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Other Recent Reviews
Allegaeon – Elements of the Infinite
Author: adg211288
Rating: 94

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Arch Enemy - Black Earth
Author: UMUR
Rating: 60

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Arcane - Ashes
Author: UMUR
Rating: 70

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Iron Maiden - A Matter of Life and Death
Author: 666Sharon666
Rating: 85

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Apocalypse Warhead - Opening the Silos
Author: UMUR
Rating: 70

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Anthrax - Worship Music
Author: UMUR
Rating: 75

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Dead Earth Politics - The Queen of Steel
Author: adg211288
Rating: 80

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Iron Maiden - Dance of Death
Author: 666Sharon666
Rating: 95

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Deus Otiosus - Rise
Author: adg211288
Rating: 89

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Anvil - Forged in Fire
Author: UMUR
Rating: 70

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Anthrax - Armed and Dangerous
Author: UMUR
Rating: 70

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Iron Maiden - Brave New World
Author: 666Sharon666
Rating: 100

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Wolves in the Throne Room - Celestite
Author: ColdReverie
Rating: 90

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Antediluvian - Through the Cervix of Hawaah
Author: UMUR
Rating: 70

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Terratomorf - Я - легенда
Author: adg211288
Rating: 42

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Iron Maiden - Virtual XI
Author: 666Sharon666
Rating: 45

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Anthrax – Fistful of Metal
Author: UMUR
Rating: 60

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Johansson & Speckmann – Sulphur Skies
Author: UMUR
Rating: 60

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Annihilator - Feast
Author: UMUR
Rating: 65

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Iron Maiden - The X Factor
Author: 666Sharon666
Rating: 65

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See Older Reviews

Welcome
Welcome to Heavy Metal Haven, the open-minded heavy metal forums!

Recent Reviews
Arch EnemyBurning Bridges
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Release Date: May 21st 1999
Label: Century Media Records
Author: UMUR

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"Burning Bridges" is the 3rd full-length studio album by Swedish melodic death metal act Arch Enemy. The album was released through Century Media Records in May 1999. This is the last album by Arch Enemy to feature lead vocalist Johan Liiva, before he would leave to form Hearse.

The music on "Burning Bridges" is exceptionally melodic death metal taking equal amounts of inspiration from acts such as In Flames and "Heartwork (1993)"-era Carcass as it does to 70s hard rock acts like Thin Lizzy and Wishbone Ash. Add to that inspiration from acts such as Judas Priest and especially Iron Maiden and you´re just about there. The raw vocals (I struggle to call them growls) by Johan Liiva and some of the most raw riffing on the album lead my thoughts towards death metal, but most parts of the music would probably be better described as melodic heavy metal. This is THE album to take a listen to if you´re a heavy metal fan who would like to take a listen to an easily accessible death metal album. "Burning Bridges" would make for a smooth transition if you´re not used to extreme metal.

The band are very well playing and especially the melodic guitar work by Michael- and Christopher Amott stand out as quite exceptional. There are both soaring melodic, fast shredding, hard rock/bluesy and neo-classical influenced solos/harmony work on the album. The neo-classical theme at the end of "Demonic Science" which in the last few seconds of the song suddenly serves as backing to a guitar line from "Still Got the Blues" by Gary Moore (I´m almost 100% sure that´s what it is), is a great example of the richness in detail when it comes to the guitar work on the album. One fantastic melodic theme or solo after another follows the next all the way through the album.

The sound production is excellent. Powerful and metallic but with an organic touch that again leads my thought towards 70s hard rock. All in all "Burning Bridges" is an incredibly strong album by Arch Enemy and to my ears it´s their greatest artistic achievement and the masterpiece of their discography. a 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved. 90/100

:star: :star: :star: :star: :halfstar:


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ArcturusMy Angel
Genre: Death Metal
Release Date: July 8th 1991
Label: Putrefaction Records
Author: UMUR

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"My Angel" is the first official release by Norwegian black metal act Arcturus after they changed their name from Mortem. "My Angel" is a two-song, 12:22 minute long vinyl EP. It was released through Putrefaction Records in 1991. The EP was re-released in 2000 by Spikefarm Records as part of a compilation called "True Kings of Norway" along with early EPs by four other Norwegian black metal bands (Emperor, Immortal, Dimmu Borgir and Ancient). The EP is also included on the Arcturus compilation album "Aspera Hiems Symfonia/Constellation/My Angel (2002)" which was released by Candlelight Records. The lineup for this EP consisted of Marius Vold (vocals, Bass), Steiner Sverd Johnsen (Keyboards, Guitars) and Hellhammer (Drums).

The music on "My Angel" is not yet in the symphonic/avant garde keyboard driven black metal style that Arcturus are mostly known for on later releases. It´s more a slow and repetitive type of death metal. The keyboards provide the music with an almost horror movie like quality at times. The title track features some goth elements too. The vocals on the EP are growls.

The musicianship on the EP are decent. Nothing special or too creative are going on but it´s not bad either. The sound production is a bit murky but again it´s not bad. Upon conclusion "My Angel" is probably mostly of interest to the hardcore fans of the band but it is also an interesting insight into what happened on the early Norwegian black metal scene of the nineties (where most of the bands had strong death metal leanings). I find it more of a curiosity than anything though and a 2.5 star (50%) rating is warranted. 50/100

:star: :star: :halfstar:


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Iron MaidenThe Final Frontier
Genre: Progressive Heavy Metal
Release Date: August 16th 2010
Label: EMI
Author: 666Sharon666

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The Final Frontier is the album that brings Iron Maiden into their fourth decade of releasing albums. The time between releases is getting longer and longer but much like Brave New World before it The Final Frontier is a very impressive start for the new decade.

While I still enjoyed the prior album A Matter of Life and Death I did think it was the weakest of the previous three albums. The Final Frontier marks a step back up for me. While not as good as Brave New World I find more individual songs memorable on this one and it still has the progressive influences and longer songs that has become an Iron Maiden trademark by this point. The second half of the album is dominated by such songs. I think I would prefer the shorter and longer ones mixed up a bit more for balance though. But this is exactly the sort of album that I expect and want to hear from Iron Maiden at this point. The best songs for me are El Dorado, Mother of Mercy and Where the Wild Wind Blows. 90/100

:star: :star: :star: :star: :halfstar:


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Arch / MatheosSympathetic Resonance
Genre: Progressive Metal
Release Date: September 9th 2011
Label: Metal Blade Records
Author: UMUR

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"Sympathetic Resonance" is the debut full-length studio album by US progressive metal act Arch / Matheos. The album was released through Metal Blade Records in September 2011. Arch / Matheos is a project formed by former Fates Warning frontman John Arch and Fates Warning guitarist and main composer Jim Matheos. Since John Arch left Fates Warning in 1987, little has been heard from the singer. The 2003 "A Twist of Fate" EP, which was released under his own name, and which was also created in collaboration with Jim Matheos, didn´t result in a comeback to the scene. It did however signal that John Arch wasn´t completely through with music and when he was approached by Jim Matheos, who had written material for a new project, his interest was aroused and the two of them started sending music files to each other. Matheos would send his compositions to Arch, and Arch would write melody lines and lyrics to go along with the compositions. When it came to recording the album they enlisted a couple of prolific and greatly skilled musicians to record the bass, drum and lead guitar parts in bassist Joey Vera (Fates Warning, Engine, Armored Saint), drummer Bobby Jarzombek (Fates Warning, Halford, Iced Earth) and lead guitarist Frank Aresti (Fates Warning).

The music on the album is guitar driven progressive metal rooted in the eighties progressive metal movement (before keyboards became an integrated part of most progressive metal music). With all musicians involved being related to Fates Warning, it´s impossible not to think of this album in relation to that band and especially the early John Arch-led Fates Warning releases, but ultimately "Sympathetic Resonance" doesn´t sound like neither that era nor later Fates Warning eras. Arch / Matheos have succeeded in striking a good balance between recognisable elements from their Fates Warning past (and for some present) and an original progressive metal sound.

The riffs are dark and heavy, the rhythm section provide complex and powerful playing and John Arch signature high pitched and nasal vocal delivery is the icing on the cake. The latter´s vocal melody lines are amazing to say the least. Not only is he one of the most powerful and distinct sounding vocalist in metal, his way of writing melody lines is brilliant too. Lots of twists and turns delivered with great passion and conviction.

The 6 tracks on the album are for the most part structurally complex. Especially the three longest tracks on the album, "Neurotically Wired", "Stained Glass Sky" and "Any Given Day (Strangers Like Me)", are really complex, going through multiple sections and atmospheres. That´s why it´s also great for the dynamics of the album that the band include more direct and relatively more "simple" tracks like "Midnight Serenade" and "Incense and Myrrh". While the former is a powerful progressive metal track the latter is a beautiful ballad, that closes the album in great style. The dark and heavy "On the Fence" is probably the least remarkable track on the album, but it says a lot about the quality of the rest of the material, when a fantastic track like "On the Fence" is pulled out as an example of a slight decline in quality. And mind you I say a SLIGHT decline in quality.

"Sympathetic Resonance" is simply through and through a fantastic progressive metal release to fans of guitar and vocal driven progressive metal. We´re talking top notch musicianship, a warm and powerful sound production and outstanding songwriting. To my ears progressive metal doesn´t come better than this. "Sympathetic Resonance" is a born classic in the genre and fully deserves a 5 star (100%) rating. 100/100

:star: :star: :star: :star: :star:


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Album of the Month
Arch EnemyWar Eternal
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Release Date: June 8th 2014
Label: Century Media

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War Eternal (2014) is the tenth full-length studio album Swedish melodic death metal act Arch Enemy. It is their first album in three years, following on from Khaos Legions (2011) and it brings with it a couple of significant line-up changes to the group. The one everyone is talking about is of course that Angela Gossow, the band's vocalist since fourth album Wages of Sin (2001), has stepped down from the band and been replaced by Alissa White-Gluz, formerly of The Agonist, apparently on Gossow's recommendation. But in my mind the more major change is that War Eternal is the first Arch Enemy album to not feature both of the Amott brothers, Michael and Christopher due to the latter's departure in 2012. Christopher Amott actually left the band once before but returned before the band recorded new material. He is replaced here by Nick Cordle, who was previously with Arsis.

Even with the line-up changes and both new members sharing song-writing duties with Michael Amott the music on War Eternal is by and large what you should expect from an Arch Enemy release if you've heard even one of them before. The new line-up has certainly seemed to revitalise the band though; except for the addition of some symphonic elements on the songs You Will Know My Name, Time is Black, and Avalanche (an element they used in a much smaller amount on Cruelty Without Beauty from Khaos Legions) the music is Arch Enemy by numbers but done with a much higher level of consistency than I've ever heard from them. This is some really furious and epic sounding melodic death metal here, a real step up from Khaos Legions which I found disappointing. That album just sounds positively tame by comparison. Aside from the typical Arch Enemy intro/interlude/outro type tracks the band just deliver melodic death anthem after melodic death anthem. Tracks like On and One and Down to Nothing took a little longer to click than the well chosen promo tracks of War Eternal, No More Regrets and You Will Know My Name but the album has reached a point for me that it's just kept on giving in such a way that I can't honestly say any song here is particularly lesser or better than another. The symphonic elements are definitely a nice touch too, adding another dimension to the Arch Enemy sound. They're definitely seasoning rather than the flavour of the dish here so those who haven't been overly enthralled by the current wave of symphonic death metal acts don't need worry too much, though I personally would like to hear Arch Enemy explore this territory even further.

Alissa White-Gluz proves a more than worthy replacement for Angela Gossow, though there is an undeniable interchangeability factor between vocalists when the music is entirely growled (although that's not quite fully the case here as there is a tiny use of Alissa's clean singing during Avalanche). It's quite hard to say which vocalist I prefer (original vocalist Johan Liiva doesn't really get a look in for me) but with Alissa the band do have the option to further expand their sound with more clean vocals should they ever wish to, as she's also a really good clean singer, as is made evident with her work with The Agonist. I'm not necessarily saying that adding clean singing would be the right thing for Arch Enemy to do to follow War Eternal up, but I've always found the band's discography to be quite patchy, so it's actually comforting to know that they have options to follow-up what has to be the first Arch Enemy album that's shown true growth as a band.

War Eternal is a rare thing for me; a melodic death metal record hasn't hooked me in this much in seven years, the last time was in fact Arch Enemy's own Rise of the Tyrant (2007), which was the Arch Enemy album I would have dubbed their best (while admitting to having not heard either Black Earth (1996) or Burning Bridges (1999)) up until this point. The band's albums in my experience tend to have a lot of initial wow factor, only to find that my opinion of them declines as I become more familiar with them. That was certainly the case with the albums I actually discovered the group through, Anthems of Rebellion (2003) and Doomsday Machine (2005). It hasn't been the same story with War Eternal at all, quite the opposite in fact. What first appeared to be one of the more solid Arch Enemy releases worked its way up to second favourite regard, and then proceeded to even surpass Rise of the Tyrant due to it's frankly addictive qualities. It's only been out a couple of weeks at the time of writing, and I think I already must have spun this one more in that time than I have any of their other albums. For the time since I started listening to them I feel inclined to hand out a 5 star rating. A very unexpected 5 Star rating at that. 98/100

:star: :star: :star: :star: :star:




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