Random album reviews

The_7th_one

Ancient Mariner
Marillion – Fugazi
EMI (1984) // total playing time = 45:58

View attachment 12456

The second Marillion album and the first with drummer Ian Mosley begins with the highlight haunting Assassing.
Punch & Judy is the shortest song of Fugazi, not one of my favorites but not a bad song at all.
Now Jigsaw is from a different level! The keyboard melody sounds almost like a lullaby and the lyrics are among Fish best.
The high quality continues in Emerald Lies. I especially like the faster middle section.
She Chameleon begins with an organ sound, this is definitely one of my least favorite songs of the album.
Incubus features a juicy keyboard solo and some of my favorite Rothery solo's as well.
The closing Fugazi has dominant keyboard lines creating a doomy atmosphere in the middle of the song.
Fugazi isn't as strong as the debut and definitely my least favorite of the Fish era Marillion albums. Still a great album though.

Assassing - 10/10
Punch & Judy - 7,5/10
Jigsaw - 9/10
Emerald Lies - 8,5/10
She Chameleon - 7/10
Incubus - 8/10
Fugazi - 7,5/10

Total = 82%
Fugazi song is the best one for me. Masterpiece
 

MindRuler

Ancient Mariner
Marillion – Misplaced Childhood
EMI (1985) // total playing time = 41:19

misplaced.jpg

The third Marillion album is a concept album based on the childhood of Fish who was inspired by a brief incident that occurred while he was under the influence of acid. (source: Wikipedia) The short but nevertheless beautiful Pseudo Silk Kimono flows gently into the bands best known song Kayleigh. I hate the single edit version though because it lacks the great Floydish solo! The piano at the end introduces next song Lavender, a fragile tune with really heartbroken vocals from Fish. Pure greatness! At the end of Bitter Suite we find a part reffering musically to Lavender.
Next comes Heart Of Lothian followed by the 2 short songs Waterhole and Lords Of The Backstage. With Blind Curve follows the climax of the album. Pink Floydish in the intro and it also features parts of Heart Of Lothian. Childhoods End? flows in closing song White Feather. Misplaced Childhood is my 2d favorite album of Marillion.

Pseudo Silk Kimono - 10/10
Kayleigh - 10/10
Lavender - 10/10
Bitter Suite - 8,5/10
Heart Of Lothian - 9/10
Waterhole (Expresso Bongo) - 8/10
Lords Of The Backstage - 8/10
Blind Curve - 10/10
Childhoods End? - 8,5/10
White Feather - 8/10

Total = 90%
 

The_7th_one

Ancient Mariner
Marillion – Misplaced Childhood
EMI (1985) // total playing time = 41:19

View attachment 12457

The third Marillion album is a concept album based on the childhood of Fish who was inspired by a brief incident that occurred while he was under the influence of acid. (source: Wikipedia) The short but nevertheless beautiful Pseudo Silk Kimono flows gently into the bands best known song Kayleigh. I hate the single edit version though because it lacks the great Floydish solo! The piano at the end introduces next song Lavender, a fragile tune with really heartbroken vocals from Fish. Pure greatness! At the end of Bitter Suite we find a part reffering musically to Lavender.
Next comes Heart Of Lothian followed by the 2 short songs Waterhole and Lords Of The Backstage. With Blind Curve follows the climax of the album. Pink Floydish in the intro and it also features parts of Heart Of Lothian. Childhoods End? flows in closing song White Feather. Misplaced Childhood is my 2d favorite album of Marillion.

Pseudo Silk Kimono - 10/10
Kayleigh - 10/10
Lavender - 10/10
Bitter Suite - 8,5/10
Heart Of Lothian - 9/10
Waterhole (Expresso Bongo) - 8/10
Lords Of The Backstage - 8/10
Blind Curve - 10/10
Childhoods End? - 8,5/10
White Feather - 8/10

Total = 90%
It's a Masterpiece and it's my 2nd favorite album with Fish. The first one is Clutching at Straws.
 

KidInTheDark666

What's yours is mine and what's mine is mine too
Helloween (EP) (1985)

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Lineup:

Vocals: Kai Hansen
Guitars: Hansen, Michael Weikath
Bass: Markus Grosskopf
Drums: Ingo Schwichtenberg


Length: 26:22

1. Starlight (Weikath, Hansen) 5:17

This EP starts with a true blaster of a track. Starlight starts with a 1-minute long somewhat confusing intro, something that this band is more or less known for. After that, the main riff kicks in frantically alongside Hansen's high scream. The riff is very reminiscent of something from Slayer's debut album Show No Mercy and it kicks ass. This track sets the tone for this EP perfectly, and you know that you’re in for a wild ride. This is a really fast-paced song that lets every band member shine. The verses of this song are extremely aggressive. Kai sounds like he's struggling a tiny bit with his delivery. The chorus is also fast, but not as aggressive while not being really catchy either, and thus it feels a little bit disappointing. On this track (and this whole EP) Hansen and Weikath's guitar work is fantastic as you may expect. Cool harmonies and awesome shreddy back to back solos can both be found here. Bass guitar is very audible as this 80’s production style lets Grosskopf’s basslines cut through nicely. Ingo showcases a textbook example of what would eventually become the very definition of power metal drumming. Kai Hansen shows some impressive vocal range here, but it’s worth noting that his tone is definitely an acquired taste. I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of his tone, but his screams are awesome, and there’s no denying that his vocals fit this thrashy speed metal perfectly. Lyrically this song is about drug addiction. 8/10

2. Murderer (Hansen) 4:26

Murderer is an extremely catchy straight to the point-track about a murderer running from the law. Compared to Starlight, this track is more balanced and all around-polished. Hansen's vocal performance is way more enjoyable here, mostly because he uses a cleaner voice. Murderer utilizes gang vocals in its chorus, and I have to say that they are extremely effective. The highlight of this track is without a doubt its final chorus, where Hansen raises the key and lets out some amazing high belting. 8/10

3. Warrior (Hansen) 4:00

Warrior starts with the sound of gunfire and bombs. Honestly, this might be the least remarkable song out of this bunch. Style-wise it's very similar to Murderer, but it fails to pack the same punch, mostly due to its weak chorus and less original melodies. Fortunately, this song is saved by its guitarwork. Once again Hansen managed to come up with a great main riff for the song. The second guitar solo of this song might be the best on the album, so Warrior is still definitely a worthy inclusion. 7/10

4. Victim of Fate (Hansen) 6:37

And here we have one of the best early Helloween songs. It's a real shame that it didn't become a classic and a live staple, but at least it now has the status of a hidden gem. Victim of Fate tells a story of a man who lived a violent life on the shady streets of his hometown. In my opinion, this is the strongest point of the album both musically and lyrically. Vocal lines during the verses are more melodic and less thrashy than in the previous tracks, which makes this song feel more uplifting and power metal-like despite its dark lyrics. The chorus is very, very catchy and it's cheery vibe makes for a perfect live sing-along. After two verses and choruses, Victim of Fate enters into a long middle section. The song quiets down for a calm and soothing melody. Soon another change of mood happens as Hansen whispers some really creepy lyrics. This spoken section ends with Hansen screaming You will burn in hell. This scream flows into a beautiful blues-influenced solo by Jansen. After that, we get to hear a twin lead harmony followed by the chorus for one last time. Immediately we move into the instrumental outro as another, this time more neoclassical harmony starts playing. This section includes some very good basslines by Markus. The song comes to a close after a shreddy solo by Weikath and one last high scream by Hansen. 9/10

5. Cry for Freedom (Weikath, Hansen) 6:02

Cry for Freedom is the one song on the EP that is noticeably different to the others with its experimentation. It starts with an acoustic intro as Hansen is singing about slaves rebelling against tyrants. This song then slowly builds up into another speed metal tune. This build-up section gives a majestic vibe to the song. The verses feel a little weak, but they feature a couple of woah-oh's to create a more fulfilling sound. Perhaps it's for the best that this is the last song on this EP, as Hansen mid-range vocals and constant breakneck speed start to feel a tad tiring. Cry for Freedom fortunately doesn't fall victim to repetition, and it actually feels a lot shorter than 6 minutes. 7/10

Helloween's self-titled debut is an extremely satisfying and promising piece of music. Youthful energy shines through this release. I absolutely adore the production and I feel like the track order is very fitting as well. I'll also give a bonus point for guitarwork. Coming up next is Walls of Jericho, their first full-length studio album.

81%
 

Night Prowler

Customer Deathcycle Manager
Staff member
Starlight, Murderer and Victim Of Fate are all easily 10's, if I was to rate songs, which I won't do.
 

Jer

My sins are many


Luca Turilli - Prophet Of The Last Eclipse (2002)

As mentioned in my review of Luca’s first solo album, this second solo album turns its attention from a silly fantasy vision of the past to a silly sci-fi vision of the future, and adjusts its sound to match. The neoclassical influence is still strong here, but there’s a much greater emphasis on bouncy and atmospheric synth sounds to set the overall tone of the music.
  • Aenigma - Spacey synths build into a joint male/female choir with synth orchestra accompaniment, setting the stage for the story to come. A great intro that rolls right into the next track. 8/10.
  • War Of The Universe - The crescendo from the intro gives way to a descending flurry of strings and choral accents leading into a strong verse. Nice pre-chorus and a giant chorus with spacey synths throughout. Great extended guitar solo and an awesome crescendoing outro. This may be cheesy, but if so, it’s the parmigiano-reggiano of power metal. 9/10.
  • Rider Of The Astral Fire - A spacey string and choral intro explodes into a ridiculously fast groove with occasional respites. The verse is a bit rote but still good, and the pre-chorus is great. The chorus is pretty strong and has a great finish. Cool spacey multi-part interlude with a hilarious child choir break in the middle. Nice outro. Great stuff, 8/10.
  • Zaephyr Skies’ Theme - An atmospheric instrumental with harp, female vocals, and more spacey synths. Guitar and synth horns join in over the course of a couple of major swells in the music. Great mood-setting track. 8/10.
  • The Age Of Mystic Ice - A great syncopated guitar and synth intro leads into a pompous march, then a moody verse builds into a gloriously catchy chorus. A great multi-part guitar and synth interlude leads into a sweet harmonized guitar section and a brief solo before closing out with the chorus and a somewhat over the top outro. Other than some really nitpicky quirks, this is top shelf, nearly flawless power metal. 10/10.
  • Prince Of The Starlight - A horn and vocal fanfare leads into a complex guitar lead. A guitar and piano duet breaks into a verse that starts off rote but improves quickly. The pre-chorus is strong and the spacey chorus is excellent. Great multi-part interlude with guitar, choirs, and even a little harpsichord. Fantastic music with some minor weaknesses on the verse. 9/10.
  • Timeless Oceans - A calm, spacey verse with a great vocal by Olaf Hayer breaks into a soaring chorus with a nice denouement that builds through subsequent rounds. A great power ballad. 8/10.
  • Demonheart - Another spacey intro breaks into choirs and a rote but catchy chorus. Nice driving verse and pre-chorus, though the vocal phrasing isn’t very good. A nice choral interlude breaks into a great multi-part guitar solo and choral march before wrapping up on the chorus. This song was the album’s single, but I think it’s one of the weaker tracks on offer here. Still, I think the music is strong enough to merit rounding this up to an 8/10.
  • New Century’s Tarantella - An acoustic guitar and flute intro gains electric guitar accompaniment before breaking into a full-blown tarantella with accordion and flute under the verse. The pre-chorus has a more driving power metal feel, and the chorus is big and memorable. The accordion even sticks around during the guitar solo! What a gloriously absurd song, and I mean that in a good way. 8/10.
  • Prophet Of The Last Eclipse - The album’s nearly 12-minute long epic. Coed choirs trade off with piercing spacey synths and a driving beat, eventually working their way through a melodic fanfare before kicking it up to ludicrous speed for the partially rote verse and great pre-chorus before breaking into a giant choral chorus. Great multi-part interlude with synth, guitar, piano, female vocals, and a crying baby?! A reprise of the earlier sections of the song ends on a sudden piano note and a cacophony of voices and instruments before a final choral vocal. A bit overblown, and the coed choir sections early and late in the song run on a bit long, but there is a lot of wonderful and bizarre musical meat here. Have to round it up to a 9/10.
Average: 8.5/10
Weighted: 8.6/10

I have never heard an album quite like this before or since — the fusion of bouncy, spacey, in-your-face synths with neoclassical and folk sounds and refined songwriting, wrapped up in a shiny power metal package. The result is never less than great, and it’s often excellent.

There is certainly a heaping helping of cheese here, but it’s not a block of Velveeta, it’s a fine highbrow fondue. Let it coat your palette and then you can settle in and enjoy all its wonderful little nuances.

This album is so strong and unique for what it is that I nominated it for the Greatest Metal Album Cup game on the forum, where it’s finally going to make its appearance later on in the current round of play. If you’re participating in that thread I hope you’ll give the album a fair airing before making a decision.

Next up, Luca closes out his solo trilogy with a return to the present and a focus on...nature?
 

Kalata

Out of the Silent Planet
Helloween (EP) (1985)

View attachment 12472

Lineup:

Vocals: Kai Hansen
Guitars: Hansen, Michael Weikath
Bass: Markus Grosskopf
Drums: Ingo Schwichtenberg


Length: 26:22

1. Starlight (Weikath, Hansen) 5:17

This EP starts with a true blaster of a track. Starlight starts with a 1-minute long somewhat confusing intro, something that this band is more or less known for. After that, the main riff kicks in frantically alongside Hansen's high scream. The riff is very reminiscent of something from Slayer's debut album Show No Mercy and it kicks ass. This track sets the tone for this EP perfectly, and you know that you’re in for a wild ride. This is a really fast-paced song that lets every band member shine. The verses of this song are extremely aggressive. Kai sounds like he's struggling a tiny bit with his delivery. The chorus is also fast, but not as aggressive while not being really catchy either, and thus it feels a little bit disappointing. On this track (and this whole EP) Hansen and Weikath's guitar work is fantastic as you may expect. Cool harmonies and awesome shreddy back to back solos can both be found here. Bass guitar is very audible as this 80’s production style lets Grosskopf’s basslines cut through nicely. Ingo showcases a textbook example of what would eventually become the very definition of power metal drumming. Kai Hansen shows some impressive vocal range here, but it’s worth noting that his tone is definitely an acquired taste. I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of his tone, but his screams are awesome, and there’s no denying that his vocals fit this thrashy speed metal perfectly. Lyrically this song is about drug addiction. 8/10

2. Murderer (Hansen) 4:26

Murderer is an extremely catchy straight to the point-track about a murderer running from the law. Compared to Starlight, this track is more balanced and all around-polished. Hansen's vocal performance is way more enjoyable here, mostly because he uses a cleaner voice. Murderer utilizes gang vocals in its chorus, and I have to say that they are extremely effective. The highlight of this track is without a doubt its final chorus, where Hansen raises the key and lets out some amazing high belting. 8/10

3. Warrior (Hansen) 4:00

Warrior starts with the sound of gunfire and bombs. Honestly, this might be the least remarkable song out of this bunch. Style-wise it's very similar to Murderer, but it fails to pack the same punch, mostly due to its weak chorus and less original melodies. Fortunately, this song is saved by its guitarwork. Once again Hansen managed to come up with a great main riff for the song. The second guitar solo of this song might be the best on the album, so Warrior is still definitely a worthy inclusion. 7/10

4. Victim of Fate (Hansen) 6:37

And here we have one of the best early Helloween songs. It's a real shame that it didn't become a classic and a live staple, but at least it now has the status of a hidden gem. Victim of Fate tells a story of a man who lived a violent life on the shady streets of his hometown. In my opinion, this is the strongest point of the album both musically and lyrically. Vocal lines during the verses are more melodic and less thrashy than in the previous tracks, which makes this song feel more uplifting and power metal-like despite its dark lyrics. The chorus is very, very catchy and it's cheery vibe makes for a perfect live sing-along. After two verses and choruses, Victim of Fate enters into a long middle section. The song quiets down for a calm and soothing melody. Soon another change of mood happens as Hansen whispers some really creepy lyrics. This spoken section ends with Hansen screaming You will burn in hell. This scream flows into a beautiful blues-influenced solo by Jansen. After that, we get to hear a twin lead harmony followed by the chorus for one last time. Immediately we move into the instrumental outro as another, this time more neoclassical harmony starts playing. This section includes some very good basslines by Markus. The song comes to a close after a shreddy solo by Weikath and one last high scream by Hansen. 9/10

5. Cry for Freedom (Weikath, Hansen) 6:02

Cry for Freedom is the one song on the EP that is noticeably different to the others with its experimentation. It starts with an acoustic intro as Hansen is singing about slaves rebelling against tyrants. This song then slowly builds up into another speed metal tune. This build-up section gives a majestic vibe to the song. The verses feel a little weak, but they feature a couple of woah-oh's to create a more fulfilling sound. Perhaps it's for the best that this is the last song on this EP, as Hansen mid-range vocals and constant breakneck speed start to feel a tad tiring. Cry for Freedom fortunately doesn't fall victim to repetition, and it actually feels a lot shorter than 6 minutes. 7/10

Helloween's self-titled debut is an extremely satisfying and promising piece of music. Youthful energy shines through this release. I absolutely adore the production and I feel like the track order is very fitting as well. I'll also give a bonus point for guitarwork. Coming up next is Walls of Jericho, their first full-length studio album.

81%

''Starlight'', ''Murderer'' and ''Victim Of Fate'' are all 10/10 IMO - all three songs should have been in the debut album.

''Cry For Freedom'' is a great song too. ''Warrior'' not so much. / The song ''Judas'' (from the Judas EP 1986) is also good.
 

MindRuler

Ancient Mariner
This album is so strong and unique for what it is that I nominated it for the Greatest Metal Album Cup game on the forum, where it’s finally going to make its appearance later on in the current round of play. If you’re participating in that thread I hope you’ll give the album a fair airing before making a decision.
We'll see which album is battling against it.
 
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