Metal Related — the ultimate metal music online community, from the creators of

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

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metal related top albums

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

4.89 | 9 ratings
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TRANSATLANTIC Bridge Across Forever Album Cover Bridge Across Forever
4.55 | 23 ratings
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NEAL MORSE One Album Cover One
4.64 | 13 ratings
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PORCUPINE TREE In Absentia Album Cover In Absentia
4.33 | 88 ratings
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PORCUPINE TREE Deadwing Album Cover Deadwing
4.32 | 72 ratings
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RIVERSIDE Second Life Syndrome Album Cover Second Life Syndrome
4.31 | 93 ratings
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KATATONIA Last Fair Deal Gone Down Album Cover Last Fair Deal Gone Down
4.38 | 31 ratings
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NEAL MORSE Sola Scriptura Album Cover Sola Scriptura
4.32 | 35 ratings
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ARENA Contagion Album Cover Contagion
4.48 | 13 ratings
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RIVERSIDE Shrine of New Generation Slaves Album Cover Shrine of New Generation Slaves
4.26 | 54 ratings
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PENDRAGON Pure Album Cover Pure
4.62 | 8 ratings
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AYREON The Theory of Everything Album Cover The Theory of Everything
4.26 | 43 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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TIAMAT A Deeper Kind of Slumber

Album · 1997 · Metal Related
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"A Deeper Kind of Slumber" is the 5th full-length studio album by Swedish band Tiamat. The album was released through Century Media Records in April 1997. It´s the successor to the very well received "Wildhoney" from 1994. Bandleader/guitarist/vocalist Johan Edlund, has once again changed almost the entire lineup and new in the band are drummer Lars Sköld (who also played as a session musician on the predecessor), Thomas Petersson (guitars), and Anders Iwers (bass). The latter replaces Johnny Hagel, who was the only permanent member on "Wildhoney (1994)" besides Edlund.

Tiamat had been a constant evolving force ever since the release of their debut full-length studio album "Sumerian Cry (1990)", starting out as an old school Swedish death metal act, going through a doom death/goth metal phase, to the semi-progressive dreamy rock/metal on "Wildhoney (1994)", so it´s absolutely no surprise that Tiamat, despite the success of "Wildhoney (1994)", have not stagnated on "A Deeper Kind of Slumber".

The first thing you notice while listening to the album is the almost complete lack of distorted guitars. Tiamat have never been less heavy, and it´s up for discussion if "A Deeper Kind of Slumber" should even be catagorized a heavy metal album. Instead the music is slow building, often mellow and dreamy, sometimes darker and slightly electronic tinged rock. The influences range from Pink Floyd to 80s Depeche Mode. It´s not an easy to define release, and Tiamat consciously challenge the listener with the diversity of the material.

"A Deeper Kind of Slumber" features a warm, professional sounding production, which suits the material perfectly. Not all tracks are equally interesting, and some become a little repetitive, but overall the material are very well written. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

CYNIC Ascension Codes

Album · 2021 · Metal Related
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"Ascension Codes" is the 4th full-length studio album by US progressive rock/metal act Cynic. The album was released through Season of Mist in November 2021. It´s the successor to "Kindly Bent To Free Us" from 2014, although the "Uroboric Forms - The Complete Demo Recordings" compilation album was released in 2017, and Cynic also released the "Humanoid" single in 2018 (the first new music from the band since 2014), and the "Integral" single in 2021.

It´s safe to say that Cynic have been through some years of turmoil and tragedy since the release of "Kindly Bent To Free Us" (2014) as drummer/original member Sean Reinert left in 2015 and subsequently tragically died of a heart attack in January 2020. A few years after he left and some disputes over the continued use of the Cynic name later, Reinert was replaced by Matt Lynch in 2017, who plays on "Ascension Codes". Bassist Sean Malone stuck with lead vocalist/guitarist Paul Masvidal, but another tragedy struck as he chose to end his own life in December 2020. Masvidal opted not to recruit a new bassist, and "Ascension Codes" actually doesn´t feature bass at all. Instead Masvidal hired keyboard player Dave Mackay to record the bass parts using a bass synthesizer.

Although Masvidal was always the main composer in Cynic, losing 2/3 of the lineup who have recorded most of the band´s previous material is bound to be a big loss and to have an impact on future material. Anyone familiar with Cynic knows how skilled, unique, and important for the band´s sound both Reinert and Malone were, and "Ascension Codes" is therefore in many ways a new beginning for Cynic.

Stylistically there is no doubt that you´re listening to a Cynic album though. Although Max Phelps is creadited for performing additional vocals, the extreme metal vocals are very few and far between. When they occur they are layered with the clean vocals and buried in the mix, which means they sound more like rough whispers than anything else. Masvidal performs his usual effect laden and futuristic sounding clean vocals. The atmosphere of the music is tranquil, spiritual, and mellow, although the album does feature more heavy parts. The complex heavy riffs aren´t the primary focus of the music though, so it´s the fusion influenced rhythms, futuristic synths, and mellow atmospheres which the band have opted to make their focal point. "Ascension Codes" is generally a layered and very busy album, but the great dynamics in the music make it a slightly more accessible release than what it may appear upon initial listens (at least in terms of being a pleasant listen).

"Ascension Codes" features 18 tracks and a total playing time of 49:09 minutes. Only half of the tracks are regular length (3-5 minutes long) songs though and the remaining tracks are short intros, transitions, or outros. Very few would probably despute that Masvidal is a musical genius and that his approach to writing and performing music is very unique, but even after repeated listens "Ascension Codes" is an album which is hard to crack. For all it´s technical finesse, gorgeous melancholic melodies, and multible layers of intruments and vocals, the tracks seem to melt together into one long flowing listening experience, and a few more memorable hooks would have been welcome. The album has a tendency to become a little too ambient and atmospheric, and just a little more attitude or edge could have made the album a more interesting listen. The whole UFO, celestial beings, ethereal spritual lyrics/imagery isn´t a surprise and fits with the general impression of how Masvidal appears as a person, but again the whole thing ends up a little light weight new age tinged. It´s proabably exactly what Masvidal is aiming for, but a few darker moments wouldn´t have hurt.

Upon conclusion "Ascension Codes" is still a quality release by Cynic, but it´s audible that it´s now the work of only one man, and the lack of Malone´s fretless bass playing and Reinert´s creative virtuosic drumming (although Lynch is definitely a capable replacement) do have a slightly negative impact on the music. Masvidal is also credited for producing "Ascension Codes" and therefore there are simply no one left to make a constructive (and sometimes necessary) criticism of his songwriting ideas or song arrangements. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved, although "Ascension Codes" is the type of album which may (or may not) grow on repeated listens, and therefore my rating is prone to change.


Album · 2005 · Metal Related
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One of the reasons "Christian rock" is often such a turn-off is the shallow pool of themes some of its practitioners draw on. What, you have a thousands-year-old tradition of philosophy and religious imagery and stories and history to draw on, but you keep writing songs on the same narrow themes of "you should accept Jesus" and "sin is bad, you should abstain from it"? Come on, now.

This is why it's heartening to find Neal Morse, on "?", tackling a more obscure concept: this is a concept album based around the Tabernacle In the Wilderness, the temple-in-a-tent which in the Biblical story the Israelites use as their place of worship until the wanderings of Exodus come to a close and the Temple in Jerusalem is built. This certainly makes a refreshing change from his previous two prog-oriented solo albums, Testimony and One, the former of which told his own conversion story and the latter of which told the much more familiar tale of the Prodigal Son (and is therefore, really, another conversion story).

It probably helped that 2005 also saw Neal branching out a little when it came to his output of Christian-themed music: between his singer-songwriter release God Won't Give Up and the first of his long-running Worship Sessions series, he was producing a fair amount of straight-ahead Christian music. Clearly he wasn't abandoning prog - after all, he put this out in the same year - but it meant his impulse to share his religious convictions had several different outlets, which meant he could use his worship music releases for his direct and uncomplicated declarations of faith and use his prog releases to explore subject matter better suited to a nuanced, epic-length exploration.

Certainly, his creative batteries seem to have been firing here: whilst much of One was co-written with Randy George and Mike Portnoy (who return here to once again provide a consistent rhythm section across the whole album), this time around the album is almost all Neal's own work in terms of compositions, with the exception of The Outsider. He's restrained his impulse to make epics this time, but only kind of: you could see the album as one 56 minute piece with a bunch of different sections, or a prog opera of 12 pithy songs.

As with One, the core performers of Morse, George, and Portnoy form the nucleus of a revolving band of musicians, which this time around includes a particularly interesting range of guitarists. As well as the great Steve Hackett, Morse also gives a bit of guitar spotlight time to his brother and Spock's Beard co-founder Alan Morse, and to his Transatlantic crewmate Roine Stolt (leaving the album just a Pete Trewavas away from being a Transatlantic reunion).

As shocking as Neal's departure from Spock's Beard and Transatlantic was to the prog world at the time, history would prove that those bridges weren't burned in the long run - Transatlantic would reassemble by the end of the decade, and Neal has made occasional guest appearances both live and in the studio with Spock's Beard, as well as returning to the band for a one-off live performance of Snow; having Alan and Roine on the album was therefore a sign of things to come.

With such a stellar range of guitarists offering their talents, it's no surprise that there's a good range of solos showcasing their individual styles, and perhaps it's the guitars that are the star players here, though the musical backing is diverse enough that it's not 100% a guitar album. Jim Hoke offers some great saxophone lines, for instance, and whilst the style is mostly influenced by classic prog there's some trip hop-esque drum fills here and there; Portnoy's Dream Theater/Liquid Tension Experiment compadre Jordan Rudess also swings by to contribute on keyboards.

All in all, it's another application of the same Neal Morse approach he's followed on his prog releases ever since the earliest Spock's Beard albums: lots of influences from classic prog, sunny disposition, not afraid to throw in a few influences from musical styles outside the usual prog palette to keep things spicy.

Perhaps the biggest departure here is the length - or rather, the restraint displayed with respect to it. Weighing in at a bit over 56 minutes, this was the first time one of Neal's prog-oriented albums (whether solo, or with Transatlantic or Spock's Beard) had come to less than an hour's length since The Kindness of Strangers. The music world in general went through a bit of a phase in the late 1990s and early 2000s where people wanted to cram CDs full to the brim, which often led to a bit of filler; here Neal seems to have realised (as many other artists were realising at the time) that it's better to offer 50 minutes of really solid music than 70 minutes of quite good music.

Between this and the way the album seems to have an extra shot of energy or playfulness to it - more than I can remember hearing on Testimony, or One, or for that matter Spock's Beard's Snow - I think "?" established a new tier of quality in Neal Morse's solo prog output.


Album · 2004 · Metal Related
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For his second prog solo album (Neal had also put out other solo albums in other genres prior to this), Neal Morse changed tack a little. Testimony was a sprawling double concept album, a sort of mirror image of Neal's final album with Spock's Beard which took as its core theme his life story and his decision to shift out of band life so he could spend more time focusing on his faith (both in his everyday life and in his music). It was all composed by Morse by himself, and the other musicians there were essentially just along to help out.

This time, around, Neal starts getting a nucleus of collaborators around him - the key pair being Mike Portnoy and Randy George, both of whom also get songwriting credits alongside Neal. (It's no surprise that this rhythm section would eventually go on to be the backbone of the Neal Morse Band.) Mike, of course, needs no introduction to prog audiences for his role in Dream Theater, and was a bandmate of Neal's in Transatlantic; Randy, for his part, came up in the Christian prog group Ajalon, and having a collaborator along who'd been tackling the challenge of creating intellectually challenging prog music in a Christian context was doubtless invaluable.

There's a wide range of guest musicians here, as there were on Testimony, but it's Neal and that rhythm section who are right at the core of the music, and I think it's helpful for Neal to have some collaborators as closely involved with the composition and overall structure of the album as Mike and Randy are here; the album definitely feels like it benefits from having a deeper bench of creative ideas to draw on in comparison to Testimony, which was solid but was kind of Neal Morse business as usual. In particular, the combination of Mike's drumming technique and a dynamic bassist in the form of Randy George is a little reminiscent of some of what Transatlantic were doing on their first two albums, which will be pleasing to listeners who enjoyed those releases.

It's concept album o'clock once again, but this time Neal and crew limit themselves to a single disc. The chosen subject matter is the parable of the Prodigal Son, and obviously as a story of a straying person who comes back to the right path there's a touch of thematic overlap with Testimony, but the approach is different enough to ensure this doesn't turn into Testimony Disc 3.

It's also a good choice of subject matter because whilst it's clearly meaningful to Neal in the course of his own personal spiritual journey, it's also a tale which is widely beloved enough that you don't necessarily need to subscribe to Neal's specific views in order to appreciate the narrative here. "Christian rock" of the sort which is made by and sold to Christians semi-exclusively has a reputation of sometimes being a bit narrowly doctrinaire and unimaginative in its subject matter - and not for no reason - but Neal adeptly manages to avoid falling into this trap whilst still presenting his personal perspective in an unabashed and unashamed manner: he's offering this artistic vision to all listeners, but he's making no bones about where he personally stands, and even though I'm not aligned with him when it comes to my spiritual views I have to respect that.

DARKHER The Buried Storm

Album · 2022 · Metal Related
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DARKHER is the brainchild of Northern England singer/guitarist Jayn Maiven, and The Buried Storm is her second full-length album. Jayn sings and plays guitar and bass on the new album, which she also recorded, produced and mixed. A few helping hands accompanied her on the record. Christopher Smith plays drums and percussions and a trio of cello and violin provides some beautiful string arrangements. The music blends together the delicate songwriting of dark folk with the thick atmospheres of doom metal, and will appeal to fans of bands like Chelsea Wolfe, Aleah, early Anathema and Antimatter, to name a few.

A common theme throughout the 8 songs of this record is the juxtaposition of acoustic and electric instrumentation and the balancing of soft and heavy sounds, painting a picture that is both sweet and bitterly dark. Gently strummed acoustic guitars suddenly make space for heavily distorted guitar riffs and slowly pounding drums. Cellos and violins soar in the background creating a drone-like wall of sound that is both immersive and spellbinding. A subtle use of effects and samples further enhances the suggestive nature of the music. Jayn’s haunting vocals are a perfect complement for the evocative musical background. Her vocals range from ethereal, soprano-like wails to more earthly rock singing, providing a well-rounded, mesmerising performance. Jayn also deserves praise for her production work, which strikes a perfect balance between lo-fi grit and sonic clarity, greatly contributing the album’s warm ambience.

The Buried Storm is best experienced as a whole, in one sitting. Several songs bleed into one another, reprising musical themes and ideas and creating a continuum that enhances the ritualistic vision of the album, like when the eerie, out of phase effects that build up at the end of “Lowly Weep” dissolve into the acoustic serenity of “Unbound”, creating one of the most hypnotic moments of the album. The more rock-oriented “Where the Devil Waits” is a beautiful, folksy dirge and another highlight of the record. Meanwhile “Immortal” is probably my favourite track here. It develops along a simple, forlorn guitar pattern that is repeated throughout the song, bringing to mind the work of Duncan Patterson with Anathema and Antimatter. The closing track “Fear Not, My King” is another special one, with its dark and disturbing chord progression taking us to a suitably gloomy conclusion.

The whole album feels like a transcendental ritual, with Jayn as its high priestess. As you immerse yourself into its beautiful dark music, reality slowly starts disappearing and a haze sets in to replace it, accompanying you through what feels like a one-way journey to death’s doorstep. It’s dark and gloomy, but also breath-taking and unforgettable. It’s one of the most immersive records I listened to this year and it deserves your full attention – so go on and buy it, you won’t regret it.

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NEAL MORSE Morsefest! 5015

Movie · 2017 · Metal Related
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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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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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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.

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