October 23, 2016

U.D.O. - Man & Machine (2002)

Country: Germany
Language: English
Genre: Heavy Metal
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© 2002 SPV/Breaker Records
AllMusic Review by Gary Hill
U.D.O. is the first name of the lead singer of this outfit. Udo Dirkschneider is best known for his work with the metal band Accept and presents here a solo album featuring a band composed of himself, Igor Gianola, Stefan Kaufman, Fitty Weinhold, and Lorenzo Milani. The album certainly rocks out with the best of them and showcases Dirkschneider's unique vocal style. That vocal style is part of the problem with the album, though, as it really can take some getting used to. The other shortcoming here is that the band seems not to do such a good job on mellower material. They should stick to the harder-edged songs. Interestingly enough, when the group chooses to rock out, which is most of the time, the style is often far more in the vein of '80s Judas Priest than Accept. On that mellower side, there is one true ballad, a duet between Dirkschneider and Doro Pesch (of Warlock). That cut, "Dancing With an Angel," has its moments, but definitely gets a bit overblown.

tags: udo, u.d.o., man and machine, 2002, flac,

October 21, 2016

Alice In Chains - Alice In Chains (1995)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Grunge 
Label Number: CK 67248
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© 1995 Columbia Records
AllMusic Review by Steve Huey
Dispelling rumors of their demise due to Layne Staley's heroin addiction, Alice in Chains is a sonically detailed effort that ranks as their best-produced record, and its best moments are easily some of their most mature music. Alice in Chains relies less on metallic riffs and more on melody and texturally varied arrangements than the group's previous full-length albums, finally integrating some of the more delicate acoustic moods of their EPs. The lyrics deal with familiar AIC subject matter -- despair, misery, loneliness, and disappointment -- but in a more understated fashion, and the lyrics take on more uplifting qualities of toughness and endurance, which were missing from much of their previous work. The consistent visceral impact Alice in Chains lacks in comparison to that previous work is partially made up for by the skilled production and songs like "Grind," "Brush Away," "Over Now," and the hit ballad "Heaven Beside You," which are among the band's best work. Still, in spite of its many virtues, it's hard not to feel a little frustrated with the record, as though, given those qualities, it should have turned out better than it did -- there are some slow spots where the songs are undercrafted and not especially memorable, and those moments can make the band sound uncommitted and distracted. That, in turn, can make the defiance of songs like "Grind" ("you'd be well advised/not to plan my funeral 'fore the body dies") sound more like denial; just when Alice in Chains' music was finally beginning to emerge from the dark side, the intra-band problems became too much to bear and made Alice in Chains the last collection of new material the Staley-fronted AIC would release.

tags: alice in chains, alice in chains album, 1995, flac,

Alice In Chains - Dirt (1992) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Grunge 
Label Number: 472330 2
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© 1992 Columbia Records
AllMusic Review by Steve Huey
Dirt is Alice in Chains' major artistic statement and the closest they ever came to recording a flat-out masterpiece. It's a primal, sickening howl from the depths of Layne Staley's heroin addiction, and one of the most harrowing concept albums ever recorded. Not every song on Dirt is explicitly about heroin, but Jerry Cantrell's solo-written contributions (nearly half the album) effectively maintain the thematic coherence -- nearly every song is imbued with the morbidity, self-disgust, and/or resignation of a self-aware yet powerless addict. Cantrell's technically limited but inventive guitar work is by turns explosive, textured, and queasily disorienting, keeping the listener off balance with atonal riffs and off-kilter time signatures. Staley's stark confessional lyrics are similarly effective, and consistently miserable. Sometimes he's just numb and apathetic, totally desensitized to the outside world; sometimes his self-justifications betray a shockingly casual amorality; his moments of self-recognition are permeated by despair and suicidal self-loathing. Even given its subject matter, Dirt is monstrously bleak, closely resembling the cracked, haunted landscape of its cover art. The album holds out little hope for its protagonists (aside from the much-needed survival story of "Rooster," a tribute to Cantrell's Vietnam-vet father), but in the end, it's redeemed by the honesty of its self-revelation and the sharp focus of its music. [Some versions of Dirt feature "Down in a Hole" as the next-to-last track rather than the fourth.]

tags: alice in chains, dirt, dirst album, 1992, flac,

Los Ángeles Negros - 12 Super Éxitos (1996) ☠

Country: Chile
Language: Spanish
Genre: Romántica
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© 1996 EMI Odeon Chilena, S.A.
*No professional reviews available for this release.

tags: los angeles negros, 12 super exitos, musica romantica,

October 19, 2016

Alice In Chains - Facelift (1990)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Grunge
Label Number: CK 46075
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© 1990 Columbia Records
AllMusic Review by Steve Huey
When Alice in Chains' debut album, Facelift, was released in 1990, about a year before Nirvana's Nevermind, the thriving Seattle scene barely registered on the national musical radar outside of underground circles (although Soundgarden's major-label debut, Louder Than Love, was also released that year and brought them a Grammy nomination). That started to change when MTV jumped all over the video for "Man in the Box," giving the group a crucial boost and helping to pave the way for grunge's popular explosion toward the end of 1991. Although their dominant influences -- Black Sabbath, the Stooges -- were hardly unique on the Seattle scene, Alice in Chains were arguably the most metallic of grunge bands, which gave them a definite appeal outside the underground; all the same, the group's sinister, brooding, suffocating sound resembled little else gaining wide exposure on the 1990 hard rock scene. Neither hedonistic nor especially technically accomplished, Alice in Chains' songs were mostly slow, oppressive dirges with a sense of melody that was undeniable, yet which crept along over the murky sludge of the band's instrumental attack in a way that hardly fit accepted notions of what made hard rock catchy and accessible. Although some parts of Facelift sink into turgid, ponderous bombast (particularly over the erratic second half), and the lyrics are sometimes immature, the overall effect is fresh, exciting, and powerful. While Alice in Chains would go on to do better and more consistent work, Facelift was one of the most important records in establishing an audience for grunge and alternative rock among hard rock and heavy metal listeners, and with its platinum sales certification, it also made Alice in Chains the first Seattle band to break through to a wider, less exclusively underground audience.

 tags: alice in chains, facelift, 1990, flac,

October 12, 2016

Sabbath Assembly - Ye Are Gods (2012)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Psychedelic, Folk Rock
Style: Religous, Process Church of the Final Judgment
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© 2012 Svart Records
Review by "Amy" for CVLNation.com
How refreshing! It’s amazing to finally come across a group of musicians who so freely are able to express and conjoin esoteric ideas of occult philosophy, cosmological christ-hood, dichotomies of sin and sainthood, god and lucifer, light and dark; not enacting as enemies, but as parts of a whole that feed off of one another in order to fulfill unity.  Filled with processean liturgy and praise, Sabbath Assembly‘s Ye Are Gods stays true to 60’s-70’s psychedelic cult hymnals and takes you to a place of mysterious inner worship — this time in a very Crowley-esque manner. In contrast to ‘Restored to One’, ‘Ye Are Gods’ evokes a much more authentic, yet more open and inner home for the idea of universality; of everything and nothing as holy, as sacred, as cosmological, and as pure. Musically, I am reminded a bit of Crowley’s “The Great Beast Speaks”, and I can’t help but see a few parallels with some selections from The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath A Cloud‘s A New Soldier Follows The Path of a New King, which subtly also explores sanctity and salvation in an esoteric manner. Filled with processean liturgy and praise, Sabbath Assembly‘s Ye Are Gods stays true to 60’s-70’s psychedelic cult hymnals and takes you to a place of mysterious inner worship — this time in a very Crowley-esque manner. In contrast to ‘Restored to One’, ‘Ye Are Gods’ evokes a much more authentic, yet more open and inner home for the idea of universality; of everything and nothing as holy, as sacred, as cosmological, and as pure. Musically, I am reminded a bit of Crowley’s “The Great Beast Speaks”. Also, I can’t help but see a few parallels with some selections from The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath A Cloud‘s A New Soldier Follows The Path of a New King which subtly also explores sanctity and salvation in an esoteric manner.
If you’re one who enjoys seemingly historical and ritualistic liturgy, ‘Ye Are Gods’ is for you; processean or not – ultimately, it is all in personal interpretation and individual theology. With lyrics such as, “What is the Law of the Universe?” “Where is Heaven? Where is Hell?”, perhaps that is the ultimate goal.
Most importantly, though, I adore how this compilation nudges us to take a second look at “religion”; What is salvation? What is sanctity? What is sacred? What is god? What is love in its purest form? What roles do archetypal religious figures actually play? Oh, let the mysteries reign!!

Snail - Snail (1993)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Doom Metal, Psychedelic Rock
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© 1993 Big Deal Records
*No professional reviews available for this release.

October 10, 2016

Virgin Steele - The Marriage of Heaven & Hell: Part One (1994)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Heavy Metal
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© 1994 T&T Records
AllMusic Review by Bryan Reesman
A return to form for the dynamic quartet. David Defeis and company focus on more epic songs. The symphonic keyboard returns launch the band into a series of epic tunes which are some of their more progressive and sophisticated to date. Highlights include two majestic instrumentals, the melodic rocker "Blood and Gasoline," and the epic "Trail of Tears," which boasts a song within a song.

The River - Drawing Down The Sun (2006)

Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Doom Metal
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© 2006 Retribute Records
*No professional reviews available for this release.

tags: the river, drawing down the sun, 2006,

October 09, 2016

Mandy Moore - So Real (1999)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Pop
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© 1999 Epic Records
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann
Fifteen-year-old Mandy Moore's debut album sounded like it was inspired almost entirely by listening to recent hit albums by 'N Sync, the Backstreet Boys, and Britney Spears. Tracks like "So Real" and "Let Me Be the One" clearly echoed "Backstreet's Back," and Moore's occasional growls were straight out of "...Baby One More Time." But the singer seemed to have aimed at a slightly younger demographic: Her initial single, "Candy," pointedly described love in terms of sugar treats, as if she weren't sure whether she wanted to be at lovers' lane or a snack bar. Naturally, all of the songs adhered to the second-person form of address, in which the singer was continually exhorting "you" and "boy" to do something of a romantic nature ("Walk Me Home," "Lock Me in Your Heart," "Quit Breaking My Heart," "Let Me Be the One"). But things always remained chaste, whether she was declaring, "My innocence won't be denied" in "So Real" or suggesting the "uncharted territory we'll discover" before quickly adding, "You'll always be my dream lover," in "Lock Me in Your Heart." Meanwhile, of course, the downbeats, as high in the mix as those of any disco track, slavishly propelled the songs to mid-tempo rhythms. Moore can carry a tune, but with no particular distinction, and since the songs were generic expressions of the type, the real questions seemed to be, could she dance, would her videos be good, and how would she be marketed? As So Real was being released, "Candy" was moving up the charts purely on sales points, since radio had become resistant to adding more teen queens, while MTV had yet to bite. All of that had more to do with whether Mandy Moore would succeed than did the music, which was mediocre, but typical.

tags: mandy moore, so real, 1999, flac,

October 08, 2016

Electric Citizen - Higher Time (2016) (WEB)

 Please visit their bandcamp at http://electriccitizenband.bandcamp.com
Country: U.S.A
Genre: Doom Metal
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© 2016 RidingEasy Records
Review by MetalInjection.net
I was first really introduced to Electric Citizen back in November when I saw them opening for Pentagram on two consecutive nights at Saint Vitus Bar. I remember being immediately struck by the power of this band, from Laura Dolan's stunning vocals to the driving power of her husband Ross's riffs. Electric Citizen fully  understand the power of rock and roll and have been able to craft a sound that perfectly reflects their own individual talents. Tapping into occult, almost Coven-esque vibes, as well as invoking the burning rock and roll energy of a band like Blue Cheer, the good folks in Electric Citizen have put out a top notch psych rock record with Higher Time. One of my most hotly anticipated albums of the year, it represents a significant step forward for one of heavy rock's best bands. Diving right in with the twisted madness of "Evil" and then going from one riff-filled masterpiece to the next, Electric Citizen go well beyond anything that they accomplished with 2014's Sateen. The band is coming into their own, and they know it; after all, Higher Time is full of that pure raucous energy and swagger that has always made this kind of music the best in the world.
I think the thing that really affirms this record's greatness in my mind is the beauty of the arrangements. The screaming guitars and the stunning delivery of Ms. Dolan on a song like "Social Phobia" serves as evidence to all that Electric Citizen can accomplish. That being said, I feel like the band keeps hinting that they could do something that goes far beyond even this. Certain tracks on the record start to hint at the incredible potential that Electric Citizen have. Furthermore, some of the ideas don't feel fully fleshed out, and while this often leads to more concise songs (which is almost always a plus in my book) I feel like the band could be doing so much more. In other words, I know how well this band can deliver, and I am never going to be satisfied until they take the crown for their own and stomp all over the opposition. Of course, if a band can instill this kind of faith and passion in some asshole reviewer like me, well, that kind of suggests that they must be doing something right… right?
Unlike so many of their peers, Electric Citizen play their butts off on Higher Time, and they do their best to rip you a new one with every crashing anthem on this record. This is an album that dives forward courageously, encouraging you to embrace all the magic within and lose yourself in the purity of sound and inherent drama that a band like Electric Citizen so smoothly conjure up to their collective advantage. Higher Time is some top notch shit, it has all the marijuana-infused magic of the 60s, but hints at more modern elements, and tells us that there is a lot more to come from these Cincinnati rockers. If you're not on board the bandwagon now, you had better get on, because from here on out Electric Citizen are only going to get better.

October 07, 2016

Blackfinger - Blackfinger (2014)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Doom Metal
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© 2014 Church Within Records
Review by DoomMetalHeaven.com
This album has been a long time in the making. After tiring of life on the road with reformed doom legends Trouble, singer Eric Wagner – owner of one of the most distinctive voices in the business – shut himself away to write some new material. That was in 2008. And the result, six years down the line, is an album that will please fans of old-school Trouble, whose mid-1980s masterpieces have been enormously influential, as well as those who appreciate the band’s later, trippier recordings. Unwilling to embark on some ego-stroking solo project or to record with special guests in the vein of Probot (the all-star Dave Grohl side-project which brought the former Trouble frontman to an even wider audience in 2004), Wagner got together with some local Chicago talent to form a new band. Albeit a band with Wagner very much front and centre, doing things his way. There are plenty of heavy moments on this self-titled debut, but a fair percentage of the album is given over to gentle acoustic songs, where Wagner’s love for the likes of Pink Floyd and The Beatles shines through. There’s even a homage to The Mamas & The Papas in ‘All The Leaves Are Brown’, the album’s first, storming single. Elsewhere, ‘As Long As I’m With You’ is a catchy and beautiful track, featuring only cello, bass, piano and voice. ‘For One More Day’ is similarly understated, and in this regard the album is reminiscent of ‘Raising Sand’, Robert Plant’s award-winning 2007 collaboration with Alison Krauss. Wagner has much in common with Plant, physically and aurally, and both albums confidently apply simplified instrumentation and arrangements to great effect. For anyone seeking something a bit more muscular, songs such as the grungy ‘Why God’ and ‘My Many Colored Days’ stand out as impressive, original compositions that stay true to the legacy of Trouble. Many of these new recordings could sit quite comfortably on 1992’s  ‘Manic Frustration’ for example. The vocalist has a healthy relationship with his former band (whose recent album ‘The Distortion Field’ with new singer Kyle Thomas received a mixed reception), and is happy to play the old stuff live with Blackfinger – and this respect for the past is evident, if not quite as blatant as with Wagner’s other project The Skull. Wagner has said that he did not want this album to be “self-indulgent”, preferring his music to sound like a relaxed jam. ‘Blackfinger’ achieves this with ease and the 11 songs fly by swiftly and enjoyably, some of them weighing in at three minutes or less. They are snippets rather than epics; a fascinating, varied and extremely personal glimpse into Wagner’s state of mind. Whenever Eric Wagner gets behind the mic, you know good things are going to happen. His unforgettable voice is inevitably prominent in the mix, and it sounds as strong as ever. He openly admits that, at 54, he cannot emit quite the same banshee shriek that he could 30 years ago, but he has learned to adapt. As always, his lyrics are both intriguing and charming, while his vocal performance is that of a master. This may not be the heaviest music in the world, but it is quality stuff that digs its hooks in and won’t let go. Alternating between kickass doom riffs and swaying, dreamlike acoustics, ‘Blackfinger’ builds on Wagner’s enormous contribution to music.  It was worth the wait.

Wall of Sleep - When Mountains Roar (2010)

Country: Hungary
Language: English
Genre: Doom Metal
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© 2010 psycheDOOMelic Records
Review by Mark Hunt-Bryden for TheSleepingShaman.com
Doom music and a name like Wall Of Sleep… you are thinking Ozzy era Sabbath, those sludgey, crawling guitar sounds that Iommi wrenched from his wailing guitar on the first six albums right? Well actually you’re wrong. Not in that WOS don’t appear to take their influences from the mighty godfathers of metal but because they sound closer to the driving sounds of the Dio and Seventh Star eras than they do to, er Wall Of Sleep. Strange, but then again I have to admit I am massively late to the party on this one, having never heard of them before as the band Wall Of Sleep have been around since 2002 and ‘When Mountains’ Roar’ is their fourth album in that time. Hailing from Hungary they marry traditional doom sounds with a more classic rock blues sound and scored rave critical reviews with the ‘Overlook The All’ EP in 2003, the (apparently) awesome ‘Slow, But Not Dead’ in 2004 and their best album ‘Sun Faced Apostles’ in 2005 before the wheels seemed to come off with 2007’s ‘…And Hell Followed With Him’ where reviews would suggest the band found themselves creatively out of gas. Now back with new vocalist Csaba Cselényi they are attempting to bring in more variety in the vocal department and complement the Sabbath inspired midterm songs. With the album clocking in at 40 minutes this is quite a manageable listen for a doom album and just as it says on the tin, this is Traditional doom metal with very strong Black Sabbath hints. There is a heady mix of bluesy atmosphere and solid thick sounding traditional doom metal, so any fan of the early material should check out this new record as it is regarded as something of a return to form. Personally I struggled to like this album despite all the signals from the press release; for me it didn’t have the charm of some of the other releases I have listened to from Psychedoomelic or the genre. There are some incredible riffs on display here which shows that WOS have the chops to deliver everything they promise, for example the intro to ‘Hungry Spirit’ is a great strong album opener and lives up to the comparisons to Dio era Sabbath. Until the vocals kick in…. It seems a little harsh to single out a band member, but it is here the comparisons end as unfortunately, whilst not being terrible, Cselényi doesn’t quite seem to fit in with what the music is doing. Sometimes he is abrasive when he should have been more melodic and at others he just seems out of place with some of the lyrics coming off as cheesy or chest beating, with many moments more in common with Manowar than ‘Masters Of Reality’. I must stress this is just a personal preference, at times the album has infectious grooves and a stomp that recalls classic rock bands like Thin Lizzy added to the myriad of usual suspects that make up stoner and doom influences – The Obsessed, Cathedral, Down, Trouble… take your pick. When they get the delivery right some of the tunes on ‘When The Mountains Roar’ like ‘Raven Avenue’ make all the reservations and criticisms vanish and you can just sit back and marvel at a band producing great passages of music. However it simply doesn’t happen often enough, the musical and vocal inconsistencies prove to be enough of a distraction to take any shine off this release which is a bit of a shame really as it promised to deliver so much. I’m sure this album will see them take strides back to the acclaim they won earlier in their career and I must stress that I far from hated ‘When Mountains Roar’, it just seemed for every great moment there was an equal and opposing one which let them down…

October 06, 2016

Brimstone Coven - Black Magic (2016)⚓

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Doom Metal
Style: Traditional Doom
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© 2016 Metal Blade Records
Review by Metalholic.com
Each year the metal scene gets off to a slow start with new releases, but the final week of January 2016 is a mother lode of heavy gems. Included in the metal deluge is West Virginia  traditionalists, Brimstone Coven. The band’s name alone should give some insight into their style and sound. If you are thinking late 60’s – early 70s proto-metal with elements of occultish doom and psychedelic flourishes, you would be dead on the money. Think Black Sabbath‘s debut album meets New York’s Dust, or Pentagram jamming with Blue Cheer. One listen to the band’s newest album, Black Magic, and you are called back to another era. Even the recording of the album is undiluted and raw in its production. The record wheels out under the Stonehenge-heavy guitar riffs of founder Corey Roth and the plodding stick work of drummer Justin Wood. Almost immediately Andrew D’Cagna‘s bass chases after the rhythm like air bubbles seeking the surface. Vocalist John Williams is the last to join in with a voice perfectly suited for the band’s dark style. One of the aspects of Brimstone Coven‘s music that sets them apart are the three-part vocal harmonies. The rolling guitar and cowbell recall a bit of Leslie West’s Mountain. If you can forgive the band for beginning the album with two songs with “black” in the title, you can easily fall in love with the retro groove of “Black Unicorn”. The song is a more uptempo track than its predecessor, and Roth’s warbling guitar solo adds a psychedelic touch to the track. Next up is the airy swing of “Beyond the Astral”, which begins with an almost jaunty rhythm and where the band’s vocal harmonies are a notable highlight. This segues into more of a driving rocker with a definite Tony Iommi nod in the riffing, and even some classic UFO in the bluesy and sometimes lumbering vibe of the song. This is followed, in contrast, by the languid ballad, “As We Fall”. In comparison to the ghostly harmonies and sluggish gait of “Upon the Mountain”, “Slow Death” is a positively peppy jam that recalls a bit of a Cactus feel with Wood and D’Cagna capturing the spirit of drummer Carmine Appice and bassist Tim Bogert. “The Seers” pays homage to that classic Sabbath groove, with beefy riffs and a filthy bass line. The song is elevated, once again, by the soaring vocal harmonies of Roth, Williams, and D’Cagna. For some reason, I can see Quentin Tarantino utilizing the dramatic and broody atmosphere of “The Plague” in one of his films. Contrary to the song’s title, the music has a folky feel to it that adds an eerie undercurrent of creepiness. “The Elder Tree” closes the record out in a haze of droning, chanted vocals. The song has the feel of a ritual sacrifice in the offing, and the guitars and rhythm section just hammer away at your cranium. D’Cagna produced Black Magic at his own Sacred Sound Studios in Ohio and he does a fantastic job of keeping the retro vibe of the proto-metal era without burying it in fuzz. Black Magic is an album steeped in vintage doomery that harks to a bygone era without devolving into poor imitation. Brimstone Coven manages to pay homage to the past while adding its own bit of dark sorcery to the mix. In short, with Black Magic, Brimstone Coven have captured a sonic journey that spans decades.

tags: brimstone coven, black magic, 2016, flac,

Wall of Sleep - Slow But Not Dead (2004)

Country: Hungary
Genre: Doom Metal
Language: English
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© 2004 psycheDOOMelic Records
Review by Kevin McHugh for Doom-Metal.com
Some of you know that Wall of Sleep refers to the song by the same title on the first Sabbath album; fewer of you will know that it's also an H.P. Lovecraft reference. Both are perfectly appropriate, 'cause Wall of Sleep lays down smooth, riffing doom with style and panache, invigorating an occasionally moribund genre to the point where any old school doomster should feel duty-bound to check it out. After all, it isn't every day that you get to hear what a prime Hungarian doom band has to offer. Wall of Sleep has a couple of members from the now-defunct doom pioneers Mood, which began life in '94 and broke up in 2001. Before that, WoS. members Sandor and Gabor were into the 80s hardcore scene before they turned on their doom light, so you know we're dealing with experienced musicians here. Wall of Sleep is altogether darker and doomier than Mood: their motto, "Slow but Not Dead", says it all. The 'Sleep dudes use their considerable experience to pay homage to 'Sabbath and their successors, while adding in heavy rock elements to create some delicious early 70s style, blues-based melodic doom. I think this new disc bests their previous EP, 'Overlook the All', in raw energy, and like that effort is full to the brim of the confident ensemble playing for which the group is known. They say that Hungary is a good place to get well into the spirit of doom, maybe even as good as Finland, ha ha. Or Maryland. Wall of Sleep is not shy about expressing their feelings of gloom and depression, with loads of heavy, dark riffage and even a couple of bluesy ballads. Enthusiasts of bands such as Abdullah, Pentagram, Down, Orodruin, Trouble, Pale Divine, VoodooShock, all things Wino, and most of all Place of Skulls should think of Wall of Sleep as a necessary part of their collection. PsycheDOOMelic should be congratulated and encouraged to put out more music like this. Let's doom!

Wall of Sleep - ... And Hell Followed With Him (2007)

Country: Hungary
Genre: Doom Metal
Language: English
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©  2007 I Hate Records
Reviewed by Goat for MetalReviews.com
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to tell the legion of True Doom bands apart from each other, masses of them having popped up in the wakes of Reverend Bizarre and kin. After all, being ‘true’ in this sense means following a set path, and there’s little room for experimental deviation. Hungary’s Wall Of Sleep, arisen from the ashes of another True Doom band Mood, play a groovy form of the genre that hits all the usual touchstones with almost depressing predictability and yet manages to be quite enjoyable despite that.
This is possibly partly down to the length of …And Hell Followed With Him. Just less than forty minutes might be perfect for your average Thrash revivalists, but by its very nature we’ve come to expect glacial pacing from Doom. Quite a surprise that this, Wall Of Sleep’s third full length in five years, is almost ruthlessly confined with songs all around the five-minute mark. It’s a grower, too, the majority of tracks here sounding rather dull on the first listen but taking on their own identity with time. Without doubt, much of the blame for this delay in quality appreciation can be laid at vocalist Gábor Holdampf’s door, as he possesses the sort of nasal voice that’s to blame for many a Doom virgin running with tear-streaked cheeks and clothes in disarray. With the likes of Robert Lowe setting new standards for Doom vocalists, why should we the people have to put up with sub-par singers for our shots of misery? Once you’ve gotten past the vocals, however, there’s little not to like. The music moves along at a reasonably fast pace for Doom, little touches like the war samples at the end of Crusade adding variety, and the musicianship is faultless. From the Cathedralesque feedback and little drum intro at the start of Buried 1000 Times to the last few seconds of Stabat Mater, there’s nothing that a Doomster won’t enjoy. Each and every song here is well-crafted, the intricate riffing and considered drum beats carving a path through Doom territory that is indeed well-trodden, but the view is worth it. There’s even a hint of Hard Rock in the catchiest moments, such as in Unchanged and Cain. Trouble is, there are no immediately excellent moments, such as previous album Sun-Faced Apostles’ standout track On Pain Of Birth, and this lack of something to grasp onto from the outset really hinders enjoyment, especially if you’ve listened to a lot of Doom. Overall, it’s impossible to reject Wall Of Sleep out of hand, there’s simply too much that is good. What holds this band back is the fact that there are a lot of other bands doing exactly the same thing, at least half of them having better vocalists to boot. …And Hell Followed With Him is a more than decent album – it’s just not a great one, and so is hard to recommend.

R. Kelly - TP-2.com (2000) ☠

Country: U.S.A
Genre: R&B
Label Number: 01241-41705-2
☠: Selected by Lass
© 2000 Jive Records
AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier
R. Kelly tames his ambitions a bit on TP-2.Com, assembling a simple sequel to his classic 12 Play album from 1993 rather than another epic venture like his double-disc, all-bases-covered R. album from 1998. The straightforwardness is somewhat of a welcome endeavor. As breathtaking as had been R. -- an album that straddled the huge gap between the sort of radio pop associated with Celine Dion as well as the street rap of Jay-Z and Nas -- it also seemed too overblown at times, as if Kelly had something to prove during an era of double-disc epic rap albums. So to see him return to the simple singles approach of 12 Play is refreshing, particularly since he has plenty of singles to work with here, just as he had with TP-1. Kelly furthermore unleashes his singles -- "I Wish," a mass-appeal vocal pop number with an urban edge; "Fiesta," a Latin Invasion cash-in that aims for the dancefloor; and "Feelin' on Yo Booty," a whispery come-on for all the weak-kneed ladies and some of the mindful ones too -- with tailor-made remixes to ensure himself broad airplay. Only one of those remixes is here though, the "I Wish" one, so take heed. There's no Jay-Z-featuring remix of "Fiesta" and no up-tempo one of "Feelin' on Yo Booty," yet TP-2.Com is a strong album nonetheless, three steps ahead of practically every other non-rap urban album from 2000. It does seem like Kelly is coasting a bit here at times, though, particularly when you hold TP-2.Com up against its massive predecessor, but even when R's lounging, he's generally ahead of the pack.

tasg: r kelly, r. kelly, tp2.com, tp-2.com, 2000, flac,