A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Grade Scale adopted at MetalKings.com (starting from the lowest)

1 - Shite
2 - Could be worse
3 - Could be better
4 - Damn good
5 - Killer

3+/5
ANCIENT
Proxima Centauri
2001
Metal Blade/FONO
black
Holy shit, here's my ole' man, Phazzi! Well, lessee what's the ole' fart got for us this time around? Well, to be quite honest with ya the muzak of this spike-headed Norsman has never been that diverse really. Ain't no AC/DC surely, but still. Moreover, seems like topping such a mad and grandiose indeed release as 'Mad Grandiose Bloodfiends' is an impossibility, no matter how hard he tries. On the other hand, regardless of the fact that we are already living in a new era, and the music has changed quite a bit, but not for the orthodox ones. Even Mayhem and Dark Throne have changed (well not that much for the latter, but still), but not us. Fuck everyone, we ain't gonna wash off our accurate and precise corpsepaint, and we'll never get out of them chain mails, and we'll always take our pictures on a pile of stones pretending them to be the ruins of a great ancient castle. And we gonna play the same melodic black with female vocals that we'd played for the past 10 years. Although thinking about it the music itself is not that bad really. Certainly you can feel the hand (as well as other body-parts) of the good old (or rather evil young) "Cradle de Filth", especially in, say, 'The Witch', but hell, what's wrong with that? After all doing something in the vein of these nasty Englishmen, but doing it with talent requires skill, and if you add some Immortal and, surprise, Ancient, everything's gonna turn out pretty good. It does sound a bit childish and funny in 2001, and had 'Proxima Centauri' been released some 5-10 years earlier, it would have been much better a shot, but at the same time I couldn't possibly dream of slagging the CD off. Especially if you consider the fact that this record is probably the most diverse riff-wise for the band (Troll)

3/5
ASTRAL GROOVE
Astral Groove
1995/2001
Lion Music / FONO
hard rock
Welcome back, my friends, to the world of Lars Eric Mattsson. "Oh no, not again!" I hear some of you saying. I know, I know, but who gets it easy nowadays? Astral Groove is one of Mattsson's numerous projects that also involves singer Bjorn Lodin (a member of Baltimoore and Lars Eric's current band). Their only record is dated 1995 and contains mid-tempo hard rock that has no obvious drawbacks but does not boast any outstanding hits either. "Astral Groove" could have been quite good, but it is ruined by two things - poor mixing that leaves the vocals somewhere in the background (the name of the person in charge of the mix is not even indicated in the booklet) and extreme duration of the CD (about 70 minutes). One thing is good, however, Lars Eric & Co do not sound like Malmsteen at all on this album. (Maniac)

5-/5
AT VANCE
Dragonchaser
2001
Shark Records
neo-classic metal
I can't but admire At Vance for their perseverance, for its seems that nothing can make them abandon their path. For the third time in the past three years the immediate inspirator of their works is left in the shadow of their talent and young lust. Of course, I'm talking about maestro Malmsteen, whose music the At Vance guys were doubtlessly fond of in their childhood and whose style they decided to follow. Their new disk is done in the same way that the previous two: high-speed blockbusters with unsophisticated arrangements and touching neoclassic melodies, clean sound and traditional cover-versions of ABBA ("The Winner Takes It All" this time) and immortal classic (Beethoven's 5th symphony). It seems that the band doesn't change its style on purpose and it's about time to blame them for it, saying there's no development, no application of the latest hi-fi achievements and no original approach. However there's one thing that prevents me from doing that, and it's beautiful and melodic music of At Vance, played professionally, inventively and from the bottom of their hearts. And it means that the band doesn't need to go against their nature, to belie their ideas and to disappoint the listeners by turning to industrial thrash or something. By the way, a step aside from the path of one's idol is not a crime either, for one may find its own face. Those who don't agree with me should better check out such compositions like "Ages Of Glory", "Heaven Can Wait" and "Too Late". (Fireball)

5/5
AXXIS
Eyes Of Darkness
2001
Massacre Records
melodic rock

Axxis just keep surprising me. The band's got seven excellent albums where 90 percent of the tracks are total killers with extraordinary melodies and supreme musicianship. Moreover, the albums are quite different from each other, and the alternative sounding "Voodoo Vibes" (1996) and its successor "Back To The Kingdom" representing melodic rock in its purest form seem to have nothing in common except for the charismatic vocals of Bernhard Weiss and the band's trademark melodies. "Eyes Of Darkness" follows the footsteps of "Back To The Kingdom", but the sound is a whole new story. From the traditional "100 percent German" melodic rock the band turns to a more international, so to say, style, which does not do them harm and only makes the album fresh and more exciting. A Vangelis cover aside, long-time Axxis fans will find nothing unexpected on "Eyes Of Darkness", though it seems I will never learn to expect so many hits on one disc and each new Axxis record is still a revelation to me. As to those who are new to this band, I must warn you that "Eyes Of Darkness", as well as any other Axxis album, can easily turn your world upside down and make you a life-time fan. Their songs are catchy, and if you spin the record a couple of times, you will not forget them for a REALLY long time. A sweet disease, nothing less than that... (Maniac)

4/5
BENEDICTION
Organized Chaos
2001
Nuclear Blast
death
They have undergone "Subconscious Terror", they "Transcended The Rubicon", they wrote the "Grotesque" music, they were the "Grind Bastards"now they present you an "Organized Chaos". Frankly speaking the chaos IS pretty organized. The Brits follow the yellow brick road they have taken several years ago and that resulted in the excellent 1998 "bastardish" release with Dave Ingram still on vocals. Now when Dave is in Bolt Thrower, we have yet a new Dave (Hunt) on the throat ballista. He is also good, no comments, except probably for his strive for reproducing Ingram's vocals, although frankly speaking the guy does succeed in this tough business. The album's sound is blasting your ears, drums crush your spine bone-by-bone, making your head produce unconscious headbanging, guitars deliver the traditional benedictory riffing. Everything is fine, but believe it or not "Grind Bastard" was better. (Felix Da Katt)

4/5
BOLT THROWER
Honour - Valour - Pride
2001
Metal Blade/FONO
death response to Faster Harder Scooter.

For the older generation the name of the mighty 'Bolt' shall inevitably cause a nostalgic smile followed by a caressing stroke of the neck-bound M-16 and the polished shiny hand-grenades. 'Boy, what do you know!' - these guys will say grinning lovingly through the AFV slit watching the youngsters jump all over themselves in a feeble attempt to look unique and original. 'Nuff said, the Bolt Thrower grunts don't give a fuck about this shit. These dudes are axing it slowly and straight from the shoulder, winding the listeners' guts round the tracks of their tanks and crashing their skulls with simple as howitzer barrel riffs. I really cannot say if the change in the singing department's been for good, but I'm cocksure the new singer Dave Ingram (ex-Benediction) has not spoiled anything. The deep growls of early Benediction went into the Bolt viscous "guitarring" like a bullet in the stomach. Lead showers of drumming, screams of guitar MLRSs and the leveled roaring of the bass anti-tank systems are guaranteed to fire you into oblivion on a plagued red-black battlefield. Skeptics might draw our attention to the lack of change/progress from the 1998 'Mercenary' release. But I mean, when you buy a BT album, it's not for female vocals or, god forbid, acoustic guitars, not at all, sir. (Troll)

5/5
CYBERYA
Mindcontrol
2001
Breaker Records
cyber power metal
"Who? Siberia? Never heard that name," I told Troll after seeing the list of forthcoming interviews with MetalKings.com. I picked up the promo CD and was blown away instantly, for this German band is truly unique. Earlier known as Trinity, the five residents of Wuppertal follow the path discovered by Rough Silk, I mean building the music on the opposition of soft and heavy parts. Imagine a mix of power/prog metal vocal lines and song structures with Rammstein-like synths and guitars, two vocals - clean singing and rough back-ups and choruses, and enormous hit potential in almost every song. Killers like "Mindcontrol", "Digital Heroes" and "Invisible" make the record a jewel in the collection of any fan who likes experiments. Cyberya are one of the very few bands that's indeed breaking new grounds and setting new standards in metal. Some will say there's too much pop in their music, which is no wonder given that the band admits being influenced by Depeche Mode, but to me it's something fresh that I have never heard before, and as long as it is so I don't care what styles they are operating with. (Maniac)

5/5
CSSO
Are You Excrements?
2001
Morbid Records
jazz-rock-gore grindcore

This can be viewed as a true noise sadistic electrocution for many of you guys. But as we all know the first impression just sucks! I'd like to confess I have never heard CSSO before. Now I understand that was a real waste. They are Gods (in their own musical subdivision). Could you imagine Carcass or Napalm Death playing Black Sabbath songs? Well, if you check out "Are You Excrements?" you will once again understand that playing songs within the framework of one genre is nothing but boring. It struck me sometime ago that I more and more start to dig unusual brutal stuff like for example Haemorrhage' 2001 absolutely blown my brains off. And it seems like CSSO will be my second favorite in non-standard grindcore stuff. At first I thought it was a cover CD. But it turned out that these Japanese freaks made a mixture of all possible sick music ever. 5 songs of the Sabbath-ish grindcore, punk, noise, rock from the sixties and even jazz. Hell-born vocals from minor-devilish to absolutely bestial; fused blood-poisoning guitars, reminding of Bill Steer-ish axing; the rhythm section seems to dissect your ass into two additional drumlings and starts playing on them. I don't possess any abilities to make out the lyrics but I have no doubts about its absolutely corresponds to the titles, e.g. "Cosmic Super Strong Ordure" or "Diversion of Former Customary Trite Composition". Moral: if you don't like grindcore it by no means should stop you from listening to the "Clotted Symmetric Sexual Organ". Enjoy! (Felix Da Katt)

5/5
DEATH
Live In L.A. (Death & Raw)
2001
Nuclear Blast
Death live
Why the Old Ma with Scythe is making such unrighteous deeds as cancering all the best metal heroes? Seems like playing in the deadly department of heavy is far from being safe. And especially taking such courage upon you as to call your band Death. But hope is not lost yet and all we have to do is support Chuck in his fight against the disease. The CD takes us back 3 years from now in 1998 in L.A. where the band was promoting their then new album "Sound of Perseverance" and of course having no idea of its future release as CD/VHS and DVD to accumulate funds for Chuck. An amazing set list with the exception of "no- Spiritual-Healing-songs-played" drawback. The list containing even such old Death classics as "Zombie Ritual", "Pull The Plug" (with an interesting and quite unexpected beginning), "Crystal Mountain", "Together as One" and more, all resulting in 13 numbers with a total playtime of 72 minutes. I don't think I need to dwell upon what Death is and what music they play, but the only thing I can utter - Chuck and ver.98 Death are true progressive death metal avant-garde. I never thought that "Pull the Plug" would sound so jaw-breaking 10 years after its release. Drums, bass, rhythm guitar and solo are one organism that works as a machine without failures. Although actually Chuck is "Death" but anyways he gives the 'floor' to the other guitarist and lets him play solos. Several friends of mine pointed out to a quite unsatisfactory quality - a bit vague and floating sound, the second rhythm/solo guitar not always can be heard... It's partially right. But it's a bootleg after all. Anyways An amazing concert from the Gods of the progressive death metal scene. (Felix da Katt)

3/5
DISINTER
Demonic Portraiture
2001
Morbid Records
Death

Death metal like many other music genres has bands that sound very much in common. Disinter is a US-based formation with about 3 albums, demos etc. and what do we hearstandard death, sometimes meat metal. Actually nothing new or/and extraordinary. They sing about the same stuff a horde of bands sang before themthe same hell-praising lyrics, the same deadly riffology, the same "welcome to the nice-looking-purgatory" album cover. It's as boring as having 20 fucking intercourses in a row. I admit that the guys have implemented all their knowledge and skills in this CD, their instrument-mastering (s)kills are very impressive, the vocals are very good and genre-ishBut once againthere should be something that might attract your attention to the band. On this release the guys tried to accomplish this task by means of inserting a blasting cover of the At The Gates song "Blinded By Fear". I can witness on anything (incl. a boob ;) that I really loved the way the Disinter guys tortured the song. Excellent. That's why they get 3 ;) (Felix The Katt)

4/5
DOVER
I Was Lost For 7 Weeks In The City Of Angels
2001
EMI Odeon
punk rock
Punk exists everywhere. Each country must have a couple of punk bands, or it is not a country but some no man's land. However punk may be different depending on its origin, and Spanish punk bands are unlike similar bands from any other country. For some reason all Spanish punk-related music that I know is quite sad and even melancholic, though there are still dirty guitars and anger in it. Female- fronted Dover are no exception, and their English lyrics even make this sadness more visible for I can actually understand their lyrics well. Life sucks, they say, life's boring, everyone's lonely, love's gone and all ideals are ruined. How nice is all that to listen? Very nice, for don't you feel the same at times? The band has one thing that's absolutely necessary for good punk music - they are true at what they're doing and they believe in what they're singing about. They can play instruments, too, and they're quite original, for it's not every day that you hear punk with an obvious Spanish taste (if you're not a resident of that country, of course). (Maniac)

4/5
GAMMA RAY
No World Order
2001
Metal Is Records
pure speed/power
I have mixed feelings about this release. Ive listened to Gamma Ray for ages and I might be biased but Im not the one to say that No World Order is the years masterpiece or that Kai Hansen is god. Even though No World Order is a very nice record, I felt a bit disappointed after listening to it. Ive always liked Hansen for his undying ability to change his music. These changes cannot at times be described with words, at least I will fail at it, but they become obvious if you are indeed into power metal or know Helloweens and Gamma Rays releases really well. Just compare Sigh No More (1991) and Insanity And Genius (1993) and dont try to tell me that there is no difference. No World Order is the first record that adds nothing new to the bands style. It is a solid mix of the previous two Gamma Ray albums, very well done and generally better than 1999s Powerplant. Nevertheless, the level of its predictability sometimes approaches that of late Running Wild releases, which is not a merit, in my opinion. Moreover, the band starts to borrow from other people - the opening Induction is almost a copy of the intro to Edguys Vain Glory Opera, Solid resembles of Judas Priests Rapid Fire and the chorus on Lake Of Tears is too close to Send Me An Angel by Scorpions. The result is a fans-only record that is enough to please those who love this band but obviously insufficient to convert those who dont. (Maniac)

5/5
GRAVE DIGGER
The Grave Digger
2001
Nuclear Blast
heavy/speed
With guitarist Manni Schmidt (ex-Rage) now gracing the line-up, the veterans of German heavy/speed metal once again go back to the roots, where, as we all know, "heavy metal rules". "The Grave Digger" is heavier than the band's previous outputs, and much darker at the same time. Gone are the concept stories based on the history of Middle Ages and corresponding melodic lines have been abandoned, too. Grave Digger now has much in common with Primal Fear - very heavy sound, as heavy as possible within the limits of German power/speed metal, just on the border with thrash. However don't think that Grave Digger have sacrificed their own style in the favour of fashion. They produced practically the same music in the early and mid-1990s on records like "Symphony Of Death" and "Heart Of Darkness". And even though the band sticks strictly to its trademark style, "The Grave Digger" is a brilliant record packed with powerful songs and incredible drive. The title track and "King Pest" are my favourites. Also of notice is a strange ballad called "Silence" with dark and romantic lyrics. Recommended for those who prefer dynamics to melodies, or for those who just want an alternative to Rhapsody- and Helloween-influenced hordes. (Maniac)

3/5
GURKKHAS
A Life of Suffering
2001
Morbid Records
pure fucking armageddon!

There is no telling what do some people think about when they voluntarily fuse their creative ejaculation into one stream under such a strange title, but judging by the frankly childish look of them on the cover, these SWAT-wannabes haven't thought about anything since high-school. This aspect however has nothing to do with the brutal frenzy of the music, so no one should complain about the, ahem, oddish look of this French trio. Pretty bad-ass aggressive death metal with somewhat irritating growler and not too diverse either. Swampy sound, thick buzzing riffs, standard shifts from fast, to mega-fast to super-slow and the never-ending double-bass. Nothing new whatsoever but a sure treat for any meat-lover. (Troll)

4/5
HALFORD
Live Insurrection
2001
Metal-Is
heavy metal show
The double CD is a document of Rob's Resurrection world tour that rocked the world last year. It contains songs from "Resurrection", some Judas Priest classics and a couple of tunes off Rob's other solo projects (no stuff from Two, thank heavens!). Of special interest are rare track "Light Comes Out Of Black" (originally recorded by Rob Halford and Pantera for an obscure movie soundtrack), duet with Bruce Dickinson on "The One You Love To Hate" and guest performance of Rudolf Schenker on old Scorpions hit "Blackout", included only on the Japanese version of the album. The live sound is very good, with blistering guitars and pounding drums and Halford's mighty vocals. Three bonus studio tracks are quite interesting, though "Prisoner Of Your Eyes", a ballad of a broken-hearted man, seems rather strange for a person like Rob. I don't think I need to describe what music Halford is playing, for everyone knows Priest and everyone should know by now about last year's brightest metal revivals. What I need to make clear is that why I rated the record at only four points. First, the choice of Priest tracks is surprising, to say the least. Why go for obscure songs like "Stained Class", but leave out everything from "Painkiller"? Second, Rob changes almost all vocal lines on tracks from "Resurrection". Some notes are sung higher and some lower, with the intention to make them simpler and easier to perform live. A sign of laziness or a sign of age? (Maniac)

4/5
NOSTRADAMEUS
The Prophet Of Evil
2001
AFM Records
strato-goes-power
As I like to say, Swedes are basically Finns, but of Swedish origin It is true even when they record in Finnvox Studio, play melodic speed power metal and their love to apologists of the genre from the sunny land of Suomi shows even in the band name. It's of interest that the great Malmsteen taught his countrymen to love the guitar (actually, Fender Stratocaster) so much that they stick to it even where Finns or Germans prefer keyboards. You can't but note that even most famous Swedish keyboardist Jens Johansson plays in a Finnish band! Ok, enough with that. In a year since the release of the first record, Nostradameus changed their line-up considerably, played at Wacken Open Air and recorded their second full-length album. The guys proudly declare affection to Stratovarius, Edguy and Hammerfall and don't fear ardent critics who always rise up to the occasion of charging young bands with rip-off, self-plagiarism and other mortal sins. Energy, speed, melody on the one hand and total lack of individuality and abundance of cliches on the other - that's what you'll find on "The Prophet of Evil". The band's first release was more interesting because there was more juvenile ardour in its compositions and more originality in melodies. Having become famous, the guys concentrated on perfecting their style and got lost in it. Nevertheless, this album has obvious highlights - blockbuster "Hymn To These Lands", epic "The Final Battle", a slow ballad called "Requiem" and a cover of Europe's "Scream Of Anger". (Fireball)

3-/5
PROJECTO
Crown Of Ages
2001
Underground Symphony
fast metal from Italy
This one's dedicated to lovers of all things fast and game. This disk doesn't require long-time thinking over, it's intended for the listener who's got used to high-speed passages, dense keyboard background, ultrasonic vocals and rather monotonous melodies. But even such a listener it will have a hard time going through the entire album at once, getting out of the net of endless solos, shapeless musical constructions and manic repetitive riffs. These guys fail to reach the level of their fellow countrymen Rhapsody and Skylark and even if we compare "Crown Of Ages" with Projecto's previous disk, the songs became heavier and much more boring. All sparks of human melodies are destroyed by technically perfect but totally soulless performance. It's like "Butchered At Birth" and "Dehumanizer" put together. Generally speaking, if you can't catch up with leaders of the genre, it's high time to take a risk and change your style (I mean to try to find your own one), or you will become a parody of yourself. Why don't the guys abandon this banal heroic-epic trash and put up a metal rendition of something from the 80s Italian scene, for instance? I think it's gonna be a good idea for Projecto if they can't create their own melodies. It would be rather original and definitely a success, at least in Russia where the people are raised on hot rhythms of Celentano and Cutugno. (Fireball)

4/5
PUNGENT STENCH
Masters of Moral - Servants of Sin
2001
Nuclear Blast
Old-school euro-death

In 90 percent out of a hundred all reunions end up crap. The way it usually goes, is you've got a bunch of relatively young old farts gather together and try to remember how they blasted some 5-10-20 years ago. The result is usually forced-out, over-thought and entirely unconvincing. And, let the fans of this Austrian bunch forgive me, in a way the issue with Pungent Stench is pretty much the same. I mean, if you consider composing and professional aspects its all well and good, but, for better or for worse, the blast is just not there anymore. This is the usual situation at any high-school 20 years reunion party - everyone's pretty drunk at (or under) the table and remembering their golden times when one bottle of beer was enough to get you shit-faced and when they were really doing some bad shit. Usually such partiers are lots of fun and everyone enjoys themselves, but no one will puke all over the place, no one will throw the cake into the face of the birthday-boy, no one will get arrested for underage alcohol abuse, no one will break a dozen plates, and no one shall sit half-naked in a bathtub a basin on their had talking bullshit. No, there'll only be memories. Well, the situation with the servants of Madonna de Stench is quite similar. Although, on second thoughts, if you forget everything PS did earlier in their career, we get some real good death metal of old euro-school with super-funny and abusive lyrics, and overdriven head-crushing jolly evil energy. (Troll)

4+/5
THE SCARR
Animalenemy
2001
Spinefarm/FONO
Death scars on a pop-goth face
Imagine walking on a green field with wheat growing around you, a flower in your hand, the sunshine... You listen to the birds' serenades, humming along your most favorite tune: Sting's "Every breath you take" - the one you just heard in his concert, you attended. You are desperately trying to recall the phone number of the girl that you met there and as long as you had no phonebook with you had to take an attempt to store it in your memory, you recall the shape of her marvelous figureEvery breath you take, every move you make and all of a sudden an enormous explosion blasts right in front of you, making you scream in pain and feel devastating hatred toward the whole world because of the young life being wasted in a single moment. You see you legs lying right near you and that makes you vomit and growl in suffering. But once again all of a sudden you wake up having fallen from the bed. You sit up and wipe your sweaty forehead. What was it? Was it a nightmare. No, that wasn't a nightmare, it was The Scarr - the music that makes you listen to it time and time again living through its deadly beauty and gothic atmosphere. The music that is just beyond any comparison. It is beautiful as zombies walking around with tulips, as decapitated babies scattered on the battlefield, religious as the Mayhem impaled pig headsThis "fucked up, smashed and glorious" description could go for agesgo and listen to it. (Felix Da Katt)

3/5
SIEBENBURGEN
Plagued Be Thy Angel
2001
Napalm Records
post-modern black

This is already the fourth Napalm release of these Svensk advocates of sword & corpse-paint. Naturally the album has not become anything super-unique but honestly it was never meant to be. At least it is an easy and nice listen, apparently due to the inbred national sense of melody and note-adding skills. Pretty god and hard-paced death-black metal with a nod to classical heavy and speed metal (note - no Children of Bodom similarities, already a bonus these days) spiced with keyboard arrangements, female voices, super-pro musicianship and the traditional pathetic guitar solos, the Scandinavian kingdom became known for since Yngwie came in place. However, no matter how much mint and xylite you put into Orbit it's still gonna be a chewing gum. Recommended to everyone who is not yet tired of quality straight-in-the face melodic black death. (Troll)

2/5
SINISTER
Creative Killings
2001
Hammerheart/FONO
Death

I'm groping for words. Definitely I was looking forward to listening to the CD. I knew that SINISTER was considered to be a cult death-metal act. I knew that they have recruited a lady to growl for themand that even added to my anticipation. And what do we get? An absolutely dull record, nothing at all cult or even slightly interesting. Absolutely. Straight-forward dumb&dumber death metal. I have no idea how can one tell one song from another. As to Rachel the Lady-death... If I didn't know for a fact it was a female, I'd never have said so I mean without her this would have been just a nothingand actually with her it is just nothing with a totally crazy, dissecting and dismembering lady growling, but still a nothing. Even the cover on the Possessed "Storm in my mind" won't help the wrecked ship from sinking into oblivion. For Sinister worshippers only. (Felix da Katt)

3/5
THYRANE/THE DEAD BEGINNERS
Black Harmony
2001
Spinefarm/FONO
Black

I personally don't know what the Spinefarm guys were governed by when they decided to issue the first Thyrane MCD on a split with Dead Beginners, but I'd rather they didn't. The 1996-1998 was the period of black metal revolution on the Finnish scene (meaning that everyone was running in the same direction in a big and silly herd, not really knowing why). The black-and-white plaster-faced children of Finnish lakes were procreating like nitrate-fed toadstools after an acid rain, forming into small groups and shooting off with the jolly as Baphomet the Goat and identical as two spikes on a black-leather bracelet black metal. The leather pants of adolescent Suomi blackers were bulging with joy and not without a reason too. Never before in its history has the metal scene witnessed such an enormous number of faceless CDs launched on a market. Well, our heroes became one of those. The results are obvious, not bad enough to be crap, but not good enough to interest anyone but the devotees of Finnish black metal school. (Troll)

4/5
TRANSATLANTIC
Bridge Across Forever
2001
Radiant Records/Inside Out
classic progressive rock
A large-scale work. Four songs clicking at a total of 77 minutes - how further can you go? The figures really scared me before I put the CD in my player, and I was getting ready for the worst. The band's debut "SMPTe" made a great impression on me, but that one at least had five songs and was a couple of minutes shorter. Surprisingly, I listened to the entire record in one take (a very rare case of albums of such duration) and enjoyed every minute of it. Classic progressive rock with tons of improvisations and supreme musicianship of Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater), Peter Trewavas (Marillion), Neal Morse (Spock's Beard) and Roine Stolt (Flower Kings) may not be an average metal fan's favourite listening, but it is a great introduction to the progressive world and bands like Yes or Genesis. Transatlantic are not trading new grounds in progressive music, they are just doing what they like and having fun. You can join them and have a good time too, even more so if you get a 2CD version with outtakes, demos and an interactive section. My favourite piece is the title track, a short (some six minutes only) and beautiful ballad about eternal love. Unlike many progressive records that I have heard of late, "Bridge Across Forever" is really pleasant to listen. (Maniac)

4/5
VARIOUS ARTISTS
Rock Star - Original Soundtrack
2001
Priority Records
heavy metal the American way

An American product. 100 percent American and 100 percent product. This is how young Americans raised on Korn and Marilyn Manson should imagine "true heavy metal". Residents of other states can have a different view on the matter, but who dares to judge which side is correct? Judging from this soundtrack, "true heavy metal" is something straightforward with heavy guitars and a bit industrialised sound, with cliched lyrics ("We All Die Young", "Wasted Generation") and an attitude of a rock star. This is just what the band called Steel Dragon is all about. Never heard that name? No wonder since it only exists in the movie. In reality, it's guitarist Zakk Wylde, drummer Jason Bonham, bassist Jeff Pilson (ex-Dokken) and singer Jeff Scott Soto (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen, ex-Axel Rudi Pell), alongside with two less renown musicians. Six Steel Dragon tracks are complimented by classic rock songs by Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, Kiss, Ted Nugent and INXS to complete the impression of a 100 percent true heavy metal movie. "Rock Star" is gonna be watched anyway, for it's a dream of every fan to join his favourite band and become an international star, and this is just what the movie is all about (it's actually based on the story of "Ripper" Owens, now with Judas Priest). The soundtrack is, however, nothing more than entertainment, a high-class one, but still only entertainment. If you wanna have a good time and listen to something that's not gonna add some heavy thoughts to your already tired head, the CD will work great for you. But don't go searching for some revelation here, it's nowhere to be found in "Rock Star". (Maniac)

4+/5
VOICE
Golden Signs
2001
AFM Records
heavy power
This is a nice example of German power metal, well done and bearing influences of the classic British school. Here you won't find pompous and bombastic melodies, sophisticated cooler-than-Stratovarius solos and a bunch of idiots that can only flare a sword and feed each other to dragons. This alone is enough to respect the band. Add to it quite original melodies at the junction of German melodic power metal (Axxis, Pretty Maids) and Iron Maiden, a touch of progressive, a stylish cover and you will understand why I enjoyed this album so much. Even the compositions that are not full-time hits are not tiresome at all and very interesting to listen, and when it comes to such blockbusters as "Days Of Trust", "On My Way", "The Visions", they are doubtless success and meet all the standards as far as melodies, inventiveness and energy are concerned. The band's another distinctive feature is strong and beautiful vocals of Oliver Glas that sometimes remind of Bruce Dickinson, but never copy him. Very few of even the most fashionable bands have been able to obtain strong singers lately and it seems sometimes that the times of Dickinson, Dio and Halford are irrevocably over. However listening to Voice drives away such pessimism. If there had been a bit more hit melodies, it would have been doubtless five points. (Fireball)

(Fireball Reviews - Translated from Russian - Lynx)


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