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

5/5
AXEL RUDI PELL
Between The Walls
1994 / 2004
Steamhammer / Soyuz Music
hard rock
I'm sorry people but this album means to be much more than any other rock albums of all times since it was the one that back in long gone 1994 got me into the German hard rock and heavy metal. The tape with this recording didn't leave my Walkman for nearly a month and I learned every chord of the music. And it really worth it! Outstanding singer Jeff Scott Soto, magnificent drummer Jorg Michael (I won't bother naming bands where they played - everyone knows them) and surely blond guitar maestro Axel Rudi Pell himself. There is not a single average song on the album - right from dreamy "The Curse" up to the speedy final instrumental track "Desert Fire" the disc is full of powerful catchy songs, epics, legendary cover of Free "Wishing Well" and amazing ballad "Innocent Child". By the way, the album was such a success that for the first and only time (so far) a clip was made for the song "Cry Of The Gypsy". And finally a decade later the album is legally released in Russia! If you never head Axel or German hard rock in general this album is the perfect start, it's the true classic! (Dead Ripper)

4/5
BLACK LABEL SOCIETY
Hangover Music (Vol. VI)
2004
Eagle Records / CD-Maximum
acoustic rock
Do you remember when Ozzy Osbourne guitar player Zakk Wylde released his debut solo album "Book Of Shadows" in 1996? It's unbelievable but this year he decided to do the similar thing once again. Not the same in the solo but musical sphere. His band Black Label Society that used to release obsessed heavy albums from year to year changed the style into the country one. Don't attempt to find any up-tempo tracks here - there's none present except for maybe several fast interludes. Yeah, Zakk's hangover seems to be extremely terrible if distortion-fueled guitar grows heavy on his head in comparison with the acoustic one. At the same time Zakk always loved such music especially if you still remember the classic "Mama, I'm Coming Home". So the album is likely to be taken as a break before the next assault attack. (Dead Ripper)

5/5
CONCERTO MOON
After The Double Cross
2004
Vap
neoclassical power metal
From year to year permanent leader of the legendary Japanese band guitarist Norifumi Shima is changing musicians and releases awesome albums. How on earth can he generate so many brilliant ideas? Sometimes it seems like the neoclassical genre is long gone and exhausted and maestro Yngwie Malmsteen played every single note that can ever happen there. NO WAY! With every new album Shima-san is proving that there is much more to say. He is introducing traditional Japanese music influences especially in terms of keyboards while on this new release he seems to have thoroughly listened to German power metal - take "Find The Key" and compare it with recent opuses of Gamma Ray. Surely Shima could not avoid writing classical tracks like "Waiting For A Miracle" and "Puppet In The Mirror". Add to that the autobiographical "Concerto Moon"! Moreover, the album features a five-track bonus CD with cover-versions of Deep Purple, Kansas, Alcatrazz, Queen and Rainbow. And believe me, you've never heard such opera-styled vocals on "Too Much Love Will Kill You"! Every year I'm wondering WHY European record companies totally ignore this genius band. Such an album belongs to the top of the list in the line of so-called 'albums of the year'!!! (Dead Ripper)

3/5
DRAGONHAMMER
Time For Explanation
2004
Scarlet / CD-Maximum
power metal
Too many dragons are flying around Everywhere they are covering the sky And just imagine that one of those dragon fans would play hard rock, glam or something. No way! Power metal around the clock - Rhapsody is the leader. But to be someone like Luca Turilli you don't really need to sing about dragons and epic tales - you need to have some talent as a composer. What we have with Dragonhammer is the mere try to rip everything from all the bands around. The singer copies Timo Kotipelto of Stratovarius, music is the mix of Rhapsody and second-hand metallers while lyrics are taken from abandoned B-sides of Sinner and Primal Fear. OK, the only chance for survival goes to the keyboard player, who seems to be playing from the heart. One more thing - the band made a big mistake by recording that ballad "The Pages I Never Wrote" since all the way you can hear the accent of the singer, which is terrible. (Dead Ripper)

5/5
DYING TEARS
Spleen & Hope
2003 / 2004
Thundering Records / CD-Maximum
Gothic, doom
"Again these endlessly multiplying goths?" - you may ask. Yes, goths again, but what magnificent kind of them! French band composed of eight persons present to the world their second conceptual album, a brilliant work that is capable to take attention even of people far from goth ideology. Sound of an album is very rich and saturated. Besides eight permanent members of the band, among whom except others there are male and female vocals, keyboards and magnificent cello, there are also invited musicians, such as flute, violin and even saxophone. Arrangements are splendid; sounding is various, always deep. Fast compositions harmonize with slow ones; the album seems like a complete and integrated work in its musical part. But what especially worth mention are the texts. "Spleen & Hope" is a conceptual album, significant different from most other gothic music albums. With every new song listener with the main character, that has lost his sweetheart, step by step travel from "Spleen" through grief, feeling of despair, unbearable suffering of loneliness, rage, cold indifference of a broken heart and fundamental change of his ideas to "Hope", which is gothic-styled sad, but is nevertheless beautiful and bright. It is a magnificent, excellent album. (Nikita Oddfish)

5/5
EZ LIVIN'
After The Fire
1990 / 2004
LZ Music
melodic hard rock
After guitarist Hans Ziller left Bonfire in 1988 he immediately found new partners and started recording an album. During the sessions old friend and bandmate Claus Lessmann joined him as well. Together they recorded several demos but contractual obligations prevented them from working together in one band. Then Ziller immediately found an unknown singer Peter Henrics and released a symbolically titled album "After The Fire" in 1990. The album is absolute killer! Just imagine what could have happened if Vince Neil wound up in Germany and sang on the most hard rocking album of all times. Catchy and melodic as it can only be the disc strikes you down and make forget about all the Bonfire times. Driving "Die For Rock", "Body Talk", "Rockin' Into The Night", melodic "Too Late For Paradise", hit "Taste My Sweet Love" and extremely emotional ballad "See The Tears" leave no chance for other albums from those times. And since this is the re-issue mastered by Hans and Claus themselves it features three demos with Claus on vocals and a rare unreleased song from the single "Too Late For Paradise". THE MUST!!! (Dead Ripper)

5/5
GENE SIMMONS
Asshole
2004
BMG Funhouse (Japan)
hard rock
Unbelievable! Almost 30 (!) years after the debut solo album High and Mighty KISS bass axeman Gene Simmons released the follower. The result is amazing! OK, this review cannot be abstract since Mr. Simmons is my absolute all-time hero in the whole history of rock music. So what do we have here? Nothing more than a collection of tracks recorded in various studios with numerous musicians since the 1990s. There are some average tracks like Prodigy (!) cover "Firestarter" and "Weapons Of Mass Destruction" with some dance and alternative vibes. However, tracks like album-titled "Asshole", extremely melodic "Waiting For The Morning Light" and catchy driving "Sweet & Dirty Love" and "Carnival Of Souls" will knock off with pleasure! The album is heavily influenced by The Beatles, Gene's favorite band. Two Japanese bonus tracks, mighty "Everybody Knows" and balladesque "You're My Reason For Living", perfectly complete the CD released in the United States and Europe by "Sanctuary Records". Among special guests are Ritchie Kotzen, all members of Simmons and Frank Zappa families, Bruce Kulick, Eric Singer and many many others. Can't wait to hear the upcoming solo album of Paul Stanley!!! (Dead Ripper)

2/5
HEARTPLAY
Where The Deadends Meet
2004
MTM Music / CD-Maximum
AOR
Sorry for not keeping it in confidence but all the way through listening to the CD I touched my mouth several times in order to feel slobbers there. And there's nothing strange about it. The album is just so slobbery that there seems to be no competition in the sphere. Take a look at the singer's photo in the booklet - he looks like a serious man but sings like a choir girl. The melodies are nice, there are even some interesting and catchy ones but if the singer wants to copy Tony Mills of the Shy fame then let him lose his sad intonations at least. With such a situation the album is totally filled with standard and ripped off melodies and rhythms. Guys, you need to work a lot on the sound. (Dead Ripper)

3/5
L. A. GUNS
Waking The Dead
2002 / 2004
Eagle / CD-Maximum
glam/hard rock
Another album of legendary Los Angeles glam rockers from the 1980s. Of course we all remember the guitar player who formed the core of Guns N'Roses with Axl Rose and singer Phil Lewis who used to shout in British formation Girl with future Def Leppard axeman Phil Collen. But those glorious times are dead and gone and what do we have in 2002? The album is basically an attempt to unify the classic glam sound with modern influences of the hard rock genre. Some tracks are good enough like "Revolution" and "Psychopatic Eyes" but some like "The Ballad" and album-titled "Waking The Dead" are extremely average. Surely fans of the band will like this album but do not try to compare it to moves of the recently reborn Hanoi Rocks; Americans have no chance about it. (Dead Ripper)

1/5
MIND KEY
Journey Of A Rough Diamond
2004
Frontiers / CD-Maximum
progressive metal
Italian musicians in progressive metal Immediate recollections bring up Rhapsody and other similar bands. But this time the situation is totally different just taking into account the fact that the album was released by a hard rock oriented company. Though the band had better signed with "Inside Out" - 60 minutes and 8 songs, classic variant. Extremely complicated but totally wasted. Frequent tempo changes, introduction of various instruments in unlikable moments and heroic voice of the singer totally destroy the album. Probably the band will find its listener and admirer but even 20 minutes is more than enough to stand this trash. (Dead Ripper)

3-/5
NARR!
Souls Are Flying Now!
2003 / 2004
Masterpiece Distribution / CD-Maximum
Electronic
Very strange release for CD-Maximum. Press-release tells us, that this music was called "extreme electro-dance metal", but I failed to find anything extreme in Narr! Think about electronic elements in the music of The Berzerker. And now think about mad electronics of nihilists and revolutionists from Digital Hardcore Records (Atari Teenage Riot, Alec Empire, EC8OR, Hanin Elias). Imagined all this extreme electronic battlefield? Ok, and now throw this image out of your head, because weak and sickly Narr! has little in common with it. Sound of the band pretends to be called "electronic industrial" more than "extreme" "metal", but absence of live sound (only electronic) and easy-to-listen popular sounding don't give us a chance to call this music something more than just an electronic music. Melodies sound so popular, rhythm is so light and typical, that sometimes Narr! gives the impression of not a CD produced by CD-Maximum, but of a compilation of Mtv Best Hits. The desire to put the "2" mark is changed only by the arising thought that there are not many such electronic bands pretending to so-called heavy sound. From this point of view Narr! has originality. I do not recommend this disc to METAL fans. (Nikita Oddfish)

3/5
PLATITUDE
Nine
2004
Scarlet / CD-Maximum
progressive metal
It's interesting why the album is called "Nine"? Surely not the ninth one in the band's discography and the number of tracks is bigger than that weird number OK, let it be so. Generally speaking, you cannot consider the album to be of much progress in comparison to the debut one where lyrics expressed feelings and emotions of a man towards woman, which is quite untraditional for progressive metal at all. This time musicians decided to dig even more into the world of emotions and possibly they succeeded in both lyrical and musical spheres since melodies became even more complicated and obsessed. Maybe it was reached by the guitar heaviness that almost blocks all the other instruments and does not fit into the mix. Only some tracks like "Skies Of Xenon" are more or less balanced; the rest are not easy to be taken. Seems like the band entered a stagnation phase. (Dead Ripper)

4/5
RING OF FIRE
Lapse Of Reality
2004
Frontiers / CD-Maximum
heavy progressive
After the release of the previous album "Dreamtower" guitarist and main songwriter keyboardist Vitaly Kurij left the band to concentrate on other projects. The rest of the band quickly found a new member called Steve Weingart and recorded a brand new album. The result is pretty impressing. It's like a tendency; when Kuprij leaves bands music becomes simpler and more understandable for an ordinary listener. The situation is almost the same here. Please, don't think that there are no keyboards on the album; there's plenty of them, the band can still be considered to play progressive metal but those keyboards appear in more likeable places now. The number of hit-type tracks grew up as well - listen to "Change" and "One Little Mystery". Seems like the evolution was a success and Ring Of Fire entered the new stage of its existence. (Dead Ripper)

5/5
SADISTIK EXEKUTION
Fukk
2002 / 2004
Osmose Productions / CD-Maximum
Death metal, grindcore
(The beginning of the review is accompanied with horror roar. Review is being written with permanent aggressive animal grimace on the face) Completely mad release. Crazy and stunning. Australian band formed in 1986 plays absolutely insane death metal that can be differed from grindcore only by periodical change of the rhythm from "fast and unstoppable" to "slow and pressing down" and sometimes by presence of articulated solos. The band amazes with its real involvement in theme of its own crazy unholy creation. Thick booklet gives us a sense of it. It is said there, for example, that after concert the stage is usually covered with broken instruments, smashed glass, blood, spit and beer; that almost on every concert there is a fight between somebody in the crowd and that sometimes members of the band themselves reach such a high point of satanic ecstasy, that start fighting between themselves right on the stage! Music material is stunning, it is maximum extreme and absolutely hard-edged. Texts are utterly stupid, sometimes they are just a compilation of several well known words in different order, but how energetic it is! This band really can drive you out of your wits! While listening to the album you truly want to shout and crush everything around you, and this feeling is the main point that should be reached by any aggressive death/grind band. (Nikita Oddfish)

2/5
SECTION A
The Seventh Sign
2003 / 2004
Lion Music / CD-Maximum
progressive metal
A while ago guitarist Torben Enevoldsen released a solo album where he desperately tried to copy neoclassical masters like Malmsteen and Stump. The result was disgusting to say the least. This time Torben decided to knock the world out with currently fashionable progressive-styled music. Musically the album is nice featuring good arrangements and awesome songs especially mind-breaking "Riot". But Torben once again failed as the musician since his guitar sounds like a drilling machine in the classic orchestra. Roughness and obsession of his six-string spoil the album as much as possible. Probably the guitar player is not guilty of that thing but then the recording engineer should have taken it into account. But if the engineer is deaf then no problem, leave it as it is. (Dead Ripper)

4/5
SKEW SISKIN
Album Of The Year
2003 / 2004
Ulftone / CD-Maximum
punk/hard rock'n'roll
Whatever happens if you combine the energy of Motorhead with classic German riffs? And add a girl as a singer! The result is a funny and crazy rock'n'roll album with heavy punk influences and sometimes even with alternative floats. The CD is a perfect cure from boredom; tracks like "We Hate", "All Fired Up", "White Trash" and "Torn Apart" are capable of raising even the dead. Lyrics, which are not found in the booklet, also give a solid kick in the ass. The only trouble is that the girl shouts so loud that sometimes you get an image of a teenager near the ice-cream kiosk with lots of money in her hand. OK, it doesn't really matter. The album definitely has soul and passion inside. You might also notice the fact that legendary drummer Stefan Schwartzmann (Helloween, ex-U.D.O., Running Wild) played drums on almost all tracks BUT we are unlikely to recommend Teutonic metal fans to listen to this stuff. (Dead Ripper)

5/5
SONATA ARCTICA
Reckoning Night
2004
Nuclear Blast / Irond
Power metal
Attention please, power metal fans! One of the leaders of the genre presents to us its new album. The band didn't change its style and still plays very fast melodic power metal with emphasis on magnificent keyboard parts. Quite difficult melodies traced by instruments and vocals of Tony Kakko still stay as one of the main characteristic features of the band. Texts are verbose and interesting to listen. In comparison with absolute majority of other bands Sonata Arctica still occupies the highest rank. But did it excel itself; did it demonstrate something noticeably new? Well, probably not. But actually I doubt that something could be made remarkably new and better than they already do, without changing usual style of the band and types of musical instruments. "Reckoning Night" is a brilliant album that certainly will be high on the list of albums in every power metal collection. (Nikita Oddfish)



4/5
TESTAMENT
First Strike Still Deadly
2002 / 2004
Eagle Records / CD-Maximum
Thrash metal
There is no use in comparing a legend of classic thrash metal with any band except itself. Testament has reached such high level of mastery, that you can hardly imagine a band that plays this style of music better. It's common knowledge that Testament is a technical perfection, but it's another issue to compare Testament with Testament, to answer the question: "Should I buy this particular album if I don't have all other?" For me it's the main question that arises considering "First Strike Still Deadly". This disc is a compilation of re-played chosen songs from first and second albums of the band. In new, modern versions old songs get drive, energy, purity and power. That's why I recommend this disc to those who doesn't have first two albums of the band and didn't use to get on hook of their sounding. Also I can recommend this record to those who is not well acquainted with creative work of Testament. But this disc may not please metal listeners that know first two albums rather well but are not real fans of Testament. For such people old versions of songs may subconsciously sound in their ears and it will hinder them from pure perception of new versions. But actually this disc was made especially for the fans of the band and booklet fairly tells about it. These people will surely get a great pleasure. (Nikita Oddfish)

3/5
THE MIST OF AVALON
The Mist Of Avalon
1998 / 2004
M&A Music Art / CD-Maximum
Gothic metal
CD-Maximum presents first album of The Mist Of Avalon. Album was made in 1998 and at that time such music could be interesting, but not now. The band is playing typical gothic metal with all that goes with it. The only striking thing is permanent feeling of frivolousness of the sound. Everything is too easy: solid guitars most part of the album, keyboards as an adornment in the background, typical drums play, unremarkable vocals. Sound is not symphonic, no sharpening. Obviously everything is played in workmanlike manner, but it's insufficient. Invited musicians (cello, !didgeridoo!, congas) arrive just in a few moments and don't influence general image of music. I failed to find significant signs of originality in the music of The Mist Of Avalon. Texts should be emphasized as an asset. On the one hand they are typically gothic, but on the other hand they present detailed theoretical program of the band, articulated and clear. This disc can be recommended only to those Goths, who want to feel the pain of this world together with one more band composed of brothers in suffering. Others should better spend their time and money on something else. (Nikita Oddfish)

4-/5
THE MIST OF AVALON
Here and After
2000 / 2004
M&A Music Art / CD-Maximum
Gothic metal
Second album of The Mist of Avalon differs from the first by more various and rich sound and by less interesting texts. Keyboards play a greater role, guitar riffs became a bit lighter and rhythms are more multifarious. But in general the style of the band remains the same: unremarkable, ordinary gothic metal with howling low male vocals and absence of originality. The only harmonics solo in one song is of course praiseworthy, but it is insufficient to buy a CD only because of this. Similar to the situation with first album of the band, this disc can be recommended mostly to enthusiastic Goths and also to those, who liked the first disc. The other won't loose much if they don't pay attention to The Mist Of Avalon. (Nikita Oddfish)

3/5
THY PRIMORDIAL
Pestilence upon Mankind
2004
Blackend / CD-Maximum
retro black
Boring May be musicians of Thy Primordial, who have been singing about death for 10 years, have found at last the most effective way to share the idea of death with their listeners. Because, you know, the desire to die right now comes after four or five songs because of unrelieved boredom, and you still have to listen to half album more Album is deadly monotonous. Guitar is constantly buzzing, kick drum rarely stops to take a short pause and start beating again. Vocals are always the same. Texts are traditional, no ideas at all. On "The Crowning Carnage" album there was at least "Destroying the idea of God", that was different from all others because of its slow and even a bit psychedelic sound. On this album everything is the same. Triumph of deadly equality. This music can be used as a background: there are no musical notches; nothing sticks in your head and doesn't divert you from your thoughts. (Nikita Oddfish)

4/5
TOKEN
Punch
2004
MTM Music / CD-Maximum
AOR/hard rock
The new album of this Swedish band is the natural progress from the debut one. If the first album contained standard boring melodies this time musicians tried to introduce something not really traditional for the Sweden-based melodic rock genre. Prove it? No problem - uptempoed "Free I'm Gonna Roll" is the perfect musical match of the title. The rest of the songs are good enough as well but some sound like the singer didn't really care about what he was doing, like he went shopping, made a break, dropped into the studio, recorded his parts and went on shopping. In short, soul and emotions got lost on the way. Possibly the third album will be the ultimate one when musicians will gather all their strength to make the real masterpiece. Especially when the do have enough power to make it. (Dead Ripper)

2/5
WHITE SKULL
The XIII Skull
2004
Frontiers / CD-Maximum
power metal
A while ago the band's name was famous among most of the Rhapsody-crazed power metal fans. White Skull with female singer onboard managed to release several very interesting albums in both music and lyrical spheres and join the pandemonium of the mightiest artists of the genre. But times kept moving on; the girl was thrown out of the band and the remaining musicians found a male singer. Judging from this album it was not their best decision. Moreover, they switched to the hard-rocking label Of course, the pounding sound remained the same and possibly stayed as powerful as it was but the magic and charm disappeared into nowhere; it's just another power metal band, which number is growing like crazy. Permanent rhythm changes and rough vocals spoil this upsetting situation even more. Not mentioning the total lack of catchy melodies. Resume - the transition failed miserably. (Dead Ripper)

4/5
WINTERLONG
The Second Coming
2003 / 2004
Lion Music / CD-Maximum
Power metal, progressive metal
Winterlong plays interesting power metal with significant influence of progressive metal. Last mentioned gives desirable multiplicity to the music of the band, makes the sound more unexpected, saturated and rich in comparison with traditional power metal. Some songs sound unusual: drums sometimes combine different rhythms and play very multifarious, keyboards play difficult solos typical for progressive metal, general rhythm changes from fast to slow and conversely. But another part of the songs sounds much more typical and so it is not so interesting. Most texts are typical combination of masculine romantics and epics. Only one text showed presence of serious thoughts (we don't consider the fact that concepts of two texts were inspired by the prophecies of Nostradamus). This album can hardly be called monotonous and it is no doubt its advantage. Most songs are really interesting and unusual mainly because of progressive metal elements, and you want to listen to them more and more times. (Nikita Oddfish)

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