Friday, July 28, 2006

Shelfcore Quest 2006: Step 8 [20] (repost)

Another repost of album review snippets.


Shadowkeep - Corruption Within [5/7]
"....among English power/prog bands, they're far from the heads of the pack. Fans of this style will probably enjoy this record, but there's not really anything in it to recommend the disc to anyone else."

Corporation 187 - Perfection In Pain [6/7]
"....fairly original; a few little In Flames parts here and there, but it's too strongly metal for its hardcore antecedents to dominate, and it's definitely not the 'pretend Slayer' that crops up in a lot of places. Darkane are probably better, but these guys are definitely a band to watch out for."

Nile - In Their Darkened Shrines [6/7]
"Nile have not entirely sacrificed what made them original on their first disc to hit better and harder here, but there is definitely less that has not been heard beforethough mostly from Nile themselves."

Bathory - Nordland I [7/7]
"...this record, even on its own, shows off what Bathory has always been capable of, to maximum effect and at maximum fidelity. ... It is not what Bathory evokes, but what they are actually doing, on this release, that impresses, and the result is essential."

Carcass - Swansong [7/7]
"...this one prefigures the lighter side of the coming Swedish scene, but also stays rooted in the social awareness of grindcore and in neither aspect, in social observations or in melodicity and groove, ever seems full of itself or superfluous."

Dropkick Murphys - Tessie [5/7]
"It's not as good a metal record as it is a punk record... and its appeal beyond Boston may be limited, but this is a good pickup if you're into the Dropkicks, or want to get into them on the cheap..."

Allfader - From The Darkest Star [6/7]
" incredibly strong release from this more-or-less anonymous band, who hopefully will not be anonymous much longer. Recalling Hypocrisy, Emperor, Carcass, and Allegiance in different places, the result is a totally original synthesis of totally awesome music that deserves much more exposure."

Bathory - Nordland II [7/7]
" an epilogue and commentary to [Quorthon's] life, better cannot really be desired. There are moments both sublime and raw, and here as in few other places in the Bathory catalog, these are actually balanced and brought out with smooth production, so that we can understand both sides of the duality as well as what it's trying to do."

Iron Horse - Fade To Bluegrass - The Bluegrass Tribute to Metallica [3/7]
"...the execution is pretty good overall. That being said, this is a horribly patchy metal album concentrating largely on Metallica's post-thrash period. Iron Horse puts more metal into stuff like ''Unforgiven'' than was there in the original, but what they do to ''Ride The Lightning'' and especially ''One'' rank as the most criminal indignities ever perpetrated on metal songs by anyone..."

Lugubrum - De Totem [6/7]
"There's a lot of low-fi fuzz and dark atmospheres on this one, but the band delivers their weird, disturbed vision of the black metal ethos without having to go over the top and wreck equipment. The music is fairly cult, but should not be totally inaccessible; the drone brings to mind Burzums early material, and the quality of the material is on that level as well."

Linkin Park - Hybrid Theory [3/7]
"Even if this band were still unknown, not carrying the poser/emo baggage that they do now, I could not in good conscience recommend this disc to metalheads, or, really, to anyone not willing or able to just download the last two tracks. It's not total garbage, but this is as metal as Linkin Park will ever be...."

Dropkick Murphys - The Gang's All Here [4/7]
"....much more of an Irish bar folk album than anything to do with metal, or for that matter, punk. As hair metal and nu-metal found out in their turn, adding loud guitars to something does not magically change its inherent character."

Hypocrisy - Rest In Pain [5/7]
"Hypocrisy's sound and style are very much in the formative stages here, but the quality has to be acknowledged. There are some holes in the sound that the remastering can't correct, and it's not clear whether or not this could really stand on its own as a full release..."

Hypocrisy - 10 Years of Chaos and Confusion [6/7]
"...there's a subtle sense that due to such a volume of ''classic Hypocrisy song''s, some of the band's uniqueness and some of the music's power is being lost. ... This disc is definitely recommended for Hypocrisy fans, but Abducted or Destroys Wacken make a better introduction to the band...."

Oathean - Ten Days In Lachrymation [5/7]
"This would be a solid release even if it came out of Norway rather than Korea; the bands national origins are evident, but never turned as a gimmick, keeping just the right level of national-folk shadings that keep black metal rooted."

Cynic - Focus [7/7]
"In places this is still death metal, but all through, it's death metal with twisted rhythms and house-of-cards structured leads, woven in and out with vocoder vocals and other synth touches that bring it back closer to prog rock. ... a solid blend of ideas from extreme metal and new-age jazz...."

Dimmu Borgir - Stormblast 2005 [5/7]
"...a nice sounding but ultimately middle-of-the-road evolved black metal album; there are songs that make you want to take on the world, and there are songs that make you want to take it out of the player and hit it with a hammer. On the whole, the good outweighs the bad, but this release is much more for fans than for general audiences...."

Opeth - Still Life [6/7]
"This release is still heavily recommended; each of the songs clearly has their own identity, while managing to contain worldsthough this is easier when your average runtime is nearly 9 minutes."

Sinergy - Suicide By My Side [4/7]
"...though Alexi Laiho was still involved with the project at this point, the firepower of his main band... is singularly lacking over most of this record. Fans of power or classic heavy metal won't go wrong with this disc, but everyone else should just download ''I Spit On Your Grave'', which is so much better than the rest of the album that it sticks out like a sore thumb."

Halford - Live Insurrection [7/7]
"Stitched together out of the best takes from the huge tour that Halford did with Iron Maiden after both groups came to their collective senses, this magnum opus stretches out nearly two hours and includes nothing but top-notch material; the performances don't deliver much more over the studio, but at normal-album prices, it's good enough to hear Rob in top form on this huge sea of tracks."

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