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
ANOREXIA NERVOSA

New Obscurantis Order
2002
Osmose/FONO
melodic black
Well finally I got me grip upon these so-much-talked-about 'pathologic starvelings' What? Why starvelings? Well because hat's what they are really seen it in dictionary, I have. Fact. The name of this talented French quintet does mean pathologic refusal to take food in medical terms. I have no clue whatsoever as to why they decided to chose such a strange and funny name for themselves instead of the more traditional Azvanghelith or Nordafrostravenblast, which look like an obvious choice to me, but hell, who cares. The album, my friends, the album! - and here everything is indeed much more interesting and strange. I am not making any promises but somehow it seems to me that this CD eventually will mean as much to the development of modern-day black metal as did 'Under a Funeral Moon' (Dark Throne), 'Enthrone Darkness Triumphant' (Dimmu Borgir), or the 'Principle of Evil Made Flesh' (Cradle of Filth) - at least never before have I heard anything symphonic and solemnly crazy as that. This is a definite 'fiver' and no mistake. However on no account should you follow the advice of the band on the back of the inlay that reads that 'correct listening' should 'go up to eleven' - you're ain't no superman, y'know (Troll)

4/5
BLACK ROSE
Black Rose
2002
Shark Records/CD-Maximum
hard rock
This is a newcomer band from Sweden, this is their debut album. And not a bad one, I should say. When many people of the hard rock genre try to copy their favorite bands like Aerosmith or Journey Black Rose did an enormous work on arrangements, lyrics and recordings. It surely provided positive effect on the album. The sound is very tight and mighty, all instruments sound in unison and none of them falls out of the general picture. Songs like "Coming Home", "Forever Lost (Sleep Well)", "Night And Day" and "Always Tomorrow" are extremely good for an album of professional musicians. The band adds Arabian influences in its music and does not make speed or technical abilities dominate over melodies. If they can continue do such music in future they might succeed in music business a couple of years later. By the way, seems like "mysterious" bonus track "Because The Night" is the cover-version of American hard rockers Keel. (Dead Ripper)

3/5
BULLHORN
Suckerpunch
2002
Shark Records/CD-Maximum
heavy metal

Try to mix Motley Crue and Ozzy Osbourne. In general, the result is not that bad. The band Bullhorn did it but forgot about two interesting moments, singer and guitar player. The first simply has no voice and the second seems to have learned only three chords on his instrument, I can guarantee that he never heard a guitar solo in life. To make things better the band recorded the cover-version of Ozzy "Rock'n'Roll Rebel" and did it quite okay (if you abandon that dumb singer). The track "Deadringer" looks like an idea to rip off AC/DC but the result is a bad cover-version of the worst song of classic Accept. And when hearing the track "Cavalry" I decided to send the album to Don Dokken for this is the pure "Too High To Fly" from Dokken "Dysfunctional" (1995). In short, this is an album of cover-versions with voiceless vocalist and own lyrics to each song. (Dead Ripper)

3/5
CORPORATION 187
Perfection in Pain
2002
Earache/Wicked World/Soyuz
thrash metal

I first heard about this band back in the end of 1999, when I heard their debut album 'Subliminal Fear', which completely blew me away with its unbelievable sheer aggression and speed. Yes, three years ago pretty much no one played this type of music. However today I cannot rid myself of a creepy feeling that I have been wickedly cheated. It's not that the quality of the material itself has become worse, but it all grew so pale and secondary. Having slightly changed their incline towards the yet more angry and intense thrash-death metal, Corporation 187 have turned into the faceless clones of their fellow-countrymen of the Haunted, entirely losing the freshness and originality, that characterized their debut release. The broken screaming vocals, precise hammer drumming, and the snapping guitar riffs with a slight touch of melody - everything is performed with superb quality, and equally superb dullness and lack of ideas. Pity. Well, let us hope that on the next album the Inc.-boys will make up for this drawback and will once again find a respectful place in the structure of modern thrash metal. (Troll)

4/5
DESDEMONA
Lady Of The Lore
2002
Northwind Records/CD-Maximum
power metal

What can you expect from an album of an Italian band with a cover showing woman with sword and castle and fighting knights on the background? Power metal for sure! The only strange thing is that the woman is dressed in very familiar clothes, something like Russian traditional ones Acoustic intro and go! Another interesting feature is that the band does not try to copy Rhapsody though some elements like keyboards remind of their famous fellow-countrymen. Guitar player attempts to imitate Malmsteen from time to time and succeeds in some cases. It's great that Desdemona is not afraid of its own language and the song "If I Were Fire (S'i' Fosse Foco)" has some Italian lyrics. But on this very song I rushed to check the booklet - if it's Timo Kotipelto of Stratovarius or not? No, the singer's name is Andrea Marchisio. In general, the album is nice, has several interesting moments but there's nothing original about it. The band has to find its own style and not copy celebrities! (Dead Ripper)

2/5
DOKKEN
Long Way Home
2002
CMC International
hard rock

During several recent years the American band Dokken surprises its listeners with everything happening around it. Seems like leader and singer Don Dokken records albums just to add another album in his list while his numerous fans are still waiting for nearly ten years for another "Back For The Attack". And Don is always saying on one album after another, "I don't want it". That's what happened with "Shadowlife" (1997) and history repeats itself this time. After firing guitar hero Reb Beach of Winger fame who made an enormous contribution to the success of the album "Erase The Slate" (1999) Don recruited his old friend and former Europe member John Norum. And everyone was waiting for the new kind of Dokken's solo CD "Up From The Ashes" (1990). But it wasn't meant to be for the guitar playing style of John changed too much for the recent decade. As a result we have a truly senseless disc recorded by experienced musicians, the album has no standout track. Some people might say, "What about three Japanese bonus tracks?" The answer is: they are the same as the whole album. So before buying this new Dokken effort just think - will you have the guts to listen to it to the end or moreover, listen to it for the second time? (Dead Ripper)

5/5
DOMAIN
The Artefact
2002
Hambucker Music/CD-Maximum
melodic hard rock

In most of the cases after sensational reunions and more or less successful "debut" album the bands start doing something that stumbles everyone. Domain happened to avoid such a mistake. This powerful "second" album sounds much better mainly due to more qualified recording for on the previous effort "One Million Lightyears From Home" the vocals were seriously deafened by guitars and keyboards. This time band members worked hard on the recording and song themselves. Telling the truth it's sounds much better than what they did in the 80ies - just listen to "Charade", "Strangers From The Heart" or "Heart On The Line"! Of course, we can draw connections with other musicians and the band does not deny its influences judging from comments to each track. "Mystery Stone" is very Gary Mooreish while "Don't Count On Love" is a kind of remake of Def Leppard "Pour Some Sugar On Me". It's easy to see melodic and lyrical roots of Domain especially when listening to the track they selected as a cover (The Beatles "Day Tripper"). Surely the band couldn't avoid modern veins such as Arabic sounds ("Downtown Babylon"). And in the end of the album guitarist and leader of Doman Axel Ritt fully demonstrated his fast playing ambitions in "Experience XTC". Generally speaking the LP amazes any listener and though no serious changes happened in the band's style the music is still nice and totally awesome! (Dead Ripper)

4/5
DRAGONLORD

Dive
2002
Goimusic/CD-Maximum
symphonic power metal
What can we expect from a band with such name? And if a dragon is on the album cover? And if the band is from Italy? It seems like the glory of Rhapsody does not let Italian (and not only Italian) boys have fun in life. Keyboard/organ intro, 1, 2, 3 - go! The only strange thing is that the singer reminds a lot about Andre Matos (ex-Angra). More or less interesting tracks are fast "Kamikaze (I'll Go To Die)" and ballad "No Time To Cry" (that manages to demonstrate the band's own style a bit). It is also quite strange to hear an instrumental track in the middle of a power metal album which sounds too much like Russia's Aria "Memory about". Another interesting feature of the album is the brilliant work of the drummer perfectly shown in the song "Battle Of Drums". In general, the album should be listened to at least for the fact that it is not a traditional metal symphony but something more interesting and different. Let's wait for more albums - hope the guys will get it right some day!. (Dead Ripper)


4/5
DR. FAUST
Bad Time, Bad Place
2002
Soyuz Music
death grind punk
I've already seen these doctors from Sochi (a resort on the Russian side of the Black Sea) live in the beginning of this year when they played at the Chuck Shuldiner tribute gig, and already then I made a mental note of the unbelievable merriness of these southern lads. Well, thumbs to them, the lads did manage to transfer this merriness on tape and then on CD. The album sounds quite lively, does not break the eardrums, and would be real good when accompanied with a certain litrage of beer. However there still is a fly in the ointment - two flies to be exact: 1. The drum sound is way too electronic which ruins half of the impression; 2. Although, as it has already been said this CD should go great with beer, without this foamy substance it will inevitably throw the listener into the mighty slumber approximately by the middle of track 5, when he/she would start yawning sweetly for some action, to distract the head from listening to this nonsense. (Troll)


5/5
ENSLAVED
Monumension
2002
Osmose/FONO
Viking metal nouveaux

Probing into the phantasmagoric landscapes of progressivwe and art-rock seems to have become an ill habit with Scandinavians. First Emperor surprised everyone with their Prometheus and now Enslaved rush into some weird Voivod-like conceptuality. Then again, what's so ill about this habit? I mean, when it goes down to the basics, the only thing that really counts is the result, which in this case is simply brilliant. The many-sided and complex compositions flow from one to another on this CD as streams of lava, sculpturing themselves into strange, never before seen shapes. I mean if somebody wants to experiment, mix the unmixable, if they are not afraid to use grotesque forms to make something beautiful out of them, and if they are plain good at this - then why worry? It is quite possible that the most die-hard fans of Viking metal will not be able to appreciate this exquisiteness but then again, what do they know?. (Troll)

4-/5
ENTWINE
Time of Despair
2002
Spinefarm/FONO
very sad
gothic rock
Everything is plain horrible we all gonna die total nightmare and devastation live - sucks, and death will not be a relief even the worms will refuse to gnaw on our untasty skinny corpses heaven and hell, as if in a wicked conspiracy, will never accept our souls, and purgatorial gorillas on face control will boot them out into the open, but even when we turn into ghosts there still will be nothing cool about our existence no one would be afraid of us: little kids would not cry, adults would not faint and curse, and the old would not collapse on the floor in infarctious convulsions we will sadly roam in the night complaining to the world about our bitter fate, but no one will pity us, simply because no one will notice these pale shadows swinging by the ceiling, no one will care about our tearful eyes with bags of tragedy under them yes, everything plain sucks! Why? Listen to the latest release of these Finnish gothic-rockers and you'll know exactly why. The music is really beautiful though (Troll)

ETERNAL FLAME
King Of The King
2002
MTM Music/Art-Music
melodic hard rock

This is somehow a newcomer band though it's the second album. It worth mentioning that the band definitely has its own style. Just imagine the first solo album of ex-Helloween guitarist Roland Grapow with much better and more melodic vocals and with no guitar heroism. Note that guitar player of Eternal Flame is also the lead singer! The melody for his is not Malmsteen-like guitar solos but a nice combination of guitar, keyboards and everything else. The best masterpieces of the album are speedy ""King Of The King", "Hold On" and "Dawn In The Sky", melodic "Spanish Flair", ballad "My Son". The only bad point of the album is the cover-version of Rainbow "Stargazer". Well, in general, it's okay but some time ago I heard this song performed by the Norwegian band Mundanus Imperium with Jorn Cover sorry, Lande on vocals. After such cover all others become senseless. And speaking about Eternal Flame this is one of the most promising upcoming rock band right now and the new album confirms it once again. (Dead Ripper)

5/5
FLYING
A Proud Bird
2002
Soyuz Music
melodic death metal
This, my friends, is already a serious victory claim. A release that grows up to European quality, both from the musical composition viewpoint, and the production side. Powerful and totally melodic death metal of Swedish school with original arrangements, splendid guitar work, airborne solos and the nastiest (in the good sense of the word) vocals ever coming in the form of creepy whispering screams, which do not promise any good to the one who is listening. The only serious drawback on the record are the drums, or rather their unconvincing sound. As to the rest of it the Kiev-based Flying makes one wonder whether our bands are actually any worse than the acclaimed European scene - the answer is 'no'. And yes we can when we try hard enough. To sum it up, even though I am not really a big fan of this kind of music, I really cannot bring myself to writing anything bad about it. (Troll)

4/5
FOZZY
Happenstance
2002
Steamhammer/Soyuz Music
classic hard rock

So much noise about one band! They were hidden in Japan for two years and could not release albums anywhere, their musicians are so great - one is an arm-wrestling champion, another eats tonnes of cheese, the third is the legendary producer In fact, the band exists for only five years, "Happenstance" is the second album and the band originates from the USA Guess who's the biggest fool? And what about the music? Well, it's just a standard hard rock, nothing special about it. Moreover, the album is "crowded" with cover-tracks such as "Freewheel Burning" Judas Priest, "Big City Nights" Scorpions, "L.O.V.E. Machine" W.A.S.P., "Balls To The Wall", "Where Eagles Dare" Iron Maiden The list sounds good but the performance sucks; if Judas Priest and Iron Maiden tracks are nice the W. A. S. P. cover is really awful! Just try to sit at home, press "record" on your stereo system, take the microphone and sing ""L.O.V.E. Machine" yourself in a normal way. Got it? You can become a new Fozzy singer! He did the same thing as you - he just sang the song without Blackie's trademarks. Do I need to tell the result? The same thing happened to "Big City Nights" from Scorpions. OK, Fozzy need to stop covering other bands and write own tracks which are not so good as they should be when standing in line with classics. (Dead Ripper)

5/5
HANOI ROCKS
People Like Me
2002
Akashic Rocks Records
classic hard rock

I wonder how many bands from the 1980s reunited lately! There's even not enough fingers to count all of them. But here we have the pure legend. Hanoi Rocks had problems all the way - life in the streets when recording first albums, heavily criticism in magazines all around the world and after they finally were a success their drummer died in a car crash and the band split up. And just note that this Finnish band created the whole glam rock style which was widely used by everyone in those 1980s! When I learnt that Hanoi Rocks were reborn it was interesting if the legend can make anything good enough? But after hearing the first track "People Like Me" you immediately understand that nothing can turn the boys down: ages, success or almost completely different line-up. The song itself is a classic, it could be released on any album of Hanoi Rocks and become a smashing hit! (By the way, the single is already certified gold!!!) The 'B-side' is very interesting too - the song "Lucky" features not a guitar but a saxophone solo which always was the band's trademark and created contrast between them and other rock bands. And what album/single can you imagine without a cover tune? The guys played old blues track "Winged Bull" but made it very symphonic! The single also has a multimedia section with the clip "People Like Me" for computers In short, though that singer Michael Monroe and guitarist Andy McCoy are the only people from original line-up are left in Hanoi Rocks those two can knock your brains out even after all these years. And they are so right singing "radio and MTV, you need people like me"! Maybe that's the only chance for the whole rock music movement to become real again and have everything and more once again. (Dead Ripper)


5/5
IMPALED NAZARENE
Absence of War Does Not Mean Peace
2002
Osmose/FONO
goat-raping metal

We have been waiting for this release for a very long time out here, but, thanks goat, the wait was not in vain. The yet another change of guitar players did a world of good to Luttinen and his crazy band. Yes the times of 'Tol Kompt Norz, Norz, Norz' and 'Latex Cult' have passed and vanished in the dark waters of Styx, the good old impetuous (and, let's face it - witless) battery accompanied with heart-rending screams about being the homosexual partner of Jesus Christ is no more. No more 1.5 minute songs which in their downright laconicism could have competed with opuses of Anal Cunt and Napalm Death. Nothing of that is here any longer. But, what the hell, fuck it. To compensate for that Impaled Nazarene have learned to compose normal music without losing their original craziness. I mean, take such masterpieces as 'Hardboiled, and Still Hellbound' or the charming dedication to Luttinen's ex-girlfriend, who was known for her rare stupidity, called 'Nyrkilla Tapettava Huora', in which the singer threatens to kill the stupid bitch for her unawareness concerning the location of Japan. In all a very joyful and educating album. (Troll)

3/5
MATER TENEBRA
Sangue
2002
Pulsar Light Records/CD-Maximum
grind-black

In accordance with 101 Rules of Black Metal, any silence may be filled with blastbeats. Having listened through this work from the beginning to the very end I've arrived at the conclusion that this Italian trinity must have led an extremely quiet life, since they managed to pull one big and fat blast-beat all through their record. The bes tthing about them, however is, that despite all their grimness and necrocity, Mater Tenebra are a totally listenable, although not really original band. At least the success of 'Sangue' with true black metal audience may easily be considered a done deal, with all the provisional factors of such a success being present at the record: eye-boggling speed, very raw mix, raging antichristian lyrics, eardrum piercing shrieks, and a decisive determination not to compromise in anything whatsoever. To cut it short - Norsk Arisk Black Metal RRRRAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! (Troll)

3/5
MELISSA
In Mourning
2002
Soyuz Music
death
Well, seems like this Obninsk four has only got their way around the mixing console knobs in the studio when they started recording the vocals, because the sound of all the other instruments on this album is a complete blunder. Which is a shame because the material is pretty good. Still vocals alone, even such monstrously wonderful meaty growls as Nikolai Tuzov produced here, are not going to save the record. On the other hand what we should not forget, is that the material on this album was published in 1995 and recorded even earlier than that, Right now the band is preparing to issue their new CD, and I think this new record will already be a point for judgment. And so far we may familiarize ourselves with Melissa's earlier death metal experiments. (Troll)

5/5
MIND'S EYE
A Work Of Art
2002
Rising Sun Productions/CD-Maximum
progressive

Do you like Dream Theater? If yes - buy this album. Musicians delivered an awesome work especially about the sound and concept. They did everything in such a professional way that it's hard to select any song from the album - it can be heard only from the very beginning to the very end, it cannot be split up in parts. The disc has all progressive rock elements such as sounds of nature (for example, birds singing), keyboard .., mid-tempo guitars solos, straight drums. At the same time it is not a modern progressive album with sounds that complicate understanding but an awesome and magnificent work demanding the best praise. There's lots of acoustic guitar sounds on the album which causes pleasant impressions to a listener. And the most interesting fact is that the band comes from Sweden! In short, the album is recommended to those who are tired of understanding latest efforts from Mind's Eye genre colleagues and is aimed at those who want to listen to some nice music with powerful sounds. It is a real work of art! (Dead Ripper)

2/5
MISTER KITE
All In Time
2002
Lion Music/CD-Maximum
melodic hard rock

God Almighty, what is that? Extremely rough music, vocals suck, keyboards either deafen guitars or all other instruments. Concerning songs, seems like musicians of the band are fans of Korn, Aerosmith and Journey altogether. Looks like they wanted to play hard rock but their wish resulted in a senseless mixture that might make any listener dull. OK, forget this Mister Kite, there's no future here. (Dead Ripper)

3/5
MORTIFER
Blind Faith
2002
Soyuz Music
thrash
To tell the truth I don't even know what to write about this album. On the one hand it is indeed pleasing that these boys still remember how to compose and play such music and the heart is squeezed with sweet nostalgia for torn jeans, white sneakers and the first Bay-Area Tha\rash formations. On the other hand all of this material have long ago become completely obsolete and came out approximately 15-20 years late. Add to this the totally shameless 'borrowings' from Slayer, Metallica, Exodus, Testament, Anthrax and all the rest, and the nostalgia quickly disappears stoning the listener's face into the mask of skeptic doubt. And then the question lies upon a plate - was this really worth publishing? But let us not judge these lads so strictly, after all being true to one's roots and protective with one's traditions is rather a positive characteristic. (Troll)

4/5
MY RUIN
Blasphemous Girl
2002
Snapper Music
nu-metal
The name of Terry B should be familiar to our readers since the times of hir first 'big' band Manhole, which frequented the pages of different metal zines in the mid-90ies of the twentieth century. And the more attentive ones should remember that the press loved Miss B not so much for her musical feats, but more for her big and abusive mouth and her opinionated straightforwardness - sort of a female version of Kerry King. Nowadays Terry leads the women's suffrage in metal movement, and not without success, gotta notice. The latest release by her band My Ruin 'Blasphemous Girl' is obviously meant to show the world that girls can be far more aggressive and blasphemous than boys, even if these boys come from Norway. At the same time, musically My Ruin is not characterized with anything specal against the background of other modern nu-metal acts, exploiting a lot of samples and hip-hopping tricks. However the album does look quite competitive, does not strain your ears too much (even though Miss B might not consider that a major advantage) and leaves one in the upbeat and aggressive moods. The album is closed with the cover of the infamous 'Tainted Love' (Troll)

5/5
AXEL RUDI PELL
Knights Live
2002
SPV/Soyuz Music
melodic hard rock

Telling the truth I was a bit disappointed when hearing that the double (!) live album of legendary German guitar hero Axel Rudi Pell will consist of only 11 (!) tracks. What could it be - long and boring 10-minute guitar solos all the way? But when hearing the album I was pleasantly surprised. Axel managed to play those long solos the way that no one can think that it looks boring - they sound extremely balanced and melodic. The only sad thing is that singer Johnny Gioeli failed to properly shout the track "Nasty Reputation" but his performance on another masterpiece "The Masquerade Ball" is really brilliant. Drummer Mike Terrana and keyboard player Ferdy Doernberg with powerful solos did their job very well. All we need now is to wait for a DVD to come out - judging from previews and notes it seems to be extremely interesting when finally Russian fans will have a chance to see Axel Rudi Pell live (even on video)! (Dead Ripper)

5/5
PERVERTIGO
Pervertigo
2002
Spinefarm/FONO
Black-power gutter rock with a flava of gothic and SMDM

Whoever said Finns had no sense of humor? Liar! Their taste of humor is alright, its just that very few people understand it. However should you volunteer to take the labour of reading the lyrics to the latest album by Pervertigo, quite possibly soon you will learn to appreciate the 'Suomi humori'. Trust me, it has been a long while since I've read anything which would be both that cruel and funny, with the funniest thing being the absolutely good and high-quality musical material, which, at that, is extremely well played. It is quite a dissonance but it's still pretty cool. (Troll)

4/5
PERZONAL WAR
Different but the Same
2002
AFM Records/CD-Maximum
thrash metal

Quality thrash metal nowadays is pretty much as rare as penguins in Antarctica. The funniest thing about this is that to find it one should look at those totally unknown bands, like the recently reviewed Griffin or Perzonal War. What is even stranger is that by some weird chance Perzonal War landed a deal with the all-out power metal label AFM, whose roster previously had only one non-power band - the German beer-thrashers of Tankard. At the same time, while not being too picky about power releases, when it comes to thrash the AFM folks become extremely captious and demanding. And that shows. Of course there will be people who would instantly label PW a rip-off Metallica-clone (partly true, since the vocal manner of Herr Zimmer is very close to that of 'Poppa Het'), this however looks like the only similarity to me. As to the rest of it, Perzonal War is a completely independent quartet. Guest appearance on the CD was provided by non other than Victor Smolski of Rage, who, in return, have received a cover of his own song 'The Progress'. (Troll)

5/5
RAIN
House Of Dreams
2002
Kivel Records
melodic AOR

There is an interesting singer in Germany and his name is Michael Bormann. During nearly 15 years of his music career he played various styles of music such as progressive heavy metal with Letter X and melodic hard rock with Bonfire and his very own Jaded Heart. But this time he did something very different which is melodic AOR. And what's so special about this album is that all songs are based on acoustic guitar. Well, it's not really what ex-Europe shouter Joey Tempest did on his first solo effort but comes very close to it. By the way, Michael don't like to be compared with Jon Bon Jovi but if Jon listens to this "House Of Dreams" he will cry for years for his band NEVER managed to write a single song like "Ain't Found Heaven Yet", "Anywhere The Wind Blows" and "Everytime You Go". And songs like "Sentimental Sunday", "Can I Say If" or "Soul" are recommended to every hard rock/AOR fan worldwide. Another interesting moment is that all musicians apart from Michael are from Norway and one of them even plays in the solo project of legendary singer Jorn Lande. Yes, there's one serious problem about this album - it was released in the United States only and is extremely hard to find in Russia. But believe me, it is worth listening to! More than once! It's REALLY worth listening to! (Dead Ripper)

4/5
SETH
Divine X
2002
Osmose/FONO
melodic black

Frankly speaking, despite the relatively high mark (see above), this work stirred a lot of controversy in me. On the one hand one needs not be no clairvoyant to see an extremely high level of professionalism, both in the composition and the performance on 'Divine X' - here we have the integrity, compositional completeness, well-timed and wittily used experimental moves, and finally, plain undoubted talent. On the other hand, taking each part of the album separately, I could help thinking that I have already heard that somewhere before - be it Dissection or Dimmu Borgir or Ancient or Death. It is not that important though, is it? All of the above-mentioned bands have long ago earned the respect and love of the audience so this similarity should be taken as nothing but a compliment. Better listen to it yourself though and understand everything. For who am I to judge? One thing is for sure, 'Divine X' is heaps better than any of the previous works I heard by Seth, besides hearing somebody 'screaming' in French is always a bonus. (Troll)

5/5
SHAMAN
Ritual
2002
Victor Entertainment (Japan import)
melodic power metal

Whatever you may say - that Angra was so phenomenal due to its guitar players who found an outstanding singer after Andre Matos left and recorded a brilliant album - and it's true until you heard Shaman. That's when you understand that Matos was the only source of those non-standard steps that lead his previous bands to the top of the heavy metal world with first albums. OK, in short, this self-titled debut album of Shaman is what Angra had to do after "Fireworks" and it's the unique compilation of ideas from "Holy Land" and that ill-fated "Fireworks". Each song surprises the listener with melody, drive and monumentality, the album unifies traditional German power metal with Arabian and Brazilian rhythms. Such songs like "Distant Thunder", "For Tomorrow", "Fairy Tale" and "Pride" (featuring Tobias Sammet of Edguy) will definitely leave you speechless. The summery is - once you listen to Shaman you surely forget everything the "new" Angra did. (Dead Ripper)

5/5
SLAV SIMANIC
Let It Go / Water Of Life
2002
Frontiers/CD-Maximum
guitar hard rock

Seems like modern record companies are always a little bit confused about the fact that they do not have contracts with people from exotic countries such as Yugoslavia, Poland, Hungary and other ex-Soviet republics. That's how sometimes they find people like guitarist Slav Simanic. The latter immediately recorded even a double album! And this time Italians from "Frontiers Records" found a real genius. On one hand, Slav's lyrics are too much related with Christianity and stuff but musically it's classic hard rock. And though it's the project of a guitar player you won't hear another Malmsteen copy. Surely the guitar is the main instrument on both albums but doesn't compete with other instruments and nowadays that is enough to praise the band's leader. On the first album there are some very good tracks like "People Say", "You" and very awesome instrumental "The Message Of Three Angels". To me personally that's the first album of a guitar player lately to whom music and lyrics are more important than speedy guitar solos. Well the second album is totally instrumental but it sounds very calm and balanced excluding a couple of tracks. Here Slav gives his best and I still wonder how he managed to escape all those typical guitar stuff that we hear on each (especially) instrumental guitar album. Anyway, Slav stands both feet on the ground and both albums prove that his future seems to be really bright and promising. Long live! (Dead Ripper)

5/5
JEFF SCOTT SOTO
Prism
Frontiers/CD-Maximum
2002
melodic hard rock

WOW! Legendary singer Jeff Scott Soto finally released the second solo album! And this time he did what everyone wanted to hear from him for nearly half a decade, the pure hard rock album with nice melodies, wonderful guitar chords and charismatic rough voice of the singer. While the first album literally surprised many of Soto's fans the second one compensated everything and showed the talented musician at his best. The album has no average tracks, all of them are just brilliant. The most interesting song is the cover-version of good old Rod Stewart "I Want To Take You Higher". Other standout masterpieces include "Eyes Of Love", "Don't Come Easy", "2 Late 4 Goodbyes" and "By Your Side". Also patriotic Jeff couldn't ignore the American tragedy of September 11, 2001 and devoted the song "Heaven Knows" to all victims of that day. In short, the album is highly recommended to all fans of Soto and AOR music in general for he is the best man in the row! (Dead Ripper) "CD-Maximum"

2/5
TALON
Talon
2002
Frontiers/CD-Maximum
hard rock

Count all new hard rock bands that emerged from America in past several years! To me five is high enough for them all. And that's not so bad! The hard rock music fully relocated to Europe though there are still some rockers in the USA but mostly all of them already signed contracts with European companies after desperate attempts to become famous at home. There are several exclusions like L. A. Guns, Tuff or Pretty Boy Floyd but they are somehow an "old guard". And the new one which is still hoped for has almost nothing good to say. Talon is a typical example of such band. After listening to their debut album several times you cannot find even one nice song. Talon plays traditional 1980s hard rock but it's not half of the way the giants used to do. Very standard, nothing new, several tracks are very mellow, the vocalist does not sing properly while the rest of musicians seem to play their own instruments for the first time and if not their input is quite miserable. In short, don't buy it, it really sucks! (Dead Ripper)

4/5
VICIOUS MARY
Vicious Mary
2002
Frontiers/CD-Maximum
hard rock

There is an Italian progressive band called Eldritch. It has about five albums, successful career and it is quite famous in Europe. At the same time no band musician nowadays feels comfortable without a side project. That is how Vicious Mary came about - those Italians wanted to play some traditional hard rock tunes in the vein of Dokken and Whitesnake. And the music speaks for itself. The singer sometimes reminds Andi Deris from Helloween but this feature just adds a nice contrast with the music. Singing guitar which was always a key element of melodic hard rock sounds perfect in tracks like "Love Or Hate", "Outside" and "E.L.I.S.A.". The ballad "Crying For You" is nice too while the keyboard instrumental track "Passage" is nothing but great. And if the music could not match the standards of the 80ies the lyrics did it anyway for the main topic of almost all songs is love. The only exclusion is "Indian River" in which the musical side has nothing to do with the lyrics. Of course, the band could not achieve such quality like Dokken did with "Unchain The Night" or Whitesnake with "Here I Go Again" but not everyone can release an awesome debut. Seems like we have to wait for the second album to find out if those progressive metallers are capable to create anything worth listening out of their hobby. (Dead Ripper)

2/5
JOHN WEST
Earth Maker
2002
Frontiers/CD-Maximum
hard rock

Tell me please, what's so special about that "extraordinary" singer John West? No doubt that he is not just another singer from an upcoming band but his singing is quite average. And this time John proved his "average" singing abilities again. The idea of the album is very interesting for this is a concept album about American Indians' believes in the Earth Maker. The story is a wonder, nice and knowledgeable but if another shouter performs it I would definitely give five points without any hesitation. But in my humble opinion West deserves no more than two ones. I wish him to put more energy and ideas into his main band Royal Hunt for recently there's nothing more or less interesting in Royal Hunt and John's solo careers. (Dead Ripper)

5/5
WHITE DIAMOND
The Lost Demos
2001
Lemmon Records
melodic rock

Unbelievable! I wonder how could a halfway dead American rock scene could produce such a masterpiece! When such groups like Aerosmith cannot even write a good song for a decade a completely underground band called White Diamond releases an album that every rock legend should carefully listen. Of course, the band did not do anything revolutionary but its melodies sound so awesome and catchy that it's hard to neglect the musicians. Adding the fact that the material is not brand new and those guys are not newcomers in rock music business. Originally the album was supposed to be released in 1991 (!) but thanks to destroying grunge wave and weak desire of musicians to stay on their way the album could never see the light of day if it wasn't for the powerful force of Internet. That is how the only original member, bassist Bjorn Englen, resurrected White Diamond, found new fellows including guitarist Neal Grusky and singer Don Lemmon and re-recorded the original tracks. The album itself has no weak points at all and that's for sure! Just listen to "Symbol Of Love", "American Dreamer", "It's Just Another Day" or "All My Love" - they are truly genius! And the cover of Danger Danger "Heaven" is brilliant! Or a nice "cover" of Manowar "Man Of God" (originally "Kings Of Metal")! In short, the disc is highly recommended to all lovers of quality hard rock. And though it is hard to get believe me - that's the best stuff you heard in past 15 years! (Dead Ripper)

3/5
WHITE SKULL
The Dark Age
2002
Frontiers/CD-Maximum
true metal :))))
Right, guess the Spanish inquisitors would be pretty freaking surprised had they heard how their feat in the name of Holy Mother Church were interpreted by this brave Italian quintet. Okay, now close your eyes and imagine some very-very standard mid-paced true-power metal, with inevitable sympho arrangements (Italians just love those), not-too-complex riffs, and the shredded romantic vocals which are not coping with the hard-to-pronounce English phonemes, you know the type of vocals which were normally used to sound the 'bad guy' in cartoons. Nothing special, although, gotta admit it, it may have been much worse. Agreed. But we have not gotten to the most interesting part yet. The lyrics, folks, yes, the lyrics Let me remind you that 'The Dark Age' is a conceptual piece of art, telling the story of the Holy Spanish Inquisition, so you gotta take it pretty seriously. Okay, close your eyes once again and imagine Spain, dawn of the 13th century, Red-robed inquisitors, are fussing around a pile of firewood laid at the foot of a large pole, that has an extremely full-breasted and sexy witch tied to it. A bear-torsoed executioner, his face hidden under a black mask raises his flaming torch, the judge demands for the last time that the witch confesses in all of here sins (preferably in detail), and hearing a proud silence in response, nods to the executioner. Flames rise, and the monks start chanting: 'Burn, Burn! Fucking!!!' Yeah right whatever (Troll)

Copyright MetalKings.com 2000 - 2017

.


All rights reserved. Any reproduction without written permission from MetalKings.com is prohibited
Send your requests to ragdoll@metalkings.com

updates |  review archive |  interviews |  gig reports |  aggressor |  dark princess |  contacts |  home |  sitemap

@Mail.ru