Kev Rowland

Kev Rowland
MMA Special Collaborator · Errors & Omissions Team
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 1 day ago

Favorite Metal Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

421 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 Progressive Metal 52 3.98
2 Hard Rock 47 3.62
3 Heavy Metal 39 3.53
4 Black Metal 37 3.82
5 Power Metal 33 3.71
6 Death Metal 29 3.98
7 Thrash Metal 25 3.72
8 Metalcore 13 3.54
9 Alternative Metal 12 3.50
10 Doom Metal 10 3.35
11 Melodic Death Metal 10 4.35
12 Technical Death Metal 10 3.95
13 Folk Metal 9 3.72
14 Metal Related 7 4.57
15 Symphonic Metal 7 3.71
16 Deathcore 6 4.08
17 Brutal Death Metal 6 4.00
18 Glam Metal 5 3.90
19 Groove Metal 5 4.00
20 Non-Metal 5 4.00
21 US Power Metal 5 3.70
22 Atmospheric Black Metal 4 4.00
23 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 4 3.50
24 Melodic Metalcore 3 4.00
25 Hardcore Punk 3 3.33
26 Heavy Psych 3 4.00
27 Industrial Metal 3 3.50
28 Melodic Black Metal 3 3.50
29 Stoner Metal 3 3.83
30 Stoner Rock 3 4.33
31 Symphonic Black Metal 3 4.83
32 Speed Metal 2 3.25
33 NWoBHM 2 4.00
34 Avant-garde Metal 2 3.50
35 Crossover Thrash 2 3.25
36 Gothic Metal 2 3.75
37 Grindcore 1 3.50
38 Depressive Black Metal 1 2.00
39 Death-Doom Metal 1 4.50
40 Death 'n' Roll 1 2.50
41 Pagan Black Metal 1 3.00
42 Sludge Metal 1 2.00
43 Trance Metal 1 2.50

Latest Albums Reviews


Album · 2019 · Thrash Metal
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Like most metalheads, I’ve always had a warm spot for Flotsam and Jetsam, and I would expect most to have a copy of their debut ‘Doomsday For The Deceiver’ in their collection (grief, it is more than 30 years old now!). Destined both always to be remembered as the band Jason Newsted left to join Metallica, and to never gain the heights many expected of them, I came to this album not having heard any of their recent material. Singer Eric A.K. and guitarist Mike Gilbert where there for the debut, while bassist Michael Spencer was the original replacement for Newsted, while second guitarist has been in place for five years and it is only veteran drummer Ken Mary who is a newbie.

What strikes one immediately is the sheer force and power of the guitars, as the production is incredibly strong with real depth. Musically this is melodic power metal which is closely aligned to thrash, as the band happily straddle the genres and allow Eric to show he has lost none of his prowess over the years. This is an incredibly polished release, and to me that is the one aspect which I felt was wrong as it has been honed just too much, smoothed and crafted within an inch of its life and to my ears it would have been far better if it had been left raw and there wasn’t quite so much in the way of harmony vocals and saccharine. I am sure that onstage this will be quite a different beast and I would have much preferred to have heard it that way.


Album · 2017 · Heavy Metal
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It is safe to say that I’m not exactly a massive fan of the second album by the Swiss female quintet, ‘Hexenhammer’, so when it was announced that Nuclear Blast were going to reissue the 2017 debut alongside four-track live EP from the following year, both of which were originally issued independently, I wasn’t exactly jumping for joy. But you know what? Having listened to these I can now see why Nuclear Blast signed them as although I still don’t like the follow-up, the debut shows definite promise. This is good old-fashioned heavy metal, straight down the middle with nothing fancy. Produced by V.O. Pulver (Pro-Pain, Destruction, Nervosa, Pänzer) and Destruction legend Schmier, who helped and advised as a close friend of the band, one is taken back in time to when it was all about energy and emotion as opposed to splitting into multiple sub-genres.

Seraina Telli has an edge to her voice, which is just right with the pummelling guitars, and although I rarely listen to music like this these days, I soon found I had a smile on my face as they powered through. The original album ended with Priest’s “Jawbreaker” (can that song really be 25 years old? I feel ancient!), and while there is no way they could ever capture the original power, this is still a fine version. The live EP contains three songs from the debut, plus Dio’s “Holy Diver” which they didn’t exactly do justice to on ‘Hexenhammer’, but here it makes far more sense. Possibly they were rushed into the follow-up after signing with Nuclear Blast, as this is far superior to that, and fans of straight ahead heavy metal could do far worse than look this out.


Album · 2018 · Technical Death Metal
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This is the third album from Canadian technical death metal act Beyond Creation, but it isn’t hard to also why they are listed on PA as yet again we have a band pushing musical boundaries. While the band for the most part is similar in many ways to the likes of Nile, with complex intertwined blistering guitar passages combined with over the top drum fills, and vocals which are guttural and raw, what really makes this stand out for me is the bass. I guess that Hugo Doyon-Karout knows he is playing in an extreme metal act, but someone seems to have forgotten to have told him what his role is supposed to be, as not only is he playing a fretless bass, but he is all over the place. Sometimes he joins in with the guitars on the complex interchanges, leaving drummer Philippe Boucher to keep it all together by himself, while at others he has the temerity to play lead solos over the top of Simon Girard and Kévin Chartré. Doesn’t he know that the role of a bassist is to provide the platform for others, not be at the forefront of what is going on?

Needless to say, the result makes for an incredibly fascinating and interesting album, as one is never sure what is going to happen next, and the warmth of the fretless bass provides direct contrast to the often-staccato guitars. Due to his role in the band, the bass is also mixed higher than one would normally expect, so the gap is between the drums and everything else, as opposed to drums and bass being kept together. This gives the sound a lightness as the bass is often providing counterpoint as opposed to locking down the sound, this means that when he starts playing in a more normal manner the dynamic contrast is higher than would otherwise be the case. But, notes are still often being slid into as opposed to being punched in the manner one would expect from the fretted instrument. Although it may seem I am saying this is all about Hugo, nothing could be further from the truth as this feels like an incredibly complex structured album where everyone knows their part, it is just a different structure to the norm. Well worthy of investigation.


Album · 2013 · Black Metal
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Acolyte were formed in Manchester in 2008 by guitarist Malekh and JT. After working on music for a while they became a quintet, releasing their debut EP ‘Leng’ in 2011. It took another couple of years for them to finally release this, their debut album, ‘Alta’, by which time the line-up was settled with the duo joined by Paul (bass), Brady (drums) and Chris (lead guitars). Although black metal is at the heart of what they do, I have also seen them called “progressive black metal”, “blackened groove metal” and “extreme prog metal” so whatever they are doing they don’t fit neatly into the normal view of the scene. The reason for the confusion is that although for the most part they do indeed fit very neatly into the centre of black metal, there is more than “just” that going on.

Within their songs they shift from the guttural and abrasive to sections which are far more melodic, almost jazz-like, making one think of the late Sixties scene which is very different indeed to the rest of what is going on. Also, although they are using buzzsaw riffs, they have defined breaks and use stylistic shifts which are far more reminiscent of hard rock than of the black metal scene. Strangely, each time I start playing this album I feel it is far more basic than I remember and not as interesting or dynamic as I remembered, but as it continues to play I shift my opinion and by the end of it I am yet again a confirmed fan. JT may have the gruff and raw vocal attack favoured by many, but he is much more melodic with far clearer diction than many, which also adds to the impression that although they are a metal band, black metal is far more of a passion than it is a defining all consuming genre for them. Overall this is very interesting album indeed.

SIGH Heir to Despair

Album · 2018 · Avant-garde Metal
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Sigh have been one of the most interesting Japanese bands for some time now, and here with their eleventh album they have taken another musical turn in their journey which may surprise some and will delight many. It is an album about insanity, and at first glance at the artwork that doesn’t make sense as surely the woman watering her flowers is smiling? Find a nice big version of the image and you will realise the plants are dying, it not already dead, and the room behind her is in chaos. Japanese band Sigh will release their eleventh studio album Heir to Despair on November 16 via Candlelight Records. The album is mostly sung in Japanese, which is very unusual for the band, while Mirai Kawashima used some Japanese traditional singing techniques and Kevin Kmetz, formerly of Estradasphere and master of the traditional Japanese instrument, the shamisen, is featured on several tracks. This definitely gives the band a very traditional feel.

While their last album, ‘Graveward’, contained some symphonic and orchestral elements, this has one has been inspired by progressive bands and contains plenty of vintage keyboards and flute as well as the riffing guitars we would normally expect. The band state they been paying attention to the likes Brainticket, Embryo, Agitation Free, Between, Gentle Giant, Os Mutantes, Modulo 1000 and Black Widow, which isn’t a list one can imagine ever seeing from a Japanese metal act. I love the sheer diversity of this album, one never knows what is coming next, either from the next song or even the next few bars of the song which is being played. One might imagine it to be incredibly challenging, but in fact it is actually a really easy album to listen to. I enjoyed it the first time I played it, and each time since then has allowed me to discover something else.

Sigh continue to move, change, and challenge both themselves and their fans, and this is an incredibly strong result on every level.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 2 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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