Kev Rowland

Kev Rowland
MMA Special Collaborator · Errors & Omissions Team
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 14 minutes ago

Favorite Metal Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

302 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 Traditional heavy metal | review permalink
DARK SERMON - In Tongues Deathcore | review permalink
SPIRITUAL BEGGARS - Earth Blues Hard 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 42 3.98
2 Hard Rock 36 3.67
3 Black Metal 30 3.75
4 Traditional heavy metal 30 3.60
5 Power Metal 24 3.63
6 Death Metal 22 3.91
7 Thrash Metal 18 3.92
8 Doom Metal 12 3.79
9 Deathcore 7 4.07
10 Alternative Metal 7 3.71
11 Metalcore 7 3.79
12 Symphonic Metal 7 3.71
13 Melodic Death Metal 7 4.50
14 Folk Metal 6 3.67
15 Glam Metal 4 4.13
16 Atmospheric Black Metal 4 4.00
17 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 4 3.38
18 Metal Related 4 5.00
19 Groove Metal 4 3.88
20 US Power Metal 4 3.75
21 Melodic Black Metal 3 3.50
22 Gothic Metal 3 3.33
23 Industrial Metal 2 3.50
24 Sludge Metal 2 2.25
25 Speed Metal 2 3.25
26 Technical Death Metal 2 4.25
27 Non-Metal 2 4.50
28 NWoBHM 1 3.00
29 Symphonic Black Metal 1 5.00
30 Depressive Black Metal 1 2.00
31 Avant-garde Metal 1 3.00
32 Brutal Death Metal 1 4.00
33 Crossover Thrash 1 3.50
34 Death 'n' Roll 1 2.50

Latest Albums Reviews

AVATARIUM Hurricanes and Halos

Album · 2017 · Doom Metal
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Although the band was only formed in 2012 by Soen guitarist Marcus Jidell and Candlemass chief Leif Edling, the guys are already back with their third album. The label describes them as where Black Sabbath meets soul and The Devil’s Blood meets Old School Rock, but they’re wrong. Produced by Marcus Jidell himself, while David Castillo (Katatonia, Bloodbath, Opeth) recorded and mixed it in the famous Ghost Ward Studios, and mastering undertaken by Jens Bogren (Soilwork, Sepultura), here we have an album that was probably a little dated forty-five years ago. What we have here boys and girls, is classic Uriah Heep, with Rickard Nilsson’s Hammond Organ linking with Marcus Jidell’s guitar in a way that is so very reminiscent of Ken Hensley and Mick Box, while Jennie-Ann Smith is different in her approach to the great David Byron, but channels him alongside her Maggie Bell approach.

This is warm, it is heavy, it is comforting and to someone my age also incredibly familiar in its approach. Those first five Heep albums were all classics in their own right, and this should also be judged in the same vein. The absolute standout is “Medusa Child” which twists and turns in many directions during its nine-minute long journey, even bringing in some children singing, while the guitar moves between leaden Iommi-style soundblasts into lighter territory, diving and swirling so that the listener isn’t always sure what is going to happen next. It almost seems as if a few different songs have been taken to pieces and then thrown back together as one, but it works incredibly well. Overall, this is a really enjoyable album, one that any fan of Seventies rock combined with Sabbath doom and a great production would do well to seek out.

SEVEN KINGDOMS Decennium

Album · 2017 · Power Metal
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On their 2007 debut these guys had a male singer, but he was replaced by Sabrina Valentine for the second, and the band moved much more into power metal territory, something the band are still providing with this their fourth. Having toured with the likes of Blind Guardian, Stratovarius, Amaranthe and metal queen Doro, they have been building a strong reputation over the last ten years, with elements of these bands, as well as others like Helloween, having an obvious impact on their music. This is all about hitting hard, then hitting again, with Sabine staying above everything with a strong melodic soprano that never veers into the operatic.

But the guys behind her aren’t going to wimp out, but rather keep it all focussed with plenty of strong harmony guitars and riffs. There is no room for a keyboard player in this band, with the double bass drum blasting away and the band almost moving into thrash territory, this is all about guitars and vocals. Heads down and see you at the end, but with loads of harmony and melody. It is interesting to hear just what an impact the singer has here, as with a different approach they would be a very different band altogether, even with the rest of the band playing the same.

Apparently they crowdfunded this release, and all power to them, as it certainly sounds as if they had a major label behind them. Hopefully this will get them the recognition they deserve as anyone into metal in general, power metal in particular, will find a lot on here to enjoy.

KOBRA AND THE LOTUS Prevail I

Album · 2017 · Traditional heavy metal
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It's been three years since Kobra And The Lotus' last studio album ‘High Priestess’ was released back in 2014. Since then the Canadians have completed multiple tours worldwide (with the likes of Kamelot, Sonata Arctica and Demon Hunter to name a few), and are now back with their fourth release. Only singer Kobra Paige is still there from the 2009 debut ‘Out of the Pit’, and I am amazed that I haven’t heard her prior to this album, as here is a singer with plenty of power and passion, very much in the style of Doro. Musically this is a mix of traditional heavy metal with some power metal, while also at times slightly moving into symphonic, but they don’t stay on the last for too long.

This is all about punch guitars, great melodies and hooks, with some sublime singing over the top. Produced by Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Amaranthe, Epica etc) and mastered by Grammy award winning Ted Jensen, the sound is as strong as one would expect, and I actually found this to be a refreshing approach to the genre as here Kobra is very much part of the band, and not someone pushing herself to the forefront at the risk of taking away from the impact of the songs overall. ‘Prevail I’ is full of blistering guitars, pounding rhythms and haunting vocal melodies, and will be appreciated both by those who enjoy the more melodic side of metal and those who like the (much) heavier side of AOR. Apparently ‘Prevail II’ is going to be released in the near future, and I for one look forward to that with great anticipation as if it is as good as this it will be one to grab.

ALESTORM No Grave But The Sea

Album · 2017 · Folk Metal
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Somehow these guys have made it to their fifth studio album, still portraying ‘True Scottish Pirate Metal'. I was once asked by a mate if I wanted to go and see them play live, but I honestly couldn’t bring myself to do it, and I’ve been to see Gwar! The frustrating thing for me is that there are some interesting songs on the album, but do you really want to sit through ten songs about being a pirate? I love folk in all its forms, but there are only so many shanty-style numbers that one can sit through at one time. Someone also needs to have a conversation with keyboard player Elliot Vernon and suggest that not only he update the patches he is using, but also to never repeat the sounds he uses at the beginning of “Mexico” as they sound as if they have come from an Atari that someone has dragged up from somewhere.

These guys are having a laugh, of that there is no doubt, and they are making a career of it, but although I can see the appeal this really isn’t for me. That they know what they are doing, and that this has been well produced is never in doubt, it’s just that there are many more albums I would prefer to listen to.

GHOST BATH Starmourner

Album · 2017 · Depressive Black Metal
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I was sent this by the record label to review, but still know virtually nothing about the band. I know it’s their third album, and that they were formed by Nameless (vocals, guitar, piano), but even though they are touring and there are five of them in the band the guys aren’t listed on the press release, or the band’s own homepage, or their Facebook page (I tried, honest). In addition, their debut EP was released on both a Russian and Chinese label, and I don’t even know what country they’re from! Apparently the stories, or parables, look into Jewish angelology and the hierarchy of angels as found in the bible and other religious texts," says Nameless. Although the album has a definitive joyful and hopeful feel, it is still drenched in depression and sorry, as any true Ghost Bath record should be."

So, they’ve put a lot of work into staying anonymous, apparently so that listeners aren’t distracted from their brand of depressive black metal. And I can understand why listeners might easily be distracted, as in all fairness this isn’t all that good. Easily the best parts of this album are the artwork (and apparently the CD booklet has each track accompanied by a beautifully crafted painting as well as a "parable" to read alongside), and the first song which is a delicate piano instrumental. The rest of it is well-recorded and produced but these are the only positive comments I really have. In “Ambrosial” the same chord is repeated so many times that I felt like slashing my wrists or turning the album off, whichever I could get the most energy for.

Black Metal as a genre contains many groundbreaking and inspiring bands, this isn’t one of them.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • 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
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in An endless sporadic new single mistake
    [QUOTE=vmoore]Hi i made a mistake on the musicials part of the new An Endless Sporadic Single Spaceship Factory that I put up. I put is based on what they have on their website when on bandcamp the musicians for this is different and in the video there is more than just 2 guys playing. This is what it is supposed to be. Please fix itZach Kamins - Guitars and Keyboards Andy Gentile - Drums Eloy Palacios - Bass Tony Solís - Additional Guitars [/QUOTE]  All done

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