Kev Rowland

Kev Rowland
MMA Special Collaborator · Errors & Omissions Team
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 4 hours ago

Favorite Metal Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

477 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 Non-Metal | 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 Thrash 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 53 3.64
2 Progressive Metal 52 3.98
3 Heavy Metal 46 3.53
4 Black Metal 39 3.78
5 Power Metal 38 3.62
6 Death Metal 33 4.00
7 Thrash Metal 30 3.67
8 Melodic Death Metal 16 4.19
9 Metalcore 14 3.57
10 Alternative Metal 14 3.43
11 Folk Metal 11 3.77
12 Technical Death Metal 11 3.86
13 Doom Metal 10 3.35
14 Brutal Death Metal 8 4.06
15 Symphonic Metal 8 3.75
16 Deathcore 7 4.07
17 Metal Related 7 4.57
18 Glam Metal 6 3.58
19 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 6 3.58
20 Melodic Black Metal 5 3.80
21 Non-Metal 5 4.00
22 Groove Metal 5 4.00
23 US Power Metal 5 3.70
24 Atmospheric Black Metal 4 4.00
25 Avant-garde Metal 3 3.17
26 Death-Doom Metal 3 4.17
27 Hardcore Punk 3 3.33
28 Melodic Metalcore 3 4.00
29 Heavy Psych 3 4.00
30 Industrial Metal 3 3.50
31 Speed Metal 3 3.00
32 Stoner Metal 3 3.83
33 Stoner Rock 3 4.33
34 Symphonic Black Metal 3 4.83
35 NWoBHM 2 4.00
36 Sludge Metal 2 2.75
37 Gothic Metal 2 3.75
38 Crossover Thrash 2 3.25
39 Death 'n' Roll 1 2.50
40 Grindcore 1 3.50
41 Funeral Doom Metal 1 4.00
42 Depressive Black Metal 1 2.00
43 Pagan Black Metal 1 3.00
44 Trance Metal 1 2.50

Latest Albums Reviews

POSSESSED Revelations of Oblivion

Album · 2019 · Death Metal
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Wow, hands up all those who never thought there would be a new album by Possessed? There are many arguments as to whether they recorded the first ever Death Metal album with 1985’s ‘Seven Churches’, but there is no doubt it was hugely influential, but their last album was ‘Beyond The Gates’ in 1987. Just a few years after that and vocalist Jeff Becerra was left paralyzed from the waist down after a shooting incident, and even though guitarist Mike Torrao tried to get a version of the band working again in the Nineties it didn’t last long. But now the band are back – true it is with only one original member, but that is Becerra! He has built a new band with songwritiing partner Daniel Gonzalez on guitar (Nailshitter, Gruesome) plus Claudeous Creamer on guitars (Dragonlord, Serpent, Girth), Robert Cardenas on bass guitar (Coffin Texts, Masters of Metal, Agent Steel, Malice, Engrave), and Emilio Marquez (Brainstorm, Sadistic Intent, Engrave, Brujeria) on drums.

The result is an album of a band reborn. How Becerra can sing like this from a wheelchair is beyond me as he must be using an incredible amount of upper body strength and determination to produce vocals as powerful as he has ever been. I can’t think of another metal band of any style where the singer is constrained to a chair – just go to their site (https://possessedofficial.com/) and check out some of the videos, I have no idea how he manages it. While one is bound to react to a singer in a wheelchair, it is quickly forgotten (I can’t imagine there are many Def Leppard reviews these days which mention that they have a one-armed drummer) as this is all about the music.

This is death metal which (whisper it) also manages to sound quite commercial. Becerra’s vocals are rough and raw, but unlike quite a few within the genre it is easy to understand the lyrics, while the rhythm section pin it down and let Gonzalez and Creamer destroy the riffs. They are joined at the hip, intertwining their lines or supporting each other, allowing the music to build, crash and create hell., I can’t remember I enjoyed a death metal album quite so much as there is a light within it which makes it a joy to listen to. Possessed are back where they belong, at the forefront of exciting metal music.

THE MEADS OF ASPHODEL Running Out Of Time Doing Nothing

Album · 2019 · Avant-garde Metal
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The Meads of Asphodel was a project conceived by singer Metatron in 1998, and over the years they have been through some different line-ups but they he is currently joined by J.D Tait (guitars, vocals, keyboards, bass) and André Kjelbergvik Thung (drums). They also include multiple guest musicians of whom the most well-known is Hawkwind’s Alan Davey who plays bass on four numbers. Musically it is all over the place, mostly in a good way, mixing genres in a way I don’t think I’ve ever heard before. The result is an album which I honestly can’t imagine anyone saying they really enjoy every song, I know I don’t. I have real issues with “I Stood Tiptoe, Reaching Up For Heaven”. They obviously thought it was a great idea to play news clips of discussions on ISIS, terrorism, people being killed, Jimmy Saville, all with a laugh track over the top. From there they move into a dance track which just doesn’t interest me whatsoever.

The band are one of the very few I have seen who have a mission statement on their website, which reads “Experimental extreme metal band The Meads of Asphodel believe in all peoples right to live in peace, free from the shackles of inflicted dogma & servitude”. One has to agree with that statement, and there are undoubtedly some interesting songs on this album for fans of Hawkwind, Robert Calvert and the idiosyncrasies of GWAR, but the humour and approach is not something I can come to terms with.

FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE Veleno

Album · 2019 · Death Metal
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Between 2016’s ‘King’ and 2019’s ‘Veleno’, Fleshgod Apocalypse went through some major changes in that both guitarist/vocalist Cristiano Trionfera and vocalist/guitarist Tommaso Riccardi left the band for personal reasons. So for the album, the band stripped down to a three-piece in Francesco Paoli switching back to vocals and guitars as he did in the early days as well as providing drums, along with co-founder Paolo Rossi (clean vocals, bass) and Francesco Ferrini (piano, orchestrations). To be able to perform live they have also brought in drummer David Folchitto (Stormlord) and guitarist Fabio Bartoletti (Deceptionist), for when they hit the boards. Given the changes in personnel it perhaps isn’t surprising that there has also been a slight change in approach to the music, in that although they are still using an orchestra and choirs they are now there more as support to the main death attack as opposed to be as closely linked as they were previously.

But yet again they are producing music which is unlike many others in the scene, which is really surprising given the line-up moves, and here they are again using real orchestral ensembles - a full string quartet, a classical percussionist, and a baroque choir - and guest musicians in the shape of Maurizio Cardullo (Folkstone) and Daniele Marinelli playing uilleann pipes and mandolin. They move between the Wagnerian Beethoven grandiosity which involves all elements into those which are more like symphonic death with orchestral support. Fleshgod Apocalypse are continuing to break musical boundaries and create something which is very special indeed. There is an easy commerciality within the songs, melodies which belie the brutality, and a fragility which is bolstered by something very concrete indeed. The band say this is their best release to date, and they just may be right.

FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE King

Album · 2016 · Death Metal
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When I first came across Fleshgod Apocalypse at the time of their third album, 2013’s ‘Labyrinth’, I really couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Here was a death metal band attempting to move the genre into Wagnerian epics and allowing an orchestra to do some of the heavy lifting. Could they possibly follow this up? The answer came in 2016 with ‘King’. The quintet of Tommaso Riccardi (harsh vocals, guitars), Cristiano Trionfera (guitars, backing vocals, orchestral arrangements), Paolo Rossi (bass, clean vocals), Francesco Ferrini (piano, orchestration) and Francesco Paoli (drums) have yet again shown that there is no-one else quite like this. The metal is brutal, there should be no room whatsoever for an orchestra and choir, but somehow there is. And when Ferrini starts “The Fool” on harpsichord then of course it makes sense and is a pleasant interlude before the band and orchestra all puts their heads down and go for broke. How they change time in the manner they do is beyond me, but this feels like a total unit, not just a hairy sweaty metal act plus a high brow orchestra in evening attire.

One can imagine Beethoven rising up and shouting “This is what I wanted the 9th to be like!”. But while the music is always incredibly heavy, massively over the top, there are also plenty of nuances which both lift the overall sound and also make the metal sound even more brutal. The use of two singers is incredibly important, as while Riccardi is often the main lead, Rossi’s more clean approach reminds one of classic Dimmu Borgir. In many ways that is the band they have most in common with, although both are approaching their versions of metal in different ways. Over the top, intense, majestic this is insanity yet within the maelstrom there is control which allows it all to make sense, somehow. In many ways this is a full-blown progressive album, pushing musical boundaries and refusing to accept any given norms.

I am not sure what a pure classicist would think of this, probably wouldn’t be repeatable, but for someone coming into this from the progressive and metal side I can only say this is superb.

FIRST SIGNAL Line of Fire

Album · 2019 · Hard Rock
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Back in In 2010, a new band came together under the watchful eyes of Canadian rock vocalist Harry Hess (Harem Scarem) and German producer Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69, Khymera), First Signal. At the time Harem Scarem were on a break, and Frontiers President Serafino Perugino presented Hess with some melodic rock songs which he felt were worthy of his attention. The debut album was greeted with great interest, and even though Harem Scarem became a viable entity again, Hess was keen to record more songs under the First Signal monicker. The second album came out in 2016, when he there was a total shift in personnel and he was joined by Daniel Flores (drums, who also produced the album) and Michael Palace (guitars) plus assorted guests, and now they are back with the third where the core line-up has been expanded by the addition of Johan Niemann (bass) . The inspiration behind the album were the first two Harem Scarem albums, two absolute Melodic Rock classics, but with some new twists thrown in, with songs covering everything from AOR to Arena Hard Rock.

Any fan of melodic hard rock will know exactly who Harry Hess is, and what he consistently delivers, and this is nothing different in that it is top class with great performances from all involved. Keyboards are a key part of the overall sound, and with great hooks and melodies combined with strong production and immaculate harmonies it is hard to really pick fault. True, it is a cast of thousands when it comes to the songs themselves (the press release proudly states they are provided by Stan Meissner, Harry Hess, Henrik Hedström, Lars Edvall, Anderz Wrethov, Andreas Johansson, Carl Dixon, Bruce Turgon, Sören Kronqvist, Morgan Jensen, Hal Marabel, Daniel Palmqvist, Ulrick Lönnqvist and Nigel Bailey), but Hess is front and centre of everything which is going on and with the guys next to him in perfect sync the result is a blast from start to finish.

True, there are times when one can feel there is just too much sugar coating going on, but here is a band who in many ways really are capturing those very early days of Harem Scarem, who are still one of the very top bands to come out of Canada. It would be great for these guys to be out on the road and really gelling together, but given priorities I expect this only ever to remain as a studio project, which in many ways is a shame as I would love to hear them grow as a unit. But even as it stands this is a great slab of melodic rock.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 8 months 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! 
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Finger Eleven Living in a Dream
    [QUOTE=Unitron]Finger Eleven's single 'Living in a Dream' must have accidentally been added to studio albums. [/QUOTE] Amended. Thanks for letting us know

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