Metal Related Genres

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Metal Related is a term used on Metal Music Archives (MMA) in regard to artists that, although they do not play metal themselves, still have a place within the metal scene.

On MMA the aim is to build up a complete picture of the metal music genre and its associated scene, and the Metal Related Genres umbrella sub allows the inclusion of related bands and side projects of metal musicians to be included in the site database, along with artists that exist on the fringes of the metal scene by including elements of metal in their music, but haven't ever made a fully fledged metal album. There are also sections for some of the more closely related genres to metal.

There are five sections to the metal related section on MMA: Hard Rock (encompasses heavy psych and heavier progressive rock and more), Hardcore & Crust (punk genres that can sometimes be metallic), Metal Related (releases with metal elements), Non-Metal (mostly a catch all for releases that don't otherwise fit, but also sometimes used for related bands and side-projects to be included on MMA) and Proto-Metal (artists involved in the early development of the metal genre). Each sub-genre is governed by its own rules and policies, some with dedicated teams and some handled by the site admins. More can be learned about each by listing their individual sub-genre pages.

Nothing is ever added directly to the parent Metal Related Genres page. It is merely an umbrella sub used to group the five child sub-genres in one place.

metal related genres top albums

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

WISHBONE ASH Argus Album Cover Argus
WISHBONE ASH
4.56 | 27 ratings
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NEAL MORSE One Album Cover One
NEAL MORSE
4.83 | 10 ratings
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JIMI HENDRIX Are You Experienced? Album Cover Are You Experienced?
JIMI HENDRIX
4.47 | 39 ratings
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QUEEN Queen II Album Cover Queen II
QUEEN
4.43 | 60 ratings
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THE WHO Who's Next Album Cover Who's Next
THE WHO
4.49 | 30 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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KING CRIMSON Red Album Cover Red
KING CRIMSON
4.34 | 93 ratings
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KING CRIMSON In The Court Of The Crimson King Album Cover In The Court Of The Crimson King
KING CRIMSON
4.34 | 89 ratings
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SWANS The Seer Album Cover The Seer
SWANS
4.79 | 8 ratings
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PORCUPINE TREE In Absentia Album Cover In Absentia
PORCUPINE TREE
4.32 | 86 ratings
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KING CRIMSON Larks' Tongues In Aspic Album Cover Larks' Tongues In Aspic
KING CRIMSON
4.32 | 85 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 genres Music Reviews

THE NEAL MORSE BAND Innocence & Danger

Album · 2021 · Metal Related
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lukretion
Back in February, Neal Morse (ex-Spock’s Beard) and Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater) brought you the new Transatlantic record, 150 minutes of prog extravaganza divided across two, differently arranged versions of the same album. Since then, the prog wonder pair did not waste any time, and on August 27th they hit the shelves again with a new The Neal Morse Band’s album, Innocence & Danger, a double-disc release that clocks in at nearly 100 minutes of music. This is supposed to be a “simpler”, more spontaneous release compared to the band’s previous three records, which is probably the case considering how their two prior LPs where a pair of interconnected, double-disc concept albums sprawling across 200 minutes of music in total. Instead, Innocence & Danger is a self-contained, song-based affair, written without a specific overarching theme in mind and with a more relaxed, “let’s have fun in the studio” attitude that certainly transpires through the fresh and diverse material of the album.

This is not to say that the 10 songs of Innocence & Danger fall very far from the tree of metallic prog rock that has characterized a great deal of Neal Morse’s discography, especially since he joined forces with Portnoy back in the early 2000s. On the contrary, the new songs are still very much anchored in Morse-Portnoy’s trademark sound: a blend of prog rock intricacies, robust rhythmical acrobatics, grandiose melodies, and madly skilful playing. Yet, some of the material opens up to new and unexpected influences, like the 80s pop vibes of “Another Story to Tell” and the otherwise Beatles-esque “Your Place in the Sun”. Meanwhile, “The Way It Had to Be” is a great bluesy ballad that brings to mind Pink Floyd as well as some of the singer-songwriter material one can find on Neal Morse’s solo albums. And then there is “Bridge over Troubled Water”, an incredible prog adaptation of Simon & Garfunkel’s classic piece. This is actually one of the highlights of the album. The complex instrumental histrionics added to the song structure are absolutely spot on and the vocal arrangements are superb too.

These injections of new and diverse influences give the album a freshness and levity that a lot of contemporary prog rock/metal records lack. However, this does not come at all at the expense of depth and substance: Innocence & Danger contains some extremely rich prog material, that is structurally complex and thoughtfully arranged. Miraculously, however, the music does not feel complex or studied, even when one faces multi-part mammoth pieces like the 31-minute long “Beyond the Years” or the nearly 20 minutes of “Not Afraid Pt 2” (both contained on the second CD). These compositions are so well-thought out and so tastefully arranged that time literally flies by while one listens to these songs. The flow of these tracks is nearly perfect and the songs contain so many moments of melodic brilliance that verses and choruses stick with you only after a couple of listens.

Still, 100 minutes of music ask a considerable time investment to the listener, so the inevitable question is: is all the material consistently high-quality, or could have they slimmed down the album by leaving out some of the weaker songs? To these ears, the opening four tracks of the first CD (“Do It All Again”, “Bird on a Wire”, “Your Place in the Sun” and “Another Story to Tell”) do not quite match the level of quality of the rest of the material, especially of the two long pieces of the second CD. Although these four songs have all some interesting moments, the melodies are somewhat weaker and, despite listening to each piece multiple times, I still cannot remember any specific vocal line or instrumental passage from any of these tracks. The rest of the songs on the first CD are more memorable, but overall I cannot help but feel that there is a slight imbalance between the two discs: the stronger material, the “meat” of the album so to speak, is clearly on disc 2, while disc 1 feels almost like a looser collection of “bonus” tracks, and I notice that I inevitably tend to gravitate towards the second disc in my repeated listens, often skipping altogether the first disc. It’s a pity because some songs from disc 1 are truly excellent, like the aforementioned cover of “Bridge over Troubled Water” and the ballad “The Way It Had to Be”. I feel that a little more quality control could have make this excellent album, a real masterpiece.

One aspect of the album that initially took me by surprise is the alternation between three vocalists: Morse, guitarist Eric Gilette and keyboard player Bill Hubauer. In nearly all tracks, the three singers swap vocal lines continuously throughout a song, which at first I found slightly unsettling, also in part because they each have slightly peculiar, “acquired taste” voices that takes some time getting used to. But I quickly got into the groove and after a few listens it is actually fun to have three vocalists instead of one in each song. Speaking about things that require getting used to, since the early 2000s a lot of Morse’s lyrics revolve around strongly Christian religious themes, and this album is no exception. It’s nothing overly preachy and I personally do not care too much about lyrics, but it is something that some people may not find to their liking, so be warned.

Overall, Innocence & Danger may not be perfect, but it is still a great album that will no doubt satisfy progressive rock fans. The main strength of the album are its freshness and diversity. There is something for every taste, from the whimsical corners of prog-pop, to bluesy Floydian ballads, to harder-edged rockers, to full-blown, multipart prog epics. The metallic undertones of much of the material contained on this LP will also appeal prog metal lovers, especially fans of bands like Dream Theater, Fates Warning, Pain of Salvation or Threshold. If you are prog-inclined, give this one a try, you won’t be disappointed.

[Originally written for The Metal Observer]

UTOPIANISTI Tango Solo

Album · 2021 · Non-Metal
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siLLy puPPy
The adventurous Finnish musical explorer Markus Pajakkala is back with another exciting chapter of the life of his project UTOPIANISTI four years after the curve ball avant-garde metal meets noise experiment “Brutopianisti” sent shock waves into the fans who had fallen in love with his twisted sense of jazz-fusion sensibilities on his first three albums. Unlike the first three albums, this is once again a solo effort with Pajakkala playing all the instruments on this near 37-minute collection of ten recordings.

As the title TANGO SOLO suggests this album jumps in world of the tango but of course this is UTOPIANISTI so this album is an interestingly unique mix of his classic jazz-fusion sounds which includes some Canterbury Scene flavors as well as classical piano rolls that take the world of tango into (as far as i know) hitherto unexplored terrain. With the tango as the main ethnic theme that pretty much dominates TANGO SOLO, the album is also chock full of quirky avant-prog rock time signatures with percussion rich heavy sections along with the smoothness of saxophone slides and other jazzy elements.

It wouldn’t be a tango without an accordion and that one is here too but it’s the unexpected moments of xylophones and other sounds that really bring this one to life. Like all of Pajakkala’s oeuvres, this one is an adventurous roller coaster ride of myriad ideas laid out in the most unexpected ways but despite the eclectic nature of this wild man behind an army of instrumentation, this is indeed tango music only teased out into the avant-garde. Astor Piazzolla would be proud! Like much of the UTOPIANISTI canon, the music is quirky and playful like a long lost Zappa reel that has been sitting in the vaults for decades.

TANGO SOLO is very cartoony in its vibe as if a serious tango nuevo entourage had suddenly hooked up with Carl Stalling to produce a soundtrack to a Andalusian version of the classic Looney Tunes cartoons. The beauty of this album is that it takes the sounds of tango out of its standard one-dimensional platitude and gives it a serious makeover the UTOPIANISTI without causing harm or disrespect to the traditional sounds and mood setting nature of the Argentinian musical genre. This one is entirely instrumental and devoid of guitar sounds as far as i can decipher. This is a jazz-fusion album through and through that just happens to add the tango as the primary musical element.

One thing is clear and that is the fact that the UTOPIANISTI project is utterly unpredictable as to where it will direct itself next as i was expecting a return to the style of the first three albums. Although Pajakkala made it clear that the metal and noise experiments on “Brutopianisti” was a one time event, who would’ve considered a Finnish musician immersing himself into the world of the Argentinean musical art form that is the pride of an entire nation. Now we know to expect the unexpected as curve balls are the rule not the exception. Overall this is another intricately designed excellent slice of experimental music from Pajakkala that may even win the hearts of those who have never been keen on the unique musical style known as the tango.

PORTAL Hagbulbia

Album · 2021 · Non-Metal
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siLLy puPPy
PORTAL isn’t exactly the world’s most prolific metal band ranging from three to five years between releases but 2021 has produced a shocking surprise from this most unorthodox extreme and expeirmental metal act, namely this freaky noise making band from Brisbane, Australia has released two albums in one year! Well before you get too excited, that is if you get excited at all about one of the most obnoxiously atonal and dissonant tech extreme metal bands in the market, i have to break it to you that HAGBULBIA is not a proper album but rather a companion release of sort.

Many bands have released ambient and industrial albums under alter egos. Neurosis did it with the Tribes of Neurot albums, Burzum released entire albums of just dungeon synth and Ulver went one further by dropping its metal persona altogether and transmogrifying into an electronic experimental band completely. Whatever the case, this is really nothing out of the ordinary but i doubt anyone was expecting a wildly electric and eclectic band like PORTAL to go this route. Unlike some such albums released simultaneously with a more standard album, HAGBULBIA isn’t really one to be played with the primary album as it sounds completely independent in its own little world.

Basically what we have here is PORTAL’s chaotic ambient and atmospheric sound effects without the accompanying technical death metal. It’s the closest thing you get to naked and unstripped PORTAL as you can imagine and HAGBULBIA gives a bit of insight into the sound effects and production techniques that often are accompanied by the extreme metal which give it that hazed over atmospheric doom and gloom effect. Given that PORTAL’s music is basically a mix of chaos meets some sort of order albeit complex avant-garde order, HAGBULBIA features the chaotic side of the equation and is really nothing more than 38 minutes of dark ambient fueled blackened death industrial sounds with swirling and often gurgling motifs of swarming sonorities accompanied by what sounds like vocal gargling and eerie splashes, looped static serving as percussion and other scary sound effects.

There is really no rhyme or reason to this one as it is simply a length procession of dark and disturbing sounds that are tweaked to emulate the scariest sounds possible and if there was ever a perfect candidate for a soundtrack for a Halloween party or dungeon then this is probably it. There are very faint aspects of metal especially on the track “Weptune” where you can here a death metal guitar riff try to break free from the turbulent noise above it but it is quickly subdued and thus thrown back into its cage. Really, the whole thing sounds like a frequency war in the bowels of hell! The scant vocal utterances keep it all from sounding too pointless and subdued aspects of “regular” PORTAL albums seem to provide just enough support from beneath the surface to keep this existing in the PORTAL universe.

This one is probably too much for even hardcore PORTAL fans and i have to admit that this is not the PORTAL i signed up for but to be fair, as a creepy ambient industrial album that evokes death and disease and utter despair, this one is quite a nasty sounding beast and therefore it has me intrigued to say the least! While i don’t consider this form of “music” my main staple, as supplemental sound it does have its appeal and if you are one of the tiny few who finds PORTAL’s regularly scheduled program to be a bit tame (does anyone think that?!!) then this will take all those deranged atmospheric mind fucks to the next level. Disturbing and deranged, this really does hit the spot for the most manic and chaotic swarms of sound ever recorded and for that i kinda like it but for your own safety do not listen on a regular basis or else!

NEAL MORSE It's Not Too Late

Album · 2001 · Non-Metal
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lukretion
Neal Morse’s solo career started with a couple of albums that are quite different from the type of releases that will characterize his solo discography after he left Spock’s Beard in 2002. His first solo album, the self-titled album he released in 1999, bore only faint traces of progressive rock, focusing instead on a lighter pop-rock sound that only occasionally veered into prog territories. His follow-up release, 2001’s It’s Not Too Late, is even less prog-inclined. It is a largely acoustic album, built around simple, singer-songwriter tunes that prefer emotional directness and melodic accessibility over technical wizardry and structural complexity.

Oddly, this is an album that I like and at the same time dislike more than Morse’s 1999 solo debut. I like it better than his first album because it feels more honest and authentic. It does not try to strike a balance between Morse’s simple pop ambitions and his progressive rock “day job”, but it fully embraces his singer-songwriter sensibilities, presenting a collection of acoustic tunes written by Morse between 1980s and the months prior the release of the album. However, among the record’s 13 songs, I only find a handful of tunes that I can say I truly like. Most tracks are fairly anonymous and inoffensive light pop numbers that disappear from my musical memory as soon as the album moves on to the next song. Others are fun to listen to, but feel quite derivative and make me almost feel as if I were listening to a bar band rather than to one of the greatest prog rock musicians of our times (“So Long Goodbye Blues”, “Ain’t Seen Nothing Like Me”). Other tracks are just plain boring, as they lack a strong melody to carry them through (“The Eyes of the World”).

The tracks I fully enjoy are few and far in between. “I Am Your Father” is one of them. This is a song Morse had written with his old band from the 1980s, which in fact accompanies the singer on this re-recorded version of the tune. It is a very emotional pop-rock number, driven by Morse’s piano and powerful vocal delivery and enriched by some poignant lyrics about fathership. “Something Blue” is the other highlight of the record for me. It’s a more uptempo number graced by a gloriously catchy chorus that elevates the song to a different level.

There’s not much going on instrumentally throughout the album. Morse’s superb piano playing shines in some of the song and Nick D’Virgilio precise and sophisticated drumming is always a pleasure to listen to. But the songs feature intentionally simple and essential arrangements that leave little space for musical showmanship.

In short, there’s virtually no prog on this one, just a collection of simple and mostly acoustic tunes that are often pleasant, but rarely extraordinary. Morse is a great player, singer and songwriter, so it is really hard to find parts of his discography that are tout court bad, and It’s Not Too Late is no exception. Yet, this is probably among the weakest albums released by the man, and, unless you are a hardcore Morse’s fan or a completionist, you may want to skip this one and save your money for one of the other albums in Morse’s rich discography.

ANATHEMA Weather Systems

Album · 2012 · Non-Metal
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Peacock Feather
When you start talking about what is dear to you and loved to the depths of your heart and soul, it is always difficult to find the right words, epithets, metaphors to describe the feelings and emotions burning inside you. If We're Here Because We're Here stole my heart, used it a little and fed it, and then returned it to its rightful owner, then Weather Systems made this heart its own property.

All the best things start at the very end, and my introduction to Anathema began with the closing Internal Landscapes. I was blown away by how sensual it was, how genuinely sincere, and how the pathos was twisted to the maximum. I delayed my acquaintance with the album itself a little, coming to it gradually. I had already fallen in love with the Untouchable dilogy and the above-mentioned song, but I was afraid to be disappointed sometimes, even though I already knew that Anathema would be serious and lasting with me. And for the first time, I wasn't as impressed as I thought I would be.

To be honest, the whole Weather Systems is built on the same patterns, both its own and the patterns of the last album. All the songs follow basically the same canons, the same pattern, but that doesn't mean, damn it, that the album is monotonous and bad. I think I was able to see such an elusive feature of this album, as a complete immersion inside myself and inside the band itself, to be precise, inside Danny himself, who again became the author of almost all the songs on the album, only The Storm Before The Calm was written by John Douglas. No wonder Danny himself says that it is difficult for him to listen to Weather Systems, since the lyrics on the album are very personal for the older of Cavanaghs.

The deep emotionality of the release at some point completely conquered me, and I could no longer resist the endless beauty of this almost masterpiece. Neither the extraterrestrial majesty of Untouchable, nor the perfect embodiment of femininity in the person of Lee Douglas and her solo part in Lightning Song, nor the duality of The Storm Before The Calm (for a reason it is so different from the other songs on the album, due to the direct involvement of the drummer already mentioned above), nor the softness and lightness of The Beginning and the End, nor the epic melancholy of Internal Landscapes. Truly, there are no passing compositions for me here, Weather Systems have long, deeply and reliably settled in my heart. This is the best album of Anathema of the new period, which is slightly inferior to Judgment, but by a large margin wins over all other albums. I just don't know what words to choose for this album, these songs, when there is only one endless delight burning in my mouth.

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NEAL MORSE Morsefest! 5015

Movie · 2017 · Metal Related
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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
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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.

BLIND FAITH London Hyde Park 1969

Movie · 2006 · Proto-Metal
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stefanbedna
Blind Faith -London Hyde Park 1969 dvd. An excellent concert.Quite simple concert.A beautiful day and a hundred thousand people in London´s central Hyde Park listens Blind Faith in their first big gig.Absolutely wonderful.For me the historic value of this concert.Rating 4,0 stars for me.Concert will be held 07/06/1969.Performers lineup eric clapton lead guitar,steve winwood phenomenal vocal and keyboards, rick grech on bass and of course phenomenal ginger baker on drums.This is an example of the unique combination of two large groups of Cream and Traffic rights in the Great introducetd in London´s Hyde Park.Really very interesting concert series watch it again on dvd.I highly recommend.

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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