Kev Rowland

Kev Rowland
MMA Special Collaborator · Errors & Omissions Team
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 5 days ago

Favorite Metal Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

579 reviews/ratings
ENSLAVED - RIITIIR Progressive Metal | review permalink
SYLOSIS - Monolith Thrash Metal | review permalink
RIVERSIDE - Shrine of New Generation Slaves Metal Related | review permalink
SOILWORK - The Living Infinite Melodic Death Metal | review permalink
NEAL MORSE - Live Momentum Metal Related | review permalink
HYPOCRISY - End Of Disclosure Melodic Death Metal | review permalink
AVANTASIA - The Mystery of Time Heavy Metal | review permalink
DARK SERMON - In Tongues Deathcore | review permalink
SPIRITUAL BEGGARS - Earth Blues Stoner Rock | review permalink
BLACK STAR RIDERS - All Hell Breaks Loose Hard Rock | review permalink
STALA & SO. - Play Another Round Glam Metal | review permalink
VANDROYA - One Power Metal | review permalink
ORPHANED LAND - All Is One Folk Metal | review permalink
HYPOCRISY - Penetralia / Osculum Obscenum Death Metal | review permalink
8 FOOT SATIVA - The Shadow Masters Melodic Death Metal | review permalink
LINGUA MORTIS ORCHESTRA - LMO Symphonic Metal | review permalink
WE CAME AS ROMANS - Tracing Back Roots Metalcore | review permalink
WATAIN - The Wild Hunt Black Metal | review permalink
HAKEN - The Mountain Progressive Metal | review permalink
DROTTNAR - Stratum Black Metal | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Hard Rock 65 3.63
2 Progressive Metal 61 3.97
3 Heavy Metal 49 3.48
4 Power Metal 49 3.60
5 Death Metal 48 3.96
6 Black Metal 42 3.80
7 Thrash Metal 35 3.63
8 Melodic Death Metal 20 4.20
9 Alternative Metal 17 3.56
10 Doom Metal 15 3.60
11 Metalcore 15 3.57
12 Technical Death Metal 14 3.93
13 Folk Metal 12 3.88
14 Groove Metal 10 3.70
15 Symphonic Metal 10 3.70
16 Deathcore 9 3.89
17 Glam Metal 8 3.38
18 Brutal Death Metal 8 4.06
19 Melodic Black Metal 7 3.64
20 Metal Related 7 4.79
21 Non-Metal 6 3.75
22 Atmospheric Black Metal 6 3.83
23 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 6 3.58
24 Hardcore Punk 5 3.40
25 US Power Metal 5 4.00
26 Symphonic Black Metal 4 4.50
27 Stoner Metal 4 3.75
28 Death-Doom Metal 4 4.13
29 Gothic Metal 3 4.00
30 Avant-garde Metal 3 3.17
31 Crossover Thrash 3 3.33
32 Heavy Psych 3 4.00
33 Industrial Metal 3 3.50
34 Melodic Metalcore 3 4.00
35 Stoner Rock 3 4.33
36 Sludge Metal 3 2.50
37 Speed Metal 3 3.00
38 NWoBHM 2 4.00
39 Funeral Doom Metal 2 4.00
40 Grindcore 1 3.50
41 Depressive Black Metal 1 2.00
42 Death 'n' Roll 1 2.50
43 Pagan Black Metal 1 3.00
44 Mathcore 1 4.00
45 Heavy Alternative Rock 1 3.00
46 Trance Metal 1 2.50

Latest Albums Reviews

GLASGOW Zero Four One

Album · 1987 · Hard Rock
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Back in 1985 I was working in the center of the universe, which is Eastbourne, where the busiest day of the week was Thursday, Pension Day! To say I spent a lot of time either bored or on the train to London is something of an understatement, but then lo and behold a rock band decided to come to town! In March of that year, we were graced by Uriah Heep in full flow, and I was right at the front, loving every second of it. But before we got to Uriah Heep there was a support act who I never thought of again until I was offered this promo. Yep, back in 1985 the support act was Glasgow, and here we now have a reissue (with an additional track) of their sole 1987 album. Apparently, they were offered a deal by Neat Records earlier in their career but turned it down as they had such self-belief that they would get a better and bigger deal, which of course didn’t happen. After this album and a few singles, the band broke up.

They did not make much impact for me on the night, but I do remember thinking that in many ways they were a perfect warm-up act in that they played melodic hard rock in a style not too dissimilar to the current version of Uriah Heep (this was the Pete Goalby/John Sinclair version which released ‘Abominog’, ‘Head First’ and ‘Equator’), but there was nothing really special about them which would make them outshine the headline act. The quartet have a guest keyboard player in Don Airey, but I would never have guessed he had been involved without reading the press release as he is just providing some simplistic harmonies at times. The drums are solid and hit hard, the bass does ist stuff, but although the songs are never anything special, there is no doubt that the highlight of the band is guitarist Archie Dickson who shines throughout. Singer Mick Boyle has a very NWOBHM voice, but he is often slightly disconnected with the band or even slightly off key. He might have been able to get away with it somewhat in a live environment but here it is quite off putting.

Definitely one for collectors only, who will certainly appreciate this being made available again for the first time in a large number of years.

MY DYING BRIDE Macabre Cabaret

EP · 2020 · Doom Metal
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There was a gap of five years for fans waiting for new material until March 2020 saw the release of ‘The Ghost Of Orion’, yet later the same year the band were back with this three-track EP of more new material, checking in at 22 minutes in length. Apart from drummer Jeff Singer, who joined in 2018, and the addition of guitarist Neil Blanchett in 2019 (who is not credited on this release), the line-up of MDM has been stable for quite some time, with singer Aaron Stainthorpe and guitarist Andrew Craighan having been there since the very beginning in 1990, while bassist Lena Abé and keyboard player/violinist Shaun Macgowan have both been there for more than 10 years as well. This continuity of tenure means everyone knows what to do to create the classic My Dying Bride sound, and while the doom may be slightly quicker than it used to be, it still has the presence and emotional feeling of a band at the very top of their game.

Melancholic, thoughtful, passionate, powerful, crunching, it is all these things and so much more. Aaron has the perfect baritone for this style of music, while Andrew’s guitars have rarely sounded so on point, with a hard edge to the thunderclaps. Yet what makes this band such a dominant force is their understanding that it does not always need metal to dominate proceedings, such as adding touches of piano to take their music in a very different direction, such as on the introduction to the closing number, “A Purse of Gold and Stars”. Here the guitars take a back seat to a song about holding all our precious things close to us in a purse: it is incredibly dark, brooding, and intense. Somehow the delicate piano creates as much force as crunching guitars, even with simple chords being picked out, with just a hint of reverb – the production and overall sound is incredible. Overall, this is a wonderful piece of work and one can only hope there is yet another new album coning soon.

CADAVER Edder & Bile

Album · 2020 · Death Metal
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This album is something of a surprise to metalheads, as prior to this the last album was all the way back in 2004. Anders Odden (guitar, bass, vocals) has been keeping busy since then, playing with multiple bands including Satyricon and Celtic Frost, but slowly building up material for what could be a new Cadaver release. Things started to gain momentum in 2014, when he met and became friends with Megadeth (and former Soilwork) drummer Dirk Verbeuren. “In my heart I have always had the notion that Cadaver exists somehow,” Anders explains. “Dirk played session live work for Satyr icon on the 70000 Tons Of Metal cruise in 2014 and we got to know each other then. He talked about how much he loved Cadaver and I then told him that I had been recording demos for 10 years without a drummer - So, being the guy he is, he then says, ‘Send the songs to me!’”.

It may have taken six years for those initial ideas to be turned into a reality, but Cadaver are back with a new album, which comes in, blasts open the skull to get to the brain and soon retreats. Ten songs in just over 31 minutes, it certainly does not outstay its welcome and one of the delights of this album is the way that each song is quite different to the rest while never moving far away from the death metal roots. There are times when elements of blackened death also creep in, and the duo happily blend the sub genres, so they never feel strained, but always with incredibly firm and powerful direction. While Anders handles most of the vocals, Kam Lee (Massacre) and Jeff Becerra (Possessed) guest on a song each but keeping very much to the Cadaver style, so this stays as a band and not just a project. That feeling is reinforced by both guys seeing this as a long-term relationship, and let’s hope that it does not take six years for another album to be available as anyone who enjoys this style of music is going to get a great deal from this.

BELPHEGOR Necrodaemon Terrorsathan

Album · 2000 · Death Metal
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Some three years on from the release of 2017’s, ‘Totenritual’, Belphegor have gone back into the studio to re-record the song Necrodaemon Terrorsathan" and make it available as a single. At the same time, they have also reissued their third album, which has that song as the opening number. Singer Helmuth states, "We originally composed this album 1998-1999, recording and releasing in 2000. Our former guitarist Sigurd (1993-2006) who marched with me around the globe wrote three songs on this monster. Session drums were handled by Manfred “Man” Gandler (Mastic Scum) and bass by Mario Klausner (Pungent Stench, Collapse VII)". Helmuth and Sigurd knew each other incredibly well by the time they came into the studio, and this certainly comes through in the guitars which are intertwined and powerful.

Belphegor have long been held in high regard as one of the most consistent and in your face bands within black metal, and this album shows why they have managed to have such a long career. It is now thirty years since the first demo, but Helmuth is still there today, and that they decided to re-record an old number to celebrate the album must be applauded, as somehow, I have not previously come across this one. All these years on, and it sounds fresh, and if I had been told this was a brand-new recording, I would have accepted that on face value, as this is incredibly heavy, exciting, and true. There are some additional sounds here and there, sometimes there are some synths, but for the most part this is two guitarists ripping with a rhythm section, driving the music deep into the brain with quick riffs and a drummer who just doesn’t quit. There is a sense of melody within this, but always sticking firmly within the genre, producing the frenetic guitar and over the top style which for me really sets this style apart. The vocals are guttural, and not hidden, all combining to provide a feeling of blackness with a rich deep sound. If like me you missed out on this one first time around, now is the time to rectify that mistake.

AVATARIUM An Evening With Avatarium

Live album · 2020 · Doom Metal
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Very few bands were able to complete a full tour in 2020, due to obvious reasons, and I am not aware of many live albums recorded during that period, but here is an exception to the rule. This was the set the band expected to take around Europe, but fortunately it was recorded in Stockholm for both a CD and DVD release. When the band came together in 2013, they were something of a supergroup, with Candlemass bassist Leif Edling, drummer Lars Sköld (Tiamat, Jupiter Society etc), former Evergrey/Royal Hunt guitarist Marcus Jidell, and keyboard player Carl Westholm (Tiamat, Jupiter Society etc), with singer Jennie-Ann Smith at the front. Only Marcus and his wife Jennie-Ann are still there from the original line-up, which is now completed by bassist Mats Rydström (Abramis Brama, Backdraft), keyboard player Rickard Nilsson and drummer (Christian Liljegren, Narnia, Royal Hunt etc).

Avatarium are a band whose career I have followed closely and feel all four of their studio albums are worthy of further investigation, although I am aware there are some fans who were not happy with the change in direction between ‘The Girl With The Raven Mask’ and ‘Hurricanes and Halos’ where they moved somewhat away from doom and more into an early Seventies rock direction. Hearing these songs in the live environment, in many ways it is a perfect amalgam of the styles, as the doom numbers are thunderingly heavy with organ lifting them firmly into the early Seventies style, while the rockier numbers have here been dealt a serious amount of doom. While there are sometimes concerns when musicians bring their partners into the band, there is no doubt that this time Jennie-Ann is solidly there on merit. Whatever the guys are dishing out, with the slabs of metal coming out of the speakers, she deals with it, rising high above the maelstrom.

But here is a band who are prepared to push both themselves and their audience into different directions, and one of the standout tracks must be the rendition of “In My Time of Dying”, which features just Marcus on acoustic with Jennie-Ann. For those who are unaware of the son, this was originally written and recorded by Blind Willie Johnson, a bluesman who use to attack his guitar with a harsh vocal approach and died some 75 years before this was recorded. They make the song their own with a totally different arrangement, and while it is totally at odds with the rest of the set, it highlights their strong use of dynamics and contrast. Another powerful example is the song which follows it, “Medusa Child”, where they flit between doom and commercial metal, all with tribal drumming in the background.

Over the course of their four studio albums, they have followed their own path, taking influences from different areas, refusing to sit still yet often imbibing their songs with a healthy element of doom, and this live album is a great look back on their career to date. If you have yet to come across Avatarium then this is the place to start.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 11 months ago in Band Member Revision
    Done 
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in My error on Whitesnake
    Removed as requested - no problem 
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Ministry 'Work for love' and other things
    [QUOTE=UMUR]You are welcome to retag and move those releases to where you think they fit best. I´m not that familiar with that part of Ministry´s disco. Normally I would ask such a question in the relevant sub genre team thread. [/QUOTE]This is an example of where MMA and PA are quite different, in that in PA the band itself is tagged as being a specific sub genre so therefore all albums have to go under that genre, whether they 'fit' or not. To move a band from one sub to another, the 'holding' sub has to vote and agree that they should be moved, and then the 'receiving' sub has to vote to take them in. If they refuse then they stay where they are.This means that MMA has an advantage in that a band and their output can be more correctly tagged, but it can lead to complications. I would personally always post in the relevant sub genre before moving a band, just to check that the team were happy with it. I remember being mortified to see that Thunder were shown as a glam band, but still asked permission before I moved it.Thanks for moving all the Ministry albums - I just went to do that.Jonas - thanks for the TSOS reviews. I was with the band a couple of nights ago and they are really stoked with them, and said wonderful things about you as a writer as well! 

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