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Capsule Reviews – previously reviewed content gets a second look

Before you ask, this is not going to be a regular feature, although I’m not opposed to doing it more than once. Given that this blog is a few years old, my musical preferences have changed a bit, and you might be interested what I think of various things I’ve wrote about in this blog’s infancy nowadays.  With that in mind, here’s a few mini-reviews of albums I talked about in 2010, before I really got into the ‘talk about the music’ angle.

  • Monstrosity – Millennium (1996): I wrote somewhere else that this album uses musical techniques similar to those on Deicide’s 1992 album Legion. Millennium has variety in aesthetic and song structures, but it lacks the sheer visceral intensity of some of its forebearers. Still a reasonable listen.
  • Exodus – Bonded By Blood (1985): The riffs I described as “awesome” way back when benefit from their rhythmic power, but they’re not all that interesting from a tonal stance. I guess that makes it the opposite of Millennium. This is probably a better listen than Fabulous Disaster.
  • Ulver – Blood Inside (2005): It has pretty sounds, but pretty sounds can only take you so far. Perdition City was ultimately a better written album, with its evolving soundscapes. I haven’t listened to anything else from the Ulvertronica period, but I’m told they retreated far into their aesthetics, which were always top notch.
  • Judas Priest – Painkiller (1990): ’70s Priest was the best, even on Killing Machine, which popped up their sound. Painkiller is not a very intelligent album (which becomes painful on a few tracks), but it’s loud, fast, and entertaining for at least a short period. It’s also better than most of ’80s Priest.
  • Darkthrone’s “Peaceville” trilogy: Still holds up! I continue to personally enjoy Under A Funeral Moon for its intense dissonance, I now recognize how A Blaze In The Northern Sky keeps things interesting with prog-rock length songs  (although I didn’t talk about it at the time). Meanwhile, some people claim on the strength of Transylvanian Hunger that the band was intended as a joke; even if true, it would at least be a joke that makes you think.
  • Therion – Symphony Masses (1993): It doesn’t have the sheer strength of Beyond Sanctorum. However, this album has a lot to like in the form of its active bass, its occasional hard rock flourishes, and similarly extended writing to its predecessors. This mixture occasionally makes it disjointed and psychedelic, but that actually strengthens the sound, and it’s still better than most of Therion’s actual ‘symphonic’ era.
  • Queen – Queen (1973): As an album that has one foot in hard rock/heavy metal, another foot in prog, and its mysterious third foot (wait, what?) sinking into glam, it’s pretty fun. But Queen II is a better version of this, albeit one without “Liar”. Lots of experimentation with songwriting and studio wizardry here, although in an accessible form.
  • Limbonic Art – Moon in the Scorpio/In Abhorrence Dementia (1996/1997): I like pulling these albums out for comparison’s sake. The first is most interesting because it combines symphonic and ambient varieties of black metal; the second discards some of the latter. The first one is also stronger overall, although there are some peaks on the second that it can’t match. Those peaks often mean that In Abhorrence Dementia gets more plays from me.
  • Mekong Delta – Mekong Delta (1987): Honestly, Keil’s weaknesses as a vocalist and the poor production/mixing drag this one down for me a lot. The sequel fixes this partially (and powers through it otherwise with a better riffset), although these problems have dogged the band for some time. Peavy Wagner of Rage was briefly involved with this band; I wonder what magic he could’ve worked for them.
  • Exhorder – Slaughter in the Vatican (1990): Basically a better version of Bonded By Blood. More intense, more creative, although not quite perfect – there are a few fillerish sections in some of the longer songs. Kyle Thomas went on to perform on Alabama Thunderpussy’s final album (Open Fire), thus providing further evidence of his worth as a vocalist.
  • Overkill – Taking Over (1987): Overkill’s debut (Feel the Fire) had some strong cuts, but this one’s more consistent and a bit less generic. This band really benefits from a few shreds of melody, although their rhythmic power has strengthened substantially over time. Imagine an Overkill that evolved towards the US power metal scene – we might’ve gotten some good stuff out of it, but we would’ve lost The Years of Decay… and even The Killing Kind… and definitely Ironbound.

In some cases, my opinions haven’t changed much. Not everything here’s held up for me… and not all of it was very favorable to begin with. I’ve probably said this before, but the main advantage that the 2013 version of Invisible Blog has over its primordial predecessor is that I’m more willing to analyze content and write about it. I guess that’s what happens when you study history.


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