Kev Rowland

Kev Rowland
MMA Special Collaborator · Errors & Omissions Team
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 12 days ago

Favorite Metal Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

546 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 63 3.64
2 Progressive Metal 57 3.98
3 Power Metal 49 3.60
4 Heavy Metal 47 3.51
5 Black Metal 42 3.80
6 Death Metal 39 4.00
7 Thrash Metal 33 3.64
8 Melodic Death Metal 20 4.20
9 Alternative Metal 16 3.53
10 Metalcore 14 3.57
11 Technical Death Metal 14 3.93
12 Doom Metal 12 3.46
13 Folk Metal 12 3.88
14 Symphonic Metal 10 3.70
15 Deathcore 9 3.89
16 Glam Metal 8 3.38
17 Brutal Death Metal 8 4.06
18 Metal Related 8 4.63
19 Groove Metal 7 3.79
20 Melodic Black Metal 6 3.67
21 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 6 3.58
22 Atmospheric Black Metal 5 3.90
23 Non-Metal 5 3.80
24 US Power Metal 5 3.70
25 Symphonic Black Metal 4 4.50
26 Hardcore Punk 4 3.50
27 Heavy Psych 3 4.00
28 Industrial Metal 3 3.50
29 Melodic Metalcore 3 4.00
30 Avant-garde Metal 3 3.17
31 Crossover Thrash 3 3.33
32 Death-Doom Metal 3 4.17
33 Sludge Metal 3 2.50
34 Speed Metal 3 3.00
35 Stoner Metal 3 3.83
36 Stoner Rock 3 4.33
37 Gothic Metal 2 3.75
38 Funeral Doom Metal 2 4.00
39 NWoBHM 2 4.00
40 Pagan Black Metal 1 3.00
41 Mathcore 1 4.00
42 Heavy Alternative Rock 1 3.00
43 Grindcore 1 3.50
44 Depressive Black Metal 1 2.00
45 Death 'n' Roll 1 2.50
46 Trance Metal 1 2.50

Latest Albums Reviews

SEPULTURA Quadra

Album · 2020 · Thrash Metal
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After Max Cavalera left Sepultura I, and it must said, a great many other metalheads, felt the band lost their way somewhat and that Green just wasn’t the same type of frontman. After some years they also parted ways with Igor, bringing in Eloy Casagrande, and somewhat surprisingly for me they started to have some sort of resurrection. This started with 2013’s ‘The Mediator’ which took me somewhat by surprise, as it was easily the best album since ‘Roots’ and then in 2017 they produced ‘Machine Messiah’ which just blew me away. What on earth had happened to the band? They were back punching way above their weight producing metal with real power, heart and soul, and when I saw them on tour (supported by Death Angel!) I finally appreciated the force and presence of the guys.

It may have taken three years for them to come back with ‘Quadra’, but this time around it was an event people were waiting for as opposed to just another Sepultura album with Derrick Green on vocals, and if anything the guys have ramped it up again. They have even brought in some traditional percussion on “Capital Enslavement” – it will be nice for guest drummers to have more than just “Roots, Bloody Roots” to play along with at festivals. This is brutal groove thrash metal which looks back to their past but is also looking forward. This quartet have been together for 9 years now, with this being their third album together, and it shows. Paolo and Eloy are joined at the hip, while Eloy is being so incredibly free in his attack and adding real dynamics and aggression to the overall sound. Andreas Kisser has a monstrous deep and dark sound, and all power to producer Jens Bogren for capturing it. Then at the front there is Derrick Green. For many years he has suffered just by not being Max and was never really given the acclaim he should have been. That seemed to change virtually overnight with the release of the last album, which metalheads rightly raved over, and here he has dropped whatever weight was pulling back and he is a man possessed – it is amazing what confidence can do to a singer. It may have taken more than 20 years for the band to move on and create their own destiny, but they finally have and with ‘Machine Messiah’ to build on they are yet again taking their music to a whole new level.

This isn’t the band that gave us ‘Roots’, half of that line-up has departed, instead this is the band which has given us ‘Quadra’, for which we should all be grateful.

REVOLUTION SAINTS Rise

Album · 2020 · Hard Rock
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In some ways I don’t feel I really need to review this album, but instead just say who is involved as this feels in many ways as if all the experience the guys have learned over the years has come together in this one album. On lead vocals and drums is ex-Journey man Deen Castronovo (The Dead Daisies, Bad English), while on guitar is Doug Aldrich (The Dead Daisies, Burning Rain, ex-Whitesnake, Dio) with bassist Jack Blades (Night Ranger, Damn Yankees, Shaw/Blades). A mention should also be made of experienced keyboard player Alessandro Del Vecchio who guests on the album, but in reality it is all about the other three who have all made names for themselves in major bands and have sold many millions of records.

It is hard to pick a favourite, as this is one great melodic hard rock number after another, there is no room for wimping out here, and while Castronovo’s vocals are similar to Steve Perry the band itself is much heavier in every area. The songs all contain great hooks, the drums are hit hard, the bass is as solid as one would expect while Aldrich just plugged in and let rip whenever he was given the opportunity. This is their third album, and they are showing no sign at all of slowing down, as this hits the mark at every level, the result being something that fans of AOR will graduate towards due to the amazing vocals, while fans of hard rock will find enough in here from the likes of modern Whitesnake to make allowances for the melody. For those like me who enjoy virtually all forms of heavy music (except deathcore for some reason, as that genre just does not make sense to me at all), this is a delight from the first song to the very last.

MAGNUM The Serpent Rings

Album · 2020 · Hard Rock
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Three of the band may have been there for less than four years, with the latest recruit being bassist Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69, Place Vendome, Unisonic, among others) who replaced Al Barrow, but as long as the band include Tony Clarkin and Bob Catley then that is what really matters (the other guys are keyboardist Rick Benton and drummer Lee Morris). I first started listening to Magnum at the time of their ‘Marauder’ live album which came out in 1980, bought the previous two albums and was head of the line when they released ‘Chase The Dragon’. That album, along with ‘The Eleventh Hour’ and ‘On A Storyteller’s Night’ cemented their reputation as one of the finest hard rock/pomp rock bands around, and anyone who has been fortunate enough to catch them in concert will know that reputation is richly deserved. Magnum have developed a style which is very much their own, in that Tony concentrates mostly on chords and rarely provides guitar solos in the traditional sense, and everything about the music is deigned to concentrate on the vocals of Catley. It is hard to imagine that at the time of recording this album he was 72 years old, as his vocals are still as powerful and strong as they ever were, while the person standing to his left crunching out the songs as he has for nearly fifty years is actually a year older!

I must confess to not having heard all their albums since they reformed in 2001, but it is hard to imagine there are many much better than this, as for me this is a real return to their classic form. The years have been stripped away, and to my ears this is a far more suitable follow-up to ‘Storyteller’ than the more lacklustre ‘Vigilante’. As with the last album, the Magnum logo is the same as which originally appeared on ‘Chase The Dragon’, with another Rodney Matthews cover and while the artwork will make an old Magnum fan smile, the music inside even more so. It is classic Magnum from start to end, and I found not only was I enjoying myself immensely, but I kept turning up the volume and joining in on the choruses. Clarkin has always had a knack of writing great hooks, and this album is very much a case in point. This is a band who are never going to stop recording and touring while they are physically able to do so , and although the Covid 19 outbreak curtailed much of their European tour I am sure they will soon be out when they can, providing they are one of our classic hard rock acts.

RAGE Wings of Rage

Album · 2020 · Power Metal
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There is no doubt that since I discovered Rage in the Nineties, I have looked forward to each and every release from the band. It does not seem to matter who he has with him, as bassist/singer Peavy Wagner ensures they fit with his vision and each album is full on Rage. Here he is accompanied by Marcos Rodriguez (guitar) and Vassilios “Luckyˮ Maniatopoulos (drums) for their third album together as a unit, but although this album was only released in January it has already been announced that Rodriguez has left the band for personal reasons and Peavy is now contemplating moving the line-up back to a twin guitar attack, the first time since he totally changed the line-up back in 1999.

Peavy has been pushing this band since their formation in spring 1983, and while these days they are far more power metal than thrash, there is also a large amount of commerciality within their sound, and they are certainly one of the most recognisable metal bands around. As one has come to expect, this is a modern sounding album which also looks back over the band’s nearly forty-year career. Fans of of earthy thrash tracks with the Rage attitude will be pleased with the likes of “True” and “Wings of Rage” while those more into power metal will “Tomorrow” and “Chasing The Twilight Zone”, there really is something here for everyone. For older fans, there is even an updated take of the 1996 single release “Higher Than The Sky” which originally featured on ‘End Of All Days’, here called “‘HTTS 2.0”.

Given that Wagner is still also working with Refuge (which is the early Nineties line-up of Rage with Manni Schmidt and Chris Efthimiadis) plus Lingua Mortis Orchestra, all of which have been releasing material over the last couple of years, one can only be amazed at how he holds it all together. Yet another incredibly solid and enjoyable release.

PRAYING MANTIS Keep It Alive

Live album · 2019 · Hard Rock
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Rodney Matthews, the Troy brothers, ‘Metal For Muthas’, when someone mentions Praying Mantis to me, I always tend to think of the same things. There is no doubt there was a brief period when they were mentioned alongside some of the greats of the NWOBHM movement, and they rightfully deserved their place on one of the most important compilations of all time, and “Captured City” is a great song. That number opens this set, but when reviewing again the 1980 release, it is worth noting that only one of the bands were allowed two songs instead of one, and while some of the other groups did continue for a while, none of them ever had anything like the success of Maiden, with two of the other groups actually giving members to that band (Samson, White Spirit).

Their debut album, in 1981, some seven years after they were originally formed, ‘Time Tells No Lies’ had a cover by Rodney Matthews, but within a few years the band was gone. They reformed again in the 90’s and have been releasing and playing on and off since then. The current line-up is of course Tino Troy (guitar, vocals) and his brother Chris (bass, vocals), along with Andy Burgess (guitar) and newest members Hans in’t Zandt (drums) and singer John 'Jaycee' Cuijpers. This set was recorded live at the Frontiers Rock Festival V in Milan, Italy on 28th April 2018, and it must be said the audience were up for it and even sang “Happy Birthday” at one point. It also seems that this is an unadulterated live recording as there are a few duff notes here and there, while Cuijpers certainly misses some of the higher ones, in which case the harmony vocals must be what were being performed that night and all credit to the guys as they are very good indeed.

This is exactly the sort of album I would expect from Praying Mantis to be honest. They were only contenders for a very brief period of their career, but they have kept going through sheer determination and a refusal to give in. The songs are okay, but not brilliant, as is the musicianship, and the result is something which any fan of melodic hard rock will probably enjoy without ever getting too excited. Singer Cuijpers certainly feels the band are far larger than they are in reality, and one wonders if that is because he normally plies his trade in tribute bands (a quick glance at EM lists him currently being in Foreigner, Thin Lizzy, Iron Maiden and Van Halen cover acts).

I was 16 in 1979 when NWOBHM started to gain traction and the metal scene in the UK started to explode. I sought out independent releases, read everything Deaf Barton had to say about it, and listened to TV on the Radio. To be honest, even though I was seeking out bands like Angel Witch, Mythra, Chainsaw, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Handsome Beasts and so many others, I never bought any Praying Mantis releases in their heyday, and have not looked for any since then (even though Dennis Stratton was with the band for years when they reformed, and I always liked him). Having listened to this I do not think I have really missed out on anything, and while I may watch them at a festival such as this one, I may also feel inspired to go to the bar.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 1 year 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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