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The 20th Anniversary Of Metal Storm: Part I

Written by: ScreamingSteelUS, Dream Taster, destroyah, wrathchild, BitterCOld, Bad English, BloodTears, Milena, Ivor, X-Ray Rod, musclassia
Published: December 20, 2020

Metal Storm turns 20 this year. It probably already has, in fact, since we don't have an exact picture of the site's first plunge into the vastness of the net; all we know for certain is that it was late in the year 2000 when Ivan, our founder and programmer, reached his hand into the vast bucket of space code and drew forth the cobweb of numbers, symbols, and sans-serif fonts that became Metal Storm. The primitive web presence went through a few different iterations in those early days, at one point going defunct and being resurrected through the diligence of Dream Taster. Metal Storm's cultural development came in fits and starts, buoyed by a few eager hands who contributed to the maintenance of a modest database, published a few errant pieces of writing, and opened up forums to discuss it all; leading personalities came to resemble staff, establishing a hierarchy of responsibilities among themselves. By the mid-2000s, Metal Storm was evolving into a real community, furnishing semi-regular album reviews and interviews to accompany the expanding cadre of habitual users, and at the end of that decade, we had it all: an editor-in-chief, a promotions chief, a database manager, industry connections, a house style for publications, a solidifying critical reputation, a Wikipedia page, a logo, a mascot, a regular cast of characters, and a hard-working crew that kept the site up to snuff. At one point, we even had t-shirts, a partnership with Hellfest, an internet radio station, and a private helicopter to ferry staff to and from important site meetings. We also successfully jumped from our old .ee domain (and its accompanying .eu) to a .net domain, thereby transforming from the biggest fish in one of Estonia's 1,400+ lakes into a little guppie in the Pacific Ocean. Metal Storm went from one man's hobbyist tinkering to a global community of passionate thousands.

That's where we are now. Metal Storm may still be something of a modest endeavor, it's true. Certainly our popularity has waxed and waned over time; faces we've known have come and gone; we've spent three years out of the last ten waiting to reconnect to the site. Our database covers only a fraction of the Metal Archives, we aren't as quick with news or as broad with community interest stories as Metal Injection, and we don't have the clout or name recognition of Loudwire or many of the noteworthy print publications; we've gone through periods of content drought, and, as we've all bemoaned a thousand times before, the dominance of social media has taken the wind out of forums like ours. But Metal Storm is strong. We have variety that most other fan sites cannot boast of; when a new album comes out, you can read about it in the news section, hop to the database and add it to your collection, discuss it in the forums, read an interview with the band about its recording, and then publish your own review of it. The diversity of our platform is, many of us believe, the key to Metal Storm's longevity. And over the last couple of years, we have seen an encouraging increase in publications and user participation over a mid-2010s lull; in addition to our regular Clandestine Cuts series, we've revived the "Getting Into" format, we've started a monthly nonmetal feature and a biannual splits feature, and the number of interviews has been surging back to healthy levels ever since Radu discovered that he could make your valiant EIC transcribe them all. The 2019 Metal Storm Awards, too, were much more expansive than the preceding few.

And my, how those Metal Storm Awards have grown over the years; they've come to define our annual cycle and are the flagship event of this website. The first annual Metal Storm Awards were celebrated in the first month of 2002, looking back at the releases of 2001; it was a very informal affair, with only eight categories, a write-in format, and none of the fuss that we currently make. The 2001, 2002, and 2003 MSAs passed without much fanfare or spectacle, and like a lot of things from those early days direct evidence of their existence is no longer archived on our site. It wasn't until 2005, the season of the 2004 Metal Storm Awards, that we had a go at establishing something people would want to pay attention to. The 2004 MSAs were the first "proper" MSAs, crowning now-classic albums such as Mastodon's Leviathan, Finntroll's Nattfödd, and Nightwish's Once. We offered a special Honorary Award to the recently deceased Dimebag Darrell and Quorthon, and we gave In Flames their first of several wins and countless nominations for Biggest Letdown. In 11 genre categories of five nominees each, we had only one category break 500 votes (power metal, at 536), and most fell far short; by the 2019 MSAs, we had expanded to 26 genre categories, most of them featuring ten nominees and handily clearing that 500-vote benchmark. Since the beginning, we've added a "Biggest Surprise" category, reinstated "Best Album Artwork" after a hiatus, and replaced "Best Demo" with "Best Clandestine Cut"; In Flames has met a formidable foe in Wintersun, and the two routinely clash for the honor to be called Metal Storm's least favorite band. Organization of the Metal Storm Awards continues to require a monumental effort that, in truth, consumes much of the preceding year, but every place needs its own special celebration, and we take pride in being astonishingly superior to every other annual music awards nonsense, especially the Grammys.

But more important than any of the trappings of status or success (which it must be said we are not flushed with) is the fact that Metal Storm has created and cultivated a wonderful community where people from all over the world can foster their love of heavy metal. This little webzine has been a profound catalyst for development in the lives of many fans, including everyone you'll see below, and that's what we are here to celebrate: the existence of a place where we all come together to discover new artists, trade opinions, follow emerging scenes, express ourselves creatively, and read what we are now officially dubbing Metal Storm's All-Time Best Album Review. Characteristically sliding just under the closing gate in true MS fashion, some of us in Metal Storm Towers decided to mark this important anniversary by saying a few words about what Metal Storm has meant for us over the years. This article, you might say, is our "official" reflection, but Metal Storm isn't just for us; it's for every user, past and present, and every metal fan out there who ever wanted a place to scroll through press releases, find cool music to check out, and support the bands they like in the MSAs. We all have fond memories and experiences to share, so we encourage you all to celebrate Metal Storm with us in the comments below.

Happy birthday, Metal Storm. Here's to the next two decades.

Dream Taster: Metalstorm is 20 years old, which must mean I am almost 20 years older than I was when I stumbled on an inactive in 2001 and saw the message "This site is inactive. If you are interested in taking over this website, please contact Ivan". I was living in my native France, and looking for design ideas to launch my own metal platform. But when I saw the design, I figured out I could never achieve this level of awesomeness on my own. Was this an Estonian website? I was intrigued. So I contacted Ivan, who was the site admin and designer, struck a deal, and enrolled my local French buddies Jeff and Deadsoulman to bring this site back to life.

We got organized, brushed up on our English, started pumping ideas, cleaned up the content, sorted out who was still active from the last administration and who was long gone. We interviewed people who wanted to join the crew, especially for album reviews. We started to put out material. We reached out to labels, and then mostly published reviews and a couple of interviews. Early on, I got to write about my favorite bands back then, Dream Theater, Blind Guardian, Iced Earth and Vanden Plas. I also got to interview some of my idols such as Andre Matos (Angra) or Fernando Ribeiro (Moonspell). There was a lot of coding required to publish anything from news, reviews to articles. The site was not as self-served as it has been in the last few years. It took dedication. I learned a lot. It was rocky but it was a positive start.

Quickly the magic of Metalstorm took over. The forum came to life, bringing lots of people from all over the world. It turned out that this Metal Nation concept was real and booming. The USA, the UK, Canada, India, Indonesia, Australia, Germany, Poland, Brazil, Russia, France, Iran, Greece, I was amazed at how diverse the audience was. We had a lively community.

On top of that, musical discoveries were a few clicks away by exploring our growing content. I learned about bands like Opeth, Evergrey, Death, Virgin Black, Esoteric, Kreator, Insomnium, and Draconian. As we argued at length about naming styles, and classifying bands into them, I started to pick up on the history and leading bands of Norwegian Black Metal, Swedish Melodeath, German Power Metal, US Thrash Metal, and so many eclectic bands from nations across the globe. From prog power to post metal, ambient black to jazz-infused death metal, it was a auditory journey that was amazing me.

Along the years, we experimented with concepts, including Metalstorm mp3 samples, funny stuff, yearly awards, a quizz, monthly samplers, t-shirts, even a radio channel. Some of it is still here. Some of it is best forgotten. Social media came along, the internet 2.0 and all of that. The site went through several redesigns, the forum was first decommissioned, then updated and was reborn as we know it today. Waves of new people joined in and took over staff positions. At this point, it was clear that Metalstorm was a living organism and no longer relying on a handful of people like me. It was a fantastic thing to witness. Seeing so many changes happening but feeling that the passion never left.

And still new bands were popping up on my radar. Wolfheart, In Mourning, Kataklysm, and the list was truly endless. Back when I was handling page updates manually, I was a stickler for limiting the number of bands here. Now I realized that the large band database has become a great asset. There was so much to explore that it never ended. To this day, I use Metalstorm as a library for albums I missed, bands on the rise, styles that I never got into but now find fascinating. It is like a never-ending source of hidden gems and above all goodness.

It has been a lot of fun; I have met all kinds of cool people and realized that my passion for metal is a worldwide phenomenon. In the process, I met somebody special through the Avantasia online guestbook back in 2001, moved to California in 2002 to marry her. And yes she is a German metal chick who adores Blind Guardian, Virgin Steele and Rush. We live in Canada now. We are coming up on 18 years of marriage.

Nowadays, we are graced with a new cast of reviewers who delight us with their wit, writing styles and ease to describe the indescribable. I can hardly take credit for their good work, but I like to think I had a small part in it by keeping Metalstorm alive back in 2001 and watching it grow to what it has blossomed into.

I have lived in several countries but Metalstorm has been and will be part of my journey always.

So cheers to many more years!

2000: Nevermore - Dead Heart In A Dead World
2001: Opeth - Blackwater Park
2002: Agalloch - The Mantle
2003: Evergrey - Recreation Day
2004: Quo Vadis - Defiant Imagination
2005: Draconian - Arcane Rain Fell
2006: Saturnus - Veronika Decides To Die
2007: Moonsorrow - V: Hävitetty
2008: Doom:VS - Dead Words Speak
2009: Swallow The Sun - New Moon
2010: Mar De Grises - Streams Inwards
2011: Esoteric - Paragon Of Dissonance
2012: Rush - Clockwork Angels
2013: Persefone - Spiritual Migration
2014: Ghost Brigade - IV - One With The Storm
2015: Mgła - Exercises In Futility
2016: Dark Funeral - Where Shadows Forever Reign
2017: Moonspell - 1755
2018: Riverside - Wasteland
2019: In Mourning - Garden Of Storms
2020: Necrophobic - Dawn Of The Damned

destroyah: I haven't been on MetalStorm for 10 years now, but I'll always remember it as an incredibly welcoming community. I met a lot of great people here, both on and offline.

Being part of MetalStorm was also a great honor, and something that offered a lot of meaning for a young person who didn't really know where he was going with his life yet.
The community gave me an opportunity to start writing about music - it was a huge deal, because until then I frankly didn't think I have anything to contribute to the world.
I also made my first regular webcomic attempt here - it was absolutely awful on basically every level - but it was a start.

It was aeons ago, but MetalStorm has been one of the best things to ever happen to me. Here's to 20 more years!

wrathchild: 20th anniversary, so great, to think some people browsing the website are actually younger than that is mindboggling!
I guess many Metalstormers won't know who I am and that's alright, I'm basically inactive since 2010, and I guess most of my recent activity on the site was in defense of Babymetal \m/

For me it started in 2003 when I had a steady access to the internet and successfully got past AOL's portal. I was searching for information on a few bands such as Children Of Bodom and The Sins Of Thy Beloved and either Google/Yahoo/Alta Vista pointed me towards, a website that looked like this.

Something that the snapshot doesn't show is that there was an alphabetical menu on the top right, and I found that so cool at the time. That's how I would remember that I had already visited this site as I stumbled upon it again and again before I eventually joined what was basically my first forum. Although the design of Metal Storm had changed slightly and gone was the alphabetical menu.

Now, I joined in September 2003 and I was not alone. That boom saw Marcel Hubregste (RIP my friend) join a few days after me, as "Ozman", as well as others whose usernames are also bringing their share of emotions as I see them listed in these snapshots. I could name lots but I'll highlight Andramalech and Dragonita.
We eventually passed the 10,000 registered members mark soon after!

A few trivia:
- My first posts were in bold
- The first reply I got was from Götterdämmerung I believe, telling to stop writing in bold. The guy was to be respected if only by the outstanding post count that only destroyah could rival.
- I wasn't sure what to call myself, so I figured "wildchild" could do it since I had been searching about CoB... but ultimately chose "wrathchild". Not sure why exactly but I think it's because I had to couple the name to an avatar, and going with an Eddie from Iron Maiden was an easy way out of hours of brainstorming. That was the reaper Eddie from the Dance Of Death album, so in a way it could still relate to CoB with the covers for their first albums.

And then came 2004, after merely 4 months of daily visits to Metal Storm, a big change happened: I was promoted to staff to act as a Moderator. And not long after I was the Chief Moderator. At the time the most severe issue we faced was spamming. Not really suspicious advertisement but mostly short posts, one-liners or sometimes just emoticons that could turn an otherwise worthy discussion into a childish playground (and yes, this comes from someone who wrote everything in bold at first).
Nowadays things have changed, you will still see spammy replies but we are all much more educated regarding our use of the internet so it doesn't compare. Also you have to remember that broadband network connections were not common, so waiting minutes for a thread to load and see that you did this just for a few useless posts was irritating.
So a few things were put in place:
- Limiting threads to 1000 posts - we would manually close them and ask users to open a new thread if they so wished.
- Removal of spams - I did that manually and mercilessly up to the point I asked Ivan to code an automatic tool so I could remove all posts under XX characters from a thread.
- Yes I screwed up once and deleted all posts with fewer than 100 characters instead of 10.

Finally in 2005, we met for real at festivals such as Raimesfest, Grapsop and Hellfest, the latter ended up as our most recurring meeting. I won't get into much details - you can still read our reviews of these events - but somehow I still can't believe this happen: meeting Baz (UK), Ivan, Ivor (Estonia), Ylside, Ilham (Morocco), Jason (USA), Promonex (Germany), Jupitreas (Poland), Marcel (the Netherlands), and of course Jeff, Deadsoulman, Darkside Momo, ghost (France)...

Some trivia:
- Raismesfest 2004 was the first festival I covered, alone. During the acoustic showcase by Angra on Saturday night, the PR lady who I kept asking for interviews all day long came back to me and asked "By the way, what's .ee for?" so I replied "Estonia" and she turned away as if I had made a fool of her.
- At Metalway 2006 in Spain, we had some great info from the president of the French Arch Enemy fan club, about Angela working on her vocal performance with a teacher. I wanted to know if that had played a part in the last recording but at the start of the press conference, we were asked to first tell our questions to the Spanish translator first. I had study Spanish for years so I tried doing just that... my question ended up translated as "Do you effects on your voice?" which of course made Angela angry and she growled hard in the conference microphone to prove that no effect was necessary. The other journalists (all Spanish) were laughing hard (jajajaja).
I took back the mic and asked her directly in English, got an half-answer but then, after a couple of weeks, she wrote a complete blog post explaining exactly what I wanted to know.
- Ernotar and Little Death from Finland (we met at Hellfest) actually baked animal-shaped cookies with the names of some Metalstormers! And that's where my current avatar comes from, it's quite unique.

Life went on, moved to Paris, got a job, did a few interviews (which to be honest, was not my thing, although I'm blessed to have had an interview with André Matos - RIP) but the momentum was slowly dropping for me. There would still be one major important meeting to have: Ivan's wedding in 2010 in Tallinn, with a bunch of legendary Metalstormers attending. That was 10 years ago!

And so 10 years after that, I'm in awe at the dedication of "the new generation" to maintaining the one website that has been my "online home" for so long. I know it's not easy and I hope you can learn even more from it than I did.
I salute you all, Metalstormers who took the time to read these 20th anniversary testimonials. Even those of you whose English hasn't improved since 2005.

And remember: Stay metal, follow the Storm!

BitterCOld: Metal Storm has had an understatedly massive impact on my life. Been a metal fan since the mid-80s, particularly since MTV of all places showing metal vids and (Weird) AlTV. Was into new wave, alt, punk and thrash while in High School and discovered Death Metal when off in the Navy courtesy of Spin Magazine, if you can imagine that. Found Napalm Death's Harmony Corruption on cassette at the Base Exchange (big store) for $2.99. A demo version with a red construction paper insert rather than what any of the other old fucks might have found. Still amazed me to no end to find Vader's Ultimate Incantation on CD on the Air Force Exchange, Guam, in the middle of the Pacific, not terribly long after the Berlin Wall fell.

I used to buy albums pretty much based upon Metal Maniacs mag, as this was pre-internet, or almost anything on Earache or Roadrunner

Some time in the early 90s I pretty much gave up on the metal, quite happy with the 150-200 disks I scored (and much horribly to my retroactive dismay, selling off doomy, slower stuff like Kyuss or My Dying Bride because they didn't have enough explosions or whatever.)

Fast Forward a decade and change, sitting at home with my wife-to-be, in bed, and stumble on to 100 Most Metal Moments on VH-1. See a lot of chaotic shit courtesy of more extreme bands like Mayhem and start looking into them on this new-fangled internet.

A wormhole or two later, May or June of 2004, find Metal Storm and lurk before lurking was a thing. See guys like Jupitreas, Marcel and Deadsoulman and suddenly it was like that scene in Pulp Fiction where an overdosed and pretty much dead Uma Thurman is giving that adrenaline spike to the chest.

Wasn't much later when based on ONE. FUCKING. REVIEW, good old Frenchie and review commando Jeff, along with Marcel (at this point BC pours out a liter of Brasil's finest cerveja in honor) pushed me to do an email interview with Fenriz of Darkthrone. WTF? I've done fuck all and you're handing me this?

Yeah, so a decade and change later, still here, even if not reviewing regularly. Metal Stormers, particularly Marcel (pours out more quality Brazilian cerveja) have helped expand my appreciation of newer acts and genres more than I could have imagined back in July of 2004 when I registered.

I've lost count of the simply awesome bands that have sent me their shit to review, going back to Shattered Hope's demo in 2009. I've lost count of the awesome shit others have recommended me.

If I were to attempt to quantify the impact of Metal Storm on me, in a predominantly download era, when I moved to Paraguay in 2014, the receipt of my tallies to ZIA Records (the absolute SHIT in Arizona/Vegas) was in microscopic print and over six feet in length. Over 1,000 albums. And they bought them all as in terms of music, only two things still sold physical media. Metal and Rap. I still recall the guy behind the counter, a big metal fan himself, wincing "you are selling this?". And me responding, "Yeah, well, it's cheap cd's to hook new fans" while thinking "You should see the stuff the bands sent me that I'm not selling."

Largely retired from MS, focusing on other pursuits and, frankly, listening to more Samba than Satam at the moment, but can never understate what it has meant. And have had the pleasure of face-to-face beer-guzzling sessions with four members of Team MS across the continents - and who knows, barring Covid-21, maybe in your barrio too, someday.


2001 - Tool - Lateralus
2002 - Immortal - Sons of Northern Darkness
2003 - Darkthrone - Hate Them
2004 - Neurosis - The Eye Of Every Storm
2005 - Bolt Thrower - For Those Once Loyal
2006 - Negură Bunget - OM
2007 - Warning - Watching From A Distance
2008 - Mar De Grises - Draining The Waterheart
2009 - Cobalt - Gin
2010 - Enslaved - Axioma Ethica Odini
2011 - Sleestak - The Fall Of Altrusia
2012 - Faal - The Clouds Are Burning
2013 - Clutch - Earth Rocker
2014 - Chaos Moon - Resurrection Extract
2015 - Ahab - The Boats Of Glen Carrig
2016 - Ortega - Sacred States
2017 - Emptiness - Not For Music
2018 - Legend Of The Seagullmen - Legend Of The Seagullmen
2019 - BUS - Never Decide
2020 -

Bad English: When the moonchild is crying
And silence has broken
The darkest truth

Time flies, Metalstorm is 20 years old, I cant not even imagine it. I have been storming here since 2002, 03 whit dial up internet, to check some bands, became member in 2005 in august 26. I have seen old days, I have seen staffers comes and goes, users comes and goes, friendship comes and goes, fights, shit, glory days, you name it. I have seen MSv1,2,3,4, I have listened Metalstorm radio. I have seen Metalstorm start to sink, I have seen it was at coma, but Birgit came and gave life to this side. Now it has reached high point. If we would fix server error. Last 2-3 years our articles, revives, bands in database, has rise in quality. Our revivers and writers are so good whit language, talent, professional skills , its even better as in old archaic days of the beginning of time. If we talk in alchemist language, new contributors are pure black steel, pure gold wizardet up from sands. They do so good job, even better as those who sit in office and writes for big metal magazines. Difference is our gays do ity for free and much better. If we fix server eror, site has potential to rise and be higher, because we have own rules, policy and somehow many people visits, reads, and shares our staff, news and written articles and Grevies. Site is bigger as we thought, because not all are registret users.

About me, well I have been here, frist 10 years I drunk a lot alcohol. I dont regret waist my youth online, more I regret I did drunk so much.

This site is my home, sad I have so much time to spend, but I am here often, every day. There are many things to do here, job is not done and never will, its eternal project.

To me its home, half of me, my life, my past, my present and hopefully my future. I need to admit, I can not live whit out this site of ours. Time goes fast indeed, I wish we will be here after 20 years when dance core, post disco , djent core, math doom bands or what so ever will dominate in teenage minds. Internet is here to stay, metal is here to stay, Metal archives, probably wont go anywhere, and I hope Metalstorm will stay here as well. Sad that we lost one of our legends in this site Marcel. He would have some story to tell.

Time what is time
I wish I knew how to tell you why
It hurts to know
Aren't we machines
Time what is time
Unlock the door
And see the truth
Then time is time again

BloodTears: For Metal Storm's 20th birthday, I thought it would be fitting to write a love letter to it. To all my MS buddies and fellow metalheads, thank you. Ever since I registered and logged in for the first time back in 2006, I have changed so much as a person. MS made me the prog geek I am today (still am) and it opened up my horizons musically and personally too. Because MS was a family for me, not just a website. It was in many ways my second family, the family that took me in, a shy kind of antisocial girl who didn't fit in with the usual crowd. I found great music thanks to MS and I still do, even though I'm not active. Then my dad passed away and my life changed forever. But MS is always in my heart, especially the people I met over the years and there were many, most of them on a personal level, and I still talk to a few of them. It was very fun backstage and I miss working on the news, reviews, articles, everything I managed to do at one point. I did it out of sheer pleasure and enjoyment. I'm sure MS continues to impact countless lives in a similar way it did mine. It was also an honour to be part of the staff, who worked tirelessly (and still do I'm sure) to keep the website interesting and relevant. I'm a better person for it, for all it taught me about myself and life in general. I couldn't help but mention the kind giant Marcel. He'd always tell me my favourite bands sucked and I miss that so much. That man made me discover so many good bands I can't even begin to describe. Overall, I miss our conversations about music. I miss the conversations on MS about music with everyone. The bands who were stellar, the disappointing records, the drama, the best records of all time most people won't even know about. That was the main reason I was there. And now coronavirus has taken our live shows and it's very painful. But I still buy records all the time, I continue to support bands and I'm still an avid metal fan. Sometimes, I still wear my MS t-shirt, loud and proud. Until we meet again! Thanks for existing, Metal Storm!

Milena: I've logged ten years and some change of following the ebbs and flows of contemporary metal. More than ten years of reading analyses, reviews, chronicles and discussions. But the last ten years are the ones that really count, the ten years since I decided to start writing for other people interested in metal - on the one website that offered a forum, a database, and a steady stream of content I found interesting enough to spend hours browsing on a desktop computer.

Metal Storm is one of my strongest anchors to this world of music. In the world of social media pages and compact Wordpress blogs that look good on a smartphone screen, it's absolutely nuts that this massive 20-year-old website is still working. Aren't forums dead? Isn't every piece of info you could possibly need on Wikipedia? And in the age of Spotify, who reads music reviews? If someone called me a crazy dinosaur for still hanging out here, I wouldn't even be offended. I'd just be sad for them, because they don't know what they're missing.

Every page on the site, every logged piece of content is a time capsule already. New release hype for ancient favorite albums booms in my chest just from looking at the corresponding entries in the database and the comments that anticipated it. But scrolling back through time to see how the site used to look like is a mind trip. Especially if you joined when you were a teen full of angst and now you're looking at buying your first retinol cream. It's hard to recognize myself on these pages, but everyone else is frozen in time as the exact person I started loving from afar and swore to meet in person in front of a band someday, even though we all live far away from each other. "Love" is a strong word, but when you've shared grief, heartache, wedding photos, and 3AM MS Awards work sessions with an online friend and colleague, I don't know any other words that fit.

I wish Marcel was here.

I love you guys. Happy anniversary.

Ivor: I joined after half a year of lurking on July 1st 2003, the day after my army service finished. And my first-ever post got deleted by Götterdämmerung without even a warning. How dare you?! How dare you delete my post? I thought I had something important to say (don't we all?). It was clear I had gone against one rule or another, probably posting a link to some illegal download or something, but in hindsight I think it set the tone for how I approached the community: I decided I was going to speak when I had something to say.
Back then there were about 400 registered members many of whom were active. It was a welcoming, open, and honest community, something that I think has to some extent stayed to this day. The first big wave of new registrations came that very same autumn and the community grew in waves after that. It was fun but also intimidating to watch visitor numbers double in mere months.

I never planned on becoming staff. I blame Jeff for that. I started writing reviews more as a way to have something to do and improve my writing skills. Then he gave me an Ayreon interview to do and after that I sort of got hooked. Then concerts got me into doing live photography and a small hobby grew into a passion. And MS opened a lot of doors. I never figured I'd get to shoot concerts all over Europe, or cover huge festivals like Hellfest with backstage access. MS is my record-keeper of many exceptional and even unique live events I've witnessed.

The years I've been part of this community have seen a lot of extraordinary people come and go. MS is a lot of things to different people but it's always been powered by dedication and free will. Often it's been dedication without bounds. But, as always, life gets in the way and as people come, they also go their own way. It's a privilege to have seen their input (or output if you will). I miss a lot of you and your writings dearly, my friends.

What I think has kept me around is honesty. I respect how what people around me contribute is honest. I think it's very valuable in the world otherwise built on promotion, advertisements, and lies. I hope the spirit of honesty will carry on for many years still. I've met wonderful people through this site. Through their honest opinions I've discovered uncountable amount of bands I've come to love. And that's kept me around. After all, we're all here because we love music.

ScreamingSteelUS: Like so many other important things in my life, I don't remember how I discovered Metal Storm. I was around 14 or 15 - this was in the period of 2008-2009 - and, having rapidly burned through the handful of metal bands my dad was able to introduce me to, I was searching for a more reliable and detailed avenue for unearthing relevant musical recommendations than the power metal compilations I frequented on YouTube. However it was that I stumbled across this site, finding a concentrated hub of musical information with suggestions bursting off the front page at all times changed my perspective on the genre. I liked the elegant, minimalist color scheme; I liked the conversations I stumbled across in the ShoutBox; I liked the ease with which I could learn about a band's discography and be redirected to similar artists. It was settled that I would use this as my base of operations for my subterranean dive into metal.

It wasn't until October 2010 that I sank my teeth into the shell and created an account; why I waited so long, I don't know, but I think one of the primary instigators for my accession to the ranks of user was the possibility of writing my own album reviews, the first of which I published in December 2010 (Sabaton's Coat Of Arms, foreshadowing my career as a professional Sabaton apologist). As any experienced writer will tell you, you shouldn't read my early publications. They're garbage and I'm embarrassed to know that they're adorning a shelf of the internet where anybody can get their grubby hands on them and see how my mind worked when I was 16. I've produced a substantial body of work during my time here, and about 14% of it I'm still proud of. More than any individual example of authorial production, though, what I'm most proud of is the simple fact that I, a doubt-ridden recluse who went from a teenager with an attitude problem to an adult with an anxiety problem, somehow suffered a miraculous lapse in judgment and mustered the recklessness to fling my work into the unforgiving maw of the outside world. Ten years later, I don't know what I was thinking or how I wasn't crushed by fear. I'm glad I published that terrible review, though.

As a result of that decision, I became tied inextricably to Metal Storm; a one-time internet jaunt turned into my primary creative outlet for the decade in which I transitioned from high school to college to the work force, and anyone who has ever experienced at least one of the three will know how important it is to have somewhere you can unbutton your collar and talk about Blind Guardian for a while. For those university years when I was hundreds (or thousands) of miles away from home, Metal Storm was a little shred of reassuring normalcy that I counted on during many a rough season; I've seen this screen nearly every single day for these last ten years and at this point the MS logo is as familiar to me as my own name. I've never been very active in the forums, being too shy, too insecure in my opinions, and/or too engrossed in the writing/listening side of things, and it's very rare now that I spend any time posting about nonofficial matters, but you can bet that come January I'm staring at my screen at 2 am trying to think of some way to do five unique grindcore write-ups for the MSAs; as much as I sometimes dread the countless hours of work that go into meeting our deadlines, there are few things that give me a similar sense of accomplishment to opening and closing another successful edition of the MSAs. Being a part of this website has taught me many important lessons not just about French black metal, how to appreciate harsh vocals, and where to find Estonia on a map, but about life, the universe, and everything, whether through interacting with older users I looked up to in my first days, encountering the public as a publisher of content, corresponding with industry contacts as a semi-professional showrunner, or having to navigate the sometimes treacherous social mine fields of behind-the-scenes troubleshooting. Frankly, being the editor-in-chief of Metal Storm is the most impressive thing on my resume, and you'd better believe that I've used past publications as writing samples for job applications (I'm pretty sure I even used Birgit as a reference for my current job).

At 26, I'm a little young to be reflecting on my career as a completed journey, but I know that no matter where the rest of my life takes me in terms of my creative endeavors, I'll always be able to credit Metal Storm with fostering that growth, allowing me a venue to practice my penmanship, and instilling in me the confidence to continue putting work out for the world to disagree with. I might even venture far enough into self-embarrassment to recognize that certain users, among them Craig, Ilham, Doc G, and Troy, have had a noticeable impact on my writing style (not limited to my reviewing style); I am, after all, still growing as a writer and theoretically will be forever, so it's no surprise to think that all the writing I've done and seen on MS, whether from folks junior or senior to me, has given me an idea of what to do (or not do). If my non-MS writing projects ever see the light of day, you'll have Metal Storm to thank for them. And with all that freehand publishing I've done here so far, I managed to catch the wave, becoming an official contributor in 2013 thanks to my steadily stabilizing output; I then rose to elite in 2014, staff in 2015, and the Big Kahuna Burger in 2017, all because I never logged out of Metal Storm and I could make enough jokes to fill a Six Feet Under review. I've done more writing than I ever thought I was capable of (or would ever want to do - lemmy tell ya, those MSAs don't come cheap). Thanks to Metal Storm, I've seen some of my all-time favorite bands share stuff I wrote on social media. I've gotten to chat with Devin Townsend and Freddy Lim of Chthonic, two of the people I admire most, and by e-mail I've interviewed Mirai Kawashima of Sigh and all of The SLoT, two more favorites. The other day, Stephen O'Malley told me that he liked the way I classed-up Radu's review, and I reflected that this is the kind of cool thing I get to do with my life now. Still no word from Chris Barnes about where he thinks I can shove my reviews, but Gama Bomb and Accept liked what I did for them, so I'm content.

There's a lot of Metal Storm history that I wasn't around for or wasn't privy to, but I fully intend to be here to discover Metal Storm's future. I am grateful to everyone who had a part in building this place and everyone I've gotten to know through here. It's not just heavy metal that's in my DNA now; it's Metal Storm itself.

Additionally, though I wasn't planning to do this at first (in part because my taste is not interesting), other people started listing their favorite albums from each year of Metal Storm's existence, and I've never turned down a chance to be even more verbose, so here:

Favorite metal albums from the years when Metal Storm was alive:

2000: Jag Panzer - Thane To The Throne
2001: Sigh - Imaginary Sonicscape
2002: Dew-Scented - Inwards
2003: Devin Townsend - Accelerated Evolution
2004: Forefather - Ours Is The Kingdom
2005: System Of A Down - Hypnotize
2006: Amon Amarth - With Oden On Our Side
2007: Warning - Watching From A Distance
2008: Cross Examination - Menace II Sobriety
2009: Anaal Nathrakh - In The Constellation Of The Black Widow
2010: Sabaton - Coat Of Arms
2011: Chthonic - Takasago Army
2012: Doll$Boxx - Dolls Apartment
2013: The SLoT - Шестой
2014: Alestorm - Sunset On The Golden Age
2015: Sigh - Graveward
2016: Sabaton - The Last Stand
2017: Elvenking - Secrets Of The Magick Grimoire
2018: The SLoT - 200 кВт
2019: Sabaton - The Great War
2020: Myrkur - Folkesange

Mr. Doctor: This December 26th, I will celebrate 13 years since I made a Metalstorm account. Considering how things are lately around the globe... Maybe I should get a bit superstitious. But when I look back at these 13 years, I know I can't fear that odd number as Metalstorm has meant the world to me.

To properly explain what Metalstorm has done for me, I have to go further back in time: At the end of the 90s and reaching the dawn of a new millennium, I was around 8 years old and discovered metal thanks to my step-brother. He was my only source of music at the time. I took it pretty hard when the hands of fate separated us and in April 2005 my life changed even more as I moved from Chile to Sweden for family reasons. Music-wise all I had was a cd-player and one Rhapsody album. I can't describe the solitude I felt the first 2 years. Learning a completely new language and no contact with anyone I could call a friend or someone to share my interest in music. It's mind-blowing that I managed to move to one hell of a metal country yet only some years ago I started to meet actual Swedish metalheads to talk to and call friends. Weird, eh?

So I was 13 and desperately searching for people to talk to. My sister who, unlike me, actually knew some English found this webzine/forum which was a great outlet for music and social contact when we simply couldn't talk to people outside our home. I became a lurker in this website for almost a year. Reading, reading and reading: Lyrics, comments, reviews. I translated every word. I noticed how my English grades at school were getting better and better so I finally went for it and made an account in late December 2007. 15 years old at the time. I went through all sorts of phases. Starting with Rhapsody and other symphonic/power metal bands and slowly working my way through my first harsh vocals. At the same time I began chatting like crazy with people from all around the globe. Metalstorm became my source of ALL new music. But most importantly it became the source of contact with equal-minded individuals at a time I felt the most alone. I guess that's the main reason I ended up being top 5 in post-count, haha. I commented on everything. Listened to everything. I was lost in a vast space of knowledge since I felt (and still do!) that Metalstorm had everything I needed. Cool & colorful people, excellent network of contacts, high quality content and conversations, etc.

In January 2010 I decided to send my gratitude in the form of a review. In Mars 2011 I became an elite member and I fully embraced the title: I began collaborating heavily with the Awards each year and the odd reviews here and there. I remember those first years of being elite as some of the busiest I've ever had on the internet. Each year was "the biggest one yet" for the awards. I felt I was part of something huge. Shortly after becoming elite I started going to each Roadburn festival edition and shared my experiences to the users. One year at Roadburn someone told me that thanks to my previous concert reviews he decided to finally buy a ticket and take the ride. A Swedish venue used an album review to promote a Sonne Adam concert. Musicians I talked to at the merch-stands suddenly reacted when I mentioned Metalstorm. It was a confirmation of my work but most importantly of how something you may consider little can mean a lot to a new band or individual. The underground scene will always need every little help it gets.

In reality, my review count has always been low. Barely 5 reviews a year (8 per year if I count articles I've been part of). It could be the feeling of not really having a voice in comparison to some of our other reviewers who I envy greatly for their unique and tasteful style... Or it might just be laziness. Nevertheless, I truly believe Metalstorm provides all the tools possible for anyone wanting to test out some music journalism. The Metalstorm family (users and staff alike) must feel pride for covering so much ground: Articles, news, interviews, reviews, forum, chatrooms, etc. From metal to genres far removed from this beloved music genre of ours.

This community is always hungry for more, just like I was 13 years ago.
I was young and alone. Metalstorm mended that.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Favorite metal albums from the years when Metal Storm was alive:

2000: Electric Wizard - Dopethrone
2001: Pig Destroyer - Prowler In The Yard
2002: Today Is The Day - Sadness Will Prevail
2003: Khanate - Things Viral
2004: Neurosis - The Eye Of Every Storm
2005: Lurker Of Chalice - Lurker Of Chalice
2006: !T.O.O.H.! - Řád A Trest
2007: Warning - Watching From A Distance
2008: Esoteric - The Maniacal Vale
2009: Cobalt - Gin
2010: Murmuüre - Murmuüre
2011: Flourishing - The Sum Of All Fossils
2012: Agruss - Morok
2013: Bølzer - Aura
2014: Menace Ruine - Venus Armata
2015: Chaos Ech?s - Transient
2016: Zeal & Ardor - Devil Is Fine
2017: Bell Witch - Mirror Reaper
2018: Imperial Triumphant - Vile Luxury
2019: Cult Of Luna - A Dawn To Fear
2020: Ulcerate - Stare Into Death And Be Still

musclassia: I don't know exactly how I found Metal Storm, but I can imagine; 2010 saw a teenage version of myself starting to branch out from Metallica, Megadeth, Iron Maiden and Avenged Sevenfold, partially through music passed my way by a classmate with more experience with metal (Machine Head, Opeth) and partially through my first attempts at finding recommendations online. I encountered a few websites with 'metal' incorporated into their name in one way or another, but something about Metal Storm helped it stand out from the rest. I probably first stumbled across it after the aforementioned classmate dumped his iTunes library onto my laptop shortly before leaving for university; my guess is that in searching for album details for some of the lesser known bands in that collection, Metal Storm pulled through with details that more mainstream sites failed to provide, and thus started an enduring association with the site.

I was an infrequent poster on the forum to begin with; a couple of early comments about Sylosis's recently released Edge Of The Earth (whose artwork has been my profile picture since the inception of this account), and then posting once or twice a month for the next year, before gradually getting more frequent. Early on, Metal Storm was more a resource for keeping track of albums I'd heard, between my annual lists, album votes and collection (which I must confess I have always included digital albums in); however, the more time I spent here, the more I gradually got involved, whether by commenting or tentatively trying reviewing (starting off very low-key by covering When Icarus Falls's Circles EP as my maiden effort), and nearly a decade on, I have now become one of those front page reviewers and forum spammers I admired so much in my early years.

What is it about Metal Storm that makes it so enduring? Surely a site this prone to crashing must have something great about it to keep me coming back? It's not something, but several things. First, it's an incredible resource for finding new music; I regularly check several other sites for recommendations, but Metal Storm has introduced me to a staggering volume of great music over the years - this year alone, Wills Dissolve, Wake, Neptunian Maximalism, Lotus Thief and Garganjua are just a few of the great bands I discovered through this site, not to mention bands releasing excellent albums this year that I first found on the site (Wayfarer, Regarde Les Hommes Tomber, Elder, Pure Reason Revolution, the list goes on and on). Between the easily navigable forum, the random shoutouts overlooked albums can get from users that bring them to your attention, the reviews, it's just a hotbed for finding great music. It's also become a great source of non-metal music, thanks to Radu's Wait A Minute! This Isn't Metal! series, and I've finally started taking advantage of the truly underground gems that Clandestine Cuts gives a spotlight to. But it's not just the discoveries; I've really enjoyed the opportunity to write regularly for the site, improving my writing in the process whilst giving small bands what spotlight I can (I very much enjoyed seeing Pull Down The Sun, Barishi and Wake, among others, sharing my positive reviews of their latest releases), and I've enjoyed my interactions with a sizeable group of posters over the years that have turned me onto great music, including but not limited to Radu, Nikarg, Apothecary, SSUS, tea[m]ster, Diverge, prnzokoshirolta, !J.O.O.E.!, and many more. There's also some great humour to be found here amidst the fanboy rages about negative reviews, with Rupophobic's Pure Unadulterated Passion still difficult to top all these years later.

Overall, Metal Storm's existence has been a big positive for me in the near-decade since I discovered it, and especially during this year's lockdowns, when I've been able to go into overdrive with reviews and articles. Happy 20th anniversary, may the site continue for another 20 years to come!

Favorite metal albums from the years when Metal Storm was alive:

2000 - Pain Of Salvation - The Perfect Element, Part I
2001 - Green Carnation - Light Of Day, Day Of Darkness
2002 - Agalloch - The Mantle
2003 - Sleep - Dopesmoker
2004 - Isis - Panopticon
2005 - Coheed And Cambria - Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through The Eyes Of Madness
2006 - Cult Of Luna - Somewhere Along The Highway
2007 - Between The Buried And Me - Colors
2008 - Protest The Hero - Fortress
2009 - Mastodon - Crack The Skye
2010 - Enslaved - Axioma Ethica Odini
2011 - Sylosis - Edge Of The Earth
2012 - Sylosis - Monolith
2013 - Cult Of Luna - Vertikal
2014 - Monuments - The Amanuensis
2015 - Amorphis - Under The Red Cloud
2016 - Cult Of Luna - Mariner
2017 - The Contortionist - Clairvoyant
2018 - Rolo Tomassi - Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It
2019 - Cult Of Luna - A Dawn To Fear
2020 - Elder - Omens

At this point, we've begun weeping so many beautiful tears of bittersweet nostalgia that we're too overcome to continue. This massive feast of recollections will be picked up in Part Two of Metal Storm's 20th anniversary celebration. Stay tuned for more faces and more memories!

Written on 20.12.2020 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.

Comments page 3 / 3

Comments: 70   [ 1 ignored ]   Visited by: 314 users
27.12.2020 - 18:50
The Ancient One
Written by Deadsoulman on 24.12.2020 at 00:07

Sorry, this was probably my fault. I logged in for the first time in one year. I think the site couldn't handle so much awesomeness in one go.

Un tel ego, mi Froggy amigo.
get the fuck off my lawn.

Beer Bug Virus Spotify Playlist crafted by Nikarg and I. Feel free to tune in and add some pertinent metal tunes!
29.12.2020 - 22:24
Well hello there, guess who's back
the proggy bubblefucker
30.12.2020 - 09:05
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Written by marco on 29.12.2020 at 22:24

Well hello there, guess who's back

In super early hours per day I read Maco.
Welcome back dude Now we need get beck Arven, Keli, Götter, Valentina, Dru, Viggo, UnholyMenace
I stand whit Ukraine and Israel. They have right to defend own citizens.

Stormtroopers of Death - "Speak English or Die"

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
30.12.2020 - 09:07
Written by Bad English on 30.12.2020 at 09:05

Written by marco on 29.12.2020 at 22:24

Well hello there, guess who's back

In super early hours per day I read Maco.

Not just you.
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
30.12.2020 - 09:09
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Written by RaduP on 30.12.2020 at 09:07

Written by Bad English on 30.12.2020 at 09:05

Written by marco on 29.12.2020 at 22:24

Well hello there, guess who's back

In super early hours per day I read Maco.

Not just you.

Hehheheheh booze brother
btw you should find Venom BM , he is Romanian pioneer here. Or that Vmapire girl
I stand whit Ukraine and Israel. They have right to defend own citizens.

Stormtroopers of Death - "Speak English or Die"

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
02.01.2021 - 02:35
How active are the forums these days anyway and how is MS doing? Seems like most people are now mostly on social media sites and forums have pretty much died out.

PS, if elite accounts are still a thing then would be awesome if someone could give me my old access back.
the proggy bubblefucker
02.01.2021 - 10:23
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Written by marco on 02.01.2021 at 02:35

How active are the forums these days anyway and how is MS doing? Seems like most people are now mostly on social media sites and forums have pretty much died out.

PS, if elite accounts are still a thing then would be awesome if someone could give me my old access back.

Read my statement here. Ms was Dead short time in all, Birgit brought it back from the coma.
We are getting back. New review are where where most coments n discussions happenens. News and album föllows whit good numbers, rest is just... So so.
I stand whit Ukraine and Israel. They have right to defend own citizens.

Stormtroopers of Death - "Speak English or Die"

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
03.01.2021 - 07:35
Cynic Metalhead
Paisa Vich Nasha
The only factor missing from this awesomeness is someone covering our 20th Anniversary of Metal Storm in WSJ.

What you say, guys? Should we push this?
03.01.2021 - 07:59
Written by Cynic Metalhead on 03.01.2021 at 07:35


Wall Street Journal?
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
03.01.2021 - 09:57
Cynic Metalhead
Paisa Vich Nasha
Written by RaduP on 03.01.2021 at 07:59

Written by Cynic Metalhead on 03.01.2021 at 07:35


Wall Street Journal?

*sips milk*

Yeah. Isn't it cool someone from the MSM roster covering core aspects of this incredible community and we get quoted by the likes of Congresswoman AOC?

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