Kev Rowland

Kev Rowland
MMA Special Collaborator · Errors & Omissions Team
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 25 days ago

Favorite Metal Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

654 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 56 3.96
4 Heavy Metal 53 3.49
5 Power Metal 53 3.56
6 Black Metal 46 3.80
7 Thrash Metal 43 3.60
8 Melodic Death Metal 27 4.11
9 Alternative Metal 18 3.58
10 Technical Death Metal 17 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 US Power Metal 7 3.79
24 Symphonic Black Metal 6 4.42
25 Non-Metal 6 3.75
26 Atmospheric Black Metal 6 3.83
27 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 6 3.58
28 Avant-garde Metal 4 3.50
29 Crossover Thrash 4 3.38
30 Gothic Metal 4 4.00
31 Death-Doom Metal 4 4.13
32 Stoner Metal 4 3.75
33 Stoner Rock 3 4.33
34 Sludge Metal 3 2.50
35 Speed Metal 3 3.00
36 Heavy Psych 3 4.00
37 Industrial Metal 3 3.50
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

CADAVER The Age of the Offended

Album · 2023 · Death Metal
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It may have taken Cadaver 16 years to return with their fifth album, but the same line-up of Neddo (vocals, guitar, bass) and Dirk Verbeuren (drums) have produced the sixth after only three. I was quite a fan of ‘Edder & Bile’ and was intrigued to hear what the latest one would be like, and I was not disappointed. One of the joys of Cadaver is that while they are renowned for being a death metal band, formed some 35 years ago by Neddo and others, they are always looking to do something quite different. This time around they commence with “Sycophants Swing” which is what a jazz band would sound like if they were trapped in an asylum and forced to play the same tune for 20 or 30 years, and one can only wonder what will come next.

That next is “Postapocalyptic Grinding” where Dirk shows he can blast as well as anyone and they straddle the boundaries of death and grind, yet when they come to tracks such as “Dissolving Chaos” the result is something that is far slower and almost power metal in its approach but with some black metal overtones. This is an extreme metal album which refuses to sit solidly within just one genre and instead keeps showing what they are capable of, with their cover of “Deadly Metal” being pure thrash from beginning to end. Norwegian metal legend Ronni Le Tekrø, guitarist with old school heroes TNT, can be heard shredding like a madman all over the album. He originally came in just to play a blistering solo on that track but had so much fun he stayed! It is also interesting to note that double-bass maestro Eilert Solstad, who performed on Cadaver’s second album, 1992’s ‘....In Pains’, returns on the murderous ‘Scum Of The Earth’, adding scabrous textures and subterranean tones.

Neddo recently fought cancer and came out the other side, and has used that experience to motivate himself even more, the result being an exciting album from a band who are pointedly refusing to rest on their laurels but instead are out to show there is plenty of life in them yet.

MARDUK Memento Mori

Album · 2023 · Black Metal
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In some ways Marduk have been incredibly stable in that founder guitarist Evil (Morgan Steinmeyer Håkansson) has been at the helm for more than 20 years while singer Mortuus (Daniel Rostén) joined all the way back in 2004 but in other areas not so much. Drummer Bloodhammer (Simon Schilling) only joined in 2019, after the last album, while long-term bassist Devo (Magnus Andersson) left in 2019 to concentrate on session work (although he has guested on this album, while Mortuus and ex-bassist Joel Lindholm also contribute). One always knows what to expect with Marduk, and with their fifteenth studio album they have not disappointed.

When asked about ‘Memento Mori’ Daniel Rostén said, “Memento Mori is, all at once, a bold leap forward, a calculated sidestep, and a wistful backward glance. Meaning, we have broken new ground without forgetting our legacy or the journey that brought us to this point.” This actually makes sense as while there are obvious links back to the last album, ‘Viktoria’, and others going all the way back to the Nineties, the band are still attempting to progress within the black metal scene while never moving out of it. There are times, such as on “Charlatan”, where the drums, vocals and guitar are all moving in one direction while the bass is very much in another, which creates some space within the music and then when the bass aligns itself again it feels quite dramatic and more forceful. The use of micro breaks of space allows the music to reset and come back hard again while drummer Simon Schilling is a real find and it is no surprise that he is in so much demand (At the Grave, Eucharist, Hate Manifesto, Nervecell (live), ex-Belphegor, ex-Panzerchrist, ex-Paragon Belial, ex-Streams of Blood, ex-As Stormclouds Gather (live), ex-Der Weg einer Freiheit (live), ex-Fleshcrawl (live), ex-Infestus (live), ex-Kaoteon (live), ex-Monument of Misanthropy (live), ex-Nargaroth (live)) as he is a force to be reckoned with, providing an over the top dynamic attack yet he also knows when to pull back and provide more space.

More than 30 years since their inception, Marduk show no sign at all of slowing down yet.

IMMORTAL War Against All

Album · 2023 · Black Metal
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I don’t have the energy to try and encapsulate everything which has happened with Immortal over the years and the legal battles which have taken place, but since the departure of Abbath in 2015 Demonaz has again started playing guitar and also took on lead vocals. Drummer Horgh is no longer in the band, leaving Demonaz as the sole member (this was completed with producer/bassist/guitarist Arve Isdal (Enslaved) and guest drummer Kevin Kvåle (Gaahls Wyrd)). Immortal have long been thought of as one of the top black metal bands around, due to the importance of their first seven albums, with the last of these being 2002’s ‘Sons of Northern Darkness’. However, since then there has been a singular dearth of releases with just one album featuring Abbath, Demonaz and Horgh, and this is the second since Abbath departed and the first without Horgh since 1997’s ‘Blizzard Beasts’.

Okay, history lesson over, so what is this actually like? Well, it’s bloody good, that’s what. Demonaz stayed with the band as lyricist after he lost the ability to play guitar due to acute tendonitis back in the Nineties, but an operation in 2013 allowed him to play again, and he is obviously relishing the opportunity while he also shows he could have taken on a more leading role in the vocal department as he sounds as if he has always been doing this instead of just recently. This is a statement album if there ever was one, with Demonaz showing he is proud to be working under the name Immortal and is determined the music lives up to the legacy. This is not a cash-in, but rather a concerted powerful effort of someone who wants to restore what the band used to be about, driving the scene forward. Okay, so we could have done without the instrumental “Nordlandhir” as it is just too twee and nice when compared with the rest of the album, but Demonaz more than makes up for it with the likes of “Immortal” where he tells us he is a god of the North, “I am immortal, my spirit of ice, My blood is frozen, I dwell in the cold”. This has all the signs of a band reborn, with what is easily the best album from Immortal in many years. If you have wondered what has been happening with this once-great band then wonder no more, as they are back with a vengeance.

EVILE The Unknown

Album · 2023 · Thrash Metal
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It is difficult to believe that Evile have been going for nearly 20 years now, but here they are back with their sixth album. There have been some changes over the years of course, with original bassist Mike Alexander dying from a pulmonary embolism back in 2009, founding lead guitarist Ol Drake leaving in 2013 for five years, and then him taking over on lead vocals in 2020 when his brother Matt also left. These days Ol Drake is on lead vocals and guitar, Ben Carter (the only musician to stay the course) is on drums, Mike’s replacement Joel Graham is on bass while Adam Smith joined on guitars in 2020, and this is their second album together, following on from ‘Hell Unleashed’.

Evile seemed to be everywhere when they released ‘Enter The Grave’ in 2007, but after 2013’s ‘The Skull’ they had a break from the recording process, which means Ol Drake has appeared on all the albums even though he was not in the band for five years. I didn’t hear the last one, but there is no doubt that the guys have carried on with their earlier Metallica fixation, but like that band one must wonder if their best years are behind them. It is easy to argue that the first four Metallica albums are truly essential, but nothing since, and here we find Evile finding inspiration from ‘Metallica’ and ‘Load’ which is not where I would be headed if it were me. There is undoubtedly a market for that style of music, or at least there was, given that ‘Metallica’ (seems strange to write that, I always think of it as ‘The Black Album’) has sold more than 31 million copies, and many kids grew up playing “Enter Sandman”. The frustrating thing is in the likes of “Sleepless Eyes”, “Out of Sight” and “Balance of Time” the guys show us they have not forgotten they know how to thrash like good ‘uns and they stand out incredibly clearly against the banality and middle of the road style they play for most of the album. If it had been all like this then I know I would have been raving over this as something to discover, but sadly it isn’t. At one point, Evile were showing Metallica and others the way to play meaningful thrash in the 21st Century, let us hope they remember how to do that again in future.

CRYPTOPSY As Gomorrah Burns

Album · 2023 · Technical Death Metal
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It has taken 11 years for Canadian Death Metallers Cryptopsy to return with their eighth full-length album, and it is interesting to read the differing reviews which are popping up. Some are saying it is the best since the departure of Lord Worm, some say that may be the case but that doesn’t mean much, others still think their one foray into deathcore immediately excludes them from ever releasing anything worthwhile, then others ask what happened to the band which released the classic ‘None So Vile’? I didn’t hear that one at the time, but I was asked to review ‘None So Live’ some 20 years ago and I was immediately taken by the Canucks, searching out past releases as there was something about them which I immediately enjoyed. But I didn’t come across the studio albums after that, and it is only now they have signed with Nuclear Blast that they have again come onto my radar.

Drummer Flo Mounier has long been widely regarded as one of the very finest in the scene, able to switch styles and beats throughout, always driving the band from the back, and here he is in his element. Christian Donaldson has multi-tracked guitars on top of guitars to create layers of intricacy, while bassist Olivier Pinard either sits in the pocket or even jumps out at the front to add nuances, while singer Matt McGachy is in total control. There is a powerful use of contrast within this album, with slower sections here and there, solos which are more controlled than then absolute shredfest one might expect, while the riffs are massively complex and dynamic. I enjoyed the earlier period of this band, and while the fanbase does appear somewhat split on this, to my ears ‘As Gomorrah Burns’ is a very fine album indeed, with its only major fault being that at just 8 songs and 33 minutes in length it is just too short. If you enjoy technical death metal then this is one to seek out as Cryptopsy are back with a bang.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted more than 2 years 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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