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

568 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 Metal Related | 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 Melodic Death 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 64 3.65
2 Progressive Metal 60 3.97
3 Power Metal 49 3.60
4 Heavy Metal 48 3.49
5 Black Metal 42 3.80
6 Death Metal 42 3.94
7 Thrash Metal 35 3.63
8 Melodic Death Metal 20 4.20
9 Alternative Metal 17 3.56
10 Metalcore 15 3.57
11 Technical Death Metal 14 3.93
12 Doom Metal 13 3.50
13 Folk Metal 12 3.88
14 Groove Metal 10 3.70
15 Symphonic Metal 10 3.70
16 Deathcore 9 3.89
17 Glam Metal 8 3.38
18 Brutal Death Metal 8 4.06
19 Melodic Black Metal 7 3.64
20 Metal Related 7 4.79
21 Non-Metal 6 3.75
22 Atmospheric Black Metal 6 3.83
23 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 6 3.58
24 Hardcore Punk 5 3.40
25 US Power Metal 5 4.00
26 Symphonic Black Metal 4 4.50
27 Stoner Metal 4 3.75
28 Death-Doom Metal 4 4.13
29 Gothic Metal 3 4.00
30 Avant-garde Metal 3 3.17
31 Crossover Thrash 3 3.33
32 Heavy Psych 3 4.00
33 Industrial Metal 3 3.50
34 Melodic Metalcore 3 4.00
35 Stoner Rock 3 4.33
36 Sludge Metal 3 2.50
37 Speed Metal 3 3.00
38 NWoBHM 2 4.00
39 Funeral Doom Metal 2 4.00
40 Grindcore 1 3.50
41 Depressive Black Metal 1 2.00
42 Death 'n' Roll 1 2.50
43 Pagan Black Metal 1 3.00
44 Mathcore 1 4.00
45 Heavy Alternative Rock 1 3.00
46 Trance Metal 1 2.50

Latest Albums Reviews

VARATHRON Glorification Under The Latin Moon

Live album · 2020 · Melodic Black Metal
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Co-founded in 1988 by Stefan Necroabyssious, the band's vocalist and sole original member, Greek black metal band Varathron has been on a steady release schedule since 2004's ‘Crowsreign’, but for some reason have never put out a live album until now. Recorded on August 4th , 2019 in São Paulo during the final show of their "30 Years Of Darkness Tour", the setlist includes songs from throughout their career, including the entirety of the 1993 album ‘His Majesty At The Swamp’, to more recent songs, taken from 2018’s ‘Patriarchs Of Evil’. Alongside Rotting Christ and Necromantia, Varathron are seen as one of the founding fathers of the Hellenic Black Metal scene, and with 30 years already behind them there is no sign whatsoever of them mellowing out just yet.

This is classic black metal, and they utilise backing tracks with vocals and the odd keyboards to provide additional emotion and atmosphere, and if one were to remove that and the vocal style, one would possibly describe the music as being quite different as it is highly complex, technical and (dare I say it) melodic. This shows just how easy it is for genres to become confused as there are plenty of people who will say they do not like black metal who could very easily get into this album which crosses over many different styles from tech into power. They know how to use dynamics, and switch styles throughout so there is a great deal of contrast, which means that all aspects of their music come across with real power. Black metal live albums can somewhat suffer through lack of depth, as it loses some of that intensity, and while that is also the case here that can be somewhat mitigated by just turning it up. Yet another really solid release from the Greeks.

RAVEN Metal City

Album · 2020 · Heavy Metal
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Back in 1980 I was just 17 years old, and deeply into the NWOBHM. There was no doubt in my mind that one of the best bands around were Raven, and I loved their single “Don’t Need Your Money”. When they released their album, I was unable to get it anywhere locally and in frustration actually found the number for Neat Records and rang them to complain! I was appeased when they told me I could order it directly from them as there was no HMV’s local to me, so I sent off my cheque and when ‘Rock Until You Drop’ arrived it came with badges and stickers, which promptly went on my singles boxes. I loved everything about the band, from the over-the-top bass and high-pitched vocals of John Gallagher, the attack of his brother guitarist Mark, and the pace of the songs, all driven along by Rob “Wacko” Hunter. These days many metalheads are not even aware of the importance of this band and their “athletic rock” which was the direct precursor of thrash, and not only do many bands cite them as a major influence but they were the first band to take Metallica on tour.

It is safe to say they have never achieved the success they so richly deserved, but even though they have been through a few drummers over the years, the Gallagher brothers are still fighting strong, and as they work towards their 50th Anniversary (formed in 1974) they are not slowing down or changing their approach any time soon. In 2017 drummer Joe Hasselvander, who had been in the band for 20 years, suffered a heart attack just before a series of US/European dates. The band completed the dates with a series of drummers, and when it was obvious Joe would be unable to return any time soon, they brought in one of these, Mike Heller (Fear Factory, Malignancy) as his permanent replacement. This 2020 album is their first for 5 years, and while many of their disciples have changed beyond recognition from their early days, this is still Raven doing what Raven do best, rocking hard and fast. True, there are times when there is more polish than there used to be, but Mark’s vocals are still passionate as ever, his basslines are still often insane while Mark is still hitting the riffs like he always has, daring the band to slow down, and Mike has happily settled into his new role.

This is classic Raven for the 21st century, and I for one cannot stop smiling and turning it up that little bit more. 40 years on from their classic debut , and the boys are still determined to "Rock Until You Drop" – “Don't think you can make it, Don't think you want to try, Sit back in your easy chair, And the world will pass you by, Life is what you make it, That's what people say, You've got to get it together, Make it your own way.” They are still staying true to their own words.

STONEWALL NOISE ORCHESTRA Deathtripper

Album · 2020 · Doom Metal
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One day I got a friend request on Facebook from Mattias Adolphson, and as always, I checked to see why I was hearing from him and whether it was a robot (I get that a lot). I noticed he is drummer in Stonewall Noise Orchestra and the music computer that is my brain started whirring (I often think the reason I forget everything that is not connected with music is due to there not being enough room for everything), and I recalled reviewing their 2013 album ‘Salvation’ and enjoying immensely. Of course, I accepted the friendship and now I am listening to the latest release, ‘Deathtripper’. There was an album in between this and the last one I had heard, plus they have been through a few line-up changes, so what was this going to be like?

I am always rather concerned when I am the one who has mentioned undertaking a review, as I feel bad if I give it a poor review, but given I am always honest in my opinion I have to say what I think, so I am very pleased to say this is a goodie. Doom is still the order of the day, but while there are times when they do head back to the early Seventies, there are plenty of others where they are way more commercial. At times they drift into QOTSA territory, at others more like Black Widow, but there is an element which reminds me a great deal of The Night Flight Orchestra, and not just because they have the same name. There are loads of melodies here, and the band is incredibly tight while singer Tony is in full control. They mix it up throughout, taking so many different elements of hard rock and metal, and while staying true to their doom roots they are having a blast and certainly bring the listeners along for the ride. They have had to deal with some hard personal struggles in recent years, yet they are back with an album which is passionate, powerful, and truly worthy of investigation by those who want melody front and centre with plenty of bite to back it up.

MY OWN SHIVA Holograms

Album · 2019 · Metalcore
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If someone were to ask me where this band hail from, then the response would be that they are obviously American, but there are elements contained within this which makes me think they are probably from New York. To use a Kiwi phrase, “yeah, nah”. This 2019 album is actually from Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan, and I am sure that if they were based in the West then many more people would know about it. They say, “We make best metal music in Central Asia. We like experiments and always try to find something interesting in our sounding. We are from small town, but this is not the reason to do nothing. Just listen to us and you will follow!” They are nothing if not confident, and that really comes through in their music.

While the best description is probably metalcore, they are doing a lot with that, bringing in djent at times, moving more into commercial hardcore at others, with a very modern sound. At times one thinks of Life Of Agony, at others Linkin Park, while Animals as Leaders and Meshuggah are never too far away either. The production is solid, with the riffs hitting hard and this is a powerful release with plenty going for it. Since this album they have released another song, “Replicant”, and these can all be easily found on Bandcamp. Based on this album here is a band who could easily break out of their home country and attract serious attention on the wider metal stage, and this will definitely be of interest to anyone who enjoys intense high-octane modern metal. This album really does have quite a lot going for it, and is worthy of further investigation.

AVATAR Hunter Gatherer

Album · 2020 · Alternative Metal
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One never knows what one is going to get with Avatar, as while they may have started life as yet another Swedish death metal act, they have broadened their horizons greatly since then. Their last album, 2018’s ‘Avatar Country’ was the second-largest independent album in North America upon its debut, reaching #4 (Hard Music Albums), # 8 (Rock Albums), and #25 (Billboard 200 Current Albums) with one major rock outlet even declaring it a heavy metal ‘Sgt. Pepper’s’. While I can never see myself going that far, there is no doubt there is something both strange and compelling about their music.

In 2020 they released their eighth studio album, ‘Hunter Gatherer’, which saw them record with all of them playing in the studio together as if they were onstage, and then putting it down on two-inch tape. When they go for it they really hit hard, but in “A Secret Door” we get groove/death metal along with Roger Whittaker-style whistling, guitars being played like mandolins, huge riffs and hooks which sees them move into the likes of Linkin Park. It is commercial but given what they are doing it really shouldn’t, as there is no way this mess should work, yet it does. Some bands have tried to move out of the Swedish death scene and failed miserably, yet these guys really have managed to bring something together which is mixing loads of many styles and somehow having it all make total sense while also never really settling. One never knows what is going to happen next as they can be in full flight and then drop into some keyboards or just blast along and never change, coming across more as power metal than anything else, but always with a heavy bottom end. Fans of the band have become used to never knowing what each album is going to sound like, and while I cannot speak for the whole of the back catalogue I can see that this one is worth checking out as it brings together nu metal, groove metal, melodic death, industrial, and the kitchen sink.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 6 months ago in Band Member Revision
    Done 
  • Posted more than 2 years 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! 

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