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Thoughts on recent buys (Iron Maiden, Dimension Zero, Dimmu

 
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JosephC



Joined: 26 Apr 2000
Posts: 1074
Location: Middleton, WI

PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2003 6:46 pm    Post subject: Thoughts on recent buys (Iron Maiden, Dimension Zero, Dimmu Reply with quote

Grading scale:
10-Top
7-Good
5-Average
3-Bad
1-Forget it
And of course, everything in between counts. Remember, 5 is average. Anything an 8 and above deserves a serious look into.

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IRON MAIDEN : DANCE OF DEATH

Well I've been a Maiden fan for years and years and lately I just don't know what to expect from them. I thought everything they had ever done was great up to the huge disappointment of "No Prayer For The Dying." Since then I really liked "The X-Factor," a dark and gloomy effort that seems to be universally hated among the world's metalheads. I liked "Brave New World" for the most part but thought there was some inconsistent moments contained within. Due to various circumstances (had a pile of other CDs I had to listen too) I didn't get a chance to hear Dance of Death until well after it had been on the market, and prior to that most of the things I had heard were pretty mixed. It seemed that "Dance of Death" was a CD that people loved or hated, with very little in-between.

So I pop this baby in and start listening to the first single "Wildest Dreams." Ugghh, Maiden trying to be a pop-band track, the stuff I hate the most. However, "Rainmaker" hit me solidly, a brilliant track that is commercial but still retains the feel of a Dickinson solo track. Very cool. "No More Lies" is the first of the epic tracks, and the intro has the same "Afriad to Shoot Strangers" vibe to it. (overall impression is increasing after the "Wildest Dreams" letdown) "Montsegur" sounds like it has the same opening as "Losfer Words" and the section right before the solo sounds like it was lifted from "Rime of The Ancient Mariner." A cool "Powerslave-like" track. the title track starts out like "Fear of the Dark," and overall it's a solid track but runs a little long (one of the things that "Brave New World" suffered from). And I could keep going, but why bother? After the horrible opening cut, the rest of this is filled with great songs, some original sounding stuff (like the majestic closer "Journeyman") and some stuff that recalls the days of old.

I really didn't know what to expect, but after several listens this surpassed all expectations I had. This may not rank up there with the likes of "The Number of the Beast" and "Piece of Mind," but I might go as far as to say that this is my favorite Iron Maiden CD in the last 15 years. Not only is this a candidate for my top 10 CDs of the year, it will likely land in my top 5. Check it out, and ahhh, UP THE IRONS!

Final grade = 9.0

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DIMENSION ZERO : THIS IS HELL

This is the second full-length release from Dimension Zero, a side project of guys from In Flames, Marduk, and on this release they have added Daniel Antonsson from Pathos (who writes much of the material on this).

This is not as all-out speed metal as the first, but it is still 80% blazing fast with frantic riffs and death vocals. Far heavier than In Flames (well, maybe not heavier than Lunar Strain) ever was, but not heavy enough to be considered a brutal/extreme death release. There is really not much else to say except this is a little more varied than the first full-length was. Personally I find three or four of the tracks (Immaculate, Into And Out Of Subsistence, Amygdala) to be really good, and the rest to be the average thrash-fest. Personally I thought the formula was a little more fresh and worked a little better on the first full-length. If you are into stuff like At the Gates or The Haunted, this might be something you want to check out.

Final grade = 6.0

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DIMMU BORGIR : DEATH CULT ARMAGEDDON

Boy was I looking forward to this one. "Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia" was one of my favorite recent releases. That release put Dimmu Borgir firmly on my list of favorite current acts, right up there with Cradle of Filth when talking about black/gothic/symphonic (or whatever you want to call it this week) metal. With Cradle of Filth minus members like Stuart and the already legendary Nick Barker, I was expecting "Death Cult Armageddon" to be the CD that pushed Dimmu Borgir past Cradle of Filth and solely into the #1 spot among the "psuedo-black" movement.

To say it didn't would be an understatement. Instead of putting Dimmu Borgir at the top of the heap, "Death Cult Armageddon" may end up as the #1 disappointment in 2003. What happened to this band? The epic songwriting featured in tracks like "Kings of the Carnival Creation" is all but gone here. Instead all I hear is faceless black/symphonic metal. Most all of these songs have one decent riff or section (like the beginning of "Progenies of the Great Apocalypse), but the vocal sections are just totally bland and most of the riffs are downright boring. Nick Barker just doesn't stand out on this CD at all. Bassist Vortex only takes the mic once or twice on this which really takes a dimension of this band away. And while the production tries to add the epic quality to this disc, the songs just don't have any epic or memorable qualities about them at all. When all was said and done, I liked "Allehelgens Ded i Helveds Rike" and "Eradication Instincts Defined" and that was it.

Well at least it wasn't a total waste. I got the miliary box + journal set and it is pretty cool. Now if they would have included a good collection of music, I would be set. Maybe if they spent as much time on writing the music as they did putting this box together.......

Final grade = 3.5

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Other recent grades:

John Arch/A Twist of Fate (EP) = 9.0
Lullacry/Crucify My Heart = 8.5
Beseech/Souls Highway = 8.0
Bon Jovi/Bounce = 8.0
Green Carnation/A Blessing in Disguise = 8.0
Skyfire/Mind Revolution = 8.0
Dream Theater/The Making of Scenes from a Memory (2 CD) = 7.5
Led Zeppelin/How the West was Won (3 CD) = 7.5
Sinergy/Suicide By My Side = 7.5
Elvenking/Heathenreel = 7.0
Passenger/Passenger = 7.0
Armored Saint/Symbol of Salvation (3 CD reissue) = 6.5
At the Gates/Slaughter of the Soul = 6.5
Disturbed/Believe = 6.5
Dream Theater/The Majesty Demos 1985-1986 = 6.5
Kalmah/Swampsong = 6.5
Katatonia/Tonight's Decision = 6.5
Source of Tide/Ruins of Beauty = 6.5
Type O Negative/Life Is Killing Me = 6.5
The Gathering/Souvenirs = 6.0
Into Eternity/Into Eternity = 5.5
Kamelot/Epica = 5.5
Aerosmith/Just Push Play = 5.0
In Flames/Trigger EP = 5.0
Nightwish/Oceanborn = 5.0
Arise/The Godly Work of Art = 4.0
Dream Theater/Los Angeles, California 5/18/98 (2 CD) = 4.0
Tristania/World of Glass = 4.0
Staind/14 Shades of Grey = 3.0
Deftones/Deftones = 2.0
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iwarrior



Joined: 05 Apr 2002
Posts: 3526
Location: Pittsburgh,PA

PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2003 7:19 pm    Post subject: Thoughts on recent buys (Iron Maiden, Dimension Zero, Dimmu Reply with quote

Have to disagree with yer Dimmu Borgir review. I liked the new Maiden,but I wish it was as good as you make it out to be.
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iwarrior



Joined: 05 Apr 2002
Posts: 3526
Location: Pittsburgh,PA

PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2003 7:23 pm    Post subject: Thoughts on recent buys (Iron Maiden, Dimension Zero, Dimmu Reply with quote

quote:
So I pop this baby in and start listening to the first single "Wildest Dreams." Ugghh, Maiden trying to be a pop-band track, the stuff I hate the most.
I liked that song.

quote:
However, "Rainmaker" hit me solidly, a brilliant track that is commercial but still retains the feel of a Dickinson solo track.
Good song,but I don't here the "Bruce solo vibe".

quote:
"No More Lies" is the first of the epic tracks, and the intro has the same "Afriad to Shoot Strangers" vibe to it. (overall impression is increasing after the "Wildest Dreams" letdown)
Mediocre song. That chorus gets run into the ground but quick.

quote:
"Montsegur" sounds like it has the same opening as "Losfer Words" and the section right before the solo sounds like it was lifted from "Rime of The Ancient Mariner." A cool "Powerslave-like" track.
I thought it was a rehash of "The Fallen Angel".

quote:
the title track starts out like "Fear of the Dark," and overall it's a solid track but runs a little long (one of the things that "Brave New World" suffered from).
Ugh! Hated it!
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woosta



Joined: 12 Mar 1999
Posts: 780
Location: PA

PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2003 10:03 pm    Post subject: Thoughts on recent buys (Iron Maiden, Dimension Zero, Dimmu Reply with quote

Disagree STRONGLY with you about both Maiden and Diummu. Maybe that Dimmu needs more time. On the other hand, if they are "competing" with Cradle of Filth for anything in your mind, maybe I'm worried for you! [img]images/smiles/icon_smile.gif[/img]
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General Zod



Joined: 24 Jan 2001
Posts: 2519
Location: Krypton

PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2003 10:35 pm    Post subject: Thoughts on recent buys (Iron Maiden, Dimension Zero, Dimmu Reply with quote

I'll concur with the rest of those who have responded so far and disagree with your take on both Maiden and Dimmu. The Maiden disc is flat out dull. And while the Dimmu is a bit of a departure from their previous work, it is still very strong.

GZ
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JosephC



Joined: 26 Apr 2000
Posts: 1074
Location: Middleton, WI

PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2003 12:42 am    Post subject: Thoughts on recent buys (Iron Maiden, Dimension Zero, Dimmu Reply with quote

I can understand why people wouldn't dig the Maiden CD. The mix is muddy. Song topic are quite varied which could interrupt the flow for some listeners. I can understand all of that.

But the Dimmu Borgir CD flat out sucks. I expect bands I really dig to blow me away when they release a new CD, but this Dimmu Borgir CD does nothing. It does sound sexy at times. Generally songs start out with a good rhythm/riff or symphonic keyboard section. But other than that I think the songs just suck. No interesting choruses. No real interesting guitar work. Bland vocals devoid of any character. Nick Barker sounds completely ordinary on this. I honestly think there was more memorable material in the first two songs (minus the introductory instrumental) on the last CD then there is on this entire CD. I really didn't like the last Old Man's Child CD, but I think even that is better than Death Cult Armageddon. Probably my biggest disappointment of the year so far.
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