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Colin McNamara

Name: Colin McNamara

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

Function: Reviewer

Compatible styles:

Incompatible styles:

Thoughts on the main Metal genres:

Black Metal: Works best when mid tempo with lots of atmosphere and not too high pitched vocals (example MARDUK or XASTHUR)

Death Metal: Fantastic as long as there is more than just blastbeats, sheer speedy guitar work, pounding drums and indecipherable vocals. Vocals preferred to be low (like Mikael Akerfeldt of OPETH low) but not as low as Lord Worm of CRYPTOPSY.

Thrash Metal: Works best with some groove to it like SOULFLY or maybe SLAYER’s “God Hates Us All” album.

Power Metal: Can be extremely melodic with a great use of keyboards but the vocals can get very very annoying. KAMELOT is about the only Power Metal band I really enjoy.

Progressive Metal: Usually has great long songs and lots of good solos; again though, vocals can be annoying - unless it’s Progressive Black or Death Metal.

Doom Metal: Very slow, great stuff to sit back and relax to. Excellent atmosphere and vocals- prefer the Death Doom bands like EVOKEN and DRACONIAN. Preferably like to have female vocals in the mix.

Gothic Metal: A good use of depressing lyrics and low, clean singing mixed with female vocals. Sometimes it can lean more towards the “Rock” genre than Metal itself. Gothic Doom Metal is the best genre in this category.

Melodic/Heavy Metal: Heavy Metal… a term I’m not used to these days. It may be possible to consider Melodic Metal as Progressive Metal or Modern Metal, such as FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH or KILLSWITCH ENGAGE or DISTURBED.

Nicknames: Not very many... only a few. Some call me Collie, Bone (because I’m so damned skinny), and my professor once called me her Evil Minion because I was her TA and a lot of people in class were scared of the music I’d do presentations with haha.

Time at TMO: Just started…

How came to TMO: I had reviewed the site a few times and saw they were looking for writers. So I applied and here I am.

The best thing as a TMO writer: Getting to review music of thousands of artists, new and old.

The worst thing as a TMO writer: Not much… sometimes writers’/ interviewers’ block

Reviews 32
Live reviews

Reviewing methods: Give an album a few listens then rate it by vocal style, music style, lyrics/ themes and give the pros and cons of each.


Birthday: February 19

Birth town: Lubbock, Texas

Present location: San Diego, California

Job: Tennis club employee

Languages: English

Hobbies: tennis, writing (of course), collecting music, and spending lots of time with my dogs.

Pet peeves: People being late, CD stores not having the latest Rock/Metal music in stock, being prepared for something that doesn’t end up happening.

Phobia(s): Heights, Millipedes, Britney Spears (OK I’m kidding about that last one)

I, about myself: If this whole thing doesn’t tell you what you’d like to know then I’m not sure what else to tell you. I graduated with and English degree at SDSU and love writing, especially about music, and in this tough economy as I search for other work I plan to keep my sanity by working for TMO.

Describe yourself in 5 words: Funny, self sacrificing, impatient, kind, and dedicated

Funny childhood story: When I was 8 I went to the movies with my grandparents, aunt and uncle, and mother and father. After the movie, I went to find a bathroom and when I came back I couldn’t find anyone. After phoning home (in tears mind you because I was downright terrified) I found out that everyone had left thinking I was with someone else. Now that I look back on it, it’s pretty funny.


How I came into Heavy Metal: I used to really hate Heavy Metal. However, after hearing SIX FEET UNDER I was hooked.

First Metal CD ever bought: Slipknot - Iowa

Most embarrassing CD in your collection: Britney Spears - Blackout

First Metal concert: METALLICA in 2004 with GODSMACK at Sports Arena

What did Metal teach me about life: Life is best when it’s loud and heavy; with listening comes responsibility.

Favourite music listening place and why? When I’m on the go with my dog with my headphones because I can focus on the music and let my eyes do the job of keeping aware.

Most prized Metal possession? LEVIATHAN T Shirt or DEATHSPELL OMEGA hoodie… I will be buried with it even if it doesn’t fit one day. It’s a reminder to stay fit and thin.


Band & previous band experiences: I am not in a band

Instrumental talents: Some guitar and growling, but not looking to go professional

Favourite bands: Xasthur, Draconian, Machine Head, Cold, Dark Tranquillity, Deathspell Omega, Hypocrisy to name a few

Least favourite bands: don’t really have a least favourite; if I listen really hard I usually find something redeemable in everything I collect.

Sound you’d like to have banned: Incredibly annoying high pitched vocals like Sin Nanna of STRIBORG

Most overrated bands: I don’t think there is such a thing. It’s an opinion, not a fact.

Most underrated bands: Again, no such thing.

Most influential band: If I had to pick a few - THE PROJECT HATE for the Industrial influences, DRACONIAN for use of female/male vocals, and REVELATIONS OF RAIN for musicianship.

Favourite musician: Scooter Ward of COLD (I know he’s more Rock than Metal but his voice is fantastic)

Favourite album cover: don’t have one.

10 favourite albums:

1. Vital Remains - Dechristianize

The one album that gets me pumped up and calms me down at the same time


2. Dark Tranquillity - Damage Done

Fantastic blend of beauty and brutality; I enjoy the subtle keyboard moments


3.Five Finger Death Punch - War Is The Answer

Good Modern Metal with great clean vocals


4. Powerman 5000 – Transform

Simply for the track “Hey, That’s Right.” Love the vocoder use


5. Virgin Black - Requiem Fortissmo

Nice, long epic Doom to listen to in order to wind down from a long day


6. Cold - A Different Kind Of Pain

For the emotional moments


7. Monolith Deathcult - Triumvirate

The stuff I jog to


8. Leviathan - A Silhouette In Splinters

When I’m feeling like creeping myself out


9. Marduk - Wormwood

Excellent Black Metal with unique vocal style and not too fast musicianship; midpaced to slow, just right


10. Striborg – Solitude

To remind myself that not all Metal is good


Favourite films: Saw, Paranormal Activity, Aliens, South Park, The Dark Knight, Star Wars: Ep. 3, Gangs of New York, Pirates of the Caribbean

Favourite books: Ann Rice’s Memnoch the Devil, Ann Rampling’s Sleeping Beauty series, Stephen King’s The Stand, Michael Moynihan’s Lords of Chaos

Favourite food: Thai food

Favourite drink: Water, milk, and Bloody Maries

Favourite smokes: abhor smoking

Which song should be played at your funeral? DRACONIAN’s “Gothic Embrace”

Idol (s): none really

Person you‘d like to meet: Sarah Jezebel Deva

Catchphrase: if I ever get one I’ll let you know

Biggest thrill in life (so far): rollercoasters

Goal in life: Write to my satisfaction about things involving music (amongst the usual things such as having a stable family life, two dogs, etc).

Secret: With the terrors of Facebook and Myspace what makes you think I’ll post that?

5 favourite links:






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