Kev Rowland

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

Favorite Metal Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

487 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 53 3.66
2 Progressive Metal 52 3.98
3 Heavy Metal 46 3.53
4 Black Metal 40 3.80
5 Power Metal 39 3.60
6 Death Metal 37 4.00
7 Thrash Metal 30 3.67
8 Melodic Death Metal 16 4.19
9 Metalcore 14 3.57
10 Alternative Metal 14 3.43
11 Folk Metal 11 3.77
12 Technical Death Metal 11 3.86
13 Doom Metal 10 3.35
14 Metal Related 8 4.38
15 Brutal Death Metal 8 4.06
16 Symphonic Metal 8 3.75
17 Deathcore 7 4.07
18 Glam Metal 6 3.58
19 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 6 3.58
20 Melodic Black Metal 6 3.67
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 Atmospheric Black Metal 4 4.00
26 Avant-garde Metal 3 3.17
27 Crossover Thrash 3 3.33
28 Death-Doom Metal 3 4.17
29 Hardcore Punk 3 3.33
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 Trance Metal 1 2.50

Latest Albums Reviews

FORMICARIUS Rending The Veil Of Flesh

Album · 2020 · Symphonic Black Metal
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This is the second album from Formicarius, who have brought in of Kevin Paradis of Benighted to provide drum duties this time around. He isn’t the only guest either as Sakis Tolis (Rotting Christ) and Nicholas Miller (Aklash) are involved on “Early Will I Seek Thee”. Both bassist Hægtesse and guitarist Lord Saunders provide different types of vocals, while there are also some female backing vocals here and there which provide some clarity through the symphonic black metal onslaught which I suspect are provided by keyboard player Morath. The final member of the band is lead guitarist Nazarkardeh, who can often be found leading the death metal act De Profundis.

There are times when this album is very good indeed, showcasing all that one would expect from this style of music, but for me it just isn’t consistent enough to make it a great piece of work. There is a reason why notes are seldom held for very long from singers in this style of music, and there are too many instances when there is just too much quavering and going off key. But the use of a twin vocal attack of black and death must be applauded as it’s not something which is heard very often. I would like the keyboards to be more aggressive and slightly more forward in the mix, but that would have to be at degradation of the guitars which are very good indeed with strong interlinks and riffs. It easy to see why Paradis is in such demand these days as he really takes control here and provides an incredible foundation for the rest of the band to work with.

If they can keep him in the band and continue to drive forward then the next album could see them taking the genre to a whole new level.

AXE Final Offering

Album · 2019 · Hard Rock
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I can’t have been the only person to be rather surprised to hear there was a new Axe album available, given that the only releases in the last 19 years have been an anthology and a live DVD. But yes, singer/guitarist Bobby Barth has pulled together another band under that moniker and here we have the first new music since ‘The Crown’. Given that most of the years since that release in 2000 Barth has been involved with the other band for which he is most regarded, Blackfoot, it isn’t surprising that there is only one other survivor from the last Axe album, namely co-singer and keyboard player Bob Harris. This is the seventh album to have the Axe name but given that Barth is now 67 and four of the albums were released before 1984 the title of this could well be accurate if history is anything to go by.

Talking of history, one wonders what would have happened with the band if Barth and guitarist Michael Osborne hadn’t been involved in a car accident in the summer of 1984 which saw Barth badly injured and his friend pass away. Axe were finished that day in many ways, yet they had started with major promise in that the whole band were all veterans of many years playing clubs and cover music, with four lead singers, and all writers. They signed a deal before they ever played a gig, and like any young metalheads at the time I certainly knew of them back then. But what was this album going to sound like? Was it going to be heads down and meet you at the end? Look at the cover, a double-headed battle axe which is transformed into a guitar, but that certainly doesn’t describe what is inside.

I understand why the album was released under the name Axe, as it certainly made people like me sit up and take notice who remembered them, but I only hope the name and imagery doesn’t put others off who may not have heard of them before as this is polished and gorgeous from the start to the very last note. This is an album which could have been released by Axe at the height of their powers, and it is as if the last 35 years just haven’t happened as they mix and move through different styles of melodic hard rock. There is restraint, and the voices as well as the approach have matured, and the songs are all the better for it. In some ways it reminded me somewhat of the latest Black Oak Arkansas, more in approach than sound, as old rockers show the rest of the world they still have a great deal to offer and there is no doubt we are all richer for having this made available. Eleven songs on the CD but Escape Music have also released this on vinyl and for that there is one extra. If you had ever wondered what had happened with Axe then wonder no more, as with this release they are very much back centre stage and anyone who enjoys melodic well-crafted hard rock will find much on here to enjoy.

MEMORIAM Requiem for Mankind

Album · 2019 · Death Metal
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Memoriam were originally formed by singer Karl Willetts (Bolt Thrower) to fill the void left by the death of his bandmate, drummer Martin ‘Kiddie’ Kearns, and the new project was formed with old mates drummer Andrew Whales, guitarist Scott Fairfax and bassist Frank Healy. All four have been around the extreme scene for some years, and now here they are back with their third album in as many years.They have also used the same cover artist for all, so there is a consistent image coming through visually, as well as musically. As for the music, this is old school early Nineties melodic death metal, incredibly solid with some atmospheric interludes which slip more into black metal territory.

It is solid, as one would expect from musicians who have all been doing this for many years, who have played with each other in different acts, but I am having an issue with giving this the same rave reviews I have seen elsewhere. It does really feel at times as if they are going through the motions and following a melodic death metal playbook. They slow it down, they speed it up, they go quiet, they go loud, there are instrumental sections and others where Karl is very much in control, but there is no real feeling of passion, no emotion or openness. It is a wall of sound, and there are times when I found I had been listening to the album but actually hadn’t heard any of it so had to go back again. While it is playing it is fairly interesting, but as to whether it is something I would deliberately take down off the shelf to play is another matter altogether. Solid, but little more than that.

YGODEH Bunker 132

Album · 2019 · Death Metal
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I’ve been in contact with Piton for about 5 or 6 years now, reviewing both Ygodeh and Sectlinefor, and one thing I have always really enjoyed about his work is his refusal to accept what has happened in the past and to keep reinventing what is going on. Back with their fifth album, Piton (synths, guitars) and vocalist Andre S Cura have reinvented the band and the image. Cura is now Reverend Jeyzus, a mad self-proclaimed prophet of YGODEH turing every live performance into a sermon, while Piton is a sociopathic surgeon who performs live on a home-build guitar made from an old vacuum cleaner and some tent poles found at the side of the road somewhere in Tottenham. They have been joined in their Mad Max post-apocalyptic world by bassist Dan King who goes under the guise of The Kaptain, a former submarine brothel owner who after a mutiny was left drifting around the Atlantic in a rubber dingy with only a bottle of Captain Morgan as company. Having lost his mind, he believes himself to be Captain Morgan and the band bus to be a pirate ship. The line-up is completed with the addition of drummer Morten Fausboll who in real life is of course Melissa Rable, a gender confused, bionic pleasure machine that was found discharged by the side of the road. After recharged, showing incredible, pre-programmed rhythmic capabilities, she was put behind the drums. Got that?

Musically it is very much business as usual, or at least whatever usual business is in the twisted world of these guys. Piton was originally in straight death metal band, and he has taken those influences and combined them with synth and rap to create something which is dark and very, very twisted. Andre is also still as demented as he has been since he started working with Piton in 2012, with gruff death vocals giving way to Eminem-style rap, while musically they try and give voice to the image they have created. In many ways the photos one can find on their wonderful website, is a visual representation of what one can hear through the speakers in that it is a jumble of so many things that just shouldn’t sit together, ever. This is music which is progressive in its truest sense as it pushes through and makes a big mess of everything it touches. There are times when it comes across as the weirdest underground pop you’ve ever heard, at others it is crunching and dirty, often all at once and there is a feeling of real passion, power and an incredible sense of being.

I am convinced that 99 people out of 100 will think this is awful, but that 1% will find something here which is both majestic and inspiring, taking the work of bands like Art Zoyd and twisting it into something special and different indeed.

WINGS OF DESTINY Butterfly Effect

Album · 2017 · Power Metal
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Wings of Destiny are a power metal band from Costa Rica, fronted by a Russian singer. This 2017 release was their third full-length album, and they recently released another, ‘Revelations’. This is the only album of theirs I have come across, and they have been heavily influenced by Angra and Stratovarius in particular. When the band are really moving, they are a sight to behold. These guys can play, and really show their stuff when they are in full flight and running up and down the frets, but while some of the slower more orchestral and keyboard-led pieces do well as a lead into heavier songs, some other ideas just fall flat. I have lost count of the amount of times I have heard someone moving through a radio station and hearing different snippets of songs before settling on the one from the album. This was already old hat in the Seventies, let alone in 2017. That sort of trick means there are times when momentum is lost, which is a real shame as here is a band with real promise.

There are parts of “Brave New World”, for example, which feels almost as if the band is just treading water, but there are others where the guitars fly and the keyboards provide the needed relief as well as taking lead roles, and one can almost imagine that Savatage are in the house. By the end of the album one knows that it is an enjoyable ride, but also that it could have been better with some judicious editing, and then there is “Time”. The very last song on the album is marked as an acoustic version so I did some digging and listened to the original version which is the title cut of their 2015 debut. It is hard to realise this is the same song, as here it has been slowed down, sung in a totally different manner, with acoustic guitars and orchestral symphonic keyboards. This song screams “class” to the rooftops, and means I ended up a little perplexed. I mean, a low score doesn’t seem fair and proper given there are some great songs and the guys can really play, but a high score also isn’t right as it’s not essential. I have a fight with myself and am still not sure who won, but do know I want to hear more from the band and isn’t it refreshing to find a group still dedicated to pumping out releases with four studio albums in five years?

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 9 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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