Non-Metal

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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).

non-metal top albums

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

TRANSATLANTIC Bridge Across Forever Album Cover Bridge Across Forever
TRANSATLANTIC
4.61 | 15 ratings
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RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS Blood Sugar Sex Magik Album Cover Blood Sugar Sex Magik
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SWANS The Seer Album Cover The Seer
SWANS
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ELOY Ocean Album Cover Ocean
ELOY
4.53 | 11 ratings
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MOTORPSYCHO The Death Defying Unicorn Album Cover The Death Defying Unicorn
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4.73 | 6 ratings
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TRANSATLANTIC The Whirlwind Album Cover The Whirlwind
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4.36 | 17 ratings
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KILLING JOKE Killing Joke (Debut) Album Cover Killing Joke (Debut)
KILLING JOKE
4.71 | 6 ratings
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ALICE COOPER From The Inside Album Cover From The Inside
ALICE COOPER
4.29 | 21 ratings
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MAUDLIN OF THE WELL Part The Second Album Cover Part The Second
MAUDLIN OF THE WELL
4.28 | 19 ratings
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MEAT LOAF Bat Out Of Hell Album Cover Bat Out Of Hell
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4.44 | 9 ratings
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KILLING JOKE Night Time Album Cover Night Time
KILLING JOKE
4.52 | 7 ratings
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ELVENKING Two Tragedy Poets (...and a Caravan of Weird Figures) Album Cover Two Tragedy Poets (...and a Caravan of Weird Figures)
ELVENKING
4.27 | 15 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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non-metal Music Reviews

AGALLOCH The White EP

EP · 2008 · Non-Metal
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siLLy puPPy
After three full-length studio albums and two EPs, it was clear that dark neofolk was a key aspect in the music of AGALLOCH which when combined with black / doom metal and post-rock, created their signature sound that won the world over beginning with the outstanding sophomore album “The Mantle.” After ratcheting up the metal aspects a bit on “Ashes Against The Grain,” AGALLOCH may have amped up the distortion and aggressive bombast a bit but it was still quite apparent that dark neofolk acoustic guitar was the underpinning of the compositional flare that the music was built around. While the first few EPs were basically a collection of leftover tracks that showed a little behind the scenes action of John Haughm and Don Anderson’s innermost musical leanings, THE WHITE EP, displays a completely stripped down journey into AGALLOCH’s most primal musical aspirations and in the process creates their first consistent EP, stylistically speaking.

Technically this is the second and final installment of a pair of EPs that began with “The Grey EP,” but really, screw that. The previous EP was fairly weak and uninspiring. It was nothing more than leftovers from “The Mantle” bin, but THE WHITE EP is something completely different. This collection of seven tracks that meander over the 32 minute mark has a complete life of its own and single-handedly showcases ALLOGACH as first and foremost a dark ambient neofolk band that just happened to dabble in metal on their studio albums. Oh, and these are completely original and have not appeared elsewhere. Unlike the previous offerings, this EP is majestic and sublime. It takes the listener on a journey and one that is a pleasant ride on every stop on the way. The passion is afire and quite apparent simply by reading the cast of characters involved. While the full-length albums were limited to four or five musicians at the most, this one hosts a whopping nine.

THE WHITE EP’s mission becomes obvious from the getgo with the voices of children on the opening “The Isle Of Summer” which were borrowed from the 1973 film “The Wicker Man.” Likewise, the album ends with these same vocal samplings and in the middle develops a rather ritualistic Pagan musical meandering that captures the merging of acoustic folk guitar, electronic ambience, tribal percussion and sounds of nature all intertwined to create an alternative soundtrack to the 1973 film that without a doubt was one of the primary impetuses in the creation of the overall AGALLOCH sound. Listening to this EP is like digging into the soulful essence of a musical act at its primary inspirational level and the fact that AGALLOCH pulls it off so well only showcases the evidence that these guys’ heart and soul was in this every step of the way.

This is primarily an instrumental EP with vocals, albeit whispered, spoken and chanted provide mere supplemental instrumental roles rather than lyrically based. While the acoustic guitar is the primary instrument that drives the parade of chords that coalesce into the melancholic melodies that emerge, there is ample additional instrumentation in the form of timpani based percussion, accordion, synthesizers, jew’s harp and even a Peruvian ceremonial horn. Oh yeah, there’s a goat horn too! While acoustically divine, the electric guitars emerge as an ambient backdrop to great effect and interesting piano runs emerge to create a rather classically inspired connection as well. Despite all these accouterments of timbres and tones, everything really connects seamlessly along with birds chirping alongside dark ambient installations. It seems that everything just flows perfectly from beginning to end.

By the end of this listening experience, it almost seems as if i went on a random hike through the woods in an undisclosed Oregon forest and just happened upon a Pagan ritual underway. Awed by the spectacle, i stopped to observe the entirety as i happened to catch it from its initial opening as i became caught up in the spectacle of it all. The music inspires reflection and inner contemplation upon the physical reality upon which i stand and allows the spirits of the Earth to evolve my consciousness. While neither technically demanding nor commercially distracting, THE WHITE EP nevertheless implements extremely addictive melodic hooks that are augmented by subtle electronic and production techniques yet makes me feel as if this is purely acoustic.

THE WHITE EP is all about atmosphere and emotional upwelling. This is Pagan ritual music at its finest. Perhaps their stint with Nest on they 2004 split inspired a more stripped down approach that eschews the adrenaline inducing emotional responses of metal, but all i have to say is that this is by far the best of the AGALLOCH EPs and despite dropping one of the most characteristic elements of the overall AGALLOCH sound, proves to be quite compelling in its introspective simplicity and soul stirring emotional tugs that inspire a true connection to the natural world much in the way the film “The Wicker Man” was supposed to. I’ve never warmed up to the soundtrack of that film despite its overall popularity and THE WHITE EP has emerged in my world as the perfect alternative soundtrack for what that movie was supposed to make me feel. No metal here at all. Headbangers beware. This is soul stirring dark ambient laced neofolk all the way with some extra layers of electronic sophistication. Brilliant.

AGALLOCH Tomorrow Will Never Come

EP · 2003 · Non-Metal
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siLLy puPPy
After releasing the debut “Pale Folklore,” AGALLOCH started the trend of releasing EPs between their full-length studio albums. The second of these TOMORROW WILL NEVER COME emerged after the sophomore album “The Mantle.” However, instead of releasing one EP between “The Mantle” and “Ashes Against The Grain,” for some reason the band decided that two EPs would somehow be a good thing. Why? Since each one has only two tracks, the world will never know.

This one comes off more as a single than an EP. While the first EP “Of Stone, Wind, And Pillor” was 28 minutes in length, TOMORROW WILL NEVER COME consists of a mere two tracks that only last 7 minutes and 32 seconds. Hardly worth wasting resources over yet there were 500 copies that were initialed by Jason William Walton, so i guess a money making gimmick this was but in the end a really unnecessary addition to the AGALLOCH canon.

“The Death Of Man” (Version III) is nothing more than an alternative take of the famous introductory folk strumming that gracefully initiates “The Mantle” in all its glory. However, there is really nothing that great about this and only subtle atmospheric touches differentiate it from the original. After hearing this all i want to do is hear “The Mantle” and wonder why in the world this was released.

The second track, the title track is at least original and not found elsewhere. This is a nice dreamy folk track exclusively performed on acoustic guitar and shows a bit more classical guitar influence than the usual dark neofolk of AGALLOCH albums. While the guitar strumming is beautiful, the addition of field recordings in the form of a documentary don’t seem to fit in very well. This stylistic approach was originally desired for Don Anderson’s tenure in the band Sculptured but was rejected (for good reason.) This track also displays the massive influence the band Godspeed You! Black Emperor had on AGALLOCH’s post-rock aspects. The subtle freaky atmospherics that whiz by behind the folk guitar with the psychotic spoken ranting is right out of their playbook.

This is not an outstanding release. It is worth hearing for history’s sake but nothing redeeming at all. Only the second track is an original but nothing to write home about. A disappointing little tidbit following the band’s classic “The Mantle” and an obvious attempt to cash in on its unexpected popularity. For completist’s only.

AGALLOCH The Grey EP

EP · 2004 · Non-Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Since AGALLOCH took three years between their albums “The Mantle” and “Ashes Against The Grain,” the band released two short EPs in their stead. The first, “Tomorrow Will Never Come” in 2003 and the second THE GREY EP in 2004. This one was a released with only 1000 copies and contains a mere two tracks of reinterpreted mixes of two tracks from “The Mantle.”

“The Lodge (Dismantled)” takes extreme liberties by adapting the 4 minute and 40 second track into a 13 minute and 4 second noisefest. With a basic tripling of time length one would expect more variation but the track is very repetitive and quite uninteresting outside of the original album context. It does however prelude the harsher noise style that would define “Ashes Against The Grain” with the extremities that end it similar to those that would develop into “Our Fortress Is Burning… III - The Grain.”

“Odal (Nothing Remix)” is perhaps the greatest deviation from an original song ever. It is literally indecipherable as the track that appeared on “The Mantle” and is basically a 7 minute and 47 second electronic drone track that starts out with a receptive “washing machine” groove. It cedes into more of an industrial type of track with a haunting atmospheric organ and some clanging on some sort of metallic objects reminiscent of early Einstürzende Neubauten. This is the more interesting of the tracks if you like nebulous industrial noise sounds, however it is completely devoid of any of AGALLOCH’s signature sounds and doubtful that fans will be interested.

THE GREY EP was technically designed to complete a trilogy that included “The Mantle” and the the “Tomorrow Will Never Come EP” however i find the two EPs that follow “The Mantle” rather pointless as they convey nothing extra to “The Mantle’s” magnificent mix of cross-pollinating musical styles nor does it convey anything lyrical at all. This one is nothing more than a couple of experiments that probably would’ve been better to release years later as a compilation of weirdness after the band broke up. This is only for hardcore completists.

LINKIN PARK Minutes to Midnight

Album · 2007 · Non-Metal
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martindavey87
And so it was, that as quickly as the nu metal subgenre rose to prominence (and boy, did it ever?!), so too did it burn out. In 2000, nu metal bands were topping the charts and headlining festivals all over the world. By 2003, the genre was dead, with many bands either fading into obscurity or changing their sound to maintain relevance.

Which brings us to Linkin Park, arguably “the face” of nu metal.

2007 saw the band release their third studio album, ‘Minutes to Midnight’, and sees a huge departure from the sound they were best known for. The heavy use of samples, rapping and metal guitar tones have been replaced by a more traditional, radio-friendly rock, which focuses more on Chester Bennington’s impressive singing, and a more hard rock guitar sound. It’s evident that the band have matured and grown up over the years too. Long gone is the spiky dyed hair and teenage angst-ridden lyrics, instead, we have a more melancholic, introspective band, that are looking at bigger, worldly issues than just personal anxiety.

However, one thing remains unchanged, and that’s the group’s knack for writing easily accessible and catchy tunes. The songs are all fairly short, and with very simple structures and hooks aplenty, they’ve managed to update their sound with ease, and show an organic maturity bought upon by their own life experiences, as opposed to a means for the bands survival.

With highlights including ‘What I’ve Done’, ‘No More Sorrow’, ‘Bleed It Out’, ‘Given Up’ (huge props to Chester’s vocals on this one), and ‘Leave Out All the Rest’, it’s apparent that Linkin Park have managed to transcend the nu metal genre, and while ‘Minutes to Midnight’ may not be as innovative as their prior efforts, what it lacks in originality it more than compensates for with such well-crafted compositions, confirming that the band were more than a flash-in-the-pan, and are deserving of their spot as one of the biggest bands on the planet.

MIKE PATTON Adult Themes for Voice

Album · 1996 · Non-Metal
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siLLy puPPy
MIKE PATTON's first solo album ADULT THEMES FOR VOICE is a bona fide journey into the avant garde. Unlike anything else in his career before or after he decided to splice and dice vocal recordings he made in hotel rooms on a mini-recorder and for whatever reason released them for the world to scrutinize. This is just his vocals and some production manipulations. With such a low rating it seems like much of the world is not in tune with Mr PATTON's strange and bizarre world of vocal shredding. This album is in the same vein as Demetrio Stratos' solo albums where Mike is simply showing us his ability to take his voice to strange unthought of places. Strange indeed. At times he screams, squeaks and moans, howls like a monkey and does things I lack the proper vocabulary to describe.

This album was inspired by his love of Japanese noise bands like Hanatarash. I have owned this for quite a while but have only listened to it a handful of times. It is basically a sonic diary of a creative vocalist spontaneously doing what he feels inspired to do and then taking it apart and sewing it back together. The result is a very mixed bag. I actually find some of this stuff highly creative and a tad interesting. This isn't however an album that one puts on often because 45 minutes of its inconsistency is a little too much. Some tracks taken on their own are downright ingenious and beyond bizarre. An interesting experiment but I would definitely file this one in the “collector's / fan” category because very few will find anything redeeming in this. I actually much prefer Mike's following album “Pranzo Oltranzista.” That is a truly bizarre avant-garde album that works for its entirety.

non-metal movie reviews

NEAL MORSE Live Momentum

Movie · 2013 · Non-Metal
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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

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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