Friday, July 28, 2006

Shelfcore Quest 2006: Step 4 [36] (repost)

Repost of a bunch more album review snippets.


Sigh - Ghastly Funeral Theatre [5/7]
"The definition of it as black metal is still loose, but the black metal intent behind it is unquestionable, and theres no other musical caption that can really apply."

Morifade - Imaginarium [4/7]
"....a decent record, but its fairly forgettable, and the band doesn't much step out of the patterns already laid down by HammerFall and Nocturnal Rites."

Death Angel - The Art of Dying [5/7]
"The good news is that Death Angel are back, in substantially their original form. The bad news, if you're mental and define it as such, is that they did not magically become peak-era Metallica during their layoff."

Amon Amarth - Once Sent From The Golden Hall [5/7]
"This is a decent album which also happens to include one world-shaking song: if not for Victorious March, this would probably pass a lot of people without notice..."

Hypocrisy - The Final Chapter [7/7]
"There's a lot of really, really classic material on this one -- eight of twelve songs are legitimately great, but the other four are merely very good, and seem imbalanced next to such material. You're going to get this with any band that writes megahits, but this does not quite reach the standards of high-level consistency that you get out of Death, or on some of Hypocrisy's other work."

3 Inches of Blood - Advance and Vanquish [5/7]
"....this is a pure nostalgia act, doing nothing new, and that what they do, I don't like as much as what Rumplestiltskin Grinder does.... There hasn't been a band like this from England coming out in about 20 years, and as fun as the ride can be at some points, you have to wonder why they chose to be the ones to break the chain."

Ascendancy - Rise of a Dead Empire [3/7]
"....there are good moments from both sides on this EP....but also enough less good ones to explain why this is the third release they've put out on their own label."

Blind Guardian - Follow The Blind [6/7]
"'s not the best album Blind Guardian has ever done, but probably the record that I like the most for casual listening."

Saga - Full Circle [4/7]
"....far too wide-reaching, high-flying, and keyboard-overrun for how little metal it is for me to get into it, and while I can see how people might like it, it's neither coming from nor going to the same places that I am, and the ability to relate just isn't there."

Type O Negative - Bloody Kisses [6/7]
"Type O's done better records than this, but it's got quite a few of their best songs, and on that basis it's recommended -- though not really to listen to entire, in the recorded order."

Judas Iscariot - The cold earth slept below... [4/7]
"....flashes of inspiration and longer stretches of mere adequacy, but for the scene that took Burzum and applied more intellectual rigor to Varg's politically incorrect and musically innovative ideas, it's definitely representative...."

Morbid Angel - Entangled In Chaos [5/7]
"This is a good recording of a decent set with the classic lineup, but it doesn't stick out drastically among metal live albums or even death metal live pieces."

Manowar - Hell On Stage Live [6/7]
"....if you really want a Manowar record, this is probably the one that you should get over all others. The recordings are pretty well done, the price isn't out of line, and the selection covers about everything that you'd want."

Manowar - Live In Germany [3/7]
"....a nice supplemental bonus to the main package above, but at 15 minutes, it wouldn't really fly as an independent release. There's some good music here, but it's decidedly the second-rung stuff or second-rung performances which couldn't make it onto the main CD."

Type O Negative - October Rust [7/7]
"This is the most non-Type O-like of Type O's works, and there's parts that are definitely more pop-goth than metal, but the whole thing is one of the most sublimely and subtly awesome records that I've ever had the privilege of cranking up."

Nokturnal Mortum - Goat Horns [7/7]
"This isn't a perfect record, but it's still a masterpiece of arrangement, composition, and performance that most bands would be glad to have as the crowning work in their catalog, and Nokturnal Mortum debuted with it."

Amon Amarth - Fate Of Norns [7/7]
" well-performed and well-recorded as Versus the World, but the songwriting is even stronger and more varied, and despite their iron-solid grounding in death metal, this ought to still be accessible to practically anyone."

Dark Tranquillity - Character [6/7]
"....a really good slice of....whatever post-death caption Dark Tranquillity is in this week. It's highly recommended, but I'm still pretty sure Damage Done is better -- but then again, Damage Done is better than a lot of records."

Damnation - Destrucio Evangelia [4/7]
"If Quorthon had listened to less Holst and more Motorhead, Bathory might have sounded more like this longer."

Sentenced - Crimson [6/7]
"....certainly better than Frozen; more mature, more sure of itself and more sure what post-death/post-thrash metal is supposed to sound like."

Symphony X - V [6/7]
"Like Morbid Angel's adventures on Giant and Cradle of Filth's tour with Sony, this is a good record mismatched to an otherwise competent label, so the pick-and-drop maneuver shouldn't reflect on the band."

Therion - Crowning of Atlantis [4/7]
"This is probably the longest contract-fulfillment EP ever put out....some interesting stuff ....but this may be outweighed by the rest of the content, depending on your particular tolerance for gothic droning...."

Symphony X - The Divine Wings Of Tragedy [5/7]
"With their style less developed and Michael Romeo's guitar less all-present, it's easy to see how this album ended up grading out as a step down from prior works. Fortunately, its a fairly small step...."

Satyricon - Dark Medieval Times [7/7]
"Dark, cold, brilliant. I remember liking this record initially, but then basically putting it aside for next to forever. Stupid decision...."

Einherjer - Aurora Borealis [5/7]
"Really good, and especially memorable, but if Einherjer is known for producing viking metal classics, they're also known for putting these out on annoyingly short records."

Iron Maiden - Piece of Mind [6/7]
"....this record is essential because it's where The Trooper comes from, and I can't see how you'd live life as a metalhead without having The Trooper memorized."

Arch Enemy - Wages of Sin [5/7]
"....I've never gotten into Arch Enemy. I like their music, and the records that I've heard from them have been good stuff, but there have always been bands that I would rather spend my money on first when it's come to actually getting Burning Bridges or, for that matter, any album other than this one."

Skyclad - Folkemon [5/7]
"There's more progressive touches than I remembered there being, in with the folkic tropes that the band is known for. The end result is a good metal record, and as good a place to get into Skyclad as almost anywhere."

Destruction - Best Of [4/7]
"....Destruction's largely unvaried Slayer-inspired thrash is not improved by putting more of it on the plate. Yes, there's good stuff here, and thrash completists will probably want it, but there's a lot of pedestrian material, and it's difficult to imagine why anyone but a thrash collector would pick this one up."

Death - The Sound of Perseverance [6/7]
"I don't know why I still consider this a comedown from earlier material....still an excellent record....just that Death has done better, though I cant say for the life of me why or how this isn't quite at that level."

In Flames - Trigger EP [4/7]
"Not too bad, decent price, two videos -- looks okay for NWOSDM fans, though it's not going to win anyone over."

Iced Earth - Something Wicked This Way Comes [7/7]
"I recommend this record over The Dark Saga for people wanting to get into Iced Earth; even if you don't end up liking them that much, this one and Burnt Offerings you ought to own anyways."

Dimension Zero - Silent Night Fever [6/7]
"....there's more to Dimension Zero than what In Flames was before Ljungstrom left and hasn't been since, but...[t]his is about as fast and brutal as Gothendeath gets..."

Nokturnal Mortum - Lunar Poetry [5/7]
"....the look that this release presents into a revolutionary band still working out their sound -- still working out how much they were going to take from Burzum and how much from Satyricon -- is damn interesting, and the actual music on the disc is definitely worth looking into...."

Daylight Dies - No Reply [6/7]
"....some might call them an Opeth clone if they knew who the hell Daylight Dies was. This isn't strictly accurate, and at any rate begs the question of what the hell is so bad about a band that can manage to believably clone Opeth, anyway?"

Avrigus - The Secret Kingdom [4/7]
"The feel can be neat, but the riffs are simple, and the intellectual challenge is often absent; if you like gothic stuff, this is a good pick, and definitely if you want goth metal without the power-metal spin that Nightwish et al often inflict, but it's hardly essential."

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