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Not every band on Metal Music Archives exclusively plays within a metal or metal related sub-genre. Some start as such only to later leave their old sound behind, others become relevant to the site later in their careers. Some bands like to release one-off experiments. The Non-Metal tag on MMA is used to cover releases that are completely removed from metal music in style, so in a sense is a catch-all sub-genre for releases that don't fit anywhere else.

Sometimes, artists will be added under non-metal exclusively due to being related to the metal genre and scene by association with metal artists, such as the symphonic prog act Transatlantic who feature the former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy, the ambient project Neptune Towers by Darkthrone's Fenriz or the folk band Fejd, who have members who are/have been with a couple of different metal bands (Fejd later became metal themselves, but were accepted on MMA long before that). Such artists are typically covered by the metal media due to this association with the scene, and are as such included on MMA for the same reasons.

Mostly however this tag will be used for releases belonging to other genres by metal (or other metal related) artists, such as Opeth's progressive rock albums Damnation and Pale Communion or Elvenking's folk/folk rock album Two Tragedy Poets.

- Written by adg211288 (August 2015).

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non-metal top albums

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

SWANS The Seer Album Cover The Seer
4.78 | 9 ratings
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SPOCK'S BEARD The Light Album Cover The Light
4.58 | 11 ratings
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MOTORPSYCHO The Death Defying Unicorn Album Cover The Death Defying Unicorn
4.74 | 7 ratings
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MEAT LOAF Bat Out Of Hell Album Cover Bat Out Of Hell
4.49 | 14 ratings
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KILLING JOKE Killing Joke (Debut) Album Cover Killing Joke (Debut)
4.52 | 12 ratings
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ELOY Ocean Album Cover Ocean
4.44 | 16 ratings
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BEARDFISH Sleeping in Traffic: Part Two Album Cover Sleeping in Traffic: Part Two
4.89 | 5 ratings
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ZZ TOP Tres Hombres Album Cover Tres Hombres
4.42 | 15 ratings
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SPOCK'S BEARD Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep Album Cover Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep
4.47 | 12 ratings
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KILLING JOKE Night Time Album Cover Night Time
4.48 | 11 ratings
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ALICE COOPER From The Inside Album Cover From The Inside
4.25 | 25 ratings
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RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS Blood Sugar Sex Magik Album Cover Blood Sugar Sex Magik
4.25 | 24 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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Album · 2022 · Non-Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Well this is surely one i never saw coming. THE MARS VOLTA is of course one of those millennial prog acts that pretty much introduced prog rock to a new generation with its brash musical mishmash on the band’s lauded double one two punch debut releases “De-Loused In The Comatorium” and “Frances The Mute.” These two albums took me quite a while to warm up to mostly due to Cedric Bixler-Zavala’s abrasive vocal style but once i acclimated to the band’s unique idiosyncrasies i have to admit that those two releases rank high in my favorite album releases of all time now. Along with Omar Rodriguez-López, Bixler-Zavala made an instant smash with their unique punk-infused style of progressive rock but after the second release it was pretty much diminishing returns with “Amputechture” all the way to 2021’s too-abstract-for-its-own-good-and-lost-its way sound of “Noctourniquet.”

Due to creative differences Bixler-Zavala and Rodriguez-López split ways after collaborating on the one-off Antemasque which revived the post-hardcore style of At The Drive-In which itself would find a second coming. After making a secret truce, the talk of reviving THE MARS VOLTA seemed inevitable as neither was setting the world on fire with solo and other projects. In 2019 the duo began working on what would become this self-titled album which signals a complete reinventing of the band by dropping all progressive rock influences and adopting a more indie pop approach. The album finally hit the scene in September 2022 with a less than thrilled fanbase waiting for the next “Frances The Mute” expressing its dissatisfaction.

Basically a completely different band from anything released before, this version of THE MARS VOLTA also features Marcellus Rodriguez-López, little brother of Omar, on keyboards, Eva Gardner, one of the founding members of the band back on bass, Willy Rodriguez Quiñones on drums and Leo Genovese, a famous Argentine jazz pianist, also joining in on keyboards. Notable for their albums’ long playing times, this eponymous release keeps things on the shorter side just missing the 45 minute mark. Only two tracks are barely longer than four minutes and the overall stylistic shift is to emphasize instantly catchy melodic hooks accented by Caribbean rhythms and percussive styles along with indie rock guitars, bass and modern production techniques.

Honestly this was not something i was hoping for! Although a few albums after “Frances The Mute” are interesting, nothing comes close to the quality of the first two albums and in many ways this is an even loftier deep dive off the cliff of what made this band stand out from its nascency. Inherently there is nothing overtly awful about this album. The short digestible tracks are decently presented with Bixler-Zavala sounding less goofy in comparison. The mixing and production are excellent and fully up to date however what’s mixing from this one is any connection to the soul. Unfortunately the band seems like it’s striving to find commercial success in the context of achieving catchy pop hits on Spotify or something. All those wild unpredictable excursions into King Crimson prog and over the top psychedelic mindful.c.kery seem like a distant past although it’s only been two decades since the band’s debut.

When it comes down to it this just sounds like a completely different band with only Bixler-Zavala’s vocal even remotely bringing any past efforts to mind. This is a fairly inoffensive, even bland set of 14 tracks that never really go anywhere or do anything beyond supporting the lyrical delivery that spends a great deal of time addressing the inconsistencies of the Church of Scientology which Bixler-Zavala’s family had apparently tortured him with. For some sort of anonymous indie pop album, this is pretty decent for a listening experience but the whole thing seems like a mere shadow of the greatness this band once achieved. It’s like Genesis’ self-titled album in comparison to its prog heyday only without the super pop hits. Any way you slice it, a nice warm album but rather forgettable with nothing really to sink your teeth into.

MOTORPSYCHO Ancient Astronauts

Album · 2022 · Non-Metal
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Norwegian prog-rockers Motorpsycho are an unstoppable force, churning out nearly one album per year throughout their entire career. Not even the worldwide shutdown of 2020/2021 halted their creative drive, although it did channel it on a slightly different course than anticipated. Unable to tour and not fully enthusiastic about the idea of “live stream shows”, the Norse trio started toying with the idea of a video/audio package that could combine their music, a dance performance by Homan Sharifi and the Impure Dance Company, and cinematography.

That ambitious project is still ongoing, or to put it more accurately, on the backburner according to interviews released by the band. Motorpsycho felt however that it would be a pity not to record and release the music that was envisaged for that larger-scale art performance, which is in fact the material included on Ancient Astronauts. On the vinyl, the four songs that comprise the album are divded between side A (“The Ladder”, “The Flowers of Awareness”, “Mona Lisa / Azrael”) and side B (“Chariots of the Sun - To Phaeton on the Occasion of the Sunrise”), making for a balanced 20 minutes of music on each side. The division also makes a lot of sense stylistically: although all four songs embrace the glorious progressive rock sound of the 1970s, the first three seem to have been influenced by early King Crimson, while the epic “Chariots of the Sun” brings to mind the symphonic mystique of bands like Yes.

While the sound of the LP is closer to retro-prog than the modernist, metallic outbursts of Motropsycho’s more recent records, the Norwegians interpret it with an urgency and vigor that makes it feel fresh and contemporary. “The Ladder” is particularly electrifying, with its driving pace, aggressive vocals and gloriously rock guitars. The song transmits a sense of violent unease that reminded me of the iconic “21st Century Schizoid Man” from King Crimson’s debut. “The Flowers of Awareness” is a short semi-ambient interlude, while “Mona Lisa / Azrael” is another throwback to King Crimson’s debut LP, this time reminding me of “Moonchild”, especially at the beginning and end, while the sudden surge of electric jazz power in the mid-section takes us in a completely different direction.

At 22 minutes of length, “Chariots of the Sun” is the bona fide prog epic of the LP. The surprise, perhaps, is that it is entirely instrumental. Normally, I am not a great fan of instrumental music, but the song’s slow-burning crescendo – from delicate chimes and nimble guitars to full-bodied rock explosions - is captivating and makes for a perfect backdrop to inner traveling and meditations. Here is where the Yes influences strike me as relevant, as I can almost imagine how Jon Anderson’s mystic wordless chanting would perfectly complement the song’s instrumental explorations.

“Chariots of the Sun” is also the song where it becomes most apparent that the music included on Ancient Astronauts was devised as a part of a larger-scale and more ambitious project, as the song literally begs for some cinematic visuals to accompany it. This is perhaps also where Ancient Astronauts reveals its main limitation: while it is always a pleasure to listen to Motorpsycho’s musical musings, there is a sense of incompleteness hovering over this release, almost as if it were missing some essential ingredient to satisfyingly tie the four pieces of music together in a completed whole. Ultimately, this is what weighs the album down somewhat, especially in the larger scheme of the band’s impressive discography, as it is hard not to see it as a parentheses between bigger endeavours.

[Originally written for The Metal Observer]

ENOCH Graveyard Disturbances

Album · 2004 · Non-Metal
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"Graveyard Disturbances" is the debut full-length studio album by multi-national ambient music act Enoch. The album was released through Baphomet Records in 2004. Enoch was formed in 1999 by multi-instrumentalist Mirai Kawashima and vocalist Killjoy, a few years prior to the former joining the latter in Necrophagia. "Graveyard Disturbances" is the sole album released by Enoch, and there probably won´t be another one since Killjoy died in 2018.

The material on the 12 track, 39:06 minutes long album is dark ambient horror themed music. It´s strongly influenced by 70s and 80s horror soundtrack music. Artists like Goblin and John Carpenter are valid references. The music is composed of eerie and atmospheric keyboard/synth chords and melodies, and spiced up with creepy whispering, samples, and sound effects. The melodies and atmospheres are so familiar sounding that I´m often in doubt if these songs are covers or if they are actually original compositions. I´m prette sure the latter is the case though.

So "Graveyard Disturbances" is an album for those who enjoy horror movie soundtracks from the 70s/80s era, and it´s a relatively enjoyable release of that kind. It´s doesn´t bring anything new to the table, and it´s not a release you´ll probably remember much from after the playing time is over, but it´s decent enough while it plays. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

KILLING JOKE Turn to Red/Almost Red

EP · 1979 · Non-Metal
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"Turn to Red/Almost Red" is an EP release by UK post-punk/industrial rock act Killing Joke. It´s the band´s first official release and was originally titled "Turn to Red" and released through the independent Malicious Damage Records label in October 1979. This version of the EP featured 3 tracks. The EP was re-released through Island Records in December 1979 bearing the title "Almost Red" and featuring 4 tracks. The original "Turn to Red" version is a collector´s item today and very hard to find.

Stylistically the material on the EP are generally a bit different from what most people probably expect from a Killing Joke release. The grit and aggression of the next couple of releases aren´t a big part of the sound on the EP, and Killing Joke present a more new wave influenced post-punk style. The four tracks are pretty different and at this point the band clearly hadn´t found their own sound yet. The only track off the EP which I think features anything (other than the voice of Jaz Coleman, which always gives away the fact that you´re listening to Killing Joke) resembling the later Killing Joke releases is the distorted guitar riff on "Are You Receiving", which of course doesn´t mean the remaining part of the EP isn´t interesting, because it certainly is. It´s just very different from what you normally expect to hear when putting on a Killing Joke release.

"Turn to Red/Almost Red" is well produced, featuring a sound production which suits the material well. Upon conclusion it´s a bit of an odd first release by Killing Joke, as they would change their sound rather drastically shortly after the release of this EP, and the material featured here does not represent the band that well. Normally a debut release would at least provide a rough picture of what an artist aims at sounding like on future releases, but this release leaves me a bit confused. A 3 star (60%) rating is still warranted though, as there is nothing wrong with the quality of the content.

THE MISFITS 3 Hits from Hell

EP · 1981 · Non-Metal
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"3 hits from Hell" is an EP release by US punk act The Misfits. The material on the EP was recorded in August/September 1980 and released through Plan 9 Records in April 1981. Thirteen tracks were recorded during the sessions (originally meant for a full-length album release), but only three made it on to this release. Some of the tracks would appear on compilations after the band broke up, and all thirteen tracks were remixed and released on the 2001 "12 Hits From Hell" compilation album (the title referring to the fact that there are 12 originals featured on the album, and the thirteenth track being an alternate take of "London Dungeon"). The release history of "3 hits from Hell" is a bit fuzzy and many different 7" vinyl pressings exist. A lineup shuffle happened during the August/september 1980 recording sessions as guitarist Bobby Steele left after recording some of his parts. He was replaced by bassist Jerry Only´s younger brother Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein, who recorded the remaining guitar parts in early September 1980.

The three tracks on the 5:54 minutes long EP are "London Dungeon", "Horror Hotel", and "Ghouls Night Out". The former was inspired by lead vocalist Glenn Danzig´s incarceration in London on December 2, 1979 (after a fight on the band´s ill-fated November/December 1979 UK tour), while the two latter were inspired by two 50s/60s horror movies. All three tracks feature The Misfits trademark horror punk style with Danzig´s distinct sounding vocals in front. It´s an interesting combination of aggressive punk riffs and rhythms, but also 50s influenced rock´n´roll vocal melodies.

As an individual release 3 tracks and a full playing time of 5:54 aren´t much quantity for your money, but there´s nothing wrong with the quality of the material or the musical performances. This is high quality punk with horror influenced lyrics, and even this early in Misfits career, they had an easily recognisable sound and musical style, which made them stand out from the contemporary punk scene. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

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PENDRAGON Past And Presence

Movie · 2007 · Non-Metal
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Pendragon's Past and Presence captures a very special concert put on by Pendragon in celebration of the band's history. Recorded in Poland as a special treat for their very appreciative Polish fanbase, the concert saw a host of past members of the band making special guest appearances - with all the current and ex-Pendragon members present taking to the stage for show closer Stan and Ollie (a good call, since the song was essentially written as a goof-off piece to round off the band's sets with a happy party number, much like Marillion's Margaret).

Aside from 2AM from Kowtow (present as one of several encores), the songs here are all vintage Pendragon from their very earliest days - you have all the tracks from The Jewel and the Fly High Fall Far EP here, plus some delicious rarities otherwise only available in inferior versions on the Once Upon a Time In England compilations. Two decades have come and gone since the band recorded the versions of the songs we're most familiar with, and the additional experience really does show. Many of the songs here blow the original studio versions out of the water - even songs which sounded pretty decent on the original recordings, such as The Black Knight.

I'd go so far as to say that this show is, perhaps, the best way to experience Pendragon's material from before The World came out. Certainly, I would strongly encourage people to pick up the limited edition version which comes with a 2CD audio version of the show, because the audio stands up really well on there and I actually find I listen to the CD more than I watch the actual show. The main limitation here is that the material in question is a bit rough and naive, but the band couldn't really fix that without abandoning the idea of a nostalgia show.

ANATHEMA A Moment in Time

Movie · 2006 · Non-Metal
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Conor Fynes
'A Moment In Time' - Anathema (5/10)

First off, might I say that the rating for this work is not based on the music itself. 'A Moment In Time' is being rated here for what it is; a piece of visual media. The songs themselves are amazing, and have been commended as such on other reviews. As far as being a vessel for such beautiful music however, this DVD really comes up short. There are so many errors that make it a sloppy creation, that could have been avoided and corrected had extra care been given.

As far as the musical arrangement goes, things are really good. As well as the band performing, there is a string quartet that plays throughout, as well as a guest appearance from a talented female vocalist. The vocal passion I generally expect from Vincent Cavanagh is a bit lacking here, but that can be forgiven. There's a nice setup here, a beautiful selection of songs, so what could go wrong?

Throughout watching 'A Moment In Time,' I find myself increasingly agitated over the camera work. The camera is fixated on the vocalist, and fails to give a visual mention to either the bass player or rhythm guitarist almost at all!

Another issue is the recording of the sound. For example, during the climax of 'Empty,' the vocals drown out completely for a few seconds. For a band that's had such a high standard of musical quality, my jaw dropped at how they could ever let a DVD release come out to the general public with that sort of negligence.

Despite it's flaws and failure as a professional DVD release however, being an Anathema fan; it's hard to not at least find some enjoyment in it, and there's an CD counterpart included as well! Two stars.

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