Kev Rowland

Kev Rowland
MMA Special Collaborator · Errors & Omissions Team
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 2 days ago

Favorite Metal Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

470 reviews/ratings
ENSLAVED - RIITIIR Progressive Metal | review permalink
SYLOSIS - Monolith Thrash Metal | review permalink
RIVERSIDE - Shrine of New Generation Slaves Metal Related | review permalink
SOILWORK - The Living Infinite Melodic Death Metal | review permalink
NEAL MORSE - Live Momentum Non-Metal | review permalink
HYPOCRISY - End Of Disclosure Melodic Death Metal | review permalink
AVANTASIA - The Mystery of Time Heavy Metal | review permalink
DARK SERMON - In Tongues Deathcore | review permalink
SPIRITUAL BEGGARS - Earth Blues Stoner Rock | review permalink
BLACK STAR RIDERS - All Hell Breaks Loose Hard Rock | review permalink
STALA & SO. - Play Another Round Glam Metal | review permalink
VANDROYA - One Power Metal | review permalink
ORPHANED LAND - All Is One Folk Metal | review permalink
HYPOCRISY - Penetralia / Osculum Obscenum Death Metal | review permalink
8 FOOT SATIVA - The Shadow Masters Thrash Metal | review permalink
LINGUA MORTIS ORCHESTRA - LMO Symphonic Metal | review permalink
WE CAME AS ROMANS - Tracing Back Roots Metalcore | review permalink
WATAIN - The Wild Hunt Black Metal | review permalink
HAKEN - The Mountain Progressive Metal | review permalink
DROTTNAR - Stratum Black Metal | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Hard Rock 52 3.63
2 Progressive Metal 52 3.98
3 Heavy Metal 46 3.53
4 Black Metal 39 3.78
5 Power Metal 38 3.62
6 Thrash Metal 30 3.67
7 Death Metal 30 3.97
8 Melodic Death Metal 16 4.19
9 Metalcore 14 3.57
10 Alternative Metal 14 3.43
11 Folk Metal 11 3.77
12 Technical Death Metal 11 3.86
13 Doom Metal 10 3.35
14 Brutal Death Metal 8 4.06
15 Symphonic Metal 8 3.75
16 Deathcore 7 4.07
17 Metal Related 7 4.57
18 Glam Metal 6 3.58
19 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 6 3.58
20 Melodic Black Metal 5 3.80
21 Non-Metal 5 4.00
22 Groove Metal 5 4.00
23 US Power Metal 5 3.70
24 Atmospheric Black Metal 4 4.00
25 Hardcore Punk 3 3.33
26 Melodic Metalcore 3 4.00
27 Heavy Psych 3 4.00
28 Industrial Metal 3 3.50
29 Stoner Metal 3 3.83
30 Stoner Rock 3 4.33
31 Symphonic Black Metal 3 4.83
32 NWoBHM 2 4.00
33 Sludge Metal 2 2.75
34 Speed Metal 2 3.25
35 Avant-garde Metal 2 3.50
36 Crossover Thrash 2 3.25
37 Gothic Metal 2 3.75
38 Death-Doom Metal 2 4.25
39 Depressive Black Metal 1 2.00
40 Grindcore 1 3.50
41 Funeral Doom Metal 1 4.00
42 Death 'n' Roll 1 2.50
43 Pagan Black Metal 1 3.00
44 Trance Metal 1 2.50

Latest Albums Reviews

AXEL RUDI PELL XXX Anniversary Live

Live album · 2019 · Heavy Metal
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Whatever you wish to say about Axel Rudi Pell you have to admire both his staying power and his knack for bringing together the right talent. Having worked with some strong singers, Charlie Huhn (ex-Ted Nugent, Gary Moore, Victory, now with Foghat), Rob Rock (ex-Impellitteri, Driver) and Jeff Scott Soto (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen, Talisman, now with progressive super group Sons Of Apollo), he finally linked up with ex-Hardline frontman Johnny Gioeli in 1998 and he has been there ever since. Ex-Rainbow/Black Sabbath/Blue Öyster Cult drummer Bobby Rondinelli joined in 2013 and is still the newbie as keyboard player Ferdy Doernberg (1998) and bassist Volker Krawczak (1989) also have very long tenure indeed.

Not long before putting this on the player I had been watching an Iron Maiden concert and of course hearing their concert introduction of “Doctor Doctor”, which in turn had me riffling through my collection and grabbing one of the ultimate live metal albums of all-time, UFO’s ‘Strangers In The Night’. When Pell and his band are at full bore it is almost as if we are back in time, as there are a great many similarities between the two. There is a German leading the guitar charge, a keyboard player who knows exactly how to fill in the gaps, a rhythm section which are always laying the foundation and a singer who is so much more than just a singer. Phil Mogg has always been one of the top crowd manipulators in the business, and Johnny Gioeli may be American, but he is a very similar mold. He has been fronting this band for more than twenty years, knows exactly what both the crowd and band need from him, and he consistently delivers.

True, there are times when he doesn’t get the crowd reaction he expects, but possibly that is down to language barriers as much of this double CD set was recorded in Budapest. Pell has always produced strong ballads as well as belters, and relies on Gioeli to carry them off, which he always manages with aplomb. The result is a classic metal concert, with plenty of dynamics, highs and lows. It may not be fashionable, but Pell shows that he and his band have found their niche and plan to keep moving in this area for quite some time yet. Consistently strong and powerful, this is for those who want their metal to shift and move, and there is plenty here on this lengthy set to enjoy.

WHITESNAKE Flesh & Blood

Album · 2019 · Hard Rock
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Whitesnake. For many, and it must be said that I include myself in this number, the only valid entity allowed to really carry off that name was the one which had Micky Moody and Bernie Marsden involved. Back then they were a blues-based rock band and the music they pumped out was superb, with their ‘Live… In Heart of the City’ album absolutely indispensable. But that is a very long time in the past, and by the time of ‘1987’ they had reinvented themselves and produced an album which has rightfully been declared one of the very finest hard rock albums of all time. That was the first album to feature Tommy Aldridge on the skins, and all these years later he is still there. Guitarist Reb Beach, who originally joined Whitesnake in 2002, has stepped up to become the group’s bandleader and guides the band to implement Coverdale’s musical vision. As well as bringing his impressive musical chops to the band, Reb has co-written five songs on the new album, the fourth studio album he has appeared on, commencing with 2008’s highly acclaimed ‘Good To Be Bad’. Joel Hoekstra joined on guitar four years ago in time for ‘The Purple Album’, and co-wrote six of the songs, while the line-up is completed by bassist Michael Devin who first appeared on ‘Forevermore’ in 2011, and new keyboard player Michele Luppi, who made his live debut in 2015.

I had to do some research to come up with that, as I long ago lost interest in a band I followed intently in my teenage years. I even went to see Company of Snakes and bemoaned the demise of the band I used to love so much, so when this arrived, I knew it was going to be interesting as I don’t think I have ever reviewed the band. What was I going to say about the 68-year-old permanently permed and tanned Yorkshireman? I wasn’t going to like the album, that was sure, but I’d better give it a play, I guess.

So, I put it on, and realised much to my initial annoyance that there were some really good songs on here and I was starting to enjoy it. Coverdale’s voice is just as good as ever, and even though he doesn’t sing the blues like he used to, there is very much that element in his sound that is very different to the rest of the singers around. If they hit a note, it feels much more like he has hit a chord, and then there are songs like “Trouble Is Your Middle Name” which contains elements of his old style mixed in with the new and it is damn fine indeed. The band are cooking, and while there are times when they do fall into the trap of generic hard rock, Coverdale is always there to lift them out. The result is me playing and enjoying a new Whitesnake album for the first time in 30 years. I must confess it has got me wondering what the last few releases were like, as they are a band I have been deliberately avoiding. This may not be the Moody/Marsden or Sykes era any more, but the result is a damn fine listen all the same.

LUCIFER'S FRIEND Black Moon

Album · 2019 · Hard Rock
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I must confess I hadn’t realised that Lucifer’s Friend had reformed a few years ago, so this album was a pleasant surprise. Founder members John Lawton (vocals), Peter Hesslein (guitar, keyboards) and Dieter Horns (bass) are there strutting their stuff again. Original drummer Joachim "Addi" Rietenbach has passed away, so his place was taken by Stephan Eggert, while keyboard player Peter Hecht declined to return so on the album keyboards are provided by Hesslein. Any fan of classic rock will know about Lucifer’s Friend, which for me I always think of as a German Uriah Heep, for musical reasons as well as of course that Lawton replaced Byron in that band.

It must be said that playing this album is like putting on a warm blanket, it is instantly comforting, and Lawton (if Wikipedia is to be believed) shows no sign at all of being 73 years old! His voice is as powerful as it has ever been, and the ten numbers he has written with Hesslein shows a band who are determined to make their presence felt as opposed to resting on their laurels. It has been fifty years since Lawton left Stonewall and joined the members of The German Bonds in forming Asterix, which became Lucifer’s Friend’, but those decades have flown by on this classic hard rock album which could have been recorded in their heyday. The guitars are as tough, plenty of riffs, while the keyboard provide levity, but whatever is going on underneath is lifted by the superb vocals of Lawton. I dare anyone to play “Call The Captain” and not smile at its’ annoying infectious simplicity – one can imagine this being a radio hit in the Eighties, and that is probably as up to date as the band gets, but who cares? Classic rock, from a band who really were there at the beginning, this is for fans of bands as diverse as Uriah Heep and UFO, and everything in-between. If ever an album defined “fun” then this is it.

HERESIARCH Incursions

Boxset / Compilation · 2019 · Death Metal
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Up to this point Wellington (NZ) based death metal band Heresiarch have released just one album in their ten plus years of activity, but that has now been amended by French label Krucyator getting the rights to their debut demo ‘Obsecrating The Global Holocaust)’ (2011) and their two EP’s ‘Hammer of Intransigence’ (2011) and ‘Waelwulf’ (2014). They have all been put together in one album, with the track listing staying in the same sequence as when they originally came out. Given the gap between the last EP and the 2017 album ‘ Death Ordinance’ it perhaps isn’t surprising that none of their earlier songs made it onto that release, so this is a nice and easy way to listen to the early material without having to dig too hard.

Hearing this album made me realise just how small the music scene is in New Zealand, as there are few bands who actually tour very much, and this is the first time I have come across the name as they are in Wellington and I tend to be in either Auckland or Christchurch. With small venues closing here as they are elsewhere it is incredibly hard for local bands to get enough of an audience to justify playing outside their own small area. That’s a real shame as this is an incredibly powerful outfit, heavily influenced by the likes of Cannibal Corpse, but also bringing in Nile as well as some more over the top black metal tendencies at time. It is frantic, it is frenetic, and the only way for it is to make any sense at all is by playing it very loudly indeed. Your neighbours will thank you. Having only just come across these guys I can see I am going to have to hear some more, as this is over the top mayhem guaranteed to create a serious mosh. Intense.

ANGEL Risen

Album · 2019 · Hard Rock
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Back in 1978 I was given a cassette by a mate of mine to see what I thought of the music. It was the new greatest hits collection by a band I had never heard of, and as this was a good old TDK-90 there were no images. I took it home and that night fell in love with the music of Kiss, and the compilation ‘Double Platinum’. It was quite a shock when I first saw what they looked like to be honest. As well as soon being a fully paid up member of the Kiss Army when it launched in the UK, I not only was wearing a denim jacket with Kiss emblazoned across the back, and buying every album I could find by the band, but was also seeking out bands that had some connection. That was how I came across Van Halen, but the band which really made the impact on me was Angel. Signed to the same label as Kiss due to being discovered by Gene Simmons, there was something about their melodic heavy keyboard-driven music which fascinated me. The first album I bought was ‘On Earth As It Is In Heaven’, but quickly realised that their masterpiece was ‘Heluuva Band’. Frank DiMino had an amazing voice, Punky Meadows had great licks while in Gregg Giuffria they had one of the greatest pomp keyboard players. But they burned hot and they burned fast, and by 1981 it was all over. Giuffria made a name for himself with his own band and in House of Lords, but I was saddened by the loss of the band who I felt never really gained the acclaim they deserved,

I never lost my love for Angel, and in the Nineties when my daughters were looking for a present for me, I asked for the import double CD set ‘Live Without A Net’. There was another album in 1999, but although singer Frank DiMino and drummer Barry Brandt gave it some authenticity it just didn’t have the impact or passion I expected. So when an email turned up in my inbox a few weeks ago offering me the new Angel album I was totally shocked as I wasn’t aware that Punky and Frank had been working together again after all this time as I thought that Punky had left the music business altogether. Checking the web I can see he did, but returned with an album in 2015 which featured among others Danny Farrow (rhythm guitar, vocals) and keyboard player Charlie Calv, who along with bassist Steve Ojane, and drummer Billy Orrico comprise the new line-up.

Even before I listened to it, I looked at the cover and it just made me smile. At the top there is the ambigrammatic logo (it looks the same upside down), and there are all the band dressed in white staring at the photographer, just as they did on all their original albums (apart from the debut). Punky just doesn’t look his 69 years, and if Zappa was still around today, I am sure he would enjoy penning a sequel to “Punky’s Whips”. If the cover took me back to being a teenager once again, the music did so even more. The keyboards aren’t quite so front and centre as they used to be, but Frank is singing as well as ever, and Punky is relishing the opportunity to be more central than when he was always vying with Gregg for musical dominance. There are also now two guitars in the line-up, whereas there only used to be one, so it is no surprise they have come more to the fore.

The production is superb, and the hooks are there for all to hear. It isn’t a perfect album, in that there are a few places where it drags, but if this was edited down to the length of their albums in the late Seventies then I am sure we would be asking exactly where it sits in the pantheon. Would it be above ‘Sinful’? Probably, but although it wouldn’t topple ‘Helluva Band’, it would be pushing hard. Talking of which, my favourite song from the band has always been “The Tower”, so I was somewhat surprised, and concerned, to see that they had decided to re-record that as the closer of the 17 numbers . The initial keyboards are quite different, but when the drums come in it is very close indeed to the original, but the band aren’t trying to recreate what was achieved back in 1976, but rather show they understand where they came from.

I have been listening to this a great deal, and while I am fully aware that is probably in many ways because I loved them so much some forty years ago, but this is a great album which certainly doesn’t sound as if they have been away for so long. Angel are still one helluva band.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 8 months ago in My error on Whitesnake
    Removed as requested - no problem 
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Ministry 'Work for love' and other things
    [QUOTE=UMUR]You are welcome to retag and move those releases to where you think they fit best. I´m not that familiar with that part of Ministry´s disco. Normally I would ask such a question in the relevant sub genre team thread. [/QUOTE]This is an example of where MMA and PA are quite different, in that in PA the band itself is tagged as being a specific sub genre so therefore all albums have to go under that genre, whether they 'fit' or not. To move a band from one sub to another, the 'holding' sub has to vote and agree that they should be moved, and then the 'receiving' sub has to vote to take them in. If they refuse then they stay where they are.This means that MMA has an advantage in that a band and their output can be more correctly tagged, but it can lead to complications. I would personally always post in the relevant sub genre before moving a band, just to check that the team were happy with it. I remember being mortified to see that Thunder were shown as a glam band, but still asked permission before I moved it.Thanks for moving all the Ministry albums - I just went to do that.Jonas - thanks for the TSOS reviews. I was with the band a couple of nights ago and they are really stoked with them, and said wonderful things about you as a writer as well! 
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Finger Eleven Living in a Dream
    [QUOTE=Unitron]Finger Eleven's single 'Living in a Dream' must have accidentally been added to studio albums. [/QUOTE] Amended. Thanks for letting us know

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