The Mini-Reviews Thread
#51
I thought the album was OK, but nothing too special. I know that they'd been going towards a more traditional metal direction since 2015 or so, although I never really thought of Ranger as bordering on neoclassical/shred metal. If they take on power metal of any sort, chances are that it's more on the USPM side of things, as the case on Where Evil Dwells. I miss the thrashier sound of the demos and the 2013 EP. Hand
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#52
(03-27-2017, 05:48 PM)Painkiller Wrote: I thought the album was OK, but nothing too special. I know that they'd been going towards a more traditional metal direction since 2015 or so, although I never really thought of Ranger as bordering on neoclassical/shred metal. If they take on power metal of any sort, chances are that it's more on the USPM side of things, as the case on Where Evil Dwells. I miss the thrashier sound of the demos and the 2013 EP. Hand

Compared to most of the new wave bands that keep trying to do the same thing over and over, without any substance I thought it was quite original, them and Vulture are the most promising for me out of these bands lately. And I never did either until I heard what they incorporated here. In that song "Demon Wind" there is a good example of it and scattered a bit throughout. Wondering if they will keep this sound, go back to their thrashier roots, or total different path for next release, will be interesting
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#53
Fantastic album and I am seeing Ranger again in 2wks!!!!!
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#54
I reviewed this album last year. i thought the album was just ok, it's good, but to me, not as amazing as the album before or even the EP's. still, i'll grab it, cause i want to support the band. still, good band.
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#55
I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this so feel free to move it Painkiller if it needs to be.

I've written a ton of technical thrash mini-reviews if anyone here is interested in reading them: https://rateyourmusic.com/list/GeneralZo...rm-of-art/

Feel free to let me know what you think.
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#56
I plan on doing full reviews of the following, but for now, I'll pen down a few thoughts. Still trying to get used to the band's subsequent releases, but so far, not too bad.

Concerto Moon (JP) - (2001) Gate of Triumph - 8/10

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A largely instrumental album, although a few songs still feature vocals. Out with Takao Ozaki, and in with Takashi Inoue. Not too shabby. Norifumi Shima is doing lots of shredding on this one, as the album was intended to be a solo release. "To Die For" and "Over and Over" sound like they wouldn't be unfitting cuts on Rain Forest. Some other really good songs on here, but my personal favorite is "To Always Be Myself", one of the vocal songs. I like the sound of the keyboards, suspenseful as they sound. This is what I'd call dark romantic music. You got to love that illustration, as well.

Oh, and the re-recordings of "Alone in Paradise" and "Take You to the Moon" are cool, but it would've been cool to keep that short keyboard passage that served as the intro to the former and the outro to the latter. That's what I liked so much about Fragments of the Moon for continuity's sake.

Concerto Moon (JP) - (2002) Destruction and Creation - 8/10

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This album features just re-recordings of songs that were previously used or otherwise stashed during the first mark of the band's history, so given a modernized feel with their then-new vocalist to get acquainted. Nothing really blew my mind, as I like the originals way more, but it's good to hear a studio recording of "Second War in Heaven" that isn't taken from the Crystal Clear demo, which honestly featured a rather underwhelming vocalist.

"Holy Child" doesn't grab me all that much this time. The Engrish is just too painfully clear on this one, whereas the original version at least could disguise its pronunciation mistakes. Likewise, you can tell that the vocalist is struggling to pull off the sentimental parts of "Lonely Last Journey" and "From Father to Son", but he does a great job leading the attack on "Unstill Night", "Fight to the Death", and the aforementioned, undeniably majestic "Second War in Heaven". Overall, a good album for convincing fans of Concerto Moon's early days that they still got their chops, as they are a very consistent band.

Concerto Moon (JP) - (2003) Life on the Wire - 8.5/10

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As of this writing, perhaps my favorite Concerto Moon that doesn't feature Ozaki on vocals. You could say that it's also a little bit melodramatic, much like the tragic-sounding From Father to Son, as songs such as "It's Not Over" are just too mesmerizing to pass up. "We Get Together" is another great mid-paced tune that retains the melodic touches of classic Concerto Moon. The rest of the album tends to have very equally good songs, so I can't really think of any standouts there. "Strangers" and "Climb Up" would probably get the vote from me to go along with the aforementioned cuts.

Melody-driven stuff on this gem, and the vocals are so much better this time around.

Castle in the Air (JP) - (1999) Castle in the Air - 8.5/10

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A very impressive album by a rather unknown power/progressive metal band that had no other release. Galneryus and Alhambra keyboardist Yuhki's earliest band to knowledge, and he was already delivering the goods by then. A lot of the music reminds me of a mixture of Novela, Vienna, Hellen, and Starless. Mind you, the album isn't as heavy as the band's two songs that appeared a year later on Mandrake Root Records' Make It Shine Vol. 3, but where they lack in metallic aggression is quite reinforced by its progressive, melodic tendencies. I really like the vocals and the arrangement of the songs that are the right balance between too much and too little in technicality.

Favorite songs? All of them are pretty good, but the title track, "The Fort of History", "Prowl for Memories", and "Flow" are the standouts. I'd highly recommend this album to all fans of melodic metal, as the keyboards really blend in with the guitars. For 1999, the production sounds deliciously old school, and in my humble opinion, isn't a dynamically compressed mess, unlike many other albums at the time that were being butchered beyond all hope. Check out their thread for some of the tunes I ripped from my CD. Enjoy!
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#57
Revenge (CA)-  (2004) Victory. Intolerance.Mastery  - 10/10

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Released in 2004, Revenge has its bloodthirsty, rampage moment in this whole album. When first listening to it, you get introduce to a roaring, chainsaw guitar with the thunderous, destruction of the bass and the rampage, chaotic, bestial drumming. Perfect raw sounding production that give you the views of a war torn aftermath of a post-apocalyptic while instruments give you the representation of how savage, hateful, barbarian there are when you come across a battlefield full of end of the world destruction. I like how it slow pace and sludgy on certain song to give it a fill on the song from its rampaging, raging pacing of the song structure. I defintiely recommend to give it a listen if you big into raw production or into War Metal like me.
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#58
Beer Blast (RU) - (2014) Drunk to the Bone

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(Felt this review was too short to warrant its own thread)

Beer and violence has always been synonymous with thrash metal. Following the foundations laid down by such bands as Tankard some thirty years ago, many retro-thrash bands write entire albums dedicated to booze and blood. One such band is Beer Blast, hailing from the icy, vodka-filled wastes of Russia. Judging by the cover art of their 2014 release Drunk to the Bone, one would think this seven track album would be filled with these awesome themes. Well, it sort of is...

The album starts with probably the most lackluster riffs in thrash I’ve ever heard. They’re not exactly bad, but considering the album is all about getting drunk and fucking shit up, they’re not exactly aggressive or driving to match this concept. In fact, this can be said about the majority of the album. After sitting through several minutes of gloomy, man vs. society lyrics that sound like they were inspired from the Postal series of video games, we come to probably the first song which I consider to be decent. “K.I.A.” (Killed in Action) is an aggressive yet melodic song that showcases the band’s rare ability to work together to write a solemn track about the lost lives in war. Even the vocalist’s delivery (which reminds me a lot of Sergey "Borov" Vysokosov’s (Korrozia Metalla) raspy, smoker’s vocals) work with this style of song. The track ends with a simple yet effective arpeggio-laden bluesy solo. The second 'decent' song off this album is “War”. This speedy, aggressive song about pacifism is really what I wanted/expected to hear from this album. It’s has some drive to it, and it has a pretty good lengthy solo. If only this band concentrated on writing songs in this style, I would’ve probably given this a higher review. Finally (or should I say thankfully) the album ends with the eponymous “Beer Blast”, a drinking anthem that again falls short to weak riffs and boring lyrics. Included as a bonus track is a cover of Violent Force’s “Sign of Evil” but needless to say it’s forgettable.

All in all, I feel like Beer Blast is the sort of band that should’ve kept playing for fun in their basement instead of venturing out to the recording studio. Although Drunk to the Bone has its rare moments, the majority of the album is just too dull of a boozer thrash album to warrant a space on my shelf. The riffs are simple and boring, the majority of the words shouted from the vocalist's nicotine-lined throat are unintelligible, and for me this album completely misses the 'booze thrash' mark. 
I suppose many people will continue moving towards careless computing, because there's a sucker born every minute. - RMS 

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