Saturday, December 09, 2006

Upload: Dragonland - Astronomy

I got this album from drop him a comment for this one, because despite some oddities, kinks, and flaws, it's pretty damn good.

The album starts with one of the strongest tracks, "Supernova." The song gives a great idea of what is to come: orchestral elements and electronics added to semi-power metal (I hesitate to use the genre name, because this album isn't really all that power metally), with soaring vocals, solos on both keyboard and guitar, etc. There's definitely a heavy, heavy emphasis on the electronics, though; I would categorize the band's sound somewhere between Dragonforce and Dark Tranquillity. "Supernova" and "Casseopia", tracks 1 and 2, are a bit more midpaced than most other songs on the album, and I think this actually suits their unique style a little better, as many of the faster songs, like "Contact" or "Direction Perfection" are more derivative of other power metal. The best track on the album is definitely "Beethoven's Nightmare," with fluid, mobile piano over a metal background and small clips of Beethoven piano pieces blended in seamlessly. "Too Late for Sorrow" just doesn't quite fit with everything else, a vaguely listenable song though it is.

The other side of the album, though, is the classical and neoclassical side. This starts in full force with "The Book Of Shadows Part IV: The Scrolls Of Geometria Divina," an entirely orchestral piece -- there is no guitar, no vocals, nothing except the orchestra. The album also ends with a trio of neoclassical instrumentals, making up "The Old House on the Hill"; these tracks do include the band. While these are nice, in the end I'm not really wanting to listen to these as much as I want to spin "Supernova" or "Beethoven's Nightmare."

And one more little, tiny complaint: it's like this is a concept album that was abandoned halfway through. The album name is Astronomy, the first 5 songs are named after celestial bodies or spacey things (Supernova, Casseopia, Contact, Astronomy, Antimatter), and then it just drops off. I don't get it.

A little flawed, a little iffy, but overall very much satisfactory.

7.3 half-assed album concepts out of 10.

There is no link, Neo

Monday, November 13, 2006

Upload: Dark Lunacy - The Diarist

I downloaded this album on a whim awhile back, I don't remember from where. This one is quite a piece of work, despite some initial misgivings.

First, the bad. The riffs in the album are for the most part generic melodeath fare. Don't expect to be seeing massively technical, amazing solos here, either. The sound on the surface should be very familiar by now, and many of the songs don't move beyond chorus-verse-chorus-verse-bridge-chorus format.

But to start off the good news: none of those things really matter here!

This album's greatest strength is making something really new and interesting out of 1/3 elements boring old dogshit, 1/3 classical elements, and 1/3 kickassery. This is a concept album, folks; although you *could* listen to it by individual song, you'd be missing the massive story behind the album: the WWII battle of Stalingrad and its human repercussions. Not to mention, this is a well-done concept album -- even if you can't understand the lyrics (considering one song straight-up isn't in English, this is understandable), you can at least understand kind of what's going on and what the album is about from the music and skits alone. Speaking of the skits, there are two -- the title track and Prospekt -- and they are both quite descriptive in their content. In terms of classical elements, a chorus and some female vocals are used on some songs, and they sound perfect along the orchestration provided (strings, piano, and horns on a few songs). When I say these are used, I mean used in the sense of "all the freaking time, seamlessly", and it works so amazingly well.

Overall, SUCH a good album. I'd say this is at least at my top 10 for 2006.

8.9sampled Russian victory marches out of 10.

Click, and thou shalt receive!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Upload: Kansas - Kansas

Yes, I know this isn't metal. I don't care. I said in my first post that some of the stuff I post won't be metal. Tough shit, deal with it. Or better yet, keep reading.

If I had to pick a favorite classic rock album, this would be it. This is mainly because it engenders the two best things about music of the era. Side one of the album is basically side blues-rock. The music isn't going for too much depth, though it is certainly there in the arrangements; this side is here to rock and to please the fans and sell albums, plain and simple. That being said, it's still great stuff; notable is Robby Steinhardt's expressive violinwork and gritty vocals. Third track "Lonely Wind" is a slow ballad-type song, and it soars far above almost any other song of the type, especially with the harmonies on the third chorus.

Side two is where things get interesting. Excepting the fluke song "The Pilgrim" (which isn't bad at all, it's just kind of out of place), two of the songs are 8 minutes long, and the other is about 9:30. Considering this was 1974, holy shit! The first, "Journey to Mariabronn", tells a story in a very expressive manner. Instrumental breaks, subtle time changes, and violin and keyboard work make this one shine like nothing else. The 9:30 song, "Apercu", is all about the buildup and the grandeur. The song takes a very mellow break in the middle, then comes back full-force at the end. It transitions exactly into the next song, "Death of Mother Nature Suite". This one is fairly straightforward in the beginning, but a similar mellow break happens in the middle, which transitions to a fairly hard part, then an interesting, different coda.

A great album even today, 22 years later. An even better album considering when it was released. Good stuff.

8.5 crazy violin solos out of 10.

Clizzle to Downlizzle, Hizzle

Monday, October 30, 2006

Upload: Dio - Master of the Moon

If you don't know who Ronnie James Dio is, there's a "back" button on your browser, tailor-made just for you. Granted, it hasn't been that long since I first heard the excellent, incredible Holy Diver, but I learned, and you can too. Listen at least to "Stand Up and Shout", "Holy Diver", "Gypsy", and "Rainbow in the Dark", then get back to me here. The guy fucking INVENTED the horns -- show some fucking respect, you ingrates.

For the rest of us: metal knowledge is oh so sweet. Dio has come a long way since the aforementioned 1983 debut, but hasn't gone so far as to turn his back on his fanbase. The opener, "One More for the Road", would sufficiently rock the face off any nostalgic 80's metal fan, and even the slower tracks like "End of the World" have a distinct hardness to them, more so than any weepy 80's power ballad ever could. Unlike Holy Diver, the album doesn't end on a subpar track, either -- "In Dreams" is a very worthy send-off. I guess we developed better anti-frontloading technology over the years along with the cheese-reduction software.

The instrumentation isn't the most technical out there, but it's very fitting to the music -- fairly simple leads and rhythms are adorned by soloing and occasional, slight keyboards, backed up by an audible bass presence, and vaguely held together by the drums. Although this sounds like it would be 80's central, it comes off as fairly modern regardless. Props to Dio for at least not making the same album over and over. Also very un-80's are the production and the cheese level: the production is crystal-clear, giving the guitar and Dio's (still surprisingly good) voice precedence, and the album is not nearly as cheesy as it could have been (and not nearly as cheesy as Holy Diver, dear to my heart though it is).

If I said this album had a tragic flaw, that would be stretching it. This album is beyond good. That being said, as with any album of this nature, some songs are always better than others, and "The Eyes" is my target here. It doesn't feel like it fits in the album, and sort of carves an uneasy niche for itself in the middle of the album. That, and Dio's vocal range isn't nearly as good as it used to be. Then again, for a guy who's been performing since 1970 (in his original band "Elf"), it's certainly understandable. Age happens, and I cut him a LOT of slack for still sounding so incredibly good after 35 years.

All in all, a very worthy purchase for me. I love this album. A lot. You should, too.

8.9 really, really old metal vocalists who will never die out of 10.

Click to download!

P.S. Apparently Dio is reuniting with the old crew over at Black Sabbath for a tour (under the moniker "Heaven and Hell"), supposedly happening in early 2007. If this happens...holy shit. Best. Tour. Ever.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Review: Killswitch Engage - As Daylight Dies

(no pic, I got the album quite a while before it actually comes out. Am I good or am I good?)

I have to say, even as they've got progressively worse, I always had a soft spot in my heart for this band. After all, they got me into more extreme, less mallcorey stuff back in the day when I didn't have the inner soul of an underground yunki. Even today, I at least acknowledge Alive or Just Breathing as at least an influential album to the rapidly growing trend of melodic metalcore, and at most possibly the best metalcore album of the time. I'm not one to give unwarranted, trendy praise, but I'll give a band its due when they do something significant. Granted, 90% of this trend is utter shit (see aforementioned Trivium), but that's never stopped a trend yet (see, for example, hair metal, garage rock, post-grunge, mallcore, etc., etc., etc.). Even when the subpar follow-up, The End of Heartache, rolled around, we could at least acknowledge that it was semi-decent and had a few really well put-together tracks, such as the strangely decent "Rose of Sharyn", even if the whole album didn't quite jive the way AOJB did.

When I heard that a new KsE album was coming out, I was filled with slight interest, but still apprehension. When I saw the link to the leak someplace (I forget where), I couldn't resist. I got that shit and gave it a spin. What I got was notAOJB material. What I got was not even TEOH-worthy material. Shit, it wasn't even TEOH b-side material. This album is pure and utter shit.

The album begins with an electrical, keyboardy intro which makes me think at first that something is new, exciting. BZZT. Wrong, bitch! The opener "Daylight Dies" goes straight into a chuggy, one-powerchord riff punctuated with 4-note harmonized gothencore fill(er)s and a melodic chorus we've all heard before, breakdown where any other band would put a solo, etc. If you've heard any song by any band that KERRANG! has said was the greatest thing ever in the past 4 years or so, you know exactly what I'm talking about. The rest of the album alternates between this self-cannibalization, Soilwork-worship (listen to the chorus of "This is Absolution", and compare to Soilwork's "The Flameout" from Natural Born Chaos. Shit, Jones's voice even sounds like Speed's), emocore (damn, Howard Jones really needs to learn how to write decent lyrics), and just shamelessly weak parts (such as the ill-fitting, really commercial post-chorus to "Absolution"). Shit, they even have a Trivium-style emo song. "The Arms of Sorrow" is like "This World Can't Tear Us Apart" part 2, but to KsE's credit, it doesn't completely blow balls like that (awful, awful, AWFUL) Trivium song. That being said, "My Curse" is like the retarded, autistic younger brother to the excellent, soaring "The Element of One" of AOJB past (at least in the guitar lead), except for the odd, misplaced syncopated screams of "THIS IS MY CURSE". Odd, misplaced time changes seem to be a theme to many songs -- it's like they were saying, "Look, we'll prove we're sincere about not selling out by making parts of the shitty songs unbearable, jerky, and pretentious instead. Happy?" Assholes.

Oh yeah, and Howard Jones's growls suck now for some reason. I remember the days of Blood Has Been Shed past with nostalgia and uprasied horns -- now those were some fucked up growls, screeches, and occasional singing. That Howey sounded like he was clawing out his own liver while eating someone's babies, and his singing fit really, really well without having to change song dynamics in the middle (that beauty-and-the-beast shit was really, really old in TEOH, and two years later it still hasn't become creative). This Howey sounds like every other metalcore singer. What a surprise, as this album is a bad metalcore album. And damn, Adam Dookieatrociousunspellablename needs to shut the fuck up. His vocals worked in VERY small amounts in previous albums, but damn, the guy sounds awful here. He's not that great a guitarist, either, while we're taking notes.

That's another thing about this album: no member other than the vocalist really stands out in the production. I can't hear the bass, the guitars are just doing their chugga-chugga-harmonized shitty lead thing, and the drums are decidedly vanilla. Pop quiz, what type of music emphasizes mostly the vocals? Oh, yeah, pop music. Haha, pop => pop. That's punny.

Fuck you.

Anyhow, I give you a month and 3 days advance notice. Seriously, look at the release date, I'm amazing. Don't buy this album. DO NOT buy this album. I repeat myself for emphasis: stay the FUCK away from this turd.

(Note: this only gets a higher grade than the Trivium album because I genuinely, truly, completely, fully, unequivocally hate Trivium and Matt Heafy. Lick my nuts, Matt!)

3.7 disgraced founders of a trend that was fairly shitty anyway out of 10.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Upload: Extol - Burial

(Edit: whoever owned the initial image apparently couldn't stand the bandwidth requirements of a shitty blogger account. Assholes.)

The Christian music scene is, for the most part, a stale imitation of music as a whole. So-called "alternatives" to non-Christian bands (as if one could really have an alternative for classic bands like Metallica, Slayer, Death, etc.) abound in the marketplace, especially when it comes to the ever-cursed metalcore and hardcore. This is especially true considering that some fans will listen simply for the lyrics, rendering the actual substance (being the music) a moot point. In such a scene, one might pronounce any hope of a truly standout, creative band dead on arrival.

It is with great relief with which I say that the true spirit of music does occasionally poke through the muck in the Christian scene. It happened in the early nineties with Believer and Horde, and it happened in 1998 with Extol's debut, Burial. While subsequent efforts would never quite reach the peak achieved here, this album is definitely a milestone in the Christian music scene, simply for being so creative and generally not derivative.

If we were to put a specific genre on this, I would call it progressive black/death/melodic death metal. Progressive because it's got some seriously out-there songwriting and great guitarwork, black/death because it's, well, black/death. In some ways, this is pretty straightforward, but in many ways this is quite complicated. Varying synths, effects, and odd instruments (a sitar-like sound occurs on "Reflections of a Broken Soul", there are some jackhammer sounds in the title track, the list goes on) add to the songs without sounding cheesy or overbearing. The production resembles what many black metal productions should be, a mix loud and thin on drums and guitars, not too much distortion, some slight bass in the background, and growl vocals with effects unto oblivion. Speaking of vocals, the guitarist brings in his incredible range on a few songs, and it's quite classy in comparison to a lot of metal with clean vocals. It really adds to the mood, rather than falling into the "beauty and the beast" songwriting cliche (contrasting pummelling with soft parts), as they often do later in their career.

Some people say that the follow-up to this, Undeceived, is the true masterpiece. I disagree. This album never gets old, while I can hardly listen to Undeceived after hearing it straight through a few times. Undeceived is alright, but this is way better. This album broke the mold, and I don't think they'll ever get close to re-attaining the glory acheived on this album.

8.1 names that sound a lot more awesome than their meaning out of 10.

Click to download!

NOTE: The upload isn't the best quality, and it can change from song to song. That being said, if anyone out there wishes to donate a better quality upload, I would be quite appreciative.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Upolad: Sonata Arctica - Silence

This is quite clearly a power metal album. If the cover and that sentence didn't completely scare you off, keep reading. I personally don't mind power metal bands, but a lot of people do. While I do love Silence to death, points of it certainly make me see why power metal isn't meant to be taken completely seriously.

First off, this album is the cheesiest cheese that's ever cheesed. From the spoken-word in the beginning and end to the narrative dialogue at the beginning of "The End of the Chapter" to the full-blown, epic "The Power of One" ending the album, this is for the most part full-speed power metal. In some ways (and certainly in the attitude), this is very similar to 90% of power/speed metal. The album flows quite well from track to track; it definitely doesn't attract a "string of singles" feel to it. Tracks like the uber-uber-uber happy sounding "Weballergy" and "San Sebastian","False News Travels Fast" (my personal favorite), "Black Sheep", and "The Wolf and the Raven" are speedy enough to snap any headbanger's neck. The guitarwork is at times decent, at times amazing, and the solos are satisfying. The real winner here, though, is the keyboardist. This guy uses quite a range of effects, from harpsichordish shit to ambient pads to whatever --this is what gives them that extra-special, new-fangled "symphonic" tag to their genre. The last song, "The Power of One", is quite notable, mostly for being a really good album ender, but also for being 10 minutes long and being as cheesily epic as possible. I love it, but a lot of people will pass. Screw all you people, it's a great song.

The problems occur when the album slows down for ballads, which happens far too much for my taste (2 slow songs and 2 midpaced songs for a 12-song album). There are points in both full ballads, "Last Drop Falls" and "Tallulah", when I subconsciously turn down the volume on my speakers for the sake of maintaining street cred. The music for these is sappy to the point of being ridiculous. The lyrics on the slower/more serious songs, especially "The End of This Chapter" and "Last Drop Falls", are at times laughable, and at times made me look them up in the (really hard to read) booklet to see if their singer actually said what I thought he said. On that note, randomly putting the phrase "without underwear" without context in a slow song (in "Last Drop Falls") is a definite way to get my attention. Oh yeah, and "You must keep it real to find her" (in "Weballergy", which is a really strange title for a song that is only nominally about the internet or anything web-related) has to be one of the strangest sentences I've ever seen. Just a thought.

So, my rating stands:
7.5 album covers that have fuck-all to do with the album out of 10.

Click here to download!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Upload: Celtic Frost - Monotheist

As I said in my intro post, I'm a college student. I wasn't exactly alive when the original greats of metal were getting started and touring. To top it off, I only started seriously listening to music a little while ago. Thus, I only caught "classic" metal albums on the second or third go-around, and there are many more that I have yet to listen to.

This being said, I had just heard Celtic Frost's Into the Pandemonium (killer album, by the way) when I read that Celtic Frost were reforming and coming out with a new album after 14 years or so. I was happy, but also a little scared. Would this be a masterpiece or a dud? It was impossible to tell up until the last second. Critics were completely divided about the album, either hailing it as a work of genius or denouncing it as the worst they've ever done (well, second-worst...almost nothing can get worse than Cold Lake). The two singles I heard from their site sounded alright, if not inspirational, so I figured I would at least get an enjoyable experience.

What I got was a truly unique album, and a lesson from the forefathers as to how dark, dark music (and metal in general) is really done.

The first two songs, "Progeny" and "Ground", are the two singles, and they're decent, if not exactly inspired. "Progeny" uses maybe 5 notes, and Ground doesn't have many more. This is very simplistic stuff, but damn if it doesn't get the blood flowing! That being said, these songs serve as an effective counter to the incredibleness that is to come. "A Dying God Coming Into Human Flesh" is next, and it's impressive. The song uses simple riffs, but the buildup in the song borders upon apocalyptic. This seems to be a theme in the album: building really complex songs out of complete simplicity. "Drown in Ashes" starts with some industrialish sounds, then a female singer comes in and creeps the hell out of anyone listening. This track has a more industrial, almost goth feel to it. As the album goes on, the music gets more doomy and more reflective, culminating in the triad of "Totengott" (a distorted spoken-word track), "Synagoga Satanae" (an impressive 14:24 sardonic look into the nature of evil), and "Winter"( a classical instrumental string quartet piece). "Winter" is a really calming piece, as if to give one a cooldown or respite from the awesomeness of the whole rest of the album. That's right, this is a full-album deal. To get the full effect, this really has to be listened to at night or during the winter; preferrably both. This is one of those albums where atmosphere means a lot. Listen in the right place and time, and it will mean so much more.

Final word:

8.3 creepy mo'fo's eating spiders out of 10.

Highly, highly recommended.

Click to Download!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Review: Trivium - The Crusade

I never really liked Trivium. I would like to say I did in proxy, in that I used to be one of those 'core fuckers that piss every metalhead off. But as far as I'm concerned, these idiots missed the boat, in that they missed me. I came in as late as humanly possible to the 'core rush, weaning myself from Killswitch Engage's "The End of Heartache" and Shadows Fall's "The War Within". I soon moved onto bigger and better bands. These guys released their first (non-demo) album in '03; I completely missed them. That being said, while I look upon KsE and SF with some nostalgia, this is one band I am proud to say I never liked.

Then I heard this cover of Master of Puppets. The CD it was on ("Re-mastered" Master of Puppets) was a complete clusterfuck, but that track stood out -- partially because Heafy didn't do either his trademark puke vocals or his harmonized emo-wail. Instead, he opted for a very appropriate Hetfield-esque "tough" voice. The instrumentation also improved in subtle ways on the original (as blasphemous as that sounds, listen to the cover). I was pleasantly surprised, and as such opted to at least try their next album. Then I saw it on MetalHead and figured, fuck, I might as well.

I have to say, I have rarely made such a bad choice in my life.

This album starts off with an admittedly decent track. The vocals worked, the piano thing in the chorus was vaguely reminiscient of Dark Tranquillity, and being a DT junkie like crazy, I kind of dug it. I could almost see myself enjoying this album. Then we moved to the next track. "Detonation" is a slightly decent song, made worse by the awful ripping-off of various Metallica riffs. This would be the theme for the rest of the album: blatantly ripping off as many bands as possible, even to the point of combining two ripped-off themes at once. Not to mention, that damn emo voice returns by the second track! Matt Heafy is one tricky bastard. I noticed too that even though he ripped off so many bands, the music still doesn't stand out that much. Why? Oh, right, because he has almost no songwriting skills. Smooth.

On the other hand, "Anthem (We Are The Fire)" actually made me laugh during the midsection, it was so bad.

I was having a pretty bad time for the first 2/3 of the album. Then "This World Can't Tear Us Apart" came on. Even the most diehard, fanatical Trivium fan should have to pause a few seconds to find a proper way to praise this song. I mean, fuck, look at the title. That sums up what the song sounds like. I can't think of anything honest that is good about this song. Wait -- it'll bring more chicks to concerts. +1, Heafy...I can't contest that.

I was almost dreading the final, 8-minute title track, but it actually turned out to be instrumental (and surprisingly good). I suppose every genericxcore tree has a few good apples, though.

So, here's the lowdown.

-This album started off with a 7.5 or so, not counting "This World".
-The fucker's gonna lose 2 points for ripping off so much, so blatantly. Influence is one thing, plagiarism quite another. Not to mention combining so many classic thrash/melodeath riffing with emo-core...*shudder*
- -1 point for recording "This World".
- +.5 point for recording the title track (it was, admittedly, decent enough to pull the grade up a little).
- -.5 point for WEARING THEIR OWN FUCKING T-SHIRTS TO THEIR CONCERTS. Arrogant, conceited little Matt Heafy.
- -1 point for saying they were going to be "the next Metallica" or whatever the fuck they said. Pride breeds bullshit (and bad grades).

So, that would leave us 3.5 cliched sung choruses out of 10.

Fuck you, Matt Heafy. Fuck you. I raise two middle fingers and two swollen ears (from listening to your garbage) in your general direction. Your music almost made my balls disappear.

[/angry, pissed off metal rant]

Monday, September 18, 2006

Upload: In Flames - The Jester Race

Let's start on a positive note. I'm an In Flames fanboy, unabashedly. This is one of my favorite albums of all time.

In the past, I have been asked why it's so up there in my estimation. It ain't the most technical guitar album, it doesn't have the greatest songwriting skills in the world, it's neither completely brutal nor completely melodic, the songs aren't long/short enough, etc., etc., ad infinitum, STFU already. My answer to this is: balance. It's got some really great melodic moments, such as in "The Jester's Dance", "Moonshield", or the midsection of "Lord Hypnos". It's also got some seriously buffeting riffs, such as the intro to "Dead Eternity" or the intro to "Dead God In Me". It's got a lot of electric, but some acoustic is mixed in for serious effect. The songs aren't that out of the blue in terms of songwriting, but there's often not a distinct verse, chorus, etc. There are no ten-minute Malmsteen-esque wankfests for solos, but damn if the solos and leads that are there ain't absolutely delicious (not to mention comprehensible and melodic). 40 minutes, 10 tracks -- not too long, not too short.

My question is, what do people have against this album? There's so much right with it, why shouldn't it be one of my favorites?

The answer: it is, and it should be one of yours too. Bitch.

9 oddly shaped jester head thingies on fire out of 10.

Click to download

This is the first post of the rest of your lives.

A few months ago, I was introduced to sites such as and In the spirit of these, I will upload albums. Many of these will be metal albums (80-90%); some will not. If I use an album somewhere else on the internet without reuploading it, credit shall be given. That being said, I will also include a review for that uploaded album, and maybe a few others I didn't upload. We're not talking some serious-as-shit magazine review. I'll review the damn album any way I fucking want, and it will be my review. Check out Global Domination for an idea of how I want my reviews to go. This being said, judging by the hatemail GD has gotten in the past (most of which was responded to brilliantly), I'll likely piss someone off; if that happens, fuck off.

Because of the text-heavy content (and because I'm a lazy, poor college student), uploads will only be once a week or so. If it happens more often than that, count your blessings; this will be quite rare. If you want to contribute a uploaded album to this particular site, send me the link, and I'll see if it meets my standards (aka, would get above 6/10) and is something I've never heard (as in a band/album I haven't heard of yet). If it does, you get a seat of honor next to Odin--err, in the sidebar, with the number of uploads. I also review your album. If you are the person with the most uploads, YOU = WINNAR!!!@!!1! Or not.

A word of caution: this does not get you off the hook for buying the album. I strongly encourage you to get the album if you like it. If you don't, do us all a favor and delete it.

Another thing, if you downloaded it, be sure to thank by means of comments. It's appreciated.

Yet another: I don't do requests for uploads. If you want me to review an album, refer to the upload contributing.

Have fun, download a lot, buy what you like, and stay fuckin' metal! \m/