Kev Rowland

Kev Rowland
MMA Special Collaborator · Errors & Omissions Team
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 33 days ago

Favorite Metal Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

563 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 64 3.65
2 Progressive Metal 60 3.97
3 Power Metal 49 3.60
4 Heavy Metal 47 3.48
5 Black Metal 42 3.80
6 Death Metal 42 3.94
7 Thrash Metal 35 3.63
8 Melodic Death Metal 20 4.20
9 Alternative Metal 16 3.53
10 Metalcore 14 3.57
11 Technical Death Metal 14 3.93
12 Doom Metal 12 3.46
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 Metal Related 7 4.79
20 Non-Metal 6 3.75
21 Melodic Black Metal 6 3.67
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

PANTERA Far Beyond Driven

Album · 1994 · Groove Metal
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It is safe to say that when I first came across Pantera with their fifth album, 1990’s ‘Cowboys From Hell’ I was not impressed, and over the last 30 years have recognised there have been some good songs from within their canon, but have never gone as massively overboard as many. So, when I was perusing the Warner Bros promotional site and came across this double CD reissue from 2014, celebrating the 20th anniversary of an album seen by many as being a classic, I thought why not? There is no doubt that Pantera these days are viewed by many as being an incredibly important band within the genre, and Dimebag’s death has only secured that notion, but listening to this with fresh ears more than a quarter of a century after it was recorded, one can only wonder why that is still the case.

The guys were all very good musicians, and in Anselmo they had an aggressive and over the top singer, while Dimebag was obviously influenced heavily by the likes of Tony Iommi, but where are the songs? There is little here which gets into the brain and sticks there, the result being that if this was a new album by an unknown band one wonders what the critics would think of it. Of course, the Pantera diehards will say this is a hugely important release, even more so that it has been remastered and paired with live songs from Donington which include classics such as “Fucking Hostile”. The only problem is that the recording is bootleg quality at best, and one gets the impression it has been deliberately left like that. Having delved back into the world of Pantera for the first time in aeons, I cannot say that I am any wiser as to why they are held in such high regard, as this is not the classic many hold it out to be.

MASTODON Medium Rarities

Boxset / Compilation · 2020 · Progressive Metal
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As one may expect from the title, the brand new release from Mastodon is a collection of material which is difficult or impossible to obtain, bringing together cover versions, soundtrack contributions, instrumentals, B-sides, and live recordings on one complete package. This means we get the likes of “A Commotion” (Feist), “A Spoonful Weighs A Ton” (The Flaming Lips), and “Orion” (Metallica) while also featuring soundtrack cuts such as “White Walker” (Game of Thrones), “Cut You Up With A Linoleum Knife” (Aqua Teen Hunger Force) and “Rufus Lives” (Bill & Ted Face The Music). If that isn’t enough, they also include instrumental versions of “Asleep in the Deep”, “Toe To Toes”, “Jaguar God” and “Halloween”. Given that many of the songs are unavailable elsewhere then this is obviously something that fans are going to be interested in, especially as it includes brand new song “Fallen Torches”, which features guest vocals by long-time friend and collaborator Scott Kelly (Neurosis).

Due to the nature of the music contained within this, it is aimed only at Mastodon diehard fans and those people will really enjoy this, yet in reality this is not something which normal punters will rush out to obtain, and rightly so. There are a few numbers which do stand out musically, but overall this is something which many people will listen to once and then go back to the “normal” releases. Rarities albums sometimes produce a few gems, such as Jethro Tull’s “Jack A Lynn” and “Coronach” which many people were unaware of until they were put out on such a set, but for most people they can be safely passed by until the next new album comes out, and this falls into that bracket. But if you really did want some of those rarer Mastodon songs then now you can do just that.

MASTODON Emperor of Sand

Album · 2017 · Progressive Metal
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On their 2017 release the quartet released a concept storyline where they want us to contemplate the nature of time. Threading together the myth of a man sentenced to death in a majestically malevolent desert, the band conjures the grains of a musical and lyrical odyssey slipping quickly through a cosmic hourglass. “Emperor Of Sand is like the grim reaper,” says drummer/vocalist Brann Dailor. “Sand represents time. If you or anyone you know has ever received a terminal diagnosis, the first thought is about time. Invariably, you ask, ‘How much time is left?’” “We’re reflecting on mortality,” adds bassist/vocalist Troy Sanders. “To that end, the album ties into our entire discography. It’s 17 years in the making, but it’s also a direct reaction to the last two years. We tend to draw inspiration from very real things in our lives.”

Although it may seem that this would lead the album musically into darker territory, it is actually somewhat lighter than its predecessors, still capturing the Mastodon sound but at times it is more akin to hard rock than metal, while sludge is less prominent than previously. Instead they are mixing and blending complex ideas with guitar lines that sometimes have Eastern tinges, while Dailor is producing some of the most melodic vocals of his career. “Steambreather” is a case in point where instead of getting heavier it actually lightens up during the bridge even though Dailor is also blasting around the kit. “Precious Stones” is another fine example of the band playing with light and dark, as while it is lighter for the most part the final bars show the band crunching out the definitive Mastodon sound and then stopping dead.

The subject matter of the album may not be the most pleasant for people to think about, but the music has definitely taken on a less brutal and more melodic aspect while still staying true to their roots. More progressive and less metallic, this is another great release.

MASTODON Once More 'Round the Sun

Album · 2014 · Progressive Metal
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This 2014 album was the sixth from Mastodon, following on some three years from 2011’s acclaimed ‘The Hunter’. Although I originally missed out on the debut, I clearly remember when I was sent their 2004 release ‘Leviathan’ and the impact it had on me. Back then they were in all the music magazines but moving to New Zealand just a few years later meant I lost track of what they were doing and it is only now that I am starting to revisit the catalogue. There are few bands who manage to stay together throughout their career, but the line-up on this one was the same as on the debut (and actually still is today), namely Troy Sanders (bass, vocals), Brent Hinds (guitar, vocals), Bill Kelliher (guitar) and Brann Dailor (drums). Over the years they have become renowned for their attention to detail, and how they mix many forms of metal to create something which is uniquely theirs. This means they can be playing something which is more akin to sludge and then surprise everyone with some incredibly melodic guitar twin harmonies which is totally out of character for what is happening musically yet also fits in perfectly. Then over the top of it all there are the dual lead vocals which add yet more melody to what is an incredibly heavy band.

But they are also not afraid to show what inspires them, and when listening to the title cut, one cannot help but be taken back to the Seventies, although in a far heavier and bass-led fashion. This song also contains samples of Lizzy’s “Cowboy Song”, and one wonders if this was a premonition of things to come given that bassist Sanders was asked to join that band for some live shows five years later. This is progressive metal in that there is a real refusal to accept boundaries or norms, creating music very much on their own terms, no compromise whatsoever yet somehow they create something which is incredibly easy to listen to and enjoy on the very first time of hearing. It is powerful and aggressive, yet with a layer of polish and versatility which belies the force of what is going on underneath. While it may not have the immediate impact of ‘Leviathan’ one can see why this is such highly regarded release and I am certainly glad that I have finally remade my acquaintance with the band.

LAMB OF GOD Lamb Of God

Album · 2020 · Groove Metal
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It is unusual for a band that has been around as Lamb of God to release a self-titled album, but it is possible this is for a few different reasons. The last release by the band was not actually the previous Lamb of God release but an album of covers they released as Burn The Priest, which was the original name of the band when they were first formed and under which they released their debut album. More importantly, this is the first ever release which does not feature drummer Chris Adler, who alongside bassist John Campbell were the only founders of Burn The Priest still involved. Adler had taken some time away from Lamb of God to perform and record with Megadeth (winning a Grammy for his work on ‘Dystopia’) and is now working with neither. There are various reasons floating around the web as to why he left, but for whatever reason he is no longer involved, and his place has been taken by Art Cruz (Winds of Plague, Cruz).

It may have been five years since the last LoG release, but in many ways, this is a direct continuation and sonically there is not much difference in the drum styles. The band feel happier with the album itself due to a change in approach in that they undertook pre-production then toured with Slayer before coming back to the songs which allowed them to hear them in a different light. Hard-hitting groove metal is the order of the way, with Randy Blythe bringing his best punk attack to it over the top. His vocal approach does provide cut through, as the band provide a solid backdrop for him to spit his venom against. As with the last album this is also highly melodic, although the nuances do not appear to be as prevalent, which may be due to having a new drummer as opposed to having one who has been in the band for quarter of a century. This is solid as opposed to exceptional, and it will be interesting to see what happens with the next one. I just hope we don’t have to wait another five years as I do not think it is possible for these guys to release a bad album, and I am intrigued to see where they go from here.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 4 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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