Re: PMX2 Thorsday Soundoff

Author:Matt Johnsen
Date:2018-10-04 19:06:46
In Reply To:PMX2 Thorsday Soundoff by MitchG
Saw: Pallbearer/Tribulation - Tribulation was a blast (was standing in front of the rather androgynous guitarist who was quite the showman...felt like he was a lost Gene Loves Jezebel member that stumbled into death metal).
That guy is the best.
Pallbearer was loud. Mostly, they were loud.
They're one of the loudest bands I've ever seen. It's how they fool Decibel readers into thinking they're good, which they definitely are not.

Raven - Heads Up!, Glow. After listening to Architect of Fear last week, I decided to give its follow-up (and the intervening EP) a listen. Heads Up is very much in line with AoF, but Glow, I guess you could say, was Raven's early 90s attempt at a sellout? That said, Raven aren't any good at selling out, and while this album doesn't really sound like anything else in Raven's discography, it's still quite enjoyable. It's just a slower, heavier Raven than we're used to.

Prototype - Continuum. These guys were (are?) awesome, but they hit the scene at exactly the wrong time. This is my favorite of their albums. I used to be kind of down on Vince's vocals; I always liked them well enough, but thought his limited range was holding the band back. Now, I think I was probably just projecting, and wishing they had found Russ Anderson 2.0 to front the band or something. Vince's range IS pretty limited, but less so than, say, James Hetfield, and he did a great job of making memorable melodies with what range he had. The riffing, meanwhile, is uniformly killer. Great band!

Prong - Beg to Differ. I was making an order for something on discogs, and trying to pad it out with another disc to make the shipping feel like painful, and I ended up ordering Primitive Origins and Force Fed, which I've never owned. They haven't come in yet, so I spun this to get my Prong on in the meantime.

Monstrosity - In Dark Purity. Heretofor, their only really great album. The new one seems promising, though, so maybe they're going for their second win. I wonder why Imperial Doom has never been reissued? Surely all the Cannibal Corpse fans are slavering for it.

Havoc Mass - Killing the Future. Thrash from after it was clear that death metal had taken over. Not bad, but hardly essential.

DIY comps on Rhino: American Power Pop I & II, UK Pop I & II, UK Punk I. The DIY series on Rhino from the early 90s is, for my money, the best compilation series ever made. The US and UK pop discs are basically my bible for powerpop, a roadmap that's led me to many, many other discoveries. All of the other discs in the series cover various punk scenes, and these discs are less to my liking, but the UK punk discs, at least, are quite good, and there's actually a little overlap between the UK Punk and Pop discs, namely Buzzcocks and Rich Kids. Both are better when they're more melodic, but Buzzcocks are pretty much always good.

Shoes - Present Tense, Tongue Twister, Silhouette. Classic American powerpop from IL. Of course, I first heard them on the above comps. Their first four albums are their best (not counting the two before Black Vinyl Shoes, which I think were more like demo tapes), with PT and TT being the cream of the crop. Silhouette was their sixth (?) album, and unlike the ones that came before, it's made with a drum machine. The songs are still pretty good, and mainly sound like Shoes, but that drum machine and the overall production are kind of a drag.

Rich Kids - Ghosts of Princes in Towers. See above! The title track here is their best song.

Kamelot - The Fourth Legacy. Easily their best, and perhaps their only truly great album. Epica is pretty good, too, but the rest range from unnecessary to thoroughly pointless. I don't acknowledge post-Khan Kamelot at all. But this album, it still stands up! So catchy, and even capable of the occasional surprise (not Kamelot's forte). As with most power metal, the drumming is a bit of a drag, but this was before Grillo turned into an always-on double bass machine. I assume he was already twirling the stick around his head before each snare hit, though.

Aggressor - Of Long Duration Anguish. I really enjoyed their debut, which was a nice slab of 1993 death metal, so I picked up the follow up. It's not as good, but still okay. Also, you know how a lot of music vendors will note of their wares, "From a smoke-free private collection"? Well, thsi is the first time I can remember getting a disc that was clearly NOT from a smoke-free collection. Stinky!

Refuge - Solitary Men. Gotta keep the love alive!

Red Warlock - Serve Your Master. In preparation for the new Negacy (they were originally called Red Warlock, but it's the same band.) Although they hewed a little closer to power metal than Negacy does, Red Warlock were also great.

Negacy - Escape from Paradise. It's not quite as good as the last one, but I like it. Reminds me a little of Mercenary at their best. The new singer is cool, and reminds me of someone, but I can't put my finger on it. He's a throatier singer than Marco Piu, and works in a lower range, generally, but is still more than sufficiently melodic. I'll need to give this a few more spins before pronouncing a final judgment, though!

Hollow - Architect of the Mind, Stand or Fall. These guys were like the Swedish Lethal, and not the Lethal of Poison Seed. The singer sounds remarkably like Tom Mallicoat. The music can be a little dull, though, and the sound is modern power metal of the late 90s. Hardly essential, but I like them, and I think this band is generally overlooked. Modern Cathedral, their other disc, is also good, but I like the debut EP and the second LP better.

Decapitated - Nihility. When this came out, I thought it was the second coming of Disincarnate. This is one of the best death metal albums ever made.

Shiva - Firedance. NWOBHM Triumph, basically. "Angel of Mons" is the standout track.

Freedom Call - Stairway to Fairyland. I had been thinking about pulling this out since I saw Helloween a couple weeks ago. The current Helloween guitarist is on the first two FC discs, coincidentally the only good FC discs. Despite being named after a Holy Land era Angra song, Freedom Call started as a pure Angels Cry tribute band. The singer, from Moon'Doc, did a passably good Andre Matos impression. I've generally stopped listening to power metal this cheesy, even from the era when I was more tolerant of that, but nostalgia is a powerful drug, I guess, because I still enjoy this.

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