GREATEST METAL ALBUM CUP - League 8: Isthmian Metal League Division One North Matches 21-24 (Updated Nov 29)

Which album is your favourite?

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Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
Alestorm vs Iced Earth is a tough one but honestly the first four songs on Sunset + the title track kill every single song on Incorruptible. Yes, even Clear The Way (as much as I love it). 1741 is one of my favorite songs ever.

EDIT: I’m honestly shocked I didn’t nominate this album myself.


Stranger in a Strange Board
Unleash The Archers - They really outdid themselves with this record (especially the title Track)
Motörhead - Dream Theater is the better Band, but 1916 is better than Octavarium
Alestorm - Iced Earth would usually get my vote, but their last record I enjoyed was The Glorious Burden. Alestorms Album starts off with 4 Great songs and the closing Track just rips.
Queensryche - Everything over Symphony X


Ancient Mariner
Unleash the Archers - Never heard of these before, music is pretty generic, female vocal gives it a bit of uniqueness, more passion and charisma in the delivery than there'd be in a standard power metal vocal performance.

Black Sabbath - Great riff remind me of the pop song "No Easy Way Out", lyrics pretty bad "princes and kings, demons with wings" is about as metal cliche as it gets, solo brilliant, Iommi's solos are so much better than in the 70's heyday

Black Sabbath with the win

Dream Theatre - I hate tracks that build up to nothing, real busy intro and then the arse falls out of the song for the verse, a couple of heavy riffs are good but the arrangement is poor, lacking in hooks, vocal is diabolically average, the piano playing in the chorus is hilarious, sounds like Elton John playing of "his own free will", worst outro since that Opeth track from a few rounds back.

Motorhead - I listened to the whole of this album since the last round, an enjoyable listen

Motorhead with the win

Alestorm - novelty rubbish, it's not even unique, Running Wild did this schtick years ago, with actual tracks.

Iced Earth - Intro riff good, double bass drum is terrible when it kicks in, vocal performance is abysmal and what I'm picking up from the words sounds like it may be even more cliched than the Sabbath lyric earlier, chorus is surprisingly hooky but the vocal is still bad, they should have got Halford to do a cameo for it. Short and sweat though, which is something surprisingly lacking in this game, most of the sample tracks are really unnecessarily long.

Iced Earth
with the win

Queensryche - I don't have this so I'm only familiar with Queen of the Reich and The Lady Wore Black from their hits album. That's enough for them to score a spectacular victory. The scream in Queen of the Reich alone would vanquish any other album in this round.

Symphony X - opinion given before.

Queensryche with the win


Black-and-white leopard
Unleash The Archers really reminded me of Maiden and Call Me Immortal has a really catchy chorus. So there, I'm voting for a female-fronted metal band. Congratulations to @LooseCannon for making me do the unthinkable.
No surprises in my choices elsewhere though: Motorhead, Iced Earth, and Queensryche.


The sun sets forever over Blackwater Park
The best moments across all eight songs here are 1:40 in Out Of The Ashes and the opening of The One To Sing The Blues (although Panic Attack's no slouch either).


What's yours is mine and what's mine is mine too
Panic Attack is a fantastic song, I wish they would play it live again. Octavarium itself is massively underrated apart from the title track.


Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
This round is brutal, everything here is worthy.

Headless Cross is a great album, but i would like to celebrate the young blood in this round. Voted for Apex. This band is one of my favorite finds recently. Rarely do you have a classic sounding metal band that’s still fresh and exciting to listen to.

I am voting for Dream Theater bias, but honestly 1916 is a worthy competitor and will deserve the likely win. I do like Octavarium a lot though. I love the spacious sound of the production, the more accessible style of songwriting, and it’s one of their most well executed albums conceptually. Of course the final title epic is immense, but don’t sleep on The Root of All Evil, Panic Attack, or I Walk Beside You. All the songs have something to offer.

Iced Earth vs Alestorm was a pretty easy choice.

Queensryche vs Symphony X is the marquee match for me. The former is a classic Metal release and the latter is a cornerstone in 90s prog metal (a genre that Queensryche helped to forge). I’m giving it to Symphony X, just on merit of it being a stronger album. The self titled QR ep is good but is mostly carried by Queen of the Reich. Warning is a much stronger and more deserving album, and it wasn’t until Mindcrime that QR really became something special.


Enterprise-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
Voted for Apex. This band is one of my favorite finds recently. Rarely do you have a classic sounding metal band that’s still fresh and exciting to listen to.
Exactly how I feel. Honestly, I was pretty worried when I nominated the album that it'd get crushed, especially when I saw a Sabbath album was in the same stream, but I think I've been banging this drum long enough that I've got a few converts by now.

Warning is a much stronger and more deserving album, and it wasn’t until Mindcrime that QR really became something special.
Of course, both of those are in the game, with Operation Mindcrime being one of the elite that plays in the Premiership.

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
Unleash The Archers Vs. Black Sabbath
Headless Cross is one of my favourite Sabbath records, Unleash The Archers sounds interesting and I will try to investigate them further at some point but for now I stick with what I know.

Dream Theater Vs. Motorhead
Dream Theater has grown to be one of my most consistently played bands while Octavarium isn't one of the albums I listen to much, it is a high quality album by them and frankly Motorhead does very little for me.

Alestorm Vs. Iced Earth
Iced Earth has been growing on me as of late, Alestorm has been added to the list like Unleash the Archers, but for now I go with Iced Earth.

Queensryche Vs. Symphony X
Honestly I've never heard anything from Symphony X and I've heard great things about this album but I need to stick with my pick here and am voting for a phenomenal EP, and adding Symphony X to the aforementioned list.​

Lampwick 43

Covid Warrior
Unleash the Archers was pretty great and I look forward to discovering them further.

Octavarium is middle of the pack Dream Theater, but that's still better than a vast majority of everything else out there and definitely enough to get the vote. Dream Theater.

Sunset kicks ass. That's all I've got to say. Alestorm.

I'm wondering if some voter fatigue is beginning to set in with Divine Wings. I don't see how else this match could be so close. Queen of the Reich is a good song, but when you compare the entirety of both albums, it's really no contest. Symphony X.


My sins are many
This Unleash The Archers album is interesting. The core of it has a “Roy Z. and Kai Hansen formed a band” sort of feel, but with some thrashier bits and some more technical riffage thrown in. The main singer is great, but the supporting extreme vocalist is completely unnecessary and adds nothing worthwhile to the songs. At least he’s more on the breathy side and not too high in the mix, so he doesn’t outright ruin anything. The music is mostly great when it’s not lapsing into rote power metal tropes and blatant Maiden, Helloween, and Gamma Ray worship. The vocal lines often aren’t that memorable, even if they’re sung well; and the songwriting itself never really impressed me, even when the underlying music did. The title track maybe comes the closest to strong songwriting for me. This is like the musical equivalent of the street racer who takes a low-end car and pimps the shit out of it — the outer veneer looks all shiny and fancy, and the thing has a bunch of whiz-bang features, but they’re all grafted onto a derivative and unexciting frame. Then we have Headless Cross, which is generally a great album with strong songwriting, but the music itself is simpler and not quite as interesting as its competitor, and the production also isn’t the best. I could really go either way here, and it pretty much comes down to technical excellence vs. songwriting strength. While it makes me feel a little shallow to say it, after listening to Apex, Headless Cross felt kind of flat and a bit less interesting to me, despite its songwriting being better. So, sorry @Forostar, but I’m going with @LooseCannon ’s nominee this time. Winner: Unleash The Archers

Dream Theater is one of those bands that I don’t like enough to pick up anything past Scenes From A Memory, but when I do hear their later material I usually wind up liking it pretty well. LaBrie doesn’t sound the best on the heavier material because his voice is so thin, but put a cheesy ballad in front of the man and he’ll knock it out of the park. Octavarium is a mixed bag, but tracks like “The Root Of All Evil”, “These Walls”, “Panic Attack”, and the title track are all strong, and every track has at least some strong parts to it. Then we have this Motörhead album, which is surprisingly fun and solid, but obviously never reaches the same technical or songwriting heights that a strong Dream Theater track can. In the end I think Lemmy just found himself musically outclassed in this match. Sorry, @Magnus, but I have to go with @Black Wizard ’s choice here. Winner: Dream Theater

Alestorm is another band I don’t get. They’re supposed to be funny, but I find their shtick to be mostly dumb rather than amusing. The singer is bad by melodic vocal standards, and the R-rolling thing is already annoying by the third time he does it, but he just keeps on doing it. They’re also not original, because Running Wild obviously plundered this thematic booty long before Alestorm ever got their start. So they’re a comedic band that isn’t funny, with an original angle that isn’t original, and aside from some good guitar work the music itself doesn’t even hold up. The synth horns are a cheesefest, and most of the songwriting is unimpressive. The title track is the closest thing to a good song on this album, but the singer’s bad performance still drags that one down to Davy Jones’ locker. No sir, don’t like it. Sorry, @Lampwick 43, but even @LooseCannon ’s mediocre Iced Earth album takes this one pretty easily. Winner: Iced Earth

The Queensrÿche EP is a bit of a mixed bag. “Queen Of The Reich” and “The Lady Wore Black” are fantastic, as is the bonus track “Prophecy”; but the other tracks “Nightrider” and “Blinded” don’t do much for me. While I’m not sure that anything on the Symphony X album reaches the same heights as the best tracks on Queensrÿche (1983!), I think the consistency of the returning champion has to win the day here. Sorry, @The Dissident, but I have to go with @Lampwick 43 ’s nominee. Winner: Symphony X


Ancient Mariner
While Apex features a hell of a lot of strong melodies and solos, I find that is sounds sterile and overproduced. I used to like this myself for a long time, but now I rather hear authentic music. Headless Cross may sound heavy on the drums, but the playing sure sounded (and was) real.
The drum breaks (toms and snare drum) on Apex do not sound that real. And if it is real, then he constantly uses the same break. As if copy pasted.

Interesting band, but just because it is new (or a discovery) I'm not going to find it better than its opponent. That's an unfair argument.
I am also not using their novity against them. These are two albums, and I prefer one of them.


clap hands
Unleash the Archers
Dream Theater
Iced Earth
Symphony X

This may have been the easiest round yet, even if the DT and IE albums are lower tier for their respective bands.