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

5/5
AION
Reconciliation
2000
Metal Mind Records
thrash/industrial/with elements of goth, ambient and grudd know what else.

Whoever said mixing styles is not original anymore since everyone’s around is into it? Yes, this goes without saying, mixing the unmixable is becoming very trendy nowadays, and with time such experiments become a little bit excessive, but, then again, everything does. At the same time, when it comes to real Talent (spelled with a majour «T») somehow stylistics, genre attributes, and all the other just cease to matter any longer. It’s just good music - and it can be metal, industrial, folk, power, or whatever else. To me, this is like a line that separates genuine talents from the rest of the market. Well, Aion, here are undoubtedly extremely creative. The industrial-based thrash metal of this Polish act is like a kaleidoscope, never repeating itself, always assuming new forms, and ending up in a totally unexpected turn, which keeps any tasteful listener thrilled until the very end of the record. Moreover, I tell you, after it is over, the urge to rewind the tape and listen to it again is nearly irresistible. The seemingly simple structure of the songs turns out to be an endless pit of riffs, high-quality solos, ambient samples, blackesque keyboard arrangements, and much, much more. One second it sounds a bit like Kovenant, then it starts to remind you of Faith No More and the next instance it’s Fear Factory, Voivod, and stoner rock. Intriguing, eh? Damn is, I tells you. For those of you who are still unconvinced - the album ends with a totally brilliant and beautiful version of Black Sabbath’s ‘Headless Cross.’ I guess, the only drawback of this record is it’s rather short length (about 30 min.), but nothing’s perfect... (Troll)

3-/5
ANDRAS
Quest of Deliverance
2000
Last Episode Records
standard black metal

What do you need to record a black metal album? Well not that much really! Make a pompous and cliched intro with somebody riding on a horse, walking down the aisles and scaring the living shit of somebody else with a demonic laughter, mix everything so that it sounds like its coming out of the ass of a constipated goblin, put the words Satan, blasphemy, Lucifer, and the like into the lyrics at random, if you wanna seem really inventive you can also add some medieval-like keyboard effects and there you go. At least that's pretty much what the Andras dudes have done. Not particularly a bad band per se, they just seem to have put out a wrong CD at the wrong time. There is a couple of good ideas and moves on the Quest of Deliverance, but as such it is as boring and uncreative as anything. Besides, well, at least they could have mixed it a little bit better than that. All in all I'd say a fan of the genre could give it a go, but I wouldn't know why anyone else should be interested. (Troll)

4/5
ARTILLERY
B.A.C.K.

2000
Die Hard Music
old school European thrash
Another interesting comeback! This one is really worth checking out, for back from the dead are Artillery, a Danish speed/thrash legend that blew everyone's minds away in 1990 by releasing a totally killer disc "By Inheritance." Fans all over the world (yours truly included) were waiting for a follow-up, but the band made an unpleasant surprise for us all by calling it quits in the early 1990s. What do they have to offer now, 10 years after their hour of triumph? Pretty much, I would say. "B.A.C.K." is a solid thrash metal record, Artillery's heaviest up to date, excellently recorded and mixed by Andy Sneap (does this name ring the bell?). The band is now among the veterans of the genre, and they are doing their thing like only true masters do. Each song will inevitably send shivers down the spine of every thrash fan, revoking remembrances of good ol' days when the grass was greener and Metallica heavier. The only thing that the new record lacks is a hit or two. I mean, "By Inheritance" was full of hits that I lived with all these 10 years, even though I wasn't listening to the disc that often. This one has solid songs, but no hits at all. Not a single melody managed to stay in my mind even after the second spin. Damn, what's wrong, men? (Maniac)

5/5
BEHEMOTH
Thelema 6
2000
Avantgarde Music
black
Unusual as it is today for a band to make records on a yearly basis, the uncrowned kings of Polish black metal seem to have decided to go against this unfortunate trend, and came up with the second straight record in two years. Being in principle a logical successor of the ‘Satanica’ release, this new album is doubtless a huge step forward from the point of its musical concept, production and mixing quality, and overall approach to how things are done. Frankly speaking, I didn’t like ‘Satanica’ that much and couldn’t understand all the hype about it. I mean, let’s face it, what was so special about it? It was mixed in the traditional ‘wall-of-noise’ style, which, although pretty popular among black metal acts, is a bit erm... difficult to appreciate if put mildly. (Better be said, I couldn’t make out when one song ended and another started) The music was standard primitive black metal, and... Well, in short, to me, it was as boring as anything. ‘Thelema 6’, the new album, is a totally different matter - it’s got style, it’s got diversity, it’s got aggression, it’s got a great mix, it’s very experimental and it is on the whole a freaking killer record. It’s Morbid Angel in black metal, if you please. ‘We would like see most of the universe killed off because it is unworthy... it is unworthy of the gift of life’ - says Nergal - damn right! (Troll)

2/5
THE BERZERKER
The Berzerker
2000
Earache Records
chaos core

Wow! Seems like I invented a new metal genre name. Chaos core. It is almost impossible to describe what The Berzerker is, but I'll try. Can you imagine acid hardcore techno blast-beat drums, buzz-saw like guitars, and screaming sometimes turning into growling? The music, no let's call it organized chaos, is so weird that even notorious freak David Townsend could not have ever thought of while doing his Strapping Young Lad project. To me, personally, it reminded only (it'll sound strange but...) both of Mike Patton's experiments in Fantomas, though much more sophisticated (if it can be imagined at all!) and some acid hardcore techno compilations for fans only. Anyway Earache is a well-known company and it is into METAL music. I can't say The Berzerker isn't metal at all. It is. There are some moments on the CD that can be even referred to as Death metal but…Most of the people who have long hair, I mean, metalheads of course, look forward to bang their heads against the scene while listen to what-ever type of heavy music. GUYS! It is impossible to do that with the Berzerker, of course if we do it in the rhythm with music, 'cause most of the drumming as stated before reminded me of machine-gun fire. (Felix the Katt)

5/5
BESEECH
Black Emotions
2000
Pavement Music
gothic metal
I'm not going to make this review a long one. I will just say that this is a brilliant gothic metal record that every fan of the genre should check out. The band's first release, "From A Bleeding Heart," was already cool enough, but this one's much better. Beseech have abandoned death metal growls, but added more melodies and made their approach to composing a bit more straight-forward. Besides, "Black Emotions" only plays for something like 40 minutes, and thus has no protracted and boring parts based on a single riff, which, in my opinion, is among the main components of a good record. Gothic metal at its best, and an atmospheric instrumental piece at the end to top it all off. Enough said. (Maniac)

P.S. I can only add that even those of you who ain't into gawth metal might conisder this pretty cool too... (the ed.)

4-/5
CANAAN
Brand New Babylon
2000
Eibon
dark gothic
Imagine Vintersorg (vocalist of Swedish folk metal band Otyg) being imprisoned for something like 28 years on charges of a crime he never committed. This is the music he would have written having spent 10 years in a cell. Very dark and melancholic passages give you a feeling that everything in the world is totally wrong and miserable, and you are miserable and your future is miserable. Gloomy melodies grow over you like a cloud and by the end of this 70-minute-long CD you are either impressed or asleep. This Italian combo classifies its style as dark gothic/experimental, but I don't see much experimentation here, as a few noise-like tracks in between the songs can hardly be considered innovative. "Brand New Babylon" made me curious whether Canaan have ever heard the works of Hungarian band Omega, their space-rock period, to be precise, but similiarities are obvious to me. Overall, four points for the music, which is truly beautiful, and 0.5 points off for monotonousness, which is almost unbearable. (Maniac)

3+/5
DAVID COVERDALE
Into The Light
2000
Koch International
da blues, baby
I guess the time comes for any hard-rock musician when he feels he's too old to play the type of music he has been playing for all these years. A feeling that you just can't rock like hell on stage and can't sing or play your ass off in the studio anymore. This problem has become acute for many famous musicians, and everyone deals with it in their own way. We have seen Ritchie Blackmore abandoning Rainbow in the favour of folk/pop project Blackmore's Night and now we see his former bandmate David Coverdale putting an end to the history of Whitesnake and going solo. Comparing the latest works of these two musicians, I opt in the favour of Blackmore's Night. You see, the two records of this project are so different from the music that Ritchie did before that you can never say whether they are better or worse, they are just different. The same cannot be said about "Into The Light," as the songs featured here are not really far away from the world-famous hits of Whitesnake. OK, the music is much more bluesy and the general feel is much more relaxed, but I can easily imagine many tracks off this CD on any Whitesnake record. And when I compare them to the chart-topping hits like "Fool For Your Loving," "Here I Go Again" or "Sailing Ships" I see that something is missing in the new disk. It is hardly a lack of inspiration, 'cause tracks like "The River Song" and "Don't Lie To Me" have quickly become my favourites, but rather the lack of what musicians call hunger for success. David seems to have everything he needs to be happy, and music is more of a hobby for him. He's still a great singer and a good songwriter, but each time I think of the past... Really, the worst human quality is the ability to compare. (Maniac)

3/5
DARK AGE
Psychotic Side
2000
PCL
death a la Entombed
It is the first time I'm reviewing a record by a band from Chile. Apparently, South America has no less heavy metal bands than any other region, but only a few of them manage to bring their CDs across the ocean. I'm absolutely unaware of the status Dark Age have at home or how many records they have released, but judging from what I hear on this record, the band must be famous in Chile. Their music is very well played and excellently recorded, so that no one can ever recognise the band's origin by listening to "Psychotic Side." The album was recorded as early as February 1999, but the music still sounds up to date, as their style is very popular in Europe nowadays. What style? Well, if you've heard Entombed's "To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth" (or whatever the hell that CD is called) the similiarities will be obvious to you. Moreover, to speak about similiarities would be an understatement - the two records are practically identical, and that pretty much ruins the impression "Psychotic Side" has made on me. A nice album, but not a hint of originality. If you haven't had enough of Entombed's works dated 1994-1997 Dark Age are bound to please you, but if you look for something like new dimensions in music, check out something else. (Maniac)

4/5
DISRESPECT
Hit the ceiling
2000
Hard Boiled/Die Hard Music
hardcore

Have you ever asked yourself how many words in English start with 'Dis-' prefix? How many bands have their titles starting with this? I think every metal style has it. Let's start - Discharge, Disbelief, Distrust, Dismember, Dissection and many many others. Another question - have you ever thought about the fact that when you see a CD of the unknown band and looking at the band's title you can tell (if you experienced enough though) what type of music this band plays? Disrespect carries the logo every hardcore band should carry - clear and easy to read, but having all the supposed angry elements inside it. Frankly speaking I see Disrespect in another weight category. I mean there are bands that are true straightforward hardcore ones but there also many who are influenced by other metal techniques. Disrespect is definitely influenced by death metal. Very aggressive, painful riffs, solid drum work and deadly hardcore vocals. The Germans present you 35 minutes of hardcore that every fan of that music concept should have. (Felix da Katt)

4/5
DREAMS OF SANITY
The Game
2000
Hall Of Sermon
gothic metal
The best way to refute rumours of your demise is to do something. This was excellently proven by the record label Hall Of Sermon, which has recently been rumoured to have gone bust. Nevertheless, the company led by Tilo Wolff (Lacrimosa) makes its survival apparent with the release of this CD, the third for Dreams Of Sanity. This band has always been one of my favourites gothic metal acts with female vocals, and they will not have to blush after the release of "The Game." A great record with lots of killer riffs and melodies and a precise balance between heaviness and softness, something that is rarely achieved by artists of this genre. However there is one thing that I didn't like about the record, and that is the vocals. No doubt that Sandra Schelert is a great singer, but on "The Game," she sounds exactly like Anneke from The Gathering. This is something I don't understand, given that the comparison doesn't strike me as obvious when I'm listening to the band's earlier records. Does it mean that Dreams Of Sanity are trying to gain more fans by borrowing from a more successful band? Not a very wise decision, if so. (Maniac)

3/5
EVOKE
The Fury Written
2000
System Shock
death
Death metal this time from the foggy island of England. The CD starts to boil from the very beginning. The prelude/intro is a beautiful piece of orchestral music, being almost obligatory for that music style, though a bit longer than usual. The disk contains 11 tracks. It unfolds like a dead withering flower, faster and faster from track to track. The first flower-leafs fall down making us hear the traditional death metal, we already heard on Morbid Angel's CDs. The first 3 tracks evoke the spirit of 'God of Emptiness' with a touch of Pestilence's 'Testimony of the Ancients' - blizzarding double-bass, slow stringy riffs, very low pitched guitars and vocals like those of Dave Vincent. The rest of the tracks comprise the material done by many death metal bands mostly from Sweden - Unleashed velocity, raging intensity, roaring blended with very intense slow parts. Now let's stop with the epithets and other ornamenting stuff. 'The Fury Written' is a Death metal product that could have had 5/5 some 10 years ago, but now only 3 fists. The Evoke guys throw into our face a good piece of deadly mud. The band should work hard to make their next albums have their own sound and not the copying mixture of others. (Felix the Katt)

5/5
GARDENIAN
Sindastries
2000
Nuclear Blast
NWOSDM (new wave of swedish death metal)
Starting as a Goteborg-Death metal product and In flmes and Dark Tranquillity clone, Gardenian with their second LP' Soulburner' succeeded to create their own style, which has even more sharpened on the '2k CD. The music definitely has a lot in common with In Flames but regarding almost no developemnt of the latter band Gardenian DO develop. The music has become a bit softer, but still combines both excellent speed-death metal, harsh a bit blackish vocals and beautiful clean vocals and guitars. There is even a ballad - 'Funeral'. Absolute killer tracks are opening 'Self-proclaimed Messiah', 'Long Snap to Zero' with the bombastic heavy metal riff, and of course my favorite track 'Iron Death Monkey'. Sometimes my mom tells me she can't understand my constant passion to all types of heavy metal, saying '..you cannot even sing any of these so called songs!' Gardenian's Sindastries is an excellent answer - half of the songs are not operas but they can be sung (whoever said operas were about singing ;) -- the ed.) Excellent. Every fan of melodic death is obliged to have this CD in their collection. Believe me. (Felix da Katt)

4/5
GEHENNA
Murder
2000
Moonfog Productions
black
Pretty much like it's predecessor - 'Adimiron Black' - the new Gehenna album is another step towards mixing traditional true'n'evil black metal with no less traditional and no less evil death metal. Not really a new approach these days it thus now requires a bit more creativity than it used to. Well, to say that Gehenna has succeeded in this would be a gross underestimation. The self-explanatory and self-descriptive Murder-album is a high-explosive bullet right between the eyes of the listener. The key-word here is consistency - primitive and disturbing cover artwork, simplistic and extremely aggressive lyrics (like in the track 'Master Satan'), dirtyish mixing, and death metal riffs coupled with traditional black-metal blast-beats on the drums. All of that put together creates a tremendous impact and gives one an impression of having just lived through a horrible nightmare full of blood, psychopathic maniacs, razor-sharp knives, rotten gore, and all the rest that is generally referred to as total hell. (Troll)

4/5
GRIM FORCE
Circulation to Conclusion
2000
World Chaos Productions
thrash core death

Yeah, big-budda-boom, big-budda-boom, as Bruce Willis put it in the infamous 'Fifth Element'. Damn it, this Japanese brigade is a no minor issue when it comes to blowing some hot steam up your shaggy arses, I tell you. Hell no, these dudes are pretty fragging serious about their shite. The seven tracked war machine driven by the V-twin like guitar noise and hammer-smith drumming is all set and loaded to burst out in a bullet spree of the most groovy and deadly thrash core ever to appear on this oriental island. Although the parallels with their fellow-countrymen of Ritual Carnage here are all too obvious, and no wonder with RC's Eddie Van Koide performing as a guest lead guitarist, Grim Force put more emphasis on the groove and raw power, rather than supreme riffing technique. I mean, Ritual Carnage, cool as they were, still sounded a lot like old Slayer, and that, in my opinion was a major drawback on their latest CD since you simply couldn't help but trying to identify where you'd heard this before. Grim Force, on the other hand, have a solid identity of their own, which immediately puts them among those few, who dare to walk their own way, not making any compromises and not giving a two-pence about what the others think of them. Yet another bonus of 'Circulation to Conclusion' is the lead singer. This brute is something, folks, I swear to grudd! Unfortunately I didn't have the time to pop into the band's home-page and check out his photo, cuz I'd really want to see what a bloke with such a voice would look like, but, quite seriously, describing his manner of singing is beyond my modest verbal capacity - you gotta hear it. All in all a highly recommendable disk for all of those who don't believe in the so-called melodic aspect of metal - war, disasters, killing, slaughter and all the other. (Troll)

3/5
HATRED
The Offering
2000
Demolition Records
death/black
Welcome aboard. Hatred is a death metal formation having their seeds and roots in the North American Continent, USA 'The Offering' is their first release and I'd like to say that the offering is not so bad. But let's have everything in order of appearance. Death metal with all the 'prescribed' elements: roaring and thunder-like double bass, good guitar work, bass that can be heard and moreover attempting to play solos/intros and *sigh* vocals that reminded me of two metal mastodons - Chuck Schuldiner (Death) and Dani (Cradle of Filth) - (that's a kinda small and tiny mastodon ;). Screaming, horrifying, making-me-wonder-how-a-human-being's-throat-can-survive-in-such-conditions vocals and that's not all, Tim Clayborne, the lead singer, uses two vocal patterns - the one given above and very low, deep-from-the-throat, even demonic vocals…still reminding of COF leader. As for the lyrics, here everything is very simple - Satan, hell and so on and so forth. Many bands started with the lyrics of that kind - not many of them remained the same worshippers (some of them now sing about love - ha!). 10 songs. Excellent headbanging stuff, lots of rhythm shifts (sometimes a bit awkward and badly played), sometimes reminding you of the already mentioned Chuck and his early Death stuff. 'The Offering' is another example that we should listen to every CD up to the end, even we don't like/hate/loath it, we should, 'cause there might be something prepared for good listeners. (Santa, Santa, will you bring us the hidden track? -- the ed. ;) Track #8, 'Trust No One', made by Hatred is one of the best tracks I have recently heard (except for the Gardenian stuff). After 7 tracks of total satanic annihilation, the guys somehow cast an excellent piece of music at the listener, a bit Maiden-like, with clear guitars and CLEAR vocals (Tim turned out to be a very good singer), but all-in-all the track is actually a mixture of usual Hatred stuff and very good clean commitments. Still three fists, for a bit raw production quality and some other departures. (Felix da Katt)

2/5
HELHEIM
Blod & Ild 2000
Ars Metalli
sympho black
To tell you the truth, black metal is not something that I listen to every day. However I've heard that Helheim's second CD is out via Ars Metalli, a label that discovered to the world such talents as Die Apokalyptischen Reiter and Antichrisis, I thought that would be something original and decided to give it a try. How wrong was I! The CD contains nothing more than 39 minutes of symphonic black metal, which is quite listenable, but totally unoriginal. Everything on this album has been done before so many times I can't even remember, with the exception of the 2-minute industrial interlude "Helheim. Part 2", but that was too short to keep me interested. Die hard fans of sympho black will probably want to check out this record, but for me it's nothing more than a waste of time. (Maniac)

5-/5
HELLOWEEN
The Dark Ride
2000
Nuclear Blast
Helloween meets Alice Cooper
It's here! And it's even better than I expected! Helloween rules! Alice Cooper rules too! Hey, you must be wondering why we're talking about Alice here. Well, this record of the legendary forefathers of speed metal has plenty of influences from the king of macabre. I don't know whether the band members have fallen fans of Alice's "Brutal Planet", or is it the work of producer Roy Z., but a couple of tracks sound exactly like the No.1 shock rocker's latest release. This kind of modern and fashionable guitar sound, you know. Not Roy's trademark low-pitched guitars, but rather something a bit industrialised and still very heavy. Then, we see Alice's influence in the lyrics that are much darker and more mystical than ever before. You can even find a slight taste of S&M here and there ("Mr.Torture," "I Live For Your Pain"), also something for which Alice is famous. Add to this the intro to the title track "The Dark Ride" that is so unmistakably Alice's that I was sitting there waiting for a little girl to shout "Steven!" or "I see them, don't you see them?" the way she does on the track "Wind-Up Toy" from the shock rocker's masterpiece "Hey Stoopid." Surprisingly, all these influences fit Helloween's music perfectly, making it interesting and different from the hordes of speed/power bands that have been emerging all over Europe in the past couple of years. Actually, I don't feel like calling Helloween speed/power anymore. A better description should be modern (but not trendy) heavy metal, extremely diverse and sophisticated. And the CD is packed with hits! My favourites are "Mr.Torture" and "The Departed", and, of course, the single track "If I Could Fly" is destined to give you chills. What I really like about Helloween is that they change with each record and there's no way for stagnation. However what I really don't like is some fruit of this process. For instance, the track "Salvation" with the chorus clearly stolen from "Father Time" by Stratovarius. Things like this make me believe that there's no room for innovation in heavy music. A lousy feeling, this one. (Maniac)

3/5
HOUWITSER
Embrace Damnation
2000
Displeased Records

grind gore death
You know, at a certain point it becomes very difficult to define whether you like the band or not because it seems to you, that the musicians are tired of what they are doing. This Dutch four-piece, featuring two ex-members of Sinister, is just the right example. It’s well produced, it’s professional, it’s aggressive, it’s got a sleeve artwork that bleeds like a stuck pig, and it looks as if it has got everything to become a hit - but it is still unconvincing. So it ends up boring into your brain like a dull cutter. Of course, I can be wrong, and that’s the main gimmick about this album, like it is meant to be painful and no-fun at all, like you’re not here to enjoy yourselves, are you, but in that case the logical question is why? And then, why use all of them old worked-out Cannibal Corpse tricks with text inserts in-between the songs, when somebody is telling about how they cut somebody else’s ball off and ate them? Remember the ‘Tomb of the Mutilated’-album? ‘I ripped her vagina and ate it.’ I’ll skip the doubtful humour of this (since my own sense of humour is far from being commonplace as well) but this is simply unoriginal to say the least. To me the only reason why anyone would deem this album interesting is the hidden bonus track that features a new (gore, naturally) reading of ‘Everybody Dance Now’ - the famous dance hit - but, boy, is 30 seconds of fun worth buying a whole album of dull and self-repeating material? (Troll)

3/5
ILLDISPOSED
Retro
2000
Die Hard Music
Death/grind retrospective
Do you remember Six feet Under's 'Graveyard classics'? Sure you do! Bo Summers and his colleagues from Illdisposed seem to find their own graveyard and try to disturb the dead. As for the latter they took quite an impressive brigade of musical corpses. Actually this album represents a grind/death metal jukebox. Unlike the SFU bros. Bo and Co. decided to make the tribute to their supposedly all-time-favorite bands. Well it's understandable - have a look at the contents - Infernal Majesty, Pestilence, Venom, Autopsy, Carcass (seems like it has become a trendy thing to cover Carcass!), Death and others. What a bone crushing stuff. But...Surprise..Among the others this CD beholds covers of Paradise Lost and AC/DC! Sorry pals, but I can't stop myself comparing SFU and Illdisposed. The two teams consist of the true professional and although the albums are somehow identical, I like the SFU stuff better, but Illdisposed tried to cover songs, that are ...eh... more difficult to cover. What a problem for a death metal band to reproduce TNT, for example? But that's a problem to bring in smth NEW in Death metal stuff, to lace it with interest. I have already heard Hemorrhage. It was interesting. Hetfield said once: 'It's easier to make a cover - you have a song already made, and the only thing you need is to do something with it'. Meat can be with blood or well-done. Retro somehow comprises both - well-done meat with blood. This record has a lot of pluses (some of them - Death 'Open Casket', Pestilence 'Out of the Body'), but also some draw-backs ('Intoxicated' by Obituary, although with a nice attempt to reproduce vocal pattern of the band lead singer). Every metal fan can decide for their own if they want to have a cool cover-album - we have a rock/punk/trash tribute done by SFU, and a more harsh, aggressive death, but not a bite less professionally made Retro by Illdisposed. (Felix da Katt)

3/5
MORTEM
Decomposed by Posession
2000
Merciless Records
death

Obviously the most famous death metal band from Peru. A Hell-forgotten place on earth. If you ask any true American metal fans from Florida where the hell Peru is, the only answer I expect them to utter is 'Dunno'. That is why Mortem appeared - to let the world know that there is civilization even somewhere in the South American continent. But as everywhere in the third world countries the information they have is a bit too old. And probably the guys didn't hear about the death metal scene progression and of course they didn't hear about some strange blond Scandinavians with their black metal and so on. The only thing they definitely know and have and like it is the band called 'Death' and his majesty death metal king Chuck Schuldiner and probably some early stuff by Morbid Angel etc. But the CDs they have definitely date back to late 80s and early 90s. So what they play and, frankly speaking mastered quite well, is an old Florida-school death metal a-la 'Leprosy' and stuff, but a bit more harsh and shall we say VIOLENT. To my mind the CD is very old-fashioned, but still some solos are kick-ass, sometimes I got the feeling that guys tend to play some kinda progressive death, but these part are too rare and unlike mentioned above Death Mortem uses more blast-beat drumming. Good material, though too much mothball odour in it. (Felix da Katt)

3/5
NAPALM DEATH
Enemy of the Music Business
2000
Dream Catcher
Grindfathers
Millenium. Napalm Death are back. What else could be said? But that's why we are writing reviews to let you lads know what is there in the album that can make the shivers runs down your spines or make you fall asleep or yawn or even hate the music. We are like the jury making our own decisions and nobody could, should and hopefully would argue with us about it (hey, what's wrong with this guy, talking about God Complex? ;) the Ed.) Barney Greenway and Co. present their new CD 'Enemy of the Music Business'. How much anticipation for every metalhead is given in these words! Are you ready for truth, nothing else but truth? Sorry to disappoint those of you who thought Napalm Death will ever change. They used to try, but decided that it was probably not worth doing. And holding the '2K release of these true heavy metal legends, grindcore founders I see NOTHING interesting except for the same cannonball roaring, massiveness of the guitar work, earthquake-like drumming. Yeah, the guys have changed a huge lot since the 'Scum' times. But personally I see no musical difference between, for example their '97 LP and this one. Yeah, lyrics-wise they've changed and are now mad with the music business. Wake up - it's almost 2001! Do something! Of course for the true fans (Oh, how am I tired of saying that!) who awaited no changes, this album is a killer. 14 tracks and a hidden track again and again for true Napalm fans. (Felix Da Katt)

5/5
NASHVILLE PUSSY
High As Hell
2000
TVT Records
cock rock
What the hell, ain't that fun, baby? I mean, I ain't heard nothing better than this in the glam/pussy/cock department since… since… well a long while, that's fer sure. The offical TVT Records page says: "These guys formed in 1996 because they were sick of seeing "bands that sucked". (end quote) - Damn right, I says. Try to imagine a typical cock rock band, with a Sex Pistols attitude and the sound that would drive the hell out of the likes of such classics as Motorhead, AC/DC, and their kin. Well, that's the Pussies, man - the hard-boiled, uncompromising, flaming fiend-riders right out of the homeland of the world-famous Jack Daniel's whiskey (might it be that they find their inspiration in the beverage, I wonder? ;) Anyhows, so wassup with "High As Hell"? Well, that's the question, man, I can't explain it, but it just rules, as simple as that. It's like everything put together - the dirty rock'n'roll guitars, the badass lyrics, the drive, everything. It's just that you put the record on and start head-banging and rocking along with it, and this is just something beyond your comprehension or control. Titles as 'Piece of Ass', 'Struttin' Cock', 'Go to Hell' and 'Wrong Side of the Gun' are those rare cases of the so-called instant classics, if you know what I'm saying. Don't think twice, just spin it and go rockin', baby. (Troll)

P.S. Oh yeah, and no one would actually accuse them of sexism - the line-up is two boys and two girls, so... ;)

3+/5
NATRON
Bedtime for Mercy
2000
Holy Records
hysterical progressive death gore
Holy shit, I can't believe the stuff that is going on around here. How come this label always manages to find unique bands? Yes, I know I stated this was death gore, but don't let the trendism misguide you. True, at first sight, Natron seem very simplistic if not primitive but as the record evolves and you're starting to get the hang of it turns out that there more to this band than their stomach-twisting aggression and bitter spite. The ripped and torn guitar sound miraculously evolves into a complex pattern of structured harmonies, and the next moment you find yourself hearing a melody in it. Not being a major fan of all them progressive elements in music, I still can appreciate the effort and I sure as hell can appreciate professionalism, which is an unquestioned asset of this particular act. I won't elaborate too much on the analysis of any particular songs on the record, since describing progressive gore metal seems a bit pointless, you either like it or you don't, no other alternatives. However, I'd like to say that if you really dig such musical exorcisms in the heavy department, and, what is more important, if you're a patient and experienced listener, then most probably Natron is the band for you, and you will be able to see the gleam of a gem in this whirlwind of decayed flesh. But, be prepared, it's gonna be really, really, really hard, this act is absolutely exclusive and not for everyone. Well, it's a Holy Records release…. Surprise! (Troll)

3-/5
NECROMICON
Peccata Mundi
2000
Hammerheart Records
sympho-black
Back in black, just one and the same thing over and over again. You know, sometimes I start to wonder how many times do you have to copy somebody else's success until it finally strikes you that it just doesn't work? Obviously the guys from Necromicon are yet to understand this very basic principle of music industry. Moreover, what strikes me even more, this band is renown and kinda successful. I wouldn't go as far as calling it cult, but still, it does enjoy its part of appreciation. Nonetheless, the worthlessness of their latest "masterpiece" reminds me of a vegetable. Not a talentless and unprofessional record per se, this CD is just another in a legion of others - same drum parts, same shrieks, same undercooked riffs, same pathetic keyboards, same everything you might have heard on any other black-metal album. So bloody what? Sure there is a couple of non-standard moves here and there, but, then again, these moves are also worn out, because, somebody else just happened to use them once already. I listened to this four times in a row trying to find something that would hook me, but in vein. It is just another fans only black metal release a tiny handful of people might find their interest in. Three-minus only for professionalism and good production work. (Troll)

4/5
OVERKILL
Bloodletting
2000
Steamhammer
thrash
More than 15 years of existence, 2 albums last year, losing the solo guitarist and still here's 'Bloodletting.' This review is, on the one hand, a clear-what-to-write-about one and, on the other hand, is still a bit complicated. The Overkill history falls for me and for many others into two main periods - after 'Horrorscope' to 'From the Underground and Below' and later (hey, wait a minute, what about their early releases??? -- the ed.). To my mind these two albums were like route paths for the band. I won't say that there were no such excellent albums like 'W.F.O' or 'Years of Decay' but let's face the truth. The 'Bloodletting' CD opens for us with the same aggressiveness we heard on the band's previous records (even on 'Necroshine', which hasn't yet got its shelf dust), trademark vocals by Bobby 'Blitz', excellent guitar playing, riffs falling from the speakers onto the listener's ears like nuclear bombs, slow parts and ultra fast ones (that made me think of 'Elimination'). The opening 'Thunderhead' can easily come into the 'best of' stuff later, then goes 'What I'm Missing', the melodic 'Blown Away' and many others. Really good work, not a touch of disappointment, 100 per cent Overkill. (Felix da Katt)

3/5
AXEL RUDI PELL
The Masquerade Ball
2000
Steamhammer /SPV
Good old German metal
As we once talked out with Roman (Maniac, of course) if you can't bring nothing new into your music you can change lyrics. But if you can't add anything to your lyrics the only thing left is changing the vocals. Absolutely the same thing is happening with one of my all time favorite German guitarists - Axel Rudi Pell and his band. Axel has clogged in his musical evolution long ago. That doesn't mean that Mr. Pell is facing a lack of talent or that his songs are dead-alive. That would have been at least unfair. After such albums as "Oceans of time" and "Magic" it's absolutely impossible. What really disappoints is the fact that Pell is slowly but unhesitatingly turning into an anachronism. All his albums are absolutely identical. Some of the songs are simply unforgettable but the only difference between his albums is the vocal part. From my point of view the latest shift - Johnny Gioeli, isn't the best choice. Everything was fine with him on the "Oceans of time" album but something went wrong and now his singing just doesn't fit the record. Maybe that sounds too subjective but I'm really not fond of this type of vocals. As for the other part of the record, the music itself - it's almost perfect. Mr. Pell sounds far more than great but as it was said in a song "… a change will do you good". Conclusion: if you're really nuts about the previous…five… or maybe six albums of the artist you'll surely like this one. Professionalism is surely a constant thing. (Big Daddy)

4/5
PRETTY MAIDS

Carpe Diem
2000
Massacre Records
heavy metal
They are no Spice Girls. They ain't no Backstreet Boys either. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome, the Pretty Maids! Actually, there's no need to say welcome to this Danish combo, as they have been delivering the goods on the European heavy metal scene for something like 18 years. Their albums vary in quality and heaviness, but the previous two were clearly the best, being also the heaviest. Many people expected the Maids to go on in that direction, but I was afraid it would have made the songs boring and repetitive. Luckily, the band felt the same, and "Carpe Diem" is a return to the softer sound that the band used in the early 90s. And a nice return this is! A really cool record with killer heavy songs and a few touching ballads, great vocals by Ronnie Atkins and great guitar playing by Ken Hammer. Don't get me wrong, this ain't no revelation in heavy metal, but just a very good album on which the band musicians do not copy anyone and are being proud of being themselves. In my opinion, Pretty Maids are an example of good taste in music, which means they are not afraid of playing what they like, trend or no trend. It seems to me they have been with me forever and will remain until the end of time. With albums like "Carpe Diem" the future is bright for this band. (Maniac)

5/5
THE PROJECT HATE MCMXCIX
Cybersonic Superchrist
2000
Massacre Records
industrial/gothic/death
This is a killer, man, all the way! The Sweden-based international all-star project, featuring Jorgen Sandstrom (Entombed) and Kenth Arne Goran Daemon Floyd Philipson (ex-House of Usher), knocks you off your feet with the very first chords of their latest record, brilliantly produced by the famous/notorious Dan Swano. Frankly speaking, for me this was one of those lucky picks when you just walk into the store, hear something, and know that you absolutely have to buy it. Having a lot in common with their colleagues of Fear Factory, the Project Hate, however, go in the line of a more melodic approach, thus producing a unique combination of both industrial/death aggression and gothic romanticism that is stressed by the beautiful vocals of Mia Stahl. Although a bit one-sided music- and style-wise, 'Cybersonic Superchrist', on the other hand, has a definite advantage of consistency and integrity that eliminates any suggestions of being self-repeating. The snapping guitars that mould well with the majestic keyboard parts create an atmosphere of darkness and sheer brutality evolving into a musical storm bound to please even the most experienced and demanding listener. Lyrically the album deals mainly with the band's denial of Christianity, God, and all the other, as Kenth himself puts it - 'what we are about, hate for the heavens, Christ and the whole following of the whore. The divine burning of angels, let it be done.' In nomine padre, et fili, et spiritu blasphemi, Amen… ;) (Troll)

4/5
PSYCHOPUNCH
Bursting out of chucky's town...
2000
Whitejazz Records
punk
Some six months ago starting to write the bloody reviews for TTI I often caught myself on the idea, that I don't feel myself free with some background bands every listener should have listened to or ever has a slightest opinion about them. Can be said that as far as I completely don't dig in all that true'n'evil black stuff I prefer not to write about it (leaving it for Troll ;-)) and the main thing I have never heard or only some coupla minutes of for example Darkthrone or Mayhem. Well this prelude was all about this record. I like it very much but to tell you the truth I don't feel myself comfortable in punk music. Yeah! I know and like a lot Sex Pistols, Discharge, The Exploited, but along with that I have no idea what kinda punk The Ramones played. 'This is what everybody should know!' you can say. 'They are the legends'. Agreed. So let's make it clear! I understand Psychopunch hasn't invented the bicycle. It is clear! But the only association their music revealed in my mind was - early stuff done by Russian punk band NAIVE a bit influenced by German punk (Die Toten Hosen mostly), everything reminded me of them, except for the vocals that were more English if I can so, the pronunciation. But who cares about that in punk, ha? 'Bursting out of chucky's town...' is an excellent punk album with no thrash or other metal influences (having in mind Exploited stuff). You can consider it a bit strange and Troll will probably argue that, but some tracks sounded even a bit Motorhead-ish to me ('Generation Sin'). All-in-all a very good album with good riffology and soloing. This CD is recommended especially for those of you who are a bit tired of meat metal and want to 'relax'. Relax, put your feet up, lean back and just enjoy the melodies! (Felix da Katt)

4/5
ROMOWE RIKOITO
L'Automne Eternel
2000
selfproduced
dark folk
Many people ask TTI why we have only reviewed a handful of Russian bands in more than half a year of our existence. Well, the answer is simple - there are not many of them worthy of attention and those who are have not released anything lately. Romowe Rikoito are an exception. They have everything you expect from a dark folk band. Based in the country's westernmost enclave of Kaliningrad, they have released an album which can easily compete with any European band of this genre. This is an almost entirely acoustic hour-long piece of music, full of sadness and melancholy. Not very accessive, I'm afraid, but fans of dark folk would love it. For me the only problem is that I would have never guessed the band's origin by their music. The lyrics are in English, French and Latin (they are actually taken from classic volumes of Elliot, Bodler and other renown poets), and the music, as I have already said, is undoubtedly European. I mean, this is a Russian band, so why not try to add some national colour to the style in which almost every band has been criticised for being unoriginal and copying somebody else? (Maniac)

5/5
SANCTYMONY
Eternal Suffering
2000
Father Production
death
Whoa, guess what, for once I 'accidentally' stepped into a cool band from the former USSR. Please, don't interpret me in the wrong way, I am not the one to say, that our former fatherland is not capable of giving birth to high-quality metal acts, but somehow it is just so rare. I mean most of the bands around here are just copying their more successful western colleagues ripping everything off without even a shadow of regret. Of course, there're cool bands like the Belarussian God's Tower, or the all-time favourite Boney Nem, but still the bulk of them is just a faceless crowd of mediocre clones with poor production. But… every once in a while… there is… So Sanctimony. This avantegardistic death-metal trio is coming from Riga (Latvia) and is unquestionably one hell of a treat for literally any fan of this particular genre, combining both the Swedish and Florida approach to their music. As a result they end up producing a very unique and strange mixture of angry and heavy riffs in the vein of early Unleashed or Entombed and a bit Trey Azagthoth-like guitar solos (the impression is stressed by this subtle delay/echo effect the mentor loves so), all of that glazed with a super-duper complicated song structure and some really non-standard stuff that reminded me of such cult bands as Atheist or Cynic. Fantastic this is, and you should hear the growls… Man, this dude roars his throat off as if he is possessed for real. Well, summing it all up, damn shame it still takes a band one and a half years to record a 30-minutes long album in the post-Soviet territory. Some of them do deserve something better than this. Sanctimony are a true example.
P.S. Oh yeah, and check out the last track 'Quark and Sanctimony Orchestra - Satan Fallus' - that's a fucking beast, man!

(Troll)

4/5
SHADOWS FALL
Of One Blood
2000
Century Media
melodic thrash

Hmm, what an interesting cross do we have here? Typically American, as this Massachusetts act is, they sort of have a slight European touch to their otherwise uncompromising sweeping thrash metal that would easily do honour to such dinosaurs of the genre as Exodus or Testament. To tell the truth I would hardly have believed the band's origin had I not seen their bio prior to writing this review. I mean too much melody in it for a US thrash band. Not that I have anything against US thrash, far from that, but nowadays it is just not typical of them, to, say, make slow acoustic inserts ('Pain Glass Vision'), or long twin solos ('Crushing Belial'), that remind one of the golden days of the NWOBHM, or, let alone, finger-bassing in the best style of Iron Maiden's Steve Harris ('Route Bound Apollo'). Not really being a majour turn-on for me personally, which is mainly due to its over-complexity, still the album is a) unbelievably professional b) amazingly diverse and c) a total hit overall. ;) I guess the only thing that could prevent you from buying it on yer next shopping round is that it does get just a bit boring and tiresome closer to the end, like an information overload or something. So its four fists out of five. (Troll)

4/5
SIX FEET UNDER
Graveyard Classics
2000
Metal Balde
death tribute
Being myself a fan of tributes and having listened to quite a number of them recently I somehow anticipated this very fruit from the tribute-branch of metal and especially death metal to be a sweet one. When we have a band… no formation consisting of Death metal stars with a throat like Chris Barnes no one expects them to screw up. On this record, being already the band's third LP, Six Feet Under presented their interpretations of metal all-times-classics. After hearing such explosive stuff as 'TNT' (AC/DC), 'Blackout' (Scorpions) with John Bush on vocals(!) I was amazed, to say the least. And on hearing the every-guitar-player-should-know opening riff from 'Smoke On the Water' and later, the whole song I understood that no matter what you say about the roots of black/death/who-knows-what metal you should never forget them. This album gives an excellent opportunity for those of you who have never heard of Exodus, Dead Kennedys and others just to have a good notion about it. My favorite track is 'Son of a Bitch' (Accept), may be because it is one of my all-time-favorites. Almost an excellent record, but sometimes I could not help but burst into laughing hearing the Chris' vocals on, for example, 'Stepping Stone'. And the last thing I think that the CD title cries out to everybody - 'Don't let those classics rot on the Graveyard of the Music Business. (Felix da Katt)

5/5
STAR INDUSTRY

Iron Dust Crush
2000
Purple Moon Records
gothic rock
This obscure Belgian combo made a deadly impact on me once I heard the opening track "Nineties", which sounds exactly like goth rock legend Sisters of Mercy. This alone is not bad, given that the Sistas have not released anything new since 1994, but as the record plays on, you realise that Star Indutry are much more than the copycats of the once great band. The third track "Crush" instantly takes the listener back in time to the post-punk era, when the likes of Billy Idol ruled the stage. Further on, you are quickly catapulted to the present day, with the obvious influence of Rammstein heard in a couple of tracks. Add to it the intro to "Sodium Haze" to which you can easily sing along something like "we will, we will rock you" and the final track "City Of Life" which is played entirely on synths, and the picture of a perfectly varied goth-rock record is clear. But that is not all - I haven't mentioned the smash hits "Egypt" and "Ceremonial", both represented in two versions (one taped in studio and another life), which do not remind me of anybody and therefore are truly unique. However, the best of all is yet to come - I mean the track "Bloodmoon". As it started playing in my stereo, I got an impression that I know the main melody from somewhere, and finally the answer came - it is shamelessly borrowed from the all-Russia hit "Rasputin" composed sometime in the 80s by Boney M. In general, a mixture of metal, pop and a bit of industrial on the solid gothic rock basis - for me "Iron Dust Crush" is the best record I've heard in the past few months. This is just incredible, I'm telling you. The CD is a reissue of the band's first records dated back to 1996 and 1997, and if this is the beginning, what the continuation will be like? (Maniac)

3/5
THEATRE OF TRAGEDY
Musique
2000
Nuclear Blast
pop
Can you imagine a cross between Mylene Farmer and Pet Shop Boys? What do you mean you hate this pop stuff? Well, you should get into it right now, at least what former death/doom cult Theatre Of Tragedy is urging you to do. With "Musique," they are about to shock not only the metalheads that accepted the band so gladly after the release of the first two CDs, but fans of gothic rock as well. The new record has nothing to do with gothic, it is pure pop with 100 percent pop style vocals and an occasional touch of heavy guitars. However the most disappointing thing is Raymond's vocals. The man that once used to growl like a wounded beast now sings exactly like Jonathan Pop Ali (Bloodhound Gang), and I hate this type of vocals. When I first heard this sort of "Musique," I thought it would beat any contenders in the "Disappointment of the Year" nomination. It took me a couple of spins to get used to the band's new sound, but even having learned to accept it, I'm still disappointed with the direction the once great band has chosen. (Maniac)

4/5
VARIOUS ARTISTS
Edge Of The Night - Russian Gothic Compilation
2000
Russian Gothic Project
gothic
This release is something special. I know that it has been reviewed by almost every music magazine and web-site in this country, but we just cannot turn a blind eye on such an important event. Better late than never, right? The CD is the first ever compilation devoted entirely to the Russian gothic scene. It is made by the Russian Gothic Project, once a tiny internet site, now much more than that. The album contains 16 tracks recorded by 16 bands from all over the nation, representing almost every style of gothic music, from traditional gothic rock to experimental pieces in the vein of early Sopor Aeturnus. The sound quality is excellent and is bound to surprise the people who have never heard of a single goth-related band from Russia. However the quality of the songs is not always top-notch. I was especially disappointed by a couple of bands (Damsel's Dream and Phantom Bertha) that tried to sing in Russian. To me their lyrics are simply senseless and not fitting to the music at all. On the other hand, a few bands did surprise me with their excellent playing skills and originality. I especially liked the tunes penned by Lunophobia (also with Russian lyrics, but much more interesting in this case) and DVAR, and several other. We've already reviewed one of them, Romowe Rikoito, and promise to keep covering Russian gothic bands in the future. On the downside, "Edge Of The Night" suffers from the problem that most compilations have - it is lack of unity. The tracks have nothing to do with each other except for the origin of the bands they are performed by. As a result, it is impossible to like or dislike the album as a whole, so it can only serve as a display of the bands, a sort of advertisement intended to attract the listeners' attention and make'em go and buy the CDs of the bands they found interesting. When the CDs are bought, this disc will be put on a shelf and forgotten. Not a very bright prospect, given that so much work has been put into this compilation. (Maniac)

5/5
VIRUS 7
Sick in the Head
2000
Metal Blade
Hardcoresque heavy with an influence of Black Sabbath
This is something, people, just when I am starting to think that the heavy industry is getting stagnated and badly needs an injection of fresh blood to pump up it's heart of steel ;) when all of a sudden out of nowhere appears a band and proves me wrong in the most rude and blatant manner deemed possible, by blowing my weary head off and smashing it right against the concrete floor, that is. Virus 7, and that's the name of the band in question, draws it's style-line somewhere in between modern hard-core and classic heavy, with an obvious influence of the Black Sabbath legacy, that is stressed by the Ozzy-like manner of the lead singer. Not that the guy is copying the grandpa of heavy metal, his voice is much more growly and deep, but he sort of has an Ozzy touch in the way he puts it, you know. Music-wise 'Sick in the Head' is all about the groove. It's the drums, the bass, and the low-pitched monotonous picking on the sixth guitar string, all of that strangely co-existing with an occasional techno insert here and there, a touch of hip hop and industrial, and even the already mentioned heavy metal moves. At some points the album is coming pretty close to what the German Pyogenesis were doing on their 'Twinaleblood' album for instance such tracks as 'Your Master Calls' and 'You Better Believe', but it's got less doom metal in it. It's pretty smart too. One of those rare albums you're going to remember even after the first spin. (Troll)

 

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