Author Archives: WarpRider

Reggie’s Top 15 Albums of 2014


Colourful 2014 in fiery sparklersThis year I had the pleasure of reviewing over 150 albums; some on my own, but most with my Metal State partners on our RoundTable review forum.  Despite being a great year in metal I only awarded five albums a best 5 out of 5 rating; four of them made my Top 15.  Those four bands are Revocation, Behemoth, Arch Enemy, Ghost Brigade, and Insomnium.  Arch Enemy did not make my list.  I guess you could say it’s one of those reviews I wish I could go back and change…same thing I said about Khaos Legions.  Arch Enemy has that kind of effect on me; come on strong and then fizzle a little bit.  I still like the album a lot and think it’s better than their last two albums.  All things considered in metal they didn’t make my Top 15 this year.

My average score for 2014 was a 3.7; perhaps a little on the high side on a 5-point scale, but it is worth mentioning that I gave up reviewing albums I seriously do not like.  For me it became a waste of time and energy talking about something I truly found dissatisfying.  My lowest rating, a 1.5, went to four bands; Ceremonial, Dodsferd, Heresiarch, and Shroud of the Heretic.  Sorry guys, your music is probably appreciated in some metal circles just not mine.

Over the last two years, a progressive metal/rock band topped my end-of-year list.  Sleepers Awake last year and Rush the year before that.  Machine Head made my #1 back in 2011 and are on my list this year, but not at #1.  Another thing worth noting is that seven bands on my list this year I heard for the first time ever.   They will have a * symbol next to their band name and album.  Another band that made my list this year was part of an article I wrote some years back called “Bands I Should Like, But Do Not.”  Click here to see the article and the band I have since grown a fondness for.  Lastly, four bands on my list this year are repeat offenders since I started doing lists in 2011.  You already know about Machine Head.  Who are the other three?  One of them is my #1 album.

2014 was a great year in metal in my humble opinion.  There seemed to be way too many releases to keep up with even for the four of us.  Based on what we experienced this year I think you will see a lesser amount of reviews on Metal State in 2015 (at least from me) and hopefully more original content and discussion pieces.  Enough chatter; here is my best in metal for 2015. Enjoy!

15.  Scar Symmetry – The Singularity (Phase I – Neohumanity)* (favorite song; Neohuman)

Scar-Symmetry-The-Singularity-Phase-I-–-Neohumanity

 Reading up on the history of the band a little, I can see why long-time fans are at odds with the latest release from Scar Symmetry.  I, however, am a first time listener and coming in from the outside, I find this odd mix of extreme styles interesting.  I mean, it’s like Def Leppard meets death metal.  It’s quirky and melodic and at other times so damn heavy. Other times it’s a little of both.  I am cool with concept ideas for an album or a plan that is going to span multiple albums, but that has nothing to do with why the album is on my list.  It’s different, than most things you hear out there.  And, for that fresh appeal to my senses it makes my list.  Read the rest of this entry

Album Review: Revocation – Deathless


Revocation-Deathless-300x300Album:  Deathless

Label:  Metal Blade

Release Date:  10 Oct 2014 (US)

Songs:  11

Length:  53 Minutes

Previous Albums:  Empire of the Obscene (2008); Existence is Futile (2009); Chaos of Forms (2011); Revocation (2013); Deathless (2014).

Location:  Boston, MA USA  Read the rest of this entry

Album Review: Bloodbath – Grand Morbid Funeral


640x360-1Album:  Grand Morbid Funeral

Label:  Peaceville

Release Date:  18 Nov 2014 (US)

Songs:  11

Length:  47 Minutes

Previous Albums:  Resurrection Through Carnage (2002); Nightmares Made Flesh (2004); The Fathomless Mastery (2008)

From:  Sweden / England

FFO:  Quality death metal  Read the rest of this entry

Album Review: Ghost Brigade – IV – One With The Storm


ghost_brigade_one_with_the_storm_54b7ab2377Label:  Music Kickup

Album:  IV – One With The Storm

Release Date:  3 Nov 14

Songs:  12

Length:  79 Minutes (includes two remixed tracks)

Style:  Hard to define

Previous Albums:  Guided By Fire (2007); Isolation Songs (2009); Until Fear No Longer Defines Us (2011)

Location:  Finland

FFO:  Paradise Lost, Katatonia. Opeth  Read the rest of this entry

Album Review: Black Map – …And We Explode


Black_Map_Explode_Cover_1500x1500_rgbLabel:  Minus Head Records

Album:  …And We Explode

Songs:  12

Length:  45 Minutes

Style:  Progressive / Alt / Grunge / Hard Rock

Previous Albums:  This is their debut

Location:  San Francisco, CA, USA

FFO:  Deftones, Foo Fighters, Weezer, Soundgarden, Nirvana, U2 Read the rest of this entry

Album Review: Cavalera Conspiracy – Pandemonium


CC_Cover_Symbol_v7_#10E0D85Album:  Pandemonium

Label:  Napalm

Songs:  12

Length:  52 Minutes

Previous Albums:  Inflikted (2008); Blunt Force Trauma (2011).

Location:  United States / Brazil

FFO:  Anything that involves Max Cavalera and/or classic Sepultura. Read the rest of this entry

Album Review: Obituary – Inked in Blood


PromoImageLabel:  Relapse

Release Date:  28 Oct 2014

Genre:  Death Metal

Songs:  12

Length:  50 Minutes

Albums:  Slowly We Rot (1989); Cause of Death (1990); The End Complete (1992); World Demise (1994); Back From The Dead (1997); Frozen In Time (2005); Xecutioner’s Return (2007); Darkest Day (2009).

Location:  United States

FFO:  Groove-Oriented Death Metal  Read the rest of this entry

Reggie’s Essential 25 Favorite Instrumentals #2 & #1


bc_rich_widow_wmd_bass_top_imageI love the power of a good instrumental song.  Sometimes they can be energizing or even relaxing depending on the band’s intent with the song.  Some bands use an instrumental song to display a different, sometimes softer side.  And, sometimes an instrumental is a collection of left over riffs and drum parts that didn’t make the final cut.  Or, perhaps they just couldn’t find the words to go with the music.  However they are composed, the instrumental song is a track I look for and hope to find on any album; though there are some bands where it’s almost an expectation.  This list is 25 word-less songs that I find essential to my music library.  I wouldn’t sweat over the exact order, but yeah the ones at or near the top of this list are definitely my favorites.  I know there are many more instrumental songs out there, but these are mine…so to speak.  This list is also limited to only three per band and only one band made this list three times.  Enjoy my top 2!

2.  Hell’s Kitchen – Dream Theater

As you can probably tell, I have fondness for Dream Theater’s instrumental songs.  This one is the third and final song of my list and if I didn’t make a 3-song rule I might have a few more Dream Theater songs to talk about…obviously my favorite from them.  I like the diversity in this song; I can listen to it to relax and I have used it as my opening song and/or closing song on a run.  It helps keep my mind at ease when I begin a run and wonder to myself why am I running.  By the time the song is over, my heart rate is regulated and I can begin a long run with mostly thrash and death metal to keep me motivated.   The attraction here is the lengthy guitar solos and of course combined with the progressive elements makes the song pretty damn perfect.

1.  The Ultra-Violence – Death Angel

The main attraction to this song for me is it’s just so raw and full of aggression.  These guys were just teenagers when they recorded it back in 1987 for their first album, The Ultra-Violence.  This song was also featured in a burger commercial.  I have to believe that someone had to know about this band to select that song.  This song isn’t something one would just stumble upon while looking for background music to a guy eating a burger.  Metalheads are everywhere!  Anyway, I am going to let the music do the talking.  Thanks for reading my list of 25 favorite instrumental songs.  My next list will be 30 intros that instantly grabbed me.  Thanks to Mik for inspiring me to do a list of my own on that subject.

Reggie’s Essential 25 Favorite Instrumentals #4 & #3


bc_rich_widow_wmd_bass_top_imageI love the power of a good instrumental song.  Sometimes they can be energizing or even relaxing depending on the band’s intent with the song.  Some bands use an instrumental song to display a different, sometimes softer side.  And, sometimes an instrumental is a collection of left over riffs and drum parts that didn’t make the final cut.  Or, perhaps they just couldn’t find the words to go with the music.  However they are composed, the instrumental song is a track I look for and hope to find on any album; though there are some bands where it’s almost an expectation.  This list is 25 word-less songs that I find essential to my music library.  I wouldn’t sweat over the exact order, but yeah the ones at or near the top of this list are definitely my favorites.  I know there are many more instrumental songs out there, but these are mine…so to speak.  This list is also limited to only three per band and only one band made this list three times.  Enjoy!

4.  Circles Without Division – Sleepers Awake

First off, this is an amazing album; forever cemented as my #1 album of 2013. Circles Without Division is an excellent song that is among of the shorter songs on Transcension.  It’s a bit spacey at times and encompasses varying tempos like any good progressive metal band should.  Below is a clip of the full album.  The song of focus here is track #7 though I highly recommend listening to the whole experience if you haven’t had a chance to check out Sleepers Awake.

3.  Decoherence – Insomnium

This is a really dark somber kind of a song; I think it’s beautiful especially from a melodic death metal band like Insomnium.  Decoherence always calms me no matter what kind of mood I am in and I also use this for my morning alarm clock.  The image selected for this video clip suits the song perfectly.  The song appears on the album One For Sorrow released in 2011.

Album Review: Maskin – Storm


Maskin_Storm_digicover-300x300Label: Mosquito Recordings

Album:  Storm.  This is their debut

Release Date:  3 Sep 14

Genre:  Stoner / Hard Rock

Songs:  8

Length:  44 Minutes

Location:  Sweden

FFO:  Kyuss, Bong Cauldron, Gringo, Vista Chino  Read the rest of this entry