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).

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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
4.60 | 16 ratings
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MOTORPSYCHO The Death Defying Unicorn Album Cover The Death Defying Unicorn
MOTORPSYCHO
4.74 | 7 ratings
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RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS Blood Sugar Sex Magik Album Cover Blood Sugar Sex Magik
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
4.45 | 16 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
4.50 | 12 ratings
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BEARDFISH Sleeping in Traffic: Part Two Album Cover Sleeping in Traffic: Part Two
BEARDFISH
4.89 | 5 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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TRANSATLANTIC The Whirlwind Album Cover The Whirlwind
TRANSATLANTIC
4.32 | 18 ratings
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ZZ TOP Tres Hombres Album Cover Tres Hombres
ZZ TOP
4.43 | 10 ratings
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ALICE COOPER From The Inside Album Cover From The Inside
ALICE COOPER
4.25 | 23 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
4.54 | 7 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

BEASTIE BOYS Licensed to Ill

Album · 1986 · Non-Metal
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Vim Fuego
Yes, dear reader, this is a rap album review, but please bear with me, for a metal story is to follow. It is an ancient tale from far back in the mists of time. It is a tale of a hero bold and brave, and not really bright enough to know any better. It is a tale of fair maidens and slain dragons (or would be, if you think of the dragons in a metaphorical sense, and the maidens... er, would you consider random pictorials ripped from 1986 Penthouse magazines to be fair maidens?)

So “Licensed to Ill”? I really fucking hate this thing. I think this album is one of the worst pieces of shit I have ever had the misfortune to hear, but in all fairness to be able to write a fair review, I had to listen to it again. So...

Nope, 30 plus years haven’t improved it in my estimation. “Rhymin & Stealin” stole shit from Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin (hmm... maybe a little poetic justice in that?) with stupid whiny lyrics all over it, and it only get worse from there. “Slow Ride” pinches the horn riff from “Low Rider”, with something of a samba beat, and might be OK without the stupid raping over it. “Girls” is puerile, misogynistic Casio-rap. OK, the idiot party anthem that is “Fight For Your Right to Party” gets a pass. Its harmless, brainless throwaway rap/rock for white teenage boys. “No Sleep ‘til Brooklyn” is even more brainless, and shorter still on rock content, but does have quite the solo at the end. And the rest of the album, well there’s always the “skip” button. There, said it. Done. If all you’re interested in is what I think of the music, you can stop reading here.

However, I owe this album a lot. If it hadn’t been for the first rap album to go to number one in the charts, I might never have become the person I am today. “Licensed To Ill” started my quest for metal. Let’s wind back the clock to 1987. Internationally, it was the year of the Black Monday stock market crash, Ronald Reagan was slowly losing his marbles in the White House, a US politician shot himself on live TV, New Zealand hosted and won the first rugby World Cup, and Canada introduced the Loonie.

This story requires something of a cast of characters - no real names used here to protect the pathetic. There’s me, the heroic but slightly nerdy (OK, VERY nerdy) protagonist of this tale, and whose embarrassing nicknames will remain unrevealed. Next is Harry, music tragic, but the best friend you’d ever want, even to this day (See my review of Slayer’s “Seasons in the Abyss” for more adventures with Harry). Then there was Fru-Ju. The name has nothing to do with Jewish heritage or anything, It’s just his name bore a similarity to Fru-Ju ice creams. There was Nerd-gel, a ladies’ man in his own mind only. There were a few others too – Brickie or Brickman, Scummy (really unfortunate name, and given to him by someone whose own nickname was Egg), Jimmy… yeah, that’ll do before this all gets out of hand.

I was 14, going on 15, and was busy preparing for School Certificate, which were the big Year 11 exams in New Zealand, roughly equivalent to O Levels or GCSE in the UK, and whatever the US does at Grade 10. Basically, this means it’s a year where you’re supposed to work and study hard at school, but you’re starting to get interested in partying and fun. It’s that year when your parents say “the rest of your life depends on how well you do at school this year”, which generally turns out to be bullshit, but you’re not old enough to know it yet.

I had found that listening to music helped me with my studies, but I was quite puzzled trying to figure out what sort of music I really liked to listen to. I had a few Dire Straits albums, and I still rate the band to this day. I had Kevin Bloody Wilson’s “Kev’s Back”, the album with the infamous “Hey, Santa Claus” song, and I had a really badly recorded copy of Twisted Sister’s “Stay Hungry”. Otherwise, it was the radio. The problem with the radio was there was the occasional good song, followed by half a dozen shit songs, before the next decent tune. It was time to expand my musical horizons. But in which direction?

The radio wasn’t much help. I thought Michael Jackson’s “Bad” lived up to its title. U2 had lost some fucking thing they were looking for, but instead of looking in the last place they left it, wrote a song about it. Paul Simon wanted people to call him Al, but we all knew his name was still Paul. Talking Heads were on an endless road to no-bloody-where, and wouldn’t shut up about it. The song which was to Rickroll millions across the world decades later was unleashed on an unsuspecting public, who were gormless enough to make it the number one hit on 23 different charts around the globe.

A friend in need is a friend indeed, and I was a friend with needs, so I asked around. And what a useless bunch of pricks these guys turned out to be.

I started with Harry, who had the most valuable of all devices, a double tape deck. On the upside, Harry had few musical boundaries, so he gave me quite an eclectic mix tape. On the downside, Harry doesn’t have a bullshit filter. Nestled alongside gems like Quiet Riot’s “Cum On Feel The Noize”, Meatloaf’s “You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth” and Marianne Faithful’s “Ballad of Lucy Jordan” came turds like Kylie Minogue’s “Locomotion” and something or other by Icehouse.

Next I went to Fru-Ju. He listened to the radio more than anyone else. From him I got “Showing Out (Get Fresh at the Weekend)" and “Respectable” (which we renamed “Respectyourballs” in a show of high wit) by Mel and Kim (if you’re asking “who?”, then you’ll understand the problem), “Walk Like An Egyptian” by The Bangles, and “Venus” by Bananarama. Seems he was more interested in what the singers looked like rather than what they sounded like. On the plus side, he also recommended “All You Zombies” by The Hooters.

Brickie was a bit more promising. He suggested Europe, Whitesnake, and Bon Jovi. Scummy also reckoned Whitesnake was worth a listen. Nerd-gel was no fucking help. He really didn’t know anything about music. Jimmy was new at our school that year. He was what would be called a stoner now, but we had no idea back then. He suggested some weird shit – these bands we’d never heard of. “There’s this cool song called ‘Transvestite’ by Peter and the Test Tube Babies. The Dead Kennedys are really cool. And have you heard anything by Metallica?” He didn’t have anything by any of these bands, so I remained none the wiser.

And then Nerd-gel came up with a surprise. It was a tape with a crumpled aeroplane on the cover. Yep, “Licensed to Ill”. We’d all seen the riotous video for “Fight For Your Right To Party”, and here was the album it came from. Everyone got right into it. Except me. This shit was really stupid. It lived up to the witless label “rap crap” (yeah, not clever now, not particularly clever then) as far as I was concerned. Nerd-gel turned into a prick. First, he wouldn’t me borrow his tape. I wanted to hear it properly to see if there was something I wasn’t quite getting. I think he thought it made him special or something. Then he started adopting rap culture and language, and then so did Fru-Ju. It started with baseball caps and low-slung pants. The others weren’t quite so into the culture, but they all seemed to love this album. But I didn’t.

Then came the moment. Nerd-gel had some teen pop magazine with instructions on how to be a rap fan, and was reading it out to us in the corridor one lunch time. It had all about what to wear, what to say, and what you should and shouldn’t like. The uniform is pretty well known now. The language included idiotic words like “skeezing” (had no idea what it meant then, really couldn’t give a fuck now), and new definitions for old words, like “ill” (duh!). The shit you were supposed to like I don’t remember, but one of the things you weren’t supposed to like was heavy metal, and in particular, Deep Purple. That was the final straw for me. “Smoke On The Water” had been one of my favourite songs since I was a kid. At that moment, I rejected this fake, pretend “culture” this poser was embracing, and decided metal was what was important to me. What sort of dumb-assed trend needed a fucking instruction manual, for fuck’s sake? It was faux inner city/urban bullshit. We went to a small high school in a rural town in New Zealand. What the fuck did we know of life and culture in cities like New York or L.A.? It was about as urban as the Serengeti plains or the Amazon jungle. I’d like to think that I told Nerd-gel to fuck off, but I probably didn’t. Yeah, metaphorical dragon slain, but I was still a bit pathetic...

Almost immediately, I got Harry to get me copies of Bon Jovi’s “Slippery When Wet”, and “Masters of Metal”, one of those cheapie thrown together compilations by a record label that had heard of heavy metal, but didn’t really know what to do with it. I hammered those two albums and Twisted Sister while was studying for my exams. I passed with some excellent marks, as did everyone else, except Nerd-gel. Yep, he really wasn’t too bright.

More than three decades later, I’m still living the metal life, and still exploring and enjoying metal from the world over, while the rap/hip-hop culture proved to be a five minute fad for the others. I explored Scummy and Brickie’s suggestions further. I eventually discovered the bands Jimmy had suggested. I got a bit more metal off Harry, and gave him plenty more back in return.

Nerd-gel and Fru-Ju turned into right cunts the next year at school (quote from Jimmy: “What the fuck crawled up their asses?”), and along with Scummy weren’t around for the last year at high school. Brickie turned out to be incredibly studious, and worked flat out the rest of the time he was at high school, while Harry, Jimmy, and I enjoyed ourselves, but still did enough to pass.

So what happened to this merry bunch of nerds?

Last I saw Nerd-gel, he was working in a petrol station (that was more than 20 years ago, so he’s probably moved on from that. He was still a cunt though). Fru-Ju went off to boarding school for his final year, spent his time at university drunk, or at least he was every time I saw him, and is now a manager in one branch of his family’s business. Last time I saw him he was pissed as a fart in a restaurant with some woman (his wife, I suppose?) ranting at him.

Brickie did really well at university, and went into finance. I heard he’d had some serious stress related health problems in his early 20s. Last time I saw Scummy, he was a regional sales manager for an electrical appliance supplier. Jimmy took a gap year in 1990 instead of going straight to university like I did. He still hasn’t got there quite yet. It turns out I drive past the company where he is a manager on my way to work.

Harry and I partied too hard. Even though he did a bit better than me in our University entrance exams, he went back and repeated the final year of high school. He’s now an engineer who jets round the country, servicing high tech medical equipment in hospitals.

As for me, I went to university, and took five and a half years to complete a three year degree. I have since moved on to be an astronaut, rocket scientist, spy, and movie stuntman (what? It’s my story! Ah fuck it. I meant teacher, journalist, shop assistant, farm worker, and now technical writer). I discovered an absolute fuckton of metal on my mostly merry journey through this weird old life, and I owe so much of it to one crappy yet ground-breaking rap album.

So, thank you Beastie Boys. I hate your music, but I love what you have done for me.

BEASTIE BOYS Hello Nasty

Album · 1998 · Non-Metal
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Unitron
"One two one two, this is just a test"

Hello Nasty is like no other hip hop album I've heard, it's like an exploration in various sounds and samples but always with the Beastie Boys' fun loving attitude. Its got such a busy sound with everything going on, but it's never overwhelming even with the 22 songs on the album.

The Move, Remote Control, Just a Test, Intergalactic, and Putting Shame in Your Game are probably my favorites, Just a Test especially being one of the B-boy's most underrated songs. They've got such great flow, and their rap bravado is contrasted by fantastic moody and ominous samples, and it gives it such a cool sound. The electro-rap of Intergalactic rightfully was the album's biggest hit, and it's impossible to not love the delivery of "let the beat...mmmDRRROP".

One of the strangest parts of the album are the neo-psychedelic songs that are completely devoid of hip hop, though there's a psychedelic element throughout the album. These songs include Song for the Man, Song for Junior, and I Don't Know, and they all fit in and sound great.

Hello Nasty is a bit of a grower, but once it hit, it hit. One of the best of both the B-boy's and hip hop as a whole.

MOLOCH Человечье слишком овечье

Album · 2006 · Non-Metal
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siLLy puPPy
MOLOCH is a fairly common band name in metal. Of course it refers to a biblical name of a Canaanite god associated with child sacrifice so it doesn’t get any more metal than that! There are several artists from the US, UK, Sweden, Canada as well as others but this MOLOCH is the one-man band of Sergiy Fjordsson from Rivne, Ukraine. Fjordsson has been quite prolific over the years. The MOLOCH project was formed in 2002 and he has released 48 different albums, EPs, splits and demos ever since.

Fjordsson pretty much goes it alone and tackles all the instruments and vocals but Gionata Potenti has been the permanent drummer since 2014. MOLOCH’s output is consistently bleak and depressing but quite diverse as it navigates the dark world of black metal, dungeon synth, dark ambient and just plain noise. While MOLOCH released a few demos and splits, this album titled Человечье слишком овечье which is Russian for “Humane Too Sheeps” was the first official full-length release and appeared in 2006. It was one of those lo-fi dark ambient noise albums that basically takes you on a dark journey through random noise-scapes.

The album was only ever released as a limited edition cassette and a CD-R and has two lengthy tracks that skate past the 30 minute mark. MOLOCH wasn’t adding black metal yet but sure had the eerie atmosphere and bleakness down pat. MOLOCH has become known for using analogue two-inch and seven-inch reel-to-reel tape recorders in order to achieve a specific raw sound and that seems to have paid off quite well on Человечье слишком овечье. Add to that many of the sounds have been recorded live in the forest or in dungeons and caves. It all adds to a creepier than expected sound effect.

While guitar distortion would become a staple for MOLOCH it isn’t the main focus here but there are moments of pure terrifying feedback and reverberating rage that pierce out of the oscillating dungeony ambience and petrifying pulsations of the atmospheric swirls. This is one of those types of albums you’re gonna love or hate. There is absolutely no structure to this noise. It is completely freeform randomness and this isn’t even music at all. It’s sonic terror delivered through unnerving electronic effects. MOLOCH certainly succeeded in creating a terrifying soundtrack to a nightmare. While this is hardly something you’ll want to hear on a regular basis, for those moments when you really want to go for the freaking dark ambient jugular, this really scratches that itch.

RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS Freaky Styley

Album · 1985 · Non-Metal
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Unitron
Moving away from the post-punk styling of the debut with funk legend George Clinton of Parliament/Funkadelic fame at the producer's helm, Freaky Styley shows the Chili Peppers record the closest to a pure funk album they've ever done.

When I think of an ultimate party album, this is one of the first I think of. This funk goes hard, and with the album cover showing the band jumping and flipping around in front of Michelangelo's The Last Judgement, there's still some punk attitude too. Songs like Jungle Man, American Ghost Dance, the title track, Blackeyed Blonde, The Brothers Cup, punky Catholic School Girls Rule, and Yertle the Turtle are all particular favorites of mine. The Brothers Cup and the title track especially, the former with its swaggering bassline and swinging horns and the latter with a unique aggression for funk.

Freaky Styley isn't the party funk metal album that Mother's Milk is, but it is a party funk album. This is funky bass heaven.

RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS The Red Hot Chili Peppers

Album · 1984 · Non-Metal
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Unitron
For the longest time I wasn't even familiar with much of The Red Hot Chili Peppers' pre-alt rock stardom days apart from a few songs. The ballad of Under the Bridge from the band's classic Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik album catapulted the band into the mainstream and perhaps that drove them further and further away from their super funky origins with each passing album.

I love Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik, but lately I'd say I prefer most of the band's first four albums. In the 80's, it seems as if each of their albums were pretty different from each other, and their self-titled debut is the strangest of them all. I'd describe it as a funk rock/post-punk hybrid, with the occasional metal riff or unexpected atmospheric rock excursion. They probably were coming from a post-punk background, similar to Faith No More's beginnings. Many post-punk and new wave bands were no strangers to funk, these bands just took it to new levels.

The songwriting isn't quite at its peak like with the next four albums, but there's definitely some of the band's strongest songs within. True Men Don't Kill Coyotes, Buckle Down, Get Up and Jump, the heavy proto-funk metal Green Heaven, and the brisk punky Police Helicopter are my favorites. True Men Don't Kill Coyotes is the closest to post-punk/new wave and would not sound out of place on an early Talking Heads album. Grand Pappy Du Plenty is an atmospheric post-rock finale, and I think it surprisingly fits in as a closer to the raw yet surreal atmosphere that the album creates.

While the pure funk rock of Freaky Styley and glam funk metal Mother's Milk are my favorites from the Chili Peppers, the band's debut is an excellent and interesting start.

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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