A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Grade Scale adopted at Troll's Independent (starting from the lowest)

1 - Plop
2 - Hand-grenade
3 - Heavy-duty Shell
4 - Nuclear Explosion
5 - Troll-fart!!!

4/5
ANHKREHG
Lands of War
2001
Frowz Productions
war metal
Ahem, well, uhm, that' s kind of good… or something. The Canada-based war-metal act with a totally unpronounceable name Anhkrehg (I just wonder what kind of a sick fantasy inspires these black metal lunatics when they pick names for their bands, but whatever) is your typical war metal/black metal (don't really see any major difference between the two) all-hating weirdoes with their amps cranked up to 11 (yes, Spinal Tap started it all) and their spite aimed against god, holy spirit, and all the other popular fairy-tale personages. 'Lands of War' is not much of a musical invention, if you understand my point, but this lack of creativity is successfully compensated with high-quality performance, structural diversity of most of the songs, and an honest attitude (well, at least it does sound pretty honest to me). The mixing is also very distinct, which is always an asset, especially in black/war metal. I am not saying you would enjoy or like this record, but it's not really intended to be liked or enjoyed, I mean, niceness is not the original implication here. No way, records like that are made to drive the listeners totally crazy and nuts, and make them angry, and make you go wild with rage. This is the type of an album, which makes you quite evil in-the-face the first moment the sounds of it start blasting through your headphones. Musically though it's still quite good death-like black metal with supreme riffology and professional double-bass drumwork with an abundancy of blast-beats and breaks. It's very concise too, with the running time of just about 25 minutes, I think. All in all, surprising as it might seem initially but I'd rather rate this at 4, notwithstanding total lack of musical creativity. (Troll)

4-/5
ARCHAEAN HARMONY
Nihility Mundane Soul
2000
Solemn Music
progressive melodic black metal
Er… Just what exactly is that, can anyone tell me? No, I have been aware of this new trend in black metal, I mean progressive black, but this… Well, let's get you a lowdown on the CD: 30 minutes running time, progressive black metal, and… 3 songs (that's right, tigers, three - an average of 10 minutes per track.) Boring as it might sound on paper, the actual album is anything but that. Lengthy, yes certainly, but not boring. I'll go even further than that, because, to tell you the truth it is simply quite intriguing, because you just sit there mesmerized by the magnificent melody and keep waiting for whatever happens to the song next, watching its pattern move and transform, rapidly evolving from one riff to another, as if strolling down an enfiladed passage from room to room for hours on end, to the point where you lose any sense of time or place. To many this album would remind Death's 'Sound of Perseverance' or any CD by the Swedish Opeth. It does get a bit tiresome closer to the end of the record, but then again it's me I am not really that keen on progressive and long guitar-solos in the vein of Satriani and his ilk particularly. A very commendable effort put forward by very good musicians. But don't tell me I didn't warn you it was progressive. ;) Four minus. (Troll)

4+/5
ATROCITY
Gemini / Taste of Sin EP
2001
MOTOR Music
German industrial core
Atrocity are back after 3 years silence. The 'Werk 80' release was very interesting and controversial. The band definitely gave up their death metal influence and turned to computerized music. Anyways I awaited a new album with great interest. 'Gemini' is more controversial than its predecessor. At first I thought I bought the new Rammstein - almost everything from the first view reminded me of 'Du Hast'-fathers: riffs, even words sounded alike (the are German ok, but they used the same lyrical pattern in some of the songs), keyboards. But later I understood that Alex Krull (vocals and band's mastermind) and Co. has done a big 'pain-in-the-Rammstein-ass' album. Alex soaked the Atrocity trademark music with the best what German industrial core has given birth to considering such bands as Rammstein, Stahlhammer, Tanzwut and others and it ended up in a big blast album. The thing I also found interesting - almost all songs are bilingual - either chorus is English and verse is German or vice versa. Such songs as 'Taste of Sin', 'Wilder Schmetterling' and 'Das 11.Gebot' are very adrenalin-provoking. And of course Alex couldn't but yield to temptation to insert couple of cover versions, which are 'Zauberstab' by Emil Horowitz! and 'Sound of Silence' by Paul Simon. A very good album. As for the EP it contains 2 remixes of the 'Taste of Sin' and a unreleased song that fell out of the album track list. (Felix da Katt)
P.S. Don't forget that once again none else than beautiful and charming Liv Kristine sings on the album.

3+/5
BOULDER
Ravage and Savage
2001
Tee Pee Records
stoner, or rather, boulder ;) rock'n'roll
This is one of these CD's you cannot really put yer finger to whether you like it or not, moreover, I am not even sure whether I am the right person to pen the review for this one, but hell, whatever, you cannot write brilliant reviews all of the time, can ya? ;) (uhuh, the braggin' me!) I mean, I've never been much of a stoner fan, failing really to see any good point in a bunch of bands copying the early Sabbath sound, which is exactly what Boulder are about. The tuning, the manner of playing, everything has Black Sabbath written all over it, with the only exception, that 'Ravage and Savage' is probably one of those few stoner bands, which are not too depressive, this is where you get the rock'n'roll part, and, the only part which saves this record from becoming a 'just another stoner act.' I am serious though, being the copycats of the Ozzy and co. sound- and in many aspects riffing-wise, the dudes from Boulder somehow manage to create a very upbeat and groovy album with a lot of cool easy-to-remember tunes making it a quite enjoyable 30-something minutes of listening. The verdict is none really special, but totally fine and entertaining. Solid 3+. (Troll)

3+/5
DEEDS OF FLESH
Path Of The Weakening
2000
Unique Leader Records
death
Well, death metal is apparently on the rise in the United States, since three out of four reviewers at TTI have to cover US death metal bands, and there's still a lot of records that we just don't have time or opportunity to get to. Deeds Of Flesh have been on the scene for almost a decade, released two full length albums and gained enough experience to produce high-quality CDs. Superb production, real heaviness and excellent sound, really a treat for a brutal death metal maniac. I enjoyed "Path Of The Weakening" a lot, but its major drawback is massive lack of originality, since I would never be able to differentiate between this release and tons of other US death-style records that are unveiled every month. If you got the album, you will enjoy it, if not, there's no reason to be sad. Go and buy something else by Incantation, Immolation, Suffocation: well, whatever. Death metal forever - forever death metal! (Maniac)

4/5
GARDEN OF SHADOWS
Oracle Moon
2000
Wicked World Records
doom/death
A doom/death band from the United States?! Well, this should be something different given that the band's native state has never been known as a place where doom is flourishing. And Garden Of Shadows are indeed different from the present day doom/gothic trend. They stick to a heavier doom/death model of the early '90s, with only growling vocals in the inventory and keyboards are far away in the background. The seven songs represented on "Oracle Moon" are both melodic and aggressive and will definitely give an attack of nostalgia to those who have been addicted to doom/death in the times of "Gothic" and "Clouds". Those listening to tons of gothic metal these days will get a breath of fresh air from their regular music routine, and those who don't know what doom/death is about will be given a perfect chance to make themselves familiar with the genge. At the same time, some seven years ago Garden of Shadows would have been slagged off to death for lack of originality, as bands playing in the same vein were more than abundant back then. Making an original record requires something more than this back-to-the-roots approach, and I just hope that Garden Of Shadows will be creative enough to come up with something really innovative on their next releases. Unfortunately, my experience tells me that it very seldom happens to a doom/death band, no matter what country it is from. (Maniac)

5/5
HAGALAZ' RUNEDANCE
Volven
Well of Urd
dark folk
This is definitely my favourite dark folk album ever. It's just immensely beautiful and very romantic. That's how music straight from the heart should sound like - pure magic and majesty. Hagalaz' Runedance are powered by Andrea Meyer Heugen, a beautiful woman deeply devoted to the spirituality of northern Europe, pagan spirituality, of course. However to me the ideological aspect of this record is secondary to the music it contains. And this music is truly unique. Usually dark folk bands concentrate on darker sides of nature and mankind, but Hagalaz' Runedance are an exception. Their songs are much brighter, carrying a sort of spirituality, a connection not with "the other side", but rather with nature, pure and unaffected by civilisation. And of course, Andrea's voice: Help me someone, I'm just short of words to describe the feeling it produces. Once again, dark folk records are usually recommended for fans of the genre, but "Volven" is an exception. It can be enjoyed by everyone whose mind is open for something beyond metal, or rock, or whatever he or she likes the most. Styles are not important when true beauty enters the stage. This is perfectly proven by the techno remix (!) of the record's best track "On Winds of Rapture" added in the end of the CD. The song shines no less in this format and brings new flavours to the extremely conservative and orthodox genre that Andrea's band more or less sticks to. Just pure magic! (Maniac)

-/5
ICED EARTH
Melancholy EP
2001
Century Media Rec.
thrash
It was always difficult to review such CDs. First of all we should bear in mind that Melancholy is an EP and it is not a full-length album. Second, as long as EPs are usually released both before and after the main album this one is preparing us for the new upcoming masterpiece of this Florida thrash metal gang. The new CD is slated for summer 2001. And with its anticipation Century Media Records decided to make a present to all fans all over this iced planet. The CD contains 7 tracks. And regarding to its contents this is a good addition to true fans' CD shelves. 3 cover versions - Shooting Star (Paul Rogers), Electric Funeral (Black Sabbath) and The Ripper (Judas Priest) with 3 songs that could be found on previously released albums and song the 'Colors' being a left-over from 'Live in Athens' CD. That's all. This CD reminds me of Metallica's 'Garage Days' released 1999. All fans already have the songs but on different CDs. So what was the purpose of this one - you better tell me. Anyways, I like Iced Earth very much but I really have no idea how to rate this CD. (Felix da Katt)

2/5
MY SHAMEFUL
Sown In Sadness
2000
self-released
doom

This seems to be a demo released on CD by the band themselves. I always feel a bit uneasy slagging off demos, because nobody knows what a band will become in a couple of years. Probably My Shameful will one day acquire the status of doom metal stars, but so far they have produced nothing interesting. A 24-minute CD contains three songs that are very similar to early My Dying Bride with only programmed drums and gothic keyboards in the background added. This is of course quite tolerable, though not at all original, but the third song ruins everything. When I heard its main riff I thought it was a cover of Black Sabbath's "Black Sabbath" but it turned out that the band presents the track as their own composition. A total rip off, I must tell you, and I do not welcome such things. Really a shameful experience. (Maniac)

4/5
NARNIA
Desert Land
2001
Nuclear Blast
Malmsteen meets Hammerfall

I've heard a lot of bad things and good things about this record and the opinions were so polar that I was really anxious to find out what it really is about. The truth was, as always, somewhere in between. "Desert Land" is not a masterpiece and it didn't send me jumping across the room in excitement, but it didn't leave me bitter and disappointed either. What I got from it is a satisfied grin on my face and an impression that these 50 minutes of my life had not gone in vain. These Danish guys are very good at what they're doing, their songs are heavy and melodic, and the lead guitarist seems to have learned a lot from Yngwie Malmsteen and Timo Tolkki. Add to it the spirit of youth, freshness and a bit of naivety that is very similar to the one that's so apparent on Hammerfall's debut record, and you get a very nice disc with the only problem being lack of memorable songs. I can only single out "Walking The Wire" and the final 9-minute epic "Trapped In This Age", which is insufficient for five fists, but given that the rest of the material is also of high quality, quite enough for four fists. Haters of what is nowadays called true metal are warned to keep their ears away from this disc, but the rest are welcome to "Desert Land". (Maniac)

3/5
NEVERMORE
Dead Heart In A Dead World
2000
Century Media
power
I have felt great respect for Nevermore ever since I saw them live in Texas in late 1997. To see such a renowned band raging hard in front of 60-something metalheads and playing the music that no one in their country gives a damn about was a more than impressive experience. Unfortunately, Nevermore somehow fail to be as exciting on their records as they are live. I really don't know what is the problem, but their records have always been inferior to their concerts. You see, it is not that easy to capture the live energy in studio, and when the energy and excitement are diminished, similarities with other bands get more obvious. Listening to Nevermore, I cannot help but thinking that they are very close to Iced Earth, but with less catchy melodies and less touching ballads. Sorry, guys, but I cannot rate records like that at higher that three fists, even given all my respect. (Maniac)

3+/5
RAMMSTEIN
Mutter
2001
Motor Music
Hamburg 'Du Hast' Fathers
Let's put it straight this CD turned out to be a biggest disappointment for me. To say that millions waited for it means to say nothing. The legendary Germans who made a fantastic breakthrough onto American pop scene with such severe music based on very sex-oriented German lyrics. Supposedly every single person who knows MTV and likes rock music knows words of 'Du Hast' by heart. Sad, but Rammstein changed. And I think that the aforementioned eMpTyV played a negative role in this. Rammstein became 'trendy'. About two months ago I first time saw 'Sonne' video and I liked it so much - everything was there - previous aggression, sex, lust and grimly atmosphere. But as usual it turned to be a good commercial step. Actually 'Sonne' along with 'Links 2 3 4', 'Feuer Frei' and 'Rein Raus'are almost the best songs on the CD 'cause they remind of such killers as 'Eifersucht', 'Buck Dich' etc. You can say that we should have awaited the progression. But my dear droogies, this is the third album. The progression is evident, but not of the kind I expected. For me Rammstein never associated with orchestras ('Mein Herz Brennt'), I hated 'Klavier'. For me this band was a God of savageness, primitive aggression. I never skipped any song (except for 'Klavier') in my CD player. But on this 'Mutter' almost a third of 11 songs are very dull and I don't wanna hear it. They were (at least for me) original. Now we hear things used many times by Ministry (Psalm 69) and keyboards passages widely used by their label colleagues Atrocity. As for the lyrics - they are as usually fantastic! Sex rules the world! Sorry guys but this is only 3+. (Felix da Katt)

4-/5
ROYAL HUNT
Intervention
2000
Massacre
neoclassic hard/power
Well, you don't really expect unity from mini albums, right? And the bands that make them rarely aim at unity too. Royal Hunt take this rule to the limit, and it seems like three or four different bands are playing on the record. "Intervention" opens with the title track which is probably the heaviest thing this band has done so far. Gone is the keyboard domination of Royal Hunt's previous album "Fear", please welcome heavy guitars and pounding drums. Then come live tracks - an extended version of "Lies" and early classic "Flight" with John West on vocals. "Lies" is probably the weakest track here due to West's unimpressive vocal performance. It's not that he fails to hit the notes correctly, but there is no emotion whatsoever in his voice. As to "Flight", it seems the most poppish track, but it is performed perfectly with both vocals and instrumentation on the highest level. Further down the record, we find an acoustic version of "Follow Me" - this beautiful ballad sounds better here than ever before, and John West really shines on this track. The final tune is "U-Turn", a blues-based composition that I never expected from Royal Hunt. It is also great, though. To sum it all up, "Intervention" is a mixed bag of material, some good, some a bit worse. Recommended for die-hard Royal Hunt fans but those who have never heard the band should rather go for "Moving Target" and "1996" without spending time and money on this transitional release. (Maniac)

4/5
SQUEALER
Made For Eternity
2000
AFM Records
German speed/power
Oops: another speed/power band from Germany. This time, however, with a 10-year-long history and five albums in stock. I never heard Squealer's music before buying "Made For Eternity" and the only thing I knew about them was that their bass player departed for labelmates Edguy circa 1998. I don't really know if I missed a lot by not hearing the previous four CDs, but what I know is that "Made For Eternity" is one hell of a good album. Rough vocals in the vein of Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger), musical direction similar to that of Iron Savior, glorious drumming of Mike Terrana (Rage, ex-Metalium and many more), Ronald Grapov on solo guitar in the cover version of Depeche Mode's "People Are People" - what else do you need to enjoy a power metal CD? Ah, yes, inspiration and talent - these two substances are present here in abundance. Just listen to the first two tracks - both mighty metal hymns with cool riffs and catchy choruses. However the band goes beyond simple power metal and diversifies its music by means of adding thrash and progressive elements. At least you won't get bored with the record for many spins, that's for sure. And the cover of Depeche Mode with Ronald Grapov on guitar is alone enough to make "Made For Eternity" a success. (Maniac)

4/5
VARIOUS ARTISTS
Punk Goes Metal
2000
Fearless Records
any questions about style? look at the album title
"Hey ho let's go! Let's get together and record a tribute CD just for the sake of having fun and making our bands big!" That was what the participants of this album must have thought when recording it. I just wonder how many of them truly like the bands they are covering. "Punk Goes Metal" is a compilation of 17 underground punk bands covering classic 1980-ies hard rock and heavy metal tunes. Let me just mention a few songs they are doing - "My Michelle" by Guns N'Roses", "Breaking The Law" by Judas Priest and "Bark At The Moon" by Ozzy Osbourne. Now imagine this turned into punk rock. Should be killer, you say? Well, not really. Most of the tracks are done very close to the original versions, there is very few improvising, and the vocals are usually weaker. What saves the CD is a few indeed original interpretations that cannot but make you laugh. How'd you like, for instance, Metallica's "Harvester Of Sorrow" with horns all over? Or Slayer's "War Ensemble" with an unexpected jazz break in the middle? Or Skid Row's "I Remember You" turned into wild punk rock? It's only a pity that there are not many tunes like this on "Punk Goes Metal". But even given as such, the record is worth listening, for it's certainly gonna make you feel better when you're down and will also sound great at parties. I should only warn those who hate 1980-ies hair metal to keep away from this CD - the music you dislike is represented here in abundance. (Maniac)

3+/5
VOMITORY
Revelation Nausea
2000
Metal Blade Rec.
death
Long live Swedish death metal! Long live Entombed with their 'Clandestine' masterpiece! So many years have passed but a swarm of bands from Sweden are trying to proclaim a new messiah and 'do something new'. Nothing seems to change; some bands like Vomitory mix Swedish death metal (not a melodic one!) with Bolt Thrower-type rough deadly music. 'Revelation Nausea' is far from being their first album and they are said to have certain progression music wise. Of course they hate Christianity and any other religions and go beyond themselves to reflect this ideology in lyrics. Other part of the lyrics is definitely flavored with aforementioned Bolt Thrower: war marches, massacre, death and all the necessary attributes. But don't get me wrong - I liked the album - it still has the vibe and omitting some minor drawbacks and the major drawback of disturbing early-90s-Entombed-rotten-corpse, the album is good. True Swedish death metal without any keyboards, female or clean vocals - straightforward, rough guitars, concrete drumming with blast beats and growling that makes walls shiver. That's all. If you think that such bands like Dismember are stupid musical thieves don't listen to Vomitory, but for those die-hard fans of good Scandinavian death metal this CD will be like a remedy for wounds. /Felix da Katt/

5/5
W.A.S.P.
Unholy Terror
2001
Metal-Is Records
pure American metal
You know, it's funny how it goes sometimes. Certain ideas have to age and sort of settle in the heads of their originators before they start to enjoy proper understanding. Blackie Lawless, the founder and the indispensable leader of white Anglo-Saxon American metal, has been experimenting for the past five or so years with pretty much everything - electronic fancy sounds in the key of NIN and his ilk; good ol' rocka-rolla tunes, and drokk only knows what else. I mean, even the 1992 Crimson Idol has already been pretty much of an experiment with this strange conceptual scenario, so untypical and so, in my opinion, unbecoming of Blackie. But, years come and go, and as time passes, it occurs to you that this whatever you've been looking for, you've been looking for in a totally wrong place, and moreover, you've already got it, and it's right on the surface and you don't have to look for it really. Well, that's basically what we have with WASP's latest 'Unholy Terror' - there's no sound like the old sound. Seriously though, when I first put the CD in my rack, it almost made me jump up from my seat and cry with joy, because what I heard was exactly what I'd always associated the band with. The times of 'I Wanna be Somebody' and 'Animal Fuck Like a Beast' have returned, and with them this great feeling and vibe of uncontrolled joyful anarchy that was characteristic of WASP's albums. While having not really made anything new on this record, Blackie does not produce an impression of stagnation. On the contrary, I'd rather refer to this as musical maturity. Plus we have twice better a mixing than on the first two albums for purely technical reasons, and as a result what we get is probably the best to date Blackie album. I haven't had the times to listen to the album enough times to determine any favorites song-wise, but I assure you, none of the tracks would be a disappointment. Fucking A! (Troll)

3/5
WOLFPAC
Evil Is...
2001
Sugar Daddy Productions
Heavy RAP
Ok, let's face it from the very beginning: look one line above and if the three-letter word written in capitals makes you choke and spit with disgust, skip this review… For da big phat Philadelphian grizzleyz R 'boutta kick ya bioatch-ass, sucka! Anyhows, why in hell does he review a RAP-CD on a metal site, some of you are probably wondering? Well, since day one of our inception we at TTI have always tried to be as democratic style-wise as possible. As long as it is heavy and/or extreme, it don't really matter whether it's rap-metal or true-and-evil black (I guess, I'm aboutta make some enemas after that phrase ;) Whatever though, these dudes are pretty fragging extreme, gotta admit that at least. Coming out in the best style of any black gangsta RAP outfit, with just a slight touch of distorted guitars and heavyish riffing, the Wolfpacc-crew gunna punch ya right in tha face with their brutal aggression and badass attitude, which makes a lot of the so-called "true" bands look like stuffed teddy-bears, rather than servants of evil, which they often claim they are. This older and badder brother of Bloodhound Gang is indeed going to tell us what evil is. And being endorsed with the likes of Jimmy Pop, the 'Knot, and the porn tart Jenna Jameson, who also appears to be on the cover of their latest CD, the 'Pac are in for some big-hit success in the USA, that's for sure. But, let's not wind this up quite yet. I'll be honest with ya I ain't no newcomer to this type of music, with being into all sorts of extreme music for more than a decade now, I did listen to a lot of gangsta-rap and hip-hop stuff back in my times, and, judging from that position Wolfpac don't come even close to the likes of, say, Geto Boyz. So it's a cool 3 out of five for being original in metal, and a mere three out of five for being a sorry mediocrity in RAP. They're cool in way, though… so if you liked BHG - give this one a try to. (Troll)

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