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
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
4.60 | 10 ratings
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SWANS The Seer Album Cover The Seer
SWANS
4.80 | 6 ratings
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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
MOTORPSYCHO
4.73 | 6 ratings
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TRANSATLANTIC The Whirlwind Album Cover The Whirlwind
TRANSATLANTIC
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
MEAT LOAF
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

STEVE VAI Modern Primitive

Album · 2016 · Non-Metal
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siLLy puPPy
For true STEVE VAI fans who have kept up with his output since the beginning, one of the most amazing transmogrifications in music history occurred between his debut album “Flex-Able” and his second “Passion And Warfare.” So much so that for much of the time both albums seem to have been recorded by completely different artists, however that’s somewhat of an exaggeration since both albums contain more than enough of the trademark VAI-isms that transcend compositional style as well as exhibiting his Zappa roots however the debut was more experimental whereas the sophomore release showcased a much more developed technical shredding style.

This evolution makes more sense with the release of the 25th Anniversary Edition of Passion And Warfare which hit the market in 2016. While VAI has always been generous in the addition of bonus tracks when he re-releases an older album, this one was the greatest gift of all as it came out as basically a double album called MODERN PRIMITIVE / PASSION AND WARFARE (25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION). The unreleased album’s worth of material covers those mystery years between his first two albums when he scrapped solo albums in order to work with David Lee Roth and Alcatraz.

A double album indeed as the double CD release contains two cardboard sleeves attached and in yin yang fashion with each side acting as an independent album albeit in Siamese twin fashion. This review will only cover the MODERN PRIMITIVE album since PASSION AND WARFARE will be covered in its own review however i will cover the four bonus tracks attached to the end of P&W. While MODERN PRIMITIVE is indeed technically a bonus album for P&W’s 25th Anniversary release, it can also be thought of as an album in its own right since had destiny not intervened, this material very well could’ve been VAI’s second album.

The title MODERN PRIMITIVE refers to the fact that these tracks were started but never finished. VAI wrote “Flex-Able” between the ages of 20-23 and PASSION AND WARFARE between the ages of 27-29. The material on MODERN PRIMITIVE was started when he was between 23-26 but were never finished. At the age of 55, STEVE VAI finally found the time and the excuse to finally complete these tracks and release them as bonus material. Some of the tracks were destined for P&W but didn’t make the editing cut and thus sat in the vaults for two decades plus.

Many of these tracks emerged under the intent of being released in a period band called The Classified, a vocal jazz rock group that featured Sue Mathis on keyboards and vocals, Tommy Mars also on keyboards and vocals, Stu Hamm on bass and Chris Frazier on drums. This material was played live at many successful gigs but never recorded at all, so these recordings for the most part were written in the 80s and finally recorded in the second decade of the 21st century. While most of the musicians would return, Sue Mathis did not.

Like “Flex-Able,” MODERN PRIMITIVE still exhibits a healthy dose of Zappa influences, especially from the “One Size Fits All” era which becomes quite apparent as the schizoid vocal jazz scat opener “Bop” bursts onto the scene. Belying its title, there is nothing one would consider hard bop in the least but rather immediately provides a link between VAI’s first two albums as it retains all the quirky whimsical charm of the debut while developing the technical prowess of the second. How much of this resulted from its initial birth pangs and how much is the addition of VAI’s modern perspective will probably remain the biggest mystery of his career.

“Dark Matter” shifts completely in a Hendrix type rocker with a lot more wah-wah and shredding techniques added. Not to mention the PASSION & WARFARE production magic. “Mighty Messengers” musters up the funk bass groove but ultimately becomes a rather by-the-books vocal rock track that exhibits some guitar wankery and sound effects. “The Lost Chord” is one of those cheesy ballads that i find underwhelming and this one is no exception although Devin Townsend is the vocalist. It indeed sounds like some mellow track off one of his albums albeit with VAI’s sensual guitar antics. It’s ok but seems like a waste of Townsend’s dynamic vocal range. “Upanishads” is another chilled out progressive slow burner. It never really goes anywhere despite some guitar soloing. OK and that’s it.

“Fast Note People” is yet another chilled out rocker with some snazzy instrumental backing. VAI’s vocals turn me off but this has lots of backing vocals and turns into a more Zappa inspired fairy tale of sorts. “And We Are One” is once again a slow chilled out ballad with VAI and a female vocalist performing a duet. Yawn. “Never Forever” finally picks up some steam and sounds like one of those spacey P&W tracks with soaring guitar runs but VAI’s weak vocals ruin it for me. “Lights Are On” is finally a true rocker with some real good VAI guitar action going on. It reminds me most of P&W and seems like it was destined for that album but got nixed. It would’ve fit in perfect and better than weak tracks like “ I Would Love To.” “No Pockets” sounds completely different and is more of a garage rock track which is a Bob Harris track where he is vocalist.

The final three tracks are the “Pink And Blows Over Suite” with the second part hitting over the thirteen minute mark. “Part 1” slowly fades in with pleasant sound effects and then becomes a female vocalist ballad with lots of smooth backing vocals. Obviously part of the vocal jazz group years. Even this short intro to the suite is rich and dynamic with lots of VAI-esque time signature deviations at his most extreme and a rich lush production that offers beautiful counterpoints to the vocalists. “Part II - Mars Attack” continues seamlessly with the music melody from “The Nutcracker” backed by a deep drone in key. It remains ambient with whistles and in jazzified classical mode with electronic overtures. In fact it sounds more like a show tune piece than anything VAI would have released. There are some stellar classical piano runs but no guitar really. The tempo remains slow and the mood darkened. For an attack from Mars i would expect more musical drama! The shorter “Part III” closer finally picks up the steam and turns into a more festive jazz-rock-funk mood with VAI’s sizzling guitar soloing. It ends in the same vocal jazz style that began the three part journey. Probably the best part of the album.

PASSION AND WARFARE is included in its entirety. There was really no need for remastering since the album was cutting edge at its time of original release in 1990 and sounds modern even by today’s standards however there are four bonus tracks tacked onto the end. “Lovely Elixir” is a slow guitar ballad. It’s like many tracks distributed throughout VAI’s musical career and rather uninteresting. “And We Are One (Alternate Solo No. 2)” is pretty much just another version of “And We Are One” from the MODERN PRIMITIVE album. This version is just as slow and uneventful as the original. “As Above” is a resurrected demo and has a military march percussive drive with VAI’s soaring guitar sound. Sounds like something that may have been nixed from the original P&W lineup because it sounds a little like its opener “Liberty” but pretty decent overall. “So Below” is actually a Niels Bye Nielsen Orchestration and sounds more like a movie soundtrack in a classic John Williams fashion than a STEVE VAI track. Ok but nothing OMG.

It has to be remembered that this album is a combo package. Although i’m reserving my review for PASSION AND WARFARE on its own page, as a rating these two cannot be separated. P&W is a guitar classic but has some obvious flaws but one that i easily give four stars because the strengths far outweighs the weaknesses. The bonus material on this P&W 25TH ANNIVERSARY album is pretty much throwaway material but the MODERN PRIMITIVE does have some decent stuff on it although nothing that i would consider lost treasures therefore this disc really only deserves a two star rating but since this is a combo package i’ll give it all a three. If you already have PASSION AND WARFARE, there’s really no need to run and get this if you haven’t already. But as a true STEVE VAI fan i feel obliged to have all this extra stuff because of the few interesting tidbits and for those who want some historical context then this one does deliver the goods.

RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS The Red Hot Chili Peppers

Album · 1984 · Non-Metal
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martindavey87
The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ 1984 self-titled debut shows us a completely different group to the one that would go on to become one of the biggest acts on the planet. It’s interesting to see how a band could come from such obscure and absurd beginnings, yet, through changing and evolving their sound, have managed to become mainstream superstars.

But alas, here we are; ‘The Red Hot Chili Peppers’.

Completely “out there” is one way to put it. For this album is really a smorgasbord of funky melodies and riffs thrown together in an almost incoherent fashion. Sure, the band would help pioneer what could describe as funk rock, but this right here is mostly a mess of ideas barely strung together by drugs and alcohol.

The album has a very raw production and rather directionless songwriting. However, there’s an abundance of energy, which shows a band who are clearly enjoying what they’re doing. And there’s one or two very (and I do mean very) brief moments that actually shine. ‘Get Up and Jump’, ‘True Men Don’t Kill Coyotes’ and ‘Out in L.A.’ are all relatively decent offerings. Though not overly memorable when compared to later material, there’s still something of merit here that shows a group of capable musicians who just need to tweak and refine their sound.

If you’re coming here expecting huge radio hits then this is not the album for you, and you’re better off sticking with later releases. But ‘The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ is an interesting look to see how the Peppers started out, and if nothing else is worth at least one listen to demonstrate that it’s possible for even the most unlikeliest bands to find commercial success.

PORCUPINE TREE Coma Divine II

Promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs) · 1999 · Non-Metal
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FMOTP
I consider it a tragedy that these 2 or 3 songs (I would call it 3) were not on the original COMA DIVINE album. The only reason might have been that they wouldn't fit on the CD. Luckily, that problem was rectified with the DELERIUM reissue, where you can hear the studio versions. It obviously has nothing to do with the quality of the songs. This is great music. I would guess that this EP hasn't been reviewed by others because these songs are easily available in other formats. Apparently, these tracks are also part of the COMA DIVINE reissue. I would also guess that a lot of people just don't bother with EP's or singles; I personally prefer 30 or 40 minutes of music. Prog Archives labels Porcupine Tree a "heavy prog" band, which is an apt description. PT hadn't started incorporating a lot of metal into their music yet; that wouldn't happen until a couple of albums later.

I've used up enough words not talking about this music! Anyone who listens to enough Porcupine Tree probably knows these songs, if not these versions, so I won't discuss them at length. I'm rarely effusive in my reviews (or in my life generally), but this live version of "The Moon Touches Your Shoulder" is amazing. The guitar playing is unbelievable. "Always Never" is almost as good. Two considerations prevent me from giving COMA DIVINE II a 5-star rating, which is something I rarely do. First is my opinion that "Up The Downstair", as good as it is, isn't on the same level as the other two songs. The other consideration is the possible low interest level, due to the running time, of this EP for a lot of Porcupine Tree fans. IMHO everyone with an interest in Porcupine Tree would be well served by listening to this.

DALE CROVER The Fickle Finger Of Fate

Album · 2017 · Non-Metal
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UMUR
"The Fickle Finger of Fate" is the debut full-length studio album by hard/heavy rock artist Dale Crover. The album was released through Joyful Noise Recordings in July 2017. Dale Crover is quite the prolific musician and while he is mostly known for his drummer role with Melvins, he has also contributed to the recordings of many other artists (Nirvana, Shrinebuilder...just to mention a few). It´s been fairly sparse with solo output by Crover through the years though with the Melvins 1992 Kiss-themed solo EP being the closest to a solo effort (and a few other minor releases), but with "The Fickle Finger of Fate" he finally got the time and mustered the energy to write and record enough material for a full-length solo release.

Not surprisingly the material on the 20 track album is quite the eclectic size. There´s everything from semi-avant garde sound experiments (usually very short tracks), to rock´n´roll tracks, to punk influenced tracks, to psychadelic tinged rock tracks. Crover plays and sings almost everything on the album, and while he is predominantly a drummer, this is not a "drummer solo album". The material aren´t centered around Crover showing off on the drums. These are actual songs, and some of them are pretty catchy tunes too. With that said, it´s impossible not to notice how great a drummer Crover is. His groove, his timing, his organic touch...beautiful. His voice isn´t particularly remarkable, but he can sing, and sing pretty well too.

The album was recorded by longtime Melvins engineer Toshi Kasai, and he has created a well sounding production, which suits the material perfectly. So upon conclusion Crover can be pretty proud of his first solo offering. It´s a quality release, which is catchy but also challenging enough to be interesting in the long run. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

ANAL CUNT Picnic of Love

Album · 1998 · Non-Metal
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Vim Fuego
This is one of those “dare ya” things, like the ice bucket challenge, or those idiots eating ghost peppers, cinnamon, bananas and sprite, or whatever is the stupid du jour. Listen right through this album in one go, I dare ya!

“Picnic of Love” is like so many of Anal Cunt’s jokes. It seems like a good idea at the time, but it all goes to shit in the execution. Put simply, the band which had done so much to deconstruct music and challenge people’s ideas of what defined, music, talent, a song and humour, recorded an anti-Anal Cunt album. Acoustic guitars, falsetto voices, saccharine lyrics, and an all round lack of noise and speed makes for one of the most fucked up fucking awful unmusical pieces of shit ever recorded. And it was all done on purpose.

Anal Cunt’s gross out, sick humour song titles were often the best bit of their albums. And there are none here. Instead of “Phyllis Is an Old, Annoying Cunt” we get “I Respect Your Feelings as a Woman and a Human”, instead of “You Got Date Raped”, there is “Saving Ourselves for Marriage”, and instead of “Kyle From Incantation Has a Moustache” there is “I Couldn't Afford to Buy You a Present (So I Wrote You This Song)”. Yup, schmaltzy parodies of lame love songs. The funniest thing here is to imagine the anti-titles of these songs, which is more like the usual Anal Cunt shtick.

Of the 11 tracks here, there are 10 which feature “Sensitive” Seth Putnam’s tuneless squeaky falsetto chirping about love and feelings, commitment, togetherness, and marriage, while "Gentle" Josh Martin placidly strums along. Track 11, “In My Heart There's A Star Named After You” is the power ballad. Gentle Josh still plays the same, but Sensitive Seth’s halo slips a little, as he screeches his heartfelt platitudes. The lyrics are still shit, but after the nearly half an hour of the flaccid, dribbling crap before it, it raises at least a slight chuckle.

And that’s the problem. Yes, a half funny idea, but far too fucking long. This would have been a lot funnier as a four song EP. So… Are you brave or stupid enough to give this a listen all in one go?

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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