Friday, July 28, 2006

Shelfcore Quest 2006: Step 1 [29] (repost)

I'm currently on this Hero Project to review every metal album in my collection; below are excerpts from the first chunk of this.


Type O Negative - World Coming Down [6/7]
"It was pretty fortuitous that I pulled this record first of the bunch that was selected as the first "lot" of the project; for whatever reasons this is a very backward-looking record, draped in Type O's usual melancholy, but thoroughly sunk in the past....."

HammerFall - I Want Out [4/7]
"Not too good, not rotten, this is pretty middle-of-the-road, but the important part is that this assessment is true whether you can generally tolerate HammerFall or not."

Evergrey - The Inner Circle [7/7]
"I'm not sure that Evergrey would have been as tremendous a thunderbolt back when I was in school, but my guess is that yes, yes I would have reacted in much the same manner. I mean, they're basically Symphony X who I also dig only better, heavier, and less pretentious."

Death - Scream Bloody Gore [6/7]
"....executed front-to-back with that absolute gonzo passion that Chuck put into everything he touched: at this point in his life, at this point in his musical development, he believed in this music stronger than anything in the world, and is able to make us the listeners feel that conviction so many years later."

Epidemic - Exit Paradise [3/7]
"....this record is extremely average; even with proper production, it's difficult to say that it might improve. Unfortunately, it's also boring...."

Oathean - Fading Away Into The Grave of Nothingness [5/7]
"Picture Old Man's Child with somewhat badly-recorded drums - it's not too far off, and that's saying something."

Ravage - Curse of Heaven [4/7]
"Ravage is slightly better than this live, slightly less derivative of Maiden and Iced Earth, but truth told, there are a lot of power metal bands that are worse to take after than those two."

Life In Vain - The Thorned Resistance [4/7]
"If these guys could escape the "Life In Flames" sobriquet, they might have broken out by now. They may yet, considering that In Flames doesn't sound like this any more, no matter how much how many people want them to."

Sentenced - No One There [5/7]
"....this is a CD-single, and whether or not you agree with the rating depends largely on whether or not you agree with the idea of having only two songs on a release. This aside, this is prime Sentenced; not Amok by any stretch of the imagination, but still showing off the band's kick as well as their songwriting abilities."

Taraxacum - Rainmaker [6/7]
"Those opposed to keyboard goop or who prefer the emphasis on "heavy" may not enjoy this one as much, but most people will be able to look beyond these and some occasionally weak songwriting to find a lot of really good music, in both writing and performance, on this disc."

Opeth - Deliverance [6/7]
"The riffs and hooks write themselves into your memory, but very seldom is this done in any kind of conscious way, so that you'll end up humming one a few days later, and be immediately able to identify it as an Opeth riff, but with much more difficulty to determine what song was involved, or even on which album. It's a difficult problem that I do not see resolving itself any time soon; Opeth do what they do best and thousands of people worldwide, myself included, support them in it, and even if not, they would continue going their own way, regardless of outside influences or popular tastes - which is kind of the whole point anyway."

Haste - The Mercury Lift sampler [3/7]
"From this slice, Haste is a band to be respected, though perhaps not necessarily one to actually buy records from."

God Dethroned - Bloody Blasphemy [6/7]
"I still like this record basically just as much as I did when first encountering it, which for whatever reason is more than most critics do. This is strange, because a lot of people, self included, praise Naglfar for basically the same no-compromises blast attack that composes the bulk of this disc, and God Dethroned manages to twist on this with melodic interludes and the occasional thrash solo."

Iced Earth - The Melancholy E.P. (commercial) [4/7]
"It's hard to see how "Melancholy" and "Watching Over Me" could have gotten the band onto metal radio in the late '90s, but then again, the other, better, songs off Something Wicked and the immediately preceding discs would have been even less radio-friendly."

Heathen - Breaking The Silence [4/7]
"There's nothing wrong with being generic, and while Heathen are fairly generic here, the execution is good, and stuff like "Open The Grave" is plenty cool."

Heathen - Victims of Deception [5/7]
"....though they show the characteristic signs of thrash metal laziness from this period (the hypocrisy of religion in the heyday of the televangelists is what is referred to as a "sleeping target", and a band that does two or more songs on this topic on any single release can be accused of "dynamiting fish in a barrel"), the lyrics are intelligent...."

Saxon - Unleash The Beast [5/7]
"It's reassuring, at some level, to know that NWOBHM will stay NWOBHM.... It's not a stand-up-and-take-notice album by any means.... but it's decent, and if this kind of music runs to your tastes, it's pretty much as good as anything they've done since Solid Ball of Rock."

Bethlehem - Dictius Te Necare [6/7]
"The "dark metal" referred to in the liner notes may be more practically stated as "Burzum in German with less political bullshit"; or in other words, the very definition of cool and depth in the black metal context."

Pinkerton Thugs - The Pain And.... [5/7]
"'ve got to be pretty blind to think that crime is exclusively caused by economic and social oppression, and those that have their financial and emotional needs provided for are incapable of harming others either to get further ahead, or just to be dicks. This aside, this is a pretty good and usually wholly coherent record; maybe not for all metalheads, but getting through this review should indicate whether this album is for you or not, and if it is, you'll probably enjoy it."

Dropkick Murphys - Do or Die [4/7]
"In an age where it's possible to just steal the first and last tracks of this one on the Internet, it's difficult to argue this record as essential for anyone not a fan, a completist, or from Boston...."

Ignite - A Place Called Home [6/7]
"If you make an issue of being relentlessly True, this record should be under consideration for one of the handful of hardcore slots in your collection; if you're less ideologically rigid, this is just a strong choice in general."

Savatage - Poets & Madmen [5/7]
"....still a good album, but bloated and dated-sounding far beyond its actual years in places, not pushing with the full fire of some of the band's earlier material as might have been hoped for."

Slayer - Reign In Blood [7/7]
"'s very seldom that Slayer's lyrics are around for any other purpose than to give Tom Araya something to do with his face. The real activity is in the music, and the nonstop rampage of the riffage here will continue to set the gold standard for thrash metal and derived forms for years to come."

The Haunted - rEVOLVEr [5/7]
"....the sense of The Haunted is still of a band trying to decide where to go and who they are....[t]hey're not At The Gates, even to the extent that they ever were, but at least as of this record it's not certain that they've established who The Haunted are yet."

Nevermore - The Politics of Ecstasy [5/7]
"....if you dig Nevermore or are looking for an entry point to progressive, politically-aware thrash, this is a great place to start."

Enid - Seelenspiegel [2/7]
"When they turn up the black metal, it mostly sucks; when they dial it back, they suck more. From the first pass, I did remember that I got ripped off on this CD, but I mistakenly thought this was only because it was boring. This was wrong; it was because this CD is a top-heavy, brain-dead piece of crap."

DragonForce - Sonic Firestorm [5/7]
"This is a good band, one of the few power metal bands who dares to not suck, and a good record, but you really can't escape the impression that their best work is still far in the futureand it's uncertain when or even if they'll get there."

Iron Maiden - Brave New World [6/7]
" Brave New World is the maxim that any band, if sufficiently talented and motivated, can pull themselves out of an extended period of suck and reinvent themselves into something both consistent with their age and experience, and still rocking and relevant."

Metallica - Garage Inc [5/7]
"....doesn't actually have a great deal of standout material on it, song for song, but by bringing the volume of material, manages to come out as a good deal. The second disc, with the older shit that had previously been basically unavailable, is the bigger draw, but there's still some decent material on the first CD."

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