Metal Related

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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


Click for Full Sub-Genre Chart

metal related top albums

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

NEAL MORSE One Album Cover One
NEAL MORSE
4.83 | 10 ratings
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SPOCK'S BEARD Snow Album Cover Snow
SPOCK'S BEARD
4.88 | 8 ratings
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NEAL MORSE Sola Scriptura Album Cover Sola Scriptura
NEAL MORSE
4.44 | 34 ratings
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TRANSATLANTIC Bridge Across Forever Album Cover Bridge Across Forever
TRANSATLANTIC
4.51 | 20 ratings
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PORCUPINE TREE Deadwing Album Cover Deadwing
PORCUPINE TREE
4.33 | 69 ratings
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PORCUPINE TREE In Absentia Album Cover In Absentia
PORCUPINE TREE
4.31 | 83 ratings
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SPOCK'S BEARD V Album Cover V
SPOCK'S BEARD
4.75 | 8 ratings
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RIVERSIDE Second Life Syndrome Album Cover Second Life Syndrome
RIVERSIDE
4.30 | 90 ratings
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KATATONIA Last Fair Deal Gone Down Album Cover Last Fair Deal Gone Down
KATATONIA
4.37 | 30 ratings
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TRANSATLANTIC SMPTe Album Cover SMPTe
TRANSATLANTIC
4.40 | 19 ratings
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TRANSATLANTIC The Whirlwind Album Cover The Whirlwind
TRANSATLANTIC
4.39 | 20 ratings
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AYREON The Theory of Everything Album Cover The Theory of Everything
AYREON
4.30 | 41 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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metal related Music Reviews

TRANSATLANTIC Bridge Across Forever

Album · 2001 · Metal Related
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
When TRANSATLANTIC released its debut album “SMPT:e” in 2000 it was met with wild enthusiasm by both prog traditionalists as well as revivalists and the critics alike but had it not been heralded as one of the greatest prog albums of the second coming, it’s unclear if the team of Mike Portnoy, Neal Morse, Roine Stolt and Pete Trewavas would have continued. However since the album was a smashing success the band wasted no time crafting a follow up that was worthy in capturing the majesty of the debut without directly copying it. The answer was the sophomore release BRIDGE ACROSS FOREVER which quickly followed the very next year.

One of the main criticisms of “SMPT:e” was that it was a bit overly dominated by Neil Morse’s Spock’s Beard compositional style along with his vocal performances so the band made a deliberate attempt to have each member participate on a roughly equal footing thus making BRIDGE ACROSS FOREVER a much more diverse stream of music that like its predecessor featured a lengthy playing time of over 70 minutes with two massive sprawling compositions “Duel With The Deveil” and “Stranger Across Your Soul” which both featured multiple suites and clocked in over the 26 minute playing time. Together they sandwiched two shorter tracks with the tiny title track at nearly six minutes long a mere blip in comparison.

While very similar in construct, BRIDGE ACROSS FOREVER wasn’t just a mere clone of the debut although it was clear that TRANSATLANTIC didn’t want to stray too far from the goose that had laid that golden egg. While all the expected Yes and Genesis symphonic prog influences were in full affect along with the respective band member’s own projects ranging from Spock’s Beard, Marilion and The Flower Kings (Portnoy’s Dream Theater was the only influence least adopted), the band also experimented with new sounds which included guest musicians that added violin, viola and cello sounds as well as a bit of swinging saxophone and a beautiful backing vocal section referred to as The Elite Choir.

The near 27-minute “Duel With The Devil” begins the album and is arguable the strongest track on board with five fully developed suits stitched together with all the right proggy glue to make the proper sound collage complete with all the symphonic prog pomp and excess that made “SMPT:e” stand out and usher the classic prog sounds of the golden years into a new millennium. While the two massive tracks are very much in vein of the debut, the two shorter tracks sandwiched in between were quite different. Although the 14 1/2 minute “Suite Charlotte Pike” shows a series of evolving concepts and nerdy prog workouts, at its core was a simple blues rock jamming session only embellished with the keyboard heft of Hammond organs, Fender Rhodes and piano.

The track that makes the least impact is the overwrought piano ballad of a title track which serves as an intermission between the heavier rocking tracks and multi-suite epic tracks but in reality is a bit too winy and unfortunately breaks the continuity of the epicness. Personally i could totally live without this one. The final “Stranger In Your Soul” concludes the album in a grandiose way with a six-suite 30-minute performance that goes for the symphonic prog jugular and delivers all the expected prog gymnastics teased out into a series of varying instrumental workouts and lyrical earnestness, once again mimicking the success of the debut’s appeal to the true proggers who just can’t get enough of those ridiculously long suites that in the vinyl years could’ve swallowed up a whole album’s playing time.

For my money BRIDGE ACROSS FOREVER is a worthy followup to “SMPT:e” but a serious step down in continuity. Whereas the debut just had a certain flow that was perfectly maintained through its 70 minute plus running time, BRIDGE ACROSS FOREVER just feels a bit clumsy in how it meanders from idea to idea without the proper connective tissues to pull it off. The two epic tracks are well worth the price of admission but the two middle tracks are less engaging and could’ve easily been nixed from the final cut. There was also a special edition with a bonus disc that featured everything from non-essential covers including a 15 1/2 minute version of Pink Floyd’s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” as well as studio casts, demos and other non-essential material. When all is said and done, BRIDGE ACROSS FOREVER is an excellent followup but for my liking lacks the masterpiece perfection of the debut.

TRANSATLANTIC SMPTe

Album · 2000 · Metal Related
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
The prog revival of the 1990s found the complex excesses of the 1970s return in full regalia with all the musical attributes that gained a loyal following as well as critics who couldn’t stand the fact that they couldn’t figure it all out in a single listening session but alas the independent fiery nature of the underground had prevailed against the money grubbing record industry that had systematically been dumbing all musical expressions down to a common single denominator. The 90s found a whole host of newbies such as Porcupine Tree, Anglagard and Anekdoten reinterpreting the classics of the past as well as newer metal bands like Dream Theater and Ayreon eager to cross-pollinate their more extreme excesses with the myriad styles of the prog history books.

With all these new bands rekindling the progressive rock scene, it didn’t take long at all for some of these musicians to start the musical chairs game of switching things up and forming new bands. One of the first supergroups to emerge around the beginning of the 21st century was TRANSATLANTIC which resulted when Dream Theater’s drummer Mike Portnoy had broken up his other project Liquid Tension Experiment once Jordan Rudess had left to join his main band. The project came to fruition as a true progressive rock project that eschewed the bombast of the Dream Theater metal heft and focused on the classic symphonic prog sounds of Yes, Genesis and other classic 70s bigwigs. The first member to join the team being Neal Morse due to the fact Portnoy had become such a huge Spock’s Beard fan. Also signing up was long-term Marillion bassist Pete Trewavas but when it came to scoring Portnoy’s top pick for guitar duties, Fates Warning axe master Jim Matheos didn’t quite work out.

When and was said and done, the role of guitarist was filled by none other than The Flower Kings’ mainman Roine Stolt and together this quartet of powerhouse musicians released a couple of the best supergroup prog albums in all of history before taking a hiatus. The first of these albums was the debut album SMPT:e which may look like a secret code for some computer software instruction manual but in reality simply referred to the member’s last initials. S-tolt. M-orse. P-ortnoy. T-rewavas. The :e part is what may throw that assumption off but was added because the initials SMPTE referred to The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers which is a global professional association of engineers, technologists, and executives working in the media and entertainment industry, thus providing a secondary reference for all those in the know when it comes tech talk.

By all accounts, TRANSATLANTIC was the real prog deal delivering an unforgiving slice of modern contemporary prog operating within the classic standards, namely uncompromising compositional majesty with little regard to time lengths, commercial palatability or modern trendiness. SMPT:E immediately goes for the prog jugular with the whopping 31-minute opener “All Of The Above” which featured no less than six distinct movements all tied together through interconnecting motifs which brought aspects of all the members on board into a much greater sum of the parts. Upon a single listen, it’s obvious that TRANSATLANTIC was all about enhancing the strengths of each musician rather than the watering down of great talent which unfortunately is often the case in rock-based supergroups. If that wasn’t enough, this 77-minute plus listening experience features not only one but two more epic tracks that both exceed the 16-minute mark.

While TRANSATLANTIC certainly ticked off all the boxes of the prog check list with inspiration from the classic era ranging from epic Yes-like classically infused compositional fortitude, Pink Floydian space rock moments and the pastoral folk-flavored moments of classic Genesis to the more modern symphonic prog approaches of Morse’s Spock’s Beard and Stolt’s Flower Kings. Add excellent diverse dynamics, irresistible melodies laced with Beatles-esque harmonies, time signature workouts and instrumental gymnastics without sacrificing the emotive expressionism and it’s no wonder why TRANSATLANTIC hit the ground running on full steam and has remained relevant in the decades since this debut hit the scene. Many have rightfully proclaimed that the first two early TRANSATLANTIC albums are amongst the best progressive rock albums ever created. I certainly can’t argue with that.

Despite the pompousness that exceedingly lengthy tracks can exude, TRANSATLANTIC avoided all the pitfalls on SMPT:e with an emphasis on keeping the music accessible with irresistible almost ear-wormy hooks that if crafted into shorter chunks could easily qualify as brilliant pop rock but what TRANSATLANTIC so successfully mastered was the ability to craft a series of brilliant melodies and harmonies and thought provoking lyrics and teased them all out into epic symphonic prog masterpieces that found a series of varying ideas strung together like a string of pearls that sparkles in the sun. Every one of these four guys was really firing on all cylinders with excellent musicianship while performing highly engaging compositions of epic proportion. This is one of those albums where no single person steals the show as its the careful and thoughtful weaving interactive instrumentation that makes this one so utterly divine.

If nothing else, TRANSATLANTIC proved that the prog revival scene was no fluke and provided the perfect example of how prog was in no danger of burning out any time soon as the odometer was changing to a new millennium however this music goes well beyond merely proving prog was still a force to be reckoned with as TRANSATLANTIC went well beyond the call of duty in crafting some fo the most compelling symphonic prog ever recorded and although the following “Bridge Across Forever” was roughly of equal caliber, this quartet of prog heroes certainly raised the bar so high that few have been able to match including the band itself on its later albums. There also exists a special edition that features a bonus disc with alternative mixes of “My New World” as well as some demos and a couple pointless cover songs and hardly essential but this original album collection of five ridiculously strong tracks is nothing less than a masterpiece through and through.

TRANSATLANTIC The Absolute Universe - Forevermore

Album · 2021 · Metal Related
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
lukretion
[Review of both extended version (Forevermore) and abridged version (The Breath of Life)]

It is well known that the world of prog rock is quite bizarre. Just take a look at the dozens of memes on the internet about 60-minute long prog songs, three-hour concerts and endless drum solos, and you’ll see what I mean. But with their new album, The Absolute Universe, multinational progressive rock supergroup Transatlantic have just reached a new high. Because, you see, The Absolute Universe is actually two records, of which one is a double-album. Confused? Let me explain.

The initial version of The Absolute Universe was a 90-minute musical suite divided across eighteen songs and two CDs. However, upon re-listening to the album, vocalist/keyboardist Neal Morse (ex-Spock’s Beard) started to believe that a shorter, more compact version of the record could actually work better. When he presented the idea of a shorter album version to his bandmates, bassist Pete Trewavas (Marillion) approved, while drummer Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater) and guitarist Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings) were not convinced. Ultimately, the band could not agree which version to put out. The stalemate was eventually solved by Portnoy’s suggestion to release both versions of the album, which now have reached our earbuds under the names of Forevermore (extended 90-minute version) and The Breath of Life (more compact 60-minute version). Now, you may be excused to think that The Breath of Life is simply a cut-down version of Forevermore. But this is prog, and that would have been far too simple! Instead, the two albums actually contain different music, either different versions of the same songs (different arrangements, different singers, different vocal lines and lyrics, etc.) or altogether different songs. They are effectively two different pieces of music, built around common musical themes. Isn’t this prog heaven?

Now, grandiose release projects aren’t much to write home about if the music isn’t any good. Fortunately, this is not the case for Transatlantic’s new album. Readers who are familiar with names such as The Flower Kings and Spock’s Beard should know exactly what to expect. This is modern progressive rock that pays tribute to the giants of the 1970s (Yes, Gentle Giant, Genesis) but that at the same time tries to push things into the new millennium by exploring heavier and more metallic territories. The ambition to write long-form compositions means that, although the records come divided in separate and fairly short songs (from 2 to 9 minutes), there are recurring themes that surface over and again throughout the album, convincingly tying together the various pieces into a proper suite. A lots of these recurring themes are introduced in the (largely instrumental) opening track “Overture”, and they are then developed to full effect across the rest of the album, before album closer “Love Made a Way” wraps everything up with a sweet medley of the key passages. It is a very satisfying listening experience, true to the spirit of the progressive rock standard, but with enough vigour and inventiveness to sound fresh still today, more than 50 years apart from the golden era of prog.

Given the quality of the four musicians involved, the playing is of course sublime. Both album versions are a lot of fun to listen to as they brim with superb instrumental passages. From Portnoy’s manic drumming to Stolt’s blues- and jazz-infused guitar solos, from Trewavas’s rumbling bass grooves to Morse’s synth extravaganza, every single musician manages to contribute some of the absolutely best heavy rock playing that you’ll hear this year. Things are no less impressive when it comes to the vocals department. The four musicians share duties behind the mic, which makes for an interesting and varied approach. Morse and Stolt are experienced singers, having held the lead singer role with their respective bands for decades now. Unsurprisingly, the tracks where they sing on are the most convincing from the point of view of the vocal melodies. Trewavas is slightly weaker, although his heart-on-the-sleeves performance on “Solitude” is moving. Portnoy is the true surprise, though. His gravelly rock voice is really good and fits perfectly a darker piece like “Looking for the Light”, one of the highlights of The Absolute Universe.

Although I enjoyed very much listening to The Absolute Universe, one thing that is undoubtedly lacking on this album is innovation. This is not music that covers new ground and expands horizons, it is firmly rooted in the classic prog rock tradition and does not move very far from that territory. If you are looking for new sounds and boundary-pushing music, then you’ll have to look elsewhere. However, when the quality of the music is as high as on this release, this does not detract too much from the pure enjoyment of listening to the album.

Now that I hopefully convinced you that this album is worth listening to, the real question is: which of the two versions should you get? Well, it depends. If you – like me – are a full-blown prog aficionados you’ll probably want to get both. Call me a nerd, but I had a lot of fun comparing the various versions of the songs that appear on Forevermore and The Breath of Life. One difference that is quite noticeable between the two versions is that Stolt’s musical influence is much more marked on Forevermore than The Breath of Life. Three songs that only appear on Forevermore ("Rainbow Sky", "The World We Used to Know" and "The Sun Comes Up Today") could have easily been released on a The Flower King’s album. More generally, there are many more mellow instrumental guitar passages on Forevermore, showcasing Stolt’s signature guitar playing , that have been instead cut out of The Breath of Life. No wonder Stolt did not like Morse’s idea of a more compact album! In contrast, on The Breath of Life, one can perceive more distinctly Morse’s hand. So if you are more a fan of Spock’s Beard's / Morse's music, I would recommend to get the shorter and punchier The Breath of Life. If you instead prefer the brand of modern prog heralded by The Flower Kings, you should go for Forevermore. Ultimately, it does not matter which version you get: if you are a progressive rock or metal fan, you simply have to give this album a listen!

[Originally written for The Metal Observer]

TRANSATLANTIC The Absolute Universe - The Breath of Life

Album · 2021 · Metal Related
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
lukretion
[Review of both extended version (Forevermore) and abridged version (The Breath of Life)]

It is well known that the world of prog rock is quite bizarre. Just take a look at the dozens of memes on the internet about 60-minute long prog songs, three-hour concerts and endless drum solos, and you’ll see what I mean. But with their new album, The Absolute Universe, multinational progressive rock supergroup Transatlantic have just reached a new high. Because, you see, The Absolute Universe is actually two records, of which one is a double-album. Confused? Let me explain.

The initial version of The Absolute Universe was a 90-minute musical suite divided across eighteen songs and two CDs. However, upon re-listening to the album, vocalist/keyboardist Neal Morse (ex-Spock’s Beard) started to believe that a shorter, more compact version of the record could actually work better. When he presented the idea of a shorter album version to his bandmates, bassist Pete Trewavas (Marillion) approved, while drummer Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater) and guitarist Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings) were not convinced. Ultimately, the band could not agree which version to put out. The stalemate was eventually solved by Portnoy’s suggestion to release both versions of the album, which now have reached our earbuds under the names of Forevermore (extended 90-minute version) and The Breath of Life (more compact 60-minute version). Now, you may be excused to think that The Breath of Life is simply a cut-down version of Forevermore. But this is prog, and that would have been far too simple! Instead, the two albums actually contain different music, either different versions of the same songs (different arrangements, different singers, different vocal lines and lyrics, etc.) or altogether different songs. They are effectively two different pieces of music, built around common musical themes. Isn’t this prog heaven?

Now, grandiose release projects aren’t much to write home about if the music isn’t any good. Fortunately, this is not the case for Transatlantic’s new album. Readers who are familiar with names such as The Flower Kings and Spock’s Beard should know exactly what to expect. This is modern progressive rock that pays tribute to the giants of the 1970s (Yes, Gentle Giant, Genesis) but that at the same time tries to push things into the new millennium by exploring heavier and more metallic territories. The ambition to write long-form compositions means that, although the records come divided in separate and fairly short songs (from 2 to 9 minutes), there are recurring themes that surface over and again throughout the album, convincingly tying together the various pieces into a proper suite. A lots of these recurring themes are introduced in the (largely instrumental) opening track “Overture”, and they are then developed to full effect across the rest of the album, before album closer “Love Made a Way” wraps everything up with a sweet medley of the key passages. It is a very satisfying listening experience, true to the spirit of the progressive rock standard, but with enough vigour and inventiveness to sound fresh still today, more than 50 years apart from the golden era of prog.

Given the quality of the four musicians involved, the playing is of course sublime. Both album versions are a lot of fun to listen to as they brim with superb instrumental passages. From Portnoy’s manic drumming to Stolt’s blues- and jazz-infused guitar solos, from Trewavas’s rumbling bass grooves to Morse’s synth extravaganza, every single musician manages to contribute some of the absolutely best heavy rock playing that you’ll hear this year. Things are no less impressive when it comes to the vocals department. The four musicians share duties behind the mic, which makes for an interesting and varied approach. Morse and Stolt are experienced singers, having held the lead singer role with their respective bands for decades now. Unsurprisingly, the tracks where they sing on are the most convincing from the point of view of the vocal melodies. Trewavas is slightly weaker, although his heart-on-the-sleeves performance on “Solitude” is moving. Portnoy is the true surprise, though. His gravelly rock voice is really good and fits perfectly a darker piece like “Looking for the Light”, one of the highlights of The Absolute Universe.

Although I enjoyed very much listening to The Absolute Universe, one thing that is undoubtedly lacking on this album is innovation. This is not music that covers new ground and expands horizons, it is firmly rooted in the classic prog rock tradition and does not move very far from that territory. If you are looking for new sounds and boundary-pushing music, then you’ll have to look elsewhere. However, when the quality of the music is as high as on this release, this does not detract too much from the pure enjoyment of listening to the album.

Now that I hopefully convinced you that this album is worth listening to, the real question is: which of the two versions should you get? Well, it depends. If you – like me – are a full-blown prog aficionados you’ll probably want to get both. Call me a nerd, but I had a lot of fun comparing the various versions of the songs that appear on Forevermore and The Breath of Life. One difference that is quite noticeable between the two versions is that Stolt’s musical influence is much more marked on Forevermore than The Breath of Life. Three songs that only appear on Forevermore ("Rainbow Sky", "The World We Used to Know" and "The Sun Comes Up Today") could have easily been released on a The Flower King’s album. More generally, there are many more mellow instrumental guitar passages on Forevermore, showcasing Stolt’s signature guitar playing , that have been instead cut out of The Breath of Life. No wonder Stolt did not like Morse’s idea of a more compact album! In contrast, on The Breath of Life, one can perceive more distinctly Morse’s hand. So if you are more a fan of Spock’s Beard's / Morse's music, I would recommend to get the shorter and punchier The Breath of Life. If you instead prefer the brand of modern prog heralded by The Flower Kings, you should go for Forevermore. Ultimately, it does not matter which version you get: if you are a progressive rock or metal fan, you simply have to give this album a listen!

[Originally written for The Metal Observer]

DINOSAUR JR. You're Living All Over Me

Album · 1987 · Metal Related
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
BitterJalapeno
Released in December 1987, “You’re Living All Over Me” is the second studio album by Massachusetts based alternative rock legends Dinosaur Jr. Following on from the strange mix of folk and hardcore punk on their debut album, “You’re Living All Over Me” projects a sound so far removed from the debut and so ahead of its time that it’s hard to summarise succinctly.

It blends copious amounts of noise with addictive riffs, catchy hooks and glazes it all with wonderfully humbling sense of melancholy. J. Mascis demonstrates such skill and ingenuity in his guitar playing that at points, it’s borderline genius without the intricacy of virtuosity. Lou Barlow’s thick, driving bass lines and Murph’s pounding drum rhythms and very tight fills are the perfect accompaniment.

The opening track “Little Fury Things” contains some of the laziest, drawling vocals imaginable and makes Neil Young sound energetic in comparison. The vocal melody is immersive, nostalgic and will get stuck in your head all day. The following “Kracked” is full to the brim with memorable hooks and riffs.

The highlight of the album for me personally is the epic “Sludgefeast” which juxtaposes mellow vocal parts against incredible angular guitar riffing and boasts an utterly blistering outro with a solo in which Mascis sounds like he’s tearing his guitar apart. Following this, “The Lung” is an interesting riff peppered track with an interesting progressive structure and more superb guitar work from Mascis.

“Raisans” is easily the most musically accessible track on the album with its infectiously catchy chorus and is pretty much just a great simple punk rock song. Despite this, they still manage to inject some weirdness and make song sound chilling by including recordings of the screams and moans of patients in a nursing home within the middle breakdown.

I could go on in a similar vein about all the featured songs but will now summarise by saying that “You’re Living All Over Me” is a piece of work so undeniably influential on the alternative rock movement of the 90s that without it, the entire scene would have sounded somewhat different and evidently not for the better. You can clearly hear Nirvana without the anger, Foo Fighters without the polished radio friendliness and The Smashing Pumpkins without the anal musical precision – all long before these bands became established.

Simply put, it’s an essential album for any fan of alternative rock music and was a major stepping stone in paving the way for some of the biggest names in the genre and is one of the most important and overlooked albums of the last two decades of the 20th century.

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NEAL MORSE Morsefest! 5015

Movie · 2017 · Metal Related
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
adg211288
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
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
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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progshine
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. www.insideout.de

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