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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
4.61 | 15 ratings
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RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS Blood Sugar Sex Magik Album Cover Blood Sugar Sex Magik
4.60 | 10 ratings
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ELOY Ocean Album Cover Ocean
4.51 | 10 ratings
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MOTORPSYCHO The Death Defying Unicorn Album Cover The Death Defying Unicorn
4.73 | 6 ratings
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ALICE COOPER From The Inside Album Cover From The Inside
4.29 | 21 ratings
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TRANSATLANTIC The Whirlwind Album Cover The Whirlwind
4.32 | 17 ratings
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KILLING JOKE Killing Joke (Debut) Album Cover Killing Joke (Debut)
4.66 | 6 ratings
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MEAT LOAF Bat Out Of Hell Album Cover Bat Out Of Hell
4.44 | 9 ratings
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SWANS The Seer Album Cover The Seer
4.60 | 6 ratings
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MAUDLIN OF THE WELL Part The Second Album Cover Part The Second
4.25 | 18 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)
4.27 | 15 ratings
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ULVER Childhood's End Album Cover Childhood's End
4.53 | 6 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


Single · 2000 · Non-Metal
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Let's rate this EP based on its musical merits, which should be the primary concern over comparing other available releases. I think "Shesmovedon" is a terrific song in PT's more accessible style. It was one of a handful of songs I played for my wife, when she wondered why I'm so fanatical about the band. Most of her favorite music could be considered classic rock; she was a child in the 70's. With an open mind, she at least found "Shesmovedon" palatable, which is definitely an accomplishment!

"Cure For Optimism" and "Untitled" fit more easily into the space rock end of the Porcupine Tree spectrum. "Untitled" pleasingly reminds me of the early "Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape", which is definitely high praise. The only reason for deducting one star for the MMA website is that I can't really consider this EP "metal". This is still a very enjoyable listening experience.


Single · 1999 · Non-Metal
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This is a good single by Porcupine Tree, if not their best. Like almost anything by the band, it's well worth your listening time. 2 tracks are songs from the band's STUPID DREAM album; one is played live. I think there are better songs on the full album. The album is one of PT's more commercial, which is not a criticism at all.

The third track, "Door to the River" from METANOIA, is more of an ambient experiment than an actual rock song. Nothing at all metal here, but few people do ambient as well as Steven Wilson. There is also a vinyl single with an acoustic version of "Nine Cats" available, according to Discord. In summary, this might be a more valuable release for established fans. If you're looking for something from this period besides the full studio albums, this is a good choice.

PORCUPINE TREE The Sky Moves Sideways

Album · 1995 · Non-Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Although it all began as a joke, by the time Steven Wilson and his now official band called PORCUPINE TREE made it into the 90s, the popularity of their Floydian inspired space rock was taking off like a rocket ship to the moon. After a number of demos and two fully fledged space rock albums to get their feet wet, the band was really more of a solo project but starting with this one, a real band was in play with a style that reached the culmination of the psychedelic space rock sound on the third album THE SKY MOVES SIDEWAYS. Your listening experience for this one may depend on which side of the Atlantic you reside because of the fact that two different versions exist. THE SKY MOVES SIDEWAYS was the debut album in North America and showed the band mastering their full potential as they also unveiled various aspects of the different styles they would take on future releases. The European version which came out first contained the seventeen minute track “Moonloop” as the second to last track whereas the US release nixed it in favor of a shorter running time. Since the US version is the one i’ve grown attached to, it is the one i prefer so all my gushing admiration for this album is based on it.

It was never any secret that 70s Pink Floyd was the biggest source of inspiration for Wilson and company and that was never more true than on THE SKY MOVES SIDEWAYS which has been compared to “Wish You Were Here” for having two sprawling tracks that begin and end the album with shorter tracks sandwiched in between, however a careful listen will yield all kinds of influences from the Floydian world up to “The Wall”. Likewise, all the tracks flow together relatively smoothly making it in reality a long series of movements that culminate into larger suites and extended musical motifs. Although Steven Wilson remained ringmaster and creator in chief even at this point, this was very much a real band effort on album number three which allowed a blossoming of musical expressions to make a much richer album than the previous two. Most importantly added to the lineup was ex-Japan keyboard wizard Richard Barbieri who deftly mixes his best Klaus Schulze styled progressive electronic backdrops over the hypnotic space rock grooves. Likewise, Wilson’s alter ego in the art pop outfit No-Man found him a steady drummer with Chris Maitland filling the spot. With all musical spots freshly manned with eager talent, PORCUPINE TREE was ready for prime time and THE SKY MOVES SIDEWAYS shows them honing their chops into highly addictive seductions of sound.

THE SKY MOVES SIDEWAYS starts off rather chaotically with sputtering electronic effects that belie Floydian space groove that soon steals the show. A false flag to throw the listener off? Not sure, but once the Floydian rhythmic flow begins, it grooves with a vengeance. While the “Phase 1” of the title track gently rolls on with a sensual rocking groove as “The Colour Of Air” movement strives to lull the listener into a hypnotic state, it does however evoke a call and response that makes me want to scream “Hello, Is There Anybody In There?” at times. Perhaps too comfortably close to “Comfortably Numb,” but even with such brazen Floydisms slapping the listener in the face, somehow the electronic wizardry derails any cached earworms from the past and keeps PORCUPINE TREE sounding like distant cousins of the Gilmour and Waters team rather than mere imitators. The near nineteen minute suite churns on into a gentle space rock groove with Wilson belting out his unique fairy tale narrations before the track goes into an upbeat psybient and psytrance mode that summons a high intensity percussive drive and multidimensional atmospheric turbulence in the “Wire The Drum” movement. Tribal drums meets staccato keyboard sequences while a bouncy bass illustrates spaced out blissful melodies. The suite finds resolution with the “Spiral Circus” finale which drifts off into the clouds and exits with a soft acoustic guitar riff with a fluttering flute run flapping around like a pretty butterfly in the breeze.

Sandwiched in the middle of the lengthy title track suite that begin and end the album are three shorter tracks (plus the “Moonloop” jam if you have the European version). “Dislocated Day” debuts a more familiar sound heard on future PORCUPINE TREE albums and the first of the band’s career to demonstrate heavier rock with hefty guitar riffs, biting percussive drive and much increased tempos. This also provides the gateway into their progressive rock leanings that would culminate on albums like “In Absentia.” “The Moon Touches Your Shoulder” on the other hand is a totally chilled out acoustic guitar on codeine type of track with a catchy melody and poetic lyrics from Wilson’s most chilled singing style. “Prepare Yourself” is nothing more than a short spaced out bluesy soloing sequence that serves as a fluffer for the the “Phase 2” of the title track, unless of course you have the European version with “Moonloop” inserted between. This track is my least favorite and i’m happy to have the edition without it (or at least thrown onto the second bonus disc). It is nothing more than a drawn out spacey sequence of synthesized loops and effects.

The final “Phase 2” is begins much like “Phase 1” with non-committing electronic atmospheric effects only finding stability after a drum roll coaxes them down to Earth. The opening “Is…Not” segment displays more love of classic Pink Floyd as it generates a heavy connection to tracks like “Have A Cigar” with restless electronica and eventually a banging bass. Once a melodic development is allowed to form, it bursts onto the scene with a dramatic guitar riff which calms the atmospheric presence into an obsequious counterpoint. Nice guitar work on this one for a while but eventually as “Off The Map” continues the suite, an estrogen filled siren seduces a rambunctious guitar to come out and play. As it arrives it begins to perform a rather spunky blues workout around the ostinato bass line. It performs all kinds of tricks yanking every emotional heartstring with a mere bending of a note or two. It gets wild and woolly before the track slowly wends down as it reprises the initial Floydian bass dominated riff that began it all, not after more bizarre excursions into ambient electronica however.

On THE SKY MOVES SIDEWAYS, Steven Wilson and PORCUPINE TREE not only joined the ranks of the progressive rock revival that was unfolding alongside bands like Anglagard, Opeth, Dream Theater and the neo-prog bands like IQ and Arena but were also fundamental in the revival of good old fashioned 70s psychedelic space rock alongside other space tripping bands like Ozric Tentacles. While Pink Floyd was still around in name only, it was really just a David Gilmour solo effort milking of the enterprise and tarnishing of the name with mediocrity in the form of albums like “The Division Bell”. PORCUPINE TREE on the other hand were uploading an entirely new operating system into the space rock paradigm by adding all the relevant 90s influences of neo-psychedelia and chilled out electronica such as trip hop and as well as bass heavy stoner rock in tandem with the tried and true chill pill elements of 70s psych and electronica.

While never really intentionally wanting to steal the baton away from the great Pinksters, somehow on THE SKY MOVES SIDEWAYS, they did just that and created one of my personal favorite albums by the group and the absolute best of the 90s output. The 2 CD re-release is well worth the time as it has a brilliant alternative mix of the title track suites as well as the “Moonloop” tracks that went missing on the US release. I’ve been holding off on reviewing this one since i couldn’t decide if the Floydisms are too derivative or not but when all is said and done, they are no more derivative of Pink Floyd than Floyd was of the blues artists who came before them and this is one of those rare albums that i literally never tire of because Wilson’s brilliant mixing and production skills weave such a massive sonic web around any similarities that it keeps them in their own unique musical territory while respectfully conjuring up warm fuzzy memories of the past. This is where PORCUPINE TREE came to fruition as a band and a trend that would only continue to develop into a more distinct musical entity.

BLACK FLAG The Process of Weeding Out

EP · 1985 · Non-Metal
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Aptly named indeed, since this EP is very much one of those releases which divides Black Flag fans into two camps - generally (and simplistically) speaking, we're talking those who thought that Black Flag got worse and worse the more they drifted from their original hardcore style, and those who enthusiastically embraced late Flag's post-hardcore experiments. These four instrumentals establish two things. The first is that, much as the Minutemen had been demonstrating in their own way for years, mashing up jazz influences and a hardcore punk attitude is big and clever. The second is that Greg Ginn is a damn fine guitarist.

Depending on whether that sounds unutterably naval-gazey or absolutely fascinating, you probably already know which faction of listeners you fall into here - but that doesn't make the EP redundant, because as well as providing an acid test for who really enjoys a fat slice of experimentation with their hardcore, it's also a nifty little listen in its own right, and perhaps the one Black Flag release where they follow this particular direction with the most purity and consistency.

JESS AND THE ANCIENT ONES The Horse And Other Weird Tales

Album · 2017 · Non-Metal
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The hard rock/metal scene seems somewhat flooded these days with female fronted bands on the dark side with occult leanings. Blood Ceremony, Avatarium, Devil Electric, Psychedelic Witchcraft, Witch Mountain, Jex Thoth…. The list goes on. All these bands have a strong retro vibe to their sound going back to the late sixties/early seventies period, most worshipping at the altar of Black Sabbath to a greater or lesser degree, at least at some point in their career. Jess And The Ancient Ones stand out because they haven’t ever really been there even if earlier material was more riff based than of late, but they still have a strong retro feel to their music – in their case the late sixties.

The Horse And Other Weird Tales is album number three from JATAO and sees them continue to hone their sound to an even more authentic sixties feel. It’s less of a hard rock/ heavy psych sound than their debut, something they seemed to be moving away from on Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes though the psychedelic elements remained. This is no doubt partly down to the fact that they have slimmed from a two guitar line-up, losing Fiend along the way leaving Thomas Corpse as the sole guitarist. This has made room for keyboardist Abrahammond to move to the fore and in fact the keyboards now dominate though Corpse expertly plays off this weaving his guitar runs into the sound. Their music these days seems to bear more resemblance to the likes of Jefferson Airplane aided by Singer Jess displaying a not dissimilar timbre to Grace Slick and both having a powerful set of pipes. In fact she is a better singer than ever with improved phrasing and depth than previously displayed and she was no slouch before.

The songs are noticeably more streamlined these days, mainly around the three minute mark with only You And Eyes and closer Anyway The Minds Flow at eight minutes reaching the longer lengths previously favoured. They also have more immediate melodies but with titles like Your Exploding Heads and Death Is The Doors clearly still retain the quirkiness and darkness of earlier material. Despite overall consistency my album highlight has got to be Anyway The Minds Flow which is a beautifully haunting piece with Jess and keyboardist Abrahammond particularly excelling, a great way to close the album.

I haven’t quite made my mind up yet but this may be my favourite JATAO album so far. Having said that Second Psychedelic Coming was almost twice as long as this and certainly had plenty of moments to match what’s on offer here but for an immediate hit The Horse And Other Weird Tales is pretty hard to beat.

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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.

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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