Crime Records

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Baby Metal - Baby Metal Review

Band: Baby Metal
Album: Baby Metal
Label: BMD Fox Records (sublabel of Toy's Factory)
Genre(s): J-pop
Bubblegum pop
Power pop
Power metal
Melodic death metal

(Yes you read that right it covers all those genres)

Country: Japan
Release Date: 2014

Approach this review with an open mind same with this band and their music.

To start out this review, my friend sent me some youtube videos of this band as we're both into Japanese culture, anime, and all that other interesting/off the wall stuff. So I figured what the heck, it's got some death metal to it and some power metal, so why not do a review on it. Give it a listen, you just may like it despite the novelty idea of it. Their music would fit perfectly with some animes that are out there.

Anyways, going by good ol, Wikipedia ( most of the tracks are from 2011 to 2013 along with some other B-sides that they released and some new tracks. There is a limited edition of this that comes with a dvd with their videos, and some live footage so I'd say go check it out.

The first track Babymetal Death hits the good ol death metal tones and heaviness, for the most part it's mostly an intrumental with a chorus. Then another catchy song of their "Gimme Choco!!" hits the death metal notes as well as the fancy guitar solos like Dragonforce. It has a catchy chorus too, and breaks in it, granted it may not be for everyone due to the vocals of the 3 young girls that do vocals Su-Metal, Yuimetal and Moametal. But I see nothing to complain about a metal band singing about chocolate.

The cd itself covers alot of ground on genres and falls in just 5 minutes shy of an hour. The track listing is as follows below copied from cdjapan - .




ギミチョコ!! / BABYMETAL


紅月-アカツキ- / BABYMETAL

ド・キ・ド・キ☆モーニング / BABYMETAL

おねだり大作戦 / BABYMETAL


ウ・キ・ウ・キ★ミッドナイト / BABYMETAL

Catch me if you can / BABYMETAL

悪夢の輪舞曲 / BABYMETAL

ヘドバンギャー!! / BABYMETAL

イジメ、ダメ、ゼッタイ / BABYMETAL

Total playing time - 55:33

Anyways, even as a diehard death metal/hard rock fan as myself I find I like this cd for it being different than most metal/rock albums that are out currently. Have more than a few favorite tracks on it. The music is crisp and clear, as well as the vocals.

Yes, I would recommend this disc to most metal fans, whether or not they have an open mind or not, I'm pretty sure they'll find something they like on this disc.

So go check them out I give them a 7 out of 10.

Youtube Video:

Band Contact:


Massacre Beyond The Within Review

Band: Massacre
Album: Back From Beyond
Label: Century Media
Genre: Death Metal
Country: Florida, USA
Release Date: 2014

Well Back From Beyond is Massascre's first full length since the mid 90's. Where they left off in 1996 with "Promise". To be honest, never really was a fan of Massacre even back in the early days. But this album I do find to be quite good and definitely kicks some ass in my opinion. So certainly happy to add this to my collection to keep me awake and to keep me going when needed.

Musically at times, it hints to the first Six Feet Under disc, maybe that's due to Terry Butler being part of it, and his influence. Also it tends to remind me of the early days of Malevolent Creation as well. But all in all it's quite a heavy disc, with some killer vocals, and riffs. The drumming is great too.


01. The Ancient Ones
02. As We Wait To Die
03. Ascension Of The Deceased
04. Hunter’s Blood
05. Darkness Fell
06. False Revelation
07. Succumb To Rapture
08. Remnants Of Hatred
09. Shield Of The Son
10. The Evil Within
11. Sands Of Time
12. Beast With Vengeance
13. Back From Beyond
14. Honor The Fallen

Time length - Roughly 45 minutes.

Overall, I'd certainly recommend it to new metal fans, especially as a starter in bands that solidified death metal in the early days, and then proceed to have them check out the band's past catalog, and all the other bands from that decade. Certainly give it a solid 8 for a rating.

YouTube Video:

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Black Label Society - Catacombs of the Black Vatican Review

"Fields of Unforgiveness"  
"Angel of Mercy"  
"Heart of Darkness"  
"Beyond the Down"  
"Damn the Flood"  
"I've Gone Away"  
"Empty Promises"  
"Shades of Gray"
Bonus tracks
12. Dark Side of the Sun
13. Nomad
I have to confess that I was eager for this album to come out. I saw Zakk Wylde on THAT METAL SHOW yakking it up, smugly telling jokes and reminiscing of unwashed post concert bar visits. I sat in front of my TV, scratching my head. I wondered how the man who perpetrated UNBLACKENED upon loyal fans could be so smarmy. So, when this album dropped, I wanted to hear it. I wanted the reason Zakk was so jovial to be that he had returned to his metal ways and had given us something to repay the debt created by UNBLACKENED’s sins.
As I downloaded the album, another thought crossed my mind:”What if that bastard was shmucking it up because he’s released another joke of an album?” Anxiety began to cause me to drum my fingers excessively on the table. The album finished downloading and I hit play…
“Fields of Unforgiveness” picks up where ORDER OF THE BLACK left off. Chrunching guitars, squealing [inch harmonics, fear inducing bass lines and wall shattering drums pushed aside my fears and rewarded me with what I had craved. Zakk’s whiskey drenched vocals were icing on the cake.
“My Time of Dying” continues the assault. It’s possibly the strongest track on the album. The bass line weaves it’s way through the song like a viper, preparing the victim the strike to the jugular.
“Believe” has dirty groove that reminds me of late 1980′s LA metal. It has me thinking Zakk was listening to some Izzy Stradlin. This is a good thing. I could see myself shooting pool in a sleazy dive, listening to this song.
The album presents three ballads (four, if you have the extended album with bonus tracks). They are all good songs, well written and strongly performed. They all are drenched with the fumes of classic Southern rock. Allman Brothers, Elvin Bishop, the soul grooves of the Muscle Shoals performers…all make their influence felt in these songs. These are the songs to make your girlfriend appreciate your taste in music and improve your chances of getting laid. They also create the musical nest for some of Zakk’s best solos in years. This makes for a nice combination: songsyou can air guitar to and bone your girlfriend to (yes, I know it’s a dangling participle).
The regular album has eleven tracks; the bonus edition offers two more tracks. Nine bone crushing tunes cushioned by four smooth gulps of fire water. I listened to the last notes of “Nomad” (the bonus album’s closer) fade and noticed my anxiety was gone. Then, I smiled. That stinky, smarmy bastard had pulled me back into the fold of the faithful and had repaid me for UNBLACKENED’s abominations

Friday, April 25, 2014


Band: Sonata Arctica
Album: Pariah's Child
Label: Nuclear Blast
Genre: Power Metal
Country: Finland
Release Date: March 28, 2014
Before I start the album review, I would like to give a brief album history of Sonata Arctica and my reaction to each release:
Ecliptica - Excellent
Silence - Mind blowing
Winterheart's Guild - They keep getting better
Reckoning Night - Instant classic
Unia - This is different, but still good
Days of Grays - What happened to Sonata Arctica?
Stones Grow Her Name - Better, but still not Sonata Arctica
I heard the singles "Wolves Die Young" and "Cloud Factory" and my hopes were up.  Could this be the Sonata Arctica of old coming back in full circle to what made them great?  I pressed play and listened.  I was not disappointed.  It's not a full circle return to those Epic Power Metal days but that's not a bad thing.
Let's face it, most bands change as the years go by and Sonata Arctica is no exception to that rule but change isn't always a bad thing.  In this case, it's a wonderful thing as they have created an incredibly catchy album.
The album starts off with a blast with "Wolves Die Young" which brought me back to the days of being blown away from this band.  Tony Kakko is in his prime and he proves it by belting out incredible vocal ranges thought the song.  That epic feel is back, as it should be.  That same vibe continues as the album goes right into "Running Lights", a song about a young man, his car and his love having the time of his life as they drive fast through the streets.  The song is incredibly catchy, right down to the chorus.
Sonata Arctica has always had a theme with wolves on their album covers and songs and they do it again with the song "Blood", which is a song comparing wolf and man and who's more of a beast.  The album goes on with the incredibly well written song "What Did You Do in the War Dad?" which is a song about a child asking his dad about the war and what war does to soldiers after the fighting is done.
The most unpredictable and high point of the album is the song "X Marks the Spot" where Tony Kakko takes on the personality of a Southern Baptist preacher, complete with a southern drawl, narration and a call and response moment that is normally done in Southern Baptist churches.  It's absolutely brilliant.  Then the album comes to my personal favorite song, "Love" because it reflects the way I feel about someone in my personal life.  The last song, "Larger Than Life" is a 9:57 song that brings back that epic feel as the album comes to its brilliant end.
What did I do after the album ended?  I did what I haven't done in a long time after listening to an album.  I listened to it again right away.  This album is that good.  Sonata Arctica are the masters when it comes to song writing and storytelling.
Die hard Sonata Arctica fans who are looking  for a full return to the days of "Ecliptica" and "Winterheart's Guild" will be disappointed.  Sonata Arctica has matured and moved on from those days but there is something here for everyone and this album is their most accessible to date.  It's a clash between the Epic Power Metal days and the current Power Metal style that is Sonata Arctica today.
In conclusion, this album is brilliant and is incredibly catchy, unpredictable and there's a song for everybody here.  Tony Kakko is at his best with his songwriting and his vocals shine throughout the entire album.  For those that didn't like "Days of Grays" or "Stones Grow Her Name" will be pleasantly surprised with this release.
Total Playing Time: 53:04
Overall: 9/10
1.  The Wolves Die Young
2.  Running Lights
3.  Take One Breath
4.  Cloud Factory
5.  Blood
6.  What Did You Do In The War, Dad?
7.  Half a Marathon Man
8.  X Marks the Spot
9.  Love
10.  Larger Than Life

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Delain - The Human Contradiction

Delain - The Human Contradiction

1. Here Come The Vultures
2. Your body Is A Battleground
3. Stardust
4. My Masquerade
5. Tell Me, Mechanist
6. Sing To Me
7. Army Of Dolls
8.  Lullaby
9. The Tragedy Of The Commons
10. Scarlett
11. Don’t Let Go

Delain is a symphonic metal band hailing from Holland.  It is the brainchild of former Within Temptation keyboardist Martijn Westerhold and Charlotte Wessels and has garnered quite the following since.  With three very good albums already under their belt they bring us “Human Contradiction” but how does it measure up? Will it titterlate the grey matter into transporting me to another realm, a fantasy world?  Or will it be like entering a kind of hell?  

The opening track, “Here Come The Vultures”, has Charlotte Wessels excellent classic sounding voice, singing a beautiful intro.  This is only to lull you into a sense of false security as at the 44 second mark we have riffage.  And it’s powerful.  I loved this song.  It’s catchy but in a very good way and opens the album with the promise of good things to come.

“Your Body Is A Battleground” opens with a quadraphonic electronic pulse which moves from one ear to the other before it opens with more powerful guitar work.  One Marco Hietala of Nightwish (Another symph-metal band I adore) also lends his trademark coarse vocals to this track.  The song is single short but excellent in its delivery of catchy riffs and a very catchy chorus with a great little soaring guitar solo.

“Stardust” is utterly catchy, almost anthemic and appears to be more in keeping with their usual formula.  This track, I would imagine, is going to be part of their next live set and for good reason.  It’s a song you can nod your head to.

“My Masquerade” starts with an ethereal sounding intro which is joined by much softer guitars than previous tracks, at least until the chorus.  The chorus has male backing vocals which are reminiscent of Paradise Lost.  The track as a whole seems more downbeat than the others but it’s still catchy and well executed.  It’s a good mix of soft guitars and hard guitars and is more diverse, rhythmically than previous tracks.  Yet another great track on this, so far, very good album.

“Tell me, mechanist” has the obligatory heavy riffs and wonderfully lush and, dare I say, luxuriant keyboarding. It also has the guest vocal growls of George Oosthoek.

Marco Hietala lends yet more wallpaper stripping vocals to “Sing To Me”, which is another dark track.  It’s powerful and well crafted just like all the other tracks.  This one also sound a little like it could have been written by Nightwish, which isn’t a bad thing at all.

An almost 80’s like electronic intro opens “Army Of Dolls” but stops short at 15 seconds to plunge into some more heavy guitar work. I love this song and not just because of the performance given by the band but because of the subject matter, which i construe to be a blast against the shallow world we live in where beauty and looking “perfect” are more valued than substance and happiness.

“Lullaby” is as beautiful as it’s heavy.  Again with excellent performances from all members, while Charlotte’s vocals particularly have the power to move you here.

“The Tragedy Of The Commons” sees former The Agonist and current Arch Enemy singer Alissa White-Gluz lending a hand.  Her vocals, as you can imagine, contrast with those of Wessler’s but work exceptionally well together and in the format of the track.  It’s yet another great track with very well done choral elements that lands to give the song a rich and emotional feel.

A wonderful piece of piano accompaniment joins Charlotte’s beautiful voice on “Scarlett”.  I think this track is very beautiful and shows that Delain are a serious band with very real musical and writing skills.  It certainly shows that the band are on top of their game and know what they are about and, indeed, doing.

Another bonus track “Don’t Let Go” appears to be a fusion of metal, symphonic and electronica.  Indeed, some points of the track sound as if they could be performed by Rammstein’s synth master, Flake, while others wouldn’t be seen as amiss in modern pop.  I don’t mean to detract from the track at all, I’m just pointing out that their ability to explore different styles is great and that they put the more poppier elements to good use.

So, in conclusion, the album is very well written and performed.  The band appear to be stepping away from the over zealous amounts of keyboard and have much better riffs than previous albums.  Many people say that Delain and similar bands are poppish and shouldn’t be classed as “true” metal.  I say to these “What is true metal?”.  I also put it to them that if music like this was in the charts (I speak as a UK resident) then I would have the radio on constantly.  Although I had listened to Delain previously I had never really been a fan.  But, after listening to this release I think it’s safe to say that I now am.

A very good 8 out of 10

Friday, April 18, 2014

Lacuna Coil Broken Crown Halo

So this is my first review writing for the amazing blog \m/etalbox. I would like to thank you guys for giving me the opportunity to write this review and to have it posted on your site. With that being said I have chosen my first review to be on Lacuna Coil-Broken Crown Halo. I have been a fan of this type of metal for quite some time now, anything from Tristania to Lacuna Coil. I figured this would be a good fit for me.

My first impressions of Broken Crown Halo is that it is not really what I was expecting, it does feature Cristina's amazing vocals (which is what drew me to Lacuna Coil in the first place), however, the symphonics and guitars are pretty weak, repetitive, and predictable, same goes with the male vocals. Even though Cristinas vocals are there, they are also weak compared to past albums, and the lyrics just are not there. Take the song dead and rise for example, its as if a good part of the song is the male and female vocals screaming dead and rise over and over to a small beat in the background with minimal keyboards and guitars.

Half way through the album I had not replayed one song, I sat scratching my head as songs come and go, wondering if there will be at least one song that will catch my ear, so I can really grasp what the album is all about. As what seems to be the same guitar, vocals, and symphonics play through my speakers at volume 60, I realize that it isn't going to happen. As disappointing as it was I decided to listen to the entire album.

Finally, when the album was finished ,I could not believe what I had just heard. Aside from “One cold day” (which really wasn't all that good) the rest of the album was like one big mush of a song. All of the songs had the same repetitive beat, with male, then female, then male, then female vocals with weak guitars that reminded me of Sevendust (not that that is a bad thing) but it just didn't work. I for one am very disappointed and sit here hoping that their next album is more creative. Before passing judgment on me, keep in mind I'm used to old Tristania and older lacuna coil sounds for this type of music, and I did give it a chance by listening to the entire album. I suppose this album could work for some people but not this writer. For fans wanting the older style of lacuna coil with Cristina's soaring vocals and bad ass guitar riffs....this album is not for you. However, if you prefer lacuna coil in their newer style then by all means buy this album, though its going to take some work from them in their next album for this writer to be won over like I was in the past.

Final Rating: 5 out of 10

Track List:

  1. Nothing Stands in Our Way
  2. Zombies
  3. Hostage to the Light
  4. Victims
  5. Die and Rise
  6. I Forgive(But I Wont Forget Your Name)
  7. Cybersleep
  8. Infection
  9. I Burn in You
  10. In the End I Feel Alive
  11. One Cold Day

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Dio.  This Is Your Life.  Various Artists.

1. Neon Knights. Anthrax
2. The Last In Line. Tenacious D
3. The Mob Rules. Adrenaline Mob
4. Rainbow In The Dark. Corey Taylor et al
5. Straight Through The Heart. Halestorm
6. Starstruck. Motorhead & Biff Byford
7. The Temple Of The King. Scorpions
8. Egypt (The Chains Are On). Doro
9. Holy Diver. Killswitch Engage
10. Catch The Rainbow. Glenn Hughes et al
11. I. Oni Logan et al
12. Man On The Silver Mountain. Rob Halford et al
13. Ronnie Rising Medley. Metallica* *This Is Your Life. Dio* *

Ronnie James Dio is a name we all know in the world of metal and rock.  A name associated with excellence and a man who has touched and influenced the lives of many.  A man who was and, indeed, is a legend.  He was one of the best singers ever, period!  So it is no surprise that a plethora of big names in metal and rock have stepped up to give tribute to the legend.

Anthrax are charged with the initial assault, giving a performance of “Neon Knights” that's so similar to the original that I had to check the performer name to make sure I hadn't missed something.  It's an absolutely amazing cover of the original and is a fitting way to start the proceedings.   
Next in line (excuse the pun) is “The Last In Line” performed by Tenacious D, complete with flute solo (I'm not kidding).  The track itself is well performed, if a little odd (we are dealing with the "D" here) but it may seem a little insincere to many.  More of a mockery than a tribute.  But, anybody that knows the “D”, I think, can safely assume that it is sincere.
It’s certainly a surprise to many upon hearing Corey Taylor sing.  Most people associate him with slipknot, so they’re not accustomed to his often beautiful voice.  And boy does he glisten here.  Taylor and elements of Stone Sour and Steel Panther give us a rendition of “Rainbow In The Dark” which I, for one, cannot stop listening to.  The guitar solo(s) provided by Steel Panther’s Satchel are electrifying and have given me a different perspective on the performer.  This is nothing to say of the other performers on the track who shine just as bright.

Halestorm’s Lizzy Hale could, in an alternate universe, be Ronnie’s alternate self.  Although I’m not the biggest fan of Halestorm (good band, just not to my taste) it’s always a joy to hear her sing.  Yet again, in their cover of “Straight Through The Heart” she’s strong, gutsy, sexy and excels at her craft.  The other members of the band certainly stepped up to the parapet for an all out assault to slay us with this gem.

Adrenaline Mob’s “Mob Rules” is one of my personal favourites from the album.  It’s extremely well executed, heavy and powerful.  Again another power attack to lay us all low.

    Into legendary territory here with a raw, energetic and visceral adaptation of “Starstruck”.  Who doesn’t like Motorhead or Saxon, right?  Motorhead are always raw and powerful and Saxon send shivers down the spine of any red blooded Englishman/woman (I’m not English and they still do).  All of the guys involved in performing this track are venerable and legendary and you’ll get the feeling that they came in, performed the song once and went for a pint like the seasoned, elite masters they are.

Yet more legends (we’re not worthy) The Scorpions discharge a volley of perfection with a version of “Temple Of The King” which is utterly beautiful and masterfully wrought.  In my opinion it’s one of the best covers on the list (and it’s in good company) and is an utter joy to listen to and the intro made my hairs stand on end.  A highlight of the song is definitely the guitar work which feels so emotional and engaged.  Schencker & Co. definitely felt this song.

God’s teeth but I love Doro!  Warlock’s former vocalist wants to melt my knees, I’m sure!  This is a very powerful hard, power rock version of “Egypt (The Chains Are On) “and is an excellent tribute to Dio and yet another emotional track.

The next track is one I’ve been listening to on my player for a few years now.  And I love it (the vid is funny)!  Those tricksters Killswitch Engage give a corking performance of “Holy Diver” giving it a slight twist with their take on the metal format.

Soaring guitars open Glenn Hughes heartfelt performance of “Catch The Rainbow”.  Hughes and Dio have fronting for Black Sabbath in common so it’s very fitting that Hughes has an entry here.  It’s a solid performance in true Hughes style and fits nicely.

“I” is one of my favourite songs that Dio sang.  Although reviews should really be objective and not subjective, it’s really hard with this album and in particular, this song.  You see, all of the performers on this track were either former bandmates or associates/friends of Ronnie but, even taking into account these factors, I can’t get this cover to grow on me.  It’s not the performance per se, I just think it’s a personal issue.  I’m sure there are those who are going to shoot me down for this but it’s my own opinion.  See what you think.

The first thing I’m gonna say about this track is it’s pant wettingly good.  Rob Halford, Vinnie Appice, Doug Aldridge et al perform “Man On The Silver Mountain”.  It’s a great homage and a grand performance to rock out to.  Rob Halford also, like Dio, sports a unique voice in metal and rock.

In recent years Metallica have been the target of much merriment and, dare I say, controversy.  These masters (some say, former) of thrash are known for many things such as crushing riffs, superb solos, a multitude of “yeah’s” and Lars Ulrich.  But one other thing they’re aficionados of are medleys and covers and they deliver a jaunty 9 minute example here.  The ‘tallica boys always sound as if they’re having heaps of fun (and who can blame them, being the worlds biggest metal act) and it certainly exudes this here.  This medley also deserves a few listens.

The last track on the album (unless you have the bonus material which I’m not going into here) isn’t a cover.  I don’t want to sound like a fawning idiot because I surely am, but the title track “This Is Your Life” is an onslaught of emotional beauty performed by Dio, himself.  I can’t say much else about this track except that you need to hear it to appreciate it.

So, after completion of listening to this tribute album for the final time before writing this, I am quite impressed by the material.  I can’t say that there’s a weak track except that, naturally, some shine just a little brighter than the others.  But it’s a tribute after all and giving a personal interpretation of a man that’s influenced you is a great thing.  After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. A very good 8.5/10  

“This is your life. This is your time. What if the flame won't last forever.
This is your here. This is your now. Let it be magical”


Please remember I’m no expert and this is entirely my opinion.  I’m just a guy who likes metal \m/

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Gamma Ray - Empire of the Undead Review

Band: Gamma Ray
Album: Empire of the Undead
Label:  earMusic
Genre: Power Metal
Country: Germany
Kai Hansen and company are back with “Empire of the Undead” and they are back with a vengeance.  After a rash of negative influences with longtime drummer Daniel Zimmerman who was replaced by Michael Ehre to their home studio and rehearsal room, Hammer Studios, being burned to the ground, something positive was going to come out of it all and it was this album, which is heavier than their last effort, “To the Metal.”
  The album starts off with Avalon, a 9:21 epic song that takes you for a majestic ancient Power Metal ride.  The song is very reminiscent to “Rebellion in Dreamland” off of the “Land of the Free” Album.  It has that same epic feel.  Hansen vocals sound clear and the guitars are heavy.  Then the album takes off from there and goes right into the pulse pounding “Hellbent” which is Power Metal to the core and packs a punch.  The entire album brings a smile to your face because Gamma Ray hasn’t sounded this good since “Land of the Free II”.  “Master of Confusion” seems like a simple song but it’s actually more complex than you think.  The song uses previously used riffs (“Send Me a Sign” off of the “Powerplant” album) as Hansen sings through what the band went through during the making of the album.
     Even though the album is excellent, there are a few down points.  Lyrically it falters on “Born to Fly” with the uninspiring chorus: “Flying high like an eagle/Touching rainbows in the sky/Flying high like an eagle in the sky/Born to fly!”  It doesn’t take away from the overall heaviness that Gamma Ray songs usually deliver.  Another weak point is “Time For Deliverance” which sounds very similar to “We are the Champions” by Queen, complete with the “Wah-ooo wah-ooo” backing vocals.  That’s all for the negative.  The rest is all positive.
     Overall, “Empire of the Undead” is a return to form for Gamma Ray.  Fans who have complained about their two previous efforts will be pleasantly surprised.  This is Power Metal at its best.
Total Overall Time: 56:46
Overall Rating: 7/10
1.  Avalon
2.  Hellbent
3.  Pale Rider
4.  Born to Fly
5.  Master of Confusion
6.  Empire of the Undead
7.  Time for Deliverance
8.  Demonseed
9.  Seven
10.  I Will Return