The life of the unpaid, overworked metal reviewer is not an easy one. Cascading promos, unreasonable deadlines, draconian editors and the unwashed metal mobs – it makes for a swirling maelstrom of music and madness. In all that tumult, errors are bound to happen and sometimes our initial impression of an album may not be completely accurate. With time and distance comes wisdom, and so we’ve decided to pull back the confessional curtain and reveal our biggest blunders, missteps, oversights and ratings face-plants. Consider this our sincere AMGea culpa. Redemption is retroactive, forgiveness is mandatory.
I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of the team here at Angry Metal Guy for over four years and have loved every minute of it. During my tenure I’ve written well over 100 reviews/various blog posts and hope to continue increasing my tally for many years to come. Inevitably, along the way, misjudgments have occurred. And though I confidently stand behind the majority of my ratings, I have occasionally been guilty of being an overrating bastard from time to time, more so than an underrating scrooge. Alas, with my debut entry into the regrettable realms of Contrite Metal Guy, it’s time to atone for my sins.
Atlanta’s Royal Thunder are easily among my favorite modern rock bands. My love affair with the gritty, hard working band began with 2012’s stunning debut LP CVI. Somewhat blinded by my love of that particular album, in hindsight I feel I shortchanged their excellent sophomore album Crooked Doors. Although I dished out a positive review, time has been exceptionally kind to Crooked Doors and thus my original evaluation needs repairing. Conceived with the tension of inter-band relationship turmoil, Crooked Doors is the sound of a damaged band forging through the heartache with fire, determination and maturity, resulting in a dynamic, emotive and richly rewarding batch of high caliber rock tunes.
Stunning opener “Time Machine” is almost worth the price of admission alone, but the rest of the album holds up well behind the timeless centerpiece. “The Bear I & II” pull on the emotional heartstrings with somber, bluesy restraint, “Wake Up” meshes poppy overtones with a darker undercurrent, while “The Line” is loaded with invigorating blasts of fire and aggression. Crooked Doors was a heavily regrettable omission from my 2015 end of year list and is an album I’ll continue to lose myself in for years to come.
Original Score: 4.0
Adjusted Score: 4.5
Probably one of my biggest scoring regrets occurred on the promising debut LP from prog supergroup The Mute Gods in 2016. I was blinded by the prog, eventually waking up in a daze shrouded in regrettable fog. Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me has the makings of a sleek modern prog record with an old school sensibility, crafted by scene veterans. Initially it took a few listens to sway me, then something clicked, and then as time marched on this album faded ungracefully from my rotation.
The impeccable musicianship and pristine production can’t mask the album’s song-writing deficiencies. Aside from a few noteworthy gems, including “Father Daughter” and “Strange Relationship,” the album has proven to be a frustrating mixed bag with poor staying power.
Original Score: 3.5
Adjusted Score: 2.5
Mantar powered on from their ultra impressive Death by Burning debut, dropping sophomore album Ode to the Flame in 2016 and reinforcing their blackened punk-sludge formula with potent force. I gushed over the album as it sounded incredibly assured and mature for a band still so fresh. In hindsight I probably favor the hook-laden rawness of the debut. Despite being a great album, Ode to the Flame falls short of the quality I expect from an album rated so highly on the Angry Metal Guy scoring scale.
Make no mistake, Ode to the Flame remains a heavy-hitting, searing fireball of an album, constructed with skill by the talented duo, who will hopefully continue crafting many more albums of quality metal in the years to come.
Original Score: 4.5
Adjusted Score: 4.0
I’m an unabashed Chelsea Wolfe fanboy and have been since discovering her bewitching music on 2013’s Pain is Beauty album. And I consider 2015’s Abyss one of the finest works of musical art released over the past five years or more. In fact I probably short changed it in my end of year list in 2015. (On a side note, I recently discovered the Mastered for iTunes version of Abyss replaces the heavily brickwalled original recording (DR5) to a far more dynamic and breathable DR9!)
Anyway, 2017’s Hiss Spun was an admirable follow-up album that found the experimental sorceress restlessly shifting styles towards a doomier, riff-heavy brand of dark Goth-tinged rock. Hiss Spun predictably features its share of twists and surprises, from the blissful darkwave of “Offering,” to the masterwork of soft-loud dynamics on the simultaneously delicate and crushing “Twin Fawn.” It’s another absorbing album from Chelsea Wolfe that still garners regular spins. But on reflection, stacked against the harrowing genius of Abyss, Hiss Spun falls short of its predecessor’s dizzying heights. Still, it’s another thrilling album and Chelsea Wolfe remains one of the most important modern musical artists in my life. All her work comes highly recommended.
Original Score: 4.5
Adjusted Score: 4.0