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
ABSU
Tara
Osmose / CD-Maximum
2001 / 2004
black metal
A new black metal legend release. The band traditionally makes albums unified by some concept story about a brave warrior, which is mainly the traditional power metal feature. This time musicians generated a story of a country similar to Tolkien's Middle Earth. As a result a whole half of the CD booklet is given to the dictionary of that mysterious country. Musically Absu stayed true to its classic black metal rules. And although the reviewer is not a high-class specialist in the black metal scene you don't have to be a musical genius to see the outstanding talent and unique background of this band. Hopefully other albums will be of the same strong caliber. (Dead Ripper)

4-/5
ALTARIA
Invitation
2003
Metal Heaven / AMG
power
One could of easily described this album as yet another power-metal-mumbo-jumbo, had it not been for one thing - the obvious talent which you cannot drink away, even if you're Finnish. All the genre's best, performed by talented Finnish musicians, the not overly silly lyrics - these are the arguments one cannot just brush way. What I personally liked most of all, is that despite the presence of Jani Liimatainen of Sonata Arctica and Emppu Vuorinen of Nightwish, the CD is not swarming with high-speed solos, and is rather more mid-tempo, which certainly adds to its convincingness and listenableness. The voice of Juoni Nikula is pretty much known to everyone out there who cared to listen to Requiem, so there was no surprise here. Easily memorable melodies, such as "Wrath of a Warchild" and "Unicorn", the traditional for 50% of Finnish bands participation of Marco Hietala on the backing vocals, all of that creates a nice impression of traditional Finnish power without overbends into excessive complexity or pretense for anything genius. Simple and with much taste, as they often put it. (Debbie Boink)

4/5
ANTHRAX
Return Of The Killer A's
Eagle / CD-Maximum
1999 / 2004
thrash metal
The year 1991 marked the release of the very interesting album "Attack Of The Killer B's" of the American thrash metal band Anthrax. The album turned out to be extremely popular among fans of the band and about a decade later Anthrax came out with the similar title for the best-of collection. Generally speaking, the album has it all for an Anthrax fan including classic tracks with both frontmen, John Bush and Joey Belladonna. The compilation features "Potter's Field", "Bring The Noise", "Indians", "Ball Of Confusion", "I'm The Man" and other songs. The only problem is the total absence of tracks from the debut LP, which was not that bad though a bit different sound-wise. On top of advantages, the CD booklet includes comments for each track written by Anthrax leader and genuine guitar player Scott Ian. But let's face it - Anthrax is a legendary outfit and its best-of should have been a double album. (Dead Ripper)

5-/5
ASIA
Silent Nation
InsideOutMusic
2004
prog
Everyone who has been making guesses about the title of the new Asia album, thinking that it was going to be once again some silly pun in the vein of AntraktidA, were proven wrong. This time around and for the first time over the past 22 years the title makes sense and perfectly suits the quite naturalistic cover artwork, which has something pleasingly Hitchhockish about, and is even better played with in the inlay. In essence these are the only changes. If you happen to know what the new Asia are about, that is 1992 ad libitum, then the new one is going to become your "very favorite and long known" from day 1. The moderate-paced sagas, simple and without the unnecessary posture, done in the traditionally expressive performance of John Pain, whose vocals seem to be lazily tanning in the light of stereoscopic Asia-sound. Maybe not as power as in 1992 and 1994, however songs like "Silent Nation", "What About Love", and "Blue Moon Monday" keep the album steady in the once conquered positions. Once again this handful of men has proven that once you plough your own harmonies in the field of your own style, you can retain the status of a truly cult band for 10 years and more, even despite the share of monotony and - at times - self-repetition. (Fireball)

4/5
BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST
Nexus
Eagle / CD-Maximum
2002 / 2004
progressive rock
Reliable sources insist that this band used to follow the musical direction generated by Pink Floyd. They mixed beautiful arrangements with genuine songs and added something very special and very unique to the sound. But seems those days are far gone. Just imagine an acoustic track running for 60 minutes and that's what this album is all about. The album maintains the one and only tempo throughout the whole performance; it can be compared to some country music with rare orchestral exceptions and specific melancholic and psychedelic feeling. If you never heard this band, the album is superb for relaxation after a day of hard work. (Dead Ripper)

2/5
BARILARI
Barilari
2003
NEMS Enterprises / FONO
Heavy-power gibberish
You know, in my book, you can only have so many misunderstood geniuses forming bands named after themselves, and calling a bunch of guest stars to participate. I mean I have nothing against professional musicians having a glass of beer/shot of vodka and jamming a little, but why would anyone want make albums out of this and shovel them onto the market? Here also, Adrian Barilari - an Argentinian singer (and I will admit a good singer he is) - is trying to convince us that his jam-sessions with famous Finnish musicians is the new super-0group out there, while in reality this is not even a project. Whilst the musical professionalism of the people involved herein is not subject to any doubt whatsoever, the musical material itself leaves quite a lot to be desired with its boring-to-death guitar soloing with the no-less-dull vocal exercising. Add this with the traditional Finnvox-mix/mastering and you get you average bubble gum for undemanding listeners. As soon as you hear it you'll think of a dozen names starting from Maestro Yngwie himself, to Sonata Arctica, to Nightwish, to Stratovarius and a bunch of others. The only bright spit in this sonic mass is probably the Spanish cover of "Stargazer". (Debbie Boink)

5/5
DANNY DANZI
Danziland
MTM Music / CD-Maximum
2004
melodic hard rock
Dear listener! Dig deep in your mind and try to recall the most legendary album of Swedish guitar master Yngwie J. Malmsteen, in particular, the song called "Faster Than The Speed Of Light". You got it? OK, that's this album of guitar player Danni Danzi is about! Yes, the vocals are pure Joe Lynn Turner (note that Danni sings everything by himself). Add to that memorable melodies and more or less virtuoso guitar playing - the result is pretty impressing. It's a really rare event lately that the American scene gives birth to such a talented musician. Musical arrangements are magnificent and the recording quality is great too. Possibly the latest feature occurred due to co-producer commitments of Wayne Davis, who produced Don Dokken's solo release "Up From The Ashes". It's even hard to select a particular song since all of them fit tightly one to another. One of the best albums from America in some five years. (Dead Ripper)

5/5
DEATHSTARS
Synthetic Generation
2003
Nuclear Blast / Irond
industrial
Deathstars are undoubtedly a new Swedish sensation. Sharp-edged cold melodies of dark industrial, soul-freezing lyrics, mind-blowing unisex image and hi-class videos - this is not something you can do in an amateur stage of the annual fare, that something that takes talent, and this is exactly what Deathstars are about. The recording of "Synthetic Generation" - this hellpit spawn - was taking place in the renown Fredman Studios with the help of Anders Friden (In Flames). The mixing duties were handed over to Stefan Glaumann (Rammstein, Clawfinger, Def Leppard), whilst the final mastering was handled by none other than Deathstars' very own guitarist named Nightmare Industries (he is by the way the brother of the notorious Dissection guitarist Jon Nodtveidt, who was convicted and put in jail for murder back in the day). This particular edition of the CD was enhanced with two bonus tracks - one of them being a cover of Billy Idol's "White Wedding", which - in my opinion - spanks the begeezuz out of Doro's earlier attempt at the song. The video to the title track has the capacity of stunning even the most depraved minds out there. Style on the edge and beyond - excellent work! (Debbie Boink)

5/5
TIM DONAHUE
Madmen And Sinners
Frontiers / CD-Maximum
2004
progressive hard rock
A while ago musician Tim Donahue famous for playing the fretless guitar and bass guitar released a joint album with legendary singer Kelly Hansen (ex-Hurricane, Unruly Child). Seems like Tim really enjoyed working with a singer than instrumental efforts and this time his choice was another American rock star, singer James LaBrie from Dream Theater. The result is the concept album recorded nowhere but in Japan (!!!). The album sounds quite brutal but melodic once in a while surely with progressive elements. Just listen to "Million Miles" - can you compare it with mellow Primal Fear especially in terms of vocals? There's almost nothing similar with Dream Theater on the album, even James attempted to locate his voice into some other style. A significant masterpiece but needs time for full understanding. (Dead Ripper)

4/5
DYSLESIA
Years Of Secret
Brennus Music / CD-Maximum
2002 / 2004
power metal
A nice album of a power metal band. Good memorizing melodies. Though the problem remains still the same - nothing special. A symphonic piece was borrowed from Rhapsody, the singing style stolen from Edguy and Helloween-ripping guitar solo surely appeared on almost all tracks. But then we get to the 5th track, which has something original like a stylish Wild West intro reminding of a brave Indian warrior about to go to war. Ballad "These Days" is the all time original number though very sleazy. The whole album is pumped with positive and lively emotions creating a great appeal for any power metal fan. (Dead Ripper)

5/5
EKTOMORF
Destroy
2004
Nuclear Blast / Irond
Angry gypsy metal
Back a long-long time ago singer/guitarist Farkas Zoltan and his bass-brother Csaba formed a band called Ektomorf thus starting what was soon labeled as a Hungarian version of Sepultura. The unbelievably aggressive and spiteful riffing is combination with Gypsy and Indian melodies were not only successfully developed into a high-quality product, but also expensively sold to one of the top metal labels out there - Nuclear Blast. As a result, the NB-managers are now gladly rubbing their sweaty hands looking at the sales numbers of "Destroy", whilst the proud Hungarians are overjoyed at witnessing the promotion of their modest selves as well as their strong musical efforts. The alliance did work. The best tracks - i.m.o. - are the conditionally biographic "Gypsy" that tells a story of a hard Gypsy fate and the hard-boiled "No Compromise". The rest of it will either blow you head into the oblivion or eave you puzzled about the riddle of the mysterious Gypsy-soul. (Debbie Boink)

3-/5
EMPTY TREMOR
The Alien Inside
Frontiers records / CD-Maximum
2004
prog
The departure of Oliwer Hartmann from a super-group at the peak of its popularity and - most importantly - creative fertility, was even more intriguing when it became clear who and how managed to lead him away from At Vance. It was none other than Daniele Liverani - a very fruitful and a no-less-ambitious all-sorts-of-instrumentalist, composer, poet, and mastermind, whose achievements include the likes of "Genius: a rock opera" and a multitude of bands, projects, side-projects, guest appearances and such, amongst which is EMPTY TREMOR takes its modest and not-at-all key place. Not trying to copy anyone (the eternal "Theater" does not count) but not trying to impress anyone with any revelations either, the band methodically digs into its unpretentious prog, that causes nothing but slight boredom and confusion about the fact what one of today's best metal singers is doing in this third-class project? The power, the timbre, excellent choirs - Hartmann's technique is excellent as always, but the change in the style and the drop in the level of the band itself did not do him much good. (Fireball)

3+/5
ETHEREAL PANDEMONIUM
Jesus.Christ@Hell.Com
Hrom / CD-Maximum
2002/2004
gothic black doom
Those of you who are familiar with Let Me Dream's "Greyscales" - raise your hands, please? Alright, now add to that female vocals, energetic black-metal runs, and frequent rhythm-shifts and you'll get "Jesus.Christ@Hell.com" - an original and highly creative effort of a Slovak sympho-pagan-doom-metallers Ethereal Pandemonium. A very atmospheric and many-sided piece of music with very specially structured background keyboard parts, which seem to sound sort of out place and not altogether with the music. Thanks to that the band managed to create a certain interactive effect characteristic of - say - theatres. A wide span of constantly changing vocal parts keeps the listeners' attention all through the record. Despite the fact that the professional level of this bunch is closer to that of an average club-band and that some of the songs would cause nothing but a condescending smile, I really do not feel like criticizing these guys. The creative process here is definitely on a high level, and the CD is interesting to listen to this way or other. (Leathermaniac)

3-/5
HATESPHERE
Hatesphere
2001 / 2004
Scarlet Records / CD-Maximum
Swedish Thrash Metal
Gosh, mosh thrash! Sight would crash! The Haunted's fresh! You're just a splash! Sense is not your fish. You're gibberish! Songs are squished! You make me blush! Thousands unleashed, you march through the brush like an order of the leach - all faces washed into same trash. Flash some cash! Brain-squashed mesh, you all be hushed! A man becomes poor due to the lack of money, a piece of music becomes poor due to the penury of its author's feelings and ideas. Those parents who do not have enough means to sustain their children but still make ones are referred to as poverty-breeding. Scarlet Records have been breeding poverty music for a long time now and with ever-growing enthusiasm. Hatesphere's debut record - as well as all of their later works - are nothing else than an attempt to plant their collective arses upon the laurels of the leaders of Swedish thrash metal. Then again, in my opinion, it is rather useful to have at least one HS-album in your collection. So that the moth stays away from the shelves. (St.Ded)

5/5
HEARSE
Armageddon, Mon Amour
2004
Karmageddon Media / Irond
-
Blast me, if I don't like this jolly naughty lad Johan Liiva! Hardly we had the time to get over Hearse's thunder-like debut release, and the second hellspawn is already here. Everything is played fast, rough, and unpredictable, plus add the top-of-the-shelf growl of Liiva himself, the lightning-bolt riffing courtesy of Matias, and a full basket of all kinds of addends from punk and nu-metal to progressive. Believe me this Molotov's cocktail is sure to propel Hearse sky-high in their career. The magnificent "Turncoat" and the acoustic instrumental of "Sodi" are the true black pearls of this album. And of course do not forget the all-time hit of "Cambodia"! A madness like this could make Kim Wilde herself green with envy. (Debbie Boink)

5/5
IMMORTAL
Blizzard Beasts
1997 / 2004
Osmose Productions / CD-Maximum
Immortal Black
Year of 1997. Changes have been following Immortal from the very start of their Way, but - in very many ways - this year has become their Rubicon. But let us hear the musicians themselves (cameras snap, microphones thrust forward, and hushing the audience into silence Abbath drops causally with majestic wisdom and blinding candidness): "Yes we have taken upon electro-pop, but that matters little, for we still stayed true to ourselves (a long Shakespeare pause, broken with an unexpected and contagious shit-eating grin) cause we are Immortal! Anyone needs a cardiac? :) So, where was I, the year of 1997 was the first to take the devastating blow od Death Metal, leaving a deep scar on the band's creations. That very scar is reponsible for the appearance of little power demons, different forms of expressiveness, but never touched the raven-black steel foundations of their style and charismatic individuality. The essence of the fiendish soul of the album here is as always the rhythm. Messed up, provoking, and all-hating This hate has nothing of the papier-mache romanticism and quazi-bravery of Hammerfall, or the jolly ruthlessness of the fearless CoF sadism. It is an oppressing and rotting feeling. It is something that makes your fists clench, and your shoulders bend forward, something that deprives you of peace and pleasure, doubt and fear, reduces the will to live and becomes the only raison d'etre. (You're right constipation has similar syndromes). A classic piece of black metal from the genre classics. (St.Ded)

5/5
IMPALED NAZARENE
Tol Cormpt Norz Norz Norz
1993 / 2004
Osmose Productions / CD-Maximum
Bedlam (psychotically sardonic true black)
Let us turn our eyes onto the black metal wall of fame and once again mark the special place therein that these Finns occupy. Back at the dawn of his career the Nazarene was closer to the bench test models of the genre, but later on it allowed itself to drift away into the channels wherefrom the dwellers of the neighboring genres were taking their inspiration. Then again the light addends have always been there - death metal, multiple sataanilaiset interludes (which I personally would call the most talented and colorful in the entire field of rock music), punk, and grind. Which is why it would be easier and probably righter to focus our attention on the mental aspect of the band's creativity - that is, sharp-edged nihilism, gall exaltation, and an unbearable urge to mock and play, which did not allow the boys maketh the narrowly emotional grim evil, say like their colleagues of Darkthrone. It has something of the wisdom-caused grief, but not for themselves, but rather the objects of their aggression, who, back in the times, were the priest-servants of god and their sacramental pamphlets. This beautiful bend-over-backwards-piece-of-depravity is the very-very first in the band's history. Dating back to 1993 then TKNNN was in a multitude of ways innovative and breakthrough, whilst now it is only a "modest" classic, which should be present on the shelves of all the acolytes of the horns and hooves. (St.Ded)

5/5
IMPALED NAZARENE
Latex Cult
1996 / 2004
Osmose Productions / CD-Maximum
Black punk full speed
An overly choleric horror! Contrary to their own first creations, the Nazarene-boys sculptured "Latex Cult" into a much more monotonous and solid mixture. But it was mainly due to these very qualities that caused the birth of a hurricane-like rhythm, which could serve as a very graphic illustration to the soul-saving speeches delivered by preachers of all sorts and kinds about the evil and hazards lurking in the depths of rock music awaiting to snap their claws around the throats of those young and inexperienced (as well as experienced and even seasoned) at heart and mind slaves of the Lord! Seriously, it will only take a couple of seconds of this indecent exposure for a god-loving and well-to-do member of the congregation to turn into a spasmatically squirming, floor-rolling victim of Hell. And although I am still sticking to my opinion that the palm in the race of the Blackest Drive out there is still shaken by the hands of the Shiva-like mastermind behind the OCTINOMOS project, IN here are definitely no worse, especially considering the fact that their unique version of black punk put them beyond direct comparisons and competition. (St.Ded)

3/5
OVERKILL
Killbox 13
Eagle / CD-Maximum
2003 / 2004
thrash metal
An album of thrash metal veterans. Extremely brutal and rough. Has nothing to do with Destruction because of the total lack of fun. And not really a thrash metal album, to say the least; it's all because of slow and mellow passages on each second track. "Struck Down" and "I Rise" turn up the tempo and easily fall into the speed metal marathon. At the same time what can you expect from a band, which line-up changed almost completely since the days of foundation? The album might be nice but only die-hard fans will be able to understand the whole concept. Anyway, we do not recommend to you to start learning about Overkill from this release. (Dead Ripper)

4/5
OVERKILL
Wrecking Everything - Live
Eagle / CD-Maximum
2002 / 2004
thrash metal
Wanna hear this legendary band live but have no chance? You are not the only because Overkill is a rare guest on European stages. Thus the band settled on the task to record a live album. If the memory still serves me right Overkill's latest live album was released a long time ago (if it was actually released). So what do we have here? A totally professional band, as professional as in the studio in terms of the performance. It's even a big surprise how they manage to do it! Another praise goes to the singer, who never fails a note and, what's more, he announces every single track, which is a never-seen-before feature on live albums. There's only one minus - Overkill is a relatively old band and a live album could have been a double one. The rest is OK. (Dead Ripper)

5/5
TANKARD
Beast Of Bourbon
AFM / CD-Maximum
2004
thrash metal
The brand new album of beer thrashers from Germany. Funny and tremendously speedy in the style of this band. What else can we say after hearing a song called "Die With A Beer In Your Hand"? It's a nice surprise that Tankard managed to unify the funny side of the Tankwart years with the extreme aggression of early Tankard days. The album reminds of two other mastodons from Germany, namely Destruction and Sodom. Sometimes you get the impression that Schmier is a secret singer on this album while Tom Angelripper influences are definitely heard in the crushingly speedy tempo on most of the tracks. Still not enough? Listen to bass solo on "Genetic Overkill"! Get totally blitzed with the production supervised by former Holy Moses axeman Andy Classen. So maybe other giants of the mighty German thrash scene should think of the chance of a strong competition. (Dead Ripper)

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