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Metal Related is a term used on Metal Music Archives (MMA) to describe artists and releases that, although not metal enough to be placed under any of the MMA metal sub-genres, still contain a reasonable amount of metal elements.

While this tag will often be applied to releases by artists who do indeed have more fully-fledged metal releases such as Opeth's Heritage or most releases by A.C.T. after their debut, the site will often take in artists that have no releases in metal sub-genres, as Metal Related artists due to the metal elements on some or all of their releases. Examples of such artists are Neal Morse for his 2007 album Sola Scriptura, Galahad for their later releases and Beardfish for their 2012 album The Void.

As such the actual music on releases with the Metal Related sub-genre can vary greatly, both in terms of the main style and the metal elements that flavour the music.

- Written by adg211288 (August 2015)

Sub-genre collaborators:

The Metal Related team is always the same as the standing admin team. Currently:

  • adg211288
  • Bosh66
  • 666sharon666
  • Vim Fuego
  • Nightfly

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Showing only albums and EPs | Based on members ratings & MMA custom algorithm | 24 hours caching

NEAL MORSE One Album Cover One
4.83 | 11 ratings
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SPOCK'S BEARD Snow Album Cover Snow
4.88 | 8 ratings
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PORCUPINE TREE In Absentia Album Cover In Absentia
4.33 | 88 ratings
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TRANSATLANTIC Bridge Across Forever Album Cover Bridge Across Forever
4.46 | 22 ratings
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RIVERSIDE Second Life Syndrome Album Cover Second Life Syndrome
4.31 | 93 ratings
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4.75 | 8 ratings
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KATATONIA Last Fair Deal Gone Down Album Cover Last Fair Deal Gone Down
4.38 | 31 ratings
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PORCUPINE TREE Deadwing Album Cover Deadwing
4.30 | 72 ratings
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4.42 | 20 ratings
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NEAL MORSE Sola Scriptura Album Cover Sola Scriptura
4.32 | 35 ratings
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ARENA Contagion Album Cover Contagion
4.48 | 13 ratings
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RIVERSIDE Shrine of New Generation Slaves Album Cover Shrine of New Generation Slaves
4.26 | 54 ratings
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This list is in progress since the site is new. We invite all logged in members to use the "quick rating" widget (stars bellow album covers) or post full reviews to increase the weight of your rating in the global average value (see FAQ for more details). Enjoy MMA!

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SPOCK'S BEARD The Kindness of Strangers

Album · 1998 · Metal Related
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The Kindness of Strangers is the album where Spock's Beard don't quite go pop, but don't put such an emphasis on keeping the prog dial turned to 11 all the time. It had been apparent at least since Beware of Darkness that Neal Morse and company had a healthy respect for the 1960s psych-pop forefathers of prog, and for its middle run of shorter songs the band seem to dip into the sunny world of that pop era and save the prog workouts for the longer pieces which bookend the album.

Part of this may well be motivated by the desire to make the band a viable commercial unit going forwards - the plethora of radio edits available as bonus tracks on some editions of the album attest to that. Then again, Kansas - whose influence had always been part of the early Spock's Beard sound - also navigated a territory between full-on prog and prog-tinged pop, so whilst this gear shift might not be to the taste of listeners who'd prefer Spock's Beard to more consistently lean into their prog side, it's not a totally out of left field direction for the band to take.

As it stands, they aren't bad at it - though equally, they aren't great. Of the first three Spock's Beard studio albums, this is probably my least favourite. That doesn't mean it's bad - it's usually entertaining, June is genuinely beautiful, and you do get a sense of the band continuing to evolve their sound, which is welcome and necessary. At the same time, I wouldn't prioritise it above The Light or Beware of Darkness.


Album · 2011 · Metal Related
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Kicking off the opening title track of this album with a sampled drum loop before Nick Barrett's lead guitar kicks in, Pendragon signal to the listener immediately that Passion, as with Pure, is going to be another wild ride into territory outside of that which we'd come to associate with the band, especially on the strength of their output from The World to Not Of This World.

Repeated motifs and lyrical phrases suggest that there's a concept going on here, but largely the album seems to be a moment of therapy for Nick Barrett, a venting of frustrations which you get the impression had been a long time coming. Now, it's the nature of such venting to include things that aren't so reasonable (come on, Nick, don't buy into the tabloid TV idea of a "war on Christmas", you're smarter than that), but maybe this is part of the point: passion, after all, is exuberant and wild and difficult to control and not exactly rational.

In interviews Nick Barrett's been pretty open about how his divorce, which occurred in between The Masquerade Overture and Not Of This World, was something of a major shakeup in his life and prompted him to re-evaluate a lot of things, and in retrospect it's easy to see how the run of albums after Masquerade Overture reflect that. Not Of This World, whilst still in the style the band had been performing since The World, included a melancholic edge to proceedings suggesting that the joyful optimism and innocence that had characterised preceding albums had been shaken; Believe and Pure found the band exploring increasingly dark material, expanding their emotional repertoire in order to give expression to correspondingly dark feelings.

Passion, then, would seem to be the culmination of that process, a cry from the heart that Nick and the band had been developing the musical and lyrical toolkit to unleash on the world, and as a result it feels like one of the most genuine, honest, and raw albums in the neo-prog landscape, expressing an honesty comparable to Fish in his finest moments as a lyricist. You don't have to agree with everything Nick is saying here to find value in that because, again, this is Passion, not Reason: one way or another, this is what's in Nick's heart, and now it's out of his heart and on the record you get the impression that a real weight has been lifted from him. Towards the end of the album things get a bit more gentle - with catharsis attained, a new beginning can be planned, and a touch of that old optimism can come back.


Album · 2008 · Metal Related
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It took me a surprisingly long time to warm to Pendragon's Pure. Sure, it was immediately obvious from the dark, heavy opening passages of Indigo that this was a bit of a departure for the band, and it's rather admirable how they chose to deliberately step away from the tried and tested formula which had held true from The World to Not of This World.

However, the new sound they unveil on Pure didn't grab me at first. The fact is that they are far from the first band to combine neo-prog with darker, heavier musical styles - hell, Clive Nolan's own Arena had already been there and done that five years before on Contagion - and in this case, I wasn't sure about the logic behind it. It's only after repeated listens that I realised how intricate and clever the compositions here really are, with aspects of the classic Pendragon sound still woven in and out of the compositions as one thread a much richer tapestry than the band had previously attempted. For years Pendragon had been derided as one of the more simplistic neo-prog bands - but this is the album which put the lie to all of those sneers.

CYNIC Ascension Codes

Album · 2021 · Metal Related
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It’s impossible to start this review of Cynic’s fourth full-length album Ascension Codes without mentioning the sad twist of fate that in 2020 claimed the lives of both drummer Sean Reinert and bass-player Sean Malone in the space of less than 12 months. Although Reinert was no longer part of Cynic (he had left the band in 2015), his premature death due to heart failure hit hard the Cynic family, possibly contributing to Malone’s bout of depression that lead to his suicide. Faced with such terrible events, surviving band members Paul Masvidal (guitar/vocals) and Matt Lynch (who joined Cynic as drummer since 2017) were left with the painful task to assemble a new line-up and complete the music for an album that had been in gestation since 2014’s Kindly Bent to Free Us. Masvidal felt immediately that it was not possible to replace Malone and therefore asked pianist Dave Mackay to perform the bass lines of the album on bass synthesizer instead. The trio of musicians were further helped to put together the record by a small number of guest artists, including guitar wizard Plini (who guests on “The Winged Ones”), vocalist Max Phelps, and ambient artist DARK (guitar textures).

The end result is Ascension Codes, a 49-minute cosmic journey divided in 18 individual tracks that alternate between short ambient interludes and lengthier “proper” songs. Musically, the album sounds unmistakably 21st-century Cynic, merging together progressive rock, jazz/fusion, ambient music and a touch of alt/post rock. It follows closely in the footsteps of Cynic’s previous LP Kindly Bent to Free Us, accentuating even further the jazz/fusion/ambient influences and toning down the metal vibes instead. The music is spacey, mellow and atmospheric, engulfing the listener in a hazy sea of mesmerizing drum patterns, groovy bass lines, and layered swathes of dreamy guitars and keyboards. The guitar riffs are nervous and angular, yet strangely smooth and immersive. Lynch’s work behind the drumkit is simply astonishing, his performance a treasure-trove of clever, hyper-technical drum patterns that are nevertheless always played in the best interest of the song. Mackay’s dexterous keyboard playing is also a great addition to Cynic’s music, contributing smooth jazz vibes to the proceedings as well as excellent grooves on the bass synthesizer. Masvidal’s dreamy, high-pitched clean vocals fit perfectly with the mellow atmosphere of the songs, channeling a sort of futuristic Jon Anderson (Yes), both sonically and lyrically.

The album packs some excellent tracks, like the emotionally-charged “Mythical Serpents” where Masvidal’s delicate falsetto tugs the right heartstrings, almost pushing the song in Sigur Rós territory. “Aurora” is more urgent and direct, adding some subtly catchy alt-rock influences that make it one of the most memorable songs of the album. Meanwhile, “In a Multiverse where Atoms Sing” and album closer “Diamond Light Body” are pure prog heaven, reaching levels of hyperactivity and melodic sublimity that are reminiscent of Devin Townsend’s best work.

However, elsewhere the album loses a little bit steam, especially towards the middle where the long, ambient piece “DNA Activation Template” is rather monotonous and breaks unnecessarily the flow of the album. The short interludes between the main songs are also not fantastic in terms of flow. These ambient pieces do not work very well as intros or outros to the songs they bookend, but rather give the record a sense of “stop-and-go” that is incongruous with the immersive ebb and flow of the main compositions. Another complaint I have with the album is that it’s a tad too samey and homogeneous. It lives in its own very definite sonic space, made up of mellow and spacey atmospheres that are endearing, but also fail to leave a very strong first impression on the listener. Repeated listens are certainly necessarily here, but even then I sense a general struggle to ascend beyond the album’s self-imposed dreamy confines with something that is truly momentous and unforgettable.

With a better flow and a couple more arresting songs in the vein of “Mythical Serpents”, “Aurora” or “In a Multiverse where Atoms Sing”, Ascension Codes could have easily crept up on my top 10 of 2021 albums. While it probably won’t end up there, it is nevertheless a very pleasurable album to sit through and will no doubt please Cynic aficionados as well as fans of the mellower, Floyd-infused brands of progressive rock and metal.

[Originally written for The Metal Observer]

LEPROUS Aphelion

Album · 2021 · Metal Related
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siLLy puPPy
LEPROUS still seems to be going strong after 20 years of existence and although the band led by lead singer Einar Solberg has been hailed as one of Norway’s greatest modern progressive metal bands, the last few albums starting with “Molina” have seen a massive shedding of much of the metal and taken on more standard progressive rock as its modus operandi. With the band’s eighth album to emerge in 2021, LEPROUS seems to de-emphasize the metal even further and adds all kinds of new sounds including but not limited to pop, funk, trip hop, electronica along with the progressive rock shining with a crispy clean production and the spotlight on Solberg’s passionate vocal delivery.

There are still metal sounds on board however the moments of djent and guitar heft are primarily limited to power chords and the scant guitar workouts that offer a bit of contrast to the otherwise new LEPROUS sound of crafting highly sophisticated art rock with strong pop hooks. Long gone are the days of unabashed metal freneticism as heard on “Tall Poppy Syndrome” and “Bilateral.” APHELION rather delivers an interesting and original hybrid between progressive rock, synthpop and what sounds like chamber rock. In addition the five official members who handle guitars, bass, drums and synthesizer includes a team of five guest musicians who offer the sounds of violin, cello and even a trumpet.

The result is an emotive display of ten tracks that in many ways follows both in “Malina” and “Pitfalls” in the mellowed LEPROUS years and for many a metal band gone this direction would’ve resulted in a total train wreck and scaring away of the fanbase, but LEPROUS proved long ago that this was no ordinary act and had the uncanny ability to tackle myriad sounds, timbres, textures and tones and fortify substantial composiitons delivered in a unique and oft unorthodox manner all without abandoning the pop sensibilities that have kept their music so addictive upon first experiences. Excluding the three year timespan between the band’s true debut “Aeolia” and “Tall Poppy Syndrome,” LEPROUS has also delivered like clockwork with a new album ever two years.

The band has released two singles off APHELION which means the point on the orbit of a celestial body that is farthest from the sun. The first was “Running Low” which shows LEPROUS in fine form in its new style with progressive rock hooks married with power chords, emotive synthesized atmospheres accompanied by the string section that delivers an excellent cello solo. With so much energy dedicated to the electronica wizardry and dedication to the perfect atmospheric ambience does tend to ignore the rock aspects much less the metal but with the second single “The Silent Revelation” the band does deliver a bit of rock guitar heft even if it seems like the odd track out on the otherwise sombre and earnest tracks tenderly crafted with the crooning moxie of Mr Solberg.

In many ways LEPROUS has followed some of the nu jazz artists from Norway such as Jaga Jazzist only it has left out the jazz but rather paints synthesized motifs around the borders of where certain jazz parts should fit. By now most older fans of LEPROUS have either adapted to the new style or thrown them out with yesterday’s trash. I do personally prefer the older more aggressive LEPROUS sound but i have to admit that these guys have done an excellent job reinventing themselves as a serious art pop rock band this late in the game. While on the mellow and even maudlin side, APHELION does a stellar job of mixing synthesized driven pop hooks with chamber rock mojo. Perhaps what turns me off most about the “new” LEPROUS is that Solberg’s vocals are almost set to permanent falsetto sounding something like a Norwegian version of Prince. I can live without the metal aspects but the vocal diversity? Needs more.

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NEAL MORSE Morsefest! 5015

Movie · 2017 · Metal Related
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Morsefest! 2015 is a live release by US musician Neal Morse. Morsefest! shows are without a doubt the most special Neal Morse shows that a fan could attend – a two day event with a different Neal Morse set each night. Morsefest! 2015 was released on either a 2x blu-ray or 4 x CD/2x DVD package in 2017. Strictly speaking it is The Neal Morse Band playing on the release – Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy, Randy George, Eric Gillette & Bill Hubauer – but Morsefest! 2015 was released under just Neal Morse's name likely due to the event's focus on his albums ? (2005) and Sola Scriptura (2007).

While the focus is indeed on those albums, with ? played in full on night one and Sola Scriptura in full on night two, the set is varied with various extra tracks. The Neal Morse Band had released their debut album The Grand Experiment earlier in 2015 and that album also gets a fair airing across the two nights, particularly in the first half of night one with The Call, the title track and the limited edition bonus track New Jerusalem gets played, while Waterfall was featured on night two complete with some instrument changes for various band members. Three Spock's Beard songs are also brought out, Go the Way You Go on night one and At the End of the Day and Wind at My Back on night two, the latter two featuring Nick D'Virgilio first on drums then co-lead vocals. An edited version of Transatlantic's near eighty minute whole album epic The Whirlwind closes the second night, with further guest vocals by D'Virgilio and guitar by Phil Keaggy, who also makes an appearance on night one and was the support act for the event. Finally the band brings to the live stage for the first time a lesser known Neal Morse epic called A Whole Nother Trip, which appeared on his first solo album while still a member of Spock's Beard amongst what was otherwise a bunch of pop songs. There is also a cover of the song MacArthur Park, originally released by Richard Harris, which has been given the prog treatment by Bill Hubauer on challenge from Mike Portnoy. Neal Morse hates the song apparently and always swore he'd never cover it, but there you go. Hubauer sings lead on it.

The main draw to the Morsefest! 2015 live release is of course the full performance of two of Neal Morse's best known albums. ? is basically one long song in and of itself and is treated like the crowning piece of what Morse describes as a night of epics – a fair description when the shortest song is about seven and a half minutes long. For me personally the performance of Sola Scriptura is the key focal point of the two night show though. That's my personal favourite Neal Morse album, not to mention the one that really got me into his music. It's also one of his heaviest and most metal works which along with various parts of The Neal Morse Band's music gives a metallic edge to those otherwise symphonic progressive rock fuelled double concert.

Morsefest! 2015 is one heck of a show if you're into progressive rock. The scope is tremendous not just through the double show but each night's set is over two hours a pop as well. The amount of musicians on stage at one time goes far beyond the core band – far too many to recite in a review. Suffice to say there's a lot of people involved to pull this off. The sound and picture quality of the blu-ray release is excellent and you certainly get a lot of music for your money. The only fault with the set is that one listed bonus feature called Prog Jeopardy is completely missing from the release. Not sure what the story is there, perhaps it was planned and had to be cut for some reason and they forget to change the inserts before going to the press, who knows? But you weren't buying this for the bonus features anyway right?

There are several of the Morsefest shows released by the time of writing this review in September 2020 so which one holds the most appeal to each fan will of course be different. 2015 was a no brainer for me due to my particular love of Sola Scriptura. Someone else may think 2014's focus on Testimony (2003) and One (2004) or 2017's Testimony 2 (2011) and The Similitude of a Dream (2016) to be better options for them. Regardless any Neal Morse fan owns it to themselves to pick up at least one of these releases for his most special and exclusive concerts.

PORCUPINE TREE Arriving Somewhere...

Movie · 2006 · Metal Related
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Focusing on the more metal-oriented material from Deadwing and In Absentia - though notably steering it back in a more rock-oriented direction in order to allow this material to sit a little more comfortably beside the "indie prog rock" stylings of Stupid Dream, Lightbulb Sun and Recordings (picks from all of which surface here). Fans of their earlier psychedelic and space rock styles might be disappointed that those aren't represented, but on the plus side there's a liberal sprinkling of rarities here such as the glorious Buying New Soul as well as Revenant, So-Called Friend and Mother and Child Divided, those three songs having only appeared on various special editions of Deadwing. Not the definitive Porcupine Tree live experience, but a pretty decent one nonetheless.

RIVERSIDE Reality Dream

Movie · 2009 · Metal Related
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My polish girlfriend gave me this DVD on my anniversary in May, I really didn't know what to expect of the band live cause I only knew their studio recordings. Like I always do, I watched the bonus DVD first, I like to see backstage footage, interviews and extras much more than the proper live presentations on most of the time (maybe the only exception is Live At Wembley by QUEEN).

The first DVD is the show itself, and it's a very good recording, both audio and video, and seeing them live male me wonder how good is Mariusz Duda, cause as a bass player myself, I know how hard is to play some lines while you sing, Mariusz dows a fantastic work live, as the whole band.

I think it's a great buy for any prog rock fan, this polish band deserves more light on our '70's' world.

NEAL MORSE Live Momentum

Movie · 2013 · Metal Related
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Kev Rowland
One of the disadvantages of living at the end of the world is that these days I get most of my promos as downloads, which generally isn’t too much of a pain but here I find myself reviewing a DVD set where I haven’t actually seen the DVDs! Okay, so this has been released as a double DVD (more than 4 hours), along with a triple CD set and it is the latter that I am reviewing. This recording took place on October 11th, 2012 at The High Line Ballroom, New York, and captures the band in incredible form. I have no idea how many live recordings of Neal there are in my collection, from duetting with NDV through Spock’s Beard and Transatlantic and of course his solo work, but there are one or two. I have seen him in concert with SB as well as on the ‘Testimony’ tour and have had the privilege of interviewing him a few times as well, so I guess you can say that I am a fan.

I greatly respect the way that he decided to stand up for what he believed in (even though I don’t share those beliefs), although I still regret that SB never had the chance to tour ‘Snow’ which is easily their finest work. I have never given anything that he has been involved with a bad review, and there is no reason at all to start now as this triple CD set (2 hours 45 minutes) is as close to perfection as one could hope to hear. When it came to choosing the musicians to form the band he brought in close friends Mike Portnoy and Randy George and then used YouTube for the audition process! He ought to do that more often, as during “Sing It High” he gets it right when he says that the guys are “Sick”. Adson Sodré (guitar, vocals), Eric Gillette (guitar, keyboards, percussion, vocals) and Bill Hubauer (keyboards, violin, sax, vocals) do a stunning job. Mind you, it’s handy when you have three multi-instrumentalists in a band as it does mean that you can spread the wings. Vocally they are all in fine voice as well, just listen to “Author Of Confusion” to see what I mean.

Both Adson and Eric really riff and shred as the need requires, and this is probably the heaviest that Neal has ever sounded as he works his way through material from throughout his career: this is much more than just a live rendition of the latest album. The suites from ‘Testimony’ and ‘?’ work incredibly well and it is the longer sections that really allow Neal and the guys to shine. There are four songs more than twenty minutes long and one more than thirty!

But, for me one of the major highlights sees Neal taking a back seat, literally. One of my favourite live albums that feature Neal is ‘One Night in New York City’ by Yellow Matter Custard. This was a band put together by Mike Portnoy to play Beatles’ numbers, and the line-up was completed by Neal, Paul Gilbert and Matt Bissonette. The whole purpose of that band was to provide a new take on classic numbers and have fun at the same time. Well, on “Crazy Horses” Neal takes over on drums while Mike becomes the frontman, and everyone has an absolute blast. Mike says that when he first heard the song when he was five years old that it was the heaviest song that he had ever heard, and the band certainly do it justice. I defy you to listen to this and not smile throughout. There are some people who don’t enjoy what Neal does, and feel that he hasn’t dramatically changed since he left SB, but I sincerely hope he keeps going in this vein for the rest of his very long career as I love it.

So there you have it, a five star review for a DVD set that I haven’t even seen. But to me they are just an added bonus as this triple CD set is just mindblowing.

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