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Personal Top 20 of 2009

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Austin Mangel

Name: Austin

Email address: austinm [at] metal-observer [dot] com

Function: Reviewer

Compatible styles: Death Metal, Thrash Metal, Viking Metal, anything progressive, Hard Rock. I’m extremely open to new music. Anything in a foreign language = big plus. Grunge. My music taste changes frequently. Check my -- most things are going to fit for me.

Incompatible styles: 99.9% of Black Metal, Power Metal that is too D&D, symphonic stuff, -core, Nu-Metal, RAMMSTEIN and their copycats.

Thoughts on the main Metal genres:

Black Metal: I’m not kvlt or trøø at all. I like things with Blackened elements on occasion (ZYKLON), but nothing that is horribly produced or with vocals that are too screechy. I avoid this genre for the most part.

Death Metal: The genre of extreme Metal I like the most. Old-school Death is not my favorite, although I like a lot of it. I like Technical Death Metal to an extent (has to be unique and not just a bunch of random chaos), and OPETH, my favorite band, belongs to this subgenre. The Swedish scene has the best stuff, in my opinion.

Thrash Metal: I used to be a bigger fan of this genre than I am now. I still like MEGADETH a lot, and I think “Rust In Peace” is one of the best albums of all time. In the MEGADETH vs METALLICA war, I choose MEGADETH for sure.

Power Metal: Not a fan. All I like really is “The Metal Opera” by AVANTASIA. I don’t like it mostly for the lyrics and for the over-the-top vocals. EVERGREY is good, though. It all depends. If it’s not about dragons and swords, I’ll try it.

Progressive Metal: This is where I really started. Bands like QUEENSRŸCHE are the ones who got me into Metal. A good majority of the music I listen to has some sort of “progressive” element to it as well.

Doom Metal: I like a few songs here and there, but I really don’t like this genre.

Gothic Metal: It can get pretty predictable with the clean female vocals and the gritty male vocals. LACUNA COIL really goes right through me though.

Melodic/Heavy Metal: A big fan. My first Metal album of all time was “No Rest For The Wicked” by OZZY OSBOURNE. The genres are pretty special for me. I like a lot of IRON MAIDEN’s stuff, but I don’t like a lot of JUDAS PRIEST’s. Rob Halford’s vocals don’t do it for me; ironically, I like Geoff Tate’s style.

Nicknames: Austin ;)

Time at TMO: Just started as of Oct 19, 2009.

How came to TMO: I’ve been reading TMO for years. I believe I found it via Google (shocker). I saw that a position was open and I thought I’d try it out.

The best thing as a TMO writer: Getting new music and broadening my taste.

The worst thing as a TMO writer: It would probably be trying not to be overly negative about an album I don’t find absolutely perfect.


Reviews 11
Underground 5
Interviews 0
Live reviews 0
Artikel 0
Specials 0

Reviewing methods: I pop the CD in and give it a good once-through, making informal mental notes about which songs are boring and which are cool. When a particularly cool part of a song comes on, I replay it so I can bask in its awesomeness. Then, hours or later, I’ll play the album again so as to become more familiar with the material. If the lyrics are indecipherable, I’ll read along with the lyrics. I’ll write down the overall vibe of the album, including discussion of the absolute coolest parts on the disc. I then give a few sum-up sentences at the end for the tl;dr people.


Birthday: June 14, 1991

Birth town: Orlando, FL

Present location: Gainesville, FL

Job: Full-type student

Languages: I am in love with languages/linguistics. I study German and Spanish, and have studied Russian. I play around with Swedish, various writing systems (Arabic, Cyrillic, IPA), and have studied a little bit of Brazilian Portuguese before I got bored with it. I want to become fluent in Swedish one day. I read up on a lot of languages, though. Definitely strike up a chat with me about any linguistics topic and I’ll talk ‘til I drop.

Hobbies: See above. Also music, hanging out with friends, going to football games, Skype with buddies back home.

Pet peeves: Racism, ignorance, bad grammar, auto-tune and people who think Lil Wayne is the second coming of the Beatles.

Phobia(s): Most medical-related things (blood, needles). Cockroaches! I once stepped on one barefoot... I try to forget about it.

I, about myself: I love languages, music, and culture. I’m a college student:)

Describe yourself in 5 words: Focused, enigmatic, passionate, fun, trustworthy

Funny childhood story: After my great-grandmother’s funeral, my family and I were in the car on the way home. My four-year-old self looks at my grandmother and says, “Well, I guess that means you’re next.” True story that gets quoted often to me.


How I came into Heavy Metal: I started by loving KISS. I thought they were the best musicians on the planet. After awhile, I bought MÖTLEY CRÜE’s “Shout At The Devil”. Believe it or not, I couldn’t listen to it because I thought it was too “hardcore.” I must have been 11 or 12 years old. After that, I received “No Rest For The Wicked” by OZZY OSBOURNE for Christmas. I loved it! I then went down the classic rock path, listening to bands like VAN HALEN and LED ZEPPELIN. I discovered METALLICA, then MEGADETH (who were my favorite band for a very long time), then deeply explored the thrash scene. After I went to Gigantour, I became a fan of OPETH and much heavier music.

First Metal CD ever bought: “No Rest For The Wicked” by OZZY OSBOURNE.

Most embarrassing CD in your collection: “LOL <(^^,>” by BASSHUNTER. Sad, I know. This is the most embarrassing one I actually still listen to.

First Metal concert: I can’t remember. When I started getting into Metal I went to a ton of shows, so a lot of them blur together. The best one was definitely Gigantour.

What did Metal teach me about life: Being unique is a good thing. Society isn’t always right.

Favourite music listening place and why? On my computer so that I can talk about the music I’m listening to with my friends and recommend them stuff that I like.

Most prized Metal possession? I had a CD signed by Scott Rockenfield of QUEENSRŸCHE once. Kinda cool. My Jackson guitar.


Band & previous band experiences: None

Instrumental talents: I was learning how to play the guitar quite well before I lost a lot of free time.

Favourite bands: This changes all the time, so I don’t have a favorite band really.

Least favourite bands: Most Black Metal bands. Bands who “try too hard”. Old CANNIBAL CORPSE (with Chris Barnes). RAMMSTEIN.

Sound you’d like to have banned: Auto-tune


Most underrated bands: VINTERSORG, TÝR, MÅNEGARM. I don’t know who’s considered underrated anymore; apparently I like a lot of bands that are “underground”, but with the Internet it’s really easy to find new bands.

Most influential band: Most everyone quotes BLACK SABBATH as being the most influential.

Favourite musician: Mikael Åkerfeldt

Favourite album cover: MEGADETH - “Rust In Peace”


10 favourite albums:

Megadeth – Rust In Peace

I know every note to this album by heart. It’s the album that inspired me to pick up a guitar. Every song is a real winner.


Alice In Chains – Jar Of Flies

Moody, depressing, atmospheric. The music is extremely slow and heavy, and the lyrics are insightful and poignant.


Opeth – Blackwater Park

I think this album highlights the best of OPETH. Not a bad spot on it, in my opinion.


Pantera – Cowboys From Hell

One of the earliest Metal albums I purchased. It’s got great choruses and insane riffs. I also love the vocals, too. “Cemetery Gates” is easily one of my favorite songs of all time.


Ozzy Osbourne – No Rest For The Wicked

Tons of squeals, processed vocals, and cheesy imagery. This is what “first Metal albums” are all about.


Van Halen – s/t

I remember where I was when I first heard “Eruption.” My first VH album was a best of compilation. I was extremely young at the time and I noticed to myself, “Hey, this singer sounds different on songs.” After a while I figured out that Sammy ruined the band. I asked some older dudes I knew for their opinion and they shoved me in this direction. Every track’s a hit, David Lee Roth’s a star.... this is one that I will never tire of.


Bloodbath – Breeding Death

This is the album that really got me into Death Metal. Brutal, short, and ridiculous lyrics make this one a fun, occasional listen.


Cannibal Corpse – Evisceration Plague

Very well produced, vocals are great and easily to understand. I think I like this one so much because the lyrics are a lot less ridiculous than those in their past.


Cynic – Traced In Air

This album flows so well that I don’t even know time has passed once I reach the end of it. I really dig the vocals and thought-provoking lyrics.


Opeth – Damnation

There was a time when I listened to this album daily. Sublime, beautiful vocals and really mellow guitars go amazingly well together.


Favourite films: Big Tarantino fan. I really dig foreign films, usually.... The Big Lebowski, El Laberinto del Fauno, etc. I can’t think of any off the top of my head.

Favourite books: Not a huge book reader. I guess my reference books or coffee-table books.

Favourite food: Anything new, exciting, and delicious that does not contain weird crap from the sea, mushrooms, insects, etc. I love Mexican cuisine, as well as German, Swedish, and Thai food. Sushi is a big plus too.

Favourite drink: Right now it’s Diet Pepsi. Awesome stuff! Water too.

Favourite smokes: I don’t smoke.

Which song should be played at your funeral? “The Night And The Silent Water” by OPETH

Idol (s): none

Person you‘d like to meet: David Lee Roth, Mikael Åkerfeldt, Dave Mustaine, as well as Samuel L. Jackson because I think he’s a hilarious actor.

Catchphrase: I always greet people with Swedish “hej” and always say goodbye with Spanish “adiós.” This is pretty much without fail ;)

Biggest thrill in life (so far): Getting hit by a car really was an unexpected adventure.

Goal in life: I want to move to Sweden one day.

Secret: If I told you that, it wouldn’t be a secret, now would it?

5 favourite links:





· - Requires money, unfortunately:(

Austin Mangel

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