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The Metal Observer - Everything in Metal!

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Personal Top 20 of 2009
Personal Top 20 of 2010
Personal Top 20 of 2011

Name: Mitchel Betsch

Email address: mitch (at) metal-observer (dot) com

Function: Reviewer

Compatible styles: Power Metal, Progressive Metal, Thrash Metal, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Hair Metal…basically anything with clean vocals and/or double-bass.

Incompatible styles: Death Metal, Black Metal, Doom Metal, Nu-Metal (anything either slow or with your typical Cookie-Monster vocals)

Thoughts on the main Metal genres:

Black Metal: Not a fan of it at all.

Death Metal: If there’s good double-bass in it, and the guitars are remotely structured, I can stand it.

Thrash Metal: This was the second type of Metal that I discovered, so I tend to like it quite a bit. However, over the years I’ve moved away from it in favor of the slicker-sounding Power Metal. I still listen to stuff like old METALLICA, ANTHRAX, and CORROSION OF CONFORMITY.

Power Metal: Ahh…True Metal. My absolute favorite Metal subgenre. It’s just too perfect for me…cleans vocals AND double bass? Score! I’ve liked every single Power Metal band I’ve ever heard, but my favorites are AXEL RUDI PELL, EDGUY, DRAGONFORCE, STRATOVARIUS, and MANOWAR.

Progressive Metal: I love the strange time signatures and difficult riffing in this subgenre. It kind of bends the rules of music while still sounding listenable. My favorites in this subgenre are SYMPHONY X and DREAM THEATER.

Doom Metal: Not a big fan of it at all.

Gothic Metal: Haven’t really listened to too much of this, but hey, it’s melodic enough for me.

Melodic/Heavy Metal: Probably my second favorite subgenre right after Power Metal. The catchier, the better…if a band can make a chorus stick in my head while still staying true to Metal, I’m sold. My faves are RAINBOW, DIO, EXCITER, JUDAS PRIEST, and IRON MAIDEN.

Nicknames: Just Mitch

Time at TMO: Since July 2006

How came to TMO: First, whenever I’d look for Metal reviews, TMO would always be at the top of the list in Google. After about a year, on one fateful day, I saw the advertisement on the front page of TMO looking for fresh reviewers. So I sent in my reviews and apparently Alex deemed me worthy of joining The Brotherhood.

The best thing as a TMO writer: Expanding my horizons into types of Metal I normally wouldn’t listen to…oh, and the promos, of course.

The worst thing as a TMO writer: Nothing so far!


Reviews 237
Underground 81
Interviews 8
Live reviews 0
Artikel 1
Specials 0

Reviewing methods: First I’ll sort of half-listen to the CD while checking the band’s site and, if possible, a fansite to research information on the band. With all the background info collected, I begin another play-through of the album, except this time I’ll be hanging on to every note. If necessary, I’ll play it again after that in order to make sure the album deserves the score I’m thinking of giving it. Usually it doesn’t take more than three listens. If I wrote the review really late at night, then I’ll check it over the next day to make sure I didn’t make any mistakes while half-asleep!


Birthday: February 26, 1990

Birth town: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Present location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Job: The Metal Observer!

Languages: English, core French (not 100% fluent)

Hobbies: Playing guitar, singing, reading thriller novels, severe gardening

Pet peeves: Piled-up dishes

Phobia(s): Heights

I, about myself: Mitch is a sexy beast.

Describe yourself in 5 words: Overeager, impatient, egotistical, good-looking, leather

Funny childhood story: I almost drowned in a creek in Calgary.


How I came into Heavy Metal: A friend showed me an IRON MAIDEN song, he was learning on guitar, and once I went to their website, I was hooked. From there, I learned that Metal singers could actually SING if they wanted to, and my naïve perceptions were shattered. I opened myself to Metal…the rest is history.

First Metal CD ever bought: The Number Of The Beast – IRON MAIDEN

Most embarrassing CD in your collection: I suppose MANOWAR’s “Fighting The World”, but I mean, really…does it get any more Metal than MANOWAR?

First Metal concert: I don’t know if it really counts, but VAN HALEN at the Air Canada Centre was pretty sweet.

What did Metal teach me about life: Everything is better when cranked up to ten.

Favourite music listening place and why? Probably when I’m out rollerblading because the double-bass of Power Metal can really get me going.

Most prized Metal possession? Probably my VAN HALEN concert shirt.


Band & previous band experiences: Our bass player forgot his damn amp all the time.

Instrumental talents: Guitar, vocals


Least favourite bands: FLEETWOOD MAC, THE BEATLES, PINK FLOYD, and anything on the top 20 or whatever. Like FALL OUT BOY or PANIC! AT THE DISCO. Bleh.

Sound you’d like to have banned: Feedback.

Most overrated bands: U2, SLIPKNOT

Most underrated bands: WARRANT, IRON SAVIOR

Most influential band: RAINBOW…they did so much for Power Metal.

Favourite musician: Neil Peart (RUSH)

Favourite album cover: AXEL RUDI PELL – Kings And Queens

10 favourite albums:


Axel Rudi Pell – Kings And Queens

This album was my first real introduction to ARP, but ever since hearing the song “Flyin’ High”, I’ve been a fan. It’s not perfect, and I really hate his “epics”, but overall it’s a nice piece of work. This album made me go back and buy the rest of his albums.


Iron Maiden – Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son

I consider this to be IRON MAIDEN’s most mature album. They deal with some very interesting ideas on this concept album, yet still mostly retain their familiar sound. The lyrics of “Infinite Dreams” are probably their best ever.


Edguy – Hellfire Club

My first introduction to what would soon become one of my favorite bands. This is where, in my opinion, EDGUY started breaking away from the traditional Power Metal mould, and I respect that.


Edguy – Rocket Ride

A little more pop-oriented than “Hellfire Club”, but still great, I absolutely love the album opener, “Sacrifice”.


Symphony X – The Divine Wings Of Tragedy

A Prog Metal classic, to be sure. Some excellent musicianship on the album by guitarist Michael Romeo. The title track made me remember that it’s cool to write twenty-minute songs.


Manowar – Fighting The World

My first introduction to the crusaders of True Metal. This was back before Eric Adams started growling (although you can still make out every word he sings, so it’s all good). Excellent songs like “Carry On”, “Defender”, and “Black Wind, Fire And Steel”.


Stratovarius – Visions

The second album I bought from STRATOVARIUS, and boy was it ever good. I really love the sound Jörg Michael gets out of his double-bass. “Forever Free” was my favorite song on this album.


Rainbow – Rising

For me, this is the classic album that started it all for power Metal. Dio and Blackmore have to be my favorite songwriting team of all time. Just listen to “Stargazer” to see…


Dio – Holy Diver

Dio’s debut, and what an instant classic it was. Finally, the man was able to write about wizards and demons and such without anybody being on his case. Loved it.


Dragonforce – Sonic Firestorm

Even to this day they continue to boggle my mind. How can they play so fast, and yet give off such a positive, uplifting sound at the same time? It seems impossible. But God, are they ever good. This album was far better than their debut, which was no poor effort itself.


Favourite films: Back To The Future, The Empire Strikes Back, This Is Spinal Tap, Almost Famous, Pirates Of The Carribbean

Favourite books: “1984” by George Orwell

Favourite food: Ribs

Favourite drink: Canada Dry ginger ale

Favourite smokes: I refuse to smoke.

Which song should be played at your funeral? “Top Of The World” by VAN HALEN

Idol (s): Rick Mercer

Person you‘d like to meet: Rick Mercer, Tobias Sammet

Catchphrase: “Rock n Roll!!!”

Biggest thrill in life (so far): Playing the Capitol last year, seeing VAN HALEN

Goal in life: Live to a ripe old age and pass my music onto my children.

Secret: I never wear shoes.

5 favorites links:

Mitchel Betsch


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