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

NEAL MORSE One Album Cover One
NEAL MORSE
4.83 | 10 ratings
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SPOCK'S BEARD Snow Album Cover Snow
SPOCK'S BEARD
4.88 | 8 ratings
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NEAL MORSE Sola Scriptura Album Cover Sola Scriptura
NEAL MORSE
4.44 | 34 ratings
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PORCUPINE TREE In Absentia Album Cover In Absentia
PORCUPINE TREE
4.32 | 86 ratings
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TRANSATLANTIC Bridge Across Forever Album Cover Bridge Across Forever
TRANSATLANTIC
4.46 | 22 ratings
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PORCUPINE TREE Deadwing Album Cover Deadwing
PORCUPINE TREE
4.32 | 71 ratings
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RIVERSIDE Second Life Syndrome Album Cover Second Life Syndrome
RIVERSIDE
4.30 | 90 ratings
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SPOCK'S BEARD V Album Cover V
SPOCK'S BEARD
4.75 | 8 ratings
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KATATONIA Last Fair Deal Gone Down Album Cover Last Fair Deal Gone Down
KATATONIA
4.38 | 31 ratings
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TRANSATLANTIC SMPTe Album Cover SMPTe
TRANSATLANTIC
4.42 | 20 ratings
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AYREON The Theory of Everything Album Cover The Theory of Everything
AYREON
4.30 | 42 ratings
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ARENA Contagion Album Cover Contagion
ARENA
4.50 | 12 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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ANATHEMA Alternative 4

Album · 1998 · Metal Related
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Peacock Feather
This is the beginning of the band's golden period. The most painful, desperate, depressing, angry release of Anathema - this is Alternative 4. This album, by the way, will be the last for Duncan Patterson and the only one in which the permanent drummer John Douglas did not take part (then he was recovering from drug addiction). The unhealthy atmosphere that hung over the band amid the confrontation between the Cavanagh brothers and Patterson, apparently, had a good influence on how the album itself sounded. The general chaos surrounding the band forced Patterson to leave the band. Well, why bother to talk about it, especially after a few years, the Cavanagh brothers and Patterson have reconciled and even played several concerts together as part of Anathema.

Alternative 4 finally demonstrates the verified rigor of the forms, and the local atmosphere simply oozes with a gallows mood. Vinnie greatly improved his vocal abilities and sang the right way. I must say that many fans of the band love this album most of all, and this is not for nothing, because there is no such anguish, such pain and darkness on any other release of Anathema, even on the next one after Alternative 4 called "Judgement". I don't even know how the band managed to do it in such an unhealthy vibe that hovered over the band… As for me, Alternative 4 tends to open up for me with each new listen, although it would seem that this album is quite simple in its essence, but I like Alternative more and more. Who knows, maybe after a while I will declare this album as the main masterpiece of the band! Most of all, I love tracks placed in even positions around the outro Destiny: that is, the legendary Fragile Dreams, which seems doomed to be played forever on every Anathema tour, the masterpiece Lost Control (the best thing written by Patterson within the framework of Anathema), the minimalistic and sad Inner Silence, as well as the melancholic Regret. By the way, the bonus tracks contain 3 good-quality covers of Pink Floyd, as well as a cover of Better Off Dead by Bad Religion.

Undoubtedly, this is one of the best albums of the Liverpool formation, about which there is no need to say too many words, enough has already been said before me. My personal preferences, however, force me to put this album a little lower than other great albums, but still here are written some of the best things of the band, which are still met by fans at concerts with undisguised delight.

SLINT Spiderland

Album · 1991 · Metal Related
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siLLy puPPy
The critically acclaimed mother of all things post-rock does indeed seem to be the first successor to Talk Talk's later albums that layed down the foundation for the subgenre of rock to blossom although it was clearly heavily influenced by other dronological bands like The Velvet Underground who had already tapped into the sound in the 60s. The band's 2nd album SPIDERLAND went virtually unnoticed at the time and the band would break up soon after its release, yet for those who heard it they were truly inspired and through sheer influence alone this album has gained a steadily growing popularity in the underground world since its release.

It is interesting to hear just which parts influenced different post-rock acts that followed. The opener “Breadcrumb Trail” and its Godspeed! You Black Emperor narrations and the slower songs being heavily influential for Toby Driver's Maudlin Of The Well and Kayo Dot projects. Although I don't love this album as much as others simply because i find the vocals a bit weak in the screaming department and way too much talking instead of some kind of singing, I do recognize this as the landmark historically important album for what it is and i do kinda like the music which is mostly a punkish dissonance with a reggae kind of syncopation for a lot of the more upbeat tracks whilst the slower tracks are pure ambient riffing and atmospheric generators. Worth having alone for the mark it's made on the musical world but i can't say i enjoy listening to this on a regular basis.

SLINT Tweez

Album · 1989 · Metal Related
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siLLy puPPy
Although SLINT is much more known for their second groundbreaking album “Spiderland” which paved the way for the whole plethora of post-rock acts that followed, their oft snubbed debut TWEEZ hardly gets an ounce of recognition and serves as merely a footnote in comparison with the behemoth followup that is universally recognized as the veritable intermediate that connected Talk Talk’s initial post-rock innovation with the army of followers who diversified the sound. TWEEZ is NOT a post-rock album in any way shape or form, but that does not mean it is of no interest. In fact, i exercise a reverse polarity with the majority in regards to the two SLINT albums finding the debut the more interesting of the two. True “Spiderland” is influential and all but for me that doesn’t mean it is the best at its game. I much prefer the Sigur Ros, the Mogwai, the Godspeed! You Black Emperor, well you name it. If it came after “Spiderland” i probably like it more as that album was a mere blueprint and not the be all end all that it is made out to be.

TWEEZ on the other hand is one of the most unique post-hardcore albums i’ve ever heard. It truly resonates on a musical frequency that no other album ever has. It exists on some strange bandwidth of sonic expression that i have never encountered. It is a strange little album that at times reminds me of Jane’s Addiction’s “Nothing’s Shocking” era mixed with the typical post-hardcore, noise and math rock of the early 90s sometimes bringing Sonic Youth to mind, sometimes more punk inspired bands like NoMeansNo and sometimes just a plain old alternative rock band that for some reason brings Camper Van Beethoven to mind as an example or even like a pre-grunge band well before the Nirvana 90s. The guitars are highly distorted, the bass and drums fairly regular and the band seems to find a way to walk the line between disturbing dissonance and melodic funky beats. The attitude is more of a punk band but the music reels you into a more alternative rock mode. There are times it also reminds me of Jimi Hendrix with riffs and feedback fuzz, there is also a kind of black metal filthiness to the sound and the signals are definitely set to a very mixed grab bag! My kinda weirdness!

TWEEZ is not an album i sought out. I was only marginally impressed with “Spiderland” finding it a decent listen but not something that shattered my concept of originality but TWEEZ does seem to do that. This album found me! This is a short album at only 29:31. I understand why the lover’s of the proto-post-rock “Spiderland” do not give this debut album enough love. It is nothing like that more subdued release. This album is filthy, aggressive and unapologetic. It’s a hitherto unexplored form of neo-punk that really hits me in the right way. Personally i would have loved to hear this sound develop but i can’t say that i’m sorry SLINT moved on to the post-rock territory that allowed all those wonderful bands that i love these days to follow. I probably won’t convince too many that this debut album is actually better than “Spiderland” but in my world i find myself really excited to listen to TWEEZ, much preferred to the more influential followup. All i can recommend is not to write this album off just because of the low rating. If you have any interest in raw and dirty indie rock and post-hardcore then this is an album you won’t regret checking out.

TRANSATLANTIC Bridge Across Forever

Album · 2001 · Metal Related
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lukretion
Transatlantic are the dream team of modern progressive rock. Comprised of Neal Morse (keyboards, vocals), Mike Portnoy (drums, vocals), Roine Stolt (guitars, vocals) and Pete Trewavas (bass, vocals), the project brings together some of the best musicians from the best bands (Spock’s Beard, Dream Theater, The Flower Kings and Marillion, respectively) of the contemporary prog rock and metal scenes. Supergroups are not always a recipe for success, but in this case the class, expertise and artistic integrity of the four musicians involved is guarantee of quality and genuine musical value. Bridge Across Forever is perhaps not perfect and shows one or two rough edges, but it is nevertheless a great album, far superior to ninety-percent of the prog rock that was released around the same time.

The music “formula” that underlies the album is straightforward: full-blown prog rock extravaganza. This is music that harks back to the golden days of progressive rock and the work of bands like Yes and Genesis, albeit revisited in contemporary fashion and bringing in the metallic bite of prog metal. It can be described as a cross between Spock’s Beard and The Flower Kings, with a slightly more metallic undertone relative to these two bands. The Marillion and Dream Theater influences are instead much less pronounced. The emphasis is on long-form compositions with multiple sections, extended instrumental run-throughs and recurring themes that tie together the different parts of the song and give the listener a reference point to hold on to as they navigate the sprawling compositions. The playing is highly-technical and virtuosic – it could not be otherwise given the calibre of the four musicians involved in the project -, but it never loses sight of melody and accessibility. Whether you are into extended guitar solos, flamboyant keyboard parts, spectacular bass grooves or six-armed drum extravaganza, Bridge Across Forever has it all and it’s guaranteed that you can spend hours dissecting the monstrous performances of the Morse, Portnoy, Stolt and Trewavas.

The vocal department is also strong. A difference between this album and its predecessor, Transatlantic’s debut record SMPTe, is that on this one Morse, Portnoy, Stolt and Trewavas share duties behind the mic. This was a more or less conscious attempt at making Transatlantic sound like a Neal Morse’s solo project, after the debut album, where Morse had a leading role in the vocal parts, had been criticized for its excessive similarity with Morse’s and Spock’s Beard’s output. The alternation between four voices is interesting and freshens things up, although Morse does remain the most accomplished vocalist of the four, followed with some distance by Stolt.

The album is comprised of four songs for a total duration exceeding 70 minutes. Two tracks, the opener “Duel with the Devil” and closer “Stranger in Your Soul” are approximately 26 minutes each, “Suite Charlotte Pike” clocks at 14+ minutes, and the title-track is only a mere 5:33 minute long. “Duel with the Devil” and “Stranger in Your Soul” are the two “prog epics” of the album, where Transatlantic pour all of their creativity and skills and then some more. The two pieces share some common musical themes (the strings section that opens both tracks) and a similarly complex structure, with multiple parts that feed into one another, alternating between furious musical workouts and more atmospheric and mellower sections. Although both songs are great fun to listen to, “Duel with the Devil” is the one where Transatlantic truly reach near-perfection, thanks to a beautiful melodic theme (the chorus “Motherless Children…”) that recurs throughout the song in multiple arrangements (including a sublime choral arrangements near the end), and a balanced structure that does not abuse with too many digressions but is firmly grounded around its central melodic idea. “Stranger in Your Soul” is instead slightly less satisfactory and shows some of the pitfalls of long-form songwriting. It opens strongly with some of the most exhilarating musical passages of the album (“Pt I: Sleeping Wide Awake” and the heavily metallic “Part II: Hanging in the Balance”), but it loses steam afterwards (the dull section “Pt III: Lost and Found pt 2”) and then gets tangled into a messy conclusion, with a faux finale (the orchestral crescendo at the end of “Pt IV: Awakening the Stranger”) and a repetition of quiet/loud sections that goes on for too long.

The other two tracks of the album are less spectacular, but nevertheless enjoyable. The title-track, a simple piece for piano and vocals beautifully sung by Neal Morse, is especially endearing. “Suite Charlotte Pike” is a sort of “glorified blues jam”, where Transatlantic showcase their love for The Beatles and 1960/70s pop rock. It’s fun to listen to, but it lacks the depth and musical nuance of the two epics, which makes its 14+ minutes perhaps a tad unwarranted.

Overall, Bridge Across Forever is a strong album that will surely not disappoint prog rock/metal aficionados. It has everything that the genre is known for: tight musicianship, sprawling compositions, clever songwriting and sophisticated arrangements. Most importantly, it packs four songs that strike a great balance between melodic accessibility and musical complexity, making this a record that is both instantly enjoyable and with great replay value.

THEATRE OF TRAGEDY Musique

Album · 2000 · Metal Related
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lukretion
The late 1990s saw an increasing number of iconic doom/death bands experiment with new sound directions. From Paradise Lost to Anathema, many bands decided to leave behind (at least temporarily) the doom metal of their beginnings and explore new ways of expressing their dark and melancholic feelings. The most shocking change of direction, though, must surely be that taken by Theatre of Tragedy with their fourth full-length Musique. In 1995 the band had kickstarted almost single-handedly the whole “beauty and the beast” doom/gothic metal scene with their self-titled debut album. However, after just one more record in this style (the fantastic Velvet Darkness They Fear), Theatre of Tragedy already started to show a desire to push the boundaries of their sound. Their third album (1998’s Aégis) saw the band almost entirely abandon the doom/death format, ditching the growls and the slow tempos in favor of a more energetic and accessible form of gothic metal. In 2000, with the EP Inperspective, the band showcased their love for electronic music, releasing heavily remixed and almost techno versions of songs from their previous full-lengths. And then came Musique, an album that cancelled almost every single aspect of the band fans once knew.

There is no trace of the band’s doom/death beginnings on this album, nor of the more straightforward but still heavily metallic gothic approach showcased on Aégis. On Musique, Theatre of Tragedy explore a new sound halfway between industrial metal, EBM and electro-goth music. The standard metal instrumentation (guitar, bass, drums) takes mostly a backseat on this album, and so do the piano and the string arrangements that the band had used so frequently on previous records. The music is instead dominated by electronic beats, loops, sound effects and keyboards. The distorted guitars are used sparingly and almost exclusively rhythmically, to add thickness and momentum to the choruses. The songs are much simpler, built around a canonic verse-chorus-verse structure, with plenty of melodic hooks and very few instrumental digressions or structural innovations. It’s a lean and catchy approach that stands in stark contrast with the sprawling compositions of the band’s previous albums, where the track length very often exceeded the 5 minutes. These changes in the instrumentation and musical approach are also accompanied by a mini-revolution in the band’s lineup, with guitarist Tommy Olsson and bassist Eirik Saltrø quitting the band without being replaced.

The vocal styles of the band’s two singers, Raymond Rohonyi and Liv Kristine Espenæs, are also completely different compared to previous albums. Raymond has nearly completely ditched his growling style of the first two albums (except for a brief episode on “Crash/Concrete”) as well as the gothic croon of Aégis. He instead uses a robotic, half-spoken singing style that brings to mind Kraftwerk and the krautrock movement. Liv Kristine abandons the operatic vocal style she had frequently used up to this point and adopts a more modern, poppier approach instead. It’s a completely new take on the “beauty and the beast” aesthetics that Theatre of Tragedy contributed to popularize in the second half of the 1990s.

But Theatre of Tragedy’s metamorphosis goes even further than this. The lyrics on Musique are at the antipodes of those on the previous three albums, where Raymond Rohonyi wrote in Old English and tackled typically romantic topics of lost love, death and tragedy. The lyrical approach on Musique could not be more different. The lyrics are written in modern English and deal with very contemporaneous and even mundane topics, like city life, computers, machines and sex. The band’s image is also completely different. Gone are the laced-up corsets, the elegant Victorian dresses and the long hair, as the band showcases instead a new look made of tight leather jackets and dyed short hair.

While these are big, bold changes that no doubt shocked more than one early-day fan, it should be said that the new musical direction Theatre of Tragedy take on Musique is nothing completely unheard before, even in the metal universe. Bands like Sundown, Samael, Paradise Lost, The Kovenant, Seigmen and Zeromancer had all dabbled with similar sonic experiments around the same time, mixing industrial, electronica, pop and gothic metal. Regardless of the novelty, Theatre of Tragedy do a great job at giving their interpretation of this aesthetic, with some excellent results. The first two tracks of the albums are absolute killers. “Machine” strikes a perfect balance between being catchy and sinister, while “City of Light” is more disturbed with its heavy industrial influences and brings to mind The Prodigy.

The rest of the album follows in a similar vein, mixing eerie electronic atmosphere, sinister robotic voices and catchy melodic hooks. And herein lies the greatest pitfall of the album. From the third track onward, when the surprise effect starts fading out, it is almost impossible not to be pervaded by a strong sense of deja-vu. The lack of variation in the song structure and tempo and in the overall sound direction makes it hard to distinguish one song from another, as the various loops and melodic hooks become almost interchangeable from song to song. There are only few moments between track #3 “Fragment” and track #11 “Space Age” that truly stand out. One is the album’s lead single “Image”. It’s a decidedly poppier piece that only features Liv on vocals, thus breaking the cycle of robotic verses – female choruses that had characterized all previous tracks. The other is the final track “Space Age”, which is my personal favourite song of the album. It’s a more atmospheric and meditative piece that unfurls slowly between computerized vocals and eerie programmed loops. It gives the album a much needed change of tempo, breaking the songwriting formula that had been (ab)used in the course of the previous ten tracks. Although this comes too late in the tracklist, it’s nevertheless a great way to finish the album on a high note.

Despite being too unidimensional and formulaic, Musique is nevertheless a pleasant album that represents a bold change of direction for Theatre of Tragedy. The feeling I get from this record is that the band is not yet fully in control of the new sonic approach. As a consequence, the album lacks subtlety and depth, giving it limited repeated listening value. The band will do much better on their follow-up record, 2002’s Assembly, which will continue with the same sonic approach but in a decidedly more mature and assured manner. If you have not listened to this phase of the band’s discography, I suggest you start with Assembly first, and only get Musique if you like what you hear on that record.

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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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