And that… is that. 195 CDs and 195 reviews over 52 months.

Here they all are, in one place. Plus a few other bits and pieces: bonus albums and album previews that I kindly received because of this project, plus a few photos of all the CDs together.

195 metal CDs (and more)

195 metal CDs (and more)

Just looking at some of those album covers takes me back to when I listened to them, or struggled to find the words to describe them.

It’s been a journey. It has been a welcome focus, particularly during the last year as my marriage has come to an end, and I have moved out of home and into my new flat and new responsibilities as a University halls of residence warden, alongside my daytime responsibilities as the web architect at the University of St Andrews.

One of the joys of this project has been discovering new music, bands and albums that I had never heard of.

A friend of mine, Ava, asked me this evening online which albums have been my favourites, the one that I play again and again. Looking at the list of scores, I gave 17 albums full marks: 100%.

Of those a few stand out most:

Diabolical Masquerade—Death’s Design: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (2007) is perhaps the overall winner of this project. It’s the go-to album when I need to listen to something heavy, but epic. It’s the movie soundtrack that never was.

Godflesh—Streetcleaner (1989) is an album that I owned already (and I even bought the t-shirt!). This is one of the best albums ever for coding to.

Krysthla—A War Of Souls And Desires (2015) is an album that I was sent to review because of my favourable review of their previous band Gutworm. If this had been part of the original 195 (though some kind of freak time-travel glitch, I guess, what with it being released three years after I started the project) then I expect this would by my ultimate number one album.

Lair of the Minotaur—War Metal Battle Master (2008) is an album that I have a fondness for. It’s the first album I listened to, on my drive back from Cupar with my treasure trove of compact discs. It’s a brutal album, though, relentless and grand.

Russian Circles—Station (2008) is another album that I return to again and again. It reminds me of Shutter (Scotland), an amazing instrumental Inverness band that had a friend of mine on guitar.

What next?

And so… on with the rest of my life, I guess. Or maybe not. This review site has led to a number of bands sending me forthcoming albums to review.

Up next we have VirvumIlluminance (2016) and Not Above EvilAlways darkest before (2016) to review. And after that eleven CDs that I acquired from a friend of mine, William, in Glasgow: albums by At the Gates, Battle of Mice, Dark Tranquillity, Diamond Head, Fields of the Nephilim, Isis, Jesu, and Obituary.

I’d like to review your album

If you fancy sending me an album to review I would be more than happy to prioritise your album over my busy schedule.

If you want to contact me I’m on Twitter @garethjms or email me gareth@garethjmsaunders.co.uk,

6.66 MB the disk space of the beast

6.66 MB the disk space of the beast

6.66 MB the disk space of the beast

Woe to you, O earth and sea. For the devil sends the beast with wrath, because he knows the disk space is short… Let him who hath understanding reckon the number of the beast, for it is a human number. It’s number is six point six six megabytes.

I noticed the other day that the storage space used for this metal CDs review blog had reached the unlikely figure of 6.66 MB. I thought you’d like to see it.

MusicBee—music manager and player

Screenshot of MusicBee music organizer and player - showing a grid of album covers

Screenshot of MusicBee playing Death—Sound of Perseverence (1998).

What do you use to listen to your metal collections? Do let me know in the comments.

Until recently I’ve been using WinAmp to listen to most of the CDs on this project. But WinAmp is currently being redeveloped after a change in owner and certain features have been disabled, like the Gracenote database integration, which looks up the album track details when I rip it to MP3. So I took a week or so to evaluate the competition and I’ve settled on the lesser-known MusicBee.

As the website blurb says:

If you are looking for an application geared toward managing extensive music collections, easy to use and with a comprehensive feature set – MusicBee is that application.

MusicBee makes it easy to organize, find and play music files on your computer, on portable devices and on the web.

I’ve listened to so much music that I’d forgotten about simply because MusicBee makes it much easier to find, and tag. I’m loving it! Having customised the interface just the way I want it, the only thing I need to figure out now is how to rip CDs to MP3 using LAME.

I’ve written a more comprehensive account of my thoughts on my main blog: I’ve found my perfect music player: MusicBee.

Temporary hiatus—Four hours sleep (2012)

grey tree


Reviews are on temporary hiatus while

  1. the family get over their various tummy bugs, colds, ‘flu-like viruses and snuffles. (‘Snuffles’ really isn’t a particularly metal word, is it?), and
  2. I get a web project launched.

I am still listening to the CDs when I can. The most recent have been:

  • Arceye – As the Ground Consumes You EP (2007)
  • Audiopain – The Switch to Turn Off Mankind (2007)
  • Hanging Doll – Reason & Madness (2008)
  • Impaled Nazarene – Manifest (2007)
  • Sights & Sounds – Monolith (2009)

I’ll write up these reviews once things have calmed down a little and I’m getting a little more than four hours sleep per night.


CDs sorted into alphabetical order

CDs sorted into alphabetical order

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been randomly dipping in and out of my new treasure trove of metal, listening to a few CDs that I knew I wanted the hear, and other days grabbing a few in a lucky dip for my drive to work.

I was away in Edinburgh for a few days last week so didn’t get anything reviewed; I’ll try to make up for that with two posts this week.

Over the weekend, though, I sorted the discs into alphabetical order. While that doesn’t quite embrace the chaotic nature of the more extreme end of the metal spectrum it sure makes my life a lot easier.

Except that the next CD that I had lined up to review was by a band called Unholy. Which if I follow my new A-Z plan then I won’t get to that one until March 2016.

Heavy metal Russian roulette

On Friday 8 June this message appeared on the Freecycle Fife East group:

Offered – Cupar: CDs

Hello there – I’m having another clearout of my office and – as a result of years of music journalism – have piles of CDs looking for a new home. These are all, in the main, heavy metal. I have loads to give away, so will split them up in to lots of 100. So if you can take a load off my hands, please get in touch!

Because I have so many to give away, please be aware than each lot will be fairly random – it would take me forever to sort through each one and list the albums individually. At least it keeps things exciting – heavy metal Russian roulette 😀

Polite requests only please! Thanks.

Jane sent me an email at work to let me know. “I thought you might be interested.”

I was; I emailed him straight away and a couple of days later I got a reply:

Hi Gareth – thanks for the message. Have been away over the weekend and returned to a deluge of emails, as you might imagine!
Anyway – yes, CDs are still available. Would you be able to take around 200 or so? If so, please let me know when you’d be able to collect.


On Wednesday evening, after work, I drove to Cupar and picked up four carrier bags full of CDs. 195 in all (after an enforced recount) and only six that I already owned.

Stack of CDs

Now the little task of organising them, listening to them and blogging about them. If I commit myself to a minimum of one a week then that should keep me busy until March 2016.

Let the metal fest commence…

Oh, and one last thing: thank you Calum. \|m|