as three years later the band come back with ďVigilanceĒ, comprised of (obviously) completely new members (minus the aforementioned vocalist), but retaining much of the sound of the debut outing. While this might sound pretty good at first, really it adds up to a different group of musicians attempting to replicate the hodgepodge ďThreat Signal soundĒ. The record isnít a total waste of time, as a few tracks should manage to entertain at least fans of the bandís work, but a listener canít help but sigh at another example of band chemistry that just canít quite stick. Om God is Good3.0Chevelle Sci-Fi Crimes3.0fun. Aim and Ignite3.0Fun.ís debut outing is really just that: a fun listen, full of whimsical hooks and over-the-top pop melodies. Personally, this just wasnít my cup of tea. Itís rare that I can see why so many would find such enjoyment from a disc I just cannot get into. I realize what this one has to offer, just fail to appreciate it I suppose. Not being a big fan of the indie/pop style, this may just have not been the right sound for me; Iíd really recommend anyone checking this out, as it seems pretty easy for most to get into. Matisyahu Light3.0Mew No More Stories3.5Staylefish Colour By Numbers3.5Rx Bandits Mandala4.5A stunning/startling display of musicianship and the ability to grow within ones own music are probably the easiest ways to describe the latest offering from the once third-wave ska outfit Rx Bandits. Over the years the band has come to flirt with various musical styles to shape something truly their own. With ...and the Battle Begun it was almost at its height of interplay; then along came Mandala. This disc is absoultely superb, and if it doesn't hit ya right away, just give it a little time and she'll throw you a lot back. Very, very impressed with the direction this band is taking. Skyfire Fractal EP3.0Though it feels like theyíre stretching past their once-comfortable realm, Skyfireís Fractal EP was at the very least, a nice Ďgiftí for fans who were still anxious to hear new material from the band. The bandís gift for combining a multitude of heavy metalís sub-genres is ever-present, offering fans a sign that the band was still capable of putting out good material. Featuring three new tracks and one from their upcoming album, Fractal serves as a home for some unreleased material Skyfire fans probably wouldnít have had the pleasure of hearing. Alexisonfire Old Crows / Young Cardinals3.0Nightrage Wearing a Martyrs Crown3.5Boasting a claim like this album is going to bring fans back to the glory days of Gothenburg and the melodic death metal scene is never a good way to start off a record, but after a few spins of this one, they sorta did...
I'm new to Nightrage, so this one may not be the best interpretation for a newcomer. But I am no newcomer to the melodeath genre, and I gotta say that Wearing a Martyr's Crown actually does sound like the good ol' days of the Gothenburg scene. This is far from flawless though, given the somewhat iffy production quality and overall mixing of the record. Still, this one should play out as a pretty enjoyable listen for fans of the genre. The Mars Volta Octahedron3.0Tortoise Beacons of Ancestorship3.0Be'lakor Stone's Reach4.5Bedouin Soundclash Where Have the Songs Played Gone To?2.0A sadly forgettable album, Iím still talking to fans of the band that had no idea this was released. Feeling more like unwanted B-sides than an EP of proper Bedouin Soundclash songs, Where Have All the Songs Played Gone To? continues an unfortunate trend of Jay Malinowski-dominated music. With far too much focus put on minimalistic song-writing and recording techniques and less of a creative impact from its rhythm section, this EP is another piece in the puzzle of a band that used to play reggae-oriented music. dredg The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion3.5311 Uplifter2.5Despite giving this one repeated listens and trying to be as open minded as possible, I can't help but feel like this was somewhat of another wasted out from 311. I wasn't really expecting a whole lot more than this mind you, but some where deep down I guess I hoped they'd rise above. There are some decent moments here, and the record drips positivity from every crack, so it's not all bad...it's just not really all that good either. Emery ...In Shallow Seas We Sail3.0Nahemah A New Constellation4.0The Devin Townsend Project Ki4.5A nice return to form for Townsend, and a good start to his forth-coming mini-onslaught of albums to be. The chilled out atmosphere to the majority of the record plays nicely with Devy's skill, both musically and for composing. There's also a nice blend of soft and heavy here, which is why I don't understand the overstatement of it's calm presence. Nevertheless, the album's quite enjoyable, and a possible front-runner a top record of the year (in some form of media or another).CKY Carver City3.5Green Day 21st Century Breakdown1.0Well, let us prepare for the radio-onslaught this album will bring. That being said, this album wasn't actually as bad as I was expecting it to be. It's still not good, just not 100% terrible. These guys definitely have their formula down, still writing catchy little hooks that'll set deep into their awaiting fanbase. Don't let this fool you, however, as this is virtually the same thing they've already pulled on with their listeners. While I can give them slight credit for trying the rock-opera thing, they're simply rehasing their own ideas, actually ripping themselves off in the process. There are a couple songs that are maybe worth two or three plays, but for the general intelligent music fan, there isn't a whole lot here to warrant all its hype.Eminem Relapse3.0This one takes a few spins to get a real feel of it, though its definitely not in league with some of Em's earlier work. There are some top-notch tracks on this, but there is far too much filler (due to the unnecessary amount of tracks on the disc).maudlin of the Well Part the Second4.0My buddy's been trying to get me into this band for quite some time, and I would give it my all but nothing really stuck. I decided with the release of their newest disc that I would once again give them an honest go. This time, everything finally clicked into place, and I heard what I had been missing for the past few years. This really is a great place to start with this band, as this record feels the most accessible. Maudlin is not for the musically faint at heart, but they are definitely worth your time if you can give them some of yours. Astra The Weirding3.5Seventh Void Heaven is Gone2.5Despite this albums good intentions, it falls somewhat flat in its doom-laden rock category. There are a few moments where the band seems to shine, leaving hope that if there is a follow-up it could be much better. The band's overall sound seems like mash up of certain Sabbath riffs with the harder moments of Alice in Chains (though the vocals here need a lot more work to fit the latters). It's doomy, crunchy, and I could see this appealing to fans of Type O' Negative and the doom rock genre in general, though it will probably be harder for the casual listen to get into. There's definintely some nice guitar work that keeps this album moving, but sadly there's a lot of repetition throughout the music. The last track on this one is pretty damn ballin', though.
I still appreciate the free cd Sputnik, definitely cool to be able to check out this band legitimatelyIsis Wavering Radiant4.0By far Isis' best offering. This takes everything the band was trying to accomplish and finally pulls it off. The Absence of Truth was pretty good, but this builds off that so much more. This one's definitely gonna be in contention for best metal album of 09. Easy Star All Stars Easy Star's Lonely Hearts Dub Band3.5Silversun Pickups Swoon4.5Finding it initially hard to get into the first time around, this one leeched its way into my ears with a ferocity I haven't experienced in some time. In other words, the album steadily started to blow me away in virtually every aspect of it. There's a really nice production style going on here, and the album as a whole gives off a really big, vibrant sound. On top of that it seems to convey it's power on an emotional level, and has some pretty interesting lyrical matter to be interpretted. All in all, this was a real gem of the last year, I'm sorry I didn't get into it sooner. (Edit: After beating this thing to death for months, it hasn't lost a drop of appeal...this things a monster)Eluveitie Evocation I: The Arcane Dominion3.5And So I Watch You From Afar And So I Watch You From Afar3.5Mastodon Crack the Skye4.0Though at the moment probably my least favourite delivery from this band, Crack the Skye is in no means a weak record. Personally, I found that the album lacked the flow of the other records, but the tracks came off as great individually. This album has a feel that takes some time to grow on you and really show its true colours. Another great job from metals current golden-boys.No Made Sense The Epillanic Choragi3.0In keeping with a progressive (death?) metal (see Opeth) vibe, No Made Sense's debut is filled with drawn out passages ala classic progressive rock, resulting in songs that are ultimately longer than they should be. There is still a lot to be said for this band: the are obviously a technically capable group, while also being no slouches in the song-writing department. rThere really isn't any new ground being tread here, as this is really a pretty formulaic progressive death outing. Still, it's nice to see there are still some bands like this around, keeping the genre going, and actually doing so in a respectable fashion. Chris Cornell Scream2.0So, is Cornell trying to bring sexy back? That's the impression that this Timbaland collab gives off. I wouldn't call Scream a case of Chris taking a dump on his legacy, but rather his legacy taking a dump on this album. Lets face it: we remember this man as a major player in the alt-rock/grunge phase of the 90's and he's been semi-relevant ever since. This just isn't an album for typical Chris Cornell fans. I'll admit that the majority of these beats are pretty repeticious and Cornell's voice (to me) is not well-suited for hip-hop music. Still, I hate to rag on the guy for making an album that wasn't a carbon-copy of his previous work, and you can't fault him for trying something new...or is that exactly what we're doing here? I don't agree with the album, but I do think she's getting a little more slack than she deserves, and I'm pretty sure this could find a fanbase somewhere.Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker Questamation2.5Pure Reason Revolution Amor Vincit Omnia3.5This is definitely a positive step in the evolution of PRR's music. It's pretty daring, but not at all out of character for the band's style, so this seems to work really well. It also just seems to get better after repeated listens, which is always a good sign for an album. Glad to see this progressive unit is on the right track and not fading into boring obscurity along with many of their peers.The Antlers Hospice3.0SuidAkrA Crogacht3.0Not quite the follow-up to Caledonia we were promised, this one still has enough of the Celtic influence to warrant a better record than the likes of Command to Charge, but there still feels like much is missing from band with a lot of potential. Perhaps it's that other bands have come to try the Celtic-influence thing (see Eluveitie) and are doing it better. For whatever reason, I found this one ultimately disappointing, though not a bad album. It's just that the regression this band already experienced, only to reclaim their glory with an album then throw it back away is somewhat tragic. There still seems to be a few records left in these guys, and hopefully before they're through they'll return to form. (Rating: 3.2/5)The Lonely Island Incredibad3.0This is in a similar vein as Tenacious D's stuff, which I also enjoyed. These guys seem to have a sense of musicianship (or at least the help of someone who does) so that helps make these songs worth playing more than once. I was actually surprised by this, it was a pretty decent first outing. The CD doesn't seem to pack as much of a punch without the videos, though I guess the bonus DVD will have to be enough. All in all a good comedic offering from some funny guys. Solstafir Kold3.5Bon Iver Blood Bank1.5Once again I'm lost on the appeal of Bon Iver. After finding great disappointment in his debut full-length, I thought there was hope with the Blood Bank track and following EP. The title-track is decent and Baby is alright...the other two songs are pretty stripped down awfulness.Animal Collective Merriweather Post Pavilion3.0Have A Nice Life Voids2.52008 Ikuinen Kaamos Closure4.0A pretty nice find from Sputnik, one of the band's that makes me glad I joined this site. Though their are obvious comparisons to Opeth, I like the way these guys put their music together, separating themselves from "clone" status pretty nicely. It's a shame this band has been marred by trouble, and that this downloadable EP is the first format I'm hearing them in, but I'm one my way to listen to their full-length, and hopefully there is more to come from these Fins. Opeth Burden2.5Steven Wilson Insurgentes3.0Though the typical Steven Wilson quality is littered across this record, overall it falls short of my expectations. Personally I'd rather take his compositions in the Porcupine Tree format, where I feel he's best suited. This is a decent outing, however, and still worth a listen.Guns N' Roses Chinese Democracy3.0The Samuel Jackson Five Goodbye Melody Mountain3.5Enslaved Vertebrae3.5This is a pretty mind-blowing record, not what I expected it to be but I'm pleasantly surprised with the outcome. Like others have mentioned, some comparisons to Floyd, Opeth, etc...A lot of layers here, a lot to take in, but overall a pretty intense record. I haven't really heard much else by Enslaved, just odds and ends, and I know the rest is different, but this alone will have me checking out everything else they have. Cynic Traced in Air4.5Cradle of Filth Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder2.0Gojira The Way of All Flesh3.5With the end of 2008 culminating in a round of above average metal releases (see After the Burial, In Mourning, Ikuinen Kaamos, etc.) we see another pretty stellar metal offering, this time in the form of France's Gojira. The band's thrashy approach to the genre is off-set by their repeated explorations into off time signatures, less than metal topics (ranging from social dynamics to environmentalism) and obvious influence from genres outside of the metalic spectrum. The band still seems to have a bit of work to do before pulling together their magnum opus, but they do create a refreshing spin on their style of music, something metal has been getting better with lately. Matisyahu Shattered EP2.5Been through this a few times now, can't say I like what I hear. I've been waiting a while for the follow up to Youth, but this is pretty far from what I expected. Overall a pretty surprisingly disappointing outing for Matisyahu.Jeff Loomis Zero Order Phase3.0The debut solo outing from Nevermore guitarist/composer Jeff Loomis, Zero Order Phase offers up enough shredding and ambiant melody to keep any fan of his band happy. There is no doubt that Loomis possesses a style all his own, and those who have already come to embrace this will surely enjoy this record. As with most instrumental offerings there are a few stale moments here, but the disc has more than enough brightspots to keep the listener interested throughout. Amon Amarth Twilight Of The Thunder God4.0Omnium Gatherum The Redshift3.5Kings of Leon Only By The Night3.5Kings of Leon continue to improve their particular breed of laid back southern-tinged rock with their latest instalment. This sites review sums up the album best, but to reiterate, vocalist Caleb Followill's voice has improved tremendously, and the entire band itself seems to be embracing an sense of orginality. This disc is definitely a step in the right direction, and the potential of the this unit just got greater.Burst Lazarus Bird3.0Thereís just something about this band I canít get into. I dig that theyíre pretty damn talented musicians, and they definitely have a pretty slick chemistry amongst them. There was a lot of this record I found really enjoyable, then just some that left me scratching my head. Admittedly this is my first attempt at trying Burst out, so maybe I shouldíve started somewhere else and worked my way to this. That isnít to say this is hard stuff to wrap your head aroundÖthere just feels like thereís something missing with this disc. Intronaut Prehistoricisms3.5Deadmau5 Random Album Title3.5Slipknot All Hope Is Gone2.5Though it does display a (very) few moments of decent music, Slipknot's latest effort - dubbed by the band to be it's most decisive work to date... - seems like little more than the typical nu-metal churned out time and time again. If anything, it seems to mark a bit of a regression in the band's musical direction.Anathema Hindsight3.0This isn't too shabby, Anathema added some nice touches to some tracks, others seem too sparse. The major flaw on this record is that a lot of the material seems to lose its original feel; a big downside if you're looking for a rehashed version of your favourite song. All in all if you're a fan of this band you'll probably enjoy the offering, though I'd definitely start somewhere else if you're curious in hearing what these guys are all about.Pepper Pink Crustaceans and Good Vibrations2.5Sorta surprised this one hasn't been reviewed yet, but I don't think I'd be the best person for the job. I liked what I heard from this band's early material, but with their latest releases (namely No Shame, their B-side/rarities compiliation, and this one) Pepper seems to have lost their trademark energy. This one seems the fartherest stretch from the band's roots...not that a band shouldn't grow, but this just really isn't ska/reggae anymore. This just really feels like Pepper watered-down, and makes for a pretty stale record in my opinion. I do hear these guys make up for it live though, and would love to check them out. Slightly Stoopid Slightly Not Stoned Enough To Eat Breakfast Yet St3.0Though this band got pretty damn redundant after Closer to the Sun, this amalgamation of a previous EP and some unreleased material serves as a better reminder to what this band could have been then their most recent offering, Chronchitis. Whereas the newest disc suffers from extreme repetition, this collection at least makes an attempt at mixing things up a bit. Still, it's sad to see the lost potential that this acoustic/punk/reggae/ska outfit possesses, though there may still be some hope for future recordings.One Day As A Lion One Day As A Lion3.0After the Burial Rareform4.0Putting a unique spin on traditional metalcore by throwing in technical and progressive elements, After the Burial's newest offering, Rareform showcases diversity and evolution in the band's musical style. This is a pretty interesting listen, a few weak spots along the way but all in all a pretty strong record. There's a certain brutallity that combines well with parts marred by a lack of melody, creating a pretty fierce attack in the procress. I'm looking forward to more things to come from these guys, they seem to be on the right track. The Offspring Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace2.0Nachtmystium Assassins: Black Meddle Pt.13.0Though I find black metal generally off-putting in its finest forms, Nachtmystium's latest offering (and Sputnik's current whipping boy) Assassins, is a refreshing spin with some highlight worthy influences, mainly focusing on psychedelic elements. The band's greatest downfall on this record is their tendency to drone on far too long on tracks (see Pink Floyd, a trait later damned by Roger Waters himself) and lose focus for the most part. There still is enough here to keep a listener interested, provided they're not a black-metal purist that can't stand the sound of something other than raw, distorted muffles from the guitar and blast-beats from the drums. Opeth Watershed4.5Despite the rumours and speculation that surrounded this album, this really couldn't have turned out any better. This sounds like a rejuvenated Opeth; the new guitar fits perfectly, drums aren't quite Martin Lopez but they do a fantastic job filling in, and the new focus on more keyboards in their music works surprisingly well. This isn't to say that every Opeth fan will like this: I've run into a few die-hards that aren't a fan of the frequent keyboard sections alone. Nevertheless, I think this record more than speaks for the fact that this band isn't slowing down, and at least has a couple more left in them. Moonspell Night Eternal2.0Nine Inch Nails The Slip3.0Kalmah For The Revolution4.0If it weren't for the meandering nature of this one it could have easily scored a higher rating. The music on here is tight and very reminiscent of the Swamplord/They Will Return days, with a bit of the Black Waltz influence. The majority of the tracks come at you hard, are entertaining, and feel like something any fan of melodic death metal would readily embrace. How this has gotten so much hate on this site is really beyond me.Blind Melon For My Friends3.0Despite the wannabe Shannon vocals going on here, the instrumental band should be given some props for this one, they still sound as tight as ever, though they obviously could never be the same band. Now with Travis being kicked out of the band, I would assume the band's future is up in the air, though a search for a new vocalist isn't an impossibility. This album isn't all band, and even some of Travis' Shannon impersonations weren't too shabby.Children of Bodom Blooddrunk2.5Ashes Divide Keep Telling Myself It's Alright3.5Former Tool, Nine Inch Nails, etc. (the list goes on) guitar-tech and founding member of A Perfect Circle (alongside Tool‚Äôs Maynard James Keenan), multi-instrumentalist Billy Howerdel showcases his own musical vision with his solo project Ashes Divide. As a major driving force behind APC, Howerdel‚Äôs Keep Telling Myself Its Alright sees remnants of his past outfit (still technically only on hiatus) in the general soundscape of the disc. This isn‚Äôt without good reason, as former A Perfect Circle band-mates Josh Freese (drums) and Paz Lechantin (has writing credits on several tracks, believed to have recorded bass for the album) contribute to Howerdel‚Äôs songs; Maynard‚Äôs son Devo also makes an appearance on the record, playing the cello. So far the young album has spawned the single ‚ÄúThe Stone‚ÄĚ, and put out a video to support it. This isn‚Äôt the strongest track on the record, as something like ‚ÄúDenial Waits‚ÄĚ seems like a catchier exhibition.
Though the project doesn‚Äôt seem to have the force behind it that A Perfect Circle did, Billy‚Äôs solo work may yet live up to the commercial success of the former. Regardless, he‚Äôs been able to put forth his own work, and with it seemingly honest and whole-hearted approach.In Flames A Sense of Purpose3.0Despite the negative feedback this one got, I don't think there's a question that it's a step in the right direction compared to Come Clarity. The band's change, it's time to either deal with it or just move on.Gnarls Barkley The Odd Couple2.5Witch Paralyzed2.5Perhaps fearing the pigeon-hole that generally befalls bands that sound similar to Witch, the unit abandons some of their fuzz and Sabbath-inspired riffs for more of a crusty, punk sound. The departure really isnít all that extreme, but for this listener, that fuzzy charm seems much more absent here than on the previous record. The band retains their somewhat doomy atmosphere, but in the process seem to lose their ability to compose good songs. There is some material here that should keep fans at least a little pacified, but there are enough tracks that almost seem intentionally redundant/annoying. I guess I just failed to see the big picture with Witch and their sophomore effort; perhaps having a little too high hopes didnít help things either. I still have faith in this bandís ability to create music more true to their debut record, but weíll have to wait to find out. Meshuggah obZen3.5Easy Star All Stars Until That Day3.5A pretty solid offering from the Easy Stars, even if it's just in the form of an EP. This is the first and only original material recorded by the band, so that carries a bit of weight alone. It's nice to hear the band's talent outside of covering other's band's albums. The fact that the songs are pretty solid reggae/dub compositions makes this disc definitely worth a listen. Agalloch The White3.5A pretty graceful EP from a band that never ceases to amaze me. The quality of the recordings/song structures here are excellent, and the folk feel is a nice change from the usual dark metal sound the band puts out (though this really isn't that far a cry for their sound). Overall, the White EP is both a great addition for fans, and a nice place for new ones to get started. Norther N3.0Porcupine Tree Nil Recurring3.5Eluveitie Slania3.5With Eluveitie's second full-length, the band has refined their sound a little more, this time putting a bit more emphasis on the Gothenburg sound, though never putting their Celtic roots in the background. The production value on this disc also seems a lot more polished and refined than the band's previous work, which is probably due to Nuclear Blast signing them. This is an excellent band and I see good things in their future...refreshing melodic death City and Colour Bring Me Your Love4.0Dallas Green's follow-up to Sometimes further expands on his particular style of acoustic ballads, this time adding much more instrumentation to the equation than with the previous outing. For this reason as well as a huge step forward in song compositions, the disc easily surpasses his debut. This was a surprising listen, but definitely worth the time.Vampire Weekend Vampire Weekend3.0Protest the Hero Fortress3.5Beautifully chaotic: this record has a little bit of everything, and really does a nice job at building off the blue-prints laid out on Protest's debut outing 'Kezia'. There are a lot of standout moments here, an interesting concept, and a myriad of musical styles. Dub Trio Another Sound Is Dying3.5The Mars Volta The Bedlam in Goliath4.0Black Mountain In the Future3.0In Mourning Shrouded Divine4.0Much too worthy to be passed off as an Opeth clone, In Mourning are probably the most refreshing progressive death act in the last couple years. There is no doubt that there are similarities between the band and Opeth, and that's probably not going to stop, since each band's music is pretty heavily rooted in progressive death metal and progressive rock (typically 70's influenced). It's more in the way that these guys put it all together that made them jump at me the way they did. Always nice to find hopeful new bands with solid debut offerings...hope they keep the good tunes comin'. Dark Tranquillity A Closer End2.5Take this one for what it is: an unauthorized gathering of bonus tracks and some live odds and ends from various points in DT's discography. There isn't much new here to the die-hard Tranq fan, which will probably be the only people checking this one out, so overall it doesn't win many points. For the sake of compiling these bonus tracks for those who may not have heard, however, is a decent idea and I'll throw some props in that direction for the idea. 2007 Wyclef Jean The Carnival Volume II (Memoirs of an Immigrant)2.5Angels and Airwaves I-Empire2.5Novembre The Blue4.5Karl Wolf Bite the Bullet2.0Saturated with danceable grooves and cheesey lyrics, Wolf's sophomore offering should have been everything a pop-addict could have wanted. Unfortunately, the success of his "Africa" single was made off another artist, and is really the only thing to warrant a listeners attention on the disc. The Lebanese-Canadian attempts to showcase his roots slightly in his music, but the ethnicity is far too watered down by (poorly) attempted Justin Timberlake hooks. The Duskfall The Dying Wonders of the World3.5Itís unfortunate that melodic death metallers The Duskfall were never able to truly find their sound until theyíd decided to call it quits as a unit and release one last hurrah under their former banner. The bandís first three releases found them repeating stagnant melodic death formulas - in a rather uninspired manner Ė seemingly churning out repetitive tunes for the sake of getting paid to make metal. With each release, there seemed to be a sense of growth, be it generally small and somewhat unnoticeable; though they couldnít shake the archaic sounds of their melo-death forefathers, there seemed to be a growing sense that they at least had to try. With the bandís final outing, 2007ís The Dying Wonders of the World, there was a much more forceful attempt at change. The general architecture of that Gothenburg sound was still there, but now there at least seemed to be a bit of a personal touch added from the band. Even if the touch wasnít all that personal, the members of The Duskfall had at least finally learned to embrace the sound, to shape it into something that fit them more comfortably. Soilwork Sworn to a Great Divide3.0Radiohead In Rainbows3.5Riverside Rapid Eye Movement3.0Riversideís debut outing, Out of Myself, was a pretty refreshing prog-rock record, even if they didnít really tread on any new ground in the process. The bandís overall approach, while a little Porcupine Tree in delivery, was well recorded, produced, and the musicians had the necessary skill to pull the music off as an enjoyable listen, rather than a droning bore. As the band continued to nurture their sound they seemed to lose the enthusiastic feel that came off their first album, unable to transition this to their sophomore effort. While Second Life Syndrome was not a bad album, it seemed to possess more of a bleak undertone, with the overall delivery coming off a bit less inspired than their previous attempt. On 2007ís Rapid Eye Movement, Riverside seems to be finding a bit of that enthusiasm again, producing a lusher, more melodic recording. Still, as a whole, the experience still lacks that certain punch that the band managed to deliver with their debut album. There is always hints of continuing progress though, so itís hard to fault this band for much or to truly be disappointed with this, even if it is more of a casual listen. MGMT Oracular Spectacular3.0Rosetta Wake/Lift3.0Given how much praise I gave their debut, this one disappointed me a fair bit. Too much ambiance/random noise for my tastes, but when there's music, it's pretty great. A decent offering, but I still have faith their next will be better.Cake B-Sides And Rarities3.0Dethklok The Dethalbum3.5Between the Buried and Me Colors4.5Baroness Red Album4.0The Flatliners The Great Awake2.0This one was really disappointing as I held high expectations for it after hearing the single "This Respirator". I was a fan of this style of ska/punk, and hoped to hear some more of the same. What followed was a overall bland, generic feeling for 99% of the record. There is one good song (see above) and another one or two listenable ones (Mastering the World's Smallest Violin, KHTDR). I suppose my opinion is jaded based on why I went looking into this band in the first place, as the only songs I like are linked to the ska influence. From what I'd heard about this band, I expected a much heavier skay presence, and as a result this one fell flat for me. If what you're looking for is punk music, this may be a good place - I'm not as familiar with the genre as I am others - to look into. I'm still going to look into this band's first recording, as I hear that's where they peaked sadly, but I'll only leave with one or two songs from this listen. Minus the Bear Planet of Ice4.0Arguably the bands magnum opus, Planet of Ice further expands on the band's musical stylings. The album is a catchy, fun listen, but never loses the same quirky sense of musicianship these guys seem to possess. After a release like this, the mark has been set high by these guys for a follow-up, but it sounds like they're probably up to the task. Slightly Stoopid Chronchitis2.5Ahh, how sad it is when I band finally begins to reach their potential, then simply gets stuck in the same old groove. This was the case with Sublime rip-off band Slightly Stoopid, and their lastest full-length offering Cronchitius. Despite having a retarded name that even fellow pot-heads find offensive, the music here is pretty much the album Closer to the Sun rehashed about 17 times. This is sadly the bands most generic release, and those looking to check out Slightly Stoopid are best to start (and stay with) Closer to the Sun, or even the bands EP/rareites compilation that would come shortly after this piece of tripe.Illscarlett All Day With It2.5Ill Scarlett All Day With It3.0Bon Iver For Emma, Forever Ago2.0Despite its rave reviews, this album was completely lost on me. I found the disc boring and derivitive, which I know would be the counterpoint to the main feelings of the album for everyone else. To me this just feels too stripped down, and the fact that the guy spent 4 months in a cabin while recording does not make this album deep for me. I came into expecting just that, something deep and provacitive, something that would maintain my interest. Instead, I didn't find anything deep that I could grasp onto and nothing memorable was to be found. I could see some people getting something out of this album, but I still fail to see the praise behind For Emma.Queens of the Stone Age Era Vulgaris3.0Perhaps not this band's finest outing, but there still feels like there is enough here for at least a couple listen-throughs. I've never really been into this band, and admittedly I thought "Make It Wit Cho" was a pretty catchy song so I decided to get the rest of this. Being somewhat new to this band (aside from singles) I thought this was pretty listenable and depicted Holmes apparent inspiration from driving through California pretty well; maybe this just takes a couple listens to get a grip on.Fair to Midland Fables From a Mayfly4.0Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker Welding the C:/4.0Raintime Flies and Lies3.0A somewhat refreshing spin on the standard gothenburg metal sound (with some heavy power metal influence); pretty decent death/clean vocals, nice (although abundant) use of synthesizers, and an altogether polished metal album.Akercocke Antichrist3.0Despite rejecting this album upon first listen, I've found it to be one that grows on you...or at least it grew on me after a couple spins. There are definitely some pretty dazzling moments (especially on Dark Inside) and this band does show a lot of different influences merged with their harsher death metal roots. I'm not sure how fast I'll run out to check out more of these guys, but there is definitely something more to this band then meets first listen. Sonata Arctica Unia2.5Devin Townsend Ziltoid the Omniscient3.0Despite the less than positive review this one got (that seemed to have more then its fair share of shee...followers) I was able to come out with some entertainment value with this record. To say that hearing this even once is a waste of time is a foolish statement and probably not very well thought out. Any Townsend fan would at least give this a go, and no doubt find elements they loved from his other records scattered throughout the chaos here. I'm not sure I get the response to this record...it's definitely not the most fantastic thing he's recorded, but it also isn't all that far off from a lot of his other work. Seems like an odd choice to pick on, but I guess even Devy isn't safe from pompous reviewers.Rishloo Eidolon3.5Rush Snakes & Arrows3.5Despite being initially disappointed by this release, I think if any Rush fan gives it more than a couple spins it'll set its hooks in 'ya eventually. After numerous listens and hearing the album live on its tour, the full scope of this record finally hit home to me. The differences between this and other rock-based Rush albums are subtle but vast, and there seems to be a pretty big emotional connection. Ramblings aside, the music on this disc is another fine example of a legendary act. Aeon Spoke Aeon Spoke3.0Despite bascially being the same record with a couple songs interchaged (7 of the 10 from the band's debut make it on this "follow-up") there is a pleasant change between the two discs from Aeon Spoke. This time around there is a greater sense of polish and attention to detail. The songs are slightly revamped, which is definitely a good thing, and the production level seems to be higher on this disc. It's definitely a step in the right direction, but I still can't help but feel like my expectations were royally let down. Be'lakor The Frail Tide4.5In the continuingly stale state that (sadly) the melodic death metal genre has undergone in recent years, there have been the odd glimmer of hope here and there, keeping the faith of the sub-genres many fans. Austrailia's Be'lakor is one of these shining gems, offering up a somewhat refreshing take on the melo-death sound. These guys still seem pretty rooted in the Gothenburg style, but they have a nice progressive touch that plays nicely with their fondness for acoustic passages. This bares similarities to bands like Dark Tranquility and even Opeth and Agalloch, though don't let that misguide you. This band is melodic death, but they do it with their own small sense of individuality, and you gotta respect that.
The Frail Tide is a pretty damn ridiculous debut outing by a band that's sure to follow through on the promise they've showed thus far. Dark Tranquillity Fiction3.0Nine Inch Nails Year Zero3.0Porcupine Tree Fear of a Blank Planet3.5Silverchair Young Modern3.5Omnium Gatherum Stuck on Snakes Way3.5In Vain The Latter Rain4.0Young Buck Buck the World2.0Mors Principium Est Liberation = Termination3.5The Aggrolites Reggae Hit LA3.5Farmakon Robin4.0Wow, another ridiculously underrated album from a ridiculously underrated band. The comparisons to Opeth really seem to prevent listeners from enjoying this band, which goes so far beyond the realm of "Opeth clone" its disgusting. Since when did a band being able to replicate Opeth's sound (well, I might add) a bad thing? Seems like the type of characteristic this site would clamour to, but sputnik's full of surprises. Robin builds off the incredible debut from these guys, and takes the progressive metal thing to another place.Eluvium Copia3.0I can see why this is so enjoyed, but I just don't think it's my style, which probably prevented me from really getting behind this. There are a few stand out tracks that really peaked my interest to actually get this disc, and it is quite soothing and calming...definitely good if you're in the mood for something like that. My only beef with the record is that perhaps while striving for consistency here, the result became redundancy.Blackfield Blackfield II4.0I find the sophomore follow-up slightly more entertaining than its predecessor for some reason. I realize the material on both discs is pretty similar, and that this one doesn't do anything to break any new ground for the "band"...still, there's something about the long-play experience of this one that seems to be more flowing than Blackfield I. This is a decent little side-project, apparently with another one to come sometime in the future. r(The opinions expressed above are no longer the expressed opinons of this user at this place in time, therefore a rating change is due, and no new sounoff shall be posted. That is all.)Gentleman Another Intensity2.5It almost seems like something fresh when Gentleman sings, despite taking obvious nods from Bob Marley and other prominent reggae artists. This is my first real foray into a Gentleman record, and though I wasn't really pleased with the out-come, I have faith that some of his earlier, less poppy-produced stuff (if this even exists?) would be up my alley, but this isn't really much more than average reggae/pop. (Rating: 2.6/5)ZX Spectrum Optimistic Views EP3.0This pretty much follows in the same vein as the last demo, just with a lot less songs. The quality sounds like it's getting better though, and I think these guys are getting close to signing a record deal which should see more material coming sometime in the distant future.The Samuel Jackson Five Sea Sides and Elsewhere3.0I ended up finding this EP on a random whim, but was pretty pleased that I had. Still anxiously awaiting a new release from this band, I figured a bit of B-side/rarity stuff might tide me over in the meantime. For 5 tracks, there really arenít many (if any) disappointing moments on here, and the Unimog demo and short but sweet Them Trees are pretty slick tracks considering where they wound up. Nahemah The Second Philosophy3.5Nahemahís second full-length outing, appropriately titled The Second Philosophy, is a pretty good bridge-point between the bandís debut and their groundbreaking latest installment (if you exclude the first independent release) though it does seem to flounder a bit in the wake of transition. While the band, at this point, continued to produce progressive-laden death metal, they seemed hell-bent on maintaining a sense of originality. What this translates into is initially presented as a bit of a mess of genres lumped together; as a whole the album lacks the cohesion of A New Constellation and unfortunately suffers a bit because of that. Still, this album is admittedly a pretty significant grower and shouldnít be judged too harshly until multiple listens are given. The bandís use of a saxophone in their compositions is a pretty refreshing spin on the progressive-death style, and surprisingly works quite well with Nahemahís penchant for ambiance. 2006 Aghora Formless3.5This was a pretty refreshing find, and being a big fan of Cynic I liked the backstory this band came with. The clean female vocals do get to me after a while, but their inclusion was a nice choice I think in keeping with a new idea. For some reason or another I find this album seems to weaken a bit towards the end, though I'm still definitely getting my hands on their first. Incubus Light Grenades2.5SuidAkrA Caledonia4.0I found this band by accident, and I'm extremely glad I did. This is right up my alley (Irish/Scottish heritage) and my favourite sub-genre of metal is Melodic Death... so yeah...bag pipes and death growls . This is a solid example of this band's work, although possibly a little heavier on the celtic influences because of the album's concept. This band is pretty underrated and I suggest any fan of melodeath to look into this one. Tenacious D The Pick of Destiny4.0Wildly entertaining, this soundtrack for the film of the same name, but the band of virtually the same name is a definite must have for a fan of the movie. This brings back a comedic approach to a rock-opera themed movie, and it was done perfectly. This really shows off the serious skills these two have despite being weaved throughout crude comedic lyrics. Albums with this kind of balance are pretty rare finds, I recommend watching this movie and getting this soundtrack. Kylesa Time Will Fuse Its Worth2.0Isis In the Absence of Truth3.5Having only heard this and Oceanic, I can safely say this is more of what I expected based off all the hype I'd been hearing about these guys. This release seemed a lot tighter to me, and had a lot more melodic hooks to keep me interested. There was also a pretty nice flow to this record, though there are only about 3 or 4 tracks that really stand out for me. In this vein of music I still prefer Rosetta, but if this album is any indication of Isis's future, I'll be all ears.Illscarlett EPdemic3.5Converge No Heroes2.0Cradle of Filth Thornography3.0Trivium The Crusade2.0Red Sparowes Every Red Heart Shines Toward The Red...3.0Rx Bandits ...And the Battle Begun3.5By far the band's strongest outing to date, the Rx Bandits really shine like never before on ...And the Battle Begun. Great production, a tight (and live) rhythm section, diverse influences, and a much stronger output on keys make this album a really fun listen. Hopefully these guys keep going in this vein, they could be a force to be reckoned with on the ska scene. Pepper No Shame2.0Of all Pepper's recordings, No Shame is by far the weakest. Of all names to pick for an album, this one is the furtherest from its moniker...there's no feeling here, no catchy songs, an overall lifeless feel, and a horrible flow interupted by poorly done skits. This one gets such a low rating simply since it feels like the band just gave up here and forced out another record. For 18 tracks, this one misleads listeners with the promise of a miriad of good tune possibilities. Beck The Information2.5Amon Amarth With Oden On Our Side4.0It's a tough call between With Odin on Our Side or Amon Amarth's latest, Twilight of the Thunder God as to which is a more compelling album. They both are definitely epic - as per usual Amon Amarth format - though both these discs seem to possess a soundscape all their own, distinquishing them from the band's prior outings. Ever since Veruses the World, the band seemed to be stuck in a bit of a redundant style.
Fate of Norns helped to begin the ushering in of change, though it didn't fully start to enshrowed the band's sound until this point. The album is catchy, full of classic death metal riffs, and packs just the right amount of melody to give it some staying power. This one is definitely worth checking out for the fan or casual metal listener. TV on the Radio Return to Cookie Mountain3.0Mastodon Blood Mountain4.5A culmination of Mastodon's work from Remission and Leviathan, 2006's Blood Mountain showcases the band's ability to step outside the realm of progressive sludge music. Showing off some serious skills, Blood Mountain is hope that this band and metal in general is getting better. Justin Timberlake FutureSex/LoveSounds2.5I'll start off by saying this record somewhat pleasantly surprised, and I'd give it something more of a 2.8 or 2.9/5 if such ratings were possible here. I'd avoiding this one for a while, despite having slowly developed some respect for JT as an artist. Finally checking it out, there are definitely some entertaining moments here. I can't say I walked away with a lot of songs I'm going to be listening to endlessly for months to come, but I do have some hope that this guy's going to put out an album I can completely dig one day. The Mars Volta Amputechture3.0In the bands seemingly hellbent desire to remain as musically diverse as possible, The Mars Volta have started to become almost redundant in their style. It feels like the band got everything they need to say (musically) on their first record, then restated it on the second. With Amputechture, there is a sense of chaos (more than usual for this band) that comes off pretty messy and sporadic then previous efforts. HORSE the band Pizza3.0Alexisonfire Crisis3.0A few tracks on here save this from being pretty average, given the standards these guys set for themselves with their Self-titled and to a lesser extent Watch Out!. There are some good moments on here and as a whole this is a decent record, I just remember it feeling a lot more powerful when it first came out, the spell seems to have been lifted. Iron Maiden A Matter of Life and Death3.5Threat Signal Under Reprisal3.5Though often pandered as a clone of various bands from a few of metal's various sub-genres, Threat Signal creates a sound all their own, even if they do sound like a few familiar acts in the process. The fact that they're able to merge these styles so flawlessly is where the draw to the music is, and instead of being dissected and passed off, should rather be listened to more carefully. This is a bit of gem, something somewhat interesting; even if you consider this nothing more than Metalcore, this is definitely the cream of the metalcore crop. Agalloch Ashes Against The Grain4.0Despite still containing better music than most for that year, I personally found Agalloch's latest installment to be their weakest full-length offering (by a little bit) so far. This was still above all else an Agalloch record, though as a whole I wasn't really grabbed onto as with prior releases. Only real compliant would be the album's closing track, a collection of noise that serves as a disappointing conclusion. Stone Sour Come What(ever) May2.5SuidAkrA Command To Charge2.5This would get a review if it offered up a little more in the way of interesting material. On the band's filth studio outing, they find themselves straying more and more from the celtic side of their music and further embracing the melodic death metal sound from Gothenburg. Though the change might sound decent to metal heads on paper, it results in another mundane, clone-feeling melodeath album. They've truly joined their peeprs with this one, but not for the better. It's fortunate this would be a small stutter-step before the band regained their Celtic ground on the follow-up Caledonia. Ikuinen Kaamos The Forlorn3.5Probably the only band I've discovered soley because of random reading on this site, Ikuinen Kaamos is a pretty ridiculous progressive death metal band in a similar vein as Opeth, though distinctly different. It is perhaps this lumping in with Opeth that does this band the most injustice...there is definitely more here than another Opeth clone. While The Forlorn lacks much of the jazzy elements seen in other prog-death units, there is a definite love for 70's prog elements and folk movements. There is something almost refreshing in the style that Kaamos plays in, and I can't think of a least deserving band to go through the misfortunes they have as of late. This is an impressive debut offering, but really leaves the listener wondering just how impressive a follow-up would have been, had it been released in its entirety. Silversun Pickups Carnavas4.0Pure Reason Revolution The Dark Third4.5Borrowing themes from an obvious influence in Pink Floyd, followed-up with more modern tinges like Porcupine Tree or Riverside, Pure Reason Revolution puts a fantastic spin on modern progressive music. This isn't to say the band is throwing in new ideas for the genre, but mostly that they're capable of keeping these ideas from growing stale. There is almost a sense of accessibility that is void from other prog records that makes The Dark Third such a listenable record. The approach is pretty damn easy on the ears, though there isn't too much sacrificed that fans of progressive music are going to feel alienated from listening. Definitely one of the most interesting bands in their field today. Gym Class Heroes As Cruel As School Children2.5Boy Hits Car The Passage2.5Muse Black Holes and Revelations3.0Possesses a decent chunk of pretty stellar synth-rocky tracks that keep the rest of the album from growing stagnant. Can't help getting the feeling from listening that this could've been something a little more, but ultimately fell short of that mark. Nevertheless, this is the album that first got my attention from this band, and it gives me faith that they're capably of really catching me. All That Remains The Fall of Ideals3.5Nelly Furtado Loose3.0Between the Buried and Me The Anatomy Of2.5Nachtmystium Instinct: Decay2.5Though this was a pretty intriguing side of Black Metal and quite possibly the most I can really stand at one time, but overall even Instinct: Decay's little psychedelic and progressive quirks weren't enough to save the album from having an awfully droning feel. I found that after several spins this disc really doesn't have much staying power with me, though there is a little interest to check out some of their other work...alas, I had heard this was their magnum opus. There are some definite highlights and this is good for a couple songs, but really not too much more here.Peeping Tom Peeping Tom3.0Angels and Airwaves We Don't Need to Whisper2.5This one somehow slipped in as a guilty pleasure of mine, and despite efforts to break these ties, repeated listens just won't let me for whatever reason. There are a couple good songs on here, the rest are range from decent to average to weak/filler. For what it's worth, this may be more of an easy listener than the band's follow-up.Russian Circles Enter3.0Red Hot Chili Peppers Stadium Arcadium4.0It's really hard not to find listenable material on this double-disc, and if you're a RHCP fan this must feel like their magnum opus. There is without a doubt some filler on the album (there are 28 songs kickin' around here...) but for the most part the songs are catchy and well-constructed in typical Pepper's fashion. The Aggrolites The Aggrolites4.0Gnarls Barkley St. Elsewhere3.5Definitely more concise than their latest effort, and a hell of a lot more listener friendly I found. The replay value on this is still pretty high for myself anyway, which is decent for a random record that found it's way into my collection. It's also pretty good for a strange amalgamation of sounds lilke GB puts out to hang around this long, so props to St. Elsewhere. This one had its own atmosphere to it, fantastic stuff. Scar Symmetry Pitch Black Progress3.5Bit of foot-in-mouth from my last soundoff, but I've re-evaluated this band's sound. There is a sense of improvement on parts of the follow up, 'Pitch Black Progress'. There are hints that they're moving in the right direction (though their latest doesn't seem to hold true to that) and unfortunately again the album is made by Christians vocals, which are now gone from the band, and from some stunning duel guitar work. Enslaved Ruun3.5Tool 10,000 Days4.0Perhaps viewed in a bit of a disappointing light given high expectations after the ground-breaking Lateralus, Tool's fourth offering, 10,000 Days doesn't really tread any new surface, but still hits the mark pretty hard. There are a few seemingly recycled riffs now and then, and this doesn't quite spark the interest that other releases from these guys have - again, probably influenced by expectation. Spawning several singles and a Grammy win, 10,000 Days just may symbolize how far the band has come in 15 years. Constantly cracking the mainstream without truly selling out, the latest from Tool is sure to please fans after the intially album-shock wears off. Om Conference of the Birds3.0Moonspell Memorial2.0This one has a feel similiar to the lastest offering, but just not quite as trashy. By this point it feels like Moonspell have either lost it or are just churning out the same mind-numbing goth rock at the listeners expense. This was just a boring album, a boring listen, and a disappointment considering past material from these guys. Novembre Materia3.0Throughout this band's disography they haven't failed to keep me listening, and Materia is really no exception. I do find this to be their least entertaining (and in many ways their worst) record to date, though it's still better than a myriad of clones. I appreciate the progressive rock style the band tried to incorporate, but since they'd been doing this in their past for some time, I found the intervals we were getting to be enough. This was just a brief stutter-step for me though, as Blue came along and reclaimed their glory. Sam Roberts Chemical City3.0Ben Harper Both Sides of the Gun2.5Despite possessing two discs, these act more or less as a vessel for a lot of filler. That isn't to say there aren't good tracks on this release, just that they are far surpassed by the mundane. There isn't much new ground tred here, though Ben seems more fond of a funky feel to his songs this time around. Definitely not my favourite Harper outing, I wouldn't start here if you're looking to check him out. Machinae Supremacy Redeemer (Underground Edition)3.5Machinae Supremacy captivated a lot of listeners with their "Sid" metal sound, and granted, it was a pretty innovative addition to the metal realm. I can't help but feel, however, that this band's gimmick grows tiresome upon repetition (I'll cite this album and a lot of their downloads) and that unfortunately they didn't seem to be able to build upon the strengths of this disc when it came to their next outing. I was a big fan of the way this band went about releasing their music and making it available as easily and freely as they did online. They're a clever act and hopefully they find the creativity bug bitting them in the ass more sooner than later. (Rating: 3.3/5)Joe Satriani Super Colossal4.0Katatonia The Great Cold Distance3.5Rosetta The Galilean Satellites4.0This has an innovative feel to it (despite the fact that this isn't the first band to travel down this musical road) and a presence all it's own that seems to captivate. These songs are truly epic sounding, and any fan of the experimental metal genre would be missing out hard by not checking out this record/band. Pink Mountaintops Axis of Evol2.5I'm a fan of McBean's work with Black Mountain, so I assumed this would have similiar payoffs. It was...er, not for me we'll say. I found this really underproduced (not that much money should have been dropped into it in the first place) and pretty lackluster overall. I'm not really sure what McBean was attempting with this side-project, as it's not all that entirely different from his previous work, just a lot worse. There are definitely some elements not found in Black Mountain, but there's really probably a good reason for that, as the result is Axis of Evol...Witch Witch3.5Matisyahu Youth4.0David Gilmour On An Island3.0I have to admit if it wasn't for my Pink Floyd/Dave Gilmour fanboyism, this one would be getting an average rating. I found this album tended to drag on and bore me quite a bit, though it did have a few good moments here and there. Since I'm a sucker for Gilmour's tone, I dig a lot of the sound, but this one really fell short of my expectations...can't seem to get into his solo work, though There's No Way Out of Here is a pretty nifty tune.After the Burial Forging a Future Self3.5Kalmah The Black Waltz3.5Katatonia My Twin2.5Mastodon Call of the Mastodon3.0Like the review for this one says, this is a nice look into the beginnings of Mastodon. There are some entertaining tracks thrown ontop of their Lifesblood EP, and as a whole packaging this is a pretty solid release. Ill Scarlett Clearly in Another Fine Mess3.0Ahh, before illScarlett became a little more than wasted potential. This one was independantly released by the band and sold at shows in their local Hamilton area after performances. This has pretty solid production given all the circumstances, and is a blue-print for the band's future outings...in fact many songs find themselves on other releases by the band - a couple live, a couple acoustic - (a bit of a lazy trend they'd come to fall into). This is a pretty fun listen, has the spirit that the band seemed to be all about before they started getting their lame videos on Much Music. I'd give this one a 3.2/3.3.In Flames Come Clarity3.0She Wants Revenge She Wants Revenge2.5The Devin Townsend Band Synchestra3.5With his eponymous band?s second release, Devin Townsend and company put forth an expectedly strong effort with 2006?s Synchestra. As with the abundance of his solo material, the compositions here are laden with happy tones, mixed superbly in trademark interplay with Townsend?s unique sound. The album opens with ?Let It Roll?, exploring a much lighter melody-space even for Townsend?s solo material, and does a good job at setting the pace of diversity for the rest of the record. Despite only spawning the single ?Vampira?, the album has its share of highlights ? its ability to seamlessly segue its tracks into each other, giving the overall piece the appearance of a single musical movement. Notable tracks on the album include ?Triumph?, ?Gaia?, and ?Sunset?. The latter is a prime example of Townsend?s use of happier yet still darkish melodies, with it?s intricate but delicate piano-line and gorgeous atmosphere.
Norther Till Death Unites Us3.0Pain Of Salvation Scarsick2.5Oakley Hall Second Guessing2.5Antoine Dufour Development3.5Porno For Pyros Good God's Urge4.0Good God's Urge would cement this band's sound and further distance them from merely a spin-off of Janes Addiction. With a style that meshed the bugeoning 90's alternative sound with touches of prog and an ultimately experimental approach to song-writing. Building off their unique approach to the 90's scene, it's unfortunate that Good God's Urge was the last we'd hear from this band. Definitely not an album to let fly under your radar. Eluveitie Spirit4.52005 Riverside Second Life Syndrome3.0Wolfmother Wolfmother2.5Rammstein Rosenrot3.0There is undoubtedly something missing from Rammstein's most recent offering, Rosenrot. Unfortuantely for the band's music, that something is hard to put a finger on. That might be due to the band's consistency. Rammstein has released four pretty solid records prior to this one, while still remaining catchy yet true to their sound. Maybe their classic sound has finally worn off by round five, and as a result we get displays like "Te Quiero Puta!" as a desperate attempt at something different. In the end this may not be the stellar release fans were hoping for, but there are still a decent number of tracks that are worthy of a few listens. The slower and softer "Spring" and "Stirb Nicht Vor Mir" (respectively) are nice additions to the album, while the first single "Benzin" is semi-hard driving and alright for a couple plays. There are more misses here than hits, so its easy to see where the criticism comes from, but it's still a fun listen at least one time through.My Morning Jacket Z3.5HIM Dark Light1.5Arguably the turning point in an already questionable career, Dark Light found even die-hard fans of the band finding themselves more and more alienated from this point on. Things had been getting weaker and weaker as the band progressed, and their image was more than tiresome far beyond this album. Still, something about this feels like they've finally decided to settle on medicority and are never going to attempt to attain something greater. Bloodhound Gang Hefty Fine3.5Children of Bodom Are You Dead Yet?3.0The Samuel Jackson Five Easily Misunderstood4.0Blues Traveler ¬°Bastardos!2.5I guess I should have left out the first upside-down explanation point...
This one was a bit of a miss for a band that is usually pretty damn stellar. These guys have a lot of variety and a generally upbeat vibe going on, so if you haven't heard of them, you should probably give them a spin. I just wouldn't start here, there isn't anything too fantastic, with the only real standouts being "Amber Awaits" and "The Children of the Night".Baroness Second3.0Scar Symmetry Symmetric In Design3.0Note: I give this a 'good' rating rather than a 'great' because of the wasted potential used.
That being said, Scar Symmetry's debut outing is a pretty decent offering to fans of the Melodic Death Metal genre, and maybe a good starting point for listeners trying to get into the style. However, this is far from a great example of the style, but rather a mirror of it. The band's greatest asset here is in vocalist Christian and his rather versatile melodeath voice. The use of backing sythnesizers is a pretty nice touch, but there is a sense on this disc that it could have been so much more. Unfortunately, I think this is probably there best outing to date, and now they've lost Christian...poor band, had so much promise. Between the Buried and Me Alaska4.5A pretty stunning record, this one has a little bit of everything mashed together in some heathen form of heavy metal. It's a pretty interesting combination of styles, and to a fan of music in general (especially ones who lean towards metal a little) this is a must-listen. Some highlights are the title-track, All Bodies, Selkies: The Endless Obsession, Autodidact, and Laser Speed. Protest the Hero Kezia4.0Opeth Ghost Reveries4.5Minus the Bear Menos El Oso3.0While Minus the Bears sound is undenably infectious, they seem to lack that certain something I was expecting after hearing the odd song here and there and being blown away by the sound some years back. Now that I've finally gotten around to really checking this band out, I'm finding that although - at least this release - is an enjoyable record, though it doesn't leave anything that really sticks with me. There is no track that just possesses me, forcing me to play it over and over again until I bleed it dry. Instead there is a collection of tracks, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, but something that does create a feeling of 'whole'; perhaps that was the idea behind this one all along...The Fall of Troy Doppelganger3.5311 Don't Tread On Me3.5Perhaps it's the reminents of the 311 fan in me still lingering somewhere, but I thought this was a pretty well done record. 311 has always been able to throw in something a little different to keep from sounding like any other third-wave ska/punk unit. These guys have been doing their thing pretty well for a while now, and I have to admit I am looking forward to whatever's supposed to come out this year. Young Jeezy Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 1012.0Silversun Pickups Pikul3.0Nevermore This Godless Endeavor3.5ZX Spectrum Human Herd3.5CKY An Answer Can Be Found3.0Demons and Wizards Touched by the Crimson King3.0dredg Catch Without Arms3.5Dropkick Murphys The Warrior's Code2.5Raintime Tales from Sadness3.0Matt Mays + El Torpedo Matt Mays + El Torpedo3.0Mike Doughty Haughty Melodic3.0E.S. Posthumus Unearthed3.0While finding some entertainment in their cinematic style, E.S Posthumus' debut outing, Unearthed will no doubt have some parts that please and others that somewhat bore. A predisposition towards instrumental music will be a huge help with digesting this album, and it definitely leaves the listener hoping for bigger things to come from the band. Nine Inch Nails With Teeth3.5Porcupine Tree Deadwing4.5Aeon Spoke Above the Buried Cry2.5Slightly Stoopid Closer To The Sun4.0Mors Principium Est The Unborn3.5Freak Kitchen Organic3.5Mudvayne Lost and Found2.5Kylesa To Walk A Middle Course2.5Strapping Young Lad Alien3.5Trivium Ascendancy2.5Soilwork Stabbing the Drama3.0Classified Boy-Cott-In the Industry3.5Despite this being Classified's 10th album, this is probably one of the better places to start with this artist. I was surprised that an East-coast Canadian rapper was actually this good, with beats to match. I guess there's a fair bit of hate out there for him, but failing to read or understand it, it's flown under my radar. This is pretty good hip-hop from some national talent. Children of Bodom Trashed, Lost & Strungout2.5Blackfield Blackfield3.0Gym Class Heroes The Papercut Chronicles3.0The Mars Volta Frances the Mute3.5Geto Boys The Foundation2.0Despite the hooks present in "G Code" and "Nothin' to Show", the Geto Boys have more or less proven that they have lost whatever drive they once possessed, instead relying on their already succured status in the game to churn out another sub-par hiphop record. Dark Tranquillity Character4.0Black Mountain Black Mountain4.0An excellent debut from a pretty refreshing new(ish) talent. The blend of styles in this band's music should please a variety of listeners, while maintaining a throwback to the classic rock/metal eras of Sabbath and Deep Purple. The Flatliners Destroy To Create3.0I'm sorta surprised that this one hasn't gotten a review yet, since this is clearly the better of the two records by this band. I'm personally not going to bother because I don't know how much I could really say about this disc that would be worth a thorough read. "Destroy To Create" is a definite step in the right direction for this band and their debut, as it contains all the elements they claim to be about: punk rock and ska. Since almost all of this (save their single) would be lost on their sophomore follow-up, fans should take as much from this disc as they can. It's mildly entertaining with some catchy songs, although it really isn't anything special to the genre. 2004 2Pac Loyal To The Game2.0Rammstein Reise, Reise4.0Probably the most consistent Rammstein record (at the point of its release) since the band's debut offering, Reise, Reise is a nice addition to the band's already pretty consistent discography. This album showcases a bit more exploration in the bands original design, something pretty refreshing at this point. There are a lot of catchy tracks here, compared to one more maybe two that are skippable (see Morgenstern). Aside from this little side-step Reise, Reise is a fun listen and a good effort from these guys.A Perfect Circle eMOTIVe2.5DJ Champion Chill'em All3.0Pain Of Salvation Be3.0Cake Pressure Chief3.0Considering Cake's streak of well rounded records (see Fashion Nugget, Prolonging the Magic, Comfort Eagle) the note the band left off on with their studio work is a bit perplexing. There isn't really a different approach to this record, but the end result feels mundane and lackluster. The band's previous outing, Comfort Eagle, seemed like the defining measure of Cake's sound. Why they choose to leave off studio work with a less than inspirational offering comes off a bit like a slap in the face when pouring over the band's discography. (Rating: 2.8/3)Wintersun Wintersun4.0Can't figure out why it took me so long to check this band out. This was a pretty refreshing find in the metal realm, so I'd recommend this to most metal fans. With the inclusion of melodic, folk, and power metal influences, there almost is something for every metal fan. This was a solid release, though a few scattered moments kept this from being a 4.5 or even a classic. There is so much potential here though, so I'm axiously anticipating their next offering. The Used In Love and Death2.0After two releases, any potential this band had at stepping slightly outside their mainstream emo/pop-punk boundaries has all but died. Seemingly incapable of releasing anything other than an average record, The Used are another example of wasted talent in an over saturated market. Cradle of Filth Nymphetamine3.0Green Day American Idiot1.0k-os Joyful Rebellion4.0My first flirtation with K-os' sound, but after getting infected by the odd radio/Much Music burst, I figured it was about time to see why my subconscious just couldn't seem to shake the man. I suppose I've always been a curious of Canadian hip-hop, always wondering if one from my home-land can pull it off in style. Now, K-os is definitely not the only Canadian rapper with this ability, but he does it with such effortless style. His unconventional approach to hiphop music (see the slew of random instrumentation that graces this LP) is fantastically accessible to fans of various off-shoots of alternative music. The fact that we're hearing real instruments may not be new, but the arsenel K-os decides to despence with on Joyful Rebellion is more than electic, it's just plain smart and creative musicianship. This is a pretty stellar place to start if someone's curious about K-os' music, and a fantastic disc, though the quality dip during the last 3 tracks or so is pretty disappointing considering the strength of the rest of the album. Megadeth The System Has Failed2.0Arcade Fire Funeral3.5Age of Silence Acceleration4.0Amon Amarth Fate of Norns3.5Mastodon Leviathan4.5Skindred Babylon2.5Sometimes you want something to be a reality so badly, you can almost see it in your horizon. In the case of a metal-head and huge fan of reggae (I know, bit of a contradiction), this horizon finally shone through a cloud of genre merges, just not as brightly as I'd hoped. Skindred's debut offering is a pretty messing combination of the two styles (with some heavy punk doses) and seems to do little for the "genre" other than prove that it just doesn't work. There are a few hidden moments on this disc where something actually comes together, but 8/10 tracks are pretty useless. Perhaps there is hope for this band and style, although it just seems too unlikely. Still, props to Skindred for attempting such a volatile combination of sounds. Esbjorn Svensson Trio Seven Days of Falling3.5Necrophagist Epitaph3.5Rush Feedback2.5This one's just meh for me. Surprising as I love every other album they've put out, but this one just doesn't do it for me. I find Summertime Blues pretty annoying, despite the obvious impressive musicianship taking place. They do a pretty stand-up job on all their covers (though I find For What It's Worth a little disappointing) there just isn't enough here to grab me personally. I can see the diehard Rush fan wanting to own this, but as one myself maybe this one just comes down to a matter of personal preference. It might not help that I'm not a particularly big fan of any of the original songs (save the mentioned For What It's Worth) either. Crossroads is a pretty strong exception, as it displays Lifesson's skills pretty blatently.Dark Tranquillity Exposures: In Retrospect And Denial3.0Silvertide Show and Tell3.0Pretty generic approach to the rock style, but it's kind of nice to hear it around again. These guys completely blew me away when I saw them with VH, bought their cd shortly afterwards. I could see this music getting brushed off by a lot of people but I think the beauty of it is in the live performance.Alexisonfire Watch Out!3.0This is still pretty entertaining, though it definitely lacks a lot of the energy that made their self-titled such a worthwhile listen. This is a Dallas heavy album, perhaps cashing in on his voice, or perhaps the music simply evovled in that direction. Regardless of the arguments for the scream to clean ratios on this disc, the three vocalists are able to mesh into each others respective realms to create a pretty nice sense of harmony on a lot of these tracks. Slipknot Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses)2.5Bedouin Soundclash Sounding A Mosaic3.5Skyfire Spectral4.0Spectral continues the progression of Skyfire's music, and hits the mark in a big way for the third time in a row. This band's sound is a real refreshment to the Melodic Death metal sound. This album continues to merge elements of extreme power metal, symphonic black metal, neo-classical metal, and some others as well. Their fourth album should be pretty ridiculous.Disarmonia Mundi Fragments Of D-Generation3.5Enter Bjorn Strid into the history of Disarmonia Mundi. This would be the trend for the band for this record and its follow-up Mind Tricks, though shortly after that they would finally start to scale back on Speed's contributions. Nonetheless, his vocal work here isn't too shabby, and the album mixes in some nice electronic or synthy moments very well. Though this band seems to have strayed from a true Melodic Death format, this crossbred sound still manages to work for them. Hoping for brighter things in the future.Killswitch Engage The End of Heartache2.5Satyricon Volcano2.5In Flames Soundtrack to Your Escape3.0This is where In Flames really started to slip for me (and I'm sure more than a few other fans) and started their downward spiral. Whereas elements of the band's future style were bleeding through in bits of Clayman and more noticeably Reroute to Remain, they've taken the spotlight for Soundtrack. There are definitely some good tracks on here though, something that should still keep a fan happy after the last few records the band has put out. Still, there's something sad about this disc, and knowing that a little bit of In Flames seemed to end with it. Modest Mouse Good News For People Who Love Bad News3.5Omnium Gatherum Years in Waste3.0Omnium Gatherum sophomore offering does a pretty good job to iron out the kinks in the band's sound. That being said, it's really not all that impressive of an outing, and upon repeated listen it tends to lose a lot of its luster. The band's vocalist would be replaced after this album, probably a good move given his rather raw and untalented approach to death vocals. All in all, Years in Waste has some impressive moments and is worth a listen, though it won't be quite the same for fans of the OG's newer sound. Pepper In With The Old3.5Rivaling the band's debut (Kona Town) as Pepper's most solid outing to the date of its recording, In With the Old is a good blend of ska, rock, reggae and punk. Attempting to follow in the footsteps made by Sublime, Pepper do a nice job at providing fun, easy listening music. All That Remains This Darkened Heart3.5Norther Death Unlimited3.5Urkraft Eternal Cosmic Slaughter2.5Enslaved Isa3.5Always a fun listen from these guys. Enslaved is one of the few black metal bands I can truely get into. Their progressive touches do so much for the black metal style, making their sound a little more accessible to the listener. Isa shows some excellent composition skills and a sense of experimentation that Enslaved seems to generally incorporate into their sound. Incubus A Crow Left of the Murder...3.5Ill Scarlett EPdemic2.5Arsis A Celebration of Guilt3.0For whatever reason this thing hit me pretty hard the first few times I heard it, but after a few spins, I found it getting kind of stale a little too quickly. There were definitely some standout moments on the disc, and it showcases a melodic technical death sound pretty well, though I can't help but feel like it fell a little short. I'm still curious enough to check out other work by these guys, as this definitely held some promise. I did have a bit of a beef with the production and the way they went about mixing the CD, really hoping they cleaned that up after this release. Kanye West The College Dropout3.0Cypress Hill Till Death Do Us Part3.0Baroness First3.0Matisyahu Shake Off the Dust...Arise4.0Riverside Out of Myself4.02003 The Duskfall Source2.5Jay-Z The Black Album3.5Fireball Ministry Second Great Awakening2.5Children of Bodom Hate Crew Deathroll4.0HORSE the band R. Borlax3.0A Perfect Circle Thirteenth Step5.0APC's magnum opus, without a doubt. A staggeringly brilliant (both lyrically and musically) concept album on a theme that's pretty much relatable for anyone. This was truly an example of the band's evolution (not to say that Mer De Noms wasn't phenomenal as well) and a damn shame they decided to exit with E-Motive instead of another real studio album. One can only hope the teasing rumours from Maynard about the band getting back together are true. This album is responsible for helping to shape my musical tastes and the overall way I listened to music and looked at composition, and still gets rocked pretty hard some 6-7 years later. Iron Maiden Dance Of Death4.0The recurring musical ideas that envelop this album help to keep it in my memory. Their is a nice level of consistency here, even for Maiden, and for some reason I found this and Brave New World to be amongst the bands best work. This one is definitely worth a listen, but if you're looking to get into this band, please start with some of their earlier records.Avenged Sevenfold Waking the Fallen2.5Edge of Sanity Crimson II3.5Norther Mirror of Madness3.5Nevermore Enemies Of Reality3.0The Coral Magic & Medicine2.5Kalmah Swampsong3.0There was something unsettling about this release: be it the fact that the band's sound naturally had to change a bit becoming a realization, or just that Kalmah wasn't sounding as sweet as they once had. With their first two releases, I was nothing but impressed, with They Will Return becoming one of my favourite melodic death metal releases. However, with Swampsong, there seems to be so much energy missing from the disc. Maybe its just the reality of the bands material becoming more stale with the output of three discs in four years. This isn't to say this disc is all bad, as there are still some gems hidden along the bumpy road. Upon the first listen or two this album is pretty entertaining, but after listening to this band for a few years and getting to know their releases better, this one just comes up flat. A little more than disappointing given the first two discs, but there is definitely still promise in the band's music. Omnium Gatherum Spirits And August Light3.5A ridiculously talented melodic death metal band. I'm surprised there isn't more info kickin' around this site about them/their albums. The Mars Volta De-Loused in the Comatorium4.5Despite an incredible amount of time spent trying to get into this band, I just apparently hadn't been looking in the right place. Everything finally clicked for me with this album, and I have a new found respect for this band's talents. There is such an eclectic variety of influences throughout the record, tied together by an interesting back-story/album concept. Though fairly sporadic in nature, the disc couples this with moments of beauty that's surprising to find in this style of music. Definitely worth checking this one out. Passenger Passenger3.5Radiohead Hail to the Thief2.5Metallica St. Anger1.5Ahh St. Anger. It really is hard to bash this anymore than the album bashes itself upon being played... this was definitely Metallica's greatest fall. Not that the band hadn't been slipping for quite some time after their hayday, but St. Anger is really...bad. Bad recording, bad drums/drum sound, bad singing, bad song-writing...The one highlight I can walk away from is that when the band toured this they only played two songs from the album which actually sounded pretty decent live.Esbjorn Svensson Trio From Gagarin's Point Of View3.5Skyfire Mind Revolution4.0Mind Revolution picks up where the band's debut, Timeless Departure left off. The stylistic direction really takes off as the band masters their sound. This is a refreshing take on the traditional Melo-Death sound and anything but a clone band. Soilwork Figure Number Five3.0Opeth Damnation4.5So now we know that not only is Opeth a ridiculous progressive death metal band, but they also make for a pretty ridiculous progressive rock outfit too. This album is what got me into the band, and led to my massive appreciation for this band's talents and variety of musical influences. Though this one lacks the powerful agressive riffs that have come to be a staple for the band, this lighter side is nonetheless a powerful piece in the band's discography.Mors Principium Est Inhumanity3.0Katatonia Viva Emptiness4.0The Devin Townsend Band Accelerated Evolution4.0Slightly Stoopid Everything You Need3.5This is a nice and laid back listen, and Slightly Stoopid has proven to me that despite their early connection with Brad, their not another band amongst a legion of Sublime imitators. There is something fresh and original about the way these guys compose their music, and from what I've heard of the band so far (roughly just two and a half cd's) they possess a lot of promise. While I don't know if I enjoy this one quite as much as Closer to the Sun, though it does seem to have an ability to grow on you. The obscure choice in cover songs is also a refreshing change for third-wave ska bands. Easy Star All Stars Dub Side of the Moon4.0This was a very well done tribute, re-created by a pool of talented muscians and given a tasty reggae spin on the sound. The Easy Star All Stars do such a good job here its pretty easy to lose yourself in the album. These guys are definitely fans of the original, and that shines through their music. Apocalyptica Reflections3.5Zwan Mary Star Of The Sea3.0Gordian Knot Emergent4.0Amon Amarth Versus the World4.0As this album's review states, this band seems incapable of making bad material. Versus the World is another example of the band's progression and consistency. Amon Amarth just seems to get better, even if some of the riffs have a bit of a recycled feel to them at times. This bit of redundancy happens in music and especially in metal and is probably the only flaw on this disc. Billy Talent Billy Talent1.0Gary Jules Trading Snakeoil For Wolftickets2.0Jane's Addiction Strays2.5In Flames Trigger2.5Agalloch Tomorrow Will Never Come2.5Though this band is anything but, this "EP" (just two songs, one of which is a reworked version of A Celebration for the Death of Man) is pretty average. There just isn't a whole lot to this to really make it worth more than a collectable or to throw on a computer. Its material purpose is unknown to me. SuidAkrA Signs of the Fallen2.5Streetlight Manifesto Everything Goes Numb3.0This is a pretty refreshing take on third-wave ska music, with a heavy emphasis on the horn section (with four of the band's seven members on various horns). With this sound present the music is pretty upbeat and positive, and this works well for the band. The vocals are more than a little annoying, which unfortunately takes a lot away from the listening experience for me. Despite once being a pretty big fan of ska music, and despite the fact that I actually found this record to be pretty good, I believe my love affair with the genre is over. Tomahawk Mit Gas3.5Though pretty far from my favourite Mike Patton project, Tomahawk seems to give him the hard-rock outlet with a more straight up delivery that his career had been lacking. This isn't nearly as diverse as Faith No More, so don't listen to this disc with that in mind. Instead, try to take it for what it is: a hard rock band that just happens to have prolific frontman Mike Patton in it. No expectations, just solid tunes. Danger Mouse The Grey Album3.5Farmakon A Warm Glimpse3.5Yet another one that needs a review (hopefully coming sooner than later). This band is so beyond the Opeth clone thing that too many people are missing out on a ridiculously talented band. The differences are more than minor here, and they make for great listening.
Eluveitie Ven4.0Eluveitie starts their career in full-force with this ridiculously good debut EP. The band style is a combination of traditional Celtic music blended seamlessly with the Gothenburg melodic death metal sound. This startlingly blend is reminicent of SuidAkrA's sound, though probably a little more refined (at least apparently refined much quicker). Regardless of comparisons, this EP definitely will leave fans of the sound incredibly hungry for more. HIM Love Metal3.5Perhaps costing myself whatever bit of credibility I may have had on this site, I actually was pretty big into this band (along with the CKY crew and vids) when I was younger, and this band (alongside CKY - the band, that is) have always held a bit of a place in my library as a guilty pleasure. With Love Metal, despite naming their album after a retarded moniker developed for the band's music, it was almost a culmination of what they had been working at with Razorblade and Brilliant Shadows. There are more than a handful of good songs on here, and in the odd moment of weakness I still find myself rockin' the Sacrament or Funeral of Hearts now and then. Everything after this point for the band, however, is open for justifiable criticism.2002 The Duskfall Frailty3.0Audioslave Audioslave3.0Minus the Bear Highly Refined Pirates4.0Opeth Deliverance4.5Probably better represented with a vote of 4.2 or so, this album took a little while to grow on me, but when it did, it fully rooted. The production (from Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson) is excellent again, following his stint on Blackwater Park. Wilson also provides backing vocals on the album, which are suited so well with Akerfeldt's its a shame they don't sing together often. This and its sister album Damnation are in the top 3 Opeth recordings for me personally, don't miss this. Alexisonfire Alexisonfire3.5A pretty damn fine debut offering from this Canadian quintet. Fusing elements of hardcore, metalcore, emo, thrash - the list goes on - Alexisonfire emerge as one of the major players on the Post Hardcore scene. Though future cd's get a little more accessible/radio-friendly (despite this on receiving airplay) this is probably the band at their rawest and in truest form. Freak Kitchen Move3.5Eyes Adrift Eyes Adrift2.5If you're a fan of the Meat Puppets, Nirvana, or Sublime and are salavating at the idea of members of each in a trio together, let me stop you right there... Eyes Adrift, the one-off project from Curt Kirkwood of Meat Puppets, Krist Novelselic from Nirvana and Bud Gaugh from Sublime is a nice reminder of the 90's post-grunge sound...but that's about it. As far as the music is concerned, this is a pretty average outing by three musicians that could've done a bit better.Beck Sea Change3.0Sea Change represents Beck?s interpretation of the loss of a relationship. Now this may sound like a discouraging concept, given the depressing nature of the subject matter. Beck, however, seems to transform this pain into an ethereal, atmospheric journey from one end of the break-up spectrum to the other. This isn?t to say there aren?t some somewhat melancholy moments, or even sad ones for that matter, on the record. The positive undertones definitely out-weigh the negativity usually associated with breaking up with a long time partner. Not your usual Beck, but it?s nice to see this more down to earth side of him. CKY Infiltrate Destroy Rebuild3.5Porcupine Tree In Absentia4.0Stone Sour Stone Sour2.5I loved and bought this when i was a little younger and musically unstable...but looking back (and listening) this is really nothing more than average. That probably isn't a surprise to anyone on this site, but I'm surprised by it's overall rating of 3.5. I can safely walk away with 2-3 tracks from this disc (Get Inside, Bother, Take a Number)? but it's "consistency" gets the better of it, creating a redundant, over-marketed sound. This was an alright listen, but seemed to tear down what Slipknot was doing at the time, which was actually considerably better.Dark Tranquillity Damage Done4.5Part of a string of excellent melodic death metal records put out by Dark Tranquillity, Damage Done seems like the most concise example of the band's work up to this album's point. The songs are catchy, full of great melo-death riffs, and don't get much longer than 4:30 minutes or so, leaving a sense of flow to the disc. Definitely a good place to start if you're thinking about checking these guys out. In Flames Reroute to Remain3.5The Coral The Coral3.0Wyclef Jean Masquerade3.0A relatively good recording with notable rough spots. There are some pretty emotional tracks on here as far as 'Clef goes, although there is some more than noticeable filler. Norther Dreams of Endless War3.0Red Hot Chili Peppers By the Way3.5The Used The Used2.5Jerry Cantrell Degradation Trip3.0Kylesa Kylesa2.5After a pretty steady hype-train on these guys, I found this release pretty disappointing. The band's perchant for combining multiple influences and coming up with some pretty neat moments of melody isn't lost in this first listen, but at best simply gives hope to better things to come in the future. Though I couldn't really get much out of this one, there's definitely still enough put forth to give interest enough to check out more. (Rating: 2.8/5)Mastodon Remission4.5Rush Vapor Trails3.5Despite this being smack in the middle of a series of Rush records that ended up being my least favourites by the band, something about Vapor Trails stood out to me. Perhaps it was because for that tour, I attended my first concert. Then again, I saw Snakes & Arrows live and it didn't really do much more for the album...so here we are. Vapor Trails is in the 90's alternative rock vein, though Rush never really loses their unique feel. There are some obvious filler tracks on here, which probably gets to me the most, but there are enough solid tracks to keep this as a repeated listener, at least for a little while. Kalmah They Will Return4.5Probably Kalmah's magnum opus (at least with their current 5 records), They Will Return is truly the band at their finest. Every track here is spot on and the record virtually defines the bands sound itself. Though I find this band to be pretty consistent with their material, this record seems to possess a certain spirit or energy that the others lack in one way or another. Definitely the place to start with this band, it'll have you hooked. The Mars Volta Tremulant3.5dredg El Cielo4.0I think I might be one of the few around here that liked Leitmotif a little bit better than El Cielo (I'd give this a 3.9 if I could). Not gonna take anything anyway from this record because it's classic dredg, but for whatever reason it doesn't hit me as hard. Nevertheless, El Cielo is a flowing piece of progressive alt-rock and one of the band's finer moments. Sinergy Suicide By My Side2.5The band started to fade out at this point it seemed, as far as their creativity. I admittedly got into this band because of Roope and Alexi, but there were a few elements to the music at the time that drew me in. The band's debut was a fresh take on power metal in a modern era. Unfortunately, the band was never able to shift past this sound, continuously churning out similar songs. There are minor highlights (Written in Stone?) but other than that one can only hope the long-awaited fourth album will be better. Joe Satriani Strange Beautiful Music3.5Fair to Midland The Carbon Copy Silver Lining2.5Isis Oceanic3.0Contrary to popular opinion on Sputnik, I found this release a little too sprawling for my tastes, even for Isis. If I were planning on going this atmospheric route I'd take a band like Rosetta anyday. I've still yet to hear their latest in its entirety but from what I've heard so far it seems to be one of the band's better outings. This is definitely entertaining, though I'm not sure how much staying power this'll have after a few listens to be honest. Coheed and Cambria The Second Stage Turbine Blade3.0Soilwork Natural Born Chaos3.5This one shows Soilwork trying things a little on the accessibility angle, with their songs a little more stripped down and a little easier on the bugeoning metal-listeners ears. For that I can give this record some props, and there are definitely a few gems here (hear: Follow the Hollow, As We Speak, the title-track, Song of the Damned...) to keep the average fan happy. This seemed to be precede the start of a wave of polarization for Soilwork's followers, though luckily this record doesn't pray folly to that too much. I'd give 'er a 3.3/5SuidAkrA Emprise to Avalon3.5A pretty good progression from their last couple outings, though no real new ground is broken here. I do like the fact that the piano seems to be creeping into their work at this point, which really compliments a lot of their music. Camel A Nod and A Wink3.5Arcturus The Sham Mirrors4.0Agalloch The Mantle4.5There is something so special, encompassing and unique about Agalloch's second full-length effort, The Mantle. A pretty far cry from the band's original black/folk metal roots, this does show heavy signs of evolution and experimentation, while still managing to retain the original roots of the band's music. Combining elements of folk, black metal, doom metal, death metal, and ambiant music Agalloch creates a niche in the musical world all their own. The Mantle is perhaps this band's magnum opus (at least up to this point) and greatly broadened my musical tastes and opinions. For a highly impactful record and enlightening musical experience, Agalloch's "The Mantle" may take a few spins to really delve into, but you'll really be glad you did in the end. Disarmonia Mundi Nebularium4.5Wow, can't believe this hasn't seen any love here. This is a pretty damn intense album, and somewhat addictive at that. Just when a track seems to be entering a mundane loop, it breaks free of its cycle and shows a lot of signs of progression. This was before Bjorn joined the band, and should definitely not be over-looked. For you Soilwork haters, this might be the DM album for you. Review to come shortly, not coming along very well at the moment. 2001 Cypress Hill Stoned Raiders3.0Katatonia Tonight's Music3.0Tenacious D Tenacious D3.5This band comes off a lot less serious than their composing skills. There are a lot of really well thought out structures and cool riffs on here, even if they are grouped with crude, strange and humourous lyrics. Black and Gass are a fresh music/comedy team that seem to only get better with every release they put out. Incubus Morning View3.5Long Beach Dub Allstars Wonders of the World3.5Perhaps a little weaker than their debut effort, I still found the final chapter to this band to be pretty entertaining. A lot of people seem put off by the band because of the remaining Sublime members participation in another band that is ska/reggae. The truth is, this band does have a slightly different vibe going on, and therefore is worth checking out for any fan of third wave ska. This is more punk and dub oriented than the hodgepodge of styles you'll find on a Sublime album, so don't come into this expecting that. Sonata Arctica Silence2.5Radiohead Amnesiac2.5I hate to jump at the cliche with this album by saying it really does sound like a b-sides record, but the truth hurts. Everything seems to add up in that direction, and the overall quality of the record itself speaks volumes. Compared to it's past two predessors (hell, even three) it lacks that characteristic punch and seems to have a lazy quality about it. Aside from the generic Pablo Honey, this is up there for works Radiohead for me. Minus the Bear This is What I Know About Being Gigantic3.5A rather impressive and foretelling debut from Minus the Bear, this EP has a foreshadowing effect of things to come from the band, alongside from pretty strong tracks (Pantsuit... Uggghhh, Lemurs, Man, Lemurs, Potatoe Juice and Liquid Bread). Slipknot Iowa3.0Slipknot's last good album with their original style; their root's swangsong. After this one Corey and Jim started to branch out with side-projects, followed by other members, and the whole unit sorta fell apart for a while. When they came back (Subliminal Verses) it was easy to see just how much of an impact Taylor was having on the band's direction... as for this newest release...I dunno.Cake Comfort Eagle4.0Rx Bandits Progress3.0Still in the midst of their transition from full-out ska band to a sort of progressive hybrid of varying influences, Progress shows just that in the Rx Bandits sound. The vast majority of the record is still heavily dominated by traditional ska influences, though the seeds of the bandís future sound is definitely planted on tracks like Analog Boy or In All Rwandaís Glory. In many ways the album plays out like a concept record, highlighting the progress (or better, the lack there of) of the global society up to the point of the new millennium (the album was released in 2001), focusing on the genocide in Rwanda as well as other social turmoil across the planet. Though lyrically more loose than a typical concept album, Progress keeps the common theme of social injustice and inequality in an age where things should have moved a little further along in terms of, well, progress. In sum, fans of the bandís older work will still get a lot out of this record, though those just discovering the band via their last couple of outings might be a little disappointed. 311 From Chaos3.5Though I find this record doesn't really fully pick up until its latter half, this is probably one of the better 311 records. Despite being a fan of the band's music I've found most of their efforts somewhat inconsistent. This, fortunately, does not play into that aspect, avoiding it for the most part. There are enough strong tracks here to put forth a solid offering, so this may be a good place to start for new 311 listeners. Cradle of Filth Bitter Suites to Succubi2.5Devin Townsend Terria4.0Agalloch Of Stone, Wind, and Pillor3.0This band is amazing, though this EP isn't quite up to their usual standards. I find a lot of the material here either decent or average (for the band) and nothing really grabs me in the way The Mantle or tracks from Pale Folklore managed to. Personally, the most interesting song was the band's cover of Sol Invictus' "Kneel to the Cross". Tool Lateralus5.0Pretty much (though arguably) Tool's magnum opus, Lateralus is a ridiculous display of the band's collective talents and sprawling intellectualism weaved throughout pounding, twisting hard-rock. A revealing album into the band's true sound, this is a solid evolution from the ground-breaking Aniema. The second in a line of Tool's solid work, Lateralus requires some attention and multiple listens to fully understand, but is well worth the effort in the end. Megadeth The World Needs a Hero3.5This one could possibly be my favourite Megadeth recordÖI know thatíll incur some of the wraith of the Rust in Peace loyalists, and I love that one too, but for a modern take on a progressive thrash sound, The World Needs a Hero is consistently well done. There are some moments that are obviously weaker than others, which brings this disc down a peg or two, but when all is said and done, you canít really tell this was a thrash record done in the new Millennium. Rammstein Mutter3.5Dimmu Borgir Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia3.0Skyfire Timeless Departure4.0A fantastic debut for a fantastic melodic death metal band with a multitude of influences. Skyfire is pretty similar to other acts out there in some ways, which can be a bit off putting when only giving them the time of a half song or song at best. Listening further will prove pretty beneficial for an melodeath fan, as there are neoclassical riffs, technical moments, guitar medleys, and more piano/keys than you can shake a...stick at.Diabolical Masquerade Deaths Design3.5Despite taking criticism for involving unnecessary recording and formatting structures - and possibly for good reason - this album is a pretty intense listen. It's hard not to get sucked into it and find yourself stuck wanting to hear some more. It's an interesting, even if unnecessary idea, and there are some pretty neat concepts put forth. Part of this rating goes to the over all structure of the record and compositions, like it or hate it. Opeth Blackwater Park4.5Pelican Pelican3.0Katatonia Teargas EP2.5Soilwork A Predator's Portrait3.5Mastodon Lifesblood3.0Compared to each of their full-lengths, this EP really doesn't do anything for me as a big fan of the band, aside mark the place where such a great and modernly innovative band started its journey. There isn't much of the standard Mastodon feel behind these songs, though they do showcase the beginnings of some of the band's trademarks. Boy Hits Car Boy Hits Car3.0Novembre Novembrine Waltz4.0Another stellar outing from progressive death/doom metallers Novembre. This one shows a little more straying towards albums to come (ie. Materia) with the further involvement of clean vocals, though these are still well balanced by death growls and black metalish shrieks. The music is gracefully forceful, atmospheric, and pretty damn addictive. This one seems to go a little more unnoticed in the band's discography, but it should definitely be heard by any fan of the band/this style of progressive metal.Amon Amarth The Crusher2.5I only give this album an average rating because by this point, the band's music had become pretty stale. There were a few expections here and there on this album, but more or less this feels too much like Versus the World or The Avenger for me to pay much other attention to outside a couple listens. Thank god the band (somewhat) broke out of this little repeticious slump.Porcupine Tree Metanoia2.5This has a few neat moments of ambiances with some pyschedelic influence, as well as a bit of prog to it, but that doesn't make this a worthy purchase. Metanoia is best in the hands of a collector or hadcore fan of the band, as similar (and better) music can be found on numourous other compilations. Given the total output this group has amassed, this one seems a little unnecessary. Bedouin Soundclash Root Fire3.5Nahemah Chrysalis3.5Katatonia Last Fair Deal Gone Down4.0HIM Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights3.02000 Tool Salival3.0A little compilation put together for the fans, Salival actually has a few decent odds and ends on it. Some of the live tracks (despite being pretty spot on and intense) don't really do it for me as much as the studio versions, and seem like the weak spots here. The cover of Led Zeppelin's "No Quarter" is a pretty amazing rendition, and a surprising one coming from Tool. Another cover, Justin's old band Peach and their song "You Lied" is a standout as well. The only other real offering worth bothering with more than once though is "Maynard's Dick", which showcases some non-Tool moments from the band. This is better for a fan's collection than anything, but really not worth the price they're generally going for. Kalmah Swamplord4.0Snot Strait Up3.0Cradle of Filth Midian3.5This is probably the most accessibly work the band has put out, and they've managed to accomplish this without really sacrificing any of their key features. The album is still extreme metal, a chaotic mixture of brutal guitars and drums, screeching or doom-laden vocals, and a harmony of various keys and strings. This album feels the most complete and thought through of all the bands work I've heard. The overall quality here is definitely above the majority of this band's work, and if you're looking to try to get into them, this would be a good place to start. Aside from the poor decision of including "Santanic Mantra", the majority of the tracks here are top-notch. Radiohead Kid A3.5I'm diggin' this band's ability to evolve while staying ever in the mainstream spotlight (without having to sacrifice artistic integrity at that). I'm still not completely sold that this band is the next big thing out there, though their musicianship is undenibly good. I'm still looking for that album to break through to a 4 or higher, though the few I've gotten so far are growers and that time may come. Freak Kitchen Dead Soul Men3.0At the Drive-In Relationship of Command4.5While usually finding the hardcore/punk qualities of certain bands less than charming, Relationship of Command immediately introduced me to this band (if you don't count the Volta connection) and I immediately fell in love with it. An eclectic blend of post-hardcore and myriad other styles come together to create an interesting snapshot in sound at the turn of the century. SuidAkrA The Arcanum4.0Since reviewing this band seems to generate little to no interest, I guess I won't waste my time bothering with another one. That's unfortunate (at least the fact that no one else has reviewed this, and it has a single rating aside from mine), since this is probably the best album by SuidAkrA by the point of its release, and the band themselves are a ridiculously underrated melodic death metal unit. Not hearing this is your loss, and this album was my gain. The Arcanum builds from the band's previous THREE albums (Lays From Afar fails to be included on this site) and showcases the most celtic influence so far. A solid release in the ever-stagnating pool of melo-death. Apocalyptica Cult3.5Definitely the first release by these guys that I could really get in to. I'll excuse the first disc since it was just a bunch of Metallica covers, but even the second didn't seem that well executed, despite offering up some new influences and some original material. But here, the band's first foray into an all original material studio recording, Apocalyptica finds their most interesting and enthralling music come to fruition. Dispatch Bang Bang3.5I was glad I found this (through the site). I'm a big fan of jam bands and music from the 90's and this has everything rolled into one. Excellent musicianship, an eclectic mix of styles, and an overall fun approach/listen make this worthy of it's status as Sputniks #2 album for 2000. Dark Tranquillity Haven4.0In Flames Clayman4.5Devin Townsend Physicist3.0One of Townsend's early solo agressive works, full of even more distortion than usual, fast tempos, quick, almost inaudible vocals, and a nice, processed feel to it. The album isn't bad - it offers up some highlights with "Kingdom" and "Planet Rain" but seems to fall short considering the amount of tracks to work with. The music seems to come together in a messy, angry pile that just doesn't seem to sit well with Devy's trademark sound. I know the distortion is a key part of said sound, but this is more than a little over the top. Definitely not one of my favourite Townsend records, but I'd still give this one a 2.8/2.9). Modest Mouse The Moon & Antarctica3.5I bought this one on a whim, since I liked the majority of Good News... and my buddy was telling me this was his favourite. It actually turned out to be a good risk, because this is a pretty great CD. I like the density and layering of it, really well done in that sense. Dispite the lack of catchy single style tunes, this one feels best when listened to as a whole or at least in clusters.Iron Maiden Brave New World4.5Although I was somewhat albe to get behind the replacement vocals of Blaze Bailey, there was no doubt I was longing for Bruce to come back. When Maiden announced this, it seemed like a good move; when the band put out their next offering, Brave New World, the results really set in. What was produced was one of Iron Maiden's most consisent releases, putting forth a quality and energy not heard often since the days of Number of the Beast and Powerslave. Though I've been a fan of virtually every one of this band's albums, this was a real turning point for the band, and definitely helped them to gain popularity and remain active for (at least) another decade of music. A Perfect Circle Mer de Noms4.5Rage Against the Machine Renegades4.5Trans-Siberian Orchestra Beethoven's Last Night3.0Children of Bodom Follow the Reaper3.5Bloodbath Breeding Death2.5Demons and Wizards Demons & Wizards3.0Porcupine Tree Lightbulb Sun3.0While Lightbulb Sun has a bit of a weaker feel as a whole package than a decent chunk of others within the bandís discography, there are definitely some key moments in the Porcupine Tree song catalogue. The title-track is a pretty decent opener, and songs like ďLast Chance to Evacuate Planet Earth Before It Is RecycledĒ, ďThe Rest Will FlowĒ, ďHatesongĒ, and to some ďRussia on IceĒ keep this thing from collecting too much dust. The moodís expressed throughout run a pretty good range, so at the very least there should be a bit of something for everyone here. HIM Razorblade Romance3.0Pepper Give'n It3.0Pepper's debut outing (either a demo or the band's first studio disc, depending how you're counting) is actually one of the band's strongest efforts. Despite the disc's rough production edges and a bit of meandering, stylistically speaking, this is one of Pepper's more ska oriented discs, rather than the output of watered down poppy songs they'd go on to release. This one, similarily to Kona Town or In With the Old, would be the cds to most resemble the ska/reggae moniker.Phish Farmhouse3.5Aghora Aghora3.5Aghora's music is a pretty intense blend of jazz/progressive influenced metal, along with a clean female vocalist. This nice blend, however, seems to work much better for the band on their sophomore follow up than here. I can't understand why the record with Reinhert and Malone wouldn't stand up to be the better of the two, but the first vocalist really gets to me. Her voice is a bit too operatic, to the point of excessiveness. There are some solid songs on here, but the album really doesn't impress or stick to me like Formless does. Nevermore Dead Heart In A Dead World4.0This is my favourite Nevermore release. That's a tough call to make considering this band's consistency, but I find that overall atmosphere and power of these songs as a group or stand-alones carries the album to another level for the band. It may be because I'm a bigger fan of the older material, but for me this was the magum opus (so far) and a mark that seems to be looked back upon with each subsequent offering. Soilwork The Chainheart Machine4.01999 Necrophagist Onset of Putrefaction4.0Dr. Dre 20013.5Amon Amarth The Avenger3.0Camel Rajaz4.0Opeth Still Life4.5This is really the sum of the bands music by this point in their career. With their fourth offering, Opeth manages to reach new heights, giving this album a classic status. Though the majority of this bands work is pretty incredible, Still Life comes together in all places and creates one of the bands masterpieces in the process. Long Beach Dub Allstars Right Back3.5Method Man and Redman Blackout!3.5Nine Inch Nails The Fragile3.5A pretty sprawling concept from Trent, The Fragile seemed to validate to critics what fans were already hearing in Nine Inch Nail's music. There a sense of maturity here, even if it is slight, and that translates into some pretty strong and emotional tracks here. That being said, this is a double album and unfortunately falls into that more than occasional pitfull of redundancy. There's jsut a lot of tracks here, so they're bound to start sounding a little bland and overdone at certain points. However, there always seems to be a well done, fresh track waiting around the corner to keep the album's momentum going. Simply for the fact that there is a lot happening on the double-disc, I find this to be just a little less focused than The Downward Spiral. Still, a decade later this one still has some ass-kicking power left in it. Megadeth Risk2.5I do commend the band's efforts for mixing things up a bit on this album. Let me stat for the record that my rating has absolutely nothing to do with Megadeth mixing up their sound format...I think that was a really good idea on their part, and more artists who find themselves in a similarly stagnating pool of recycled music should try it. The unfortuantely thing is that the idea is only good in concept here, as Megadeth is never really able to pull off what they seem to be going for. It almost has a half-assed vibe to it, so much room for potential but failing to put it to use. Dark Tranquillity Skydancer/Of Chaos And Eternal Night3.0Katatonia Tonight's Decision3.0Incubus Make Yourself3.0Mr. Bungle California4.0Slipknot Slipknot3.5This was a pretty good effort from Slipknot and helped solidify a legion of fans along with it. This was fresh and the sound has an ability to take you back to the days you used to listen to it. There are a fair bit of good songs on here, unfortunately the quality of the band's work would arguably tapper off after this one.Limp Bizkit Significant Other3.0Soundtrack South Park (Original Soundtrack)3.0In Flames Colony4.0Anathema Judgement3.0Red Hot Chili Peppers Californication3.5A pretty damn impressive return for a band plagued by addictions and revolving guitar players. It's nice to have Frusciante back in the fold, as the chemistry for the disc is a pleasant return to form. Californication isn't a perfect record and does have a few filler tracks in the mix, but its strength as a whole is what seems to really make it work. This just seems like an album these guys really enjoyed doing. Phish The Siket Disc3.0Dan Swano Odyssey4.0Children of Bodom Hatebreeder3.5It still doesn't feel quite there yet for that Children of Bodom sound (though I also think this one can't replicate the sound of the previous outing too...) when it comes to their second offering in Hatebreeder. Classical riffs are littered amongst the record, and it does scream classic Bodom in many spots, but overall it seesm to be lacking that a certain punch that I seemed to find on Hate Crew and Rollow the Reaper. Still a pretty damn solid record, and a band with a pretty neat sound.Gordian Knot Gordian Knot4.0CKY Volume 13.0CKY's a band that's good at what they do. The music doesn't take itself seriously and neither does the band. This is good for the hooky guitar riffs and almost story-teller lyrics, and is a nice bridge to their future, more 'refined' work. Eminem The Slim Shady LP3.5Nevermore Dreaming Neon Black4.0Freak Kitchen Junk Tooth2.5Essentially a bunch of demos and unused tracks, this ones alright for an avid fan or someone who really enjoys the band and has been through their regular discography too many times already. There are a few hidden gems here, "Forgive Me, I am Swedish", "Middle Class Panic" and "Probably Not" that make it somewhat worth while, but there isn't enough here to justify a higher rating...maybe somewhere around a 2.7. Sonata Arctica Ecliptica3.0Neurosis Times of Grace3.0Sinergy Beware The Heavens3.0Novembre Classica3.5Primus Antipop4.0Les Claypool was the among the first to proclaim that the band felt like it was running out of creative steam, after running the gauntlet of influences and mashing them all together on sixth (including this one) studio offerings. What more could a band as offbeat and far-reaching as Primus really do, aside from continuing to release what would seem like the same record over and over again? This quandary seemed a major cause in the group?s self-imposed hiatus that followed shortly after the release/promotion of this album, as the musicians themselves just felt out of ideas. While some would argue that they clearly hear this lack of new ideas or freshness on 1999s Antipop, multiple listens reveal a disc quite on par with some of Primus? finest. The first impression the album can give is one of a worn out band in desperate need of a break; further listen should reveal musicians still on the top of their game, and still miles ahead of their peers. Moby Play4.0Dark Tranquillity Projector4.0Despite the obvious departure from their previous outings, Dark Tranquillity still offers up their classic melo-death sound with Projector. By this point in the band's career it is only natural to try and start experimenting...the result was this album. Stanne's vocal versatility reminds me of Akerfelts, and the added keyboard sections here make this album flow nicely. Definitely an underrated DT album, this would actually be a good place to start for beginnings looking to check these guys out.Rage Against the Machine The Battle of Los Angeles4.5Porcupine Tree Stupid Dream4.5Agalloch Pale Folklore4.5A fantastic debut full-length from a mind-blowing band. Pale Folklore builds from the style Agalloch had been working at since their early demos, with everything culminating nicely on this offering. This paves the way for the groundbreaking "The Mantle", and showcases some of the more black metal influences the band has in their repitoire. Control Denied The Fragile Art of Existence4.5It's unfortunately that there would be no follow-up to Control Denied's debut masterpiece (and a greater tragedy that frontman for Death and mastermind behind this band, Chuck Schuldiner would surcome to cancer related illness). In his final offering, Chuck attempts a more power-metal style, in the vein of Europe's metal sound. The result is a merging of the classic jazz-infused Death sound with the creme of the crop in power metal stylings. Chuck really managed to pull this one off, if you haven't discovered this gem yet, I highly recommend you do. 1998 Sublime Acoustic: Bradley Nowell & Friends3.0I'm a retardedly big fan of Sublime, and Brad Nowell is one of my musical heroes, despite the rating I give this album. My major beef with Sublime's legacy is that Eric Wilson and Bud Gaugh are extremely overshadowed as the remaining 2/3 of the music makers. This record is a bare, stripped down outing with mainly Brad on his acoustic. This is good for fans since it offers up a bit of a bare look at the song composition of fan favourites and helps to showcase Brad's voice yet again. The lack of performance from other band members is frustrating, but this last look at "new" material is all we have, and it should be cherished in its own right for that. Cake Prolonging The Magic3.0Cypress Hill IV4.0Diabolical Masquerade Nightwork3.5Death The Sound of Perseverance4.5Hole Celebrity Skin2.5Sentenced Frozen2.5I understand this only has a few ratings, but wow is it ever overrated. Admittedly I've known about Sentenced for some time, but only decided to give getting into them another shot after the recent passing of their guitarist. I will say that I enjoyed the guitar work on this album, both rhythm and lead. The rest of this disc, however, I found to be an incredible disappointment. At times it felt like I was listening to a slightly harder version of H.I.M., and no doom/melodic death elements could be found. There is something to this record, but unfortunately it falls short of meeting any decent expectations...the vocals here do a great dealing in ruining the rest of the record.Korn Follow The Leader3.0Opeth My Arms, Your Hearse4.5Dimmu Borgir Godless Savage Garden2.5dredg Leitmotif4.0A pretty ridiculous way to start a career, nothing else should really be expected from dredg. Leitmotif is a broad, yet accessible vision of the band's music at perhaps their truest form. Not to say this record is the band's best offering, but it's definitely a close contender.DMX It's Dark and Hell Is Hot3.0Boy Hits Car My Animal2.5Cradle of Filth Cruelty and the Beast4.0VAST Visual Audio Sensory Theater2.5Despite being musically decent, this album is pretty average overall, or perhaps just too generic. There are obvious influences coming from bands like Porcupine Tree, Nine Inch Nails, and Radiohead, but these influences only marr the overall sound of the album. Instead of coming together to harmonize within VAST's experience, VAST instead sounds like a poorly rehashed version of the previously mentioned artists. Hopefully they were able to break from these chains for their follow-up disc. SuidAkrA Auld Lang Syne4.0Iron Maiden Virtual XI3.0Perhaps due to a heavy pro-Maiden bias, or the fact that one day I finally got over the spite I some how was feeling towards replacement vocalist Blaze Baily, this album - as with the previous - is still a fun listen for me. I don't see how other fans of the band can't recognize all the classic Maiden elements. This album still has a lot of great songs on it, and I think Blaze does a great job covering for Dickinson. My only major beef with his vocals/lyrics (though I'm not sure if he'd be responsible for this or if Steve Harris would...) would be the constant repetition of the tracks' chorus or main hook. It tends to get more then annoying after a while, and sorta showcases Baily's weaknesses. This record shouldn't be ignored by fans or aspiring fans of this band, though its urgency for listening is much lower then its bretheren.Liquid Tension Experiment Liquid Tension Experiment3.0Meh, this is one of those experiments that never really seemed to pay out, given the players involved in the project. I don't find a lot of difference between either of the group's work, and despite the obvious talents that are flowing throughout this disc, it just seems like over the top cheese - over the top cheese that has already been done to death. I guess I'm not as big on the instrumental scene or Dream Theater as this disc would have hoped, but I really didn't get anything out of this band at all, Part I or II. (Rating: 2.8/5....I'm gonna be genorious with this one)Phish The Story of the Ghost3.5Neutral Milk Hotel In the Aeroplane Over the Sea3.0Amon Amarth Once Sent from the Golden Hall3.0Dan Swano Moontower4.5Katatonia Saw You Drown2.5With just a pair of songs from probably my least favourite Katatonia album, and a couple tracks not featured on Discourged Ones, this is a relatively weak EP. There isn't much to the track "Quiet World", and the only point of interest to "Scarlet Heavens" is that fact that it sounds very uncharacteristically Katatonia. Apocalyptica Inquisition Symphony3.0Katatonia Discouraged Ones3.0Though this record marked a change in musical direction that I would come to enjoy much more than their previous, I actually find this record to be the band's most mediocre. Perhaps this can be chalked up to Renkse finding his new voice and the rest of the band building around that. Either way, something about the majority of these tracks feel flat and more emotionless than future releases. Moonspell Sin/Pecado3.0Soilwork Steelbath Suicide3.5Despite being a brief debut, Soilwork's Steelbath Suicide introduced the world to a new melodic death metal sound, and a band that looked like they would offer up the next wave. This is a pretty impressive debut outing, and showcases the harder period of Soilwork music, though still loaded with melody. I find other works like Predator's Portrait better albums as a whole, but over the years this one has definitely grown on me. Rammstein Sehnsucht3.5Freak Kitchen Freak Kitchen3.5Big Sugar Heated3.5Devin Townsend Infinity3.01997 Pink Floyd 1967: The First Three Singles3.0Sublime Second Hand Smoke3.5Though essentially made up of reused and retouched tracks, along with a few rarities that were never released, Second Hand Smoke is the last chance at new material for fans of Sublime. There are actually quite a few songs that could go down as fan favourites on here, begging the question why were they never used. Regardless of your take on this record, this is one of the last steps from a remarkable band, and I'm sure it'll have a cult-status amongst the Sublime fan-base. HIM Greatest Love Songs Vol. 6662.5In Flames Whoracle4.5Blue October The Answers3.0Blue October's debut showcases an alt-rock sound that relies heavily on the violin element to set themselves apart from their peers. This method is more than effect, giving the band a definite edge over the myriad other "alternative rock" bands out their that would otherwise sound similar. Finding at least half the disc entertaining, this debut gives me enough reason to really delve into this band; worth at least a few listens, and the band, despite leaning a little heavy on the emotive side, is worth checking out. The Verve Urban Hymns3.5The Verveís breakout record, 1997s Urban Hymns, is a beautifully produced, lush, staggeringly potent offering of the 90s alternative rock sound. While some may steer clear of this record due to the massive amount of play the controversial hit Bitter Sweet Symphony generated upon its release (and still to this day), that would be a large mistake to fans of the era. While The Verve pack as much alt-rock goodness as possible on this album, itís the combination of that sound, the bandís attention to detail and some really wicked production that makes this somewhat of a monster. There are far too many songs to do a track-by-track for Urban Hymns, and the album feels best played with the sum of its parts (or at least with a few of its tracks coupled together). Incubus S.C.I.E.N.C.E.3.0Edge of Sanity Cryptic2.5When frontman and founder (and progressive metal legend) Dan Swano left Edge of Sanity following the release of 1997ís Infernal, paving the way for the perpetual demise of the band. Understandably suffering heavily due to the loss of the dynamic and multi-talented Swano, Edge of Sanity attempted to carry on, quickly releasing 1998ís Cryptic. While the album tries to retain as much of the previous band as possible, itís clear where the new de facto leader in guitarist Andreas Axelssonís influences were set, and where Swano had influenced the sound of the band in the past. That divide proved to show fans more than enough that without Dan Swano, Edge of Sanity was more or less done as an active band. Possessing a couple of decent tracks, Cryptic could be easily mistaken for any other generic metal bandís offering, and remains largely forgotten in the bandís catalogue. In Flames Black-Ash Inheritance3.5A pretty nifty little EP...despite Gyroscope coming from the upcoming (to this EP's date) Whoracle, and the live version of Behind Space sounds downright awful, it actually manages to measure up quite well. Gyroscope is a pretty wicked song from the In Flames catalouge anyway, so its inclusion isn't hard to deal with, especially given that it hadn't been released until this point. Goliaths Disarm Their Davids is one of those tracks you wonder why was left off a studio album, and the acoustic medley brings together a few classics (Dead Eternity, Artifacts of the Black Rain, and Jotun) in a pretty neat little acoustical mashup. All in all this was a pretty worthwhile EP from the band's glory days. Devin Townsend Ocean Machine: Biomech3.5Megadeth Cryptic Writings3.0Though there are a few obvious weak spots on the album, the overall flow really seems to pick up in the second half. There are a few brightspots for song gems in Trust and She-Wolf, and some pretty gnarly solos. Overall not the finest outing from these guys, but a decent listen nonetheless.Snot Get Some3.5Although this isn't the most fantastic thing ever recorded, Snot created a sound all their own, unfortuantely cut tragically short by the death of their lead singer. I'm surprised no one has review this album and will have to get to it when I have some time. This was a pretty underated band for the time, considering the amount of nonsense coming out, this was sort of cool nonsense Radiohead OK Computer3.5Faith No More Album of the Year3.0Wu-Tang Clan Wu-Tang Forever4.0SuidAkrA Lupine Essence3.5Dimmu Borgir Enthrone Darkness Triumphant4.0Dimmu Borgir's third full-length offering shows some intense signs of growth, while managing to showcase a sturdy foundation built upon Black metal. This is a much more symphonic approach to the conventional black metal sound, but also a much more accessible one. For this reason, this style and album alike have been heavily criticised, as is the popular theme when an underground sound starts to make its way to the mainstream audiance. There is little wonder why this record was so successful for Dimmu Borgir, as the majority of its tracks are melodic, catchy, brutal, and gorgeous all at the same time. Despite claims of selling out, this is an incredibly strong addition to Dimmu's discography, and a really good place to start for someone looking to get into this band. Children of Bodom Something Wild3.5Porcupine Tree Insignificance2.5There's a couple decent tracks on here, but given the amount of volume this band already has in their back catalogue, another B-side outing seems rather unnessary. This one would have worked if they'd cut out some of the weaker moments and kept it a B-side EP...here's to capitalism I suppose.Live Secret Samadhi2.5Secret Samadi has a feeling of a band that enjoyed much radio-friendly made possible success with Throwing Copper, and wanted to prove they could do something deeper and darker. While the latter may be fitting for some of the albums melody, the record really isn't all that deep (Ed's lyrics seem to take a serious downturn here). This album still had it's chance at radio-play and accessibility in that respect with songs like Lakini's Juice and Turn My Head, but failed to make good on them. Lakini's Juice made me go out and by this when it came out in 97, though I was and still am pretty disappointed with the remainder of the album. Misfits American Psycho2.5Edge of Sanity Infernal3.0Infernal serves as the beginning of the end of Edge of Sanity as a band, ushering in the era of solo-Swano recordings and eventually the retiring of the bandís name altogether. Apparently marred by creative differences between frontman Dan Swano and guitarist Andreas Axelsson, the tracks sort of reflect that environment, adding up for one of the more inconsistent recordings since the bands inception. Though this is still an Edge of Sanity recording Ė and really not that shabby of one when all is said and done Ė there is that uneasy feeling that something is not quite right; itís unfortunate that this atmosphere was translated onto what can pretty much be considered as the ďbandsĒ final recording, though in terms of the bands overall progression, is still a pretty interesting listen. Esbjorn Svensson Trio Winter in Venice3.0Primus The Brown Album3.5Borknagar The Olden Domain3.5Dark Tranquillity The Mind's I3.5Diabolical Masquerade The Phantom Lodge3.5Arcturus La Masquerade Infernale4.0Big Wreck In Loving Memory Of4.01996 Cradle of Filth Dusk... and Her Embrace3.5Probably one of Cradle's finest outings, Dusk...and Her Embrace is one of the albums that helped define this band's sound. This album has a feeling like no other Cradle of Filth I've heard, as something on the disc just seems tighter then everything else they've put out. Anathema Eternity3.0Eminem Infinite2.0Phish Billy Breathes3.0My Dying Bride Like Gods of the Sun2.0First off, I'm not a fan of this band (despite, to my credit, repeated attempts to try to be) and this rating could be subject to change, as I may decide to come back to this album one day. I enjoy some aspects of the doom genre, but being more on the Anathema side of things, this band's sound is a little too off-putting. The drone and gloom of it all just doesn't do it for me, and the riffs are far too repeticious. There are a few decent moments here, but this just isn't my bag. Agalloch From Which Of This Oak3.5Though my mp3 for Wilderness is pretty messed up, this EP/demo is a nice addition for Agalloch's fanbase and somewhat pivitol step in their progression. Though their later work would come to differ pretty extremely from some of this work, their predisposition towards the avant-garde is still present in their earliest offerings.Tool Aenima4.5This one marks a key transistion in the band's sound and is their first truly great album. The first time I heard this it broadened my musical horizon's in a pretty vast way, and the feeling's been hard to shake more than 10 years after. Their blend of progressive music with a hard-rock/metal edge becomes a signature sound for the band on this record. The lyrical/musical themes of consciousness, the philisophical and the metaphysical are all heavily developed by the quartet (this time with new bassist Justin Chancellor). Aniema has countless fantastic Tool songs and is definitely a smart place to start for someone looking to get into this band. There really isn't much else I can say about this disc: the reviews here have said it all over and over again, and the music speaks for itself.Andrew Lloyd Webber Jesus Christ Superstar: Original Cast3.5Cake Fashion Nugget3.5Nevermore In Memory3.0Another great outing from a fantastic band. Nevermore continues to blow me away with whatever they come out with, and this EP is no exception. This is a little gem for those who have already played the hell outta the studio disc and are in anxious anticipation for the next one. Sublime Sublime5.0There isn't much that I can say about this record that isn't a repetition of others like myself. This music made a pretty big impact on my life and listening habits to boot, and the songs on it are genious in my opinion. There will be no other Sublime, and no other records like this one. It's truely sad that the band's finest hour would also be their last, and this self-titled mainstream debut will go down as one of the major defining records of the 90's. Tonic Lemon Parade2.0I Mother Earth Scenery & Fish4.0Opeth Morningrise4.5Despite Orchid's greatness and launching grounds, Morningrise is where Opeth's music really started making a connection with me on a level other than head-bangery. There was grace amongst the brutality, and the music felt like it was actually bringing me to another place; listening was an experience, not just a hobby. This one took me a little longer to get into fully (I found myself particularly attached to The Night and the Silent Water and To Bid You Farewell) compared to albums like Blackwater Park and Damnation. Still, the album wormed its way deep, and eventually the record unfolded itself, presenting to me the greatness and complexity of this band's music. Beck Odelay!3.5Limblifter Limblifter2.5This album has a feel of a poster child for wasted potential in the 90's alternative game. Limblifter bring something to the table that should've helped them garner more of a following, rather than fly under the radar for the attention of their peers. This album feels like it just falls short of being something better, which sums up the band in its own right. It's a fun listen, but its average 90's alternative at best on this debut.Freak Kitchen Spanking Hour4.0Manic Street Preachers Everything Must Go3.5Soul Coughing Irresistable Bliss3.0One of those quirky alt-rock bands of the 90's (see Faith No More, Blind Melon...), Soul Coughing combined a multitude of musical backgrounds into one meandering sound. The band seemed to go through a different transition with each of their three recordings, and as this is my first taste of SC, I can't comment on where exactly this album fits in. Irresistible Bliss runs the gamit of jazz, soul, avant-garde and the traditional 90's alt-sound. Though this doesn't exactly make for easy listening, I think this is one of those bands that sticks with you once they manage to get under your skin.Dark Tranquillity Enter Suicidal Angels2.5Rage Against the Machine Evil Empire4.02Pac All Eyez on Me3.5With Rap's first double-album, there are bound to be a few filler tracks kicking around. However, for the most part, Shakur's All Eyez on Me does a fantastic job of using Pac's obviously angry lyrics and coupling them with playable, groovy beats. The production on this is excellent, and this double holds a fair number of 2Pacs classics. Esbjorn Svensson Trio Plays Monk3.0The trio's redention of several Thelonius Monk compositions, the Esbjorn Svensson Trio continues to make popular jazz music more popular. I don't find this outing as personable (for obvious reasons) as the band's other original work, though they do put a nice spin on this music, and create an interest in me to check out more of Monk myself. This bands uncanny ability of bringing this style of music to a younger generation is what got me into listening to jazz music to begin with, and despite their now defunct status, continues to do so to this day. It was a tradegy when Svensson died, and the Trio's music is still some of the most ridiculous modern jazz I've had the pleasure of listening to.Novembre Arte Novecento4.0This one doesn't have a review yet, but it will soon enough. This is probably one of Novembre's more underrated albums, since its follower, Classica would become a staple amongst the bands work. This is just a fantastic record that oozes all the bands musical trademarks, while showing off a bit of a different side at the same time. I recommend this to any fans of progressive death/doom/metal (either clean or death vocals) or fans of metal done a little differently. Also, to existing fans that may not have heard this one, do that now. Satyricon Nemesis Divina2.5Though I probably won't listen to this again, it was a pretty vast and intense listen. This band seems to throw in some un conventional styles to the genre which is a draw to them, but not coming from a big black metal background as a whole this wasn't up my alley... I can see it being reveared in the black metal community forsure though. Iced Earth The Dark Saga3.0Apocalyptica Plays Metallica by Four Cellos3.0Porcupine Tree Signify3.0Rush Test for Echo3.0As the primary review for this album states, on Test for Echo Rush seems to find themselves without a true sense of direction. One can forgive the album's slightly off-putting feel and atmosphere due to the transition still in place from 80's to 90's era Rush. This isn't too say this is an awful recording, since most of what Rush does still sounds better then the vast majority of their modern peers. Still, it is a bit disppointing for a release from a trio with such high calibre. Thoughout the album's meandering path there are a few gems though, namely the title-track, Driven, and Resist - perhaps Totem out of genorousity. Aside from this tracks, however, there just isn't anything strong enough to drive the songs all the way home (at least with this listener). Sad to say this is probably in my 5 least favourite Rush discs, though it's still a decent record nonetheless.Amon Amarth Sorrow Throughout the Nine Worlds3.0A raw prototype for the music Amon Amarth would come to perfect, this EP/MCD really doesn't have the interesting and intriging moments that the band's full-lengths would possess, though this EP was a necessary step within the development of their sound. Moonspell Irreligious3.0This is probably the best work from this band, seemed like after their first two outings they started to lose steam and get stuck into a repetitive groove for a while. "Opium" and "Awake" are pretty catchy tracks, but all in all this isn't Doom Metal's finest act. Camel Harbour of Tears3.0Using a rather grand/epic platform (once again) Camel returns with Harbour of Tears. A concept record, this is another Camel album dotted with short tracks serving as bumpers between tracks, all telling the story of an Irish familyís split whilst some members chose to go to America to try a better life. Itís a pretty straightforward concept, which helps the record from being bogged down by convoluted plotlines that hurt the flow of the music rather than help it. Though at times the album may look like a lot of effort to get into Ė mainly the albumís closer may seem like a dauntingly progressive track with its 23:00 minute running time. This, however, is really more or an illusion, as the track itself (musically, anyway) runs for just over eight minutes or so, leaving the remaining time filled with the sounds of rolling waves, some silence, then more waves. Admittedly, this is a relaxing section at the very least, and it does have some bearing on the albumís overall concept. Still, the musical part of the track seems to stop short, leaving this listener feeling a little underwhelmed. On the whole, Camel does another nice job piecing together a concept record, and show why they were no real slouches at it. There are enough entertaining moments here that are able to hold their own ground, without needing the backing of the rest of the record for them to really work. There is a sense of urgency here Ė Iím not sure if this could lie in the career or personal realm of any of the band members Ė but with their career started to come to a halt, I was hoping for just a little more out of this one. Blind Melon Nico3.5Nevermore The Politics of Ecstasy3.5A great follow up to the bands self-titled debut, this showcases a bit more of the stylistic change in musical direction the band would undertake. Some of Danes' vocals on this album are up there with his best, and Loomis' instrumental shows another side to his player as well. Alice in Chains MTV Unplugged3.5Cradle of Filth Vempire or Dark Fairytales in Phallustei3.5Wow, this was a pretty surprising listen. It might be a little sad that probably the best thing I've heard from Cradle is this EP...I'm still desperately (for reasons that are beyond my comprehension) trying to get into this band, but their strength seems to lay in their past forsure. Still have to check out Midian, but this has the strongest feel of their earlier material, perhaps comparable in quality to Dusk...and Her Embrace.Rick Wright Broken China3.5Samael Passage3.5Edge of Sanity Crimson4.0Katatonia Brave Murder Day3.51995 In Flames The Jester Race5.0Dark Tranquillity The Gallery4.5This is a clear stepping stone in Dark Tranquillity's history, but for some reason without the full development that the band would achieve on future releases, this one comes up a little flat to me after repeated listens. I'll agree with this album's review in the fact that this album helped shift my musical focus in terms of how death metal could be constructed. I do disagree with the overall rating it gets compared to other discs though, as it seems a tad undeserving with the lack of staying power it posesses.Alice in Chains Alice in Chains4.0Perhaps not the band's best album, but the self-titled really does stand up as being a better record than Facelift, and is a nice transition from Dirt in my opinion. It's good to hear Cantrell's metal influences coming back, but with Staley keeping his vocal melodies and hooks. Even in their final offering, the band showcases their ability to make grungy musical magic.The Smashing Pumpkins Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness4.0Rancid ...And Out Come the Wolves3.0Iron Maiden The X Factor4.0Despite the heavy criticism this album receives for consisting of the departure of Dickinson and the entrance of vocalist Blaze Bailey, fans should try to remember that what makes Iron Maiden so incredible is the musicians behind it: this means the instrumentalists rather than a heavy focus on the singer. Let's be honest here anyway, Blaze desperately tries to pull off a Dickenson-esqe vocal style, and though he isn't able to get as high, it definitely does the job for a Maiden release. As a band, Maiden has only sounded tighter on their classic releases. Virtually every track here has something enjoyable for the average Maiden fan, and the band even tries to explore a few new signatures/composition structures. My main complaint here would be that the album lacks a flowing feel that Iron Maiden has come to make signature to their sound. Aside from the odd meandering track, however, this is a powerfully underrated disc. Esbjorn Svensson Trio E.S.T. Live '953.0Moonspell Wolfheart2.5Filter Short Bus2.5Ben Harper Fight For Your Mind4.0Meshuggah Destroy Erase Improve3.5Megadeth Hidden Treasures2.5An average release from Megadeth with the honours of their one and only EP. This is a hodge-podge of soundtrack recordings and cover songs, and feels as such. There isn't much to this EP, though the band makes a good effort with their cover of Sabbath's "Paranoid". Primus Tales from the Punchbowl4.0Opeth Orchid4.5Though perhaps lacking that little something that would've pushed this album past a 4.5 and into the realms of (more) excellence, Orchid serves as an incredible launching ground for Opeth's specific style of work. These are the less than humble beginnings for the progressive death metal pioneers, and though more of the focus remains on the death aspects of the music, there are still hints of the influences that would come to dominate Opeth's later body of work.Oasis (What's The Story) Morning Glory?3.5Iced Earth Burnt Offerings3.5Freak Kitchen Appetizer3.0Not a shabby offering from Freak Kitchen, but also not the place I'd get started if you're interested in checking out this band. The follow-up Spanking Hour is definitely a better representation of the band's sound, though this does in fact serve as an "Appetizer", giving us a slight taste of things to come. (Overall rating 2.9/5)Radiohead The Bends3.0Death Symbolic4.5Mad Season Above4.02Pac Me Against the World3.5Cake Motorcade Of Generosity2.5Despite Cake's versatility being a key factor in gaining my interest as a listener, something about their debut outing just doesn't do it for me. Perhaps it's the over indulgence with the country themes/influences, or the lack of some of my other favourite elements that seem to make Cake, well, Cake. I can really only walk away enjoying 'Jolene' again and again, as for whatever reason that song jumps off the album at me. Porcupine Tree The Sky Moves Sideways3.0This album has a collectively bigger feel than any of the previous outings, and more of a feeling of a whole unit coming together. With Porcupine Tree being an official band by this point, it's pretty clear that the members behind Wilson bring more to the table than just the ability to play an instrument. Broad, sprawling, and pretty intense at times, The Sky Moves Sideways is a pretty solid outing.Faith No More King for a Day... Fool for a Lifetime3.5Perhaps marred by the lack of enthusiastic riffing from Jim Martin or the chance that by this point in their career the band was starting to suffer the symptoms of in-fighting and attempting to stay fresh and experimental, King for a Day is synonomous with the decline of Faith No More for me. This is far from a bad record, just that it seemed to usher in a different spirit of the band that was a little far from the Real Thing and Angel Dust days. The diversity and experimental side of the band is still present, and there are still a fair share of great FNM tunes to make this more than listenable. (3.4/5)At the Gates Slaughter of the Soul3.5Therapy? Infernal Love3.5Never shy to explore any variety of musical influences that seem intrigue the members of Therapy?, the band's 3rd major label outing continues to build on an already eclectic sound. Featuring more diversity in their musical instrumentation (mainly in the use of the cello along with some pretty gnarly sounding saxophones) Therapy finds a way to seemlessly blend the new with the old, maintaining a heavy reliance on punk and alternative sensabilities. Ceremonial Oath Carpet3.5A pinoeering Melodic Death Metal record/band, and a forerunning for the founding In Flames line-up. This disc is a necessity both to the genre and to any fan of melodic death metal in general.Rammstein Herzeleid4.0An excellent debut from a solid band. Despite the fact that "Du Hast" put them on the international stage, this disc is consistently catchy and brutal at the same time, and a good starting point for someone looking to get into the band. Nightingale The Breathing Shadow4.0Maybe itís the time of year Ė the increasingly desolate landscapes of barren trees, grey skies, and a generally bleak atmosphere Ė or maybe itís just the polished, trademark production style of Dan Swanoís that seems to make everything he touches turn to gold; itís probably a combination of factors, including a late introduction to the man and his body of work. What the reason, that Swano sound has got me hungry for more, and seemingly everything I hear coming from the manís studio sounds ridiculously refreshing. Now, Danís work with Edge of Sanity cements him nicely with the progressive-death crowd, and his solo work (hear Moontower) should easily make him a pillar in the prog-metal community. Attempting to find a vessel for his dabbling within the gothic rock/metal genre finds Swano under the guise of Nightingale, at the time of this albumís release, a solo Swano show. The disc is polished to such a sheen that it isnít too much, though can be sonically over-powering. What really stands out about the disc is the consistency of the material on it; Danís attention to detail is ever-present on the album, throwing it elements of the genres heís already had his hand in, creating something rather unique. Donít let the gothic label chase you off from this; youíll find only clean vocals from Swano, which admittedly suit the goth sound quite well, but never lean the record too much in that direction. Blind Melon Soup4.5This record just makes me sad that this incarnation of the band (IE Shannon Hoon) weren't able to record their magnum opus. I get the sense with this album and their self-titled (both albums I've rated 4.5) that there was just that little something missing, keeping them from being true, full-blown classics. I still view this one as a 90's classic forsure, though there are about 2 or 3 tracks on this one that prevent it from rising to the top of the ratings pile. Carcass Swansong3.5Raw, influential, innovative, brutally straight-forward, and a blueprint for "Death'n'Roll". These guys helped to form/shape genres, and are sorely missed in the metal game. 1994 Orphaned Land Sahara2.5This isn't to say that the band or their music is untalented and unoriginal, because this album is neither of those things. However, there seemed to be something powerfully lacking on this record that kept it from attaining a much higher place in my ears. It feels like there is a lot of potential coming from this band, I just feel like a lot was wasted with this debut. Perhaps I just started listening to this unit in the wrong place, and will check elsewhere in their discography.In Flames Subterranean3.5Megadeth Youthanasia3.5A pretty solid effort from Megadeth here, although I found listening to a bunch of their stuff one after another recently has left the band with a rather over-used/recycled sound. This tries to lean a little more towards melody and songs you might hear getting some minor radio play, which apparently the producer was going for. Though this style works for Megadeth, and even taking away the raw thrashy edge normally present worked - be it at the expense of some mediocre songs. There is easily enough material to make this a keeper amongst fans/non-fans alike, though it's definitely not Megadeth's finest hour. Nirvana MTV Unplugged in New York4.0Novembre Wish I Could Dream It Again...3.5The Offspring Smash4.0Sublime Robbin' the Hood4.0Sublime's second offering isn't exactly their best outing, but this definitely has a place amongst the hearts of fans of the band. Though there is a lot of filler on the album, there are also quite a few gems that would become more or less staples: Greatest Hits, Saw Red, Pool Shark, Steppin' Razor, Lincoln Highway Dub, S.T.P., and Boss D.J. are all more than solid Sublime tunes that are able to keep this record a float. There is also some nice dub work from the band, and it's pretty impressive that this was recording with less than modest equipment in a basement/home-studio setting. Edge of Sanity Purgatory Afterglow4.0Stone Temple Pilots Purple3.5Pink Floyd The Division Bell4.5Division Bell was a return to form (as much as possible) for Pink Floyd after the Waters dominated "The Final Cut" and psuedo Gilmour solo outing "A Momentary Lapse of Reason". The remaining members of the band came together to get a somewhat classic sound to emerge again. Though it might not be exactly what fans wanted, this is the strongest of the albums to not feature the classic line-up.Nine Inch Nails The Downward Spiral4.0The Notorious B.I.G. Ready to Die3.0Alice in Chains Jar of Flies4.5My favourite Alice in Chains record, this EP made a pretty big impact on the bands overall direction, and really shows that they're capable of stepping outside their sound to explore new realms. Acoustic music really works for this band, and this seemed like Alice at her most productive. Porcupine Tree Staircase Infinities2.5Phish Hoist3.0Dimmu Borgir For All Tid3.0Though I can hear what a lot of fans get out of this album, personally, I enjoy the band post-sell-out. I guess to say with Entrone Darkness Triumphant and on, though I'm trying to further explore their earlier works. As a whole I really only found a couple songs that worked for me, otherwise I wasn't all that interested with the listen. This was decent, but below my expectations.In Flames Lunar Strain3.0A pretty impressive debut (despite my confusion with Staines vocal sound here) for a pretty ridiculous (at one point...) band. Lunar Strain is probably the furtherest from the classic melodic death metal In Flames, but it does showcase a few things to come, as the roots are definitely there. Porcupine Tree Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape3.0Definitely a decent release for fans who enjoy the more psychedelic side of Wilson's composing, though still really just a must own for hardcore fans. With the beauty of the internet coming through, however, this one is worth checking out if only in downloaded format. Wilson's work before forming the actual band was always good, but seems to be lacking something for someone who enjoys the cohesive unit instead of the soloist. Katatonia For Funerals To Come...3.0Ulver Bergtatt3.5Therapy? Troublegum4.0Nevermore Nevermore4.0Nevermore is a pretty impressive debut, and showcases the material and sound that the band would come to build on. The vocals are a little raw at times, but Dane's brilliance is still there, and at points it's hard to believe this is Jeff Loomis' first album with some of the intense solo/shredding he's able to pull off. All around this stacks up pretty closely to other Nevermore albums, although perhaps not quite there with the classics. Nonetheless, the album is intense and shouldn't be ignored by any fan of the band. 1993 Sleep Sleep's Holy Mountain3.5Wu-Tang Clan Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)3.5Crash Test Dummies God Shuffled His Feet4.0Rush Counterparts4.0Probably the best offering from Rush's current alternative/rock phase, this was also pretty much the first, as Roll the Bones still possessed some of the elements from 80's era Rush. Counterparts is a solid outing by the trio, with a myriad of great tracks a few good, there isn't much to disappoint here. Esbjorn Svensson Trio When Everyone Has Gone3.5Dark Tranquillity Skydancer3.0Katatonia Jhva Elohim Meth...The Revival3.0Death Individual Thought Patterns4.0Porno For Pyros Porno For Pyros3.5It's really a shame that this endeavor from Janes' drummer and frontman didn't last longer than its two studio offerings, since the strength of the material easily rivalled anything Janes Addiction had managed to pull off in their up and down career. Utilizing a more progressive and experimental approach to the alternative rock that was surrounding the time-period, Porno for Pyros managed to carve their own unique spin on the genre. Perhaps a little less concise than their follow-up "Good God's Urge", the band's self-titled debut is a more than enjoyable listen and a good piece of the alt-rock puzzle. Radiohead Pablo Honey2.5Primus Pork Soda3.5Tool Undertow3.5Undertow continues the transistion and evolution of Tool's sound, bridging the gap nicely from the Opiate EP. There is a lot more progression and flirtation with different time-signatures here, something that the band would obviously come to embrace in their future. This one is pretty memorable for the song "Sober", which is still a pretty solid song in the band's repitoire and probably the closest thing to the modern Tool sound on this record. Other highlights (Bottom, 4 Degrees, etc..) just make this a stronger disc than the band's last effort, and shows that they were well on their way to making waves within the music scene.My Dying Bride Turn Loose the Swans2.5I got into some of their later albums when I was younger and then forgot about them as I got out for metal a bit for a while. As I crawled back to the genre (and it's spawn off sub-genres) my interest was peaked in band's I'd only heard bits and pieces of...unfortunately the list of music to look into - both of metal variety and other - was far superior to the constrants of my time. Eventually have doing some reading on a band I'd gotten into (Anathema) I figured I should finally come back and give these guys a shout. This album isn't what I liked about the band's sound. I can see maybe why fans would be into it, but personally it sounds too droning to be a good doom album for me. That might sound like a hypocritical statement, but I think it just doesn't have enough versatility on it that would seem to come with later records. There are some interesting ideas laid down here though. Depeche Mode Songs of Faith and Devotion3.0Phish Rift3.0Subway Mirror Wisepope3.0Cradle of Filth Total Fucking Darkness2.5Despite being a point that helped launch Cradle's career, the Total Fucking Darkness EP is a pretty average rendition of their music and music to come. This release does have a much more black metal feel to it, so I suppose the terrible production is forgiveable, though it certainly doesn't help these songs take flight. Obviously not the band's finest hour, but a stepping stone nonetheless.Beck Golden Feelings2.5Though average by no means, this one just gets a little too wacky and a little underwhelming on the musical side of things. These songs definitely paved the way for Beck's future quirkiness, though I have to admit his next couple that came out after this seemed much more focused; granted, the musician was still trying to find his voice at this stage in the game. I'd throw 'er a 2.7, if such measures could be taken. Amon Amarth Thor Arise2.5Not even a soundoff for this poor thing, eh. Amon Amarth's unreleased demo, Thor Arise is really more of a collector's item (in the form of the Viking Edition of Versus the World) to the hardcore fan than something enjoyable to listen to. The main reason for this is the horrid production quality, supposedly the reason this wasn't released in the first place. So to no fault of the band's, this gives us an early insight into the compositions of Amon Amarth. Porcupine Tree Up the Downstair3.0Marred by a period of less interest and revolving/non-existent band members, Porcupine Tree's Up the Downstair appears to be the band's first attempt at a more accessible sound and style. While holding fast to their progressive/psychedelic roots, there are more melodies and hooks here, making for much more catchy material. Steven Wilson's presence is still quite thick here (though that never really changes) and virtually everything you're hearing comes from his mind. Nevertheless, this is still a pretty interesting outing from a very intriguing band. Perhaps not the best place to start listening, but definitely worth a stop once you get a feel for them. Edge of Sanity The Spectral Sorrows3.0Carcass Heartwork3.5Cypress Hill Black Sunday3.5Pestilence Spheres3.5Cynic Focus5.01992 Rage Against the Machine Rage Against the Machine5.0One of the most influential and standout debuts of the 1990's into the 2000's. Rage Against the Machine was the band at it's very finest; not that they peaked here necessarily, but this is possibly their finest example of work. Nothing can match the emotional output on this record. Soul Asylum Grave Dancers Union3.0Alice in Chains Dirt4.0A pretty groundbreaking album for the 90's, Alice in Chains started to get ontop of their game with Dirt. There was a nice mix of styles, subtlely worked into the band's metal/grunge hybrid, and signs that the band's skills were being taken to another level. As far as the three full-length albums go, this one is arguably the strongest, and showcases the angst of Staley's addiction - something that really worms its way throughout the duration of Dirt. Nine Inch Nails Broken3.5Blind Melon Blind Melon4.5A powerfully underrated debut by a powerful underrated band. The story behind this and the band is well known by fans and general listeners, so I won't rehash it. For any lover of 90's music, jam rock, or just a positive sound in general, this album is highly recommended.Megadeth Countdown to Extinction4.0Faith No More Angel Dust5.0Iron Maiden Fear of the Dark4.0White Zombie La Sexorcisto-Devil Music Vol. 13.0Tool Opiate3.5This is an interesting part of Tool's discography simply because it's a decent departure from the sound they'd develop in their future recordings. There is less of a progressive aspect to this EP, though the style is still present in some form or another, and there seems a greater emphasis on the metal sound. These roles would be reversed soon in Tool's overall direction, so it's sort of refreshing to come back to Opiate now and then. Alice in Chains Sap3.0This EP serves as a nice transition point from the band's first outing and the albums that would come to follow. Acoustic music meshes so well with these guys, and through this EP it would become a pretty integral part of Alice in Chains' over all sound. The inclusion of probably one of the band's most avant-garde compositions in "Love Song" is a nice stray from conventional Alice. Pantera Vulgar Display Of Power3.5Phish A Picture of Nectar3.5Edge of Sanity Unorthodox2.5While breaking absolutely no ground in the world of death metal, Unorthodox is an early indication of the direction this band was heading in, soon to take their place as leaders in the progressive death metal movement. rUnless you're looking for some run of the mill, old-school death metal, or are just a really die-hard fan, this album won't do much for you aside from help chart a band's evolution. (Rating: 2.7/5)Sublime 40 Oz. to Freedom5.0I would have loved to write up a review for this album, as its one of my all time favourites, but there really isn't too much that I can say about it that wouldn't be redundant of other reviews. All I can say is that this album launched a sound that (at least for me) defines not only a decade, but holds a timeline all its own. 1991 Death Human3.5A great pioneering record from a pioneering band. Human shows signs of technical metal as well as jazz incorporated into Death's speacial brand of metal. This is a creative take on the Death Metal genre, and borrows some talents from fellow metal pioneers Cynic. A Tribe Called Quest The Low End Theory3.5Nirvana Nevermind4.0Red Hot Chili Peppers Blood Sugar Sex Magik4.0The band's breakout effort, this solidified fans already flocking and definitely paved the way for a multitude more. There are some big songs here, bookened by classic examples of this diverse unit.Dire Straits On Every Street3.0Serving as Dire Straits sixth and final studio outing, On Every Street does a pretty decent job of summing up the highlights of a successful music career. Admittedly, it doesnít have the same personal impact that its predecessor Brothers in Arms possessed for me, but there is a sort of quiet gracefulness about the way the album closes the bands career out. Itís nice to hear the ever-present twang of Mark Knoflerís guitar, a signature that surely stands out in the majority of classic rock circles. The band penned some fantastic songs, and though like most of their peers fell victim to the classic band in-fighting that would cause a revolving door of musicians, never fully lost their step to the point of obscurity. Dire Straits will always come up when talking about some of classic rock musicís greatest moments. Atheist Unquestionable Presence4.0Pearl Jam Ten3.5Rush Roll the Bones3.5Though I seem to find myself becoming more and more partial to the 80's style of Rush, there is still a place in my heart for 90's Rush. Roll the Bones was the beginning of that transition, moving away from synth-heavy songs and putting the focus more on the guitar and convential instrumentation. This style definitely still works for Rush, though it does feel a little more mundane at times. I still find this release incredibly enjoyable, though I find it hard to not enjoy an album from these guys. With some standouts like Dreamline, Neurotica, Roll the Bones, and Where's My Thing? make the disc pretty memorable amongst fans, and should be a pretty easy listen for new comers. Phish Lawn Boy3.0Porcupine Tree On the Sunday of Life2.5Due to being compiled of tracks a hardcore fan of this "band" (at the point of this recording) from albums undoubtedly already heard, On the Sunday of Life... seems somewhat pointless. It has to get some points for helping launch Porcupine Tree into a real band, instead of Wilson running the show single-handedly. Most of the stuff here is recycled, and therefore the listen isn't too spectacular. Primus Sailing the Seas of Cheese4.0Melvins Bullhead3.0Temple of the Dog Temple of the Dog4.0Iced Earth Iced Earth3.5Tool 728262.5This isn't more than a few songs that would end up showing up on future recordings - in better format and structure - though the EP does have a certain charm for being the foundation for Tool's recordings. I can't see much purpose to this other than for hardcore fans to have in their collection, though this band does have a fair number of them. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Into The Great Wide Open2.5I dont remember rating this at all...chaulkin this one up to a glitch, leavin for the time being since i can't remove my rating, this isn't my representation of the album, I'll be back with an actual ratingGreen Carnation Hallucinations of Despair2.5Green Carnations '91 debut demo is more than a far cry off from the progressive rock/metal band they would come to grow into. Starting in 1990, the band suffered a pretty quick lineup shuffle, resulting in the formation of another band and a 10 year hiatus before recording their official studio debut. It's pretty clear that in the beginning stages of the band, the direction was not all that entirely clear. This demo consists of 8 run-of-the-mill, poorly produced death metal tracks, and makes for a pretty uninspired listen for fans of the genre. Swans White Light From the Mouth of Infinity3.0Camel Dust and Dreams3.01990 Iron Maiden No Prayer for the Dying3.0I'll agree with the staff reviewer in saying this album seemed to lack considerable focus given Maiden's pretty consistent output up to this point. That being said, this is far from a bad record, and probably gets a lot of slack simply for being in the same catalouge of other Iron Maiden classics. There are some memorable moments where it seems the band is throwing off stale shackles, though the album does have its fair share of riff-recycling. Though it doesn't leave nearly as great an impact as its predecessors, No Prayer for the Dying is still a better record than a lot of bands are able to put out. Megadeth Rust in Peace3.5Angelo Badalamenti Twin Peaks3.5Alice in Chains Facelift3.5Pantera Cowboys from Hell3.5Depeche Mode Violator4.0Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet Savvy Show Stoppers3.0Virtually a showcase of older material that served as the majority of the theme music for the Canadian sketch comedy show The Kids in the Hall. This is a pretty great collection of short, guitar-twangy tracks that'll definitely please the nostelgic KITH fan, as well as be appreciated by fans of instrumental music with a somewhat relaxed, almost surfy vibe to it. Ice Cube AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted3.0Death Spiritual Healing3.5Primus Frizzle Fry3.5Mother Love Bone Apple3.5Itís hard to really point a finger at what makes Mother Love Bone so appealing (at least to this listener). Personally, I seem to have a bit of a thing for this 90ís era alternative stuff, and another thing with enigmatic front-men that seem to fade far before their prime. I suppose these would be two good reasons to give this band some thought, but there seems like a little more to it than that.
The band was briefly apart of Seattleís grunge scene before singer/pianist Andrew Wood went the way of his peers and overdosed, leaving the band to form various off shoots in its wake (Pearl Jam and Mudhoney anyone?) Despite often coming off like a bit of a GíníR clone, with Woods high vocals and the bands dirty rock vibe. However, there was something in Woods delivery, in the bandís ability to take a straight up rock song and meander into a brooding interlude seemingly out of nowhere. It was Woodís more than evident emotive vocal style and whimsical lyrics, all the while coupled with an often overlooked skill on the piano. There may not be enough material from this band to reach cult status, but in Apple, the bandís only full-length offering, the spirit of Wood and his band are perfectly capsulated.
1989 Rush Presto3.5Perhaps often cast in a negative light due to being one of Rush's weaker 80's offerings, Presto has the distinctive mark where the band began to phase out their heavy synth approach. Despite containing "filler", I find these songs are still pretty consistent, and possessing the band's favourite song (The Pass) adds a bit of personal feel to the record. Presto also sees the band using conventional piano in a few tracks, which fits their sound well. Nine Inch Nails Pretty Hate Machine3.5Definintely an impressive debut from Trent, launching NIN into the world in a fully danceable blast. Pretty Hate Machine showcases the beginnings of Reznor's work and where the evolution all started. Defintely a chunk of strong tracks here, it's an entertaining listen, though a little redundant, but still a wicked record.Faith No More The Real Thing5.0Phish Junta3.0The Cure Disintegration3.5A wicked recording from goth-rock/post-punks favourite sons. The Cure really hit their dark, brooding stride in terms of sound with this one. Though I'm not nearly as familair with their entire body of work, this seems to bear the representation of this band that I've come to know. I'm not sure if this is the best place to start for someone getting into this band, but I'm definitely looking for more after this. Tom Petty Full Moon Fever3.5Mother Love Bone Shine3.0If not for anything else, this should be heard for Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns; the song is a fantastic example of the band's range and emotive style. Though Crown of Thorns can be heard on the band's full-length Apple, Chloe Dancer is a really beautiful example of the late Andrew Wood's talents as a singer, song-writer and pianist. Beastie Boys Paul's Boutique3.51988 Death Leprosy3.0Danzig Danzig2.5Iron Maiden Seventh Son of a Seventh Son4.0One of Maiden's finest outings, this one's at least in their top 5. There is a consistent feel to this disc, and it just seems to get better after each listen. Not a weak song on here, and for Maiden a pretty refreshing sound overall.Megadeth So Far, So Good... So What!3.0This one probably sounds worse than it actually is, simply because it was riding on the tremendously popular Peace Sells. Given the overall power of that record, this one seems to fall a little flat (though Into the Lungs of Hell and In My Darkest Hour are pretty nice standouts). Overall this was a bit of a stutter-step for the band during their early period, probably caught in a bit of a idea loop until Rust In Peace would follow. (2.9/5)1987 Pink Floyd A Momentary Lapse of Reason3.5Faith No More Introduce Yourself3.0Enya Enya3.0Rush Hold Your Fire4.0This is possibly one of Rush's top five records, and definitely a standout amongst their 80's archive. There is a bit more experimentation here, but it fits the bands sound tremendously. Though there is an 80's presence throughout the record, it somehow seems to transcend the general cheesey quality of the eras music and really makes it work for them. This album seems to be greatly over-looked when people look for new Rush albums to check out amongst their vast array...this one should definitely not be missed.1986 Megadeth Peace Sells... but Who's Buying?3.5Phish Phish3.0Iron Maiden Somewhere in Time4.0A damn fine outing from a ridiculously influential band. Iron Maiden's output up to this point continues to be hard-hitting and consistently solid, with little changing to the formula for 1986's Somewhere In Time. With the additional of keys/synths to the band's music, they truly embraced the 80's full-force, but it fit the melodies of their music perfectly. Samhain November-Coming-Fire2.01985 Arcadia So Red the Rose2.5Megadeth Killing Is My Business...3.5Dire Straits Brothers in Arms3.5After a period of somewhat subpar recordings from Dire Straits Ė mostly in the midst of constant membership changes and frontman Mark Knoflerís solo-career Ė the band returns to the form of the first couple outings, chalking up an impressive playlist on their classic Brothers In Arms. Spawning some of the groupís most memorable tracks Ė Money for Nothing, Walk of Life, So Far Away, and Brothers In Arms Ė itís hard for a classic rock fan to not have heard of this record. Though itís true the bandís style has been constantly evolving since its inception, Brothers In Arms feels the most reminiscent in musical spirit to the bandís self-titled debut; there is little question as to why it is the bandís most popular and best-selling record. Faith No More We Care A Lot3.0Despite a personal distaste for the vocal styles/persona of former frontman Chuck Mosley, there can be a little credit thrown in We Care A Lot's direction. These props would mainly be the band's instrumental sound, which roughly mirrors the signature sound they'd come to perfect a few discs down the road. There are a few catchy songs on here - see "The Jungle", "Pills For Breakfast", "As the Worm Turns", and "Arabian Disco" - all possessing the signature guitar and bass dynamic, alongside the brooding keyboard layers. This should not be overlooked by fans of FNM simply for Mosley's sake. The music here really is pretty infectious, despite probably being the band's worst offering. Rush Power Windows3.5Perhaps the weakest from Rush's 80's output, Power Windows lacks the first-listen catchiness that its predecessors possessed. However, the record may make up for this upon multiple listens, seemingly more complex and dense rather than the initial baron, sparse feeling these tracks tend to put off. These are the radio favourites, but this album no doubt has a place in many fans hearts and collections alike. 1984 Iron Maiden Powerslave4.5Camel Stationary Traveller3.0Los Lobos How Will The Wolf Survive?3.0Michael Hedges Aerial Boundaries3.0Though the record should be given props for innovating this genre, and Michael Hedges was a ridiculous talent, I can't help but feel there is something missing on this album. Perhaps being a fan of his contemporary Antoine Dafour's playing marrs this record a bit, but all in all it should be checked out.Rush Grace Under Pressure4.01983 Metallica Kill 'Em All4.0Big Country The Crossing4.5A criminally overlooked band outside of the 1980ís, Scotland/Englandís Big Country are one stellar rock outfit. Admittedly, I never wouldíve found this band without Rock Bandís choice to use ďIn a Big CountryĒ, a track thatís awesomeness sent me immediately running for the rest of the record. By combining elements of their native land in the use of Scottish instrumental influences, the bands formula for merging this with a rock sound that was big in their 1980ís make for some rather infectious tracksBob Marley and The Wailers Confrontation3.5Iron Maiden Piece of Mind4.0Pink Floyd The Final Cut4.0Dispite being viewed as more of a Roger Waters solo outing than a Pink Floyd record (with good reason) this is still a solid disc regardless. The Final Cut still possesses enough atmosphere for a Floyd album, and it's only major flaw (despite the collapse that would come during and after its recording) being that Gilmour's vocals are far too excluded... oh yeah, and that Rick Wright was completely excluded... Dire Straits ExtendedancEPlay2.5The Police Synchronicity3.51982 Michael Jackson Thriller5.0Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Long After Dark3.0Dire Straits Love Over Gold3.0Despite keeping things slightly fresh by churning out their most progressive rock-oriented album, Dire Straits 4th studio outing doesn't really see the band showing any signs of momentum, instead allowing Knofler to let the same solos keep flowing, backing long-winded, uninteresting songs. This is understandable considering this was Knofler's band by this point, but the extended songs and accompying structure do little to showcase the artists writing talents. Much of the melodies heard here feel forced, with a lot of the passages coming off messy rather than with the true progressive spirit in mind. Given the band's provoking debut, the output thereafter was sadly disappointing. (Rating: 2.8/5) Rush Signals4.5Iron Maiden The Number of the Beast4.5Camel The Single Factor2.5Despite an understandable notion that the album was titled The Single Factor due to frontman and founder Andy Latimerís constant quest for commercial appeal, Camelís 9th studio record was named for Latimerís presence as soul founding member. In a revolving door system of band-mates, Latimer found it difficult to hold onto the same musicians for more than a few albumís at a time. This would go on to affect the bandís overall sound, though not so greatly as to completely alienate the sound. The result here is an incredibly watered-down record that seems to find Andy without any inspiration at all. This wouldnít be the first time that Camel would fall flat, and being a band with their kind of discography, these things are often natural. Perhaps better suited to the die-hard Camel fan, those looking to discover the band for the first time should avoid this like the plague. (Rating: 2.7/5. I apologize for this aborted review turned soundoff)Led Zeppelin Coda3.01981 Pink Floyd A Collection of Great Dance Songs2.5Scientist Rids the World of the Curse of the Vampires3.5Blue Oyster Cult Fire of Unknown Origin4.0Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Hard Promises3.0Rush Moving Pictures4.5Iron Maiden Killers4.0Scientist Scientist Meets the Space Invaders3.5Camel Nude4.0After a bit of stumbling with past records, Camel's first outing in the 80's would be 1981's Nude, a concept album revolving around the true story of a Japanese WWII soldier stranded on an island for several decades and ignorant to the fact the war is long over. The album is a touching, proggy return to form in some ways for the band, and in others shows another phase in their evolution with the heavy reliance on synths. 1980 Dire Straits Making Movies2.5Joy Division Closer4.0Bob Marley and The Wailers Uprising3.5Black Sabbath Heaven and Hell3.0On Black Sabbathís first outing without iconic frontman Ozzy Osbourne, the band seemed to begin to truly lose itself. Iím not getting into the Ozzy Era Vs. Dio Era Sabbath battle as I personally think the bands material within each of these periods pretty much answers the debate by itself. It does, however, appear that Dio had more of a negative impact on the new recording rather than positive (in respects to the way classic Sabbath had sounded) and ultimately seems to have helped steer the record into a straighter -styled rock ní roll record. I donít want to speak ill of the dead, and this is my first true foray outside of the classic-era Sabbath album, but if this is what the future of the band ended up sounding like, I might just do myself the favor and ignore the rest. Really the instrumentation has got to come down to those who actually played those instruments, and while the likes of Ward and Butler were struggling with their own demons and personal issues, I suppose it was Iommiís show to run by this point. Overall, I give this slightly above average, so a generous three shows up...Iron Maiden Iron Maiden4.5Rush Permanent Waves4.01979 Pink Floyd The Wall5.0Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Damn The Torpedoes3.0It's not hard to see why this was Petty & the Heartbreakers breakthrough album, as it's the most musically consistent of the band's first three outings. Here we finally are subjected to the fully worked out sound of the Heartbreakers, something that would only progress with future releases, but never lose its trademark. With a few major highlights like Refugee and Don't Do Me Like That, there is far less filler here than on previous works, which is definitely a good thing. Still not their best record though, despite its rating here. Bob Marley and The Wailers Survival3.5Led Zeppelin In Through The Out Door4.0Dire Straits Communiqu√©3.0Joy Division Unknown Pleasures3.5The Allman Brothers Band Enlightened Rogues2.5After a myriad of successful albums - both commercially and critically - the Allman Brothers Band was due for a flop by 1979. This came in the form of Enlightened Rogues, which settled back into a blues-dominated formula and redundant musical tactics. There isn't much of interest on this record - pretty surprising given the bands tenacious history - save perhaps the drawn out instrumental "Pegasus" and a soundtrack staple in "Just Ain't Easy". Camel I Can See Your House From Here3.0Sigh...sadly another little bump along the road of Camel. I Can See Your House From Here isn't a bad record, it's just that after the dynamic duo release (sorry) of the bands self-titled debut and Mirage, it's hard to not compare every other outing to its predecessors. There are definitely some tunes that save this record (see the upbeat Hymn to Her and the epic closer Ice) and an overall feel of solid musicianship and song-writing. It's just that this record (like a few before it) has a bit of a wandering feel to it, while the band - or Andrew Latimar - was trying to figure out the right path for Camel. 1978 Rush Hemispheres4.5Dire Straits Dire Straits3.5Black Sabbath Never Say Die!3.5I thought this was a nice return to roots for the band, reminded me of the sound they had in their self-titled through SBS era. It's a damn shame that this would be the last with Ozzy and then a downward spiral of member losses, but nevertheless, the experimentation the band incorporates on the album was a positive step towards making another slew of great records. It's too bad they never hard the chance.Camel Breathless3.5After a few hiccups within their discography, Camel brings it back together with 1978's Breathless, another example of the band attempting to merge a commercial appeal to their signature sound. The part that works for this album, is unlike its predecessors, the commercial aspects remain in the background for the most part, leaving the band's style at the forefront. Be it the fan-favourite "Echoes" or the just plain upbeat "Down on the Farm", this disc should have something for every Camel fan and 70's prog fan alike. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers You're Gonna Get It!3.0A definite collective step-up from the band's debut self-titled outing. You're Gonna Get It sees Petty and the Heartbreakers cutting their teeth and shaping their classic sound. Bob Marley and The Wailers Kaya3.5Though this record holds a fair number of recognizable Marley favourites, as well as a much needed more peaceful atmosphere, I can't help but feel like something is missing here. Kaya just seems to fall a little short of being a truly great record, though there aren't many weak spots here to complain about. 1977 Ramones Rocket to Russia3.0Bob Marley and The Wailers Exodus5.0One of Bob Marley & the Wailers finest moments, and a defining album for roots reggae music. Exodus truly captures the spirit of Bob Marley, with the surrounding story of his attempted assassination and following concert performance become the stuff of music legend. For anyone looking to get into this artist aside from his greatest hits compilation, this is the place to start. The music and overall feel of the album is undescribeable, and should definitely hold a place amongst all music fans libraries.Pink Floyd Animals5.0Just before the band turned sour... this album is a brilliant concept record, has some powerful lyrics, and some incredible musicianship from all members of the band. This is the last truly great Floyd record with the four-man lineup.Camel Rain Dances3.0Rush A Farewell to Kings4.0My only beef with this prog-rock era Rush album is it's length, as I wished there were more on the disc to listen to. Other than that the balance of shorter, radio-friendly tracks with the longer, proggy epics is down well on the arrangement, making the disc have a more flowing vibe to it. This is definitely one of the band's finest in this pre-synth era, arguably with Hemispheres and perhaps another...1976 Frank Zappa Zoot Allures4.0Black Sabbath Technical Ecstasy3.0Given this bands ridiculous output by this point in their career, it should have been pretty obvious that an album like Technical Ecstasy would finally be churned out. The bands work ethic was pretty unparalled during these early days, so the fact that they dropped the ball after releasing a myriad of incredibly strong recordings is pretty easily forgivable. Still, the question must be asked, how did it come to this? How did such a talentedly focused band lose their way with this album. Sure, we heard the rumblings in Sabotage, but it was nothing like this. The record seems to shuffle from track to track, meandering along like some confused animal, never really finding its place. This has got to be my least favourite Ozzy-era Sabbath offering by far. Blue Oyster Cult Agents Of Fortune3.0Led Zeppelin Presence3.5Bob Marley and The Wailers Rastaman Vibration3.0Rush 21124.5Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers2.5Thank god Petty and the Heartbreakers got better after this album. The songs here (save Break Down and American Girl) are rather generic songs with country/rock undertones. I found this band's debut offering hard to get into and void of the Petty music I love aside from the previously mentioned tracks. I love Petty and the Heartbreakers, I just don't think this debut is a good example of the band's sound. Camel Moonmadness3.0Peter Tosh Legalize It4.0Terry Reid Seed of Memory4.01975 Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here5.0Rush Caress of Steel3.0Gentle Giant Free Hand3.5I guess this was the band's best commercial outing, and it's also a damn fine record aside. Though I prefer the band's self-titled debut from the stuff I've heard, this is still more than strong enough to keep me interested and searching for more Gentle Giant.The Allman Brothers Band Win, Lose or Draw3.0Black Sabbath Sabotage3.5Camel The Snow Goose3.5This should be the third album on here, as it was the bands third... guess it needs a bit of clean up, and definitely a review. This is a pretty good album, there isn't many memorable tracks here, as its entirely instrumental and meant as a concept album. I don't see how this is supposedly the easiest of the band's work to get into, but there you have it. If you're going to start anywhere with this band you might as well start with their debut or Mirage, at least get the vocal and true instrumental experience. The only thing that really pushes this record past being just good is the seamless flow of the tracks and the decent concept behind it. Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti4.0Rush Fly by Night3.0Despite possessing the awful title-track and some pretty untrained vocals from Geddy, this album is the turning point for Rush's music. The addition of drummer Neil Peart was undescribeable for the band's overall success and compositions, and the progressive undertone of the album should sit nicely with that era of Rush fans. This one takes a few spins for it to grow on you, but there are some classic Rush moments on it.Jethro Tull Minstrel In The Gallery3.51974 Bob Marley and The Wailers Natty Dread3.5The first true outing as Bob Marley & the Wailers, this album doesn't disappoint with the transistion. I'll admit after looking so hard for the source of a studio version of "No Woman, No Cry" but it turns out the live rendition is much better and recognizable. There are some definitely must listens on here for Marley fans, mainly "Lively Up Yourself", "Them Belly Full", "Rebel Music" and the title-track. This one should definitely be heard and a needs a review...Blue Oyster Cult Secret Treaties3.5Rush Rush3.0Frank Zappa Apostrophe(')4.5Camel Mirage4.5With Camel's second offering, the band undoubtedly started to let their true nature shine through their recordings, though one could argue the strength comparisons between this disc and their self-titled debut a year earlier. Whereas this album seems less random with the bands influences - something that often attributes them to beginning their progressive days - it seems to lack a certain level of direction that "Camel" possessed. Despite the first discs meandering stylistic changes, there was definitely a bigger picture going on. The sprawling progressiveness of "Mirage" is definitely a fun listen, though somewhat harder to grasp than the prior disc. To me this definitely isn't the pinnicle of the bands sound, or even the true starting point of that sound. However, for an album that was released just a year after the debut offering, there is a lot to be said for the mere 5 tracks that make it up. "Nimrodel" and "Lady Fantasy" are definitely classic prog epics and should be listened to with great care. The addition of some filler like SuperTwister is a bit of a piss off considering the album's length, but Camel is forgiven. 1973 Black Sabbath Sabbath Bloody Sabbath5.0Hard not to be redundant covering this album by this point, but Sabbath Bloody Sabbath definitely holds up as one of the band's finest Ozzy-era offerings. With a load of fan favourites (Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Spiral Architect, A National Acrobat, Sabbra Caddabra) and tracks like Looking for Today, Killing Yourself to Live, and Who Are You? marking some nice stylistic changes in the band's music. (not that they weren't already flirting with these changes on previous albums) The gorgeous instrumental Fluff is also an album stand-out, as no other Sabbath instrumental seems to possess the same quality to detail and layers as it. Overall, this one warrants multiple plays and has been able to stand up still as a great listen over 35 years after its recording. Bob Marley and The Wailers Burnin'3.0Wow, no review for this one yet? I guess it's only been out for 35 years. A pretty nice outing for the Wailers...yes, that WAILERS, this was before Livingston and Tosh had left, and before the unit was renamed Bob Marley & the Wailers. Since they recorded under this name, it seems appropriate for that unit to have their own band page, but I guess that's too confusing for sputnik.
Anyway, the album has some memorable hits on it (I Shot the Sheriff, Get Up, Stand Up, Duppy Conqueror...) and is good launching ground into the more mainstream Marley music that would come to follow. It's nice to hear the additions of other song-writers on these early recordings, although I still find myself partial to Marley's compositions. Still, while the original Wailers were still a whole, they definitely brought their own brand of sound to the recordings.
Oh excellent, thanks for taking my review down cause your system didn't work. Gentle Giant In a Glass House3.5The Allman Brothers Band Brothers and Sisters4.0Despite being the home of Guitar Hero epic instrumental endeavour "Jessica", The Allman Brothers Band's Brother's & Sisters (stay with me...) is one of those seminal classic rock records that seems to fly more and more under the radar with every passing decade. There are definitely things to pick on with this record - the album's short length mainly - but the good out shines the bad here. The band's southern-tinged blues rock worked wonders when they were on their game, and they were definitely tight here. I'm surprised there isn't a review for this one, hopefully I'll gather some more info and listens to this one and try to tackle that if it goes untouched.Bob Marley and The Wailers African Herbsman3.0This is a pretty decent collection of Wailers songs that were big in Jamaica but hadn't really be exposed to the European or North American markets yet. It's just a compiliation though, and the vast majority of these songs can be found on other recordings either by the Wailers unit or by Bob Marley & the Wailers. Still, some of these are in their original form before they were later rerecorded by Marley's second incarnation. Bob Marley and The Wailers Catch A Fire3.5Probably one of the better modern Wailer's outings, and sadly their last before Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer departed for their own solo careers. I find Marley's compositions much more listenable than the other two's, but the chemistry these musicians had as a unit is undeniable. Led Zeppelin Houses of the Holy4.0Pink Floyd The Dark Side of the Moon5.0Blue Oyster Cult Tyranny And Mutation2.5Jethro Tull A Passion Play3.5Despite itís rather long-winded format (not a first for the band) Jethro Tullís 1973 offering A Passion Play can be a bit tough to wrap your ears around, but if youíre a fan of the progressive rock genre and embrace the style set forth in the late 60s Ė early 70s, this one should be a bit of a treat in the long run. Though not quite as concise as the bandís other 2-track album Thick As a Brick, there is still more than enough Tull here to entertain. Admittedly, there are a lot of seemingly nonsensical passages, as theyíre generally necessary to bridge to another point in the track. The track lengths Ė 23 and 22 minutes respectively Ė are a tad foreboding, but the albumís proggy nature helps to keep things moving along. To aid this, there are some points in each track that can more or less be listened to individually without taking too much away from the overall projection. Camel Camel4.51972 Frank Zappa The Grand Wazoo4.5Gentle Giant Octopus3.0Black Sabbath Volume 44.0Perhaps lacking a bit of the punch of the bands debut and sophomore outing, Vol. 4 has its own subtlties that make it worth repeaded listens. There seems to be more hints of experimentation with the sound the band had developed on their last three albums, though this should be pretty natural for a group putting out those four records within a span of three years. Regadless of a split in opinion on the total cohesion of this record, it remains home to several Sabbath classics.The Allman Brothers Band Eat a Peach3.5Frank Zappa Waka/Jawaka4.0Curtis Mayfield Super Fly4.0Pink Floyd Obscured by Clouds4.0Gentle Giant Three Friends3.5Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention Just Another Band from L.A.3.0Wishbone Ash Argus3.5Admittedly, I would have never have stumbled across this album, or really even this band, had it not been for some random quote from Iron Maiden bassist Steve Harris I read somewhere on the net. Citing the album as a major influence on both him and the early sound of Iron Maiden (mainly the duel guitars) as well as definitive prog-rock record, I felt compelled to check this out. rArgus is pretty damn entertaining, though I find the album's first two tracks contain the most "steam" before slowly fizzling out throughout the rest of the record. The basslines more than hold their own on this record, making all instruments stand out in their respective fields. While not a ground-breaking progressive record, it's an experience to hear the pioneering of the dueling guitars that have come to dominate so much rock and metal.Blue Oyster Cult Blue Oyster Cult3.5Jethro Tull Thick as a Brick4.01971 Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin IV4.0Pink Floyd Meddle4.0Given the band's previous offerings, Meddle has the most "Floydy" feel to it, giving its listeners a little taste of things to come. Despite the criticisms of tracks like San Tropez and especially Seamus, these songs become rather endearing to the avid Floyd fan, and the record's stronger songs (see One of These Days, Fearless, and Echoes) are more than epic enough to make up for any weaknesses. There is a certain charm to Meddle that isn't found on the band's later recordings, despite their greatness. This one should definitely not be overlooked or attributed only as a hardcore listeners album.Black Sabbath Master of Reality4.5Gentle Giant Acquiring The Taste4.0This one takes a considerable amount of time and patience to get into for some, and for others that are more fans of the avant-garde side of progressive rock music, this should feel just about right. Gentle Giant's sophomore offering, Acquiring the Taste, will require you to do just that. This isn't for the faint of heart, but the pay off after repeated listens is pretty fantastic. I definitely wouldn't start here if you're trying to get into this band, though most of their work isn't the easiest to jump right on into. The self-titled would probably be a better way to go, or even Free Hand. Regardless of how you come to Acquiring the Taste, though, this is definitely a record that belongs in all progressive catalogues. Pink Floyd Relics3.5The Doors L. A. Woman3.5Hawkwind In Search Of Space3.5Jethro Tull Aqualung4.51970 King Crimson Lizard3.0Taking a decent step in another direction, moving a bit further away from the sounds comprising In the Court of the Crimson King, Lizard is a jazz-soaked trip with plenty of prog to stay relevant in the scene ? even if it was more in the vein of their peers than some newfound sound. This is still an entertaining record, though more so in certain areas than others. What?s left is an effect of scattered songs, giving the record a wandering feel/sound. More sporadically composed than its predecessors ? which should be saying something ? Lizard feels like a more forgettable record in a pretty legendary discography. Gentle Giant Gentle Giant4.0A pretty refreshing progressive unit, Gentle Giants self-titled debut should probably be listened to a few times before judgement starts to get passed on it. It definitely helps to let this one soak in, as there is a lot hidden amongst the music waiting to be discovered with each listen. Frank Zappa Chunga\'s Revenge3.0Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin III4.0The Allman Brothers Band Idlewild South3.5Black Sabbath Paranoid4.5Hard to not give this one the classic status as well, seeing as it is pretty much a near perfect metal blue-print album. Nevertheless, for me personally there were some slightly and barely noticeable weaknesses (see the redundancy of the classic Iron Man and the drone of Electric Funeral). This album has a near seamless flow that captivates its listeners almost 40 years after its release. There truly were no others like Black Sabbath, and the collective genious of their music should speak for itself. Santana Abraxas4.5The Grateful Dead American Beauty3.0King Crimson In the Wake of Poseidon3.0Black Sabbath Black Sabbath5.0A classic heavy metal prototype and a ridiculous debut outing for a ridiculously influential band. Black Sabbath helped to pave metal's way, and for that this album reserves a special place in my library. There is, of course, the actual tunes that take place on such a recording. Everything here is classic Sabbath, and the tracks themselves have a flow and feel that stands above a great deal of imotators and general music to boot. Excellent musicianship and innovative ideas make this album a classic.The Doors Morrison Hotel3.5After a bit of a stutter-step with The Soft Parade, the Doors jump back into their traditional sound with 1970's Morrison Hotel. The material on the record more closely resembles the bands first three discs, and would probably appeal to any fan of the Doors music pretty quickly. If you're going to start anywhere, though, start with the classic The Doors and work your way up from there. Bob Marley and The Wailers Soul Rebels3.0A classic WAILERS release (before Marley, Tosh, and Livingston left the act was officially known as The Wailers; only when Bob began to outshine the other two did they go solo, opening the doors for the second incarnation, Bob Marley and the Wailers). While not quite as soulful or powerful as Catch a Fire or Burnin', Soul Rebels showcases the impeccable harmonization of the original three legends. Pink Floyd Atom Heart Mother3.5Despite not quite being up to par with a lot of Floyd's other material, after a while Atom Heart Mother definitely has a habit of growing on you. The three seperate pieces by Waters, Wright, and Gilmour respectively that serve as the middle to the two longer tracks that bookend them are great looks at their individual capabilities, and make for pretty great Floyd songs. Alan's Pyschedelic Breakfast and Atom Heart Mother both showcase the band's progressive nature pretty well, both giving listeners a taste of their previous work as well as things to come. James Brown Sex Machine3.51969 The Allman Brothers Band The Allman Brothers Band3.5Pink Floyd Ummagumma3.0Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin II4.0King Crimson In the Court of the Crimson King4.5Pink Floyd More3.0Though probably best suited for die-hard Floyd fans, More - the band's first soundtrack outing - is a disc that definitely has the ability to grow on you. I've admitedly exhausted Pink Floyd's catalouge, but despite some of the wandering this album does, it can actually be pretty accessibly through some of its tracks. The Doors The Soft Parade3.0Despite striking gold with their previous three recordings, The Doors find their experimental outing, The Soft Parade flying under most of the radars of their fans and critics alike. The disc is far from bad...it just doesn't possess any of the punch that was littered across The Doors or Strange Days. Since the band already had a bit of tendency to put experiemental pieces into their classic rock sound, some of the horn sections here can be a little off-putting. All-in-all this record has a bit of a lazy feeling to it for whatever reason, and if you're looking to get into these guys, start with their earlier work.Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin3.5Santana Santana4.0Frank Zappa Hot Rats4.51968 Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention Cruising with Ruben & the Jets2.5Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention We're Only In It For The Money3.0The Doors Waiting For The Sun3.5Despite perhaps lacking a bit of the punch provided by the band's first two outings from 1967, The Doors' third studio effort, 1968's Waiting for the Sun is no less a stellar offering. Given the fact that by this point the band had put out three albums in two years, and the fact that the material on said discs were highly consistent, this is a feat by itself. This album would be the bands only number one record, and about half of it offers itself to classic fan-favourites.Frank Zappa Lumpy Gravy3.0Lumpy Gravy serves as Zappa's first solo musical outlet, along with bridging the gap between his work with The Mothers of Invention rather seamlessly. The album isn't a heavy one - it counts in at approximately 31 minutes and 40 seconds and only consists of two tracks. Each of these tracks, entitled Lumpy Gravy, Part 1 and 2, is accompanied by a series of sub-track titles that help navigate the song. These sub-titles are pretty useless here though, and they do little towards the navigation of this pretty unaccessible material. Lumpy Gravy, Part 1 is really the only piece worth listening to, as it consists of almost entirely music and omits the nonsensical noise and speech. If you've come across this one and couldn't get into it, don't stop here, Zappa only gets so much better his discography goes on. (Rating: 2.9/5)Pink Floyd A Saucerful of Secrets3.51967 The Doors Strange Days4.0An often powerfully under-appreciated offering from The Doors, Strange Days is no less consistent and magical than its sibling records. This has probably some of the most experimental moments for Doors' music, as well as possessing some memorable fan favourites in People are Strange, Love Me Two Times, and the epic When the Music's Over. Though often skipped in favour of other outings, this album will become the avid Doors' listeners best friend over time. Pink Floyd The Piper at the Gates of Dawn3.5The Velvet Underground The Velvet Underground & Nico2.0This one just wasn't for me. I tried to get into this band/record, but I'm lost as to how it gathered so much popularity and influence. I respect what they've done for the band's that I do enjoy who cite the VU as an influence, but that's where my respect stops.
There is some minor enjoyment in the musicianship, but here Reed's vocals sound bland and like a Dylan rip-off, and Nico's are just horrendous. The Doors The Doors4.5Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention Absolutely Free3.01966 The Beatles Revolver3.5The Beach Boys Pet Sounds3.0Simon and Garfunkel Sounds of Silence4.0Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention Freak Out!3.01965 The Beatles Help!3.01964 The Beatles Beatles for Sale3.0While ultimately reeking of their pop era, in terms of their earlier records, Beatles for Sale at least manages to show a few scarce examples of the darker tinges that would show up on preceding records. Really getting into this one will probably come down to which type of Beatles fan you are: a fan of the classic pop days, a fan of the psychedelic era, or straight up hardcore fan that doesnít give a damn what time period it came out of, providing John, Paul, George, and Ringo are playing the music. These latter fans will no doubt get the most out of this record (as they probably do with all Beatles albums) but personally, as a fan of some of the work they did after this one, it just wasnít jiving for me personally. Still, if youíre into your classic rock history, it wonít hurt to give this one a couple of spins. The Beatles A Hard Day's Night3.01963 The Beatles With The Beatles3.0The Beatles Please Please Me2.51956 Gene Krupa Gene Krupa Big Band: Drummer Man3.0Stylistically Gene Krupa's drumming showcases the early rumblings of a myriad of rock and metal drummers to follow, as future generations picking up the sticks actively sought to emulate the man. Though drumming prodominantly in jazz and swing outlets, Krupa's bombastic and highly charasmatic style looked almost out of place in his days; the theatrical approach is one that can be easily recognized in a variety of modern drummers today. Unknown Don't Look Back Brighter3.0
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