Kev Rowland

Kev Rowland
MMA Special Collaborator · Errors & Omissions Team
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 22 days ago

Favorite Metal Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

626 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 70 3.62
2 Progressive Metal 62 3.96
3 Death Metal 55 3.95
4 Heavy Metal 52 3.49
5 Power Metal 50 3.61
6 Black Metal 43 3.80
7 Thrash Metal 40 3.61
8 Melodic Death Metal 26 4.17
9 Alternative Metal 18 3.58
10 Doom Metal 15 3.60
11 Technical Death Metal 15 3.93
12 Metalcore 14 3.54
13 Folk Metal 13 3.85
14 Deathcore 13 3.77
15 Groove Metal 12 3.79
16 Symphonic Metal 11 3.77
17 Brutal Death Metal 9 4.00
18 Glam Metal 8 3.38
19 Hardcore Punk 7 3.36
20 Melodic Black Metal 7 3.64
21 Metal Related 7 4.79
22 Non-Metal 6 3.75
23 Melodic Metalcore 6 4.00
24 Atmospheric Black Metal 6 3.83
25 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 6 3.58
26 Symphonic Black Metal 6 4.42
27 US Power Metal 6 3.83
28 Stoner Metal 4 3.75
29 Crossover Thrash 4 3.38
30 Death-Doom Metal 4 4.13
31 Avant-garde Metal 3 3.17
32 Gothic Metal 3 4.00
33 Heavy Psych 3 4.00
34 Industrial Metal 3 3.50
35 Sludge Metal 3 2.50
36 Speed Metal 3 3.00
37 Stoner Rock 3 4.33
38 NWoBHM 2 4.00
39 Funeral Doom Metal 2 4.00
40 Depressive Black Metal 1 2.00
41 Grindcore 1 3.50
42 Heavy Alternative Rock 1 3.00
43 Pagan Black Metal 1 3.00
44 Mathcore 1 4.00
45 Trance Metal 1 2.50

Latest Albums Reviews

BEHEMOTH Opvs Contra Natvram

Album · 2022 · Death Metal
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I enjoyed Behemoth’s last studio album, 2018’s ‘I Loved You At Your Darkest’, but did not exactly warrant it as essential, while I was also not exactly gushing about their more recent live ‘In Absentia Dei’, so what would I think of the latest effort? With a Latin title (Work Against Nature), an inverted crucifix on a starkly white cover, it certainly appeared that we were off to a good start, and it is great to be able to report that it continued through to the music with the result being one of the most complete Behemoth albums one is likely to find. Bassist Orion is still the newbie of the trio as he has only been there 20 years, while drummer Inferno has been there for 25 and of course the mighty Nergal has now been there for more than 30, and in many ways they have managed to combine that history and legacy into something which is both commercial and Black Metal at the same time.

The production has smoothed over the rough edges while never truly removing the menace, and there is much more of a wall of sound than one would normally associate a with a trio as there has been multi layering of guitars. There is also a good use of dark and light (or at least dark and less dark), and while some people may view this style of BM as buzzsaw guitars without end there is a great deal going on, with the three musicians fully locked together in a way which only comes from playing together for so very long. We get some nice atmospheric touches here and there, all of which provides more emphasis when they really kick off. Nergal’s vocals still contain the grit and menace one has come to expect, and even when the arrangement is more symphonic that never wavers in its approach. I can understand some people saying the production has somewhat sanitised the overall impact, and that they are not the band who hit the ground running with the mighty ‘Sventevith (Storming Near the Baltic)’ all those years back, but are any of us the same as we were back in 1995? This release is one which will appear to long-time fans of the band such as myself, but will also entice many others who have yet to investigate Behemoth and their back catalogue. Inferno is playing out of his skin on this one, with incredible fills and rolls, while Orion and Nergal play as one and the result is something quite special indeed.

NAZARETH Surviving The Law

Album · 2022 · Hard Rock
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Nazareth are one of the longest-running and most important rock bands to ever come out of Scotland, and even if we discount the years that most of the founders were playing together as The Shadettes, here is a band who has celebrated more than 50 years together. ‘Surviving The Law’ is their 25th studio album, released last year, by which time bassist Pete Agnew was 75 years old, and his son Lew had been drummer in the band for more than 29 years. Jimmy Murrison has been there since 1994, which makes him the longest serving guitarist the band has ever had, while singer Carl Sentence has been there since 2015.

Between 1971 and 1977 nine (yes, nine) studio albums, and quite a few of them are classics, although in honest none of them stand up against ‘It'sNaz’ (known by many as ‘Snaz). It was one of the most epic live albums of all time, absolutely essential, featuring the classic line-up of Dan McCafferty (vocals), Manny Charlton (guitar), Pete Agnew (bass, backing vocals) alongside Billy Rankin (guitar) and John Locke (keyboards) which allowed them to have an immense sound, but they were a quartet for the first ten years of their existence, and after bringing in a few other people, it was back to the core four in 1983 and they stayed that way until 1990 (when Manny left, Billy came back, and they stayed that way until 1994).

Carl has a great voice, but to be honest I can’t think of Nazareth without the gravel of Dan, and they have never been the same since Manny left. The original proud boys of Dunfermline were special, and while this is a pleasant old school British hard rock album with hints of metal, there is nothing here to make it stand out from anyone else. I am sure they are still a blast on the live circuit, but while there may be a few songs from this album included, most people will be holding out for the classics. For any band to be in existence for more than 50 years is sensational, and in many ways they have been at it for more than 60, but this album is fairly standard hard rock with nice vocals and little in the way of memorable songs, which is pretty much what I said about the last one, ‘Tattooed On My Brain’ as well. I think I may just put on ‘Razamanaz’, as there is the real Nazareth.

DIMMU BORGIR Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia

Album · 2001 · Symphonic Black Metal
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Can it really be more than 20 years since One of Norway’s most creative black metal bands released ‘Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia’? At the time they had gone through some artistic and personnel changes which would shape their future, with the arrival of bassist/singer ICS Vortex, drummer Nicholas Barker of Cradle of Filth and new guitarist Galder fitting in with Shagrath, Mustis and Silenoz. To celebrate the 20th+ anniversary, towards the end of 2022 Nuclear Blast released a limited edition 3 LP set containing remixed and remastered versions of the original 13 songs (as it is includes the bonus songs from the Japanese edition), with another LP (called ‘Dust Of Cold Memories’) which includes extensive bonus material, which includes the pre-production of the album and instrumental rehearsals.

Although I personally do not view this as important as the next album, ‘Death Cult Armageddon’, the addition of ICS Vortex to the band was a major step forward, along with the strong use of real orchestration as opposed to producing it on keyboards. There are some who feel this period of the band does not compare to their early days, bit for me this was when they were at their most interesting, challenging the norms on what was expected from Norwegian Black Metal, and forcing it into the mainstream without ever losing any of the power and atmosphere. Like many, I got this at the time so the question must be is it worth buying it again? Well, it has been remixed and remastered and the sound has been made punchier, plus it is available on vinyl, which is always nice. The third LP is very much for fans only but given they will be the ones getting this I guess that is okay.


Album · 2014 · Deathcore
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Released in 2014, Suicide Silence’s fourth album ‘You Can’t Stop Me” was the first without original lead vocalist Mitch Lucker who was killed in a motoboke crash in 2012, and the first to feature Hernan "Eddie" Hermida of All Shall Perish. Deathcore is a genre which seems to polarise quite a few people, and I note that Encyclopaedia Metallum do not include the genre on their site even though anyone who does not understand the subgenres of metal would think this should be there. For me it is still down to the band themselves and I have enjoyed some deathcore bands, and others not so much. I did once walk out of an event to get a beer when Suicide Silence were playing, not because I disliked the genre, but I disliked the band.

All the lyrics were written by Hermida apart from two (including the title) which were by Lucker, and it is obvious the band had a lot to prove with this album as it is always difficult to keep going when a key member dies, yet it is not unusual for a band to come back with their best ever release (think ‘Back In Black’). The stand out track on this is “Control” which features none other than George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher providing his dulcet tones which is strangely reminiscent on Dom Lawson on the live "Planet Smasher". There is a high energy throughout the album, and a great deal of complexity, but the band were obviously incredible conscious of paying homage to Mitch, and re-recorded "Ending Is the Beginning" from their debut EP with Hermida putting himself out there. I am not a huge fan of Suicide Silence, and am unlikely to change that based on this, but this is the best album of theirs I have come across and if like me you have rapidly passed them by then this may well be the place to start.

INSOMNIUM Shadows of the Dying Sun

Album · 2014 · Melodic Death Metal
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Finnish band Insomnium are often described as melodic death metal, yet they also bring in atmospheric elements of black metal and so many other elements on this album that I would not be surprised to see them categorised prog metal as well. Released in 2014, here is a band who have had huge stability in line-up with Niilo Sevänen (bass, vocals), Ville Friman (guitars, clean vocals) both founders, drummer Markus Hirvonen joining not long afterwards in 1997, and guitarist Markus Vanhala joining in 2011. In fact, the only change in their line-up since this album is the addition of Jani Liimatainen in 2019, so still incredibly consistent, and since this was released there have been another three albums, of which one was 2019’s ‘Heart Like A Grave’ which I rated very highly indeed.

Long-time guest Aleksi Munter provides keyboards on this album, while backing singer and producer Teemu Aalto made his first appearance with the band (also appearing on the next two releases), together providing additional cleanliness and polish. The result is something which can be brutally heavy, yet there may also be acoustic guitars, the keyboards provide a backdrop and while there are times when we are full-on death it is always wonderfully melodic. The contrast between the brutality and the polish is what makes this such a dynamic release, full of dark and light so one never knows where it is going to lead. They walk a tight line between having too much of one or the other, ensuring the two sides bounce off each other, and at times there is a brooding melancholy with a cold atmosphere permeating the overall sound. Anyone seeing the term “death metal” may be surprised at just how commercial and melodic this album is, and there is much in here for those who may not normally investigate music from that genre. I have previously compared them to Borknagar, and I hear that in this release as well, which is still a delight nearly ten years on from its release.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Band Member Revision
  • 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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