Welcome to Alex’s Album Reviews where I review Metal albums of the past and current times. I will also review requested songs and albums of other genres but I will mainly be reviewing Metal and Rock Albums of the past and by month. Please be free to talk to me in person or ask someone who knows me to review an album, I will review anything you ask me to.
March 20, 2019
Welcome to my next throwback album review of “Heartwork” by Carcass. A little backstory of Carcass is that they were one of the first-ever Grindcore bands within the Grindcore genre. Grindcore is a genre that is characterized by breakneck tempos, fast drumming (blast beats), and finally what is known as “harsh vocals” familiar in both Black Metal and Death Metal. I am currently going to be focusing on their turning point as a band and how they moved away from Grindcore blast beats and insanely fast guitars to feeling melodic solos with cunning guitar sound.
In late 1993, the first-ever Melodic Death Metal album released, this album was put out by Carcass, and it is entitled “Heartwork.” This album blew my mind when I heard it back in the 6th grade turning me into a fan of Carcass forever. The first track “Buried Dreams” brings in a melodic, slower guitar that is both brooding and cunning. It has a big groovy feel to the song, and it’s especially fascinating because of the way the solo is executed, as I can hear what seems to be a reverb pedal placing a lot of character to the piece. “Buried Dreams” is a 10/10 must listen song, especially for the good feels it gives. “Carnal Forge” is the next track which is overall a 7/10 in my opinion since it is a pretty generic but excellent carcass track. The next track “No Love Lost” is a very groovy track much like “Buried Dreams,” but it has much less finesse than the ladder making it a very long monotonous song until the solo. The solo gives technical spice to this song but becomes lost due to being concise. “No Love Lost” is a solid 7.5/10. The next song is my favorite song to play on guitar which is “Heartwork.” The title track makes this album shine because of the amount of feeling and technical skill required to play it. You can hear the technicality and feel directly off the bat because of the different approach this song takes on this album. Every song before this album easies you into the music for a nice heavy groove.
Meanwhile, “Heartwork” hits you with a technical barrage of tremolo picking at a breakneck pace, throwing the listener directly into the fire, which provides a very thrashy style to the piece. The bass sounds wonderful, and it shines on this track, good job Jeff Walker with both vocals and bass work! The ripping lead work of Bill Steer on this album is insane, and it shows the extensive effort placed into this album. Drumming is fantastic with Ken Owen’s skills, and I hope he fully recovers from his brain hemorrhage so he can maybe reach the peak of what he used to be. The song “Heartwork” gets a 10/10 being my favorite song on this record.
The next two songs, “Embodiment” and “This Mortal Coil,” are both masterpieces and deserve 9/10. I cannot do them justice through words; please take the time to listen to these to songs even if you listen to nothing else on this album. “Death Certificate” is the last song on this record and it is overall an excellent track. The other three songs “Arbeit Macht Fleisch,” “Blind Bleeding the Blind,” and “Doctrinal Expletives.” Are very overall decent songs that feel run of the mill to me and each get a solid 6/10. The album “Heartwork” by Carcass gets a solid 10/10 and is an excellent starter to those new to Death Metal in general since it is easier to stomach than most other bands. After Spring Break I will be reviewing a new school thrash band album called “Conformicide.” Make sure to stay tuned everyone!
March 15, 2019
Today is the day where I finish our review on the glorious Big Four with the almighty Slayer which is the heaviest of the Big Four. I will now give you the first warning I will give on this page. This warning is to only listen to Slayer when you are ready because it is a bit much for those who aren’t accustomed to thrash metal and it acts as a gateway to heavier genres like grindcore, black/unblack metal, and death metal. Each of which I pride myself in listening to. Slayer is an American thrash metal band whose main lineup was made up of Tom Araya, Kerry King, Jeff Hanneman, and Dave Lombardo. The current original members are Tom Araya and Kerry King which wish to end the legacy of Slayer with one final world tour that will be coming to Youngstown in Ohio so that is your one last chance to see them live. I think that Slayer has the right to retire because they have been together as a band since 1981 and they deserve a break. So in order to honor the legacy of Slayer, I will be reviewing every Slayer album in existence.
Starting with their debut “Show No Mercy” which has a very different feel with a much more primitive sound and it almost feels like it’s from a completely different band, with all this in hand it is still a start and has many flaws so it gets an 8/10 as a whole. After “Show No Mercy” Slayer came out within 1985 “Hell Awaits” which is the defining album for Slayer’s sound and demeanor. “Hell Awaits” is an amazing album but it doesn’t stand out too much to me so it feels a little less than amazing since I only really enjoy the title track and not much else on it but other people say it is much better than I think so I would listen for yourself on this one. “Hell Awaits” gets a solid 7/10. Slayer then decided to release in 1986 what many hold as their best album to date known as “Reign In Blood” which is my favorite Slayer album because of the songs “Postmortem” and “Altar Of Sacrifice” which are not as prominent as the very popular tracks “Angel Of Death” and “Raining Blood” which also each are thrashterpeices within themselves. “Reign In Blood” gets a solid 10/10 and is a must listen thrash metal album.
Two years later Slayer decided to release “South Of Heaven” which is the most poetic of an album which mentions many problems with our society and problems with war. This album is a bit of a change in pace from Slayer’s “Reign In Blood” but it proves to be a good thing and an amazing album with a track criticizing the draft and war (“Mandatory Suicide”) and a track speaking out about the many things that aren’t ok within our society (“South Of Heaven.”) “South Of Heaven” gets a solid 10/10 being a must listen. Two years after the release of “South Of Heaven” Slayer as a band made another thrasherpiece known as “Seasons in the Abyss” which is basically a mixed combination of the last two albums in one album that is one of Slayer’s best albums. Songs on this album are absolutely amazing and give a large variety of thrashy songs like “War Ensemble” to slower songs like “Spirit In Black” or “Skeletons of Society.” “Seasons in the Abyss” gets a 10/10 and is a must listen to album.
The next album that was released was “Divine Intervention” which overall for me was a dud and is a mediocre album which sits at a 5/10 for me. The next album “Undisputed Attitude” was a cover album which is interesting but isn’t a Slayer album so I won’t give it a recommendation but I think it is at least a 4/10 since I really don’t enjoy the album as a whole and I like to just see Slayer do their own thing. After “Undisputed Attitude” Slayer decided to release a new album known as “Diabolus in Musica” which is simply awful and gets a 3/10 from me. Kerry King referred to “Diabolus in Musica” was Slayer’s “Turbo” which is a Judas Priest record that is just as awful which also gets a 1/10 so I don’t have to review that abomination of an album (Judas Priest is a good band by the way it is honestly that album that is so bad.) The only somewhat good song off of “Diabolus In Musica” which is “Death’s Head” simply since it is a very brutal song and has some cool lyrics such as “Death is your name You’re facing your grave” which is a little edgy but it really gives you that cool feeling.
Slayer decided in 2001 to make a comeback album known as “God Hates Us All” which is a very good comeback and it has great songs off it such as “Disciple” and “Bloodline” being the best racks off of the album. “God Hates Us All” gets a solid 7/10. The next album is “Christ Illusion” which honestly is full of great tracks and gets a solid 8/10. “World Painted Blood” marked Slayer’s next album after three years that surely didn’t disappoint but it is the last album the late Jeff Hanneman will perform on because of his late death on May 2nd, 2013. “World Painted Blood” is a solid 7/10 with an experience you need to hear for yourself. Finally, Slayer finishes with a 9/10 on “Repentless” to mark their final album with a memory of Jeff Hanneman and his lifestyle that drove the band to greatness.
Make sure to see Slayer in Youngstown at the Covelli Center on their Final World Tour on May 20th, I will certainly be there! Next review will be “Heartwork” by the melodic death metal band Carcass. See you next week!
March 11, 2019
Today’s review is going to be on the thrash metal band called Megadeth. A quick backstory to this band is that Dave Mustaine was kicked out of Metallica with “no warning, no second chance,” and decided to make a new band that will destroy Metallica and over compass it completely. In my opinion and many others, he succeeded in every category except in the mainstream music competition. Megadeth’s greatest albums are “Rust In Peace,” “Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good,” “Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying,” and “Dystopia” though I personally recommend every Megadeth album except, “The World Needs a Hero” and “United Abominations.” The first album I will be reviewing is their first album “Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good.” The album KIMB is Megadeth’s debut album which is a smashing entrance into the thrash metal scene which starts the war of Metallica and Megadeth both trying to one-up each other constantly. Three songs off of this album that I would recommend and that really stand out are “The Skull Beneath The Skin” which is a very unique song in that it describes the band’s mascot Vic Rattlehead who is depicted on most of Megadeth’s albums. The beginning of “The Skull Beneath The Skin” starts with a guitar intro that completely shreds then Dave Mustaine hits a high note while the guitar progresses into the main riff. The next song I really enjoy off of this album is “The Mechanix” which is a very fun headbanging song. This song is very similar to Metallica’s “The Four Horsemen” which is because Metallica used Dave’s riffs without his permission which is still something that the bands fight about to this day. The next song that stands out on this album is “Rattlehead” which is the Thrashterpeice of the album which just makes you want to start a mosh pit wherever you are. KIMB gets a 10/10 making it a perfect album in every way except the mixing but even that can be overlooked.
The next album I will be reviewing is “Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying.” This album is perfect in every way but the song Good Mourning/Black Friday isn’t my favorite but many friends of mine and other Metalheads really like it so I’d make up my own opinion one that if I were you and not trust me saying that Good Mourning/Black Friday is a bad song. “Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying” gets a solid 9.5/10. “Rust In Peace” is the next Megadeth album but it is also undoubtedly when Megadeth was at their peak as a band. “Rust In Peace” has many thrashterpeices one the album including “Hangar 18,” “Holy Wars…The Punishment Due,” and “Five Magics” are all personal favorites of mine each of which is unique and absolutely wonderful, also “Tornado Of Souls” is an honorable mention and it is also up there as a close second to “Five Magics.” Please listen to this album for yourself because it is an experience in music like none other. “Rust In Peace” gets a 10/10 making it a perfect album in every way because all songs are good, the songs fit, the songs are unique, and every track compliments this album.
The final album I will be reviewing is Megadeth’s latest album “Dystopia.” This album is one of my favorite albums in recent times and it is instantly a Megadeth classic. The new guitarist Kiko Loureiro is my favorite guitarist in Megadeth (besides Dave Mustaine) who adds a different style of playing classic Megadeth songs and a new style to playing on this album. Chris Adler replaces Shawn Drover and brings with him his Lamb Of God style drumming skills with utterly amazing double bass work and great drumming overall. He was replaced shortly after with Dirk Verbeuren who is debatably the best drummer that Megadeth ever had. I love the current lineup for Megadeth and I will be seeing them with Ozzy over the summer but now back to the review. This album is a solid 10/10 in which you should listen to the whole album because each and every song on this album is an absolute thrasherpiece especially the track “Lying In State” which is a personal favorite of mine. Next review will be on the heaviest out of the big four known as Slayer.
March 4, 2019
Today’s review is going to be on Metallica which is a still somewhat thrash metal band that is a part of the big four. Metallica is one of the first thrash metal bands that has popularized the genre but many of their popular songs aren’t thrash metal whatsoever. I will be talking about their four first albums or in my opinion the only good Metallica albums. Starting with their debut album “Kill Em All” which is an absolute thrashterpeice and has many great songs on the album mainly because of what I like to call Mustaine Juice. Mustaine Juice is a term I like to use for Dave Mustaine’s writing in Metallica and how his riffs were used by them without his consent after he was kicked out of the band for rampant drug use and other problems with him. Anyways most to all Metallica songs off of the first three albums that stand out and sound different were most likely written by Dave Mustaine if you look them up. “Kill Em All” is one of the greatest thrash albums of all time and it is a classic album among thrash fans and since every song is very good off this album I will not be listing best songs. The next album that Metalica produced is “Ride The Lightning” which has less Dave Mustaine influenced songs but it is still an amazing album. Three good songs off of this album are “Ride The Lightning” which is the title track but it is one of the first songs where I truly thought of lyrics being brutal, this song describes a man being sentenced to death by electric chair and being electrocuted. The Second song I will like to review is “Trapped Under Ice” which is one of the fastest thrashiest songs off of the album which is about a guy who is trapped under ice. The final song I would like to review is “Fight Fire With Fire” which starts with an acoustic beginning but then later gets into a brutal thrash riff that really makes you want to start a mosh pit wherever you are. This album gets a solid 8/10 but still, it is absolutely amazing. The Next Album I will like to review is “Master Of Puppets” which is when the Mustaine Juice has run out, except for the song “Leper Messiah” which is highly disputed upon for who wrote the song. I choose to believe that Dave Mustaine wrote the song because it seems like something off of a Megadeth album like Killing Is My Business… And Business Is Good. The first song I would like to mention is “Disposable Heroes” which is an absolute thrashterpeice and it is an anti-war song about the treatment of our soldiers and a protest against the draft and war in general. The next song I would like to mention is Battery simply because of how hard it is to play and what a great song it is to mosh to. The final song I would like to mention is “Leper Messiah” which is a Megadeth sounding track that I enjoy because of the awesome lyrics and the groove metal vibe. “Master Of Puppets” gets a solid 7/10 which shows the slippery slope of Metallica’s decline in quality. The final album I will review is “…And Justice For All” which is a badly produced album that has no Mustaine Juice whatsoever. The bass is unhearable which is a shame since I love many of the riffs on this album for the bass and the guitar feels extremely weak without it which is very sad because this album would have sounded great. Two songs off of this album that are great are the title track and “Blackened” which are the only real redeemable songs off of this album. This album gets a solid 6/10 because of the awful mixing choices, lack of creativity, appeal to popularity, and God awful drum sound that sounds extremely processed and superficial especially on the kick. After this album, Metallica produced the black album and sold out to the mainstream so I refuse to review any of their other albums unless asked to which I will begrudgingly review them. The next big four band I will be reviewing will be a much better band overall and a band which stemmed off from this one known as Megadeth.
February 27, 2019
This review is going to be the first of the big 4 band introduction. Today’s review is about Anthrax which is one of the big 4 and a band I have personally seen live. Anthrax isn’t the heaviest band and doesn’t have the best track record out of the big 4 in albums, but it certainly doesn’t have the worst. This band hails from New York City and is one of the largest bands in thrash to this day. Their approach on vocals is very interesting because Joey Belladonna has a higher voice range than normal thrash singers with him singing in tenor. Joey Belladonna seems to not be the best vocalist for this band in general but surprisingly he fits the band very well. Essential albums from Anthrax would be “State Of Euphoria,” “Spreading The Disease,” and my personal favorite ”Among The Living.” Starting with “State Of Euphoria” which overall is a solid album with few flaws but relistening to it really makes me remember why I don’t listen to it so often but it is a solid 7/10. It has two main tracks I really enjoy which are “Who Cares Wins” which has an absolutely amazing solo which is unparalleled by any other one song on the album, the other song is “Antisocial” which is a very fun crowd participation song and I thoroughly enjoyed it when I saw Anthrax on the Slayer North American Tour leg one. The next album “Spreading The Disease” which is one of my favorite thrash albums ever shows how Anthrax can really play and showcases that classic crunchy thrashy guitar tone that is right in your face. Songs I really enjoy on this album are “Madhouse,” “Lone Justice,” and “Gung-Ho.” Starting with “Madhouse” this song demonstrations that Anthrax knows how to be heavy but not necessarily extremely thrashy. The vocals really shine on this album and especially this song with Joey really reaching for high notes along with an amazing guitar tone, check out the music video here it’s pretty wacky. “Lone Justice” is a great thrashy song but it really shows how Anthrax can tell a good story through a simple song. “Gung-Ho” is another great song off of this album which showcases how fast Anthrax can go and it shows the overall peak of their ability on an album where they weren’t even at their prime. Overall I give “Spreading The Disease” a solid 9/10. “Among The Living” is the best album that Anthrax ever put out and it was their exact peak of them as a band overall. I would now generally list songs from this album that are the best but this album in every way is flawless. The only song that is in my opinion very boring is “One World” which bores me to be in such a good album but many people tell me that it is a great song overall so I am probably just picky. I give Anthrax’s “Among The Living” a solid 10/10 as it is flawless in every which way and it is a good place to get into thrash metal. My next review will be on another large thrash band within the big four which is very mainstream known as Metallica.
February 26, 2019
Today’s review is going to be my first throwback review to an album I listened to a lot in the past that I am now revisiting. This throwback review will be a great album for early and newer metal listeners that are ready to get into thrash metal. “Bonded By Blood” by Exodus is an instant thrash classic album that is a pure adrenaline rush and one of my early thrash metal albums besides listening to big 4 albums (the big 4 are Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax.) This album came out in 1985 when thrash metal was in its hay day and it was easily the heaviest stuff around. The album is a never-ending thrash attack masterpiece, or a thrashterpeice as I call it. A little history for this band is that they started in Richmond California which constitutes them as a “bay area thrash band.” There have been 19 different members in Exodus but this one is considered to be the best of them all partially because Paul Baloff was in the band during the recording of this album, sadly Paul is no longer within this world and has passed on in 2002. The tracks that stand out on this album are “Strike of the Beast,” “Bonded By Blood,” “Exodus,” and “Piranha’ being songs that are commonly played on their tours and shows. “Strike of the Beast” is my favorite track off of the album and it is my favorite Exodus song over their entire discography. “Bonded By Blood” is the title track and the first track on the album which immediately drops you straight into the fire without any warning whatsoever, this is one of the reasons why this album is great is because of the pure adrenaline and thrashing feel that carries over the whole album. “Exodus” is a very party-like song which is the crowd participation moment for the band which makes it the “Toxic Waltz” before the “Toxic Waltz” ever existed. “Exodus” overall is a great song and is pretty cool to see performed live and it’s a good listen. “Piranha” is the final unique track I must mention because it simply showcases an amazing drum intro which is though short one of my favorites to ever hear second to Anthrax’s “Indians’ intro which will be apart of my next part 4 review on the big four. The album ‘Bonded By Blood” by Exodus gets a solid 10/10 making this album absolutely legendary and a must-listen to any lover of metal or any metal beginner.
February 22, 2019
Today Overkill just released their 19th studio album titled, “The Wings Of War.” This album is in all honestly one of the best Overkill releases in recent times. Songs on this album that seem to stand out are “Believe In the Fight” and “Where Few Dare to Walk.” The former song I mentioned shows that Overkill can pull off some decent backing vocals but not to the point to where it becomes overbearing or gives the impression that the vocalist isn’t very good or that he doesn’t know what he’s doing (these problems are common with bands like Bloodbath especially in their later work). Thankfully Bobby Ellsworth has still got an absolute pristine voice ever since the band’s inception in 1980. The ladder song I mentioned gives me good vibes from other thrash songs such as “Dawn Patrol” by Megadeth which it feels very similar to. Other great tracks on this album are “Welcome to the Garden State”, “Distortion”, and “Head of a Pin.” The bass work is certainly here on this album as common in many Thrash records. The real question is that is this the new “Under The Influence” or the new “The Years Of Decay”? In short, no but this is one of the best Overkill thrash albums. Some of the flaws of this album are that it suffers from R.C.L or “Really Cool Lyrics” which means that the music sounds cool but doesn’t have much actual substance to it, not all songs on this album apply to R.C.L but it is certainly a problem. The second problem this album suffers from is what I call “album fatigue” which is common with some bands such as Overkill. On the two previous albums I mentioned (“Under The Influence” and “The Years Of Decay”) there is no album fatigue whatsoever. Overall, this is one of the greatest thrash records I have heard in a long while. I give this headbanging masterpiece a solid 8/10.