Kev Rowland

Kev Rowland
MMA Special Collaborator · Errors & Omissions Team
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 5 days ago

Favorite Metal Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

648 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 74 3.64
2 Progressive Metal 63 3.94
3 Death Metal 55 3.95
4 Heavy Metal 53 3.49
5 Power Metal 53 3.56
6 Black Metal 44 3.80
7 Thrash Metal 42 3.62
8 Melodic Death Metal 27 4.11
9 Alternative Metal 18 3.58
10 Technical Death Metal 16 3.97
11 Doom Metal 15 3.60
12 Folk Metal 13 3.85
13 Deathcore 13 3.77
14 Metalcore 13 3.46
15 Groove Metal 13 3.85
16 Symphonic Metal 12 3.79
17 Brutal Death Metal 9 4.00
18 Glam Metal 8 3.38
19 Hardcore Punk 8 3.44
20 Melodic Black Metal 7 3.64
21 Melodic Metalcore 7 4.07
22 Metal Related 7 4.79
23 Non-Metal 6 3.75
24 Atmospheric Black Metal 6 3.83
25 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 6 3.58
26 US Power Metal 6 3.83
27 Symphonic Black Metal 6 4.42
28 Stoner Metal 4 3.75
29 Avant-garde Metal 4 3.50
30 Crossover Thrash 4 3.38
31 Gothic Metal 4 4.00
32 Death-Doom Metal 4 4.13
33 Sludge Metal 3 2.50
34 Speed Metal 3 3.00
35 Heavy Psych 3 4.00
36 Industrial Metal 3 3.50
37 Stoner Rock 3 4.33
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 Cybergrind 1 3.50
43 Pagan Black Metal 1 3.00
44 Nu Metal 1 4.00
45 Mathcore 1 4.00
46 Heavy Alternative Rock 1 3.00
47 Technical Thrash Metal 1 4.00
48 Trance Metal 1 2.50

Latest Albums Reviews


Album · 2023 · Avant-garde Metal
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I first came across Avenged Sevenfold at the time of ‘City of Evil’ and soon went back and grabbed the earlier albums, loving their sound and approach. However, for some weird reason I lost track of what they were doing after 2010’s ‘Nightmare’ and this is the first album I have heard since then. We still have the same core quartet of M. Shadows, Johnny Christ, Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance along with drummer Brooks Wackerman who joined the band in time for their last album, “The Stage’, and who is probably best known for his long tenure with Bad Religion. Seven years between albums is a long time for any band, but of course there was the small matter of a worldwide pandemic which impacted everyone on the planet. This has also allowed the band to reflect and ensure they have delivered exactly what they wanted. and the result is something which is far more expansive and simply bigger than I would have ever have expected from them. We also have a nod to the past with some lyrics and a bridge included on this which were written by The Rev.

This is a modern metal album which is a long way from their roots, but somehow is also tied to them. There is a passage on “We Love You” which is pure Freddie Mercury and Queen, but it soon switches into Nine Inch Nails and some blistering riffs. I mean, they worked with the 78-piece San Bernardino Symphony orchestra, there is also acoustic guitar, but also plenty of the riffs and attacks we have come to associate with them over the years. To me this is an album where the band have massively changed yet somehow have kept tied to their roots so while the sheer breadth is quite astonishing, they have also ensured older fans will still find plenty on here to enjoy. M. Shadows is singing the best I have ever heard from him, no strain whatsoever and a wonderfully emotional performance which is perfectly suited to the arrangements behind him, although when they decide to go hard, they do just that. In some ways this is reminiscent of the latest Slipknot album in that they also have refused to be pigeonholed and only time will tell as to which will have the biggest impact in the long run. Given that the core quartet have been together since 2002, they are solid in what each of them can achieve and have grown and changed organically, growing up along the way and there is no doubt in my mind that this is their best release to date which should both satisfy old fans and gain them many new ones.


Album · 2023 · Hard Rock
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It is strange to think this band have been around for more than 30 years now, with guitarists Mats Hallstensson and Anders Lundström there since the very beginning, and while this is the fifth album since Andreas Novak (vocals) and Martin Larsson (drums) joined there has been a new bassist since 2019’s ‘Radiocarbon’ with the arrival of Per Schelander. Only Larsson doesn’t provide backing vocals, and it is the arrangements which make this band stand out as they know how to provide good powering melodic rock yet always with those wonderful harmonies. Novak is a great singer, and the result is yet another fine example of a band who are at the top of their game. It is as if grunge never happened, while thrash, death and black metal are the nightmares you scare young children with. The Swedes continue to play as if Journey are the biggest band on the planet, and unlike some acts on the Frontiers label this is not a project, but a band grown from the ground up. Last year saw the 25th anniversary of their wonderful debut, ‘Lint’, but they refuse to just look back (although the special anniversary edition is well worth seeking out) as this is as fresh and exciting as the band were when they first came to my attention with that album back in ’97.

Some melodic rock bands concentrate on the former and forget the latter, meaning the music can have way too much sugar, yet HoS get the balance just right, maintaining an edge on the guitars while providing loads of hooks and songs which all sound as if they could be released as singles and do well in the charts. They provide drama when the time is right, as with the closing title track, and anthem after anthem, ensuring the melodic rock fan comes away fully satiated. They are undoubtedly one of my favourite bands from this genre as they continually deliver, album after album, and after three decades in the business show no sign whatsoever of slowing down.


Album · 2023 · Technical Death Metal
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I must admit, it has been a few years since I last came across an album by Cattle Decapitation, and to say I was surprised when I played this is something of an understatement. This is their eighth studio album, their second with the five-piece line-up of Travis Ryan (vocals), Josh Elmore (guitar), Dave McGraw (drums), Belisario Dimuzio (guitar) and Olivier Pinard (bass), and is way more polished than anything I ever expected from them. They may have started in the grindcore movement, but they are now much more in progressive death, never satisfied and always moving. Ryan has been there pretty much since the beginning and has long had a reputation as one of the more varied singers in the scene, but here he seems to reach into deeper lows, truly guttural, while also providing solid black metal stylings while also able to move into the melodic. At the back is McGraw, long regarded as one of the finest blast beat drummers in the business and here he demonstrates he is far more than just vicious speed, providing a real groove and switching styles and tempos to provide an ever-moving platform for those in front of him.

May people view ‘Death Atlas’, their 2019 album, as the pinnacle of their career to date, right up to the release of this one as the consensus is they have pushed ahead and created something that is just more, in every way. Certainly, there is a power and drama within this which is visceral and will appear to those who want their music to be brutal and uncompromising but there is far more going on than just heads down and meet you at the end as there is a huge amount of complexity within this, with styles changing and complicated arrangements which demonstrate there is far more to this band than just playing riffs quickly. The use of space and different tempos means that when they decide to hit hard there really is an impact as it is not being lost among all the noise but instead there is plenty of contrast to give the dramatic effect it deserves. If you ever felt that Cattle Decapitation were somewhat one-dimensional then this album proves otherwise.


Album · 2023 · Thrash Metal
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It is strange to think that even though they did not record their debut album until 1985, Overkill actually predate the Big 4 of Thrash, and still have two of their founders in the band. One always knows what to expect with these guys as they found their style early, and have never moved too far away from that, being so influenced by Motörhead that they used to play many covers in the early days as well as taking their name from the band. Mind you, they have always been somewhat more melodic while Bobby Ellsworth has always had a great set of pipes and shows no sign at all of slowing down even though he is in his sixties now.

As with all bands, their plans were disrupted due to Covid as they originally intended to record the follow-up to ‘The Wings of War’ in 2020 and release it the following year, but that didn’t happen and due to many factors it took until April 2023 for this to finally see the light of the day, but long-time fans will be pleased to know there has been no change in style in the intervening years. Another joy is the production which is crunching and old-fashioned and I was not surprised to discover Colin Richardson had mixed this, as he has always had a great understanding of what to do with heavy music and is still one of the best around.

As for the music? It’s Overkill, so if you have any of their albums then you know what this is like, thrash which is influenced heavily by NWOBHM, loads of melody and riffs all fronted by a powering singer. Is this earth shattering? No, not really. Is it as good as 2017’s ‘The Grinding Wheel’? Probably not but is still a heck of a lot of fun all the same and long may they continue.


Album · 1996 · Black Metal
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Here we have a deluxe reissue of Behemoth’s second album, 1996’s ‘Grom’. Following on from a series of demo tapes, with 1994’s ‘...From the Pagan Vastlands’ being widely acclaimed, they released their debut, ‘Sventevith (Storming Near the Baltic)’ in 1995, with a line-up which at the time only had founders Adam "Nergal" Darski (lead vocals, guitars) and Adam "Baal Ravenlock" Muraszko (drums and backing vocals) plus a couple of guests. However, by the time they went into the studio for this they had been joined by bassist Leszek "Les" Dziegielewski, plus guests Piotr Weltrowski (December's Fire) on synthesizers and singer Celina. This was the last album to feature Baal, and the only one for Les, with the band stretching their black metal wings even further.

I am not sure why they have decided to reissue this in 2023, as that makes it 27 years as opposed to 25 or 30 but given this has been reissued multiple times it is nice to see it finally get the approach it deserves. This is available digitally, as a 2 CD media book, and a gatefold 2 LP. Physical formats include bonus audio material and booklets containing exclusive archival content. Rare bonus material contains cover versions, rehearsals, and live tracks and while I would have preferred everything to have come from the original period, I can fully understand why they finish with a modern take of “Lasy Pomorza”. What makes this album so interesting from a casual listener’s point of view is the way they are bringing in so many diverse elements, with the acoustic guitar on the title cut being a nice way of changing the approach, while Les’s bass is clear and distinct as he adds melody against Nergal’s buzzsaw. It is the diversity which makes this so interesting, although there is an argument for the guitar to be a little higher in the mix and for Celina not to have been used at all as she is not the best singer in the world. The additional tracks will certainly be enough for those who already have this album to purchase it again, while it is interesting to hear that Nergal is already itching to get back into the studio to follow up on ‘Opvs Contra Natvram’.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Band Member Revision
  • 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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