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MindRuler

Found in a lost world
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The Ultimate Sin - Ozzy Osbourne
Format: CD/Digital

Ozzy unleashed his fourth solo album in the winter of 1986, this was his first album without Bob Daisley and it would be the last with Jake E. Lee the album has good ideas on it but it was a time of turmoil for the band during this time. The album's two singles open and close the album, the closer Shot In The Dark was an excellent choice of single and quite a good song overall whereas opener and title track The Ultimate Sin feels rather uninspired. Actually most of the album feels like Ozzy is releasing music for the sake of releasing music. Secret Loser has potential and should have been a single, Never Know Why is decent but the chorus needs plenty of work. Frankly the original title track Killer Of Giants would have been a better title track and to me it is the best song on the album, an anti-war track with Ozzy sounding like he actually cares about the song and what is being sung. The album has probably 4 tracks in the realm of good, with Shot In The Dark and Killer Of Giants being on the quite good end of said spectrum with the other two in the lower end and the remaining 5 tracks feeling forced.

2 Stars
My favourite Ozzy album.
Killer Of Giants alone is worth to get the album.
I´d give it 4 stars though.
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
My favourite Ozzy album.
Killer Of Giants alone is worth to get the album.
I´d give it 4 stars though.
Killer Of Giants is a great track! I personally didn't click with it, but then again Ozzy isn't someone I consider a great vocalist but I cannot deny his influence or the massive discography he has produced over his lifetime.
 

Kalata

Out of the Silent Planet
Phenomenal album indeed.
Bruce also thinks that Halford's album Resurrection is superb (*check the spoiler below).

I remember an interview with Bruce (probably around the early 2000's) in which he said that in this album Rob sings great (as great as his singing in Screaming For Vengeance).

- 8:30 minutes on.

 

Jer

Abysmal display of mental decay
a1362245126_10.jpg


Crescent Lament - 噤夢 Land Of Lost Voices (2020)

Released in the final weeks of 2020, the third full length album from Taiwanese gothic folk metal band Crescent Lament combines a lush array of Asian folk instruments (erhu, suona, xiao) and melodic structures with western symphonic metal stylings, female lead vocals, and great songwriting.

All of the lyrics are in Taiwanese, and there are some limited extreme vocals, but neither of these elements prevented me from enjoying the album.
  • 魘臨 Gnawing Nightmare - The ticking of a clock is joined by hurried footsteps and haunting synths, leading into a gorgeous flute lead with erhu accompaniment. A short but great introduction, 8/10.
  • 念伊人 Another Night Of Solitude - Plucked strings and urgent guitars lead into vocals that weave in and out of the other instrumentation. A strong vocal melody carries the verse, leading into a solid call and response chorus between growls and singing. An extended interlude cycling through various vocals and instruments returns to the verse, then a peppier guitar interlude, before finishing off with the chorus. A mostly strong start, but the growling is a bit much and the chorus could be better. I think this does enough to hold onto a 7/10.
  • 暮山船影 Ominous Shadows - Plucked strings and flute give way to a more driving guitar and synth groove, which is soon joined by the erhu. A memorable vocal melody propels the verse, developing into a pre-chorus that crescendos into an instrumental break, then again into an erhu solo before leading into a strong chorus. A brief guitar solo leads into a call and response bridge with clean vocals and growls. Another extended interlude builds back into the chorus, which is richer and more developed this time, before ending with a quick outro. Great stuff, 8/10.
  • 夢空 Empty Dream - A soaring guitar and flute duet gives way to a bouncy erhu-driven verse that intensifies with guitars as it progresses. This leads into a sweet erhu interlude that cuts into a catchy, emotive chorus 1 that builds over time. A guitar and synth interlude leads into a growled chorus 2 with nice guitar and erhu accents, then another interlude that culminates in a pretty sick erhu solo. Another round of chorus 1 and 2 closes out the song. Great track despite the growling, 8/10.
  • 初霜花 Frosty Flower At Dawn - Plucked strings and flute paint an exotic sonic landscape, eventually giving way to a soft and emotive verse and rising pre-chorus. This breaks into a lovely harmonized guitar and ehru interlude. A less mournful verse leads into an erhu instrumental and a great pensive chorus with beautiful harmony. A reprise of the verse slows to a subdued ending. Excellent, and sometimes stunning. 9/10.
  • 雁紛飛 Vortex Of Collapse - A heavy guitar groove with pinch harmonics cuts into a melancholy but driving verse. This leads into an erhu interlude, then a gentle chorus that becomes more lush and exotic as it repeats. A guitar and erhu duet falls back into the opening groove, then returns to the chorus, which again bursts into an even more lush version the second time around. A frenetic erhu solo on top of the heavy groove serves as an outro. Another great song with some stunning parts, probably merits rounding up to a 9/10 overall.
  • 灰月漸明 Where Ashen Moonlight Shines - Electric piano buffets a smooth distorted guitar lead, which eventually gives way to a gorgeous flute melody that builds into an epic theme with backing vocals for texture. This slowly winds its way down into a beautiful flute duet that ends this lovely instrumental. Haunting and just about perfectly executed. 10/10.
  • 破鏡緣 Once Shattered Mirror - This track bursts out of the gate with biting riffage and a strong verse. An erhu interlude leads to another verse, then a growled chorus 1 with erhu and synth accents. This breaks into an extended erhu solo, then an urgent melodic chorus 2 that eventually takes flight. A reprise of chorus 1 leads into a calmer vocal bridge with guitar and erhu accompaniment. This flows back into the verse and directly into chorus 2 before closing out with chorus 1. Great song even with the growls, 8/10.
  • 北城風雨 Northern Storm - A soaring flute and guitar intro is joined by backing vocals, then a nice erhu lead. A plucked Asian melody on top of crunchy guitar leads into a swaying verse divided by erhu over harmonized guitars. This flows naturally into a melodic chorus 1, then a growled chorus 2 with flute and melodic backing vocals. An erhu interlude loops back to chorus 1, then the plucked Asian melody returns as an outro. Another great song that succeeds despite the growls. 8/10.
  • 孤燈微微 By The Lone Light - A suona fanfare is joined by driving guitars before falling into a gentler verse with exotic accents that flows into a rising pre-chorus. A few rounds of this leads into an erhu interlude atop a bed of crunchy guitars, segueing into a memorable chorus. The suona returns, then more erhu, then a modulated variant chorus. Another erhu interlude, then a brief revisit of the variant chorus leads into a brief guitar instrumental. A nice vocal bridge leads into yet another variant of the chorus, and then a crescendoing vocal and suona finish. While the high-level structure of the song feels a little repetitive, the lower-level elements actually keep mixing things up, and the end result is still great. 8/10.
  • 汐別 Tides Of Time - Calming waves lead to a distant, dreamy vocal melody delivered on top of gentle guitar. Bird calls herald the end of the album as the waves fade away. A brief but great outro, 8/10.
Average: 8.3/10
Weighted: 8.3/10

Trolling for good folk metal is often a painful exercise because so many bands just play black or death metal with a little fiddle added in and claim to be part of the genre. That makes it all the more special when I manage to stumble upon something truly great, offering up equal parts folk and metal with a unique style.

The songwriting here is impeccable, and the erhu (a two-stringed Asian fiddle) is just as much a main instrument of the band as the guitars are. The xiao flute also plays a significant supporting role, and these sounds combined with overtly Asian melodies give an amazingly exotic feel to the music, while still being supported by more familiar western symphonic metal stylings. This creates lush, powerful soundscapes that are reminiscent of early Nightwish in places, but are entirely their own animal in others.

Mu-Tzu Chou’s melodic vocals can sound a bit amateurish at times, but for the most part she sounds great. The presence of extreme vocals in about half the tracks is unfortunate, but their role is limited; and the rest of the music is so bursting with melody that I didn’t have a problem accepting the growls as part of the whole. That said, the purely melodic tracks are still the high points of the album.

I don’t listen to a lot of music with non-English vocals, but the music on this album spoke to me in other, more important ways. This is a consistently great slab of folk metal with an exotic twist, and after adjusting to its unique qualities I quickly fell in love with it. If you’re looking for something a bit off the beaten path, give it a shot.

(Album page on Bandcamp)

Videos:



(Master review index >)
 
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The_7th_one

Ancient Mariner
灰月漸明 Where Ashen Moonlight Shines - Electric piano buffets a smooth distorted guitar lead, which eventually gives way to a gorgeous flute melody that builds into an epic theme with backing vocals for texture. This slowly winds its way down into a beautiful flute duet that ends this lovely instrumental. Haunting and just about perfectly executed. 10/10.
Agree. Beautiful instrumental song
EDIT: I listened the full album. It has many great parts. Very good album. I think they could play in Wacken, Donnington or some European festivals because their skills are at the same levels of many bands in Europe or US. Great review btw.

I also miss @The Dissident reviews
 
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Night Prowler

Customer Deathcycle Manager
Staff member
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Crescent Lament - 噤夢 Land Of Lost Voices (2020)

Released in the final weeks of 2020, the third full length album from Taiwanese gothic folk metal band Crescent Lament combines a lush array of Asian folk instruments (erhu, suona, xiao) and melodic structures with western symphonic metal stylings, female lead vocals, and great songwriting.

All of the lyrics are in Taiwanese, and there are some limited extreme vocals, but neither of these elements prevented me from enjoying the album.
  • 魘臨 Gnawing Nightmare - The ticking of a clock is joined by hurried footsteps and haunting synths, leading into a gorgeous flute lead with ehru accompaniment. A short but great introduction, 8/10.
  • 念伊人 Another Night Of Solitude - Plucked strings and urgent guitars lead into vocals that weave in and out of the other instrumentation. A strong vocal melody carries the verse, leading into a solid call and response chorus between growls and singing. An extended interlude cycling through various vocals and instruments returns to the verse, then a peppier guitar interlude, before finishing off with the chorus. A mostly strong start, but the growling is a bit much and the chorus could be better. I think this does enough to hold onto a 7/10.
  • 暮山船影 Ominous Shadows - Plucked strings and flute give way to a more driving guitar and synth groove, which is soon joined by the ehru. A memorable vocal melody propels the verse, developing into a pre-chorus that crescendos into an instrumental break, then again into an ehru solo before leading into a strong chorus. A brief guitar solo leads into a call and response bridge with clean vocals and growls. Another extended interlude builds back into the chorus, which is richer and more developed this time, before ending with a quick outro. Great stuff, 8/10.
  • 夢空 Empty Dream - A soaring guitar and flute duet gives way to a bouncy ehru-driven verse that intensifies with guitars as it progresses. This leads into a sweet ehru interlude that cuts into a catchy, emotive chorus 1 that builds over time. A guitar and synth interlude leads into a growled chorus 2 with nice guitar and ehru accents, then another interlude that culminates in a pretty sick ehru solo. Another round of chorus 1 and 2 closes out the song. Great track despite the growling, 8/10.
  • 初霜花 Frosty Flower At Dawn - Plucked strings and flute paint an exotic sonic landscape, eventually giving way to a soft and emotive verse and rising pre-chorus. This breaks into a lovely harmonized guitar and ehru interlude. A less mournful verse leads into an ehru instrumental and a great pensive chorus with beautiful harmony. A reprise of the verse slows to a subdued ending. Excellent, and sometimes stunning. 9/10.
  • 雁紛飛 Vortex Of Collapse - A heavy guitar groove with pinch harmonics cuts into a melancholy but driving verse. This leads into an ehru interlude, then a gentle chorus that becomes more lush and exotic as it repeats. A guitar and ehru duet falls back into the opening groove, then returns to the chorus, which again bursts into an even more lush version the second time around. A frenetic ehru solo on top of the heavy groove serves as an outro. Another great song with some stunning parts, probably merits rounding up to a 9/10 overall.
  • 灰月漸明 Where Ashen Moonlight Shines - Electric piano buffets a smooth distorted guitar lead, which eventually gives way to a gorgeous flute melody that builds into an epic theme with backing vocals for texture. This slowly winds its way down into a beautiful flute duet that ends this lovely instrumental. Haunting and just about perfectly executed. 10/10.
  • 破鏡緣 Once Shattered Mirror - This track bursts out of the gate with biting riffage and a strong verse. An ehru interlude leads to another verse, then a growled chorus 1 with ehru and synth accents. This breaks into an extended ehru solo, then an urgent melodic chorus 2 that eventually takes flight. A reprise of chorus 1 leads into a calmer vocal bridge with guitar and ehru accompaniment. This flows back into the verse and directly into chorus 2 before closing out with chorus 1. Great song even with the growls, 8/10.
  • 北城風雨 Northern Storm - A soaring flute and guitar intro is joined by backing vocals, then a nice ehru lead. A plucked Asian melody on top of crunchy guitar leads into a swaying verse divided by ehru over harmonized guitars. This flows naturally into a melodic chorus 1, then a growled chorus 2 with flute and melodic backing vocals. An ehru interlude loops back to chorus 1, then the plucked Asian melody returns as an outro. Another great song that succeeds despite the growls. 8/10.
  • 孤燈微微 By The Lone Light - A suona fanfare is joined by driving guitars before falling into a gentler verse with exotic accents that flows into a rising pre-chorus. A few rounds of this leads into an erhu interlude atop a bed of crunchy guitars, segueing into a memorable chorus. The suona returns, then more erhu, then a modulated variant chorus. Another erhu interlude, then a brief revisit of the variant chorus leads into a brief guitar instrumental. A nice vocal bridge leads into yet another variant of the chorus, and then a crescendoing vocal and suona finish. While the high-level structure of the song feels a little repetitive, the lower-level elements actually keep mixing things up, and the end result is still great. 8/10.
  • 汐別 Tides Of Time - Calming waves lead to a distant, dreamy vocal melody delivered on top of gentle guitar. Bird calls herald the end of the album as the waves fade away. A brief but great outro, 8/10.
Average: 8.3/10
Weighted: 8.3/10

Trolling for good folk metal is often a painful exercise because so many bands just play black or death metal with a little fiddle added in and claim to be part of the genre. That makes it all the more special when I manage to stumble upon something truly great, offering up equal parts folk and metal with a unique style.

The songwriting here is impeccable, and the ehru (a two-stringed Asian fiddle) is just as much a main instrument of the band as the guitars are. The xiao flute also plays a significant supporting role, and these sounds combined with overtly Asian melodies give an amazingly exotic feel to the music, while still being supported by more familiar western symphonic metal stylings. This creates lush, powerful soundscapes that are reminiscent of early Nightwish in places, but are entirely their own animal in others.

Mu-Tzu Chou’s melodic vocals can sound a bit amateurish at times, but for the most part she sounds great. The presence of extreme vocals in about half the tracks is unfortunate, but their role is limited; and the rest of the music is so bursting with melody that I didn’t have a problem accepting the growls as part of the whole. That said, the purely melodic tracks are still the high points of the album.

I don’t listen to a lot of music with non-English vocals, but the music on this album spoke to me in other, more important ways. This is a consistently great slab of folk metal with an exotic twist, and after adjusting to its unique qualities I quickly fell in love with it. If you’re looking for something a bit off the beaten path, give it a shot.

(Album page on Bandcamp)

Videos:


This post had me on a rollercoaster. At first I was like, this looks cool af, but then I read "female lead vocals", and decided to pass because there's no growls, but then I ctrl-F'd your post and lo and behold... growls. Will check it out.
 
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Jer

Abysmal display of mental decay
@Diesel 11 , @Jer and @The Dissident
Any upcoming album reviews to bring this thread back to life?
I've been meaning to come back around to the 2021 releases and review them all in more detail with some additional distance, but it hasn't happened yet. There are some other albums I'd like to do too, like Fvneral Fvkk's Carnal Confessions. I'll get to it eventually.
 

MindRuler

Found in a lost world
550x550.jpg
Mindless Sinner - Poltergeist (2020)

After their previous album The New Messiah this Swedish cultband from the 80´s return with the powerfull Poltergeist. The title track opens with a creepy King Diamond intro before unleashing into a blistering heavy metal song. Heavy Metal Mayhem is a Maidenesque hymn with juicy guitarsolo. The midtempo Valkyrie needed time to grow on me, not a bad song overall though.
World Of Madness is a blend between Priest and Maiden but the chorus is abit weak. Acoustic guitars and doomy riffs open The Road To Nowhere which is also a slower song. With Rewind The Future it´s time for a fastpaced metal track very reminiscent to their countrymen of HammerFall. The Rise And The Fall is one of the weaker tracks on this disc, better skip to the pure metal song Hammer Of Thor with one of the greatest bridges you´ll find on this album. Sometimes the best is saved for last ´cos the 2 final songs on Poltergeist are among the strongest: Altar Of The King with very addictive riffs and back to back solo´s and Roll The Dice with a very NWOBHM feel to it.
Poltergeist isn't one of the best heavy metal albums ever. It´s not even one of the best albums of this decade but it´s certainly alot of fun to listen to! Recommended if you like your metal with lots of melody and strong 80´s vibes. Really nice artwork too!
 

Jer

Abysmal display of mental decay
a0969813134_10.jpg


Doctor Smoke - Dreamers And The Dead (2021)

For their sophomore album, Ohio-based Doctor Smoke moved on from their stoner/sludge metal roots and embraced a cleaner and more refined sound, heavily influenced by Megadeth’s first six albums.
  • Reborn Into Darkness - A complex and haunting riff with rock n’ roll swagger builds into a more complex Mustainesque main riff that underpins a compelling verse. The singer sounds like a smoother and more technically proficient Dave Mustaine. A great building pre-chorus rolls back into the verse and another pre-chorus before breaking into a soaring, swinging chorus with a slower feel. An aggressive extended solo follows, eventually returning to the intro, pre-chorus, and chorus, before cutting abruptly into the next track. Excellent from start to finish, 9/10.
  • These Horrid Things - A complex, odd-rhythm riff drives a strong verse, changing up the feel for a great chorus with some interesting vocal harmonies. Another round of verse and chorus leads into an aggressive, swinging instrumental that turns into a recurring verse 2. A very Mustainesque solo follows, then a great vocal bridge. Another solo rolls back into the chorus before wrapping up with a quick guitar crescendo. Another excellent track, 9/10.
  • Waking Dreams - Ringing guitar over a swinging rhythm rolls into a great verse before being joined by some gentle backing vocals and breaking into a great, catchy chorus. Another round of verse and chorus, then a bass-driven interlude cuts into a guitar-driven instrumental and a strong solo. An aggressive vocal bridge leads into another guitar instrumental before returning to the intro and chorus. The excellence continues, 9/10.
  • Out Of Time - An opening reminiscent of Megadeth’s “Tears In A Vial” drives a strong verse and pre-chorus before giving way to a warmer chorus. Another round of verse through chorus, then a great multi-part guitar instrumental builds into a sweet extended solo. This returns to the intro and another run from the verse through the chorus before an abrupt finish. Another great song, brought down a little by a slightly weaker chorus. 8/10.
  • Been Here Forever - A drum intro breaks into another swinging, swaggering riff before giving way to ascending synths and a great haunting verse followed by a stellar soaring chorus. Another run from the intro through the chorus leads into a nice extended instrumental and a cool vocal bridge before returning to the chorus and a brief outro. More excellent stuff, 9/10.
  • What Lies Beyond - A sparse opening reminiscent of Gamma Ray’s “Razorblade Sigh” rolls into a strong verse with great supporting guitar. A short and effective pre-chorus breaks into yet another catchy, soaring chorus. Another round of verse through chorus leads into an atmospheric multi-part instrumental and a sweet extended solo. This cuts into a great vocal bridge and drum breakdown that leads back to the chorus and a long decaying note to close things down. Another excellent track, 9/10.
  • Dreamers And The Dead - A pair of beefy riffs leads into a driving verse and a soaring pre-chorus. Another verse and pre-chorus flow into a strong chorus. An interlude reminiscent of Megadeth’s “Sweating Bullets” eventually develops into a great vocal bridge and a cool extended guitar solo. Another round of verse through chorus leads to a quick and unexpectedly soft denouement. Lots of great stuff here, but not quite on the level of most of the other songs. 8/10.
  • Vexed - Ringing chords break into a more Mustainesque main riff that supports a strong verse. A brief pre-chorus leads into a reasonably catchy but somewhat rote chorus. Another round of verse through chorus then breaks into an excellent extended guitar interlude with some neoclassical elements. A reprise of the intro leads back into the chorus and a quick finish. Another song with lots of great to excellent parts, but the weaker chorus pulls things down a bit. Let’s say 7/10.
  • The Rope - Another complex and agile riff leads into a great verse that adds some galloping before breaking into a cool harmonized chorus. Another round of intro through chorus breaks into a blistering extended solo before returning to the chorus and a sudden ending of the sound of a swinging corpse. Excellent, 9/10.
  • This Hallowed Ground - Another beefy, swinging riff develops into a catchy verse that leads into an even catchier chorus. A short interlude rolls back into the verse and chorus, then a more driving bridge and a soaring, epic guitar solo. This shifts a bit abruptly back to the verse and chorus before ending on a decaying note. A great song with an excellent solo, but probably an 8/10 overall.
Average: 8.5/10
Weighted: 8.5/10

Probably the best Megadeth album of the last 25 years, though it wasn’t recorded by Megadeth.

Complex, exotic riffage evoking Mustaine’s prime is apparent in almost every corner of this album, but there’s also a strong presence of the sort of swinging rock n’ roll feel that showed up on a number of early Megadeth tracks, too. The vocals are also significantly better than Mustaine’s, while still in the same general style most of the time.

That said, Doctor Smoke’s broader use of soaring vocal melodies and unique vocal harmonies, different types of song constructions, and occasional deviation from the Mustaine vocal sound give this record just enough original flavor to keep it from feeling like a clone.

One of the very best albums of 2021, and a mandatory listen for Megadeth fans.

(Master review index >)
 
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MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
a0969813134_10.jpg


Doctor Smoke - Dreamers And The Dead (2021)

For their sophomore album, Ohio-based Doctor Smoke moved on from their stoner/sludge metal roots and embraced a cleaner and more refined sound, heavily influenced by Megadeth’s first six albums.
  • Reborn Into Darkness - A complex and haunting riff with rock n’ roll swagger builds into a more complex Mustainesque main riff that underpins a compelling verse. The singer sounds like a smoother and more technically proficient Dave Mustaine. A great building pre-chorus rolls back into the verse and another pre-chorus before breaking into a soaring, swinging chorus with a slower feel. An aggressive extended solo follows, eventually returning to the intro, pre-chorus, and chorus, before cutting abruptly into the next track. Excellent from start to finish, 9/10.
  • These Horrid Things - A complex, odd-rhythm riff drives a strong verse, changing up the feel for a great chorus with some interesting vocal harmonies. Another round of verse and chorus leads into an aggressive, swinging instrumental that turns into a recurring verse 2. A very Mustainesque solo follows, then a great vocal bridge. Another solo rolls back into the chorus before wrapping up with a quick guitar crescendo. Another excellent track, 9/10.
  • Waking Dreams - Ringing guitar over a swinging rhythm rolls into a great verse before being joined by some gentle backing vocals and breaking into a great, catchy chorus. Another round of verse and chorus, then a bass-driven interlude cuts into a guitar-driven instrumental and a strong solo. An aggressive vocal bridge leads into another guitar instrumental before returning to the intro and chorus. The excellence continues, 9/10.
  • Out Of Time - An opening reminiscent of Megadeth’s “Tears In A Vial” drives a strong verse and pre-chorus before giving way to a warmer chorus. Another round of verse through chorus, then a great multi-part guitar instrumental builds into a sweet extended solo. This returns to the intro and another run from the verse through the chorus before an abrupt finish. Another great song, brought down a little by a slightly weaker chorus. 8/10.
  • Been Here Forever - A drum intro breaks into another swinging, swaggering riff before giving way to ascending synths and a great haunting verse followed by a stellar soaring chorus. Another run from the intro through the chorus leads into a nice extended instrumental and a cool vocal bridge before returning to the chorus and a brief outro. More excellent stuff, 9/10.
  • What Lies Beyond - A sparse opening reminiscent of Gamma Ray’s “Razorblade Sigh” rolls into a strong verse with great supporting guitar. A short and effective pre-chorus breaks into yet another catchy, soaring chorus. Another round of verse through chorus leads into an atmospheric multi-part instrumental and a sweet extended solo. This cuts into a great vocal bridge and drum breakdown that leads back to the chorus and a long decaying note to close things down. Another excellent track, 9/10.
  • Dreamers And The Dead - A pair of beefy riffs leads into a driving verse and a soaring pre-chorus. Another verse and pre-chorus flow into a strong chorus. An interlude reminiscent of Megadeth’s “Sweating Bullets” eventually develops into a great vocal bridge and a cool extended guitar solo. Another round of verse through chorus leads to a quick and unexpectedly soft denouement. Lots of great stuff here, but not quite on the level of most of the other songs. 8/10.
  • Vexed - Ringing chords break into a more Mustainesque main riff that supports a strong verse. A brief pre-chorus leads into a reasonably catchy but somewhat rote chorus. Another round of verse through chorus then breaks into an excellent extended guitar interlude with some neoclassical elements. A reprise of the intro leads back into the chorus and a quick finish. Another song with lots of great to excellent parts, but the weaker chorus pulls things down a bit. Let’s say 7/10.
  • The Rope - Another complex and agile riff leads into a great verse that adds some galloping before breaking into a cool harmonized chorus. Another round of intro through chorus breaks into a blistering extended solo before returning to the chorus and a sudden ending of the sound of a swinging corpse. Excellent, 9/10.
  • This Hallowed Ground - Another beefy, swinging riff develops into a catchy verse that leads into an even catchier chorus. A short interlude rolls back into the verse and chorus, then a more driving bridge and a soaring, epic guitar solo. This shifts a bit abruptly back to the verse and chorus before ending on a decaying note. A great song with an excellent solo, but probably an 8/10 overall.
Average: 8.5/10
Weighted: 8.5/10

Probably the best Megadeth album of the last 25 years, though it wasn’t recorded by Megadeth.

Complex, exotic riffage evoking Mustaine’s prime is apparent in almost every corner of this album, but there’s also a strong presence of the sort of swinging rock n’ roll feel that showed up on a number of early Megadeth tracks, too. The vocals are also significantly better than Mustaine’s, while still in the same general style most of the time.

That said, Doctor Smoke’s broader use of soaring vocal melodies and unique vocal harmonies, different types of song constructions, and occasional deviation from the Mustaine vocal sound give this record just enough original flavor to keep it from feeling like a clone.

One of the very best albums of 2021, and a mandatory listen for Megadeth fans.
Thank you for this random review: never heard of this band before and this record absolutely rules! I haven't been able to pick out all the differences in each song yet, but I truly enjoy the whole thing and some of the tunes are far catchier than they first appear.

As far as the Megadeth comparisons...I hear it, but it's not a dominating factor. If anything, this sounds like Ghost + Mastodon + Megadeth. It lies somewhere between classic metal, progressive stoner metal, and occult-driven hard rock. The vocals are pure Ghost, but with the sneer of Dave Mustaine. The music is far bluesier than Megadeth, but certainly breaks into those spider riffs and chromatics that Megadeth thrives on. I wouldn't compare anything here to early Megadeth, though. In fact, the song She Wolf sprang to my mind at least 4 times while listening to this record.
 
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