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
AND OCEANS
Cypher
2002
Century Media
techno-black
It is hard to write about albums, which one listens to just to cater one's aesthetic appetite, rather than to review. However when I first heard 'Cypher' I understood why the band was tagged the biggest discovery in black metal since cast-iron when their first record came out. It has definitely been a while since I last heard something so original and integral. Being much heavier and colder than the predecessing A.M. G.O.D., the new And Oceans cuts straight through your nervous system as if a surgical scalpel driven by a knowledged and experienced hand. And the next instant you feel like an insect sprawled upon a pin. Trying to break loose you push with all six legs, but the only gain is that you make your wounds hurt even more. Your chitinous panzer is too weak against the human cruelty. But even then the torture does not stop. Just as you give in to the imminent, a cloud of poison comes at you like wrath from above, piercing through your entrails and disintegrating every tissue, and a second later you feel the deathly heat of flames, licking their way from a lighter You worm in pain and spit curses on the head of the unnamed executioner, but it doesn't make any difference. Your life is over and the only thiung you have left to hope for is that the end will be fast. (Troll)

3/5
BATTLELORE
Where the Shadows Lie
2002
Napalm Records
blackened goths

Oh, dear, what a mess Ye gods, if J.R.R. could have foreseen the impact of his work on the younger generation. Fortunately the late professor was unlikely to know what is heavy metal in the first place, otherwise he would have given some second thoughts to publishing his books. But well, too late to do anything about it now, the ring-o-mania coiled around the world with the persistence of a hungry octopus, and it does not look like it's going to let go. The plague hit everything, metal inclusive, and spawned a myriad of goblins, Mordors, elves, Saurons, Gandalfs, and even trolls. Well, the kids from Battlelore fell victims to the dangerous epidemic too, and intoxicated with the infection wrote their 'Where the Shadows Lie' album. Let us not be so critical though. It is not as bad musically as it might have been. This looks like a rather solid piece of gothic-black-dark metal with nothing really special to it, but positively of good quality and ear-pleasing as well. Good vocals, strong melody and overall quite competitive. . (Troll)

5/5
BOEHSE ONKELZ
Dopamin
2002
Rule 23 Re (Virgin/EMI Vertrieb)
hard'n'heavy + some German punk = Boehse Onkelz!!!!

Finally it is here! With a sigh of relief I'm proud to announce that one of Germany's most interesting bands Boehse Onkelz have finally released their new album. This time the world's major MTV haters came up with a record under a very strange name. Dopamin, as the band themselves explain, is a matter that is contained in human brain sections responsible for the person's mood. However, if you think for a while, the title is not that strange for the Onkelz indeed work hard on our mood. Already after the first spin I felt that the album lacks some anger of the band's previous releases, but this is not a drawback at all. And as far as the music is concerned, "Dopamin" is much more interesing and diverse that its predecessors, apparently thanks to the band's 20 years of experience in songwriting and performing. Of course, the album does not have virtuoso guitar passages a la Yngwie Malmsteen. However you cannot but admit that nobody expects it from the band. The Onkelz' main advantage is energy and healthy aggression. The song "Keine Amnestie fuer MTV" alone is a record breaker as far as the aggression doze it contains is concerned. It lasts for only three minutes, but its message is both extensive and impressive. The Onkelz managed to put all their hate and dissatisfaction with the channel's impenetrable dumbness and uncompromising hypocrisy in this short track. If the album had contained this song only, it would have been enough. However the rest of the tracks are very good as well. And of course, there is a traditional hymn to the Onkelz themselves ("Die Firma"). If you like this kind of music, hate MTV or are not familiar with any other works of this Frankfurt-based band, the album is for you. (Big Daddy)

5-/5
CADACROSS
So Pale Is The Light
2001
Low Frequency Records / CD-Maximum
extreme power metal

A surprisingly good release from an obscure band and an obscure label. On their debut album Finland's Cadacross (I wish I knew what the name means!) deliver a package of extremely melodic, yet heavy and aggressive tunes that remind me of an explosive mixture of Stratovarius, Children Of Bodom and Finntroll! In fact, this is power metal, but upgraded with raven-like vocals and folkish keyboards. Moreover, the music is packed with excellent melodies that may be not necessarily original, but still great and catchy. Many people are going to label Cadacross another clone of Children Of Bodom, but I would not go that far. Even though Cadacross borrow from their renown compatriots here and there on "So Pale Is The Light", they are much closer to power metal than Alexi Laiho and his team. But anyway, if you like Children Of Bodom and are not allergic to Europower, Cadacross may be a thing to die for for you. Still, I had to deduct a half point for two reasons. First, the lyrics are extremely poor from the point of view of grammar. Second, the vocals are too low and the mix in general is far from perfect. But still, this is the band's first experience in the studio (they don't even have a demo out), and I hope that they will outperform this next time. (Maniac)

4+/5
CADAVERIA
The Shadows' Madame
2002
Scarlet Records
black metal female style
This is a typical example of how a singer can only fully discover his (or for this case - her) talent after changing the band. While I still remember the rather mediocre works of Cadaveria in Opera IX, I am truly amazed to see how her talent had been suppressed. Now having an overall new band, the lovely Italian got a whole world of opportunities served in front of her to show off her true capacity as a vocalist. Cadaveria's debut represents a pretty complex gumbo of black, heavy, a light (almost unnoticeable) touch of neoclassic (at least structurally) and a good deal of influence from Denmark's own devil incarnate No not Hans Christian Andersen, but King Diamond. Well, to cut a long story short it's quite interesting and demonstrative, although just a tiny little bit too boring. Main hits would include 'In Memory of the Shadows' Madame' and 'Spell'. And a word of praise should also go to the musicians of the band who have surely demonstrated a tremendous skill both technically and composing-wise. (Troll)

3-/5
CENTINEX
Diabolical Desolation
2002
Candlelight
swedish death
Fast, aggressive, and fairly dumb, this one does not come even close to Centinex's previous work which was very driven and contained a good deal of self-irony. For some reason neither of the two qualities are to be found on this CD, while the band gallops itself into the bloody debris of NWOSDM (New Wave of Swedish Death Metal) with painfully standard passages and moves, hysterical vocals, unconvincing rhythms, and without a touch of originality. No matter how hard I looked at the boys desperately attempting to find their forgotten zeal and zest, I only sought dull faces bored with their own anger, riffs that became tired of their own brutality and all the other symptoms of decadence. Sad as it is but I have gotten a very strong impression that while recording the album the Centinex-kids were all dreaming about something completely different, thus making the release a bit detached (see: out-of-this world). Time wasted. (Troll)

3+/5
COWERS
Pity Park
2001
Brennus / CD-Maximum
thrash
It seems to me that everything has been done in thrash metal long ago, and even though thrash metal titans are not altogether gone, they still had to give way to young and angry nihilists whose crazy experiments in heavy metal have turned the once most extreme style into retro music. I don't know whether Cowers will succeed in giving second birth to their favorite music, but their material has all necessary components of pro-American thrash, including compliance with standards and obstinacy. The main stress is laid on traditions of the genre, and the music does not have animal aggression or skull-crushing riffs so typical of present-day thrash (or angry metal, shall I say?). At the same time, outstanding melodies cannot be found here either. Some colleagues of mine from other Internet sources have lashed out at Cowers calling thier obvious reminiscence of Megadeth and Metallica of the late 1980s "thoughtless copying", but I would not go that far, for the guys indeed use their brain. They may not always come up with catchy choruses, but they do succeed in everything else. Such conscious traditionalism and use of one's own brain seem to me worthy of attention, and judging by special thanks to Dave Mustaine in the booklet, I'm not the only one to enjoy the record, people who surely know a thing or two about thrash like it too. Maybe if "Pity Park" had lasted more than 32 minutes, it would have seemed dull, but seven songs including two smash hits ("Weak", "Only I Know") are more than enough for a solid debut. (Fireball)

5/5
THE CROWN
Crowned in Terror
2002
Metal Blade/FONO
sedish death

With all my despise towards the second-generation of Swedish death metal I am forced to admit - the Crown rulez! And not only it rulez - it rulez like hell! Hi-power and hi-speed riff-machines, precisely sharpened drum-parts, amazingly well-timed solos, and of course the crazed-arse 'screams' of Mr. Thomas Lindberg. Combining the elements of 1980-ies Euro-thrash and the so-called melodic death metal, 'Crowned in Terror' falls down on your with the implacability of a heavy-duty aviation bomb. Yepper, that's death itself staring at you from the cover through the hollow eye-pits, giving you a Colgate-white snarl. The album pulls off with a bombastic and disturbing keyboard intro, closely followed by the driven and motivated (like the young Mike Tyson) 'House of Hades'. The grind-cored 'Crowned in Terror' and punk-flourished 'Under the Whip' come right after. But the main hit of the album is surely the 'Satanist' - a shining mixture of orthodox black, grind and a deal of Metallica's 'Load/Reload' - uhmmm, yummy. (Troll)

4/5
DEMONS OF DIRT
Killer Egnine
2002
Hammerheart/FONO
angry metal
'Simply and very elementary, my dear Watson,' - as Sherlock would have said, from this moment on even if Pantera figures it wants to break up after all we do not have to worry cause we have this excellent Spinefarm outfit here. If you like 'Far Beyond Driven' and 'Vulgar Display of Power' this one is for you. The 'Killer Engine' will quickly bring you to senses giving you a couple of friendly head-knocks against the bathroom tiles just before throwing you right on the tracks in front of the metro engine running at you from the CD cover. I wouldn't even dream of tagging Demons of Dirt something original or innovative but this insignificant drawback is by far compensated with the band's unstoppable motivation and hard-driven energy. And well remembering the pile of crap that Pantera's latest CD was, I honestly think Demons of Dirt should name their next album 'Reinventing Pantera' ;) (Troll)

4-/5
FRONT LINE
Vortex Of Reality
1999
Ugly Band Records
thrash metal
None of us has any idea how this demo that came out yet in 1999 found its way to the MetalKings.com after such a long period of time. Nevertheless, I cannot say that the music on "Vortex Of Reality" has become outdated after three years. In fact, it just cannot become outdated for this is age-old thrash metal that has always been, is and will always be. Not much is going on in this genre at present, and Front Line, a band based in the Moscow region, are obviously not the ones to trade new grounds. Their 35-minute release scrupulously observes traditions of thrash metal and comprises the best elements of Slayer, Pantera and Anthrax. Such an approach usually results in solid, but not spectacular releases, and "Vortex Of Reality" is one of them. Given that the recording quality is OK, you can enjoy the CD now and again (especially the tunes "Mass Dementia" and "Breakpoint"), but classics remain classics, and I don't really know whom I can recommend this material in a time when the fan base for thrash metal is very limited. Let's hope Front Line will be able to come up with their own ideas next time. (Maniac)

5/5
GLOOMY GRIM
Written in Blood
2002
Holy Records
sympho black
The fact that Agathon and his crew know how to write good music is not subject to doubt, and that is why each new release by this aspiring Finnish act can be put into one's CD-player with a firm knowledge that no matter which style or trend Gloomy Grim are about to take everything is done at the highest possible level. And the new GG album has become no exception. Not being a huge departure from the previous 'Life?' CD, the new spawn of the Finnish geniuses brings us the same ol' symphonic black metal with pompously evil keyboards, rottingly nasty vocals, complex guitar parts and endless rhythm breaks. The dense and heavy sound splendidly contrasts with electronic parts, and the atmosphere of black-and-white horror movies makes the journey into the world of Gloomy Grim even more exciting and thrilling. (Troll)

4/5
HEMDALE
Rad Jackson
2002
Relapse/SPV
grindcore
The current retrospective covers the creative period of this formation between the years of 1994 and 1997. The 37 songs represented on the CD give us a full coverage of the band's development in these four years. What worries and hopes were penetrating the souls of the musicians' and how those have been reflected in their music, what Craig Row, Matthew Rositano and Michael Lemann were focused on over the said period. This is an endless saga of love towards everything that once lived and walked the Earth and is now (at best) sprawled upon a table of some pathologoanatomic laboratory, or (at worst) has long decayed and decomposed in a gutter. This sage is open before us like a coloring album in which we can paint all the black and white picture with the colors we choose ourselves making blood - red, maggots - brown-white, the drowned -bluish, and the exhumed - dirty-yellow-green. (Troll)

5/5
HOLY MOSES
Disorder Of The Order
2002
Century Media
brutal thrash
Wow, this is a blast! The latest Holy Moses record is a total killer, I must say. It is 100 percent classic thrash metal in the German style (see early Sodom, Kreator, Assassin, etc.) but with the recording quality meeting the most up-to-date standards. Sabina Classen's voice is still raw and brutal just like it used to be in the 1980s, and her brother Andy behind the mixing desk did a great production job. For those familiar with the band's discography, I shall say that "Disorder Of The Order" is a cross between "Reborn Dogs" and "Queen Of Siam", and those who are new to Holy Moses should bear in mind that this is extremely aggressive and in-your-face music bordering on death metal but never actually crossing the border. An obvious highlight is the title track, which is the most catchy song on the record. Also of major interest is "Verfolgungswahn" with disco beat emerging in the end of the song, and "Heaven Vs. Hell", Sabina's duet with Rod GonZalez of Die Arzte. I gotta admit that I've never been a fan of brutal thrash metal, but "Disorder Of The Order" is the record that nearly made me jump around with excitement. Make sure you don't miss one of the year's most important thrash metal releases! (Maniac)

4+/5
HUGHES-TURNER PROJECT
HTP
2002
MTM Music / Art Music Group
hard rock
A warm friendship of two hard rock veterans ignoring their close-to-retirement age inspires them to perform new heroic deeds. Having recorded a live album (of course, in Japan), where the main stress was laid on golden Deep Purple classics, the duet finally decided to put out some original material. Well, it's high time to do it, really. The main songwriting peculiarities of the two singers are well-known, and it is quite easy to imagine what kind of record they have made together. However it does not mean that you don't have to listen to the record. On the contrary, the material follows the best traditions of the genre and definitely deserves attention. "HTP" contains everything that a record of ever-young rockers should contain - both driving songs such as "Devil's Road" or "Ride The Storm" and profound ballads ("Mystery Of The Heart Fade Away") - and does not have anything excessive such as artificial sounds, alien ideas or doubtful experiments. Special praise goes to the organic complementary of the two singers. They do not rub their shoulders trying to gain command of the microphone. Instead, they stay true to their singing talents and comprise a powerful rock duet where the vocal potential of one performer ends just where the reign on the other one's talent begins. The album is a bit conservative, I must say, but who the hell expected anything else from it? (Fireball)

4/5
IMPENDING DOOM
Apocalypse III - The Manifested Purgatorium
2002
CD-Maximum

Has there been a lot of talk about the coming apocalypse lately? Hell, yes. The subject of the end of the world caused great interest with the audience of all classes and social positions. The Doomsday penetrated our lives through the TV-screens and both yellow and scientific press, journos and men of knowledge discovered thousands of various ways for us all to go to hell. The public generally accepted the subject with a condescending smile and not rarely with a blast of laughter, but no one really took it seriously save for brainwashed religious fanatics and illiterate savages of Patagonia. However it was only natural that the topic was closely looked at by metalheads worldwide, including the wicked death-bangers from Impending Doom. What is noteworthy, is that while the rest of the world made Apocalypse look unconvincing and plain dull, when I first heard the thunderous pounding of the album-opener 'Hatespawn' all of a sudden I very distinctly saw the mighty pits of hell open and devour the Earth without ketchup and sauce. Indeed these jumping like a herd of young orcs riffs, the scary growl, that seems to be coming right from the Abyss, and the hate-oozing lyrics are just what you need. (Troll)

3/5
KOB
Mekanism Of Time
2002
Brennus / CD-Maximum
heavy/ progressive

Unlike my colleague Troll who happens to find something original in most of French bands he comes across, I can only think of two acts from France that I really like - these are Heavenly and Misanthrope. Usually bands coming out of that country suffer from lack of distinction and inability to create catchy songs, and KOB is a classic example of that. On this 10-tracker they deliver a solid mix of heavy metal in the vein of Iron Maiden/Accept and mid-tempo progressive epics, but no songs managed to remain in my head when the record was over. Another problem is the singer that is too similar to Bruce Dickinson and vocalists that copied the Air Raid Siren on early stages of their career, such as Geoff Tate or John Arch (Fates Warning). On top of it, the band comes up with a set of quite questionable lyrics ("On The Streets Again", "Dirty Woman, Fallen Angel") that have more pomp and glare than sense in them. "Mekanism Of Time" may have excellent production and be performed by excellent musicians, but it's still disposable entertainment only. (Maniac)

5/5
LANA LANE
Project Shangri-La
2002
Limb Music / SPV
melodic rock
Does anybody really call this progressive? Then Meat Loaf is also progressive - he has songs more than 10 minutes long, and Lana Lane doesn't even has that on this release, and the level of heaviness is pretty much the same. Calling this symphonic rock also seems to me questionable, for extensive use of synthesizers alone is not enough to make the music symphonic. In my opinion, "Project Shangri-La" is an excellent melodic hard rock record, that does have sophisticated arrangements but still follows the traditional "verse-chorus" pattern in the songwriting department. This does not make the album worse, on the contrary, I enjoy it immensely, and largely due to its accessibility. It's like Ayreon records that are complicated as hell but catchy and memorable after the first spin. Among the highlights are the title track, "The Beast Within You" (the heaviest tune on the album), and "Time To Say Goodbye", a duet with Mark Boals (Ring Of Fire, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen) that is partially performed in Italian. Overall, a very enjoyable release but if you have never heard Lana and are willing to try, remember that Bon Jovi's "It's My Life" is actually heavier than the entire "Project Shangri-La" album. (Maniac)

3+/5
LAST TRIBE
Witch Dance
2002
Frontiers Records / CD-Maximum
melodic heavy
According to Last Tribe's chieftain Magnus Carlsson, the band's previous effort "The Ritual" was a collection of leftovers from Midnight Sun, the act where Magnus used to play at that time. Thus, "Witch Dance" is the first album written by Last Tribe as a band and can be considered their debut. Well, that's a pretty nice work for starters. The guys did not overshadow anyone with smash hits or multi-layer arrangements, but the songs are well thought-out and performed with obvious zeal. This makes an album more than a mediocre release that you listen once and then forget, it is a solid work that deserves attention. The guitarist is the band's leader, and he is not ashamed of this status - the sound is fully based on the guitar (vocals not excluded), and song structures are kept together by riffs that are sometimes powerful and monumental ("Messenger") or sometimes carrying Eastern tastes and Eastern quirkiness ("The Eternal Curse", "Agadir"). On the other hand, the songs are not just platforms for invaluable guitar solos, virtuoso playing skills are not the major goal for Magnus. Each song has its own face, though this usually concerns the form, not the content. Rhythms, sound and harmonies are quite standard, and the album's only hit (and the most poppish track) "Dreamer" is no exception. (Fireball)

disqualified
LOGAR'S DAIRY
Book 1: Jostros
2002
Metal Fortress Entertainment/CD-Maximum
undreground true power

Let's start from the rear. On the last page of the CD inlay the Logar's Dairy boys have printed the following statement addressed to their fans (if there are any) "A big Fuck goes out to: Metallica($), Iron Maiden ($$$), and Co. To all fans out there: Don't buy names, the music counts! Don't let the business overtake the Metal-scene, the underground is still alive!" But it was only after having listened to this "masterpiss" when I have understood the true meaning behind this message: "We are deep in shit! Stay with us!" So what have we gotten here? Not much as it appears. The voice is a quacking tremolo of banshee, that is completely incapable of singing, the music is dull as fuck Iron Maiden ripoff, and the performers themselves are completely ignorant of their wasted talent. My dear advocates of true metal and other inhabitants of the ideologically compliant heavy metal imp fraternity, right you are, it is indeed the music that counts, and if you cannot write it and play it then do yourself a favor and learn to. Otherwise your CDs, no matter how ideological, will stay in the deepest possible underground (read sewage), with you sitting on a white ceramic throne a roll of toilet paper in one hand and a lavatory brush in the other. And with a knowledged look on your face you'd be preaching to an equally downcast auditorium about what real metal should and should not be like. Get a life you, losers! (Troll)

4/5
MACTATUS
Suicide
2002
Napalm Records
black metal

This Norwegian act has always been a bit of a riddle. Not being overly-popular and positively staying out of the main league, Mactatus at the same time managed to get a pretty good press-coverage, with their releases being ranked at 'fours' and 'fives', they enjoyed a considerable fanbase and sold relatively well too. Of course it might have been only for the good promotion and nothing else, but something told me there's gotta be more to Mactatus than that. And indeed their latest 'Suicide', in my opinion, has finally opened the potential and the talent of the band if not fully, than at least to a sufficient extent. 'Suicide' is made of modern-day black metal with a large addend of death, small keyboard inserts and an unbelievably interesting song-structure. Complex rhythm-patterns, unexpected shifts and the magnificent sense of contrast between black and death metal, all of this makes 'Suicide' a definite hit, which I recommend to give a few spins before it uncovers itself. (Troll)

1/5
MANOWAR
Warriors of the World
2002
Nuclear Blast
the greatest heavy metal swindle
This is set-up I have never expected. It is worse than a stab in the back, and from whom? Manowar - the fortress of the world's heavy metal that used to seem indestructible! No, they haven't started playing Brit-pop, nor have they taken upon techno. Everything is much-much worse. Manowar have turned into a self-parody. Well with the first two songs everything is going ok and we hear exactly what we expect, and more importantly want to hear, although the excessively melodic start of 'Fight for Freedom' is already a bad sign. But it gets worse. Just tell me what do you expect when you put a Manowar CD in the system? That's right, me too, and it's gotta be done the right way. 'Cause this is what we have always loved and valued this band for. Well instead, starting from track 3 'Warriors of the World' has turned into a pathetic, bombastic neo-classic, operatic, instrumental something that is cannot be associated with the word Manowar in any possible way. I have nothing against Puccini and it's well sung, and the guitar on 'Valhalla' is very beautiful, but this has nothing to do with Manowar. At least not with the Manowar I heard for the first time 15 years ago and the tapes of which we have been listening to till they got holes in them. The six years of wait, and this is exactly how long it took the band to get the new stuff out, were definitely not worth it. DeMayo did try to make up for it in the last four songs, but the impression was already ruined. (Troll)

5/5
MEGAHERZ
Herzwerk II
2002
BMG
melodic industrial
I just don't get it, Rammstein this, Rammstein that - what's so special about it anyways? Well, yes it is pretty special but still This is already the second album by Megaherz falling into my filthy grip and I can't but notice that in very many aspects these guys have outplayed their country-mates from the territory of the former GDR. Megaherz might lack the aggression and toughness that Rammstein have, but at the same time they have a melody and what is sometimes referred to a feel for good music. I would not go as far as to say that all of the songs on Herzwerk II are hits, but I will say however that you are not likely to find any mediocre or let alone bad song here. Not really being any less heavy than Rammstein, Megaherz have managed to write some very easy memorable material, which is plain enjoyable. I could recommend practically any song from the album but, if you must have a choice than it is 'Herzblut', 'I.M. Rumpelstilzchen' and 'Hand Auf's Herz'. (Troll)

3/5
MECCA
Mecca
2002
Frontiers Records / CD-Maximum
AOR
There are various reasons that make musicians name their bands after some place or country. Some do it to honor their motherland (Skid Row, L.A. Guns), some try to make the band's name a part of its concept (Nile, Carpathian Forest, Dimmu Borgir), while others just pick up a good-sounding monicker. This particular band called Mecca has nothing do to with bearded men carrying Kalashnikov assault rifles or fanatic supporters of Islam. On the contrary, it is playing the most harmless type of rock music - adult-oriented rock. Vocalist and songwriter Joe Vana, who brought the project to life, is assisted by musicians of various respected AOR bands, such as Toto and Trillion, and Jim Peterik from cult band Survivor performs the functions of co-writer and producer. Well, AOR always remains AOR, no matter how it is called. Melodic and sentimental music, sometimes too poppy and sweety ("Velocitized"), sometimes indeed sincere ("Silence Of The Heart"). The sound is just excellent - typical keyboards are complimented with guitars that though being soft do not remain in the background ("You Still Shock Me"). A special praise goes to the very impressive drumming! Two vocalists sharing the singing duties add some originality to this band, but their voices are so similar that it's quite hard to differentiate between them. In general, "Mecca" is a piece of cake for AOR fans for it is done by very respected people of the genre and in line with the best traditions of the genre. But for me it's just a reason to recall another AOR band with a place name, Asia, that I enjoy much more. (Fireball)

5/5
MEGADETH
Rude Awakening
2002
Sanctuary Records
thrash metal necrologue
I guess this awakening was not so rude for the people who were lucky enough to buy this double live CD within two weeks after its release. Those lucky guys didn't yet know that it would become the great thrashers' last official album summing up the band's 17-year-long career, so their judgement may be totally different from mine. However as I'm listening to the record now I can't think of any other way to describe it except the one written in the sixth line of this review. It is indeed an obituary - an ultimate release packed with almost all best tunes of Mega Dave and his team, starting from "The Mechanix" that dates back to 1982 and up to "Return To Hangar" from the band's last studio effort "The World Needs A Hero". There may be some claims to the quality of vocals and performance of old songs in general, but at this point it's not really important. "Rude Awakening" is the ultimate testament of one of the greatest thrash metal bands of all time, and who cares if some moments of the CD sound strange when we hear "Hangar 18", "Symphony Of Destruction", "Train Of Consequences" and "Trust" in live versions that are beyond excellent. If I was a die-hard Megadeth fan I would have cried for the entire 140 minutes of the recording while listening to it. Being what I am, I will only say that it's an awesome release and already a classic. (Maniac)

3/5
MENHIR
Ziuwari
2002
Scaldic Art Prod.
black folk lore

Frankly speaking I sometimes feel sorry for such bands. These guys do whatever they can do best and do it sincerely and with their hearts wide open, they are busting their ass, composing music, recording and outing out albums, and for what? For some twat like me to whale and dissect the result of what they put so much labor to. And why? Well just because of the fact that everything they were doing for such a long time had been done and played long before them by somebody else, because it is outdated and unoriginal. Because the all-to-known and all-to-used riffs and melodies and discoveries of black metal of Celtic Frost era are not interesting to anyone these days. Isnotfair? Agree. However let's look at this from my side too. Is it fair to make me go through all of this crap? Is it fair to waste my time making me listen to that desperately trying to see something special..? I think so too. Although I mean all of the fans of Menhir-like black metal will surely like this so let them be listening to it. (Troll)

5-/5
MOLLO / MARTIN
The Cage 2
2002
Frontiers Records / CD-Maximum
hard rock
Let me tell you from the beginning that I have a great admiration for Tony Martin - singer, frontman, songwriter and rocker in general. His voice and singing matter defined the sound of one of the greatest bands in the music history for more than a decade and made a profound impact on the sound of present-day hard rock. Martin's new solo work, or, to be precise, a continuation of his project with guitarist Dario Mollo, is an odyssey of true rockers on the seas of modern music styles (their crew includes, by the way, legendary bassist Tony Franklin /Whitesnake, Blue Murder/). The two captains are bravely catching winds of new sounds and experimenting masterfully with trendy elements, but still keeping the course of traditional guitar-oriented hard rock. Even such pseudo-alternative tracks as "Terra Toria" and "Life Love And Everything" do not spoil the picture, bhut rather add originality and freshness to the record. The rest of the material - in-your-face smashers "Balance Of Power" and "Guardian Angel", heartbreaking ballad "Wind Of Change", rock-n-roll tune "What A Strange Thing Love Is" and an interesting rendition of Led Zeppelin's "Dazed And Confused" - are classic standards. Each new song is indeed a new and self-sufficient work, each enhanced with excellent production and exemplary playing, and each distinguished by untrivial and high-quality melodies. The main surprise of the record is the solo on "Overload" performed on a violin (!) by Tony Martin himself. Cheers to this man, that's all I can say! (Fireball)

4/5
NARCOTIC GREED
Twicet Of Fate
2001
World Chaos Prods.
power/thrash
A totally unconventional release. Narcotic Greed is a band from Japan that plays a really specific type of music that took me awhile to find an analogy to. Finally I came to the conclusion that "Twicet Of Fate" reminds me of U.S. speed/power metal bands of the 1980s, such as Metal Church and Agent Steel. A really strange choice of style given the band's origin and the fact such music has never been popular anywhere. However, that's the main advantage of the record - you can actually listen to the entire CD without drawing comparisons with other bands every three or four minutes. Maybe the Japanese did not create anything outstanding on this CD, but their effort was indeed worthwhile, and "Twicet Of Fate" is like a breath of fresh air for an old power metal fan who is getting really tired of all these Edguy- and Stratovarius-clones so abundant on the present-day stage. An additional bonus is that Narcotic Greed prefer short and straightforward tunes, so if you feel you've had enough of hour-long epic symphonies, you may find some consolation in this 35-minute release. Unfortunately, the band failed to come up with a single hit and there's no way I can rate such a release at five points, but I don't regret a single moment of time that I spent on listening to "Twicet Of Fate", and I'm not likely to regret it when I decide to listen to it again, which will happen very soon, I think. (Maniac)

0-5/5
NECROPHAGIA
Death is Fun
2002
Red Stream
meat soup
If you haven't ever heard Necrophagia, or - worse - if you haven't ever heard of Necrophagia, then reading this review is not really likely to help you. Well, if you must know, this project includes such renown personalities of the metal scene as Phil Anselmo (Pantera, Viking Crown, Eibon) and Killjoy (Eibon, Viking Crown). This is an absolutely non-commercial (since no one with the tiniest deal of good sense would pay any money for that) project, which is mainly about composing imaginary soundtracks to classic 'gore' horror movies in the vain of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Night Breed, Friday 13th, Helloween etc. To add to this, all of it is done in a profoundly underground key including the record quality, mixing (which, in fact, seems to be missing altogether) and the music itself. Imagine some very badly played and recorded heavy metal riffs, put over carton-quality drums and spiced with the insane gurgles of Master Killjoy, and try to treat this with a good deal of irony. For true believers and hard-dead Phil Anselmo fans. (Troll)

2/5
OPERA IX
Maleventum
2002
Avantgarde
black
While parting with her former colleagues did a world of good to Cadaveria, unfortunately this cannot be said about Opera IX themselves. Not that they were distinguished with much originality earlier in the day but what I heard on the widely advertised 'Maleventum' has put me in such an abysmal depression I really felt like crying. Ideological content and symphonism are all well and good, but not to that extent. I mean, it does seem right, the keyboard parts are in place, the sound is quite good (at least by lack standards), and there are a lot of very interesting moments, but it's so darn despondent. Oh these pathetic choirs, oh, this Satanic darkness, oh, this magic of black woods, oh, these all-crushing blast-beats, how it is all grim and necro! Well, for orthodox black-metallers and sympathizers only. The rest of us is taking five. Although, if sense of humor is not alien to you, you might like it as well. (Troll)

5/5
OTEP
Sevas Tra
2002
Capitol Records
nu-metal
Reviews of new metal releases are rare in our parts. Which is quite understandable, since traditional Equropean trends are much more popular here than the new American music, however every once in a while the New World does produce albums missing which would be a big mistake, if not blasphemy. The band came into light for the first time at about last autumn when they were planning to release their debut 'Jihad' EP, which caused a big stir in the star-spangled society that got a bit too nervous after the tragic events of the 11th of September. I in turn was blown away with their unearthly power and intensity, which felt in almost every song of the said EP. Psychedelic low-pitched guitar riffs with a touch of Soulfly and the mind-blasting voice of lead-singer Otep which could make Slipknot go pink with envy. This adds to some very sensed lyrics mainly dealing with the subject of the eternal opposition of the Individual and Society. Main hits: 'Sacrilege', 'Filthee' and 'Tortured'. (Troll)

3/5
AXEL RUDI PELL
Shadow Zone
2002
SPV/ Soyuz
power metal/rock
High and mightly, like a camel in Sahara depicted on the famous cigarette pack, guitarist and songwriter Axel Rudi Pell has been following his path for many years. His "singing" solos and monumental riffs are recognizable after a few seconds, and it seems that he would rather be hit on the head with his favorite Fender than abandon the field of melodic hard rock inspired by Rainbow's golden masterpieces. Milestone riffs he chose as a basis can be found on all his records, but until now repetitiveness was always compensated by dramatic solos, tempo chages and wonderful melodies, like on the fantastic album "Oceans Of Time". However the new record is by far inferior to his previous works. Using the same old patterns once again, Axel slowed down the tempo, made song structures simpler and failed to invent a single new melody. Compositions have become much longer, standards follow one another, the total playing time exceeds one hour and sometimes the music gets really boring, which never was the case before. One epic was always enough for the Maestro's albums, this epic was the logical center of the record surrounded by high-speed rockers and ballads. "Shadow Zone" is a different story. It is overloaded with mid-tempo tracks and ballads and lacks a single true hit, which badly harms the impression. I would not call this album a flop, but I do hope that one of the most talented guitarists of our time will yet find a way to do something better than this in the future. (Fireball)

3/5
PRETTY MAIDS
Planet Panic
2002
Massacre Records / Art Music Group
heavy metal
It seems that every band more than 10 years old has decided to go brutal. Pretty Maids did not manage to escape this trend either, and their latest release is much heavier that any other albums of this renown Danish band. Unfortunately only some veterans profit from getting heavier, while others lose more than they gain. Pretty Maids are a perfect example of the latter variant, for on "Planet Panic" they lost most of their catchiness (or hit potential, if you please), which had always been their trademark. As you listen to the album you enjoy it, but when the running time ends, you fail to recall any single melody from this CD. It does contain one catchy track, "One Way To Rock", but it is not an original song, it's a cover of Sammy Hagar. The lyrics make a more positive impression, the guys did their best and came up with a sort of concept album with the title "Planet Panic" perfectly conveying its main theme. The songs are devoted to various urban disasters of a global scale that are quite realistically depicted in the booklet. In general, a nice release but too weak for Pretty Maids from the musical point of view. Nevertheless, it's still worth a spin or two for Pretty Maids never do bad albums. (Lynx)

2/5
RAM-ZET
Escape
2002
Spinefarm/FONO
electronic black

To tell you the truth I just can't get it when a band playing good and interesting music would all of a sudden propel itself into some unreachable heavenly skies, where they think they would be the only ones to listen to their own music. Don't get me wrong I am not trying to get the musicians to blindly follow the opinion their fandome and critics changing their sound and style just to cater these opinions, but I believe one has to pay some attention to the listenability of one's stuff. At least every once in a while Following an absolutely brilliant previous release, Ram Zet has apparently decided he can do pretty much anything right now, and charged headlong into the somewhat neoclassic progressive nonsense, which he performed brilliantly and with a certain splendor, but, as it seems, forgot altogether that we would have to listen to this thing from the very beginning through to the end. Yes indeed it is very complex and beautiful, but still I think from Ram-Zet we could have expected songs, not Compositions... (Troll)

4/5
RED HARVEST
Sick Transit Gloria Mundi
2002
Nocturnal Arts Productions
Fear Factory

Just what the hell do they think they are doing? The poor old Euronimus may stir in his grave after hearing that! Although, who cares? - he surely doesn't, while we ourselves should really do ourselves a favor and check out the new Red Harvest to see how much Norwegian black metal has evolved since the early nineties. Indeed 10 years ago no one could have even thought about such a blasphemy, but nowadays no one gives a shit - take this trend and do whatever you want to it. Well Red Harvest did - and they did a very good job, I must say. And I mean it does not seem that difficult either - you take your standard black metal and mix it with the no less standard industrial - and that's it. But boy does it kick ass! The aggressive psyche-oppressing samples miraculously found their way into the open black metal riffs and the FX-processed scream beautifully bound it all together, add a bit of fantasy and voila! A very interesting and smart work recommended to the fans of both genres and to everyone else who is hungry for novelty in music. (Troll)

4/5
RUNNING WILD
The Brotherhood
2002
G.U.N. Records
same old...
You know what? I couldn't find the courage to listen to "The Brotherhood" for two (!) months after I brought it home. It's common knowledge that this band that once was a symbol of heavy metal rebellion and wrote songs that will outlive their authors for many decades did nothing more than just copy its past achievements over the previous three records. That is why I was expecting the worst from "The Brotherhood" and I'm really glad to admit that I was wrong. This doesn't mean that Rock'n'Rolf changed his style and started playing gothic metal or something like that. He just slowed down the speed a little bit and finally got rid of his traditional "oh yeaaaaaaaaaaah" that he used to put in every song. Even this minor change did miracles to the music. You can actually enjoy "The Brotherhood" no matter how many all classic Running Wild releases you own and how well you know them. Of course, the album is not so great as "Blazon Stone" or "Black Hand Inn", but it is by far superior than the infamous trilogy of the late 1990s. It is seriously spoiled, however, by excessive duration that amounts to over 55 minutes and a really boring epic called "The Ghost" that rounds up the disc. I don't really know whether anyone outside the circle of die-hard Rock'n'Rolf fans really needs to check this out, to freshmen I would rather recommend the band's old releases, but still if you feel that you haven't had enough of the good ol' Running Wild, you can go for it. (Maniac)

4/5
SCARVE
Luminiferous
2002
Listenable Records
death
This band first captured my attention when they released their 'Translucence' album through War Music, and back then I couldn't help noticing their obvious connection to the Canadians from Voivod. Well, having said that, traces of Voivod are well visible, or rather, audible on Scarve's new album as well, although at the same time it has got more aggressive and mean, than the earlier-mentioned 2000 release. As to the rest of it Scarve have stayed true to themselves not trying to invent any radically new forms and figured that the path they are already on is snaky, complex and interesting enough, and taking any different route is virtually pointless. Aside from Voivod 'Luminiferous' naturally also contains a death component in the vein of Cynic and Atheist, occasional blast beats, and a splendid duet of growl and clean vocals, a-la the same Voivod. Quality music for thinking listeners and fans of progressive death metal. (Troll)

4/5
MICHAEL SCHENKER
Thank You 2
2002
SPV/ Soyuz
acoustic/flamenco

Just like grim and evil adepts of black metal time and again seek confort in making dark ambient releases, heroes of hard rock guitar tend to occupy themselves with recording full-out acoustic albums. The artistic value of both these trends is more than questionable and fans of both black metal and hard rock often react to such side projects with indifference or even disgust, but that doesn't matter for musicians - they play and record only for themselves. This is the case with Michael Schenker, a well-established musician and composer whose highlights have always been songs with vocals. Nevertheless, for the past decade he has released four instrumental albums, and this one, his fifth, is another attempt at beating everyone in acoustics. To tell you the truth, I was extremely sceptical when I was putting the CD in my player, for the original "Thank You" album issued back in 1993 was nothing special or memorable. However this one's much better, with tunes being more than just acoustic improvisations and actually having a developed structure with repeating bridges and very nice melodies. Imagine a cross between Blackmore's Night and something Spanish like Paco De Lucia, and if the image does not seem to you appaling, "Thank You 2" is just what you're looking for. The warning for hard rock fans: the album contains only acoutsic guitars and nothing (I mean NOTHING) more than that! (Maniac)

3/5
SKYLARK
The Princess' Day
2001
Underground Symphony
sympho speed
The talented Italian band has released its fifth full-length album, not including the solo effort of its leader Eddy Antonini. Thus, it is time to sum up results of five years of the band's recording history and make a sort of evaluation of their achievements. On the one hand, Skylark have been telling us the same fairytale invented by themselves since the first album. They even use the same characters on all their records. On the other hand, there are two stages in this five-year history. On the first two albums the band was searching for their own style and identity, but with 1999's "Gate Of Hell" they have reached maturity. Unfortunately, this was Skylark's highest point as far as inventiveness, melodies and variety are concerned. The next two records are distinguished by high-quality production and mixing, but not by outstanding songs. The guys stubbornly dabble in copying themselves using the same old melodies and structural patterns, which is excellently confirmed by the remakes of old songs "Princess Of The Snow" and "Rufus" that are included in "The Princess' Day". I must admit that I'm extremely fond of professional high-speed Italian metal with airy symphonic arrangements and accentuated rhythm section, and I'm even ready to ignore the obviously childish multi-album saga of White Warrior quarreling over something with forces of evil. But it's getting harder and harder for me to listen once again to familiar harmonies and predictable melodies as well as to tolerate this typical sound that is rapidly becoming a cliche In my opinion, it's high time for Skylark to take a break. (Fireball)

4/5
SKYMNING
Artificial Supernova
2002
Blackened
death with a hardcore gimmick
I won't really be hugely mistaken should I say that death metal albums with 8-9 minute songs are a rarity on the market. What is even stranger, is that despite such a serious longevity none of the songs or the album itself could be classified as overextended or concocted (however you spell this word without making the ladies blush). The galloping "dubba-dubba-dubba" guitar riffs, with a good deal of punk and a rhythm section that boasts the straightforwardness of a skinhead bread convolutions, may all of a sudden change to rock'n'roll solos or thrash metal banging and alternative suspends. The singer also deserves some extra attention with his hi-power, deep gurgling roar, which - a very important detail - can be "read" perfectly clearly. All in all a very-very strong work which may attract the interest of death metal fans and thrashers and hardcore lovers (pun intended) alike. (Troll)

4/5
SOILWORK
Natural Born Chaos
2002
Nuclear Blast
SMDM at its best
Reviewing a Swedish melodic death metal release is a thing that cuts both ways. If you're a fan of the genre and can easily differentiate, say, between Gates Of Ishtar and Ceremonial Oath, you may find a lot of aspects in such a record that will be spotted by other fans but will be totally obscure for those who don't follow the scene as closely as you do. If you're an outsider and do not see major differences between hundreds of bands existing in this extremely limited musical frame, masses may agree with your review but fans will call you a dabbler. To make a long story short, Soilwork are one of the best Swedish melodic death metal bands around, this is common knowledge. Their new release is doubtlessly their best work combining brutal and aggressive pieces with fantastic melodies and clean singing. Even though "Natural Born Chaos" was produced by Devin Townsend, the record is not as experimental as I expected, and if you're into good SMDM, you will definitely enjoy it. After all, with killers like "Follow The Hollow" or "Black Star Deceiver" and a masterpiece such as "Soilworker's Song Of The Damned" the band is bound to succeed. The only thing that prevents me from rating the album at five points is that despite being very short (42 minutes), it contains a couple of bleak and unexciting compositions. And one more thing: it is VERY close to In Flames (call me whatever, this is what I think). (Maniac)

2/5
SOULFLY
3
2002
Roadrunner Records
tribal bullshit

Max Cavalera has worn himself out creatively. Sad but true fact, unfortunately. The first Soulfly album has been a real treat with its pounding drive expecially against the blackground of the Sepultura's 'Against'-blunder. The second 'Primitive' album was a mirror of its own title, and in its primitiveness it could totally compare to a Neanderthal - dumb but kicked some serious ass.But hey when I hear one and the same riff being exploited for three straight albums (that is if we leave out Sepultura's 'Roots') it just makes me sick. The already all too boring traditional percussive gimmicks, the downright hardcore guitarring 'gr-gr-gr" and the painful groans of the dingy-haired Cavalera, which every now and again are interrupted with the semi-acoustic 'soulflies' - all of that we have already heard on the first two albums. So I mean why bother and squeeze oneself insideout in a desperate attempt to ejaculate at least one drop of the already spent creativity? Dull and unconvincing. (Troll)

5/5
SUSPERIA
Vindication
2002
Nuclear Blast
techno-thrashing black
This Norwegian outfit is often positioned as "the new band of Tjodalv - ex-Dimmu Borgir drummer", which is plain unfair. Yes, of course Tjodalv does drum there, but this is like the only function he has in the band. All of the music is written by Cyrus who is the guitar-player and the main creative motor behind Susperia, while the lyrical concept is created and delivered by singer Athera. It is noteworthy that the second Susperia album has turned out to be much better than the first one with a further incline in the direction of thrash and death metal, and an obvious influence Chuchk Shuldiner's (RIP) late era. The music has become far more guitar-oriented with only a small addition of keyboards, the vox have transformed to the a lot more interesting clean parts with an occasional jump to some strange sample-processed growls. The lyrics largely deal with Athera's eternal hate towards all that exists on the planet and the horrible torments and tortures the singer has prepared for his enemies. It is kind of hard to point one's finger to just one composition which would be the best off Vindication, but if I were to absolutely make a choice, I'd go for 'The Bitter Man'. (Troll)

4(1)/5
TACTILE GEMMA
Tactile Gemma
2001
Season-of-Mist/CD-Maximum
something dark and gothic this way comes

Do you wanna make a step to the other side? Do you wanna hear how ghosts are singing? Haven't you had enough of Sopor Aeturnus records? Are you sure? Well, my friend, let me introduce you to Tactile Gemma. This is a project put together by the Edvardsen sisters - Monica (Atrox) and Ann-Mari (The 3rd And The Mortal) who handle all the vocals. They are assisted on all instruments by a man called Rune Sorgard, who also plays in Atrox and who recorded the entire album at home. The result of this cooperation sounds like an electronic version of The 3rd And The Mortal with very little guitars and programmed drums. Analogies with Bjork are also frequent. This is all about the factual side. As to the emotional side this is a perfect example of totally sick and mind-twisting music. Maybe if you live in total discomfort and fight the demons in your mind 24 hours a day, it will give you some consolation. However if you consider yourself "normal", don't even try to check it out. Even such a fan of all things unusual as yours truly has to admit that he is too "normal" for this record. From the musical point of view it's more than fine, but from the emotional point of view, it has nothing to do with me. I did enjoy all the 67 minutes of this release, but I have no idea when I will have the courage to listen to "Tactile Gemma" again. (Maniac)

4-/5
TIMO TOLKKI
Hymn To Life
2002
Nuclear Blast
melodic metal
A strange and contradictory release. It made me puzzled and shocked. Imagine that you're looking in awe at Rafael's Madonna and she suddenly raises her head and looks at you with a wicked challenge and a devil's smile on her lips. A savage scream tearing apart peaceful sounds of nature in the intro ("Primal") is the first warning that you will only understand after having listened the record to the end. Its first part consists of incredibly beautiful compositions that are just one step away from perfection. Their bombastic melodies are not inferior to the best works of Stratovarius, but the style is softer and gentler. Timo Tolkki is assisted on the album by a talented drummer and a solid keyboardist, as well as some famous guests - "prodigal son of metal" Michael Kiske (he is the only person capable of singing the ballad "Key To The Universe" with such a feeling) and Sharon Den Adel (Within Temptation, Avantasia) whose voice gives a special taste to the intimate "Are You The One". A sinister track called "Father" marks the turning point of the album. It is followed by the light-minded country tune "Fresh Blue Water" that does not save the situation. The second part of the record is based on a questionable and not particularly original and profound concept that combines social and anti-religious lyrics with mediocre melodies. This is another proof of the old axiom that attempts to make the music a medium conveying a supreme concept cause nothing but harm to the music. The best example is the final track "Hymn To Life" with a beautiful keyboard section that's simply spoiled by a hysterical speech a la Hitler that lasts for about 10 minutes. Even though I understood the meaning, the song was spoiled anyway. (Fireball)

5/5
UNLEASHED
Hell's Unleashed
2002
Century Media
death
Unleashed have become known to the public back in 1990 when they have released their debut full-length entitled 'Where No Life Dwells'. Indeed many cubic meters of chlorine-processed water has passed through our sump drains since then, but as we all know art proper is eternal and not subject to the force of nature, and today the great Swedish Viking foursome once again appears in front of us in all of its brutal splendour. The album opens with a Machine-Headesque 'Don't Want to Be Born', followed by the death squad of 'Hell's Unleashed' and 'Demoneater', which definitely smells like everybody's all-time favourite 'Before the Creation of Time' off the debut record. Other hits include the ironic 'Missus Minister' & 'Joy in the Sun'. The powerful guitar sound, killing rhythm section and the roaring vocals that somehow remind of none other but Conrad Lant a.k.a. Cronos of Venom. Well, in itself the album has a lot of Venom feeling to it, which naturally culminates in the chanson called 'Death Metal' - a remake of Venom all-time classic with new lyrics. As for everything else, Unleashed have remained very true to themselves: the heavy panzer attack of a sound, thunder-pounding drums, the helicopter-like buzz of the bass guitar and the indescribable charm of Mighty Johnny's voice. Brilliant! (Troll)

5/5
VADER
Revelations
2002
Metal Blade/FONO
death

The Polish Vader are among the very unique category of bands towards which the word combination 'nothing new' sounds more as compliment than an offence. They are loved for exactly what they are doing, and thank you very much, we don't need any stupid experiments and other bullshit - we like it the way it is. Well this is exactly the story with 'Revelations'. A 100% Vader album with its famous buzzing guitars, unique vocal patterns and the inside power-drive the intensity of which can only be compared to the GRAD multiple launch rocket systems. They may be tagged the Polish version of 'Morbid Angel' but let me assure you - Peter and the boys will always take that as a compliment. I will not dwell into a long and boring verbal diarrhea with detailed per-song dissections, since basically this would be nothing but a waste of the precious paper and ink (or web-space for this matter). Why bother? Cause all you need to say is simply: "Vader Nothing New" (Troll)

4/5
VARIOUS ARTISTS
Signs Of Life - A Tribute To Pink Floyd
2000 / 2002
Angular Records/CD-Maximum
hard rock / psychedelic
For this 2-CD, 21-tracks release, our review format is too short anyway. A monumetal work like that requires track-by-track analysis, for renditions of classic Pink Floyd songs included in this tribute vary greatly in quality and artistic value. Therefore, I will only provide here some background information and my own impressions about the release. The tribute was put together by a German company called Angular Records and mostly features bands signed to this label. But since most of them are obscure to the general public, some major stars such as Angel Dust and Tiamat were invited to participate. This motley crew put together a compilation that covers the entire Pink Floyd career from "Interstellar Overdrive" to "High Hopes". Most bands stick to the originals very closely, but some venture into experimentation - they compile several songs into one (check out a very nice medley of "Sorrow" and "The Happiest Days In Our Lives" by Cromwell or a compilation of tracks from the "Animals" album by Solar Project) or drastically change the songs (Ziff play a hard rock version of "Wish You Were Here" and The Crack Of Doom change "Another Brick In The Wall" into an electronic/industrial epic seven minutes long). I won't mention the tracks that I didn't like for they are very few and don't really matter, and as to those I did like, they are the abovementioned experimental compositions and a wonderful tune called "Schizo" written exclusively for this record by Nick Barrett, a relative of the legendary Syd "Crazy Diamond" Barrett, and leader of British neoprog band Pendragon. Let me round up with one piece of advice: don't even try to listen to this record in one take -150 minutes of hard rock and psychedelic exercises are just too much to understand and evaluate at once. (Maniac)

5/5
VOMITORY
Bloodrapture
2002
Metal Blade / FONO
death metal

"Resources end is near / Water undrinkable poison / A planet screaming for mercy / Universal Butchery" - this is exactly the way the dudes from Vomitory picture our future. After the somewhat moderate last year's 'Ravenous' release this quartet of butchers from Sweden's finest slaughterhouse have decided to reevaluate its creativity and made up for the whole thing by rolling a cart with fresh cut human meat slices right onto the market. 9 Pieces of the most tasty meat we have tried in the past several years - this is the real thing. No excessive variety, not a hint of melody - only thrashing, high-speed, armor-piercing death metal in the form of a huge bad monster with a 666 tattooed on his forehead and a pair of blood-smeared horns on his ugly head. Old? Dull? Tasteless? Fuck yeah, this is exactly what we needed though. Axe to the neck and go! No contemplations, no questions, just fuck shit up until you are left among "open chests, decapitated corpse / fleshless arms, wide-open stomachs / murdered humans, blood sacrifice / Dismembered soul rot in agony". (Troll)

4/5
WARMEN
Beyond Abilities
2001
Spinefarm / FONO
keyboard-driven Europower

Leave all your expectations behind before turning on this CD. No matter what you expect from Warmen's second release, you will be proven wrong. It's not a trendy all-star release even though it features Timo Kotipelto (Stratovarius), Kimberly Goss (Sinergy) and Pasi Nykanen (Throne Of Chaos) on vocals, for the album has no concept. It's not abundant with keyboard wizardry and mind-twisting passages even though Warmen is a solo project of keyboardist Janne Wirman, because all the songs with vocals are rather simple. Moreover, it has nothing to do with extreme music even though Wirman's main band is Children Of Bodom, for the music on "Beyond Abilities" is pure European power metal in the vein of Stratovarius and Edguy, with more keyboards, of course. After you realize that you don't expect anything from this record, you will indeed enjoy it. I have to admit that "Beyond Abilities" is an easy listening album, but come on, every record that you listen doesn't have to be a masterpiece or an attempt to trade new grounds. A good background music is also needed once in a while, and Warmen's latest effort is excellent background music. Enough said. (Maniac)

(Lynx reviews translated by Maniac; Fireball reviews translated by Lynx)

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