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

metal related top albums

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

NEAL MORSE Sola Scriptura Album Cover Sola Scriptura
NEAL MORSE
4.40 | 27 ratings
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PORCUPINE TREE Deadwing Album Cover Deadwing
PORCUPINE TREE
4.32 | 62 ratings
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RIVERSIDE Second Life Syndrome Album Cover Second Life Syndrome
RIVERSIDE
4.29 | 82 ratings
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KATATONIA Last Fair Deal Gone Down Album Cover Last Fair Deal Gone Down
KATATONIA
4.35 | 26 ratings
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ARENA Contagion Album Cover Contagion
ARENA
4.52 | 10 ratings
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PORCUPINE TREE In Absentia Album Cover In Absentia
PORCUPINE TREE
4.23 | 75 ratings
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RIVERSIDE Shrine of New Generation Slaves Album Cover Shrine of New Generation Slaves
RIVERSIDE
4.26 | 45 ratings
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TOUCHSTONE Wintercoast Album Cover Wintercoast
TOUCHSTONE
4.62 | 7 ratings
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BORIS Flood Album Cover Flood
BORIS
4.33 | 15 ratings
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NINE INCH NAILS The Downward Spiral Album Cover The Downward Spiral
NINE INCH NAILS
4.20 | 43 ratings
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GALAHAD Empires Never Last Album Cover Empires Never Last
GALAHAD
4.36 | 11 ratings
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NINE INCH NAILS The Fragile Album Cover The Fragile
NINE INCH NAILS
4.20 | 30 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

BLUT AUS NORD Thematic Emanation of Archetypal Multiplicity

EP · 2005 · Metal Related
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Tucked away between the groundbreaking black metal release “The Work Which Transforms God” and the utter insanity of the following “MoRT,” BLUT AUS NORD dropped its first EP which would lead to a series of EP’s interspersed within the band’s prolific output of albums. While black metal has pretty much been the name of the game since Vindsval started the project as a one-man band back in the 90s, on this first EP verbosely titled THEMATIC EMANATION OF ARCHETYPAL MULTIPLICITY (SOUNDTRACKS FOR SCIENTISTS OF OCCULT SYNCHRETISM), not only does Vindsval (vocals, guitars) and friends W.D. Feld (drums, keyboards) and GhÖst (bass) scream their fascination with esoteric knowledge but take a brief respite away from the black metal world and instead focus on the industrial, dark ambient and dungeon synth sounds that fully blossomed with “The Work” album.

THEMATIC EMANATION is a fascinating procession of gloomy atmospheric stomps through five tracks that for the most part leave out the metal part altogether. The major exception is the track “Level-1 (Nothing Is)” which offers a sneak peak into the bizarre and morbidly twisted guitar torture that would be a prominent feature on the following “MoRT” which fancied the most extreme sound manipulations to craft one of the most psychedelic black metal experiences ever laid down to a recording. Other than that second track, THEMATIC EMANATION focuses on percussive beats and darkened thick atmospheres of impending dread and doom. In fact this could be called doom synth as it’s utterly snail-paced creepy. The EP is only slightly over 28 minutes long and for the most part delivers an interesting mix of variations on percussive beats and dark ambient with some guitars thrown in once in a while.

The sole exception to the dreary setting is the oddball of the bunch, the third track “Level-2 (Nothing Is Not)” which features a trip hop beat, a busy techno styled bass groove and tinny sounding drum machines. While not a bad track say if it were on a Prodigy album or another similar artist, it does sound like a fish out of water on this release although it does have a nice creepy middle section when the percussion and bass drop out. It’s actually danceable and would make a great Goth party remix of some sort!n The following two tracks take a more sinister approach. “Level-3 (Nothing Becomes)” is the freakiest. What sounds like Tibetan bells or chimes exhibit an irregular sort of oddly timed beat while a creepy drone slowly slinks in and out of tune while chanting emanates from dark places along with other styles of weirded out vocals. This actually sounds more like some the industrial band Coil would conjure up in their early years of pure demented glory.

“Exit (Towards The Asylum)” ends the EP with a deranged vocal chant and some weird industrial sounds and before you know it, the short playing time ends which is unusual for BLUT AUS NORD since most albums are close to the hour length. This is a pretty cool album actually. The metal is practically nonexistent save the one track but the band had the opportunity to display all the creepy accompaniments introduced on “The Work” album and allow them to shine in the limelight although light doesn’t actually reach this far down into the abyss. For a metal band, this trio deliver a really interesting take on dark ambient that is quite effective which is why the black metal albums sound so good as this is a vital part but even without the metal, these sounds are quite effective at evoking the bleakest emotive responses. This album is most easily found on the releases of “The Work Which Transforms God” that has this one as a bonus disc, however even if it weren’t so easily obtained as a tagged on freebie, i’d still go out of my way to track this down.

MR. BUNGLE California

Album · 1999 · Metal Related
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Although they only released a mere three albums in a span of nine years, MR BUNGLE never repeated what came before and strived to make each album completely different than the last and in the process created three of the most daring experimental albums that the entire 90s had to offer. After four demos that saw the band grow from a bunch of deranged teenagers in Eureka, CA cranking out substandard death metal which led to the funk metal Zappa-infused potty-mouth prog of the self-titled debut, MR BUNGLE caught a complacent world of glam metal and early grunge off guard with its 1991 slap-in-the-face whack job that mixed funk, metal, jazz and even circus music with the avant-garde laced with progressive rock sensibilities. The band continued four years later with its second no limits avant-garde extravaganza “Disco Volante” which threw out all the rules and totally allowed the creative frenzy to explode into a million directions.

The first two albums gleefully flipped the middle finger to the music establishment despite appearing on the Warner Bros. label. The goal was to create unruly difficult listening music that excelled at merging the juvenile unrefined with the technical and progressively infused compositions that adopted as many music genres as possible and made them perform unthinkable acts together in broad daylight. However, with Mike Patton getting his avant-garde noise rock itch scratched not only in Mr. Bungle and Faith No More but he also released solo albums and crafted other projects such as Fantômas which meant that when it was time to record the third MR BUNGLE album, he’d let off a lot of steam and there seemed to be nothing more to prove. In fact all the band members had matured a bit. Trey Spruance had started his spinoff band Secret Chiefs 3 inspired by the track “Desert Search For Techno Allah” and had learned the art of crafting sophisticated melodies and intricate rhythms by fusing Middle Eastern and Indian folk traditions with electronica, heavy metal, surf rock and soundtrack music. Both Trevor Dunn and Bär McKinnon went along for the ride and in the process tamed down a bit.

For the band’s third album CALIFORNIA, the band minus Theo Lengyel who left after “Disco Volante” due to creative differences, decided to forge a new path and in the process created the most accessible album of the MR BUNGLE trilogy. Instead of focusing on the goal of creating a cacophonous uproar for the sake of evoking sonic terror with mind-blowing qualities, the band instead shifted gears into the world of progressive pop which crafted intricate melodies and accentuated them rather than taking them to the slaughterhouse. Keeping in line with the band’s earlier albums, CALIFORNIA carried on the by-then tradition of genre hopping and extreme fusion but this time everything was polished like the smoothest gem stone and the aim was to make irresistible pop hooks that instantly caught your attention and only then allowed the weirdness to develop organically. Gone were the excessive time signature changes and avant-garde jazz-metal gone wild with references to sexual innuendoes and potty mouth vulgarities. In were lush orchestrated sing-along compositions that included Hawaiian traditional folk, Middle Eastern music, electro-funk, doo-wop, surf rock, circus music, psychobilly, kecak, thrash metal, lounge exotica, space age pop, jazz rock, piano rock and spaghetti westerns.

CALIFORNIA focused mainly on the sounds of 60s with the vocal surf pop of the Beach Boys and Jan & Dean providing the greatest inspiration however this was more like some psychotic alternative timeline gone wrong for 60s pop music and this was MR BUNGLE of course so the brilliant madness had to find more adaptable ways to weave itself around the pop hooks and soulful vocal led lyrics. Once again, MR BUNGLE caught a loyal fanbase completely off guard and in the process alienated the hardcore crowd that didn’t appreciate this sugary sell-out music but in the process found a whole new audience who found the first two albums to be nothing but abrasive and vituperative noise. And then there are those like me who find all three MR BUNGLE albums to be beautifully designed masterpieces which when taken in their own context will impregnate the listener with musical ecstasy.

Right from the getgo MR BUNGLE startles the listener who is expecting a throwback to “Squeeze Me Macaroni” or even some spastic jazz, metal or hybrid of the two. Instead it’s the sound of seagulls, the ocean and what sounds like the easy listening music of 1960s Burt Bacharach with lush symphonic orchestration and sweet sugary melodies. OMG! What happened? one may ask! Hold on, be patient. Around the two minute mark the melodies start to morph with bizarre key changes and pitch manipulation. Doo-wop backing vocals offer infectious counterpoints and the track while perhaps the tamest on the entire album is quite beautifully designed. An odd opener for sure but perhaps it serves as an inoculation to the stylistic shift so that the rest of the album sounds more dynamic. Things pick up with the second track “None Of Them Knew They Were Robots” which picks up the tempo immediately with what sounds like rampaging zombies trying to break down the door but then morphs into country western swing music with exotica along with some surf rock and psychedelic rock organ runs. The horn section cranks out some cool big band swing while Hawaiian slack key guitar and organ runs finish the job.

“Retrovertigo” is the ballad of the album with the slowest tempo and the track that is the least affected by the avant-garde regalia that only grow in intensity beginning with the fourth track “The Air Conditioned Nightmare” which also starts out as a ballad but after a soulful performance by Mike Patton ramps up the speed and sounds like a battle between 60s Beach Boys vocal surf, the space pop of Joe Meek along with some occasional metal guitar heft and percussive drumming outbursts. The track ratchets up the morphing of various genres sharing the stage. “Ars Moriendi” begins with guitar heft and then finds a violin cranking out a Middle Eastern riff. The album is fortified with 14 session musicians who add English horn, cello, violin, viola, accordion, trumpet, harmonica, pedal steel guitar, French horn, cymbalom, piano, timpani, tam tam and bass drum. The album is extraordinarily rich in various timbres that add the extremities that make up for the lack of the excesses of the past. Back to “Ars Moriendi,” the track goes through several stages with a Mediterranean cafe styled accordion mixing with the violin, a heavy rock guitar as well as surf rock and cartoon music. A true MR BUNGLE classic if there ever was one.

“Pink Cigarette” tackles the 60s spaghetti western sound obviously inspired the soundtrack music of Ennio Morricone at first but then becomes a tender ballad sort of track with odd little sounds inserted here and there except that the subject matter tackles the morbidity of suicide which finds a horn replicating one of those machines at the hospital that show the heartbeat and ends in that “they’re dead!” sound. “Golem II: The Bionic Vapor Boy” is the weirdest track on CALIFORNIA. It begins like a futurist A.I. robot ballet version of the Nutcracker with a windup music box sound and then proceeds into electro-funk with robot vocals and interesting bouncy grooves alongside freaky musical scales creating utterly bizarre soundscapes. It’s just all so friggin cool how they juxtapose sounds to create a larger sum of the parts! “The Holy Filament” is more reflective with piano arpeggios ushering in heavenly vocals except that the musical scales are dark and ominous. “Vanity Fair” is more jocular with a bouncy old time rock and roll feel with doo-wop backing vocals and a rather gospel-like vocal performance by Mr. Patton.

One of my favorite tracks is the closing “Goodbye Sober Day” which starts out with a rock and roll style like a late 50s prom along with heavy percussion from those serrated sticks you rub. The track morphs several times, first into a slow contemplative keyboard driven kind of lounge exotica and then eventually drifts into a mass Gregorian chant that itself cedes to a thrash metal guitar accompanied by a performance of Indonesian monkey chants and then makes full circle back to the opening style before ending the album and leaving the listener wondering once again what just happened! While the first two MR BUNGLE albums were chaotic and unpredictable and often random, CALIFORNIA is cohesive with every single element existing in a logical location and cyclical loops with recurring themes and a melodic connection are what gives CALIFORNIA its magic mojo. Ironically the album was scheduled to be released on the same day as the Red Hot Chili Peppers released their album “Californication” and thus was delayed a week because of the long time feud between Mike Patton and RHCP lead singer Anthony Kiedes.

As far as i’m concerned, MR BUNGLE hit a home run three times in a row. The band is a legend and one of my favorite artists of all time. They made the impossible seem effortless as they crafted three distinct albums that all stood on their own two feet and didn’t even have to blow away the competition because there wasn’t any! MR BUNGLE existed outside of known time and space and therefore exudes an otherworldly demeanor that would make this stuff weird anytime and anywhere. The genius of these guys is that they utilized the sensual sensibilities to appeal to your emotional state while bedazzling you with artistic wizardry and unthinkable juxtaposition of styles and sounds hitherto unheard. This would be the end of the line for MR BUNGLE as they wisely chose to retire the brand name and focus on their retrospective solo careers. Trey Spruance was already finding success with the Secret Chiefs 3 and Mike Patton continued his restless pursuit of the next avant-garde sounds in dozens of other projects. CALIFORNIA is yet another masterpiece by the crazed kids from Eureka. Nobody saw that coming.

MR. BUNGLE Disco Volante

Album · 1995 · Metal Related
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MR BUNGLE started out simply as the whacky project of a bunch of crazy high school students in Eureka, CA but against all odds managed to find its way into scoring a three album deal with Warner Bros mostly due to lead singer Mike Patton’s involvement with Faith No More which scored big with a single that hit the top ten with “Epic.” As the 80s ceded into the 90s, suddenly everything alternative was en vogue and MR BUNGLE emerged from nowhere to shocking the world with its avant-garde weirdness laced with ample doses of goofy absurdity. While once only associated with artists such as Frank Zappa, however he and his projects which were in tune with current trends and often reinvented his style to co-exist, MR BUNGLE unapologetically ignored contemporary the popular musical scene and in the contrary crafted some of the most unorthodox musical hybrids ever recorded.

The self-titled debut emerged in 1991 and immediately shocked the Faith No More fanbase since the album showcased Patton’s true restless and creative nature that went well outside the commercial paradigms of alternative rock. The debut was eclectic but still used the BUNGLERS’ eclectic mix of funk metal as the canvas to create upon. Inspired by funk and rock bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Camper Van Beethoven, Oingo Boingo and Bad Manners, the sextet decorated the funk metal paradigm the with added elements of jazzy brass sounds and ska rhythms. Astonishingly the band was allowed complete freedom to explore any avenue of desire, a trait so very rare in the music business of the era. And as extremely bizarre and unorthodox as the debut was, it was simply a warm up session for what came next.

As Faith No More continued its success throughout the early 90s, MR BUNGLE was cleverly crafting its sophomore extravaganza. DISCO VOLANTE (Italian for ‘flying saucer’), a title that refers to the James Bond yacht in the film “Thunderball” emerged three years later in 1995 and took things into the stratosphere of experimental rock laced with the band’s already established genre hopping eccentricities but this time the band exploited every possible sound, style and genre they could muster up and in the process, gone was the stabilizing factor of the funk ska rock infused with jazz and metal. DISCO VOLANTE was an avant-garde free-for-all and to this day remains one of the craziest albums ever to appear on a major record label. How these guys got away with all this freedom is the biggest mystery of all. Perhaps Warner Bros saw the potential of these albums catching on over time but for most who had warmed up to the debut album were left in a state of stupor as DISCO VOLANTE seemed like an entirely new mutant strain that infected this band from some far away planet.

While the genre hopping nerd factor had already been turned up to steaming on the debut album, DISCO VOLANTE was like a volcanic eruption of everything but the kitchen sink. The band basically brought to the table all the different sounds that the six members of Mike Patton (vocals, tape, ocarina, organ), Trey Spruance (guitar, organ, keyboards, electronics, biwa), Theobald Brooks Lengyel (woodwinds), Clinton McKinnon "Bär" (tenor sax, clarinet, drums, keyboards), Trevor Dunn (bass, viol) and Danny Heifetz (drums and percussion) were influenced by. Spruance for example was into lounge exotica, electro-acoustic, noise and Middle Eastern techno while Patton was fascinated by Italian folk, the space pop of Joe Meek, theatrical music and tangos. Dunn on the other hand was fascinated in deconstructing music and sewing it back together like a sonic Frankenstein. Due to the change of musical direction the horn section had been significantly reduced and therefore band member Theobald Brooks felt like his services were no longer needed and left the band shortly thereafter. Clinton McKinnon on the other hand simply adapted to the new expanding dramatic shifts.

DISCO VOLANTE is like being bombarded with a tornado of sounds, styles and schizophrenic freedom. The tracks are literally all over the music map ranging from sludge and death metal, psycho-jazz-metal, surf rock, Middle Eastern techno, mystique concrète, tango, exotica lounge, freeform jazz, sound collages and psychedelia. The album exemplifies the ultimate expression of DIY musical freedom except that it’s all dressed up with high budget production, engineering and mixing which makes DISCO VOLANTE perhaps the most professionally recorded example of renegade rock since Frank Zappa’s unique stamp on the 70s. The album is rich with different instruments as well. Guest musicians provide the extra touches of piano, bandoneon, cymbals, bongos, jew’s harp, tabla, kanjira, sistrums, xylophone and glockenspiel. In addition to the influences aforementioned, there are many styles of ethnic music adding extra colorful textures ranging from African rhythms, Slavic folk as well as the more obvious Middle Eastern touches.

Everything about the album exudes a sort of retro feel from the 60s but in a demented alternative universe. Of all the sounds on board, only the death metal on “Merry Go Bye Bye” and the sludge metal of the introductory “Everyone I Went To High School With Is Dead” borrow from the contemporary musical world. Tracks like “Chemical Marriage” seem like the result of am acid trip gone wrong where lounge exotica music and psychedelic rock of the 60s fuse whereas “Carry Stress in the Jaw” and “Platypus” engage in knotty over-the-top feats that tackle the most extreme examples of jazz-metal distorted into overly complex constructs simply for the sake of doing so. The lyrics retain the goofiness of the debut however the contrast of the lyrics and music adds to the more surreal nature of DISCO VOLANTE. “Violenza Domestica” is like a tango soundtrack to the alternative version of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” whereas the cleverly crafted electronic of “Desert Search For Techno Allah” provided the blueprint for the entire world of Spruance’s future project Secret Chiefs 3.

Out of this amazing roller coaster ride through the demented sonic universe of MR BUNGLE, some of the tracks have proven a hard pill to swallow for even the most stalwart followers. “The Bends” is a sound collage that entertains 10 distinct sections, all completely unique and all exhibiting the most impenetrable displays of the avant-garde. Based on the the theme of the decompression sickness that describes the condition of ascending to the surface too quickly after diving underwater, the short snippets that last from one to two minutes exude the scariest sounds on the album yet retain a humorous twist with titles like “ Duet For Guitar and Oxygen Tank” and “Love on the Event Horizon.” By far the weirdest of the weird but an effective non-melodic respite from the otherwise melodic constructs that mostly keep the album from spiraling into a world where no mere mortal can comprehend what is going on. “Platypus” is a favorite as it the most jaggedly angular example of jazz and metal dancing side by side that i’ve ever heard and displays the most technical workouts of the album. It comes off a modern form of the Canterbury Scene with its whimsy and technical wizardry all fused together or even some sort of jazz-metal-in-opposition.

The biggest mind f.u.c.k. is saved for the ending. “Merry Go Bye Bye / Nothing” starts out as a catchy even kitsch example of exotica lounge music about existential universal quandaries but abruptly morphs into death metal with noisy electronics which revives the death metal antics that the band hadn’t performed since its first demo along with the chaotic electronica that Spruance fortified his Faxed Head project with. The chaotic mix goes off like a nuclear bomb designed to disturb and perplex any adventurous soul still going for the DISCO VOLANTE journey. Once the album ends it doesn’t really end at all. After a period of silence, it finishes things off with practice session snippets that erupt into an explosive pyroclastic flow of unhinged energy and potty mouthed profanities that link it to the debut. After a cacophonous roar of dissonant horns, the album leaves you in shock and you’ll never be the same.

Everything about DISCO VOLANTE is designed to contrast expectations. It feels both retro and futuristic and seemingly unrelated genres play side by side like lions and lambs at a warehouse rave. The album exists in a paradigm stubbornly outside of the commercial music world of 1995 and the album exudes an alienating effect that is somewhat like a musical VPN that disguises its era, location of creation and true genius of the members who crafted it. This album is basically just plain nuts yet it enthralls the soul with captivating technical workouts and innocent childlike melodies that evoke the most primeval attractions to music while contorting it to create mind-numbing expansions of consciousness. Despite al the odds, this album exists and the six guys involved took full advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity to create some of the least commercial music on the planet that strangely found an audience. Even more brilliant than the debut, DISCO VOLANTE showed quite clearly that MR BUNGLE was no one trick pony and had a seemingly bottomless wellspring of ideas and influences to mine. Disturbing and beautiful, this album is exquisitely unique and mind blowing. Easily one of my favorite albums of all time.

GNAW THEIR TONGUES Issei Sagawa

EP · 2007 · Metal Related
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"Issei Sagawa" is an EP release by Dutch noise/drone/black metal act Gnaw Their Tongues. The EP was independently released in August 2007. Gnaw Their Tongues was formed in 2005 and is one of many one-man projects by prolific Dutch musician Mories.

"Issei Sagawa" is a 2 track, 9:31 minutes long release. It´s a concept release revolving around infamous Japanese murderer, cannibal, and later TV celebrity "Issei Sagawa". In 1981 while studying in France, Sagawa murdered, committed acts of necrophelia, and finally cannibalized the corpse of female Dutch co-student Renée Hartevelt. In a bizarre turn of events Sagawa was judged to be legally insane and unfit for imprisonment, and therefore was committed to indefinite confinement at an insane asylum. Sagawa´s wealthy father payed an expensive lawyer to run his case, and Sagawa ended up being deported to Japan, where he was released to freedom upon his arrival, and later became a minor TV celebrity by sharing his experiences...the cover artwork makes a bit more sense now, doesn´t it?

So that is the real life tragic story you have to have in mind while listening to the two pieces of noise/drone music on this EP. Some of Gnaw Their Tongues releases feature some black metal parts or at least some metal related sections, but not this EP which is strictly a noise/drone release. Both tracks feature long monotone and eerie droning effects, industrial noises, and voice samples. It´s actually quite an unpleasant listen, and especially the samples of someone making nasty smacking sounds in the end of "White Skin" makes my hair stand on end. It´s just incredibly disgusting...and nausea inducing.

The material is well produced and well performed too, and despite feeling a bit repetitive and one-dimensional, the songwriting is decent too and definitely gets the dread and horror atmosphere right. Mories is a genius at creating exactly this type of claustrophobic and bleak sound. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved...as always enter at your own risk, and don´t say I didn´t warn you...

OPETH In Cauda Venenum

Album · 2019 · Metal Related
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These days there are literally a gazillion metal bands that come and go with even some of the bigger names which often blur into the massive number of albums that emerge every single month and then there are bands like OPETH, a band that has become so legendary that it actually creates quite a stir even over two decades after the band’s debut with “Orchid.” This Swedish band founded by lead vocalist / guitarist / songwriter Mikael Åkerfeldt all the way back in 1989 has successfully straddled the fence between the disparate genera of death metal and progressive rock often blurring the distinctions. While fans on both sides of the fence have been routing for the band to take one path or the other, OPETH for the most part has successfully remained staunchly in hybrid mode at least until the last few albums.

While starting out as the former and taking the leap into the latter beginning with 2011’s “Heritage,” the group has successfully created some of the most lauded albums that decorate both the prog and metal top album lists and with the band’s 14th studio album IN CAUDA VENENUM (“Poison Of The Tail”), OPETH shows no signs of slowing down and have crafted yet another album of intricate melodies teased into progressive sprawlers that are bathed in aspects of psychedelic rock, folk rock and progressive metal. Only the growly vocal death metal elements have been jettisoned as OPETH has decloaked any traces of its earliest aggressive tendencies and have instead seemingly adopted the permanent features of clean vocal styles and King Crimsonian style prog rock circa the “Red” area. And still going strong which started all the way back in the very beginning are those beautiful arpeggiated acoustic guitar segments are still riding high in the mix.

OPETH tried something new on IN CAUDA VENENUM, which was somewhat common with Italian prog bands of the 70s but not so for the Scandinavian scene. This album has been released twice both in English and the band’s native Swedish. Despite the differences in language, the music is exactly the same and both albums clock in exactly at 67 minutes and 44 seconds. While the choice of language may appeal to some, for those like me who are less concerned about lyrics and much more into the compositional meat and potatoes, i personally don’t care if a song is titled “Universal Truth” or “Ingen Sanning Är Allas.” Having said that, Swedish is a beautiful language and although this review is based upon the English version of the album, i will inevitably want to absorb the majesty of an OPETH album in its native lingo. After all, Swedish is the language that sings and love him or hate him, there’s no denying that Åkerfeldt is one singing MF and becomes more nuanced with his vox box as time goes one.

After releasing “Sorceress,” the band received a lot of criticism for jettisoning too much metal and becoming just another retro prog band. Yeah, those metalheads can get really testy about things. Even on the prog side of the music world, they got shot down in some circles for not being original enough, by recycling 70s sounds and jumping on the bandwagon that seems to be all the rage today which may be fine for, let’s say a band like Wobbler, but for metal superstars like OPETH? No way, just ain’t cuttin’ it. IN CAUDA VENENUM corrects that faux pas and adds some extra metal oomf to the mix once again however in many regards, this album is a lot like “Sorceress” in that its progressive elements are the main focus, the clean vocals shine in the forefront and the music is lushly orchestrated to create pleasing atmospheric counterpoints to the folk-tinged melodic developments. As far as the psychedelic rock aspects are concerned, IN CAUDA VENENUM is drenched in piano, Fender Rhodes 88, harpsichords, Moogs, mellotron and a Hammond CD to boot.

The metal almost seems like an afterthought that is there solely to add a bombastic contrast to an otherwise super chill album. So much for the band’s original intent of becoming one of the most evil bands in the world. Now much closer to Pink Floyd than to Mayhem, OPETH seems to have nurtured this new path into the prog world quite well. IN CAUDA VENENUM is an amazingly consistent album that may be a much more metal-free zone than say albums like “Morningrise” or “Deliverance” but still manages to sneak in some ferocious guitar riffing and power chords amidst the proggy time signature rich passages as they tick off all the proper prog check lists.

Out of the newer OPETH albums that rely less on the metal aspects, IN CAUDA VENENUM is actually one of the most diverse of the lot so far expanding OPETH’s sounds into new arenas (such as the jazzy “The Garroter”) to the more familiar (which is most of the album.) One of the main tricks up Åkerfeldt’s sleeves has always been those appropriately placed classical guitar segments which tastefully starts off the album intro on “Garden Of Earthly Delights.” The twin guitar attacks of Åkerfeldt and Frederik Åkesson are still in action especially in the more metallic tracks like “Heart In Hand.” There are new developments in OPETH’s arsenal such as the overdubbed choir parts in “Dignity” and let’s face it lots and i do mean LOTS of organ parts. Despite scouring the periodic table to add as many metal elements as possible, IN CAUDA VENENUM is firmly in progressive rock territory with just a touch of heavier bombast to hopefully entice the older crowds into the new OPETH show.

On a personal level, OPETH has never been a top band in my reality but i am amazed at how consistent the quality of the material is on every single album in its long never-ending canon and therefore they have my utmost respect and admiration. Åkerfeldt was born to bring to life catchy yet proggy tunes that while crafting the instant ear worms of pop music still have quite the catchiness factor even if it takes a few spins to sink in. Whether OPETH is in full death metal regalia or simply taking a siesta in organ drenched prog makes no difference to me personally. I find the Jekyll & Hyde peekaboo act to be amusing since the band so successfully masters both styles quite well and on IN CAUDA VENENUM, the band seems to find new ways of incorporating both aspects into a cohesive whole without deviating from the current trajectory of settling on the prog side of the equation.

IN CAUDA VENENUM will surely not win over those who ditched the band when “Heritage” declared the new OPETH was in town but it certainly won’t disappoint those who have been digging the recent prog albums such as “Pale Communion” and “Sorceress.” While taking cues from both, this one moves on into ever more diverse pastures and the great thing about OPETH is that it is a band that no matter what criticism is heaped upon it, is never afraid to just sally forth in whichever direction the musicians feel it right for them. While IN CAUDA VENENUM will receive ample amounts of hate from metalhead purists and equal amounts of love from retro-proggers, taken as a work of art, IN CAUDA VENENUM is a compelling album with rich seductive melodies and intricately crafted musical developments. Another excellent album in the OPETH camp.

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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
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
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.

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