Kev Rowland

Kev Rowland
MMA Special Collaborator · Errors & Omissions Team
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 3 months ago

Favorite Metal Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

582 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 65 3.63
2 Progressive Metal 61 3.97
3 Heavy Metal 50 3.49
4 Power Metal 49 3.60
5 Death Metal 48 3.96
6 Black Metal 42 3.80
7 Thrash Metal 35 3.63
8 Melodic Death Metal 21 4.19
9 Alternative Metal 17 3.56
10 Doom Metal 15 3.60
11 Metalcore 14 3.54
12 Technical Death Metal 14 3.93
13 Folk Metal 13 3.85
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 Hardcore Punk 6 3.50
23 Atmospheric Black Metal 6 3.83
24 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 6 3.58
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

KORPIKLAANI Jylhä

Album · 2021 · Folk Metal
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I have had mixed feelings about Korpiklaani over the years, as while they have long been favourites of the mass media and are certainly the closest a lot of denim and leather wearing longhairs will ever get to folk, to me they can sometimes lose their core purpose. I felt their last album, 2018’s ‘Kulkija’ was the finest of theirs I had come across, while 2015’s ‘Noita’ had too much pirate metal contained within it. The idea of having a single figure on the album cover takes us back even further, to 2012’s ‘Manala’ and the five albums which precede it, yet here we have a band who have had their first real line-up change in some time with the departure of drummer Matson, who had been with the band since their formation in 2003. He has been replaced by Samuli Mikkonen who apparently had a major impact on the demos when they were first presented by Jonne Järvelä who along with guitarist Cane are now the only original members left.

The result for their eleventh studio release is an album which to my ears is incredibly inconsistent, in that when they are good and everything comes together then they are truly great and one can fully understand why they are such heroes of the folk metal movement. But there are other times when it feels somewhat as if they are going through the motions, and we get some of that pirate folk styling thrown back in which has nothing to do with their normal influences. In a way it is incredibly frustrating as I really want to enjoy this album, and the further I get into it the better it gets, but when I start again at the beginning, I remember why I was so annoyed the last time I played it. The arrangements are massively complex and complicated, with heavy guitars and dynamic drums (Samuli is a real standout on this album) being played against accordion and violin, with wonderfully strong and emotive vocals (of course I cannot understand a word), and there are times when it is sheer brilliance, and others when they are just treading water waiting for the next section.

I am sure there are many fans who will stand with Jonne Järvelä and say it is the best thing they have ever done, but while there are some definite highlights, for me this is a move in the wrong direction.

ACCEPT Too Mean to Die

Album · 2021 · Heavy Metal
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It doesn’t really seem to matter who is in Accept, everyone knows what they need to do, and off we go with another album. Towards the end of 2018, bassist Peter Baltes announced his decision to leave the band he helped move professional in 1976, leaving guitarist Wolf Hoffmann as the only original still there. Although singer Mark Tornillo only joined in 2009, he now has the second longest tenure as everyone else is more recent, so although there is only one person who has been there for all the classics, Accept appear to be rejuvenated and with Andy Sneap at the desk have produced an album which shows them not slowing down at all, and possibly even heading off in new directions. It is interesting to see that they have also followed Helloween in that they now have three guitarists, but neither band has the complexity of arrangements beloved by the masters of the triple attack, and instead Accept use it to provide more crunch.

In the UK, Accept got widespread attention with their fifth album, ‘Balls To The Wall’, and while only Hoffmann is still there, there is no doubt that their sixteenth studio album is in direct lineage. If someone had asked me what the new Accept album was like before hearing it I would have said, crunching riffs, simple but effective solos, hard hitting Teutonic metal with hints of AC/DC, with rough and raw vocals over the top, and that is exactly what we have here. This album got to #2 in the German charts, and Top 10 in four other European countries to boot. If it ain’t broke, why fix it?

If you like Accept, then here is another album showing them what they do very well indeed, but if you haven’t enjoyed their straightforward approach in the past then it is unlikely that this is for you.

SOILWORK A Whisp of the Atlantic

EP · 2020 · Melodic Death Metal
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There is no doubt that Björn "Speed" Strid and his band of merry men have changed direction since they first started, yet that has never been enough for Strid who has also launched The Night Flight Orchestra, as well as being involved in other projects. It has got to the point that I am not always sure what to expect from Soilwork, but whatever that was, it wasn’t this. The reason for that comment is that here we find Soilwork pushing themselves way into prog metal on the title cut of this EP. The five songs include one which is just under four minutes in length, three which are more than five, and then the opening title cut which is over 16!

There is no doubt that this is the highlight of the set, with keyboard player Sven Karlsson being able to have a much larger impact on proceedings, with some lovely rippling piano as well as the over-the-top synth lines he is more well known for, while the rest of the guys take the opportunity to really rip when the time is right. They have yet to bring in a bassist, so David Andersson is again doubling up on bass and guitar, and there is a passage where he takes a bass lead and is joined by a flugelhorn which is an absolute delight. But, when it is time for him and Sylvain Coudret to get down and nasty they hit the riffs with aplomb. It would also be wrong not to make a mention of drummer Bastian Thusgaard who has been challenged to provide the support for multiple sections in a song which keeps morphing and changing throughout. Then at the front we have Björn, who spends most of his time in this song singing melodically, but also throwing in the growls we know so well, and even the odd scream. The result is something which is an absolute highlight of their lengthy career to date. They have never been afraid of changing their musical approach and challenging their audience, but to jump so overtly into prog takes a certain mindset as one can almost guarantee that many progheads will not welcome this intrusion onto their turf.

The rest of the songs do seem somewhat less after the opener, as although they are solid Soilwork numbers they just do not stand up to the sheer breadth and depth of the opener, and consequently the EP feels somewhat lopsided. “Feverish” is the highlight, with great singing from Strid, superb drums, and a consolidated concentrated approach. The question now is whether or not this EP is a stepping sound to a new Soilwork, or just an experiment, and they will revert to the tried and tested. I only hope they decided that ‘A Whisp of the Atlantic” is the right way to move forward. Only time will tell.

GLASGOW Zero Four One

Album · 1987 · Hard Rock
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Back in 1985 I was working in the center of the universe, which is Eastbourne, where the busiest day of the week was Thursday, Pension Day! To say I spent a lot of time either bored or on the train to London is something of an understatement, but then lo and behold a rock band decided to come to town! In March of that year, we were graced by Uriah Heep in full flow, and I was right at the front, loving every second of it. But before we got to Uriah Heep there was a support act who I never thought of again until I was offered this promo. Yep, back in 1985 the support act was Glasgow, and here we now have a reissue (with an additional track) of their sole 1987 album. Apparently, they were offered a deal by Neat Records earlier in their career but turned it down as they had such self-belief that they would get a better and bigger deal, which of course didn’t happen. After this album and a few singles, the band broke up.

They did not make much impact for me on the night, but I do remember thinking that in many ways they were a perfect warm-up act in that they played melodic hard rock in a style not too dissimilar to the current version of Uriah Heep (this was the Pete Goalby/John Sinclair version which released ‘Abominog’, ‘Head First’ and ‘Equator’), but there was nothing really special about them which would make them outshine the headline act. The quartet have a guest keyboard player in Don Airey, but I would never have guessed he had been involved without reading the press release as he is just providing some simplistic harmonies at times. The drums are solid and hit hard, the bass does ist stuff, but although the songs are never anything special, there is no doubt that the highlight of the band is guitarist Archie Dickson who shines throughout. Singer Mick Boyle has a very NWOBHM voice, but he is often slightly disconnected with the band or even slightly off key. He might have been able to get away with it somewhat in a live environment but here it is quite off putting.

Definitely one for collectors only, who will certainly appreciate this being made available again for the first time in a large number of years.

MY DYING BRIDE Macabre Cabaret

EP · 2020 · Doom Metal
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There was a gap of five years for fans waiting for new material until March 2020 saw the release of ‘The Ghost Of Orion’, yet later the same year the band were back with this three-track EP of more new material, checking in at 22 minutes in length. Apart from drummer Jeff Singer, who joined in 2018, and the addition of guitarist Neil Blanchett in 2019 (who is not credited on this release), the line-up of MDM has been stable for quite some time, with singer Aaron Stainthorpe and guitarist Andrew Craighan having been there since the very beginning in 1990, while bassist Lena Abé and keyboard player/violinist Shaun Macgowan have both been there for more than 10 years as well. This continuity of tenure means everyone knows what to do to create the classic My Dying Bride sound, and while the doom may be slightly quicker than it used to be, it still has the presence and emotional feeling of a band at the very top of their game.

Melancholic, thoughtful, passionate, powerful, crunching, it is all these things and so much more. Aaron has the perfect baritone for this style of music, while Andrew’s guitars have rarely sounded so on point, with a hard edge to the thunderclaps. Yet what makes this band such a dominant force is their understanding that it does not always need metal to dominate proceedings, such as adding touches of piano to take their music in a very different direction, such as on the introduction to the closing number, “A Purse of Gold and Stars”. Here the guitars take a back seat to a song about holding all our precious things close to us in a purse: it is incredibly dark, brooding, and intense. Somehow the delicate piano creates as much force as crunching guitars, even with simple chords being picked out, with just a hint of reverb – the production and overall sound is incredible. Overall, this is a wonderful piece of work and one can only hope there is yet another new album coning soon.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 1 year 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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