Thursday, September 21, 2017

Opeth - Morningrise (1996)

During the beginning of their career, it was obvious that Opeth did not want to get forgotten all too easily, because before normal mortal beings had the chance to comprehend the dense debut effort "Orchid", the band was already done recording their sophomore album. Sure, it is an album that is only contains 5 songs, but man, if you thought "Orchid" was a tough blob to get through in one sitting, then you are obviously not ready for "Morningrise".

Each and every song in this record definitely have the progressive seal of approval, continuing what the band did in the debut with blending black metal, progressive rock, and jazz influences. Not a single song on this record goes below the 10 minute mark, with one song, "Black Rose Immortal", lasting for a whopping 20 minutes and 15 seconds, which is Opeth's longest song still to this day, over 20 years later. This ultimately makes the album just over an hour long, so it is not something you just whip out and listen too in a hurry.

Surprisingly enough though, "Morningrise" is a lot easier to listen to than "Orchid". Not only is the production a lot lighter, but the music is too, using more acoustic guitars and Michael is utilizing more of his clean vocals. If the last album was more classic black metal, then "Morningrise" is more of an atmospheric black metal album, setting more moods and tones. This definitely will be a personal preference whether you think it is a good or bad change, but I embrace it because it lets the music do more of the talking.

All of the tracks in "Morningrise" are great, displaying a good range of moods and technical skills of the band's repertoire, all keeping a fairly low profile that makes the album very solid and strong. The only real problem I have is "Black Rose Immortal", and yes, it is because of the length. It is a nice song and all, but it definitely over stays its welcome, dragging things out longer than it should. Actually, it sorta ends just before the 15 minute mark, but it goes on for another 5 and a half minutes. I can deal with 20 minute songs, but they have to have a reason to be this long, and "Black Rose Immortal" simply does not have a reason that is good enough.

The rest are really nice songs, even if I wished that one or two of them would stand out a little more, by being way heavier or something like that, but as said, it gives a unified impression of the entire album. It is the little things that makes each track stand out from the rest, like the dark vocals in "Advent", the playful opening and general speed in "Nectar", the epic ending in "The Night And The Silent Water", and the overall calm emotions on the ending track "To Bid You Farewell". Yes, all of the songs do contribute something to make "Morningrise" an incredibly enjoyable experience, making that hour go by really quickly.

"Morningrise" is ultimately a very fitting title to this record, because you can just put this on in the morning, take a stroll to your local black and white park with a bridge and pond, and just relax. It does have some heavy moments, but it is the tranquility that dominates the record, which it should. It is most certainly related to "Orchid", but both are completely different records, and they do attract different crowds that hopefully also can enjoy the other one too. It is an early showing that Opeth is one of those bands that can do close to anything without missing a beat, still being their own product and deliver some great progressive music. Wake up, and face the wonderful music that is playing.

Songs worthy of recognition: The Night And The Silent Water, Advent, Nectar

Rating: 8/10 Black Roses

www.opeth.com/
twitter.com/officialopeth

More reviews of Opeth
Orchid
Pale Communion
Sorceress

Monday, September 18, 2017

Thoughts from a metal mind: My record collection (and why I still buy records)

Thanks to lack of inspiration and time of writing reviews of new album, I feel like it is time for me to talk about something that a lot of us metal heads have very near and dear to our hearts, our record collections. While collecting records might not be one of the hottest things to do in 2017, with Spotify and other various music services on the so called Internet, it is still an important thing in my opinion, mostly because it is a direct testament to that you are supporting a band and their music.

No matter how big or small your collection is, or if you collect LPs or CDs, it still feels incredibly good to actually own a piece of musical history forever. With a service like Spotify, there is no certainty that an album will be there for all time, it might be taken off because of various reasons. Sure, a physical copy might break down after some use, but there is nothing like the feeling of buying a new album, opening it up, taking a look at the booklet, and putting the CD into your player, letting it blast out of your speakers. There is just a certain charm to it.

Now, I know this is becoming less and less of a factor in today's world, we rarely see any record stores out in the streets anymore, and we only have a select few websites that sells new albums too. It is a shame, because it is the foundation of becoming a band, to create music and distribute it to the masses. Obviously, technology must go forward, so it is not a change I am fully oppose to, but I think that theold ways still should have a spot even in the future, because it is way more impressive to have tons of CDs filling up your wall than seeing a Spotify playlist that contains over 5000 songs.

So how often do I buy records? Not too often, but that is mostly because I do not have the capital to go shop until I drop. I buy a pack of records (about 5 or more) every 3 months or so, and most of them are actually older records that are a little cheaper, and I only pre-order records if one of my all time favourites are coming up with something new. Whenever I get my own place and a little more space, I might buy more frequently.

Ultimately, I see CDs as the great Stan Lee sees comic books.
"They are like boobs. Watching is fine and all, but it is a much better feeling when you get to touch."

So let us look at my collection, which is currently 173 albums in size (and yes, I will update this post whenever I get new albums).

Alter Bridge:
Fortress

Alter Bridge is probably my favourite hard rock band out there right now, and "Fortress" is by far my favourite record from them, so it was no surprise that I would go after it first.

Amaranthe:
S/T
Nexus

Got these two very cheaply, and while no masterpieces, they still have some good fun moments.

Amberian Dawn:
River of Tuoni
Clouds of Northland Thunder

Old Amberian Dawn is best Amberian Dawn.

Amon Amarth:
Versus The World
With Oden On Our Side
Twilight of The Thundergod
Surtur Rising
Deceiver of The Gods
Jomsviking

One of the bands where I am going to get their full discography sooner or later, just a matter of time.

Anthrax:
Worship Music
For All Kings

I have Anthrax's last two records, but not "Among The Living" or "Spreading The Disease"? I must be a disgrace of a metal head.

At The Gates:
Slaughter of The Soul

An all time classic, a must have in any record collection.

Avenged Sevenfold:
City of Evil
S/T
Nightmare

Definitely the three best albums from the band so far, and I might get the rest soon enough (hesitating about "Hail To The King" though)

Between The Buried And Me:
Colors
The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues (EP)
The Parallax II: Future Sequence
Coma Ecliptic

Not too easy to get a hold of their older albums for a decent price, but I will get them. Also, one of two real EPs that I own.

Black Sabbath:
S/T
Paranoid
Master of Reality
13

I really should have more Black Sabbath in my collection, but it will come soon enough.

Blind Guardian:
Nightfall In Middle Earth
Beyond The Red Mirror

"Nightfall..." is not available on Spotify, so that was a must buy for me. Got "Beyond..." for a really good price not too far from its release.

Bruce Dickinson
Balls To Picasso

An impulse buy that paid off big time, an excellent and underrated solo record from the multi talented
Bruce.

Bullet For My Valentine:
Scream Aim Fire

Only bought it for the title track and "Waking The Demon". Man, this band was so good back in the days.

Cain's Offering:
Stormcrow

One of my favourite records from 2015

Cans:
Beyond The Gates

The only solo record so far from the HammerFall singer, and it is pretty good, although not too spectacular.

Children of Bodom:
Something Wild
Follow The Reaper
Hate Crew Deathroll
Are You Dead Yet?
Blooddrunk

Why do I own this many CoB albums? I actually do not know, got them for good prices in the right time I guess.

Devin Townsend:
Ocean Machine: Biomech
Infinity
Physicist
Terria
Ziltoid The Omniscient

If Devin albums were easier to get, I would have all of them already (well, maybe not "Devlab" and "The Hummer")

Devin Townsend Project:
Deconstruction
Epicloud

Transcendence

I really should get the remaining albums here, I am such a Devin fanboy that it is close to ridiculous.

Dio:
Holy Diver
The Last In Line

Two classics for sure, but I aim to get more from the man with the voice.

Disturbed:
The Sickness
Ten Thousand Fists
Indestructible
Asylum

Disturbed are rarely spectacular, but they have a consistency that is nice, so any album is worth buying for a nice price.

Dream Theater:
When Dream And Day Unite
Images And Words
Awake
A Change of Seasons (EP)
Falling Into Infinity
Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory
Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
Train of Thought
Octavarium
Systematic Chaos
Black Clouds & Silver Linings
A Dramatic Turn of Events
S/T
The Astonishing

No surprise here, I own the whole discography (+ an EP).

Ghost:
Opus Eponymous
Infestisumam
Meliora

I am a member of the band wagon, so I obviously have all of the records here too.

Gojira:
L'enfant Sauvage
Magma

I really need to get more into Gojira, they are so god damned talented.

Guns N' Roses:
Appetite For Destruction
Use Your Illusion I

Only really need to own "Appetite...", but I got the other record almost for free, so why the hell not.

Haken:
Affinity

Could not be without one of my favourite albums of 2016.

Halcyon Way:
Building The Towers

This is one of my underrated favourites, both when it comes to band and album.

HammerFall:
Glory To The Brave
Legacy of Kings
Renegade
Crimson Thunder
Chapter V: Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken
Threshold
No Sacrifice, No Victory
Infected
(r)Evolution
Built To Last

My first metal love, so I obviously have all of the records from them

Helloween:
Keeper of The Seven Keys Pt. 1
Straight Out of Hell

I am so ashamed that I own the first part of "Keeper..." but not the second.

Holy Grail:
Ride The Void
Times of Pride And Peril

One of my favourite bands from the new millenium, need to get "Crisis In Utopia" soon to complete the trilogy.

In Flames:
Come Clarity
Sounds of A Playground Fading
Battles

I am gonna get so much shit for this, aren't I?

Iron Maiden:
S/T
Killers
The Number of The Beast
Piece of Mind
Powerslave
Caught Somewhere In Time
Seventh Son of A Seventh Son
No Prayer For The Dying
Fear of The Dark
The X Factor
Virtual XI
Brave New World
Dance of Death
A Matter of Life And Death
The Final Frontier
The Book of Souls

Full discography here, no real commentary needed.

Judas Priest:
Sad Wings of Destiny
Sin After Sin
Stained Class
British Steel
Screaming For Vengeance
Defenders of The Faith
Painkiller
Angel of Retribution
Redeemer of Souls

Got a lot of albums here, but need a lot more.

Kotipelto:
Waiting For The Dawn

Another impulse buy, pretty decent record by the Stratovarius singer

Linkin Park:
Hybrid Theory
Meteora

I grew up with the band, so I just had to get these two records.

Mastodon:
Blood Mountain
Crack The Skye
The Hunter
Once More 'Round The Sun
Emperor of Sand

Working my way backwards in this discography, might get the upcoming EP as well, depending on how good it is.

Megadeth:
Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?
Rust In Peace
Dystopia

Why do I only own 3 Megadeth albums? I should really own more

Metallica:
Kill 'em All
Ride The Lightning
Master of Puppets
...And Justice For All
The Black Album
Death Magnetic
Hardwired... To Self-Destruct

Do I really need to own the remaining albums?

Moonspell:
Extinct

Another personal favourite from the last couple of years, got it for a really nice price.

Motörhead:
Ace of Spades
Orgasmatron
The Wörld Is Yours

Seriously, why do I only have THREE Motörhead records, and one of them is not "Overkill" or "Iron Fist"?

Mustasch:
Above All
Latest Version of The Truth
Sounds Like Hell, Looks Like Heaven

I love front man Ralf Gyllenhammar and his fun hard rock band.

Opeth:
Deliverance
Blackwater Park
Ghost Reveries
Pale Communion

Just started their discography review series, so it might give me reasons to get more albums from them.

Overkill:
The Years of Decay
Ironbound
The Electric Age

Love me some good old Overkill

Ozzy Osbourne:
Bark At The Moon
Black Rain

I really like Ozzy's solo stuff, but I do not feel any hurry to get them right away.

Pain:
Nothing Remains The Same

Yeah, it is the album that has "Shut Your Mouth".

Pain of Salvation:
In The Passing Light of Day

So far, clearly my favourite record of this year.

Rainbow:
Rising

Classic.

Raubtier:
Från Norrland Till Helvetets Port

Sweden's answer to Rammstein, great power in these guys

Rush:
Moving Pictures

May not be metal, but they are still damn good.

Scar Symmetry:
Holographic Universe

Great album in a lot of ways, had to have it.

Slayer:
Reign In Blood
South of Heaven
Seasons In The Abyss

Three classics that all of you should own.

Soilwork:
The Living Infinite
The Ride Majestic

This second golden age of Soilwork is mighty fine.

Stormhold:
Battle of The Royal Halls

Band from my neighbourhood! Go listen to them if you are into classic power/heavy metal.

Strapping Young Lad:
Heavy As A Really Heavy Thing
City
The New Black

Just like with the solo stuff from the Dev, if the remaining albums were any easier to get, I would already have them.

Sunburst:
Fragments of Creation

My favourite newcomer last year.

Symphony X:
V: The New Mythology Suite

Got this one really cheaply, but I really need to get more from this band.

System of A Down:
Toxicity
Hypnotize
Mesmerize

Three modern classics, gotta own them.

Testament:
The Ritual

Yet another band I need to own more albums of.

The Devin Townsend Band:
Accelerated Evolution

Will get "Synchestra" some time to complete the duo.

Tool:
Lateralus

With a box cover so psychadelic, you need to own this one.

Thanks for reading, and don't forget to stay metal
Robert "Sharkruisher" Andersson

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Opeth - Orchid (1995)

Putting a flower on your cover and title might not seem like the best move for an up and coming metal band ready to release their debut record, but then again, Opeth is not your every day band, and they were not so back in the days either. The talent was still there though, and even without releasing a single demo prior, Mikael Åkefeldt and the rest of his crew managed to get a buzz going, ending up signing with Candlelight records, and record an album together with the one and only Dan Swanö. Not bad for a band that had tons of line up changes and very little experience in its first four years.

The album has a total of 7 songs, which initially sounds okay, but then you look deeper into it, and realize that two of the songs are short instrumentals, and the remaining five have a minimum length of 9 minutes. It is an incredibly meaty album that is pretty tough to get through, and it does not really help that most of them have a similar tone to them. Opeth do blend several different influences here, from black metal to jazz, but it is pretty obvious that Mikael had not perfected his craft just yet here.

With that said, "Orchid" still has a lot to offer, bringing us some very cool and imaginative progressive metal that the world had not seen before. The band never lose themselves in these mastodon songs, keeping a straight vision towards the goal. It is a skill to create such long songs while still making them entertaining, keeping a cohesion all throughout its runtime, and it is a skill that is pretty hard to master. Opeth shows instantly that they have the knowledge to make these songs interesting, without giving the listener a severe headache or nosebleed.

All of the songs have pretty distinct personalities as well, which certainly makes them stand out. The opener "In The Mist She Was Standing" is very playful in the beginning, with guitars that are borrowed from the folk metal scene, but it turns more serious the further in we go, getting darker and darker. The following song, "Under The Weeping Moon", is probably the most memorable of them all, because it sets a heavy tone instantly and continues on in sort of a satanic way, which ultimately leads to a very moody middle part that transforms into a fast frenetic mayhem, where Peter Lindgren delivers extremely simple, but super effective riffing. Absolutely love that part, my favourite bit of the album.

After the piano instrumental, known as "Silhouette", we get "Forest of October" and "The Twilight Is My Robe", both fine songs too, even if they make up what could be considered as the slowest part of the record. Not that these are slow songs or anything, but the momentum is grounded to a halt here, which is not fun. "The Twilight..." have at least some really nice instrumental work that is easy to admire, but "Forest of October" is very forgettable. The closer "The Apostle In Triumph" is a great ending to the record, with even more great instrumentation, and even some clean vocals thrown in to soften things up a bit, and show the range that Mikael has in his vocals.

Unfortunately, I do not think that any of the songs in here are any super strong outputs. All of them have some brilliance here and there, but those moments are spotty, which just ultimately shows that this band still had some way to go before fulfilling their true potential. Even if "Orchid" has some blind spots here and there, it is still an interesting record that has some creative ideas, all performed by a band that is trying their hardest to get that big breakthrough, and they sure got it after this effort, eventually blooming out to a very professional group of musicians. A nice start, but still lots of room of improvement.

Songs worthy of recognition: Under The Weeping Moon, In The Mist She Was Standing, The Apostle In Triumph

Rating: 7/10 Silhouettes

www.opeth.com/
twitter.com/officialopeth

More reviews of Opeth
Pale Communion
Sorceress

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Threshold - Legends of The Shires (2017)

Every time a progressive metal band decides to tackle a massive concept album, I try to go in a little cautious so that the hype surrounding the impending release does not get under my skin. It is very easy for an album like this to get unrealistic expectations that will never be met, just because it is supposed to be so grand and epic. Even if Threshold are seasoned prog veterans, it still can happen to the best, and the fact that the band had to change vocalists after the album was fully written and recorded probably did not help either. So let us dive into this monster, by first, once again saying goodbye to Damian Wilson, and welcoming back Glynn Morgan (who was with the band in 1994 to 1996, appearing in the sophomore effort "Psychedelicatessen").

The story itself is not the most obvious one, and it is quite hard to understand without knowing the lyrics, but from what I can tell, we get to follow a man's journey from a young and hopeful guy who is generally happy with life, but as the album goes along, we get to follow his adventures and various ups and downs. The different acts of the story arc are shown really well with the three parts of "The Shire", especially the first two parts which are basically the same song, but with completely different tones. Maybe it does have something to do with Bilbo Baggins and the rest of J. R. Tolkien's epic tales, but I seriously doubt it (although, the title and album cover does suggest it).

Anyway, while this is a concept album, I feel like the concept is not the main focus, the songs are, and good lord what songs we have here. Most of it can be best described as Threshold putting their own original touch to 80's rock, which certainly suits new vocalist Glynn Morgan well, but we do get a lot of more metal moments in here, so this is basically Threshold in XL version. The sound is no surprise, but the variety of different songs we get here is simply astounding. This whole album is filled to the brim with songs that varies in styles, tones, and lengths, but they all fit together seamlessly, so the transitions are as fluid as they should be in this big of a record.

With over one hour and twenty minutes of music, it is easy to cut corners, not keeping focus all the way through. Somehow though, Threshold has put out 14 songs that all have a purpose, that all feels well thought of. No part of "Legends of The Shires" feels unnecessary, and it certainly does not feel like a double album when you are just casually listening to it. Sure, it takes its time to develop, but it does not overstay its welcome, entertain you throughout its runtime in a very effective manor that is incredibly hard to pull off.

And unlike most other magnum opuses, "Legends of The Shires" has a magnificent roster of songs that not only work well together, but are strong enough to stand on their own. Just the fact that the first song Threshold released was the 10 minute giant "Lost In Translation" is a strong testament on how good the quality of the songs are. An epic monster that is pure progressive candy. And while some of the 80's rock influences can take over a little too much sometimes (looking at you "Stars And Satellites"), the band still hold the tone just right, which ultimately keeps the magic alive and well.

Man, this is an incredibly strong album by Threshold, an achievement that surely will stand the test of time. Close to everything with this double disc is brilliant, from the great variety of awesome songs, to the multi layered performances that makes you wanna listen to this record again and again, this is definitely Threshold's strongest effort in some time, and that says a lot. It is progressive metal at its finest, and it is just another amazing piece to add among other fantastic releases from other bands within the genre. Damn, I am gonna go listen to it again, I just can't get enough.

Songs worthy of recognition: Lost In Translation, Small Dark Lines, The Man Who Saw Through Time, Trust The Process, Snowblind

Rating: 9,5/10 Superior Machines

www.thresh.net/
twitter.com/Threshold

More reviews of Threshold
For The Journey

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Arch Enemy - Will To Power (2017)

It seems like most fans of Arch Enemy has taken the vocalist change from the close to legendary Angela Gossow to former The Agonist singer Alissa White-Gluz pretty good so far. The first album with her in charge, "War Eternal", was a nice start, displaying some good energy and interesting ideas. But it is with this album, their 11th one entitled "Will To Power", where the new era of Arch Enemy will show whether they will sink or float, if they continue with these interesting new ideas, or just goes back to old habits.

Well, the band actually goes both ways, but unfortunately, it is the newer ideas that are kind of hidden in the shadows, and even if they are new to the band itself, they are far from original in the grand scheme of things. The most "experimental" bit of "Will To Power" is that we get to hear a good amount of Alissa's clean vocals, which is really surprising. It certainly gives the album more variety, and it works to some extent, but at times, it ends up being a big knock off of Alissa's time in The Agonist, which really does not suit Arch Enemy very well. It might be a direct effect of Alissa being more of a factor in the song writing, but they could definitely have done this differently.

Otherwise, it is just basic Arch Enemy music we get in "Will To Power", melodic death metal where the guitars of Michael Amott and Jeff Loomis are in the center, with some strong female vocals of course. This will definitely please the hard core fans, but I cannot help but feeling that they are just going in neutral mode, not putting in the effort to take the band to the next level. I mean, there is so much talent in this group, guys that are killing it in their side projects, such as Spiritual Beggars, The Night Flight Orchestra, and Conquering Dystopia, but when they turn their focus to Arch Enemy, they seem to not care all too much.

This is obviously a shame, because I do appreciate the performances here. Michael and Jeff does spit out some great riffs and solos here and there, Alissa nails both the harsh and clean vocals, and the drums, by long time member Daniel Erlandsson, got that same hard hitting feeling that we would expect from this band, but all of these performances are used in songs that lacks punch and ingenuity, and the few songs that do feel different are so for the wrong reasons. The intro "Set Flame To The Night" is fantastic, but it is just a one minute intro, so it does not really add anything, which also goes for the cover of the GBH song "City Baby Attacked By Rats" (although it being fantastic is kind of wrong, it is at most okay).

It is actually kind of ironic that one of the best songs of the record is a rip off of the very song that defines the Arch Enemy formula, "Nemesis". The lead single "The World Is Yours" has all of the familiar tricks, a speedy intro, an incredible catchy main riff and chorus, and an epic finisher that includes a magnificent solo. Once again, a great song, but because it is so similar to "Nemesis", it just ticks me off quite a lot, and summarizes "Will To Power" in general pretty accurately, an album that tries to be something great, but ends up being an uninspired meh of an album. Speaking of ticking me off, "Murder Scene" does so too, being one of the more energetic songs of the record, but having the guitar work that fits more with In Flames. I love In Flames, so I definitely like the song, but it is weird that Arch Enemy came up with this one, because besides from being Swedish and a melo death band, the two bands have nothing in common.

So technically, I cannot call "Will To Power" a bad album, because it has some moments where the band tries to bring something new to the table, but it all goes unnoticed for material that is more safe in its approach. The guitar work is really nice, and the other performances are professional, but that is probably the only brilliant aspects of the album, the songs are mediocre, the lyrics are either cheesy or forgettable, and the overall tone of the album is nothing special at all. That second wind the band got from "War Eternal" did not last very long, now did it?

Songs worthy of recognition: The World Is Yours, The Race, Dreams of Retribution

Rating: 5,5/10 Murder Scenes

http://www.archenemy.net/en/
https://twitter.com/archenemymetal

More reviews of Arch Enemy
War Eternal

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Best of Motörhead

When entering this discography series of Motörhead, I was kind of expecting one album multiplied by 20, with only some small changes here and there to keep things relatively refreshing. Now that I am done, I can look back at this catalog and say the unspoken truth, that Motörhead is NOT a one trick pony. Close to all of the albums actually have a unique personality that makes it stand out. Obviously, we get several copies of several songs, but the band keeps on trucking, delivering fun stuff. Anyway, it has been a fun road trip down all of the band's 22 albums (not counting "No Remorse", it is basically a compilation album), but now it is time to look back and decide what is the best of the best, here is the best of Motörhead.

Best albums

3. Iron Fist

It was not easy to follow up "Ace of Spades", but Motörhead did a really good attempt in "Iron Fist", delivering more of that fist pumping rock 'n' roll/heavy metal that is so effective. "Iron Fist" is just balls to the wall fun, spitting out 12 songs in a short period of time, each faster and catchier than the next. It hits you hard, it hits you fast, it hits you right in the gut, that "Iron Fist" sure knows the spot to punch.

2. Orgasmatron

Man, I just love an album that has some meat in it, and "Orgasmatron" has a whole BBQ buffet of it. There is a lot going on in this record, displaying close to all of the styles that Motörhead has shown over the years in a song roster that is incredibly strong. Top it off with an ultra manly title track, and "Orgasmatron" rides the railway with tons of speed and power, not letting anything stop it. Choo choo!

1. Ace of Spades

I was hoping to be original here and not claim "Ace of Spades" as Motörhead's crowning achievement, but I could not do it, this album is just too damn good. The title track and "(We Are) The Roadcrew" are obvious reasons to why this record has become an all time classic, but there is much more to it than just two killer tracks. Every song in here helps making "Ace of Spades" a well rounded behemoth that is not afraid to maul down anyone. This is peak Motörhead at its finest, holding all the aces in its hand.

Worst album

Hammered

While none of the 22 Motörhead albums are technically bad, there are a couple of albums that are not too inspiring, with the 2002 album "Hammered" feeling the least inspired. It has a couple of neat songs like "Voices From The War" and "Red Raw", but overall, it is a pretty dull album that pales in comparison to the rest of the class. Certainly not a memorable one.

Best songs

10. Burner
9. Death Or Glory

Both songs comes from "Bastards", and while the album is far from the best the band has done, it contains a one two punch that is pretty hard to beat, with "Burner" scorching everyone with its blazing speed, and "Death Or Glory" sweeping up the remains with its more controlled, but still determined, self. A nice duo that works out of each other's strengths.

8. (Teach You How To) Sing The Blues

Definitely the grooviest song in the whole discography, this song out of "Motörizer" is sure to get you up on your feet and start moving wildly. Also, how can you not love a song that has the line "If you wanna get your hands on a beautiful girl, you gotta use a Mastercard".

7. Overkill

I still consider "Overkill" to be one of the ultimate live songs, because you can keep this song up for ages, with its multiple endings and enormous solos. I can only imagine what Angus Young could have done if AC/DC had made this song.

6. Ace of Spades

There is no debate that "Ace of Spades" is the band's most important song, because it launched their legendary career, and it is still amazing that it holds up so well today, with its awesome riffs and witty lyrics. It is as unforgettable as the joker.

5. Iron Fist

While "Ace of Spades" created the formula, it was "Iron Fist" who perfected the art of speedy Motörhead groove. A fist pumping runaway train that does not seem to have a brake, this song just goes full speed until it punches enough people in their face and eardrum. We certainly know you well, and we are glad we do.

4. Back At The Funny Farm

Despite its strange production, "Back At The Funny Farm" is simply just a great song about the mental institution. With that is surprisingly calm, a solo that takes unexpected turns, and an insane Lemmy at the helm, it just makes this road trip a fun one, giving out long sleeved jackets to everyone.

3. Killed By Death

Released on the compilation album "No Remorse", I feel bad that "Killed By Death" did not get a proper place among any of the main records, but it being out at all is a clear win for all of us. It is not the fastest song, nor the heaviest, but it is just smart, pulling out an unforgettable chorus and a well crafted structure to go out of. It is truly a gem hidden in the history of the band.

2. (We Are) The Roadcrew

Being a roadie for Motörhead must have been great. Not only do you work under Lemmy, the legend of legends, but you also get an amazing song dedicated for your hard work and effort. It is a fast and fun song that quite accurately describes all the happenings behind the show, and it is doing so with a comedic gleam in the eye. It is obvious that Lemmy is proud of all the men who makes the tour happen, and he shows it with one of the best song imaginable.

1. Orgasmatron

As soon as the opening words "I am the one, Orgasmatron" are blurred out, more or less everything on your body has risen up. This is truly a unique song that I am sure no other band can really match, searching all of the deepest and darkest corners the band has in its bag of tricks, and putting them together to a meaty 5+ minute songs. Still remember this song from when I saw the band live, with all the lights out except for one green spotlight that lit up Lemmy's face, making him even more terrifying. It is truly the one, THE "Orgasmatron".

Best album cover

Another Perfect Day



This one was hard, because Snaggletooth has looked so good in several different forms, but it is something with this surreal version that just speaks to me. Blending that light blue with those yellows, oranges, and reds makes this piece very interesting, and maybe even outright scary if you are on drugs. Nonetheless, it is a cool and creative cover, signed by Snaggletooths master himself, Joe Petagno

Total discography verdict

Quality: 9/10
You know what you get with the band, nice rock 'n' roll that will never let you down.

Creativity: 7/10
There is surprisingly a lot of variety in the music, so Lemmy do surely know how to still make it interesting.

Band Chemistry: 9/10
Some instability in the beginning of the career, but once Phil and Mikkey was added, Motörhead was set for life.

Musicality: 6/10
Never really flashy or anything, the band still plays off their strengths. Extreme technicality just does not fit them.

Lyrics: 8/10
From war and abuse, to sex and other fun shit, Lemmy sure knows how to write some smart stuff into the songs (and funny
stuff too).

Album rating summary

Motörhead: 7/10
Overkill: 8,5/10
Bomber: 8,5/10
Ace of Spades: 10/10
Iron Fist: 9/10
Another Perfect Day: 7,5/10
Orgasmatron: 9,5/10
Rock 'n' Roll: 6,5/10
1916: 6,5/10
March Ör Die: 6/10
Bastards: 8/10
Sacrifice: 7/10
Overnight Sensation: 7/10
Snake Bite Love: 6,5/10
We Are Motörhead: 9/10
Hammered: 5,5/10
Inferno: 8,5/10
Kiss of Death: 7/10
Motörizer: 8/10
The Wörld Is Yours: 7,5/10
Aftershock: 6/10
Bad Magic: 7/10

Average rating: 7,545454545454545/10

Tune in next week to see which band is next on the chopping block, getting its discography the review treatment.

Stay Metal!
Robert "Sharkruisher" Andersson

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Leprous - Malina (2017)

There is a new generation of progressive metal acts taking over the world, and doing so with damn impressive music. Acts like Between The Buried And Me, Haken, Ne Obliviscaris and Persefone is taking the genre to new grounds, expanding it to a whole new level. Norwegian Leprous is also in this group, delivering unique and imaginative music ever since their debut, the 2009 record "Tall Poppy Syndrome". While they do have a core sound that they base their music around, every new album sounds different, having a new personality that stands out among the rest.

Their fifth album "Malina" is nothing different, but its personality is not something truly unique unfortunately. With this album, Leprous has obviously looked backwards in time to the 80's and infused its influences with their music. Sounds familiar? It should if you are a prog fan, because Haken did almost the exact same thing with last year's release "Affinity". I do not think that Leprous meant to copy Haken in that sense, but it is easy to just scream "Copy Cat" just for them being one year later, which also makes it hard not to compare the two albums to each other. So to not do that all too much, I will just say this, "Affinity" is definitely a better album, no competition really.

This does of course not mean that "Malina" is a bad record, but it might be one that fans could find it hard to swallow. It is the band's lightest record to date, really balancing the edge on if it should be considered a metal album or not. Their last album, "The Congregation", was a divider, with some loving its dark and melancholic nature, while others (like me) just found it boring, and I am afraid that "Malina" might be one too, but for other reasons (the double review on Angry Metal Guy is a pretty good proof of that).

So where do I stand in all of this? I definitely enjoy the album and its more straight forward nature, but I see some flaws too. My biggest issue is that it feels like the band is building and building up to a climax that is gonna be epic as hell, but they never get around to it. When the sad violin music in "The Last Milestone" ends the album, I am sitting here, wondering why this boxing match went to the judges and not in a knock out victory. The title track is the closest one to reach that epic climax, but it just does not reach all the way, even if it is still a great and fragile tune.

But when you have an album filled with different emotions, styles, contrasts, and technical tricks, it is pretty hard to hate on it. "Malina" definitely feels more engaging than what "The Congregation" was, experimenting more to create a more diverse experience, and it works. There are several songs in here that are great, but for unique reasons, whether it be heavy ("Coma"), relying on the drum beat by Baard Kolstad ("Captive"), being hauntingly beautiful ("Bonneville"), or when singer Tor Oddmund Suhrke just dominates with his amazing vocals ("Mirage", "From The Flame", "Malina", just to name a few).

So in the end, I am sure that this album will be just like "The Congregation", that some will love it, and others will not. The more poppy nature of "Malina" is definitely gonna scare off some people, making them go back to previous work. To me though, I feel more connected to this album than "The Congregation", it feels more honest, and it is not just a one trick pony, producing several similar songs. There is a lot of quality in this record, and it is one I will get back to multiple times, because it is definitely a grower. With a finish as strong as the start and some more memorable songs, it could have been a killer record, but it works really well for what it is.

Songs worthy of recognition: From The Flame, Bonneville, Mirage, Malina

Rating: 8/10 Captives

http://www.leprous.net/
https://twitter.com/leprousband

More reviews of Leprous
The Congregation

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Motörhead - The Wörld Is Yours (2010)

For any other band, reaching the milestone of 20 full length records is quite an impressive feat, but for Motörhead, it was kind of expected. With a front man that only seems to stop when he drops dead (which he did, RIP), there was no surprise at all to see this band present their 20th release in only 35 years, while still maintaining the quality of course. And with a title like "The Wörld Is Yours", it is evident that their self esteem is as high as ever.

This is one of the band's albums that I am most familiar with, mostly thanks to the fact that it was released when my interest for metal started to rev up towards full speed, so I am gonna try to see this beyond my nostalgia goggles, but it is hard to look past it. Even though, I can still see that this album has some weaknesses, that the drop from top to bottom is a little steep and that the instrumentation is not the best that we have seen from the band, but to me, the strong points of the album sticks out even more.

The biggest strength of this record is without a doubt that more than half of these songs are really memorable, just containing their own special groove that makes you remember them for quite some time. Sure, we get tons of familiar songs that are just typical Motörhead products, but they are not simply "Ace of Spades" clones, they have personalities to really make this album a varied experience.

It is especially at the later half of the album where Motörhead start to flex their muscles, especially with the "Orgasmatron" oozing "Brotherhood of Man", a slow and heavy stead fast tune with a Lemmy who summons his darkest of vocals, creating this mysterious mood that hits just right in the gut. That one is followed up by the speedier "Outlaw" where Mikkey Dee and his drums takes the charge, dominating the verse with some fine technical work and blasts on through in both chorus and solo, creating a simple burner. We also get the really fun side of the band in the finisher "Bye Bye Bitch Bye Bye". The title itself is just fantastic, but it is the ultra rapid rock n roll swing that sells the cake, making every listener rock their head in a frenetic manor, screaming those infectious words.

The first half has its gems to, even if they are more of the standard that we have come to expect from the band. The first single "Get Back In Line" is about waiting, but somehow, Lemmy just turns it into a groovy and simple song that is easy to like, even with an underwhelming chorus. Opening track "Born To Lose" is a little more complex in its riffs and beat, and it is a nice start to the album, also displaying one of the best build ups to a chorus I have heard from the band. These two tracks are not super special or anything, but they do their work just how you would want it, so you cannot really complain.

But as stated before, the drop from the best songs to the worst are a tad bit too high. Songs like "Rock 'N' Roll Music" and "Waiting For The Snake" have some charm, but does not hold up for multiple listens. So this makes "The Wörld Is Yours" a little divided, coming off as half great, half meh. Still, I do enjoy this album a hell of a lot, and it has a flow that just works really well throughout its run time, mostly thanks to the really strong finish. It is far from the finest work the band has done, but it deserves more credit, it delivers some great metal that builds the Motörhead legacy even stronger, and while it might not be enough to take over the world, it is enough to conquer the Wörld.

Songs worthy of recognition: Brotherhood of Man, Born To Lose, Outlaw, Bye Bye Bitch Bye Bye

Rating: 7,5/10 Devils In My Head

imotorhead.com/
twitter.com/myMotorhead

More reviews of Motörhead
Motörhead
Overkill
Bomber
Ace of Spades
Iron Fist
Another Perfect Day
Orgasmatron
Rock 'n' Roll
1916
March Ör Die
Bastards
Sacrifice
Overnight Sensation
Snake Bite Love
We Are Motörhead
Hammered
Inferno
Kiss of Death
Motörizer
Aftershock
Bad Magic

Monday, August 28, 2017

Game console review: Nintendo Switch


I would not consider myself as a true gamer, and that is mostly because of a number of things, like not having the time, patience, money, and hard ware to really get into it. While I am not playing such epic games like "Dark Souls", "Horizon: Zero Dawn", and "I Am Bread", I still take some time to play games that you can get in and out quickly, like "Rocket League". Needless to say, I was more of a gamer when I was younger, worshiping legends like Mario and Crash Bandicoot, while also improving my plastic instrumental skills in various Guitar Hero and Rock Band installments.

But after not owning a console for some time, I thought it was time to get back in the groove again, and when Nintendo announced their new console known as the Switch, I was instantly intrigued. Not that I am a Nintendo fanboy or anything like that (I have owned at least one console from all the major console makers), but I have always admired their desire for taking gaming to the next level. I absolutely loved the Wii and played it almost to death, and after the failure that is the Wii U (or as I call it, Wii plus tablet), the Switch seems like the right way to go.

So what is so revolutionizing about this piece of electronic? The Nintendo Switch is the first home console that also work as a portable console, which gives us the opportunity to play it wherever and whenever we want. At home on the TV, or on the train, there is no stopping. The console itself is a fairly small screen with open sides to attach the two joycon controllers, and it can also be docked into a stand that connects to your TV. Now, it does not hold the same capacity as the competition, but it still looks really nice, especially in the handheld mode where the colors and sharpness is simply astonishing.

Then we have the controller, which also can be used in multiple ways. It consists of two small joycons that could be easily described as two smaller versions of the Wiimote, which means they have motion control built in them as well. You can use them individually or both at the same time without any additional attachments, but I would not really recommend it because they are so small and light, which might work good for children, but not for adults. My preferred choice is instead in the handheld mode, where the joy cons are attached to the screen, turning it into a humongous version of the PSP, but it still feels nice to hold, and not too heavy as well. Another way is an additional piece that together with the joycons turns into a regular game controller, and it works too even if it is a little clunky. There is also a pro controller available, but it does not come cheap, so it might or might not be worth the trouble, depending on how you wanna play.

Now, there are some down sides with the Switch that I have found, but none of them are really that big. I have already talked about the small joy cons, but the main issue I have is that the Switch is simply just a gaming console. You cannot go web browsing, or watch Netflix, or anything like that, which is sort of a shame, at least give us the opportunity to stream the game live through the console. Also, the online feature is free for now, but a fee will be introduced in 2018, and while it is not that bad of a price (20 bucks for 12 months), I really do not like the fact that you have to pay additional money to play online.

Why can't they just get along...

But ultimately, what would a console be without its games? The library in the Eshop is pretty broad, with several small titles and some old games that make their debut on the console, like "Shovel Knight". Personally, I only have three games right now, but I definitely think all three is worth the price. "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe" is the best kart game in the series, with tons of great vehicle options, lots of cool tracks, and a nice and easy online mode. Some characters in here are unnecessary though (Pink Gold Peach? Tanooki Mario? All the baby characters?), but it is tons of fun for hours on end. Also, 200cc mode is down right insane, wilder than any "Fast & Furious" movie.

Then we have the post apocalyptic adventure where humans have become horribly mutated creatures that fights an eternal war against each other. I am of course talking about "Splatoon 2", which is a really nice follow up to the surprise hit from the Wii U. It is fast paced action with lots of depth and several nice modes. The single player campaign is also beefed up from the first game, and it works perfectly for those who need to fine tune their skills in the game. Needless to say, it is Nintendo at its finest. Finally, I also played "Sonic Mania", which is the ultimate game for retro Sonic fans, going in the same spirit as the first three games with fast 2D action with timeless characters. It is the game a lot of Sonic fans have begged and screamed for, and it is available for 20 bucks, easily worth the money.

You guys are probably already screaming "Why haven't you gotten the new Zelda yet?", and I think I explained it in my first sentence of this review. Any Zelda game requires a lot of time and dedication, and I simply do not have it. I will probably get it eventually, but not right now, maybe when the price goes down. I also do not have "ARMS", because I am not a huge fighting game fan, and while the game looks unique, it just does not appeal to me, and neither does the mini game collection "1, 2, Switch", a game I hoped would be this system's "Wii Sports", coming free with the console. But nope, it did not, so I will most likely not get it.

Why play as Mario when you can play as TYRANNOSAURUS MARIO!

There are however several games in the future I will get, because the line up of games scheduled for release is impressive, with the biggest one obviously being "Super Mario Odyssey", but there are other titles to look forward to, including the switch versions of "Rocket League", "Skyrim", "Super Meat Boy" and more, the upcoming "Metroid" games, "Sonic Forces", games from our favourite cute guys Kirby and Yoshi, and a whole new Pokemon adventure. Yes, the Switch seems destined to deliver tons of great games from various different genres.

Ultimately, I just cannot stop loving my new little favourite toy. It may not be as strong as the PS4 or the Xbone, but it brings a whole new dimension to gaming that makes it that much more versatile. It is definitely not a perfect console by any means, and only time will tell if it will be as fondly remembered as the SNES, the Nintendo 64, and the Wii, but it is a charming little toy that works perfectly for the whole family... and of course the bachelors too. Now, if you excuse me, I am gonna go and fling some red shells at the 11 drivers ahead of me, COMING THROUGH!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Motörhead - Motörizer (2008)

After so many albums of more or less the same style of music, there comes a time when you just ask yourself when Motörhead is just gonna run out of ideas and start putting out pure gibberish. Well, "Motörizer" might have been the start of that, especially when you take a look at the lyrics for the opening track "Runaround Man" (hey, Lemmy himself said it is "nonsense set to an infectious beat"). It got some clever lines like "We're out of cokes, clean out of smokes/It's not funny 'cos we run out of jokes", but this song is just dumb fun with no sense what so ever.

Then again, that can work in small doses as long as the humour is there, and you can be sure that Motörhead is not clogging up this album with their high jinks. The only other song that is simply silly is, coincidentally, one of the best songs in "Rock Out", a fast paced 2 minute steam roller that goes by way too fast, but gives us all an important tip to end our measly singles lives with the line "Rock out, rock out, with your cock out/Impress your lady friends". Doing the double helicopter never fails.

Jokes aside, "Motörizer" is still serious business most of the time, with "Motörizer" being more of a groovy record than its closest predecessors. Sure, we got some more stead fast songs in here that does not make you swing your head, but it is pretty obvious what songs are the stars in this album. "(Teach You How To) Sing The Blues" is probably the grooviest song in the whole Motörhead discography (and that is saying something), with its fast tempo and frantic yet smooth riffing it captures your attention and gives it Stockholm Syndrome. And yes, we get yet another great one liner here ("If you wanna get your hands on a beautiful girl, you gotta use a Mastercard"), something this album is certainly not lacking of. And the grooves keeps on coming in several other songs here and there.

This definitely makes "Motörizer" one of the funnest albums the band has made, this despite some songs that drags the mood down a notch or two. "One Short Life" and "English Rose" are just two of these songs, and while they are decent, they just does not seem to fit in all that well. I could say the same about "Heroes", but this one is more well structured and just better all around. Besides, cannot blame it all too much, because the lyrics here are really nice and emotional. So yeah, this album sure has variety, even if it is for both better and worse.

Otherwise, there is not really much more to say about "Motörizer. The performances are spot on, production is sleek, and the album art is really nice too, with each part of the shield representing a band member (including Snaggletooth). It is a very enjoyable record that has several memorable and strong songs, but maybe it would have benefited with a more clear direction in its personality. Oh well, "Motörizer" delivers a lot of goods that are really good, Motörhead is once again Motörizing your life with rock 'n' roll.

Songs worthy of recognition: (Teach You How To) Sing The Blues, Rock Out, Buried Alive, Heroes

Rating: 8/10 Runaround Men

imotorhead.com/
twitter.com/myMotorhead

More reviews of Motörhead
Motörhead
Overkill
Bomber
Ace of Spades
Iron Fist
Another Perfect Day
Orgasmatron
Rock 'n' Roll
1916
March Ör Die
Bastards
Sacrifice
Overnight Sensation
Snake Bite Love
We Are Motörhead
Hammered
Inferno
Kiss of Death
The Wörld Is Yours
Aftershock
Bad Magic