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
AYREON
Universal Migrator
2000
Transmission Records
everything from space rock to heavy progressive
Shame on us! The year 2000 is already over and we haven't yet reviewed one of its most outstanding releases. Probably it's not the year's best seller, but it's definitely the year's most ambitious affair. Dutch prog metal maestro Arjen Anthony Lucassen came up with over 130 minutes of extremely sophisticated music, which is graced by participation of many rock and metal stars from all over the world. If you want names... you got 'em! Russel Allen and Michael Romeo (Symphony X), Johan Edlund (Tiamat), Clive Nolan (Pendragon, Nightingale), Ed Warby (Gorefest), Ralf Scheepers (ex-Gamma Ray, Primal Fear), Andi Deris (Helloween) and even Bruce Dickinson himself help Arjen make his wildest ideas come true. "Universal Migrator" consists of two separate albums (yep, it's not a slip of the pen, two albums, released and marketed independently). The first is entitled "The Dream Sequencer" and devoted to atmospheric space rock, with abundant influences of Pink Floyd, Omega and Tiamat circa "A Deeper King Of Slumber". Great melodies, but I'm afraid many heavy metal fans will fall asleep by the end of this 70-munite-long trip into somewhere far beyond reality. The second CD, named "Flight Of The Migrator," contains progressive metal of the highest quality, which can easily beat the best achievements of Dream Theater and Fates Warning. Great guitar and synth solos, excellent vocal performances by some of the people mentioned above and many others, and tons of rhythm and melody changes. Nevertheless, this great release is not enough to beat Ayreon's debut CD, "The Final Experiment." I guess records like that are only recorded once in a lifetime, and it's somewhat sad to know that you will never be able to surpass your debut album. (Maniac)

3-/5
AZTEC
Loss of Our Final Pride
2000
Raven Music
kinda' heavy black metal
What do you get when you mix primitive basic black metal with classic heavy stuff in the vein of Iron Maiden? Yes, you got that right, sir, you get this Israeli squad. Although exotic as it looks at first glance (let's have no illusions about this, just how many bands from Israel do you know?), when it comes down to the music, this CD is entirely out of interest. At least for me it is. This is one of them "kind of"-releases, know what I'm saying? Kind of heavy, kind of extreme, kind of original, but totally flat. I did give it several spins, but the problem was by the end of the record I wasn't able to resolve what it really had started with, so I had to spin it again, get to the end it, repeat cycle. Needless saying that when I finally managed to get off this devilish merry-go-round my head was weary and my stomachs were seriously considering the way they should empty their semi-digested contents, up or down that is. ;) I mean, the only thing you might be interested in here is the guitar technique, which is really superior, but is it really worth it? Waste of effort, in my opinion, although the effort was not that bad, so this gets a three minus. Die-hard black metal fans interested in bands from alien locations should raise this by exactly one point to three plus. (Troll)

3/5
THE BLOODLINE
Opium Hearts
Serenades/Last Episode
2000
doom-death
Created in 1997 by ex-Pyogenesis bass player Roman Schoensee, The Bloodline recorded their first LP in a fortnight and due to unknown difficulties they issued 'Opium hearts' only this year. Musically Bloodline is a definite follower of the doom-death traditional sound created some 5-8 years by such classics as Cemetery (most of all - 'Black Vanity'), Paradise Lost, Moonspell and of course by early Pyogenesis. Roman has shifted his musical interests and priorities to lead guitar and glottal roaring, having recruited a bassist and a drummer. The latter to my great disappointment sounds sometimes very drum machinish. As I already mentioned the CD consists of high-quality tracks but starting somewhere from the 5th track I began to yawn. You can argue that doom metal's characteristic feature is a bit monotonous music with harsh vocals. I agree. But 'Opium Hearts' having started with aggressive death-doom ends with very dull music. All-in-all the CD is good, but as we all know doom metal is not popular now and if this had been issued in 1997 that would have been a complete explosion. But now... And the last thing - The Bloodline made me feel enormous nostalgia about the times we had such excellent albums (to my mind) as 'Gothic', 'Wolfheart' and 'Godless Beauty' (Felix da Katt)

4-/5
CIANIDE
Divide and Conquer
2000
Merciless Records
Unleashed meets Bolt Thrower and goes boom!

Hail Caesar, folks, kneel downe before yon master and tremble in fear for he who ruleth this world has his eyes of fury upon ye! The new Cianide album is indeed meant to divide and coquer all those who are yet unfamiliar with the band. Put forth through the German Merciless Records, this CD will undoubtedly appeal to all of the true followers of death metal at its purest. A solid mixture of Swedish Unleashed's debut 'Where No Life Dwells' and the Bolt's 'Mercenary', the album seems to be driven with some sort of a raw inhuman power of ancient war-gods, malevolent curses, and battle magic. Tracks like 'Armed to the Teeth,' 'Battle-Scarred,' or 'Death Machine' are real hymns to death and destruction that the humans are so fond of bringing to each other. The disk comprises both fast and mid-tempo and even some extra-slow songs, but all of them are ultra-heavy, brutal, and angry, with infra-low-pitched guitars, shoot-and-run drumming, and the vocals in the best style of the already mentioned Unleashed. Not really a must or, let alone, a novelty, Cianide however are good enough for spending some extra bucks and putting oneself in the right mood before, say, going to school. ;) Four minus. (Troll)

4/5
CRYPTOPSY
And Then You'll Beg
2000
Century Media
progressive grind core
No shit you will! I have heard of some mind-twisting stomach-churning brain-cells-grinding musical passages back in my times, but, geez, these Canadians... Now I start to understand the real reasons behind the general unpopularity of this extreme trend. It's not because it's hard to listen to, that it is not favoured by the masses. Well, that too certainly, but that's not the real reason. The real reason is that it is impossible to play it. Little did Napalm Death know when they were throwing their aborted fetus to the toxic garbage can in their john. Not only the baby survived, that's the good part of it. The bad part of it is that the freak mutated and grew the size of an average Tyrannosaurus Rexus only to return back some 10 years later and give Poppa a friendly kick right between the legs. Let us have no misunderstanding about this, though, fast and brutal as this band is, it's not about yer simple primitive gore-grind-chain-saw metal. It's a little bit more exclusive. It is sophisticated, it is intelligent, it is smart and even elegant in its own weird way. It requires a strong psyche too, but if you pull yourself together and have enough guts to take it, eventually, you will enjoy it, or at least appreciate it. I am definitely not advising this CD as an absolute must, and probably four fists is a bit of an overrating here, but if professionally played avant-garde grind core with lots of rhythm shifts is your thing do yourself a huge favour and try it. (Troll)

4/5
DISMEMBER
Hate Campaign
2000
Nuclear Blast
death, what else?!

Back in the early 90s I got my nickname from translating death metal lyrics into Russian. Dismember's debut record, "Like An Everflowing Stream," was among my top favourites that days. A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, and I somehow lost this band out of sight. I did check out their 1997's "Death Metal," but that did not impress me too much. Only a few songs on the CD were cool, the rest were too slow and tiresome. "Hate Campaign" is a totally different matter. With the line up featuring Magnus Sahlgren (ex-Tiamat) and Sharlee D'Angelo (Merciful Fate, Witchery, Arch Enemy), Dismember have created a totally killer death metal album, at least the best I've heard in 2000 (I haven't checked out Morbid Angel, though). Some may say that the CD is not particularly heavy, not particularly brutal and not particularly innovative, but I really enjoyed all 35 minutes of it and even regretted it was so short. It is not too brutal indeed, but strangely accessible for a death metal release. The band now borrows some ideas from younger and more melodic countrymen (early In Flames are the first to come to my mind), but still retains its identity. As to innovations - all the 11 songs are recorded without a single pause, but you can easily discern when one ends and another begins. Some progress, yeah? (Maniac)

0/5
DISMEMBER
(The Troll Version of it)
...
Hate Campaign
2000
Nuclear Blast
yet another attempt to top Entombed's 'Left Hand Path' - take 2000.

Fuck no, I says! Progress? this band? Now you give me a fucking break In fact I thought this CD was not even worth writing about so that's why the actual review of it is coming so late. The Maniac felt like expressing his opinion on Dismember after all, and after that the Troll must have his say as well. I mean, can you actually believe these dudes? They started out back in the early 90ies as a clone of their far more intelligent and innovative countrymen from Entombed and everyone knew it back then. Even Dismember themselves knew it. Still, 'stead of trying to strain their quite feeble composing and artistic potential and coming up with something new, the quintet chose it best to continue this unpleasant and unethical practise and was ripping off Lars Petrov and Co. every day of the bloody weekend. Well, as Maniac was quite right to point out, indeed much water has passed under the bridge since then. Entombed have grown into a totally different band playing a totally different kind of music that they refer to as throogie (thrash and boogie) and are generally developing and all and Dismember Well they should of been fragging dead a long time ago and in fact they had been until some brainless and tasteless moron of a producer had decided to exhume them back in 1997, when they pushed out yet another faecal of a CD out of their collective bungholes, trying to convince the public it was 'Death Metal.' But OK, that was 1997, what about now? I guess the commonly used expression 'same shit' explains it pretty damn exactly. Yet another faceless copy of Entombed's 'Left Hand Path', this one is - just like any other Dismember CD. Probably, this was the most boring and stupidly wasted 35 minutes of my life. I couldn't make out any differences between this one and any of their previous works that I'd heard. Not a single different note here... Did I just say 'their works'? Well, that's doubtful too, rip-offs more likely, beacuse, as I've already said... Argh, blimey, whatever in hell am I trying to prove here anyway, it's just so pathetic (Troll)

5/5
DIVISION ALPHA
Fazium One
2000
Holy Records
industrial
Frankly speaking I am not particularly a fan of industrial and moreover my knowledge of the genre is pretty much limited to such names as Skinny Puppy, Die Krupps and Fear Factory. I did listen to all of the Mortal Kombat soundtracks too, the four of them. And most naturally I am as familiar with Rammstein as anyone else nowadays. But, lets dot the 'i'-s here, this is it, pretty much. Well so given that, and given my inborn enthusiasm about everything new and original, the mark stated above might be a bit of an overrating, but, geezuz f. Christ, do I just love this album! The depressing rhythms and sounds that summon visions of some deserted disaster-swept lifeless planets and unknown far away galaxies grip you by the throat and don't let go until the record is over. And when they do eventually the shell of your body already lies hollow and soul-robbed, partly a pile of dead tissues, partly a wrecked piece of machinery. Unbelievable. What's also pretty cool about 'Fazium One' is that it has quite a lot of strings too, like the bass-guitar is there all the time, and the six-strings, computerized and sampled as they are though, are still recognizable as guitars - an asset few industrial bands can boast these days. Five fists for both the atmosphere and professionalism. (Troll)

4/5
DOMINUS
Godfallos
2000
Die Hard Records
death-like thrash
Sometimes we have dreams and some of them come true, if we are lucky enough of course. The thing about this band Dominus (don't mix with Ominous and Dominium) is somehow a good example. I have never heard the previous albums of that gang but now I'm certainly looking forward to have them. The reason is simple. I got acquainted with heavy music through Metallica's 'Kill'em all' and since that day Hetfiled and Co. (or should I say Lars and Co.) had become one of my most beloved bands in the world. But I as probably many of you guys wanted them to stay the same thrashy and rough band we all heard before the 'Black Album'. But centuries come and go, musical priorities change, we all become older etc. Metallica made many of us pick our first riffs of guitars and 'bang our heads against the stage'. I was looking forward to find a band that would at least remind me of 'Shortest Straw' or 'Dyers Eve'. And it happened. Dominus is one of the bands that was/is heavily influenced by Metallica and especially by the 'Master' and 'Justice'. I don't want to say that the band is just a bunch of stupid followers or copiers! No way. On 'Godfallos' (and this is already third or fourth their album) they play excellent groovy thrash metal a bit influenced by Death metal. Songs like 'Seed from the Beast', 'Hyper Cane', 'Antichrist' rule abso___lutely. If you like thrash metal it is obligatory for you to have this CD.
P.S. I like a line from one of the songs - 'Your mind turns to a cabbage'. I think that's one of the best allegories I heard recently. (Felix da Katt)

5/5
ETERNAL ELYSIUM
Spiritualized D
2000
MeteorCity Records
stoner

Don't tell me there are no original stoner rock bands around. There are, but you have to look outside your regular circle of performers to find them. For instance, you may look at Japan where three young gentlemen have been playing this kind of music in the band called Eternal Elysium for years. "Spiritualized D" is their first release outside Japan, though the band came into international spotlight a bit earlier, after recording a track for "Slave To The Power - A Tribute To Iron Maiden." I haven't heard that tune, but what I heard on "Spiritualized D" really surpised me. Eternal Elysium's music is 100 percent stoner, but there is something exotic in their songs, something that makes them sound unlike anybody else. Maybe that's the oriental mentality that makes the guys play that way, or maybe it's their extraordinary talent, but the result is a breath of fresh air for the genre that has clogged in self-repetition. Unfortunately, the band is also impossible to appreciate in full without doing drugs - they even go as far as welcoming visitors of their web page with the words "Hello smokers!" - but that is typical for stoner rock acts. Another drawback is lack of hits (don't tell me there've never been hits in stoner - just think of Catherdal's "Soul Sacrifice" or Black Sabbath's "War Pigs"). Anyway, what you get here is 60-something minutes of very cool music, very groovy and upbeat. And this is truly original - that's the main thing. (Maniac)

5/5
GRASS
Ciudadano X
2000
Locomotive Music
hardcore
Just how much cooler than that can you actually get? Alas, not much, I'd say. The funny melodic and bouncy-bouncy hard core brought forward by this Spanish act leaves you with the impression of having just visited some sort of a weird and explicit cartoon with loads of black humour, bad language, and all the other good stuff you can get in Southpark for that instance. Being both groovy and melodic 'Ciudadano X' is probably one of the best albums released last year designed for pure entertainment. It's not that I would try to pass as a guru in the field of Spanish hardcore, won't lie to you, people, I don't know jackshit about Spanish hardcore, and, furthermore, quite possibly, Grass are just one in a million of others, but, heck, does it look like I give a shit if they are? They're funny, they are cool, they are diverse, so what else do you need? And well, with an absolutely hilarious cover of the Beatles' 'Yesterday' that winds up this brilliant record, I can't rate it any lower than five. (Troll)

5/5
THE HAUNTED
Made Me Do It
2000
Earache Records
deathrash
Oh, blast it, these goddamn Swedes have done it again! Taking pride in the best style of their godfathers, the almighty Slayer, the quintet fires it up like a Harley, slowly building up the rhythm and the intensity that breaks out in a maiming schizophrenia some mere 30 seconds into the record. The rest of it, is everything, any true metal-head could have ever dreamt of - turbo-powered riffs, mind-raping double-bass and blood-freezing screams of Marco Aro. Grudd, is this guy a madman! I mean, I'm pretty much a growler myself, but this dude He must be drinking hot steel with Tabasco for breakfast to make his throat sound like this. I don't really have a clue who made the guys do a record like this, but I guess haunting was just a minor part of it. Haunted, eh? I'm not buying it, folks. Takes more than their sorry bunch to make an album of such ferocious energy and destructive power. No way, we must be talking Voodoo, we must be talking satanic cults, we must be talking human sacrifice Bloody Hell! We must be talking Belzebub at the sound-desk and Abaddon at the mixing! I mean I can't find even one bad track on this record. Brilliant, this is... By the way, ever wondered what are them blood stains on the cover? Any ideas? Got that right, when the artist was doing the cover he thought he'd listen to the album for better inspiration, and, surprise, his head exploded right on the last track when he was almost done. Watch out, baby! ;) (Troll)

3/5
JACK FROST
Gloom Rock Asylum
2000
Serenades Records
doom/gothic rock, or well gloom rock
The title of the CD is pretty much self-explanatory, I guess - this concerns both the stylistic aspect of the music and the atmosphere it creates: not exactly that of some dark gothic, but simply rather gloomy and depressive, I'd say. Like everyone is when they are sort of low-key. I dunno, but somehow, this album reminded me of some alternative Finnish bands, I'd heard in my times, like CMX, or Radiopuhelimet, or Ismo Alanko (yes, I know, these names are absolutely unfamiliar anywhere outside Finland, but still). Well, if I was to describe it without really drawing any parallels to other bands, I'd say something like mid-tempo monotonous guitar picking, Pete Steelish vocal, and some sort of quiet, mitigating insanity and hysteria lurking inside of it. Like all of them, horror movies about funny-houses, where they show you all the loonies just sitting in their blindingly white cells, when nothing really happens on the screen, but you know exactly that something is bound to happen sooner or later. Unfortunately though, apparently nothing is going to happen right up until the end of the running time of the record and, chances are, you will fall asleep, somewhere around Track 4 or 5. Well, to draw the line here, I'd say it'd be excellent if I heard any of the songs on a compilation, but 45 minutes straight are just too much for me to take. Three out of five. (Troll)

3/5
LOVE LIKE BLOOD
Enslaved + Condemned
2000
Hall Of Sermon
gothic rock/metal
What the hell am I doing? Reviewing another gothic record? Next time I do something like this I'll demand the post of TTI goth department chief and an increase in salary. You see, I do like gothic, but records like "Enslaved + Condemned" do not impress me at all. I don't know what is wrong here, at first sight everything seems to be in place - touching acoustic pieces, heavy guitars, nice male vocals, the overall gloomy feeling - but something is not working. Maybe its the lack (or rather total absence) of hits, as after the first spin the only song I managed to remember was the cover version of Neneh Cherry's "7 Seconds". The rest are OK, but ordinary. I do not want to slag off Love Like Blood, they have been in the scene for ages and did a lot of good to the people I respect. Many critics have been slagging the band off for making their music heavier on the past couple of records, but to my mind the problem is that Love Like Blood have somehow stopped writing catchy songs. Without them, I just don't feel like listening to their records again - there is much more interesting stuff around. (Maniac)

3/5
LOWRIDER
Ode To Io
2000
MeteorCity Records
stoner

Well, I guess you should be stoned to really enjoy this record. Since that's not something I usually do before putting on a CD, I'll just write from a point of view of an ordinary listener, who is not very well informed about the stoner rock scene. Lowrider are from Sweden, their music is mid-tempo and very heavy, with major influences from Cathedral and Black Sabbath. No, that's the wrong way of saying it. I'll better put it like that: Lowrider is the band totally influenced by Cathedral and Black Sabbath, and the guys are doing their best to sound like the two above-mentioned bands. Oh, I forgot to mention a huge (and I mean huge) influence of pot! Is it interesting? Not really. Is it nice to listen? Well, if you're high on something the record is just bound to give you the feeling you're looking for, but if not, you are not likely to be impressed. I recommend "Ode To Io" to those who have not yet had enough of typical stoner bands and are willing to know what this music sounds like. Lowrider are a good representation of the genre, after all. (Maniac)

4/5
MAZE OF TORMENT
Death Strikes
2000
Necropolis Records
death
What's wrong with this country anyway? Is it the berserker Viking roots? Or being part of Northern Europe in general? I don't know really, but it's already the second Swedish death squad I'm reviewing today, and once again I'm just about to have my head blown off. Maze of Torment are no new name on the scene with a criminal record that dates back to early nineties and is highlighted with multiple murders, acts of outrageous musical vandalism, and cold-blooded sadistic conduct of the listeners. But come on, this being the beginning of a new millennium and all, the band thought they might prepare something really special to wind up the century with and ride into the new age blazing in fire on the black wings of hell. Death-based in principle, the sound attack on the CD has a bit more to it than your straightforward guitar-ramming and drum-shootout. The track 'Sodomizing Death Spell' for instance instantly reminded me of the legendary Iron Maiden with their trademark twin-guitars, while the stunningly fast and heavy 'Aggressive Bloodhunt' was most probably inspired by the early works of the sick loonies from Impaled Nazarene, with the only exception that this one is way too long to be IP. And that's not all yet - they also have some Metallica 'Master of Puppets' bits, Slayer 'Hell Awaits' bends, and Death 'Leprosy' raw primitivism. Excellent stuff overall, but does get a bit boring closer to the second half of the CD so it's minus one fist. (Troll)

3/5
MEGAHERZ
Himmelfahrt
2000
ZYX Music
industrial

Right, let's have one thing straight right from the very beginning: this band is not a copy of their more renown colleagues from Rammstein, no way. Naturally the parallels between Megaherz and Rammstein are more than obvious, I mean both play industrial and both are singing in German, but, once again, they are not copying each other. The first major difference between the two bands is that Megaherz is much more guitar-oriented and has a bit of an alternative/grunge feeling in some of their songs, I'd even say that their music is much closer to, say, Fear Factory, than to the 'Steins. Megaherz are also much less aggressive and bitter, both music- and lyrics-wise, combining both the melody and what they often refer to as the groove. My personal favourites on the album would be 'Hurra, Wir Leben Noch' (Hooray, We're Still Alive) and 'Tanz Auf Dem Vulkan' (Dance on the Volcano). All in all, if you already heard 'Du Hast' something like 10,000 times in a row but still want some industrial decibels up your ears try out Megaherz. (Troll)

5/5
MORTUARY DRAPE
Tolling 13 Knell
2000
Avantgarde Music
insane black death
Boy, have I been waiting for this release! What a hell of an x-mas present to wind up the millennium with! For those of you who have never heard of Mortuary Drape, the band became widely and notoriously known after their 1998 release, that came through the now begone Nazgul's Eyere Productions and was mainly noticed due to its more than explicit cover artwork with a pile of human skulls and a black under-cross hanging above them. I was lucky enough to lay my filthy grip on the CD back then and fell for it almost instantly. The super-duper technical black-death metal played by this Italian sextet and the dark vibe that surrounded it were a bit too much for my poor old head to take and I was lost to this world for almost a month listening to nothing else but Mortuary Drape. Well, the new release was in no way a disappointment: the same death-driven evil riffs with well pronounced bass-guitars (yes Sir, two of them), morbid harmonies obviously obtained through black magic practices, and hell-inspired vocal patterns. And to top it all off, a vibe of a dark gothic horror movie, that would send shivers even down the toughest of spines out there. The sleeve cover artwork is also quite a treat here with the band members wearing inquisition-like robes and hoods all gathered in some sort of a dimly lit dungeon and preparing to do something really-really-really-really evil. Although what can actually be more evil than producing this album, I wonder? I guess this is the kind of music they play at Satanic Masses while preying upon the souls of their helpless victims. Dammit, I guess the Old Man himself rocks his bitchy tailed ass off spinning this CD in hell. Killer! (Troll)

Unrated
O QUAM TRISTIS...
Funerailles Des Petits Enfants
2000
Palace Of Worms
medieval goes electronic
Totally sick! This band resides in France, most of its members are Poles, and they sing in Latin. However that's not the most interesting thing about O Quam Tristis. What they sing about is much more intriguing. All 15 tracks on the record are medieval chants that were originally performed at funerals of babies. I must warn you at once, this is no gloomy stuff like Sopor Aeuturnus. The band performs the music entirely on synthesizers and computers, and as a result, it sounds more like Enigma than something played on occasion on a baby's death. They even go techno on the hidden track, which is placed after the 15th song. My impression after hearing this was truly mixed. On the one hand, beautiful male and female voices, nice background music and stuff, but on the other hand, the lyrics run so contrary to the manner of performance that I can't help feeling like I'm about to go dancing or try to pick up chicks at a funeral. Some sort of uneasiness, you know. Thus, I am not able to rate this release. Check it out yourself, maybe you will. (Maniac)

4/5
PAPA ROACH
Infest
2000
Dreamworks SKG
modern rap metal

Papa Roach are newborn stars of American rap metal. Supposedly everybody already heard about their blitz climbing on Billboard charts with their 'Infest'. Along with such monsters of that genre as 'Blimp Lizkit' and 'Korn' they became definite leaders of the scene. And that is with only one CD. That's excellent. The mentioned above bands almost don't sing they READ the lyrics or produce them screaming. The Roach guys are more close to the alternative metal scene. But still they have guitars tuned down, solid drumming, DJ scratches and vocalist doing perfect job. Well, this is a competition for the guys to have the success go on and let's hope they will have in future CDs better than 'Infest' or at least of the same quality. (Felix da Katt)

4+/5
PRIMAL FEAR
Nuclear Fire
2001
Nuclear Blast
heavy power

The year 2001 starts with a great record for me! "Nuclear Fire" is Primal Fear's third release, and it is definitely their best so far. The first self-titled record was too close to Judas Priest, the second was much better and had more identity. On this CD, Ralf Scheepers, Mat Sinner & Co continue searching for their own style, mostly by means of adding heaviness to the songs. "Nuclear Fire" is very heavy, probably among the heaviest power metal albums I've heard, heavier than Iced Earth's "Dark Saga" or Helloween's "Better Than Raw." Probably the most aggressive releases of Rage would be a match for "Nuclear Fire." Not a single slow song or ballad, only high-speed and mid-tempo killers, the best of which, IMHO, is the outstanding singalong anthem "Living For Metal." Add to it some very intense singing of Mr. Scheepers, who seems to be full of anger and hatred all the time, and you will get the picture of a true metal holocaust. Nevertheless, the band still sounds too similar to Judas Priest at times, especially on the track "Back From Hell" where Ralf sings exactly like Rob Halford. OK, I know that he has always been the Priest's biggest fan in Germany, but the band found a replacement for Rob yet four years ago, and I see no reason why Ralf is still trying to prove he's the best man for the job. That's the only drawback, but very serious, I'm afraid. (Maniac)

3/5
TEARS OF DECAY
Redemption
2000
Cudgel Agency
death

An obscure German band comes up with its first release, a mini album containing a symphonic intro and five pieces of brutal death metal. In case you want a headache, "Redemption" will surely help you get one, for it comes to the point where any good ideas are reduced to zero by a wall of noise. Very heavy, very aggressive, totally undiscernable lyrics, growling in the best traditions of the genre, occasional black metal screams - if this is your cup of tea, you will surely dig "Redemption." However total lack of identity is unlikely to help Tears Of Decay draw attention of many fans. The problem is that not many people are truly into brutal death, while bands playing in that genre are abundant. Some fans do prefer no-names to famous and established outfits, but the majority would rather go for Morbid Angel or Deicde. I rate this release at three points only because it is not long (some 20 minutes), otherwise, its impression on me would have been much weaker. (Maniac)

5/5
THANATOS
Angelic Encounters
2000
Hammerheart Records
Everything you needed to know about death metal but were too ignorant to ask ;)

They have returned, folks, and in a big way too, I have to say. Having started out in middle 1980ies, this Dutch squad used to be one of the cult bands on the European death scene back in the beginning of the last decade. Sadly though, the band had to split up somewhere around 1993 and no one had heard of them until recently. However two years ago leader Stephan Gebedi figured he ain't done with the music quite yet and decided to give it another go. And thanks grudd he did, I says - 'Angelic Encounters' displays early Euro-death school at its highest, with cannonading riffs, machinegun drumming, hysterical growling vocals in the best style of, say, Martin van Drunen, and subtle melody a-la Pestilence circa 'Testimony of the Ancients.' With a brand new line-up, featuring ex-members of such big names in the industry as Sinister and Houwitser, Thanatos 2K are as brutal as ever, unfolding their deadly attack over the pitiful planet they hate so. The 9 tracks compiled on the disk are packed with everything one needs to know about death metal. A cool fiver for this one. (Troll)

3/5
USER NE
Nibelum Das Uhort
2000
War is Imminent Productions
blackish metal
I dunno, the LP is kinda hard to appreciate, this one. The metal press is going apeshit about this Iberian act and already had them pronounced the new gods of metal, but I still fail to see the point. I've lost the track of how many times I already listened 'Nibelum Das Uhort' desperately trying to find this certain something that makes the band so special, but all in vein. Sure, it is interesting. I mean this actually is an 8-strong squad, the members of which are playing all sorts of weird musical instruments, and they gotter this cool ethnic vibe about them, and all of them spanish guitar tits and bits, anna live flute, anna female singer with beautiful voice, anna anna you know them all things But, still, what's really so unique about it? Live folk instruments? Well, the German In Extremo have been using them since late 80-ies. A female singer with the voice of an opera diva? That's nothing new either, take The 3rd and the Mortal for starters. Mixing black metal with folk? Now, you gimme a break, everyone is doing it nowadays. Some are better at it, some are worse, but that's a trend already. Fact. Of course, I wouldn't go as far as labeling User Ne a talentless frustrated bunch, but they're no Mozarts either, let's have no mistake about this. Their music is pretty cool, to a certain extent, and they positively have style and what the Afro-American population refers to as 'flava', and they actually know how to play both the traditional and 'odd' instruments (which is already a major asset these days), but they are not unique. Or they probably are, but only in parts where they come from. Besides, let's face it, unique or not, their music is extremely entirely unbelievably boring. Three fists, for the hype and good play. (Troll)

4-/5
Various Artists
Scream Forth Blasphemy - tribute to Morbid Angel
2000
Dwell Records
death
Just about the right time. Hot on the heels of the masters' du metal diabolique 2K release, Dwell Records, world's leaders in the heavy cover industry, rose up to making a tribute to this honoured band. The 15 tracks featured on the CD mostly comprise the Angel's early materials up to the 1993 Covenant album. This, being a serious drawback in my humble opinion, however gives us a certain hope that part two is yet to follow. So wassup with Scream forth Blasphemy? Well, to tell you the truth, to me personally, the end result of this more than commendable effort was a bit of a disappointment. Not that I would slag it off altogether but, at the same time, it's kind of underdone if you know what I am saying. Along with such true masterpieces as Headhunter D.C.'s 'Blessed Are the Sick/Desolate Mans', Diabolic's 'Rapture', or Withered Earth's 'Day of Suffering,' or, my own favourite, 'Fall From Grace' superbly covered by Infamy, some of the versions introduced here are just as flat as yer drill sergeant's haircut and as mediocre as any Schwarzenegger movie. For instance, one of the worst surprises to me was an absolutely weak cover of 'God of Emptiness' - a song that I'd deemed impossible to spoil. Well, the dudes from Exmortis, have shamefully put me wrong. Another thing that is definitely worth drawing attention to is the poor sound and mixing quality on about 1/3rd of the songs. Still, a total of four fists minus: you can't really ruin that good a source material, can you? (Troll)

 

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