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

4/5
AKERCOCKE
Choronzon
2003
Earache / Soyuz Music

black metal the british way

What is English humor? It is when very smart gentleman tells another very respectable gentleman something which nobody else can appreciate and understand. And this is exactly what amuses them both. Akercocke is the quintessence of English humor. The comic effect here is achieved through showing evil (that oozes from every groove of the CD) exactly the way they showed it in the first black-and-white movies - pitch-black and neatly cut out of cartons. The above is irrelevant however for the music, and the truth is that what we have with this album is one of the most controversial and thus intriguing releases of 2003, which moulds in itself the jazz-grind innovations, black-metal aggression, complex composition solutions, that make you come back to the CD again and again, and finally - amazing professionalism. Which, in fact, if this is not the first time our reader hears the name of Akercocke, should really not be of any surprise. (Troll)

4/5
CITA
Heat Of Emotion
2001 / 2003
MTM Music / CD-Maximum

melodic hard rock

It seems like the band had some troubles with its name since a couple of years later it was re-named into Guild Of Ages. In fact, it just got the original name back having released a couple of albums under the temporary title. While comparing the music of both bands the temporary one is more uptempo but less melodic. Most of the songs are quite energetic and fast but still at least two of them, "Far Behind" "Miles Away", are extremely average. But just "Can't We Make It" is enough to improve the general situation. The album also has a bonus track, a cover-version of Thin Lizzy "Cold Sweat". Comparing it to the original version (or Helloween version - to whom how) the song is an absolute flop; it just doesn't fit into such a hard rock style. The recording itself sounds like it was done in some country garage But all the cover tracks are very specific; some wind out to become masterpieces and some are better be skipped. (Dead Ripper)

5/5
DARE
Calm Before The Storm
1998 / 2003
MTM Music / CD-Maximum

melodic hard rock

Legendary hard rock outfit from Great Britain. The one in which guitarist Vinny Burns who later turned out in Ten launched his career. But leader, singer, keyboardist and main songwriter of the band Darren Wharton wasn't really upset with Burns's departure and continued releasing albums once in two or three years. Don't expect anything like heavy guitar riffs or dark lyrics from this album for keyboards and acoustic guitar are the main driving forces in all the songs. If you want something melodic on guitar then get into "Rescue Me" and you'll never forget that melody. The same thing happens when listening to "Rising Sun", "Ashes" and "Deliverance". The final track belongs to the pen of Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy) "Still In Love With You". The album is doubtlessly one of the best in the melodic hard genre and possibly the most melodic one of all the Dare releases.(Dead Ripper)

5-/5
DEFLESHED
Royal Straight Flesh
2003
Regain Records / CD-Maximum

death metal... or something :)

"What does this music teach us?" - as my beloved editor-in-chief in the now defunct Painkiller magazine used to say. Well, it teaches us all the useful stuff, I must say. It teaches us to maim, and kill, and mutilate, and break stuff. Teaches to crack skulls open with the help of heavy blunt objects and dissect jaws with lead brass knuckles, teaches us to accurately place the blade of an axe into the backs of our enemies and cut the limbs of the freshly disemboweled corpses into neat little slices, in short it teaches us all the important stuff that they'd forgotten to teach us in kindergarten and prem-school. And although I've said it on multiple occasions that I do not like Dismember, it is this very band and their mould of death metal which became the main guiding star for their "defleshed" fellow-countrymen. Oh yes the drumwork here is delivered by everybody's favorite Matte Modin of Dark Funeral, which means that all of the DF maniacs out there might also want to get this release into their private stashes. (Troll)

4/5
GARBO TALKS
Garbo Talks
1998 / 2003
MTM Music / CD-Maximum
hard rock

This band has a brilliant history. Its musicians went through some local New York groups like NYC and Saraya and most of them still work with legendary singer Joe Lynn Turner. And the final track is unique in all spheres since it was recorded in early 1990s with three then-KISS members including Paul Stanley (guitars, backing vocals), Bruce Kulick (guitars) and Eric Carr (drums, one of his final recordings). Musically the disc is pretty much mid-tempo in style of then-Bon Jovi and Aerosmith. The singer is quite close to Jon Bon Jovi but rips some fame from Brian Johnson of AC/DC as well. Listen to "Hard Times" which is a total rip-off of Bonfire "Sword And Stone". And that song "Game Of Love" recorded with KISS musicians is the most powerful on the whole album since the drummer is obviously better and Stanley's vocals are the loudest in chorus parts. But what else can you expect from the typical American band of the early 1990s apart from melodic hard rock? (Dead Ripper)

5/5
GUILD OF AGES
Citadel
2001 / 2003
MTM Music / CD-Maximum

melodic hard rock

It worth saying that many albums released by MTM Music sound pretty close to each other. Sometimes you get the impression that all of them are recorded in the same studio. That's why a surprise can with this album that is not so heavily cliched. Of course, don't expect black or power metal but typical hard rock. The album was recorded at a high professional level, songs sound tight and powerful and musicians themselves did their best playing on the top of their abilities. Though after glancing inside the booklet you might understand why it sound so original and fresh. It is no wonder because most of the songs were co-written by legendary Jaded Heart singer Michael Bormann so you can expect no failing points. Still guitarist of the band came up with a nice song "Until The End" on his own. A good band after all but should learn to fight on its own. (Dead Ripper)

3/5
IN EXTREMO
Sunder Ohne Zugel
2002
Mercury Music
folk metal
Well, I don't know, I really can't say that the recent epidemic of German bands attempting to repeat the phenomenal success of their compatriots from Rammstein is helping the music. At least, in case with In Extremo I personally am 100%-positive that mixing the already unique and distinguished sounds of traditional instruments with different pop-industrial tricks has definitely done the band no good. Yes, of course the music has become obviously more accessible, the production, compared to the previous 1999 CD, is just beyond any thinkable praise, but as our friend St. Dead has recently put it - it just does not work. Then again, I'd say it's up to the musicians to decide what they want to do, I mean their fan-base is obviously growing so who am I to judge them. What I will notice though - is that the recent live video released by the band only includes those songs from this release that are more on the folk side (Troll)

3/5
NORTHWIND
Seasons
2003
Z Records/CD-Maximum
melodic heavy
Sadly enough, what could have been another French breakthrough, a bright and speeding one, in the vein of Heavenly - never happened this time. All the optimism and positive emotions aroused by the first three tracks on this CD, fade off giving way to confusion and puzzlement from the dull and boring "It's a Warning", and as you get to the end of the album, confusion once again gives way to disappointed and a creepy feeling that somebod1y has just tried to cheat you. Of course it's only an impression, no one's really tried to cheat you, it's just that the whatever expectations you had from the start never found any proof in reality. Grumbling under your breath, you put the CD into the player again and again but the number of worthy tricks never exceed three or four. It's a good thing that the CD consists of only 8 tracks which basically means that the good/bad tracks rate is not that catastrophic. Errr three fists. (Fireball)

5/5
JADED HEART
IV
1999 / 2003
MTM Music / CD-Maximum

hard rock

The band can be considered to be pure hero of the German melodic hard rock scene. During almost the decade of its existence Jaded Heart experienced all the troubles of music business including bankruptcies of record companies and guitarist problems. But by this album everything got more or less stable. MTM Music found professional producer in Bobby Barth and provided serious support for the album. That's why the new fourth album turned out to be much more tight in terms of its sound thanks to new axeman Barish Kepic. The album has it all, a couple of driving tracks and dreamy ballad "Way Back Home". But basically the band always used to play groovy melodic hard rock and the album is full of such tracks. Also employing such a person as leader and singer Michael Bormann Jaded Heart forever (positively) shocked its fans by a number of experimental issues. Of course it concerns cover tracks, this time "Stonecold" Rainbow and "Easy Lover" Phil Collins. OK, the first one is more or less acceptable but the second is unusual to say the least. Still to Bormann's credit he made the right choice for his excellent performance was never a doubt. In short, the album is full of charming melodies and pure German hard rock surprises. (Dead Ripper)

5/5
JADED HEART
The Journey Will Never End
2002 / 2003
MTM Music / CD-Maximum

hard rock

The brand new album of German melodic rockers Jaded Heart became a surprise in terms of both sound and songwriting. It seemed that nothing could be more interesting than the album's predecessor "IV" recorded under the guidance of producer Bobby Barth. However, professional German producer Tommy Newton (also guitarist of Victory) who worked with Helloween and Steeler perfectly accomplished the task. The album became even more powerful than the previous one. The recording quality improved in all the possible ways while songs themselves became much harder and darker. Still generally the release is full of classic hard rocks tunes such as "Kid Is Going Down", "On The Rise", "Lucky Son" ending with a nice balladesque "Sign Of The Times". Surely leader and singer Michael Bormann couldn't avoid to surprise his fans. Imagine my shock when reading an interview with him saying that the album contains the cover-version of Backstreet Boys "Larger Than Life". Immediately after hearing the track you understand that Bormann is a unique singer and arranger. Not every singer is capable to transform a pop track into the hard rock genre. Just for this fact itself the album deserves to be heard at least once. (Dead Ripper)

5-/5
SHYLOCK
Pyronized
2001 / 2003
MTM Music / CD-Maximum
hard rock

What can we have if mixing two hard rock bands such as Bon Jovi and Bonfire? The new album of the German band Shylock. Melodies are obviously in the style of Bon Jovi while the singer finally managed to reproduce the unique voice of Bonfire shouter Claus Lessmann. This singer named Matthias Schenk didn't force himself to do something special; he just knew he could. And he did! His colleagues in the band also proved their enormous potential. Tracks like "Never Give Up Fighting", "Another Lonely Night" "Freedom Rising" could have been easily written by legendary rockers of the fellow country. If the singer could have also abandoned some brisk moments and guitarist could have played a bit more powerful the band could have been already a living phenomenon. But so far some minor drawbacks spoil the whole thing. (Dead Ripper)

5/5
SNAKES IN PARADISE
Yesterday And Today
2001 / 2003
MTM Music / CD-Maximum

melodic hard rock

After one EP and two full-scale records this Swedish outfit singed with MTM Music and released a compilation of best tracks to inform the audience on its product. And it was really worth it! It's almost impossible to find the first two albums not mentioning the very EP. Musically the band rips the awards of Whitesnake and singer Stefan Bergren is almost a David Coverdale clone. Lyrics also reflect ideas of British forefathers narrating stories of love, broken hearts, feelings, emotions, etc. Concerning the compilation itself all songs were ideally selected; there are absolutely no average tracks and nothing outstanding can be selected since all tracks are of that nature. By the way, the entire EP is included in the album and upon hearing it alone you will love those Snakes forever. A warning for those who listened to Company Of Snakes "Burst The Bubble" featuring Bergren: Snakes In Paradise is ten times better! (Dead Ripper)

4-/5
TENEBRE
Electric hellfire kiss
2003
Regain Records / CD-Maximum
gothic heavy glam
That's how you really should play gothic rock. I mean seriously even I liked it, and you all know how much I'm into this shit. Why? Well it's very simple, you remove pretty much everything gothic from gothic rock and replace the now available space with rock - and voila - get a totally listenable CD, which on the one hand is not likely to repulse that part of the audience who have a strange habit of dying the roots of their otherwise pitch-black hair with light dye, and on the other hand will not disgust the heavier bunch, who hate the guts of Ville Valo and Jyrkki 69-Eyes. Upbeat and moderately heavy morbid rock-n-roll, that would cause an occasional memory of Crue's "Shout at the Devil" (those of you who know what it is of course), with a pretty voice, which is not - surprisingly enough - trying to copy Pete Steele and sound that roxxxxx! Fucking A! (Troll)
P.S. I honestly do not recommend to listen to and watch the video of "Descend from Heaven" - fucking pop-schlager! :)

3+/5
TWILIGHTNING
Delirium Veil
2003
Spinefarm / FONO
melodic power
The press releases that preceded the appearance of this CD on the market suggested a "watch out" and even "take five" for such renown mastodons of the genre as Stratovarious and Sonata Arctica. What we should keep in mind though, that the people who stand behind these claims are to an extent involved in the sales. So let us divide all the advances by 16 and get the correct answer: standard Suomi-based power metal with the main stress on catchy melodies and guitar-keyboards streaming. The boys never managed to better any of the larger bands, but with the help of the Finnvox people and Maestro Tolkki himself behind the console they did manage to get themselves to a level when they can be considered among the cool-pool of the numerous Finnish power-scene. And with the singer having much in common with James LaBris they do stand a good chance of rising above sooner or later. (Fireball)

5/5
VINNIE VINCENT INVASION
Vinnie Vincent Invasion
2003
Capitol
melodic glam rock

Finally the American Capital company searched through its archives and re-issued four albums featuring legendary bassist Dana Strum (Slaughter). And the first album in the series became the debut album of ex-KISS axeman Vinnie Vincent. After leaving glorious glam rockers Vinnie formed a really ideal band perfectly fit into the current glam hard rock scene. Recruiting former Journey singer Robert Fleischman Vinnie produced an extremely powerful album compiling all the best moments of KISS, Motley Crue and W.A.S.P. Such striking tracks as "Boyz Are Gonna Rock", "Animal", "Do You Wanna Make Love" and "Invasion" can surely drive wild and crazy any fan of the magical music of the 1980s. Still if Vinnie didn't intend to demonstrate his guitar playing abilities too much the album could have been the most unique one. Though even nowadays it sounds fresh and brusque enough. (Dead Ripper)

5/5
VINNIE VINCENT INVASION
All Systems Go
2003
Capitol
melodic glam rock

The second album in the jubilee series from Capitol. This time the album was released in the full version adding two instrumentals skipped from the British Zoom Club re-issue done a couple of years before. After Flieschman was forced to leave the band Vinnie found another young and bold talent in the form of Mark Slaughter. Though it didn't affect the sound of the successor since the crazy falsetto of the singer and powerful guitar playing technique of Vinnie perfectly continued the debut album ideas. The release has no average tracks; all of them are masterpieces. Choose for yourself from "Naughty Naughty", "Let Freedom Rock", "That Time Of Year", "Ecstasy" or "Breakout"; all of them are as original as possible and comprise unbelievable energetic forces. Unfortunately, upon completing a tour after the album release the band split up due to problems with the most disastrous management ever. Singer Mark Slaughter and bassist Dana Strum founded Slaughter, drummer Bobby Rock joined Nelson while Vinnie tried to pursue solo career. And that's bad since not even a professional band is capable to release such an album in a decade. (Dead Ripper)

 

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