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
BURNING RAIN
Burning Rain
2000/2003
Z Records / CD-Maximum
melodic hard rock
After the split of awesome American hard rock outfit Bad Moon Rising infamous guitarist Doug Aldrich decided that it's high time to form his own band, the dream he had in mind since 1986. Taking a singer Keith St. John from Medicine Wheel featuring ex-Keel guitar player Marc Ferrari, former Bad Moon Rising bassist Ian Mayo and ex-Steelheart drummer Alexx Makarovich Doug immediately signed a record deal in Japan and a year later released the debut album in Europe. So what's on the table? In general, the album is the classic hard rock with a couple of ballads, a couple of up-tempo tracks while most of the album consists of mid-tempo groovy tunes in the vein of Hurricane "Slave To The Thrill" (1990) on which Doug played guitar at the time. Other musicians did their best as well even Keith sang better than in Medicine Wheel. A tight disc. (Dead Ripper)

4/5
BURNING RAIN
Pleasure to Burn
2001/2003
Z Records / CD-Maximum
melodic hard rock

Two years later Doug Aldrich released the second album of his new band. There is an obvious progress and the successor is much better than the debut. While the first album seems to sound smooth and monotonous the second showed the great aura of the band and perfect recording quality. More up-tempo tracks, ballads are much touchier and nicer. Notice that there were no line-up changes as well. But no words; just listen to "Love Emotion", "Metal Superman" or "Faithfully Yours" and figure it out for yourself. One of those rare occasions when the follower is better than the debut with major music improvements. (Dead Ripper)

5/5
ENTOMBED
Inferno
2003
Music For Nations
throogie

I be noticing a rather strange tendency about Entombed recently: for some reason they manage to get a good a really album only every other new album. Fortunately enough, this new album is exactly the album. After the unconvincing and pretty one-sided "Morningstar" they definitely decided to rehabilitate themselves in the eyes of the public and cast out such a killer release, that I personally am still under the impression (that is, mind you, after over two months of regular spinning!) Upbeat, varmint, unmeasurably spiteful and measurably dirty death-n-roll that the band itself pretty much invented back in mid-nineties. Plus the already trademark Lars Petrov's witty/funny lyrics that this time include the likes of "That's When I Became a Satanist", "Nobodaddy", "Descent into Inferno", "Flexing Muscles" and a nearly epic "Night for Day", which musically even reminded me of the classic "Through the Colonnades" off the "Clandestine" album. Magnificent! (Troll)

4/5
GARDENS OF GEHENNA
Mechanism Masochism
2001
Prophecy Productions/CD-Maximum
dark and spiteful doom
Evil! EEEEVIL!!!! EEEEEEEEEEVIIIIILLLL!!!! GRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!! Man is this good or what? The rare case when I actually enjoyed a doom metal album. I even did not yawn once. Then again, strictly speaking this is not much of an actual doom record, more like old-school doom-death in the vein of Morgoth (if anybody out there still remembers the band), generously spiced with industralesque keyboards. Separate hails go out to the singer whose mighty growl has the undoubted power of raising a legion of the undead. Dark, atmospheric, and - strangest of all - convincing. All in all a very strong piece of work - recommended. (Troll)

3/5
GRABAK
The Serpent Within Paradise
2003
CCP Records/CD-Maximum
black metal

Rather standard average black metal, that does not really call for anything inspiring. The opus is opened with a short horror intro, in which we hear some demon fuck some moaning chick and then say something really-really scary. That is followed by approximately 45 minutes of what is normally referred to as true and evil black metal, with no keyboard superfluxes or pretension for originality. There're some interesting compositional moves and a couple of really groovy riffs, but in general Grabak is positively not about being novel. It is well played, and well recorded, so I'd say it is totally listenable, at one absolute condition: you must like the style in general. As they say - fans only. (Troll)

5/5
HAMMERFALL
One Crimson Night
2003
Nuclear Blast / Irond
power metal
Finally the Swedish power metal legend released a live album. And the double one. What more do you need? The band performs three to four tracks from each studio album as well as bass and guitar solos. In terms of performance everything sounds great, very professional, the quality is perfect, metal templars play from their hearts so there's almost nothing to worry about. Consider that almost the whole album was recorded in HammerFall's hometown Gotteborg so singer Joacim Cans perfectly accomplished the task doing his job on a very high level. Still there is a minor drawback on the album - since it was recorded in native Sweden Joacim speaks in Swedish in-between songs. It means that you will understand nothing! However, the last 3 bonus tracks were done in Mexico and Chili and that's when the singer starts speaking English and everything turns out fine. By the way, the Gotteborg show was filmed and released as a DVD. (Dead Ripper)

5/5
JK NORTHRUP
Play It On 11 (The Best Of)
2002/2003
MTM Music / CD-Maximum
hard rock

You never heard the name of this guitarist? Shame on you! Jeff launched his career in 1987 within King Kobra led by legendary drummer Carmine Appice. Then he found a way into the solo band of Paul Shortino (ex-Quiet Riot) in mid-1990s. And then he often crossed ways with ex-XYZ singer Terry Ilous in Cage and Flynn projects. Jeff also managed to release a solo album together with ex-King Kobra singer Johnny Edwards in early this century. And the latest formation the guitarist is into is the re-united XYZ where Jeff wanted to play even since 1992! This album is a collection of all those long years. Thus it can be split into three logical parts depending on a singer. Songs with Shortino are rough and tough, songs with Edwards are strong and melodic while tracks with Ilous are extremely dull and monotonous. If you're interested in what former rock stars are into the album is right for you and can be a guiding light for other relative releases. (Dead Ripper)

4/5
LOUIE FONTAINE
Soul Satisfaction On Clean Sheets
2001
Word Record / CD-Maximum
cabaret/country

Here's the truth - I had to listen to this album at least five times to simply understand what it is musically. It's a huge surprise and wonder how the CD-Maximum company managed to release such an album. It's not melodic rock, it's not even rock but not traditional pop music as well. If you put such music for rotation in cabaret or casino or even a bar it would be the real smashing hit. Sometimes it sound pretty close to country but Fontaine himself insists all the way through the CD that rock and roll is what makes him breathe. In general, any listener taking a bottle of cold beer after a hard working week will jump in joy upon listening to tracks like "Take You Home", "It's Gonna Rain" or "The Flight". And if ignoring obviously gay photos of the singer as well... You should be in the right mood to hear it. (Dead Ripper)

5/5
MACHINE HEAD
Through the Ashes of Empires
2003
Roadrunner Records
thrash-core/angry

Machine Head are a wonderful and, in many aspects, a unique band. This uniqueness and wondrousness lie primarily within the fact that, out of all the bands that were hitting it big in the scene in the middle of the 90ies, Machine Head are probably the only ones who not only managed to stay afloat, but also to this date remember where they came from. Fear Factory, Pantera, Korn, Coal Chamber, Corrosion of Conformity, Brujeria, Soulfly, Manhole - of all these bands a good half is already dead, and the bad half should of really called it a day. And only Rob Flynn & Co. somehow managed to not only prevail their initial drive, but to also pump it up. And the new release is definitely a proof. Of course some things did change - for instance the new album is much more melodic than all of its predecessors, still the melody did not kill the heaviness here. In the first track you can even here some elements of such a - one would think - obscure for the Americans style as SMDM. There're also some entirely experimental numbers - such as, for example "Elegy", but once again behind all these experiments the machine-boys kept their own face - the face of 100% uncompromising in-your-face thrashcore. (Troll) P.S. Shite, and I've nearly written this band off after "Supercharger" - oh poor stupid meЕ

4/5
MOODY MARSDEN
Real Faith
1994 / 2004
On Air / Prior
blues hard rock

Unbelievable! Bernie Marsden himself says in all interviews that the CD is impossible to be found and that is was a limited edition available only in the German city of Stuttgart. "Nothing is impossible," said the Russian Kaliningrad-based "Prior" company and managed to release the album in Russia. If you expect something in the vein of Whitesnake forget about this album. For the whole 60 minutes a listener enjoys the nice blues or semi-acoustic rock although it's hard to find the exact term of such a type of music. Still some tracks should be familiar to Marsden fans - two of them ("Real Faith" and "All Revved Up" (or "All Dressed Up")) were released on the Japan-only disc of The Snakes "Once BittenЕ" featuring current Masterplan singer Jorn Lande, two more ("Silver On Her Person" and "Kinda Wish You Would") were issued on the 2CD live of Company Of Snakes "Here They Go Again". And though original versions are not that good they are interesting enough, at least originals sound much better than remakes of Company Of Snakes. If you're fed up with jeavy metal power on nearly every album around this CD will be the perfect relaxation. (Dead Ripper)

1 of degree 666 / 5
NAZGUL
De Expugnatione Elfmuth
2002
Elegy Music
orcish black metal!
Holy cow! Alright, now I come to understand why the dwellers of Tolkien's Middle Earth hated orcs so much. No, it was not for their inhuman (couldn't be talking about anything human with orcs, could we?) atrociousness; nor for their occasional raids onto the peaceful hobbits; nor for the fact that they'd sometimes rape elfish princesses; nor even because they stank so dang much - no, it was just because of the fact that even in those long-forgotten times, the orcs would already torture the ears of each of their victim with their own version of black metal. Though I recon that the most to hate the orcs - or, to be more precise, this very pair of Italian orcs, - would be nazguls, for putting their good name to shame. I really don't know what sort of weed must be the folks from Elegy Music's A&R smoking when they decided to sign this wonder of Mother-Nature. Because this album is so fucking awful from every single point of view, that it is not even funny anymore. Everything here, starting from the absolutely primitive music and the entirely pathetic pseudo-hymns played on a kinder-harpsichord (although probably the duo themselves would proudly refer to those as interludes) to production (which is simply not there - I heard demo tapes of much better quality) sucks a golf-ball thru a 40-feet garden hose! A separate rotten tomato must be going into the chalk-smeared face of the singer, whose ear-shredding shrieks and squeaks may lead one to thinking that somebody was sawing his cahonies off with a rusted dull handsaw right there in the studio. In fact all of this can be described with one short, but very meaningful word - shit! (Troll)
P.S.
A hint for all fo you "young and aspiring": if nobody wants to sign your band, send the promo to Elegy Music - these guys have even signed Nazgul...

3/5
SUBLIRITUM
Dark Prophecies
2003
Evil Horde/CD-Maximum
black metal

If it were possible to rate an album by one track only, this CD - based on the first song alone - would have gotten if not five, than at least four out of five. But alas - the further I trotted into the thick of this Norwegian forest, the more unbearable grew the feeling of boredom that entirely overwhelmed me. The initial quality compositional arrangements, which would at times even remind me of such mastodons as the late Emperor and Dimmu Borgir of 1997-era are being ruined by what you would never have expected to be the usual reason for ruining a good song: a wrongly placed clean vocal part, an overpowered guitar solo, or a stupid keyboard part. To do the band justice I must admit, that these compositional mistakes, are the only although still a very considerable shortcoming on this otherwise rather interesting recording. Well let us hope that in the future Subliritum will correct these mistakes and brighten our black days with a true masterpiece, which, I says, they definitely have a potential for - and that's the main thing. (Troll)

3/5
TNT
Transistor
1999/2003
Eagle Records / CD-Maximum
melodic hard rock

I tell you the truth - I'm not that familiar with the glorious past of this legendary Norwegian-American band so there's nothing to compare with. It's not good enough for a novice, that's for sure. First, it's quite experimental due to some dancing rhythms and samples in the beginning of almost every song. Second, some songs sound very smooth and basically the same. However, there are some interesting tracks such as "Wide Awake", "Under My Pillow" and "No Guarantees". The rest aren't that good in terms of both music and melodies so the whole disc bores you after the first hearing. Knowing that the band had excellent albums in the 1980s, "satisfactory" is the least that I can say but guess it's a major disappointment for true TNT fans. (Dead Ripper)

2/5
TOKEN
Tomorrowland
2002/2003
MTM Music / CD-Maximum
melodic hard rock

One of the most average albums released by "MTM Music" ever. Don't think that if the band's name sounds similar to classic Dokken the music will be of the same interest and nature; nothing like George Lynch is seen here. OK, let alone the guitarist the singer is weak as well. There are obviously some Dokken influences in it but they are so shady that remain totally unseen. At best there can be two more or less appealing tracks such as "Wings Of Desire" and "Tomorrowland (Rainbows End)". The rest of the album consists of mid-tempo and extremely average songs in the style of Aerosmith and Journey. Generally speaking, the album doesn't stand a chance. (Dead Ripper)

4-/5
VADER
Blood
2003
Metal Blade/FONO
death metal

HmmЕ No, I understand, Vader is cool and everything, but somehow they did not quite convince me this time around. First of, will anyone tell me for how long can one exploit Slayer's "Reign in Blood"? I agree it is a great album and I like it a lot myself, but - that much?! Secondly, I don't get whether this release is being positioned as a new album, or is it an EP after all? Because to me something that contains 7 tracks (6 own + cover) and runs for a total of 26:58 is definitely an EP. Then again, it's really not about the length. The main problem for me is that I really have heard it all a million times over from none other than Vader. I don't have a clue as to what drove the musicians as they were composing this new material , but, I'll bet you any day of the week, that such words as "creativity" or "inventiveness" were definitely not used in their everyday vocab. The same ole armor-penetrating speed-raging deathras, which is exactly what everyone expects to hear from Vader and what everyone associates the name of the act with? Is this good or bad? I honestly don't know. (Troll)

5/5
VHALDEMAR
I Made My Own Hell
2003
Arise / CD-Maximum
power metal

It's a big surprise how "Arise Records" manages to find various talented musicians in its home Spain and popularize them worldwide. And though there is absolutely nothing unique in Vhaldemar musicians still play great and perfectly copy their forefathers from Manowar. At the same time if listening carefully there are elements of Rhapsody, classic Stratovarius and even Rage. The latter can be heard in the rough vocals, which is great since the singer doesn't try to copy Michael Kiske. Epic and heroic lyrics ideally fit into the general image and are a great proof that a considerably dark album title can have no relations with the band's music. There are only a couple of ballads and mid-tempo tracks on the CD, the rest are fast and bombastic power metal. One of the best releases of the recent decade though a little bit straightforward. (Dead Ripper)

5/5
WINTER PARADE
Midnight In Paradise
2002/2003
MTM Music / CD-Maximum
melodic hard rock

One of the best debut albums in three past years to say the least. Imagine a mix of classic hard rock tracks in the vein of Whitesnake and Swedish outfit Snakes In Paradise. Two of those songs were already released on the rare album of American band White Diamond "The Lost Demos". The singer there was the same but Neal Grusky of Takara delivered the guitar goods. Concerning Winter Parade there have rarely been such an awesome album from newcomers recently. All songs ideally fit into an undisclosed concept of the album. It's hard to say what song is better; all of them sound great. The disc is highly recommended to real fans of melodic hard rock - no regrets! (Dead Ripper)

 

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