Metal Related

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Metal Related is a term used on Metal Music Archives (MMA) to describe artists and releases that, although not metal enough to be placed under any of the MMA metal sub-genres, still contain a reasonable amount of metal elements.

While this tag will often be applied to releases by artists who do indeed have more fully-fledged metal releases such as Opeth's Heritage or most releases by A.C.T. after their debut, the site will often take in artists that have no releases in metal sub-genres, as Metal Related artists due to the metal elements on some or all of their releases. Examples of such artists are Neal Morse for his 2007 album Sola Scriptura, Galahad for their later releases and Beardfish for their 2012 album The Void.

As such the actual music on releases with the Metal Related sub-genre can vary greatly, both in terms of the main style and the metal elements that flavour the music.

- Written by adg211288 (August 2015)

Sub-genre collaborators:

The Metal Related team is always the same as the standing admin team. Currently:

  • adg211288
  • Bosh66
  • 666sharon666
  • Vim Fuego
  • Nightfly


Click for Full Sub-Genre Chart

metal related top albums

Showing only albums and EPs | Based on members ratings & MMA custom algorithm | 24 hours caching

TRANSATLANTIC Bridge Across Forever Album Cover Bridge Across Forever
TRANSATLANTIC
4.62 | 17 ratings
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SPOCK'S BEARD V Album Cover V
SPOCK'S BEARD
4.93 | 7 ratings
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NEAL MORSE One Album Cover One
NEAL MORSE
4.85 | 8 ratings
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NEAL MORSE Sola Scriptura Album Cover Sola Scriptura
NEAL MORSE
4.43 | 30 ratings
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PORCUPINE TREE Deadwing Album Cover Deadwing
PORCUPINE TREE
4.34 | 66 ratings
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SPOCK'S BEARD Snow Album Cover Snow
SPOCK'S BEARD
4.86 | 7 ratings
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PORCUPINE TREE In Absentia Album Cover In Absentia
PORCUPINE TREE
4.31 | 79 ratings
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RIVERSIDE Second Life Syndrome Album Cover Second Life Syndrome
RIVERSIDE
4.30 | 84 ratings
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KATATONIA Last Fair Deal Gone Down Album Cover Last Fair Deal Gone Down
KATATONIA
4.36 | 28 ratings
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AYREON The Theory of Everything Album Cover The Theory of Everything
AYREON
4.29 | 40 ratings
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RIVERSIDE Shrine of New Generation Slaves Album Cover Shrine of New Generation Slaves
RIVERSIDE
4.27 | 48 ratings
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ARENA Contagion Album Cover Contagion
ARENA
4.50 | 11 ratings
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This list is in progress since the site is new. We invite all logged in members to use the "quick rating" widget (stars bellow album covers) or post full reviews to increase the weight of your rating in the global average value (see FAQ for more details). Enjoy MMA!

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metal related Music Reviews

MOUNT SHASTA Who's The Hottie?

Album · 1995 · Metal Related
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Unitron
Noise Rock will always be noisy, hence the name, but the levels of noise vary from band to band. Mount Shasta has much of the noise in the vocals, to the point of them being indecipherable yelling with no melody or anything whatsoever. It's best described as what Tad Doyle overdosing on crack would probably sound like. Once you get used to it, they just become part of the sound.

Those riffs though, that's where this album shines like no other. The album is an instant hook, with opener Gimp's riff catching my ear on such a primal level that I knew this was gonna be good. The riffs are of a classic grunge fashion, switching between bluesy metal riffs that Blue Cheer would be proud of and raw garage rock pounding that would make The Stooges take notice. Sometimes it'll go in a more atmospheric drawl in parts of a song to contrast with the bluesy aggression of the rest of the song, which works wonders in Near Famous Jackass and Raw Meat Lincoln Style.

Originally intrigued by the cover art that looks like some obscure 60's cartoon, I found a great riff album. Good stuff.

NEAL MORSE Sola Gratia

Album · 2020 · Metal Related
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adg211288
Sola Gratia (2020) is a progressive rock solo release by US musician Neal Morse. Believe it or not this album marks Morse's first normal progressive rock based solo album since Momentum (2012), as all progressive releases between the two have been either with The Neal Morse Band entity, which uses a different song-writing approach to a Neal Morse solo album, or was the rock opera Jesus Christ the Exorcist (2019), which I can't really consider a normal Neal Morse solo album by its very nature which also saw him giving the lead vocal role to someone other than himself. Of course though Morse has used his regular collaborators, the entirety of The Neal Morse Band, as his supporting musicians on Sola Gratia – Mike Portnoy on drums (except for the song Building a Wall where Morse plays them himself), Randy George on bass, Bill Hubauer on piano and Eric Gillette on guest guitar.

Sola Gratia no doubt immediately brings to mind Morse's earlier album Sola Scriptura (2007) with its title and that relationship is further brought into evidence throughout the release with many throwbacks to both that album's music and lyrics, effectively making this a companion album. As anyone who is familiar with Neal's music knows, he is a Christian artist and this concept album explores the story of Paul the Apostle. Compared to some of his work Sola Gratia does come across as being somewhat more overt on the Jesus theme, but as a concept album it doesn't come over as excessively preachy for the sake of being preachy, which can be off-putting to all but the most devote of listeners. And as always the music is fantastic, though more of a slow burn next to albums like Sola Scriptura, One (2004), or The Neal Morse Band's The Similitude of a Dream (2016), which is the main thing.

Speaking of the instrumental work, Sola Gratia is both somewhat familiar territory for Morse, but it also has a fresh feel to it. Despite the relationship and throwbacks this isn't really Sola Scriptura 2.0, as that album was one of the most metal influenced albums that Neal Morse has made, along with The Neal Morse Band's The Great Adventure (2019). This album I would say has some metal on it, and is certainly one of the heavier (though varied) Neal Morse solo albums, but some of that heaviness seems like Morse was as much influenced by classic hard rock as heavy metal. I would say he also relies far less on symphonic prog ideas that he has sometimes in the past and with other ventures like Transatlantic. The result is a rather varied album.

I said earlier than Sola Gratis was more of a slow burn than some Neal Morse work and that's been true for me ever since the first single In the Name of the Lord was released. But that track shows off how my perception of the whole album has been: getting better every time I hear it. I do after several listens find it an album that mostly works as one continuous piece and since the songs segue into each other it sounds like that was Morse's intention, though perhaps not to the extent of the 'it's really one long song' albums like ? (2005) or Transatlantic's The Whirlwind (2009). There are a few standouts though and I think Morse choose his singles from this well, since those are the songs I'm going to primarily name here: In the Name of the Lord, a very hard and heavy track, Building a Wall, a rather catchy memorable number (though I do wonder if Morse has been listening to a lot of Another Brick in the Wall when he came up with this one) and finally Seemingly Sincere. Seemingly Sincere, the album's longest track at 9:34 and the closest that Morse has come to an individual lengthy epic since The Neal Morse Band's debut album The Grand Experiment (2015), is basically a masterpiece unto itself.

With Sola Gratia Neal Morse has proven once again why he is one of the greatest musicians in progressive music today. I would go so far as to say that due to its varied sound and ideas the album is the strongest solo album he's made for over a decade, also right up there with the trio of excellent The Neal Morse Band releases. A strong start to a new decade for Neal Morse.

THE NEAL MORSE BAND The Similitude of a Dream

Album · 2016 · Metal Related
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siLLy puPPy
Hallelujah! And praise the Lord! As brother NEAL MORSE races into the new phase of his career as THE NEAL MORSE BAND like a renegade choir boy eschewing all the gospel and Christian rock norms, he once again joins his brother in salvation Mike Portnoy (master of percussive fecundity from Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment, Transatlantic, Flying Colors, OSI and much more) along with regular band members Randy George (bassist from Ajalon), Bill Haubauer (organs, pianos, synth) and Eric Gillette (lead and rhythm guitars). This is the second album released by the band and they all contribute vocals to some degree with Brother MORSE picking up the lead spotlight. If that’s not enough there are also a whopping ten extra helping hands offering a cornucopia of sounds including violin, viola, cello, saxes, marimba, trumpets, pedal steel guitar and various other forms of percussion. The result of this smorgasbord of musical maestrohood is THE SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM. A walloping double album that takes the worship of all things retro, cleverly crafts them with Brother MORSE’s signature sound and unleashes one of his most ambitious musical experiences to date.

Lyrically speaking THE SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM is a concept album that is loosely based on the 1678 Christian allegory written by John Bunyan. The full title of the original book was “The Pilgrim’s Progress From This World To That Which Is To Come; Delivered Under THE SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM.” The actual 17th century publication contained an astounding 108,260 words and written in narrative form in two major parts. And like the basic plot, this massive double album focuses on MORSE’s spiritual practices that recounts a story in a dream sequence that is presented by a narrator that tells the story of a man named Christian who after a life of spiritually unfulfilling anguish is told he must leave the evils of the City Of Destruction and make a pilgrimage to the Celestial City to find peace and ultimate salvation. The album much like the book contains two parts with each part creating a separate mood and culmination of the adventures that unfold. Granted, a loose concept based on a massive double volume tome proves to be a nebulous and grainy representation of the greater writings from the past, but manages to create a coherent albeit simplified account based on brother MORSE’s personal interpretations.

Beginning with a melancholic violin and viola intro it first appears that this is a symphonic chamber rock album with Brother MORSE singing in his usual mode making the listener think they’re in store for a long, mellow drawn out and boring album. But all of a sudden, Brother MORSE, as if summoning up a miracle transmogrifies the super sappy sonicity into an Area inspired jazz-fusion riff that gives way to an energetic symphonic Yes infused guitar solo sequence that then jumps into a never ending changing-it-up of Keith Emerson keyboard gymnastics, bombastic heavy rock riffing and melodic meanderings punctuated by quick slaps of proggy time sig surprises. Whew! And that’s just the first short intro “Long Day” and the longer “Overature!” When we finally get to “The Dream” it begins as a Pink Floyd acoustic guitar ballad that brings another double album “The Wall” to mind in musical structure along with those familiar echoes heard in “Comfortably Numb” which pops in from time to time throughout the album. Luckily none of these influences overshadow the overall musical mission but still screams retro-prog in every fashion. “City Of Destruction” takes the harder edged road that brings the whacky 70s world of Joe Walsh to mind slightly as the guitar riff stomps along like an angry child having a tantrum after not getting its way. The chorus for this track finds a reprise at the end of the second disc.

The retro-rock and prog celebration continues with more Pink Floyd (all throughout), The Beatles (“The Ways Of A Fool”), Peter Gabriel (“Slave To Your Mind”), Led Zeppelin (“The Man In The Iron Cage”) and The Who (“I’m Running”) finding their way into that familiar MORSE packaging that is ubiquitous on his myriad band projects. Also interspersed throughout the 100 minute plus listening experience are ample jazz-fusion segments, American country (“Freedom Song”), Chopin-esque classical piano (“The Mask”) as well as heavy doses of prog metal (“Confrontation.”) As far as going crazy and really delivering the prog goods, greatness is displayed on tracks like “City Of Destruction” but it really doesn’t get any better than the workouts on the closing instrumental “The Battle” which effectively takes on the most challenging aspects of the progressive rock universe and unapologetically nails them to the wall. Highly turbulent rhythms that spasmodically intermingle with sagacious melodies, choral climaxing, unrestrained and uncompromising musical ascensions that end and trade off with other similarly structured runs in a complex tug of war between tension building theatrical antics is the stuff prog dreams are made of! The visions of a higher prog heaven in full interplay and by far the most challenging and adrenaline inducing track of the entire album experience.

Brother MORSE has stated that THE SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM is the 18th album that he has recorded together with Mike Portney and that this is the one that represents an absolute pinnacle of their musical symbiosis and after just one listen it is hard to deny that the creative juices were flowing on this one with one strong track after another changing things up just enough to keep that old attention span peaked all the while delivering familiar hooks and influences that triumphantly scoured the vast vaults of the hard rock and prog universe. While i would tend to agree with many that this is indeed one of Brother MORSE’s strongest offerings to date, i do find the usual flaws that are ubiquitous on the entirety of the NEIL MORSE canon. Firstly is his limited vocal style. Yes, i simply find his range insufficient to fit in with the intensity and dynamics in the sheer scope of styles that the music meander throughout. While i don’t find this to be a hindrance in my listening pleasure, i do find it detracts enough from the overall experience and dethrones any possibilities of this ever becoming a true classic in my world.

And then there are those overly sentimental sappy pieces that seem to haunt every MORSE album whether it be Spock’s Beard, Transatlantic or the solo releases. In this case it’s the last songs on each disc “Breath Of Angels” and “Broken Sky / Long Day (Reprise)” which find Brother MORSE entering AOR territory strutting around on easy listening autopilot and IMHO completely derailing all the momentum that each side of the album so masterfully accrues although there are segments of these light passages that do effectively mix and meld with the other styles on many tracks dispersed throughout that work quite well. While this album could not rightfully be deemed significantly dissimilar from Brother MORSE’s previous strong albums such as “?” or “Sola Scriptura,” it does pack a healthy dose of plentiful punches that will guarantee to hook the retro-prog fanatic from the get go. After several spins of this one, i’m still enthralled minus the minor quips that prevent the five star crown. All in all an excellent release and even more so considering it’s a double album release.

Lastly, this is an album that is meant to be experienced as a continuous listen. It doesn’t seem to be nearly as effective just sampling a track here and there, therefore is very much the sum of the parts that makes this a compelling cognitive workout. While brother MORSE’s vocal limitation may dissuade me from becoming the most hardcore of fans, i readily concede that he is the master of delivering some of the most compelling Christian themed prog rock (and rock in general) in the music biz. While certainly on the pop side of the prog universe, great care is laid out in every little aspect of this album with the crystal clear production bringing the musical concept to fully realized vivaciousness. Retro-prog yes ,but an exciting slice of it’s immortal calling. Music so compelling and animistic that it just refuses to be put to rest. While this album could not possibly be qualified as the most original of the lot, it nonetheless delivers many aspects of the past in the most equanimous, fastidious and efficacious ways possible along with the sheer stridency of brother MORSE’s didactic prose backed up by his most eager and devoted musical followers. Let us give thanks for the music bestowed upon us today. Amen.

THE NEAL MORSE BAND The Grand Experiment

Album · 2015 · Metal Related
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adg211288
I have a lot of favourite bands, but not so many individual musicians I could single out as being of particular renown to me. Sure, most bands have one or two more key members to their writing process, but historically it's only been Arjen Anthony Lucassen that I really felt was one of my favourite musicians. But I'm come to realise that there is one other I should put on that very short list. Neal Morse. A modern champion of progressive rock and prolific since getting his start with Spock's Beard. The Grand Experiment (2015) is the debut studio album from his The Neal Morse Band venture.

Many may see this entity as just an alternately named Neal Morse release, especially since the line-up features his usual collaborators Randy George (bass) and Mike Portnoy (drums), but it is actually a separate project, with a five piece main line-up completed by Bill Hubauer and Eric Gillette, both of whom provide vocals in the band in addition to their instruments (keyboards and guitars respectively), as does Portnoy, not just Morse, though he does remain the lead, especially on this debut, but that would change with their next release. It also features a collaborative effort at song-writing. With the notable exception of One (2004), Neal Morse solo albums are usually written solely or majorly by him alone.

It's easy to hear that this isn't the case with The Grand Experiment. While many Neal Morse elements are present, it has a distinctly differently feel, including the use of more hard rock/heavy metal elements (Eric Gillette has released progressive metal solo albums and Mike Portnoy is course best known for being the original drummer of Dream Theater) than most Neal Morse work does (the notable exception being Sola Scriptura) within his usual symphonic prog sound. While Morse has used those before, it's not been to quite the same feel as on this album, which the five musicians went into the studio for with no pre-prepared material at all, hence it's title. The result is some songs that feel very typical Neal Morse like the epic length The Call and Alive Again, but others that feel fresher for him, especially the hard rocking Agenda, a track that I personally wasn't sure of at first but have quickly grown to love. It's a short and quirky number, hearkening back to Spock's Beard's use of humour.

There may only be five tracks on The Grand Experiment, but that's not an unusually low number for a progressive group. The album is bookended by two epics as well, with the closer Alive Again running for a mammoth 26:45. The three songs in-between are all much shorter and more direct compositions showing off different styles of music. The Grand Experiment is nothing if not a varied release and I dare say the most exciting Neal Morse release since Transatlantic's comeback six years prior. The group as whole proves once again that Morse is as much a team player as a leader and while this particular group may still have his name on it, it's clearly the sum of all its parts and more.

KATATONIA Last Fair Deal Gone Down

Album · 2001 · Metal Related
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UMUR
"Last Fair Deal Gone Down" is the 5th full-length studio album by Swedish alternative/doom/progressive rock/metal act Katatonia. The album was released through Peaceville Records in May 2001. It´s the successor to "Tonight´s Decision" from 1999 and features a couple of lineup changes as bassist Mattias Norrman and drummer Daniel Liljekvist have been added to the lineup. It was the first stable lineup in the band´s career, and it would last on four consequtive albums.

Stylistically "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" continues the alternative rock/metal style of "Tonight´s Decision (1999)", but with a stronger focus on variation between tracks and experimentation with song structures and compositional details. Listening to "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" it becomes clear that the two direct predecessors were transitional albums, and that this album is a more complete release. Not that Katatonia stopped progressing at this point, because that´s far from true (and in that respect this album can also be called a transitional album), but to my ears this is the first Katatonia album which sounds completely satisfying, and where I don´t have any complaints about sub par sound productions, underdeveloped drumming, or untrained/uncertain clean vocal performances. They hit magic here and maybe the last couple of albums should be viewed as training exercises to hone their songwriting and playing skills, to make them ready to write and record "Last Fair Deal Gone Down".

Katatonia already stripped most of their early death/doom elements on "Discouraged Ones (1998)", and although both that album and "Tonight´s Decision (1999)" are still fairly heavy albums, they are not the most metal oriented albums. Instead it´s artists like Tool and The Cure, or maybe more correctly a combination of heavy alternative rock/metal and dark new wave/alternative rock, which is a more valid description of the band´s music. That description is true for the material on "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" too. There is a lot of use of light/dark atmospheres and heavy and mellow sections, and Jonas Renkse´s melancholic lyrics and vocal performance aren´t far removed from the most dark and depressive Robert Smith (The Cure) moments (take a listen to "Tonight´s Music" and see if you disagree). Katatonia have audible influences but they still manage to create a personal and unique sound, and they are one of those rare artists who are instantly recognisable.

The conscious decision to write a varied album with strong individual tracks while still maintaining a strong tracklist flow and album coherence works here and each track stand out clearly. While all tracks are high quality material, I´d mention the four opening tracks ("Dispossession", "Chrome", "We Must Bury You", and "Teargas"), "Tonight´s Music", and "Sweet Nurse", as some of the highlights of the album. The performances are strong on all posts, and although it´s impossible not to mention Renkse´s soft voice, and heartfelt and melancholic delivery, the instrumental performances deserve just as much praise. There is a near perfect balance between heavy loud playing and mellow softer sections, and the transitions between the two types of sections work well. Add to those elements a powerful, detailed, and well sounding production, and "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" is through and through a high quality release. A 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.

metal related movie reviews

NEAL MORSE Morsefest! 5015

Movie · 2017 · Metal Related
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adg211288
Morsefest! 2015 is a live release by US musician Neal Morse. Morsefest! shows are without a doubt the most special Neal Morse shows that a fan could attend – a two day event with a different Neal Morse set each night. Morsefest! 2015 was released on either a 2x blu-ray or 4 x CD/2x DVD package in 2017. Strictly speaking it is The Neal Morse Band playing on the release – Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy, Randy George, Eric Gillette & Bill Hubauer – but Morsefest! 2015 was released under just Neal Morse's name likely due to the event's focus on his albums ? (2005) and Sola Scriptura (2007).

While the focus is indeed on those albums, with ? played in full on night one and Sola Scriptura in full on night two, the set is varied with various extra tracks. The Neal Morse Band had released their debut album The Grand Experiment earlier in 2015 and that album also gets a fair airing across the two nights, particularly in the first half of night one with The Call, the title track and the limited edition bonus track New Jerusalem gets played, while Waterfall was featured on night two complete with some instrument changes for various band members. Three Spock's Beard songs are also brought out, Go the Way You Go on night one and At the End of the Day and Wind at My Back on night two, the latter two featuring Nick D'Virgilio first on drums then co-lead vocals. An edited version of Transatlantic's near eighty minute whole album epic The Whirlwind closes the second night, with further guest vocals by D'Virgilio and guitar by Phil Keaggy, who also makes an appearance on night one and was the support act for the event. Finally the band brings to the live stage for the first time a lesser known Neal Morse epic called A Whole Nother Trip, which appeared on his first solo album while still a member of Spock's Beard amongst what was otherwise a bunch of pop songs. There is also a cover of the song MacArthur Park, originally released by Richard Harris, which has been given the prog treatment by Bill Hubauer on challenge from Mike Portnoy. Neal Morse hates the song apparently and always swore he'd never cover it, but there you go. Hubauer sings lead on it.

The main draw to the Morsefest! 2015 live release is of course the full performance of two of Neal Morse's best known albums. ? is basically one long song in and of itself and is treated like the crowning piece of what Morse describes as a night of epics – a fair description when the shortest song is about seven and a half minutes long. For me personally the performance of Sola Scriptura is the key focal point of the two night show though. That's my personal favourite Neal Morse album, not to mention the one that really got me into his music. It's also one of his heaviest and most metal works which along with various parts of The Neal Morse Band's music gives a metallic edge to those otherwise symphonic progressive rock fuelled double concert.

Morsefest! 2015 is one heck of a show if you're into progressive rock. The scope is tremendous not just through the double show but each night's set is over two hours a pop as well. The amount of musicians on stage at one time goes far beyond the core band – far too many to recite in a review. Suffice to say there's a lot of people involved to pull this off. The sound and picture quality of the blu-ray release is excellent and you certainly get a lot of music for your money. The only fault with the set is that one listed bonus feature called Prog Jeopardy is completely missing from the release. Not sure what the story is there, perhaps it was planned and had to be cut for some reason and they forget to change the inserts before going to the press, who knows? But you weren't buying this for the bonus features anyway right?

There are several of the Morsefest shows released by the time of writing this review in September 2020 so which one holds the most appeal to each fan will of course be different. 2015 was a no brainer for me due to my particular love of Sola Scriptura. Someone else may think 2014's focus on Testimony (2003) and One (2004) or 2017's Testimony 2 (2011) and The Similitude of a Dream (2016) to be better options for them. Regardless any Neal Morse fan owns it to themselves to pick up at least one of these releases for his most special and exclusive concerts.

PORCUPINE TREE Arriving Somewhere...

Movie · 2006 · Metal Related
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Warthur
Focusing on the more metal-oriented material from Deadwing and In Absentia - though notably steering it back in a more rock-oriented direction in order to allow this material to sit a little more comfortably beside the "indie prog rock" stylings of Stupid Dream, Lightbulb Sun and Recordings (picks from all of which surface here). Fans of their earlier psychedelic and space rock styles might be disappointed that those aren't represented, but on the plus side there's a liberal sprinkling of rarities here such as the glorious Buying New Soul as well as Revenant, So-Called Friend and Mother and Child Divided, those three songs having only appeared on various special editions of Deadwing. Not the definitive Porcupine Tree live experience, but a pretty decent one nonetheless.

RIVERSIDE Reality Dream

Movie · 2009 · Metal Related
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progshine
My polish girlfriend gave me this DVD on my anniversary in May, I really didn't know what to expect of the band live cause I only knew their studio recordings. Like I always do, I watched the bonus DVD first, I like to see backstage footage, interviews and extras much more than the proper live presentations on most of the time (maybe the only exception is Live At Wembley by QUEEN).

The first DVD is the show itself, and it's a very good recording, both audio and video, and seeing them live male me wonder how good is Mariusz Duda, cause as a bass player myself, I know how hard is to play some lines while you sing, Mariusz dows a fantastic work live, as the whole band.

I think it's a great buy for any prog rock fan, this polish band deserves more light on our '70's' world.

NEAL MORSE Live Momentum

Movie · 2013 · Metal Related
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Kev Rowland
One of the disadvantages of living at the end of the world is that these days I get most of my promos as downloads, which generally isn’t too much of a pain but here I find myself reviewing a DVD set where I haven’t actually seen the DVDs! Okay, so this has been released as a double DVD (more than 4 hours), along with a triple CD set and it is the latter that I am reviewing. This recording took place on October 11th, 2012 at The High Line Ballroom, New York, and captures the band in incredible form. I have no idea how many live recordings of Neal there are in my collection, from duetting with NDV through Spock’s Beard and Transatlantic and of course his solo work, but there are one or two. I have seen him in concert with SB as well as on the ‘Testimony’ tour and have had the privilege of interviewing him a few times as well, so I guess you can say that I am a fan.

I greatly respect the way that he decided to stand up for what he believed in (even though I don’t share those beliefs), although I still regret that SB never had the chance to tour ‘Snow’ which is easily their finest work. I have never given anything that he has been involved with a bad review, and there is no reason at all to start now as this triple CD set (2 hours 45 minutes) is as close to perfection as one could hope to hear. When it came to choosing the musicians to form the band he brought in close friends Mike Portnoy and Randy George and then used YouTube for the audition process! He ought to do that more often, as during “Sing It High” he gets it right when he says that the guys are “Sick”. Adson Sodré (guitar, vocals), Eric Gillette (guitar, keyboards, percussion, vocals) and Bill Hubauer (keyboards, violin, sax, vocals) do a stunning job. Mind you, it’s handy when you have three multi-instrumentalists in a band as it does mean that you can spread the wings. Vocally they are all in fine voice as well, just listen to “Author Of Confusion” to see what I mean.

Both Adson and Eric really riff and shred as the need requires, and this is probably the heaviest that Neal has ever sounded as he works his way through material from throughout his career: this is much more than just a live rendition of the latest album. The suites from ‘Testimony’ and ‘?’ work incredibly well and it is the longer sections that really allow Neal and the guys to shine. There are four songs more than twenty minutes long and one more than thirty!

But, for me one of the major highlights sees Neal taking a back seat, literally. One of my favourite live albums that feature Neal is ‘One Night in New York City’ by Yellow Matter Custard. This was a band put together by Mike Portnoy to play Beatles’ numbers, and the line-up was completed by Neal, Paul Gilbert and Matt Bissonette. The whole purpose of that band was to provide a new take on classic numbers and have fun at the same time. Well, on “Crazy Horses” Neal takes over on drums while Mike becomes the frontman, and everyone has an absolute blast. Mike says that when he first heard the song when he was five years old that it was the heaviest song that he had ever heard, and the band certainly do it justice. I defy you to listen to this and not smile throughout. There are some people who don’t enjoy what Neal does, and feel that he hasn’t dramatically changed since he left SB, but I sincerely hope he keeps going in this vein for the rest of his very long career as I love it.

So there you have it, a five star review for a DVD set that I haven’t even seen. But to me they are just an added bonus as this triple CD set is just mindblowing. www.insideout.de

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