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The 20th Anniversary Of Metal Storm: Part II

Written by: ScreamingSteelUS, jupitreas, Baz Anderson, nikarg, Ilham, Troy Killjoy, RaduP, Starvynth, Auntie Sahar, Deadsoulman, Darkside Momo
Published: December 24, 2020

Metal Storm is now 20 years old, and that is cause for much rejoicing. This is part two of our collective recollections, which began over here.

jupitreas: Ah, a retrospective! I want in. Hi there, I'm jupitreas. Like many others here, I am probably unrecognizable to the majority of current Metal Storm users but I was one of the big dogs back in the day. My username was meant to be a humorous Samael-style nickname while also meaning 'ass the size of Jupiter'.

I don't remember exactly when I joined Metal Storm, but it was sometime during 2002. At the time, MS was going through a few changes in management and I immediately clashed with the person who was editor at the time for having edited my review in a way that made it nonsensical. I got mad at the guy but somehow couldn't shake the Metal Storm bug, so I came back in late 2003. I guess this just fueled my ambition and over the years I contributed hundreds of reviews and other content and eventually occupied the position of Editor In Chief myself for a short period of time in 2010-2011. Finally, now I could be the one to piss off potential contributors!

During my time here I was mostly laser-focused on reviews and related issues - it was important for me to make Metal Storm the web-zine with the best written content in terms of quality. The majority of my notable contributions are in these areas - besides contributing reviews, articles, features and interviews, I also helped form style guidelines for our reviewers, proof-read a ton of reviews, tutored many promising reviewers and engaged in endless conversations about what makes a review good. I think I might have been the first reviewer here to not rate his reviews - the intention was to emphasize the actual text of the review, rather than fixating on scores. I was the original creator of the Clandestine Cuts series of articles, which is still going strong to this day.

I was also one of the most vocal champions of the idea that Metal Storm should be a web-zine about music that has the potential to appeal to metal fans, rather than an orthodox metal-only website (like Metal Archives). I went to great lengths to include content about metal-adjacent bands and styles, such as EBM, industrial, noise, alternative rap, post-punk and more, while also praising experimental metal bands and criticizing those that stagnated in their evolution too much. I am eternally pleased and humbled that Metal Storm today still seems to follow this general direction, both in terms of placing emphasis on quality of reviews, as well as not being a super-exclusive elitist prison.

Sadly, my newfound responsibilities as EIC eventually caused me to burn out. While extremely fun and personally rewarding, it was still a voluntary position with no financial benefits, and I had just finished uni and needed to get my ass in gear and join the job market. It was just a little too much for me and after some soul searching, I quit my position as EIC and began building a career. I became increasingly less active on MS and since about 2015 I'm basically a ghost. I still listen to metal (among other things) and I still lurk here from time to time, MS still being the best place to find new metal for me.

My roughly 10-year journey with Metal Storm was an extremely rewarding one on both a personal and professional level. At a time when I was still a confused teenager, it allowed me to join a diverse and vibrant community. I met many very valuable, excellent people with whom I had endless, deep and though-provoking discussions about music and beyond. It helped me grow in ways that I can't even begin to quantify. These people had a profound influence on both my musical journey as well as my development as a person. The list is very long and includes (in no particular order) the fantastic Metal Storm members Marcel, Deadsoulman, Jeff, Darkside Momo, Ivor, Lucas, Wrathchild, Baz, BittercOLD, Ivan, Susan, Herzebeth, Promonex, Soren, Thryce, Undercraft, ylside, Jason W., Dane Train to name but a few (its been a while, I apologize profusely if I omitted you). While our relationships were obviously mostly of the online kind, I cherish the memories of meeting many of you in person at Wacken and Hellfest.

On a professional level, I would not be overstating it if I said that Metal Storm taught me how to write. Seriously, write a few hundred reviews about diverse styles of music and you'll be able to write anything. Being here and having my responsibilities gradually grow to the point of becoming EIC also gave me crucial and precious experience in leading and collaborating with a team. The many gigs and festivals I covered taught me how to remain calm and professional even when dealing with Very Important People. Finally, it just taught me how to act in ways that MAKE AWESOME STUFF HAPPEN. Success is never the result of a single action, it requires a complicated process of self-improvement and being here totally taught me that.

With this perspective as outlined above, it makes me very glad to see Metal Storm still going strong, 20 years after its creation and about 10 years after I quit. This is a very special place on the Internet, a true safe haven for any serious metal fan who is also open-minded. An endless source of great music and even greater criticism and dialogue. I can certainly say without a shadow of a doubt that the people currently in charge of Metal Storm completely get what made this site unique and kickass in the first place. Here's to another 20 years of Metal Storm!

Baz Anderson: Roughly half of my lifetime ago I registered to a website called Metal Storm. It was 2004 and I needed somewhere to both educate my fledgling musical tastes and distract my attention away from whatever I was supposed to be doing in my Computing classes. Little did I know I'd be sitting here 16 years later helping celebrate the 20th anniversary of this website that came to mean a great deal to me.

This is where I first read the news on Dimebag Darrell. This is where I discovered almost all the bands I still call my favourites today. This is where I first felt at home talking about my kind of music. This is the website I can say like no other influenced my life for the better.

Summer 2007 I was in university and made my first journey of what became many to France and Germany for the Hellfest and Wacken festivals, with the promise of seeing hundreds of bands and finally getting to meet some of the people I'd been sharing these forums with. At Hellfest there was Ivan whose baby this is, Ivor inseparable probably to this day from his camera, Marcel who kindly let me share his tent and is now sadly missed, ylside who I shared a memorable experience getting lost in the mud and dark with for an entire night, Cyrille who has always been one of the nicest and friendliest guy's I've met, Jeff who later went on to work with Hellfest properly, and Momo who I remember talking with many mornings at the campsite. At the overwhelming Wacken festival I briefly met Daniel and Jerry who both have been integral and well-respected members of this establishment for a number of years. In later years I would get chance to meet Ilham, Lukas, Bas and many other names who have come and gone from here!

By this time I was working more and more on the website with concert reviews, album reviews, photo galleries of increasing quality as the years went on, and interviews. I still vividly remember my first interviews in person with members of Finntroll and Amon Amarth. Out of ignorance and my interviewee's presumed kindness, the Amon Amarth interview lasted over an hour and I recall even talking about the current Mr Bean film of the time. I would later be the first to bring the much easier - and quicker - video interviews to the site, although I haven't dared to watch any of these back lately since I know I'd end up wishing I'd be able to re-do them now! My new "Getting Into" articles born out of too much spare time also brought a new kind of resource to the site. One of the greatest things I do have to thank this website for is the amount of people I got to meet whom I admired; Devin Townsend, Nergal, Mick Box, Tobias Sammet, Tomas Lindberg, Shagrath, David Vincent... and many members of bands like Helloween, Gamma Way, Sonata Arctica, Blind Guardian, Nile, Finntroll, Ensiferum, 1349, Cannibal Corpse and many more... all of them with their own memories - mostly great - lodged firmly in my head.

More years past and the website continued to grow. A few of us started to earn some money for our duties in an attempt to help take the site to the next step up. I was elected Metal Storm's promotion guy and managed to get us a few festival partnerships. I also oversaw the printing and distributing of the new-at-the-time Metal Storm shirts, of which I still have and wear mine every once in a while. This arrangement didn't last however and by 2013 I moved onto the next phase of my life a bit more distant from here.

I became a multiple Pokémon VGC Champion, I worked taking animals into schools to do lessons, and I eventually moved up to Scotland and cut my hair! But I always came here if I wanted to look something up and am very glad Metal Storm continues to provide information and publications for a new generation and from a new generation of people who either won't remember me or know who I am.

Metal Storm 20 years on, I still love you!

2000: Lykathea Aflame - Elvenefris
2001: Ensiferum - Ensiferum
2002: Blind Guardian - A Night At The Opera
2003: Sonata Arctica - Winterheart's Guild
2004: Wuthering Heights - Far From The Madding Crowd
2005: Masterplan - Aeronautics
2006: Celtic Frost - Monotheist
2007: Defeated Sanity - Psalms Of The Moribund
2008: The Monolith Deathcult - Trivmvirate
2009: Immortal - All Shall Fall
2010: Enslaved - Axioma Ethica Odini
2011: Decapitated - Carnival Is Forever
2012: Mgła - With Hearts Toward None
2013: Helloween - Straight Out Of Hell
2014: 1349 - Massive Cauldron Of Chaos
2015: Mgła - Exercises In Futility
2016: Vektor - Terminal Redux
2017: Ayreon - The Source
2018: Angra - ØMNI
2019: Devin Townsend - Empath
2020: Finntroll - Vredesvävd

nikarg: Considering how old Metal Storm is, I am quite new here since I found it by accident some time around 2015. A couple of years later I became official contributor and in the same year my first participation in the Metal Storm Awards came which was a blast, and it has been a blast every year, despite our behind-the-scenes, never-ending drama. The gang took the decision to make me member of staff with moderator duties in 2019. I hope they haven't regretted it. If I have learnt something these last few years, it is the fact that you can develop respect and feelings of friendship and caring for people that you have never seen in real life. For me, the people residing in what we call the MS Towers are some sort of online family and - like all families - we love each other yet we have conflicts, we piss each other off yet we find ways to co-exist and, in the end, we do our best to keep this family together and help it grow.

When I think of it, I guess I was unlucky to not have known Metal Storm in its heyday. When I joined, and for a couple of years give-and-take, the website seemed to be in decline. But I reckon all the new blood that has joined in the past few years has managed to revive it and I hope I had a small part to play in that effort to recapture previous glory. At present, Metal Storm is a dinosaur that refuses to go extinct; instead, it remains a place for metalheads to meet and hang out and it seems to be getting stronger again with each passing day. We have so many talented people contributing that I strongly consider to be infinitely better in every possible way compared to those who work for bigger websites than ours. But then Metal Storm is an expression of metal itself; the underground has always been more attention-worthy than the mainstream. What I enjoy the most here is the community and it is one of the main reasons why, for me personally, metal music and my enjoyment of it is now forever intertwined with Metal Storm; I find it difficult to imagine one existing in my life without the other. Or without Metal Stormers; if you are ever in Athens and want to grab a beer or ten go ahead and buzz me. I'll be glad to drink with you.

Happy 20th anniversary Metal Storm! The best is yet to come

Favourite albums for the years 2000-2020 that MS has been alive
2000: Iron Maiden - Brave New World
2001: Green Carnation - Light Of Day, Day Of Darkness
2002: Agalloch - The Mantle
2003: The Lord Weird Slough Feg - Traveller
2004: Motörhead - Inferno
2005: Bolt Thrower - Those Once Loyal
2006: Negură Bunget - OM
2007: Rotting Christ - Theogonia
2008: Septicflesh - Communion
2009: Megadeth - Endgame
2010: Barren Earth - Curse Of The Red River
2011: Thy Catafalque - Rengeteg
2012: Mgła - With Hearts Toward None
2013: Tribulation - The Formulas Of Death
2014: Hail Spirit Noir - Oi Magoi
2015: Batushka - Litourgiya
2016: Vektor - Terminal Redux
2017: Wormwood - Ghostlands - Wounds From A Bleeding Earth
2018: Chapel Of Disease - ...And As We Have Seen The Storm, We Have Embraced The Eye
2019: Atlantean Kodex - The Course Of Empire
2020: Anaal Nathrakh - Endarkenment

Ilham: I grew up on Metalstorm. It isn't an exaggeration to throw such a statement around. I was about 15/16 when I discovered the website in 2005, and it has shaped my life in more ways than you would think. I am now 31, and I just got married this February. Two MS members were present at the ceremony where I said my vows to my husband.

All of the talking, joking and arguing I did here was the most amount of socialisation I could ever get in 2005, because I was growing up in an African country where the internet was the only window of something resembling freedom for someone like me. As a teenager I was shy at first, lurking for the most part. Then I started posting, but I was massively insecure. Jeff noticed a new French speaking recruit, so he encouraged me to explore some of his favourite bands and showed me how to interact with the site. I got so excited about the endless troves of new bands to listen to that posting/lurking became a daily activity after coming home from high school. For about three years, I did it all. I've been overly excited about a band I stopped liking three months later. Older men made fun of me because I liked the wrong band so I pretended to like music I would absolutely make fun of nowadays. I've been cocky, I've been combattive and looked for a fight. I've been flirty in and out of PMs. I've talked about my depression in the sad boi parts of the forum. I've nervously uploaded pictures to the gallery, and I've wished "happy birthday" to other users on almost a daily basis.

In 2007, at 18, I left the continent and Metalstorm gave me my "in" with the metal crowd of the city I moved to in France. I was suddenly free to explore, socialise and experiment in person this time. That's when the Metalstorm meetings started happening at Hellfest and elsewhere. I have had some of the best yet weirdest days of my life at Hellfest with what you would call the "old guard". MS was a figurative password when meeting new people at events. It was a rallying point for data and discussions about metal, both offline and online. But I couldn't ignore my studies anymore and I slowly started fading away from the forums.

Jumping to my mid twenties (2013-2015), with the weight of depression and health problems weighing on me and dampening my social life, I sought refuge on Metalstorm again. I was still exhibiting the same sad and awkward chaotic neutral energy on the forums, only with waaaay more memes and more self-awareness. With more time on my hands and slightly less patience for fools, I found myself wandering towards music genres I had never even listened to before because I had been too scared to hurt my fake kvlt reputation. In letting my taste truly develop without fear of judgement, I got into my head that people might enjoy reading my thoughts on the new hardcore releases I couldn't have enough of. That's when I started shitposting in the form of reviews. It was great. It didn't look like it - those reviews were #cringetown - but it was a lot of passionate work. That too was shortlived.

My presence on Metalstorm always had to do with how bad my mental health was and how much IRL social life I had. I was tempted to make a graph to illustrate that correlation, but let's just say the worst I felt the more I'd post. That became apparent to me only around 2016. So I had to assess if MS was a place that helped me cope or a place that contributed to how poorly I felt. I came to the conclusion that the exposure to trolls, elitist assholes, the constant bickering over trivial crap with both staff and random users, the exposure to overtly racist, mysogynistic and homophobic deadbeats, as well as just the overwhelmingly dark themes that populated the music and forums were just too much to take on daily for my mental health. And I'm not pretending I didn't exhibit any of the traits I listed. It had just become clear that my mind was way more permeable than I thought. I was more prone to mimicking and responding to the negative behaviour than I had imagined. My posts were increasingly angry, bitter, and insecure. Over time, I started evading the forums and just interacting with my favourite peeps on social media. I still do. I still meet a couple people once in a while, depending on what continent I live on. I still plan on doing so.

It's now 2020. It's all very bittersweet. I recall all my embarrassing posts, all the effort I put over the years to please strangers by editing my posts to death until it felt like I wasn't speaking for myself anymore, but I also recall all the jokes and camaraderie. Reviewing albums on a weekly basis helped me put a stop to how much I was willing to camouflage my own opinions for short-lived tiny crumbs of approval from idiots with shitty taste in music and greasy hair. It also translated into real life confidence. I wish this site had seen a better version of me, but at the same time it contributed to showing me what that better version would entail.

And yet, I still come back once in a while. I still have memories of fun times IRL/online with Jeff, Barry, Wrathchild, Momo, Bas, Lucas, Jupitreas and others. I think it's funny that MS taught me how to speak English and swear too much. I'm very grateful for the time some people would take to accompany me into the musical rabbit holes I wanted to explore. I'm lucky to have been able to compensate my lack of socialisation growing up with a an online surrogate that taught me a lot about myself and how to interact with others. I'm privileged to have been able to meet so many of you for festivals I'm probably too old to enjoy to as full of an extent now. I'm very thankful for the friends I made along the way, and specifically I want to thank Rod, Troy, Johan, Radu, and SillySamouraiUS for their continuing friendship on and off this website until this day.

Finding Metalstorm 15 years ago, so early on absolutely changed my life, and I know that for a fact. Why? Because the ONLY thing I can imagine transforming a nerdy, terribly awkward and non-confrontational French-Moroccan girl in 2005 into the kind of woman that would message first the person who would become her husband for a first date at a Thrice concert in Canada is a decade and a half spent arguing with men over genre labels on an obscure website with bad design. Thank you for that <3.

Troy Killjoy: Inconsistency is arguably the defining characteristic with which I'm struggling to outgrow. It's followed me throughout my 30 years of life with unyielding tenacity, seemingly embedding itself in my predetermined path to self-implode despite my greatest efforts to the contrary. This can all be easily explained, of course, as with everything we learn to despise about ourselves: I'm merely a product of my upbringing.

You get used to moving around a lot when your single mother's career of minimum wage employment fails to make ends meet and the sadistic twins of unpaid bills and soaring debt force drastic change in the form of having one's life uprooted in an ill-guided attempt to hit the big red reset button on life. It began with inter-city migration, but it wasn't until the cross-country exodus during my mid-teens that Metal Storm would first introduce itself to me. It was during a high school computer science class where we were tasked with posting a comment in a forum -- a simple enough task, if not unknowingly path-altering. Mind you, my interest in metal at the time existed solely in a surface-grade capacity, triggered by a childhood fascination with Disturbed. Much to my dismay, the most renowned encyclopedia of metal didn't feature my favorite band, and my curiosity as to why led to a short-lived bombardment of online strangers berating me for my shitty taste in music.

I was distraught at the thought so many people not only hated my favorite band, but also directed their hate at me. It was unfathomable. So I sought out greener pastures when I got home from school that day, digging through various metal-related webzines and forums so I could find like-minded people to discuss everything Disturbed. Ironically (they weren't a featured band here at the time) this search led me to Metal Storm. It was back right before the continental shift from MSv2 to MSv3, and I stayed up all night giving this online world my undivided attention, learning everything I could about anything metal, uncovering a treasure trove of new recommendations and suggestions based on similar tastes and exploring histories of music I previously didn't know existed, all without even interacting with anyone. It was a relatively wholesome environment -- encouraging and informative from the outset. Considering the internet's true nature, it was a unique place (and still is).

The changes in my life and with the site since have all become a blur. Specifics elude my alcohol-addled memory, but more profound and lasting aspects of my tenure here remain at the forefront of my mind. I remember finally creating an account named after my favorite Insomnium song after years of anxiety-ridden sideline lurking and just how nervous I felt about it at the time. I remember Lucas grooming me to become a front page reviewer by throwing Towards Darkness by The Mass (now Towards Darkness) my way as a test, and immediately falling for their sound. I remember the Wild West days and participating in time out-worthy shenanigans with the likes of Joe and Jiri, corrupting fellow Ontarion babies Tanner and Matty, engaging with trolls like vezzy and Yasmine, and deciphering Bad English commentary (an unrewarding chore dating back to his days as k7). I remember being promoted through the ranks as I became more experienced and learned from those who I aspired to some day call my peers, particularly Craig. His guidance, whether intentional or not, proved to be invaluable as I found myself applying inadvertent advice (often in the form of being scolded for inappropriate behavior) to my life outside of Metal Storm.

I wanted to ingrain myself in this place. I engaged in every aspect of the site I felt comfortable with. You don't amass 20,000 comments without getting into some heated arguments, especially when you're an opinionated little shit with no self-awareness, but I won't dwell on my mistakes here. In fact, Metal Storm also gave me things to remember outside of the website. I remember meeting Ilham for the first time and working to establish a friendship that transitioned beyond the online realm to the point I watched her speak her wedding vows, and in turn she -- and many others -- watched me drunkenly botch the worm on hardwood flooring. I remember a time where I genuinely disliked Marcel, a pillar of the community both online and in the real world, because he served as a reminder that my time on the site was nothing more than a failed attempt at escapism and I resented that. It was one of many factors in my decision(s) to leave Metal Storm, admittedly more than once, and yet I always found my way back. Sometimes after a ~three year hiatus. More importantly than that, though, I remember needing to take a day off work when I heard news of his passing. Because this place, this digital home for anyone who needs even a passing place to stay, it harbors a family. We may not show it or say it in typical fashion, but through our work to maintain all that this is, to pour whatever drops of fuel we have left from our daily responsibilities to ensure this vision stays alive, to keep coming back to it no matter how much we might bicker and disagree and get frustrated with how things are. To honor the time and efforts of everyone who came before and will come after. That's what a family does. That's love.

Metal Storm is celebrating 20 years of tumultuous growth and snail-paced evolution. I suppose I see myself in that. But no matter where life takes me or where I end up, I know I'll always have a place to call home here. And there's no place else I'd rather be.

Personal Top 20 of the Past 20
2000: Quo Vadis - Day Into Night
2001: Green Carnation - Light Of Day, Day Of Darkness
2002: Agalloch - The Mantle
2003: Anathema - A Natural Disaster
2004: Mastodon - Leviathan
2005: Bolt Thrower - Those Once Loyal
2006: Insomnium - Above The Weeping World
2007: Gris - Il Était Une Forêt...
2008: Esoteric - The Maniacal Vale
2009: Process Of Guilt - Erosion
2010: Alcest - Écailles De Lune
2011: Benighted - Asylum Cave
2012: Be'lakor - Of Breath And Bone
2013: Cult Of Luna - Vertikal
2014: Monolord - Empress Rising
2015: Mgła - Exercises In Futility
2016: Forteresse - Thèmes Pour La Rébellion
2017: Cytotoxin - Gammageddon
2018: Psychonaut - Unfold The God Man
2019: Cattle Decapitation - Death Atlas
2020: Panzerfaust - The Suns Of Perdition - Chapter II: Render Unto

RaduP: At this point the story of "Googling the best metal albums and stumbling across Metal Storm" is already a pretty common one, and it had happened to me as well. Already having some preference towards metal through my dad's dad rock and the rock stations in certain GTA games, I was mostly in my "music was better back in the day" mood when I first stumbled across Metal Storm's top 200 list. I was familiar enough with some of the names, but I decided to check out Agalloch's The Mantle. That is the exact moment my entire music experience fundamentally changed. Ever since I have tried to give to Metal Storm back at least as much as Metal Storm gave to me.

I discovered a lot of my now favorite music through here, as well as some of my favorite people. Even though I discovered the website in 2013, it's no coincidence that I still visit it daily, sometimes even before getting my coffee. It might have to do with me having been promoted since. Or maybe it's just the feeling that I really belong here, that we have this thing that is ours, that my contributions are valued, and that we have however small an impact on the world, whether it's a band finding new listeners or a listener finding new bands. Or just people finding people. I found both.

There weren't as many changes to the website since I joined, since I was too young to see the early iterations of the website without the aid of the Wayback Machine, but I did come around the time when things were still moving. I caught a big redesign (whose image resizing was my gold mine for accumulating massive quantities of community points), but I also lived through days when you couldn't access the website at all, or weeks when barely one or two reviews would get published. Nowadays you still have to worry about whether the website will crash or not, but I worry more that my reviews will get swallowed up by other reviews than anything else. With the Clandestine Cuts being revived, the non-metal articles already a household thing, with more and more Getting Into articles being published or planned, it seems like MS is at a productive peak. Looking at our Facebook likes is pretty disappointing, but for our volunteer work to get us promos, interviews and media creds (back when there was these things called live concerts) I think it's all worth it.

I'm not gonna pretend that I don't get asked about why I do all these things for free, spending so much time writing reviews, maintaining the database, reporting spam bots, and so on. To which I say: it got me to shake Emma Ruth Rundle's hand and tell Lingua Ignota personally that she looks like Lady Gaga. I also took Metal Storm's best picture.

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

2000: Deftones - White Pony
2001: Maudlin Of The Well - Bath
2002: Agalloch - The Mantle
2003: Kayo Dot - Choirs Of The Eye
2004: Neurosis - The Eye Of Every Storm
2005: Rosetta - The Galilean Satellites
2006: Negură Bunget - OM
2007: The Angelic Process - Weighing Souls With Sand
2008: Esoteric - The Maniacal Vale
2009: Mastodon - Crack The Skye
2010: Alcest - Écailles De Lune
2011: Ulcerate - The Destroyers Of All
2012: Dordeduh - Dar De Duh
2013: Altar Of Plagues - Teethed Glory And Injury
2014: Agalloch - The Serpent & The Sphere
2015: Akhlys - The Dreaming I
2016: Oranssi Pazuzu - Värähtelijä
2017: Bell Witch - Mirror Reaper
2018: Wolvennest - Void
2019: Wilderun - Veil Of Imagination
2020: Neptunian Maximalism - Éons

Starvynth: The thing with old advanced age is that you've seen a lot, heard a lot, read a lot - but the side effect is that you will sooner or later forget most of it. I honestly cannot recall when I've read the ten magic letters Metal Storm for the very first time, everything is a little fuzzy now. A vague recollection of blurred images, fragments of abandoned user names (Ozman, Xnoybis, RelMuis, cursed, wurzel, JedHead, Destroyer_666 and last but not least Kariasakis7) and hazy memories of ancient site layouts, that's all what's left. But it's safe to say that I had to spend the first one and a half decade of my getting-into-metal phase without Metal Storm. Because apparently, MS simply failed to exist back in the late 80's and the shortage of affordable commercial internet may have been the main cause for a very persistent unability to connect to any database.
Luckily though, I was not the only metalhead in my home town and even my innate incapacity to interact with people couldn't prevent my antisocial and introvert self from finding kindred spirits among my peers in order to explore the new and exciting world of heavy metal. My first concert attendance (Metallica and Dio in Dortmund, 1990) and the somehow related downfall of thrash metal, the death metal boom of the early 90's, the disconcerting accompanying symptoms of second wave black metal, the genesis of my then favorite sub-genre doom/death and my passionate involvement in the tape trading scene - all of this had to happen without Metal Storm.

By an ironic twist of fate, my love for metal had already faded in the very year of Metal Storm's foundation and even though I probably knew that existed, I didn't even bother to pay particular attention to the site's early days. Blame it on the impact of grunge or on the saddening truth that each of my former favorite bands had suddenly began to suck, but the dawn of the new millennium marked my estrangement from almost everything related to metal.

Then came the 2010's and my interest in metal eventually arouse again, but I had to face the fact that nothing was as it used to be. The tape trading scene didn't exist anymore, most of my old metal friends were now listening to musical atrocities of the worst kind and good music on TV and radio was a true rarity.
There I was, 35 years old, with the experience of a failed marriage and quite a few shitty jobs under my belt, and nobody was left to share my frustration and anger and my newly revived love for metal and music in general. Life had not prepared me to feel that empty and alone and I knew that I had to fill the void somehow - and quickly.

Luckily, I rediscovered Metal Storm around 2015 and I can now sincerely say that I'm sorry for every year of the site's existence that I've missed out on - I deeply regret every day that I've spend on lurking before I finally signed up in January 2018. That's less than three years and only a tenth of my life as a metalhead, but these years have really broadened my musical horizon in every possible direction and I owe each of my recent favorites and new discoveries to MS news and album reviews and to the forum's countless threads, continuous shoutbox mentions and recommendations from MS users. One of Radu's reviews even managed to achieve the impossible: it awoke my love for sludge, a genre that I've been actively ignoring for almost three decades...

My old friends with whom I have explored the mysterious world of heavy metal in the 80's and 90's, where are they now?
I have no idea, but I have found new and valuable friends here on Metal Storm, they come from almost any corner of the world and they have formed something that we can really be proud of: the most welcoming online community for enthusiasts of heavy and intense music that I know of.

Let's fill this wonderful place with life and our common love for music for the next decades to come!
Happy twentieth birthday, Metal Storm!

My favourite albums released in every year of Metal Storm:
2000: Eternal Tears Of Sorrow - Chaotic Beauty
2001: Antimatter - Saviour
2002: Dark Tranquillity - Damage Done
2003: Antimatter - Lights Out
2004: Thirdmoon - Sworn Enemy: Heaven
2005: Antimatter - Planetary Confinement
2006: Saturnus - Veronika Decides To Die
2007: Primordial - To The Nameless Dead
2008: Dekadent - The Deliverance Of The Fall
2009: The Black Dahlia Murder - Deflorate
2010: Agrypnie - 16[485]
2011: Book Of Black Earth - The Cold Testament
2012: Psilocybe Larvae - The Labyrinth Of Penumbra
2013: Rotting Christ - Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy
2014: Japanische Kampfhörspiele - Welt Ohne Werbung
2015: Paradise Lost - The Plague Within
2016: Be'lakor - Vessels
2017: Igorrr - Savage Sinusoid
2018: Slægt - The Wheel
2019: Exulansis - Sequestered Sympathy
2020: Sweven - The Eternal Resonance

Apothecary: In some ways, I've already spoken on the matter of my time on Metal Storm and what I've really gotten out of the site in the Journey Through The '10s article I wrote late last year. But to offer a more condensed version of what I said there that's also a bit more relevant to this article, all I can say is? wow, guys. We did it. 20 goddamn years. Raise your chalices high in celebration, for few other metal zines, online or not, can lay claim to such a feat.

While I do sometimes wish I had been around from the very beginning, I am still incredibly thankful that I got to be present for the second half of Metal Storm's history, and have had a considerable influence over the course of that history as well. I joined MS in the summer of 2010 at 17, a somewhat ignorant metaller mostly into thrash and tech death who had no idea how this site really worked or what amazing discoveries were lurking within it. As I draft this little blurb in December 2020, I'm now almost 28, a black and doom metal maniac with equal lusts for drone and industrial music, and firmly entrenched in the halls of internet music journalism with over 300 different publications.

And it's all thanks to this wonderfully unique site, its eccentric community, and those within it who believed in my talents and mentored me early on in my process of ascending to the top of the MS hierarchy. Quite simply, Metal Storm's plunged me about 50 feet deep into the deepest trenches of the international metal scene's waters, and I've not bothered to come up for air since. I would not know a solid 60% (probably 70%, honestly) of the music I do today were it not for this site, its steady stream of content, and the ever-satisfying ShoutBox recommendations from its users. I have truly found and carved out my own niche here in a manner I cannot say for any other site on the internet. And, of course, I have made excellent friends the world over as a result of my MS presence, several of whom I've met in person, and also including some of the most potent and visionary artists the global metal community currently has to offer (Alex Poole, Maurice de Jong, Juho Vanhanen, and Elijah Tamu, to name a few).

Not long ago, when my contribution to this article was originally requested, I was told by one of my fellow MS higher-ups that "you're responsible for a lot of the current look and sound of the site." While I suppose this statement is at least partly true, given my creation of the Roadburn articles with Mr. Doctor, interviews with several highly elusive artists (Wormlust, Pylar, P.H.O.B.O.S., The Meads Of Asphodel), and creation of the MSAs' Ambient/Drone/Noise category, I'm still incredibly flattered and humbled by it. Let it be clear, though, that all MS contributors are always inspiring other contributors, and that this process of passing the torch is part of what makes our site so special. I would be nothing on MS today were it not for the influence of my predecessors, especially jupitreas, Lucas, and Doc Godin. And if I've inspired even one new contributor myself since being here, I am absolutely honored.

2000: Nevermore - Dead Heart In A Dead World
2001: Sigh - Imaginary Soniscape
2002: Agalloch - The Mantle
2003: Blut Aus Nord - The Work Which Transforms God
2004: Deathspell Omega - Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice
2005: The Meads Of Asphodel - Damascus Steel
2006: The Ruins Of Beverast - Rain Upon The Impure
2007: Wolves In The Throne Room - Two Hunters
2008: Esoteric - The Maniacal Vale
2009: Sunn O))) - Monoliths & Dimensions
2010: Triptykon - Eparistera Daimones
2011: Oranssi Pazuzu - Kosmonument
2012: Elysian Blaze - Blood Geometry
2013: Cult Of Fire - मृत्यु का तापसी अनुध्यान
2014: Emptiness - Nothing But The Whole
2015: Leviathan - Scar Sighted
2016: Skáphe - Skáphe²
2017: Chaos Moon - Eschaton Mémoire
2018: P.H.O.B.O.S. - Phlogiston Catharsis
2019: Skáphe & Wormlust - Kosmískur Hryllingur
2020: Skáphe - Skáphe³

Deadsoulman: In the first days of September 2002, I was taking advantage of the great 20 euros for 2 hours of dial-up Internet deal I struck a few weeks earlier, doing what 20 year-olds do when they have access to a whole new digital world and to the complete knowledge of all mankind: searching for pictures of naked chicks. I was doing very well when my high school buddies Dream Taster and Jeff sent me a link to this cool Estonian(!) metal website they wanted to revive and asked me if I'd like to participate by writing reviews and stuff. So I went to check it out and found out it attracted around 100 single visitors per month or some equally low number. What a tremendous opportunity for somebody like me, who got panic attacks at the mere thought of visiting the local bakery, to write stuff that would never be read by anyone ever, I thought! Awesome! So our journey began, DT doing his esoteric coding stuff, Jeff taking care of promotion and contact with labels, I mainly working on database edits, adding bands and writing those reviews I hoped no one would ever read (this unashamed display of raging fanboyism being my first).

Of course, things turned out much better than we could ever hope. Seeing our hard work and dedication pay off as more and more and people flocked in from all around the world and stayed is a feeling I can't even begin to describe. You can't see me, but even as I'm writing this, I'm beaming with pride. Nothing would ever have been possible without the contribution of all these persons who helped Metal Storm feel like the nicest, friendliest, coolest, open-mindedest place in the world to talk about metal and music in general. For quite a few years, Metal Storm was home. A safe spot I could hang out and relax in. I grew up with this website. I met awesome, larger-than-life people. I made friends. I learned to believe in me. I got to interview a couple of bands. I went to a shitload of shows. I realized that others were as passionate as I was about music, even more so. During what I consider like Metal Storm's golden age (roughly 2004-2010), our staff was my second family. I loved you guys. I really did.

Our Hellfest meetings will go down as some of the single most memorable events of my life. I loved crashing at Marcel's place for a couple of Dutch Doom Days (+ one Roadburn) and witness his annual Marcel Moment(TM) (for a detailed list, feel free to contact me). I loved the obviously endless flow of great music that seemed to be pouring in from everywhere, be it independent labels or unsigned bands sending their stuff out to review, or knowledgeable users willing to share their insights (to name but a few, Marcel, BitterCOld and Jupitreas had a huge impact on my music taste). I loved our heated debates over MSN to decide on the nominees of our first few MS awards, a solution which proved about as hilarious as it was messy and totally ineffective. I loved all of it.

Unfortunately, all good things eventually come to an end. Real life soon kicked in in the form of two kids, a huge house and self-employment, so after having been all but inactive for a couple of years, in 2011 I took the decision to leave for good. Since then, I've mainly been one of those lurkers, logging in once or twice a year, or on special occasions (RIP Marcel). But active or not, I can't help marvel at what Metal Storm has become since some Southwestern-French-turned-Canadian dude decided that administrating a website might bring a fun change of pace.

One last thing before I stop bugging you all with the nostalgic talk. In the last couple of years, I may have contemplated contributing articles, reviews and stuff again for MS. There is one major reason I never went through with it: the team of reviewers and writers Metal Storm has at the moment is fucking talented way beyond anything I (and probably not just I) could ever wish to be. Kudos to you guys, I sincerely hope you keep carrying the Metal Storm flag high for another twenty years!

2000: Nevermore - Dead Heart In A Dead World
2001: Opeth - Blackwater Park
2002: In Flames - Reroute To Remain
2003: Wayd - Decadance
2004: Orphaned Land - Mabool
2005: Withered - Memento Mori
2006: Mastodon - Blood Mountain
2007: Primordial - To The Nameless Dead
2008: Esoteric - The Maniacal Vale
2009: Ghost Brigade - Isolation Songs
2010: Throes Of Dawn - The Great Fleet Of Echoes
2011: Oranssi Pazuzu - Kosmonument
2012: Elysian Blaze - Blood Geometry
2013: Wardruna - Runaljod - Yggdrasil
2014: Sólstafir - Ótta
2015: A Forest Of Stars - Beware The Sword You Cannot See
2016: Cult Of Luna - Mariner
2017: Emptiness - Not For Music
2018: Wolvennest - Void
2019: Cult Of Luna - A Dawn To Fear
2020: Wayfarer - A Romance With Violence? Or Paradise Lost - Obsidian? Hard to say at the moment

Darkside Momo: Ah, Metalstorm.

My first contact was in 2002 or so, when my friend Nicool - then Dream Taster's neighbour at our university dorm - used it as a source for good new metal videos. Those were the times when In Flames and Soilwork appeared in each other's videoclips, and when Rhapsody-not-yet-Of-Fire redefined kitsch.... Anyway, I was still only a "metal listener" and not a "true metalhead" back then, to quote a poll that was featured on MS at the time, so I only created my account in 2004.

Then came the first review, going to more and more shows (and writing about them), discovering new music with both MS and a local radio show I came to co-host... Fantastic days of discovery indeed, like when ylside made me do it discover Pan.thy.monium

This obviously led to Hellfest. That 2007 was one wild ride to be sure, when we braved the mud together to attend fantastic shows, but the others were all exceptional in their own right, especially in the first years when it kinda became the IRL rendez-vous point for us. Those MetalStormers meetings we had were all kinds of awesome. That was great sharing time with you all, coming from almost all around the world! Lots of beers were drank these days, and one of my fondest memories is when Ilham taught us, eyes wide open with amazement, how to open a beer with a piece of cardboard! (no, I'm not kidding)
Anyway, I'm still really proud of all the reports we've done, even if they're not perfect.

Other great moments were the interviews, where shy me was trying not to act too much like the fanboy he was and instead pretended to be somewhat serious. Well... I guess this more or less worked, and being able to interview some of my favorite artists (Dark Tranquillity, Orphaned Land, Nevermore, Skyclad, and quite a few others) was just

And while MS continued its growth, I kept tagging along, writing the odd review, taking pictures with my small camera and writing about those shows - probably my favourite part in the end. The MSAs continued to grow, too, and while they had their ups and downs, I enjoyed a lot our selection process, the whole listening and choosing experience. Funnily enough, the best part became doing those short write-ups, as I discovered this was quite an useful skill for pitching stories, books and whatnot to editors, colleagues or library users alike (yeah, going in full librarian mode now, hopefully).

All in all, and much like everyone anyway, MetalStorm helped me discover so much good music I would be unable to list everything and everyone involved . Thanks to this very tiny-Estonian-website-turned-international-powerhouse-of-metal, I kept expanding my tastes and my musical knowledge - to the point of being more on the look-out for non-metal than metal stuff these days... even if MS is one of my go-to places for that, and even if heavy guitars and extreme vocals are still my usual fare .

So yeah, I'm almost exclusively a lurker nowadays. This might change on occasion... Then again, who knows?
So many, many, many thanks to everybody in the community, and happy birthday, MetalStorm! Here's to twenty more years of metal!

2000: Sakimoto Hitoshi - Vagrant Story Original Soundtrack
2001: Ark - Burn The Sun
2002: Dark Tranquillity - Damage Done
2003: Moonspell - The Antidote
2004: Orphaned Land - Mabool
2005: Nevermore - Thy Godless Endeavor
2006: Disillusion - Gloria
2007: Devin Townsend - Ziltoid
2008: Textures - Silhouettes
2009: Riverside - Anno Domini High Definition
2010: Shining (NOR) - Blackjazz
2011: Thy Catafalque - Rengeteg
2012: Obsidian Kingdom - Mantiis
2013: Hacride - Back To Where You've Never Been
2014: Vortech - The Occlusion
2015: A Forest Of Stars - Beware The Sword You Cannot See
2016: can't choose Cult Of Luna - Mariner so take Dark Tranquillity - Atoma your pick Youth Code - Commitments To Complications
2017: Skyclad - Forward Into The Past
2018: The Soft Moon - Criminal
2019: Disillusion - The Liberation
2020: Psychotic Waltz - The God-Shaped Void

Written on 24.12.2020 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.

Comments page 2 / 2

Comments: 40   Visited by: 152 users
30.12.2020 - 11:16
hi-fi / lo-life
Written by musclassia on 29.12.2020 at 14:39

particularly as you covered subgenres (particularly industrial)

Admittedly, industrial is still an area that I feel particularly strong in (haven't been paying as much attention to other subgenres for the past few years) so I'll think about it.
30.12.2020 - 11:43
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Written by jupitreas on 30.12.2020 at 11:16

Written by musclassia on 29.12.2020 at 14:39

particularly as you covered subgenres (particularly industrial)

Admittedly, industrial is still an area that I feel particularly strong in (haven't been paying as much attention to other subgenres for the past few years) so I'll think about it.

Che wizzarded up some weird black metal avantgare something articke. He and radu did same whit drone and some weird staff
You can do same whit industrial some getting into, some genre, some best band, some big band getting into
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 - 13:13
hi-fi / lo-life
Written by Bad English on 30.12.2020 at 11:43

You can do same whit industrial some getting into, some genre, some best band, some big band getting into

Yes, I know that I could do such things but the point is, I don't believe doing something half-heatedly is worth doing. I'd either have to do it properly or not at all. All the same, I'll think about it.
03.01.2021 - 06:12
Giant robot
We just need to reunite soon so I can show yall the updated version of the party trick, not only can I open a beer bottle with a piece of cardboard, but now I can do it with a sheet of A4 paper!

Reading all this seriously made my day <3
03.01.2021 - 11:55
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Written by Ilham on 03.01.2021 at 06:12

We just need to reunite soon s

reunion is not same as coming back for real and even coming back, beeing away people lose so much from life.
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 - 13:54
Darkside Momo
Written by Ilham on 03.01.2021 at 06:12

We just need to reunite soon so I can show yall the updated version of the party trick, not only can I open a beer bottle with a piece of cardboard, but now I can do it with a sheet of A4 paper!

My Author's Blog (in French)

"You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you"

"I've lost too many years now
I'm stealing back my soul
I am awake"
04.01.2021 - 23:53
hi-fi / lo-life
Written by Ilham on 03.01.2021 at 06:12

A4 paper!

I used to be able to open a beer bottle with my teeth. In hindsight, not that great an idea...
06.01.2021 - 17:24
Am I the only one who knows how to use a bottle opener?
15.01.2021 - 00:44
Giant robot
Written by Deadsoulman on 06.01.2021 at 17:24

Am I the only one who knows how to use a bottle opener?

I don't think anyone remembers you for using a bottle opener at a festival. Use a piece of cardboard and people on the internet write about it for decades!
04.02.2021 - 10:59
Gothic Metalhead
Pro Introvert
This site has given me an outlet to be more involved with online metal sites, discovering more music, meeting some people, etc. This was definitely better than doing reviews for the Metal Archives. I feel grateful for discovering this site and hope to meet some more people to talk to and contribute to the site more. Hears to 20 more years of metalstorm.


2000: Children Of Bodom - Follow The Reaper
2001: Entwine - Gone
2002: Agalloch - The Mantle
2003: Moonsorrow - Kivenkantaja
2004: Isis - Panopticon
2005: Draconian - Arcane Rain Fell
2006: Agalloch - Ashes Against The Grain
2007: The Foreshadowing - Days Of Nothing
2008: Lifelover - Konkurs
2009: Kauan - Aava Tuulen Maa
2010: Les Discrets - Septembre Et Ses Dernières Pensées
2011: Crown Of Autumn - Splendours From The Dark
2012: Les Discrets - Ariettes Oubliées...
2013: Deafheaven - Sunbather
2014: Insomnium - Shadows From The Dying Sun
2015: Kauan - Sorni Nai
2016: Trees Of Eternity - Hour Of The Nightingale
2017: Auðn - Farvegir Fyrndar
2018: Rivers Of Nihil - Where Owls Know My Name
2019: Idle Hands(Unto Others) - Mana
2020: Draconian - Under A Godless Veil OR Paradise Lost - Obsidian

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