Kev Rowland

Kev Rowland
MMA Special Collaborator · Errors & Omissions Team
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 18 hours ago

Favorite Metal Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

499 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 54 3.65
2 Progressive Metal 53 3.98
3 Heavy Metal 46 3.53
4 Power Metal 43 3.62
5 Black Metal 40 3.80
6 Death Metal 38 3.99
7 Thrash Metal 32 3.63
8 Melodic Death Metal 16 4.19
9 Metalcore 14 3.57
10 Alternative Metal 14 3.43
11 Technical Death Metal 13 3.92
12 Folk Metal 11 3.77
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 Melodic Black Metal 6 3.67
19 Glam Metal 6 3.58
20 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 6 3.58
21 Non-Metal 5 4.00
22 Groove Metal 5 4.00
23 US Power Metal 5 3.70
24 Symphonic Black Metal 4 4.50
25 Hardcore Punk 4 3.50
26 Atmospheric Black Metal 4 4.00
27 Avant-garde Metal 3 3.17
28 Crossover Thrash 3 3.33
29 Death-Doom Metal 3 4.17
30 Melodic Metalcore 3 4.00
31 Heavy Psych 3 4.00
32 Industrial Metal 3 3.50
33 Speed Metal 3 3.00
34 Stoner Metal 3 3.83
35 Stoner Rock 3 4.33
36 NWoBHM 2 4.00
37 Sludge Metal 2 2.75
38 Gothic Metal 2 3.75
39 Grindcore 1 3.50
40 Funeral Doom Metal 1 4.00
41 Depressive Black Metal 1 2.00
42 Death 'n' Roll 1 2.50
43 Pagan Black Metal 1 3.00
44 Heavy Alternative Rock 1 3.00
45 Trance Metal 1 2.50

Latest Albums Reviews

TWILIGHT FORCE Dawn of the Dragonstar

Album · 2019 · Power Metal
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I must be honest, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to playing the latest album from Twilight Force, having not been a fan of their previous two efforts, and when it commenced with a spoken intro which reminded me for some reason of ‘He-Man and the Masters of the Universe’ I inwardly groaned. But what was this? Soaring orchestration over the top of a metal band in full flow with drumming powering it along? Who found the controls in the production suite and turned up the bottom end? Hang on, that’s a new singer as well, and although he can hit the high notes he also sings lower with plenty of passion and emotion. A quick look at the press release and I see that the new singer is Allyon, but given everyone in this band likes to use pseudonyms I did some more checking and realised this is none other than Allessandro Conti who has been working with Fabio Lione in their own band, and was also in Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody for 7 years prior to joining Twilight Force. He is a bona fide rock star in the world of power metal, and all of a sudden this band has come to life.

All the strengths have been kept from the previous two albums, but the weaknesses and concerns have been dissipated and here is a band which is playing as if their lives depended on it. This is such a step up from the previous two albums that it is almost like a brand new band, but the only new person in the band is Conti – everyone else was on the last album, while just rhythm guitarist Aerendir didn’t feature on the debut as he joined afterwards. But the dynamics have changed, the production and arrangements have greatly improved and here is a band on a roll. I may not have enjoyed the first two, but this one has been on my player a great deal, as even the twee moments which annoyed me on the first two here make me smile as the context is so much better. Definitely worth investigating.

TWILIGHT FORCE Heroes of Mighty Magic

Album · 2016 · Power Metal
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2016 saw Twilight Force return with their second album. Since the debut they had changed drummers and also added an additional guitarist so were now running with a traditional twin attack. The drumming has definitely improved but the production hasn’t, neither has the one-dimensional feel of the band, and although they have been using more orchestration it still feels like they are treading water and need a good shaking to move to the next level. All the influences from the debut album are still here, while Eriksson still hits the notes with ease but there is little breadth and depth to the vocals. As for the guitars, they often appear to be hiding in the same room as the bass, and couldn’t bother to turn up for the sessions. Signed to Nuclear Blast, who generally have a great roster with strong producers I was somewhat surprised to hear another album so similar to the debut as while it contains with same strengths as before, it also has plenty of the same weaknesses.

It is strange to think there are two years between albums and with two new members of personnel as all this material could have easily sat on the debut as well. I am sure that anyone who loves the debut will think this is just as indispensable. As for me, next!

TWILIGHT FORCE Tales of Ancient Prophecies

Album · 2014 · Power Metal
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This 2014 album was the debut from Swedish power metal outfit Twilight Force, and there is no doubt at all from looking around the web that this is one which many people rate very highly indeed. I can understand that in many ways, in that they are taking some of the best bits of classic Stratovarius, have plenty of shredding, and in Christian Eriksson (here going by the name Chrileon) they have someone who can hit very high notes indeed. The problem for me is that it is incredibly one-dimensional and is combined with very flat production which has no depth and the bottom end just hasn’t been catered for whatsoever. I know they are described as power metal outfit, but this is way more hard rock than metal, although there is no doubt whatsoever that Philip Lindh (here going by the name Lynd) is a heck of a guitarist.

The first time I played this I was decorating the garage, which meant I had plenty of boring painting to undertake and wanted an album which I could really enjoy and get a lot from, but I soon found the white walls were more interesting which is not what I expected at all. There are some spoken bits and pieces, and choirs are utilised at times, but to me it felt as if Helloween had been crossed with Angria and Malmsteen but with all the depth and soul ripped out of it. They are great musicians, with some interesting material at times, but while it isn’t an album I would dismiss totally out of hand I can’t see it being one to which I will return even though apparently it is the best thing since sliced bread.

NILE Vile Nilotic Rites

Album · 2019 · Technical Death Metal
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In the years between the release of 2015’s ‘What Should Not Be Unearthed’ and 2019’s ‘Vile Nilotic Rites’ there has been some changes in the Nile camp, with the departure of Dallas Toler-Wade after some 20 years of being in the band. The band are again back as a quartet, with Sanders and Kollias being joined by Brad Parris (bass, vocals) and Brian Kingsland (guitars, vocals), but most importantly is what has happened to the music. Nile have looked back towards their roots in many ways, yet are also pushing forward with an album which is many ways is one of the most varied they have ever released. There is a brightness within it, a light which is shining, which allows them to move away from the lower register without ever losing any of the heaviness.

There are times when both guitars and bass are tracking note for note at incredible speed, with the bass being played so high up on the neck that it sounds almost like another guitar which allows space to be filled by the drumming of Kollias who has apparently got a second wind as this release probably contains his best performance yet. Apparently the band changed the way they undertook pre-production this time so when George was tracking his drums he had a much better idea of the finished sound. We even have orchestral passages which allow the band to have improved contrast so they can really come back firing. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a Nile album I haven’t really enjoyed, but this is taking things to a whole new level. The use of brass during “Seven Horns of War” is simply inspired, yet when the band really kick in the song becomes something down, dirty, disgusting and most definitely Nile.

It is still technical death metal, but in many ways they are pushing the boundaries and taking the genre into new directions. Lyrically Sanders is still pushing the boat with references to Egyptian, Mesopotamian, and Levantine history, and who else would have a song about zombie ants? Sanders and Kollias are firmly at the helm, and with the new guys firmly on board and bedded in on the live circuit, they have created what may just be the best album of their career. It is certainly their most diverse, without losing any of the power and brutality for which they are renowned. Simply essential.

NILE What Should Not be Unearthed

Album · 2015 · Technical Death Metal
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This 2015 album was the fourth in eight years with the same line-up of Karl Sanders (guitars, bass, vocals) , Dallas Toler-Wade (guitars, bass, v) and George Kollias (drums). Unlike many metal bands, drummer Kollias is a key songwriter, contributing the music to most of the tracks on the album. At this point it was 20 years since their debut EP, and although only Sanders was still there from those early days, the band had really matured and were (and are) at the pinnacle of technical death metal. Is there another band within the genre who are so instantly recognisable and who consistently deliver albums of such high calibre?

Some people try to make the argument that if you’ve got a Nile album in your collection then you really don’t need any more, but could you just have one album by Sabbath, or just one by Mk II Deep Purple? In each case they have a style they have made very much their own, yet each album is very different in its own right yet conforming to a certain style. I have always loved the technical virtuosity combined with brutal heaviness which is typical of Nile, combined with vocals which sound as if they are being dragged out from a demonic plane. 20 years in the game and the band are only getting heavier and more powerful with age – this is not a sign of a band going gently into the good night, but is going to be kicking and screaming and devil take the hindmost. Brutal and fast with incredible note density combined with dynamics and different shades of dark to provide contrast, this is yet another incredibly strong example of the very best in the genre.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 11 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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