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. 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 | 60 min. caching

RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS Blood Sugar Sex Magik Album Cover Blood Sugar Sex Magik
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
4.69 | 10 ratings
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SWANS The Seer Album Cover The Seer
SWANS
4.96 | 6 ratings
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ALICE COOPER From The Inside Album Cover From The Inside
ALICE COOPER
4.19 | 20 ratings
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ZZ TOP Tres Hombres Album Cover Tres Hombres
ZZ TOP
4.49 | 7 ratings
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TRANSATLANTIC Bridge Across Forever Album Cover Bridge Across Forever
TRANSATLANTIC
4.18 | 15 ratings
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KAYO DOT Coyote Album Cover Coyote
KAYO DOT
4.30 | 9 ratings
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KAYO DOT Coffins On Io Album Cover Coffins On Io
KAYO DOT
4.26 | 10 ratings
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ELOY Ocean Album Cover Ocean
ELOY
4.26 | 9 ratings
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KILLING JOKE Killing Joke (Debut) Album Cover Killing Joke (Debut)
KILLING JOKE
4.49 | 5 ratings
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ANATHEMA We're Here Because We're Here Album Cover We're Here Because We're Here
ANATHEMA
3.98 | 41 ratings
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TRANSATLANTIC SMPTe Album Cover SMPTe
TRANSATLANTIC
4.09 | 13 ratings
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NINE INCH NAILS Ghosts I–IV Album Cover Ghosts I–IV
NINE INCH NAILS
4.04 | 16 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

ULVER The Assassination Of Julius Caesar

Album · 2017 · Non-Metal
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Warthur
You'd think that by this point in their career, after all the twists and turns they've taken us down, the prospect of Ulver trying out a radically different genre from their former work would be utterly unsurprising - I mean, this is the same band which bounced from kvlt black metal to dark folk across their first two albums, after all.

And yet, somehow The Assassination of Julius Caesar manages to be another whiplash-inducing swerve from Ulver, shifting into the realm of honest-to-goodness synthpop. The secret to it, which makes it perhaps my favourite Ulver release ever, is that this is a style of gothy synthpop which feels distinctly Ulver, particularly in terms of their electronic and ambient works of their post-metal era.

After all, Dressed In Black on Blood Inside verged on the electro-gothic, so this isn't an evolution entirely without precedent, and whilst 80s nostalgia synthwave stuff is in vogue at the time, Ulver are able to artfully defy expectations by making the most 80s-tastic cut on here a tribute to 1969. Moreover, just because they've gone synthpop doesn't mean they've gone simplistic with it; there's complex, ornate passages here which reveal hidden depths to their sound, and I'd urge anyone turned off by the synthpop approach to at least give cuts like Rolling Stone or Coming Home a chance before writing off this album out of hand.

Is this what we wanted or expected from the next Ulver album? Almost certainly not, but by this point we'd be fools to expect Ulver to do what we want or expect - better to simply let them do their thing, and celebrate it when that results in creative masterstrokes like this.

BUCKETHEAD Pike 270 - A3

Album · 2017 · Non-Metal
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siLLy puPPy
BUCKETHEAD (as Bucketheadland) / Pike 270 - A3 / 267th release of 2017 / All instrumental / Contains 2 tracks / Clocks in at 28 minutes 50 seconds / everything played by Buck-buck-buckethead 3: >

While the artist known as BUCKETHEAD is primarily known for his experimental rock and metal styles that transcend boundaries and push limits of what human fingers are capable of performing, the chicken lover has also proven himself a master of creating some of the most horrific and creepy dark ambient soundtracks throughout his PIKE series with the bulk having been released in 2015 with the chilling countdown to Halloween PIKEs where a new album was released everyday. Since then those types of murky overcasts of demented dread have been fairly absent in the incessant releases that never cease but on PIKE 270 - A3 the chicken lover delivers yet another mystic chimera of sound that dishes out two long drawn out tracks that just miss the half hour mark

The title track “A3” is a slow and descending sonic drift into the recesses of the darkest corners of the human soul with no melody to be heard, no rhythms to keep time and no discernible rhyme and reason to the extended bouts with darkness that slowly pulsate through the sonic underworld like bioluminescent jellyfish at the mercy of the high-pressure induced currents of the oceanic abyss. So is the feel of “A3” with a dungeon synth flow of atmospheric dread followed by echoey guitar vibrato in free form plunging ever deeper into the a lightless trench with occasional energetic outbursts of vibrato run amok

“Liquid Mirror” continues the journey into strange unearthly sound fields where dark ambient synths slowly modulate in smooth yet jarring manners of articulation designed to evoke the horrors of being plunged into a dark world haunted by phantasms and poltergeists that can only be sensed but not seen. The fluidity of the pulsating flow of sound emanates from the chasms of unnerving alien auras that evoke otherworldly encounters where all relativity with reality are completely void where hitherto unthinkable forms of chemistry and physics dominate. So utterly and incomprehensible that sheer logic crumbles like sand castles under construction in a hurricane. “Liquid Mirror” is even more extreme in its utterly formlessness with eerie dripping, echoey distant guitar vibrato and haunted synth swirls that go for the jugular in ratcheting up the fear factor. Perhaps the perfect soundtrack for a stroll down an unexplored planet in another star system as strange life forms evolved in every different way possible and where every nanosecond is fraught with apprehension and trepidation

PIKE 270 - A3 is an outstanding accomplishment of dark ambient and is guaranteed to appeal to aficionados of Lustmord, Deathprod or Bohren & Der Club Of Gore. Do not listen to this alone and in the dark before you go to bed

ANATHEMA The Optimist

Album · 2017 · Non-Metal
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The Crow
Why, Anathema? Why?

Distant Satellites was by no means a bad album. It had even truly brilliant moments. But its experimental parts were too vague and disoriented. And The Optimist is sadly a follow-up of all this. We can hear a band trying to retrieve the alternative feeling of A Fine Day to Exit without achieving that, offering a monotonous and repetitive collection of songs unworthy of a band with this status.

32.63N 117.14W is just a brief introduction to Leave it Behind, which starts with the typical Anathema guitar, which automatically bring to mind the most alternative records of the band like the aforementioned A Fine Day to Exit or A Natural Disaster, despite its horrible electronic rhythm at the beginning of the song. But the song it's too repetitive to be considered a brilliant track, and the instrumental interlude is just awful.

Endless Ways brings the much appreciated Lee's voice and the album automatically get better. In addition, the orchestral arrangements of the song are beautiful. Sadly this track is also too repetitive for my taste, but better than The Optimist nevertheless, which is a dull and absolutely not inspired song, despite its fine guitar melodies towards the end. Till this point the quality of the album is not good, but acceptable.

But then we find San Francisco... A piano melody which repeats itself during four minutes without any kind of progression or interest, apart from its U2-type guitars. What the hell is that? Are you trying to cheat us, guys? And Springfield is even worse, another swindle with absurd lyrics and repetitive melodies... Again. Because that's the main problem of this album. The melodies and compositions are Ok, but the repetition of the same melodies again and again in almost every song give an impression of vagrancy and lack of compositional work that deeply disappoints me coming from one of my favorite bands.

Luckily, Ghosts is the best track of The Optimist. Very beautiful orchestral arrangements (this album is pretty symphonic) and vocal melodies from Lee, who sings a rather brief text. That's another interesting point of the album... The lyrics are pretty short in words and ideas. I don't really know the goal of this very minimalistic approach in the lyrics, but that's also a disappointment coming from a band with wonders like One Last Goodbye.

Can't Let Go is more lively and more guitar-oriented. Vincent's voice sounds very contained, like in the whole album... And that's also a shame, because his voice was so incredible in the previous albums! Nevertheless, it's a good song. In opposite to Close Your Eyes, another boring and insipid moment with uninspired lyrics. Only the final part with wind instruments which reminds me to Van Der Graaf Generator deserves a mention. Wildfires is one of the lowest points of the album. Depressing, repetitive and with horrible vocal effects. I really don't know how a track like that could make it into the final record. Even the typical increase of intensity in its final part is foreseeable and lame. But Anathema had mercy of us and they managed to put a decent song at the end of the CD named Back to Start, which contains good verses with a warm interpretation from Vincent and good piano melodies. The chorus is not so good and so is the final part, unnecessarily bombastic and pretentious. This could have been a good ending for a better album... But after the average or directly bad content of The Optimist, Back to Start is just utterly overblown.

Conclusion: The Optimist would be an average release for a novel band. But talking about Anathema, this record is their worst album, including their doom metal ones. A repetitive, uninspired and pretentious collection of songs with a worrying lack of ideas and direction. The attempt to retrieve the alternative rock of A Fine Day to Exit failed, and despite the orchestral arrangements the musicians don't shine like in other records of the band.

I really hope that they make it better in their next album, because after the just decent Distant Satellites and this mediocre The Optimist, I am really not so optimistic about the future of the band.

Best Tracks: Ghosts, Can't Let go, Back to Start.

My rating: **

This review was originally written for ProgArchives.com

ANATHEMA Distant Satellites

Album · 2014 · Non-Metal
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The Crow
After two rather similar (although fantastic) albums, Anathema tried to evolve their sound... But was it in the right direction?

The album starts brilliantly with the powerful The Lost Song Part 1, which follows the patch of Weather System but with a cleaner production, leaving a bit the familiar wall of guitars from previous releases. And we can also hear how Vincent sings even better than before! The voice of this man has no limits.

The Lost Song Part 2 is one of my favorites here thanks to the very sweet Lee's vocals and precious arrangements. The magic of Anathema is still here and it continues in Dusk despite its cheesy lyrics. This tune starts with the typical fast acoustic guitar and slowly increase its intensity towards and epic ending. This is pretty good, but maybe this Anathema formula sounds a bit old and overused here... Time for a change.

And Ariel is not really a change, but it's breathtakingly beautiful nevertheless. Marvelous vocals, great piano melodies, and a prodigious guitar. This song is pure magic, and one of the highlight of the album and also in Anathema's career. It's like that all that Anathema tried after A Natural Disaster came together in this very song. Just perfect!

Sadly The Lost Song Part 3 brings nothing really new to the other two, despite its powerful bass lines. It tries to recover the most alternative moments of A Fine Day To Exit and A Natural Disaster, but it fails. It's not bad, but it pales in comparison to the four previous tracks. But then comes Anathema! An autobiographic song which supposed a return to the Judgment's (and maybe Alternative 4) sound bit with an orchestral filter. Very intense and with great vocals from Vincent... Again.

And what the hell happened after this moment, guys?

When I first listened You're Not Alone I thought "Ok, it's just another experimental track... No luck this time. Let's hear the next song" And the next song is a very insipid keyboard instrumental track named Firelight. "Ok, the title track is of course better..." And what we found with Distant Satellites is a very ugly electronic rhythm for a very repetitive, not interesting and uninspired song. I just can't believe it! The album was very good till Anathema. And what's all this mess?

But Take Shelter starts good. And I thought "This will be a good Anathema song"... But no! The unnecessary electronic rhythms are back for a song which end in a pretentious and bombastic way, really inappropriate. It brings some melodies from the first songs back, but that's not enough to leave the listener really pleased with this very irregular album.

Conclusion: Distant Satellites is maybe the most irregular Anathema album. It has great songs like The Lost Song (Part 1 and 2) and Ariel, and some of their worst and more shameful moments (You're Not Alone, Distant Satellites) I think it's honorable, even necessary, when a band tries to evolve their sound. But the experiment that Anathema made in some of the songs included in Distant Satellites is just dull and wrong in my opinion.

It's by no means a bad album. It has even unforgettable moments, but there are other I would rather forget.

Best Tracks: The Lost Song Part 1, The Lost Song Part 2, Dusk, Ariel, Anathema.

My rating: ***

This review was originally written for ProgArchives.com

ANATHEMA Weather Systems

Album · 2012 · Non-Metal
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The Crow
After their very welcomed comeback two years before, Anathema released an album just as good as We're Here Because We're Here. If not even better!

Steve Wilson was not involved in the mixing of the album this time, but the production is also splendid, with a bigger predominance of strings and an even more variaty of moods and ambiences. The direction in this album is a bit more melancholic of in the previous effort, especially in the second half of the album, but not so dramatic like in preterits times.

Untouchable, Pt. 1 opens the album brilliantly, with an obvious continuation in style and mood. I think that Weather Systems was composed through the years along with We're Here Because We're Here, because the two albums are rather similar and they share too many points in common. Great guitars, beautiful melodies and intimate lyrics.

Untouchable Pt. 2 is follows the same musical theme, but in a slower and very melodic way. Lee's voice is introduced in the second verse and in the second chorus Vincent and Lee offer a marvellous duet. Just marvellous! The Gathering of the Clouds opens in a very dramatic way, with fast guitars and ominous piano chords and overlapping vocals in the style of Savatage. This song is some kind of introduction to Lightning Song, the best Anathema's song in my opinion and a moment of pure magic. Lee's voice is just disarming in this one, and so are the touching lyrics. I chose this song for the end of my wedding... And the guests were really surprised.

Sunlight comes with the voice of Daniel Cavanagh, and his warmth help to create another great song for this album. The Storm Before the Calm is just life Get Off Get Out, the experimental moment of the album. But luckily much better this time! The cold robotic voices are perfect for the lyrics, and the second half of the song is a return to the style of A Natural Disaster.

The Beginning And the End is in my opinion another highlight of this album, with its marvellous piano keyboard, strong bass and the best Vincent's singing. Period. Just an almost perfect song! Sadly The Lost Child is a bit boring and repetitive, despite its classicism and fine orchestral arrangement. And Daniel's singing is also not so good in this one.

Internal Landscapes follow the path is like a mix between Presence and Hindsight from the previous album, but better than both and with an outstanding central section in the purest Anathema's style. Intense and strong guitars, alongside a bit of prog and charming melodies.

Conclusion: Weather System was not a big surprised compared to We're Here Because We're Here. Is like a second part of this album, but a bit better in my opinion. The 2010 released had an outstanding first half, but a weaker second one. Weather System is regular and therefore more enjoyable as a whole, making it the third better Anathema album after Alternative 4 and Judgement.

Sadly the band would not be able to achieve this great level on later releases... But that's another story.

Best tracks: all of the, except the weaker The Lost Child.

My rating: ****1/2

This review was originally written for ProgArchives.com

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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