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

SPOCK'S BEARD V Album Cover V
SPOCK'S BEARD
4.89 | 9 ratings
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TRANSATLANTIC Bridge Across Forever Album Cover Bridge Across Forever
TRANSATLANTIC
4.55 | 23 ratings
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NEAL MORSE Sola Scriptura Album Cover Sola Scriptura
NEAL MORSE
4.48 | 36 ratings
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NEAL MORSE One Album Cover One
NEAL MORSE
4.62 | 14 ratings
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PORCUPINE TREE Deadwing Album Cover Deadwing
PORCUPINE TREE
4.36 | 74 ratings
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PORCUPINE TREE In Absentia Album Cover In Absentia
PORCUPINE TREE
4.34 | 90 ratings
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KATATONIA Last Fair Deal Gone Down Album Cover Last Fair Deal Gone Down
KATATONIA
4.40 | 32 ratings
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RIVERSIDE Second Life Syndrome Album Cover Second Life Syndrome
RIVERSIDE
4.31 | 94 ratings
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COHEED AND CAMBRIA The Afterman: Ascension Album Cover The Afterman: Ascension
COHEED AND CAMBRIA
4.54 | 12 ratings
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PENDRAGON Pure Album Cover Pure
PENDRAGON
4.64 | 9 ratings
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TRANSATLANTIC The Whirlwind Album Cover The Whirlwind
TRANSATLANTIC
4.38 | 22 ratings
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ARENA Contagion Album Cover Contagion
ARENA
4.48 | 13 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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THE NEAL MORSE BAND The Similitude of a Dream

Album · 2016 · Metal Related
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Warthur
The first Neal Morse Band album was a deliberate exercise in Neal Morse shifting gear from his usual approach to making albums. Don't have a plan, don't have anything pre-prepared, just go into the studio as a group and cook everything up collaboratively.

To my mind, it was a major success - and clearly enough people thought the same to make it worth giving the Neal Morse Band idea another shot. This time, however, things seem to have shifted a little, with Neal taking on a bit more of a "band leader" role - seeing how it's his name on the cover and all - whilst not totally abandoning the collaborative approach of the group.

In particular, The Similitude of a Dream is based on a concept decided by Neal (it's an adaptation of The Pilgrim's Progress), with lyrics all written by Neal, and in a format which was ultimately decided by Neal. (Reportedly, he and Mike Portnoy had a disagreement over whether it should be a 1CD or 2CD release - Mike favoured a shorter album to prevent the concept from wearing thin - and Neal eventually got his way.)

That isn't to say this is a reversion to the approach of Neal's solo albums, or the time he spent as leader of Spock's Beard - an era when he'd write more or less all the music and lyrics and everyone else was there to execute his vision and did only minimal songwriting of their own. Once again, the credit for the music goes to all the band members - and once again, you can hear that, with more nods to pastoral-era Genesis and Pink Floyd (for example) than is typical for Neal's usual writing approach, plus some even wilder stylistic curveballs (there's bits of Draw the Line which seem almost nu-metal influenced, in terms of having a hard, funky instrumental basis which you could imagine a nu-metal vocalist rapping over at points). All this is the the sort of thing which also felt novel and interesting on The Grand Experiment, and so seem likely to be the contribution of other band members.

The shift here, then, seems to be that Neal has taken on the responsibility for providing the broader structure and concept, whilst the band as a whole take that framework and put the meat on the bones. It's a change which makes a lot of sense; The Grand Experiment was successful, of course, but it's the sort of thing which can only really be truly novel once. Coming into the studio with at least an outlined concept to hand is the sort of thing which focuses the mind, and having that sort of focus saves the album from being a mere rehash of what came before.

Using The Pilgrim's Progress as a concept also makes a lot of sense in terms of Neal's wider career; although Neal seems to be more open than he was back in the 2000s to be involved in projects producing music which is secular, or at least not overtly and explicitly Christian, he does like to involve his religion in his art. One of the things which is genuinely good about the prog albums in his solo career is that he doesn't just restrict himself to the same very limited set of themes which more conventional Christian Rock artists tend to rag on about over and over again. He's aware that Christianity has a rich cultural history behind it, and he'll use that to do concept albums based on obscure parts of the Bible, or Church history, or - in this case - Christian allegorical fiction.

In addition, the whole "weird allegorical journey" thing which The Pilgrim's Progress is based on is, of course, exactly the sort of thing which has been the substance of a bunch of great prog concept albums of the past - The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway by Genesis is exactly that concept, in particular. (For that matter, so's Spock's Beard's Snow...) Basing the album on the structure of the original story means that John Bunyan is, in effect, an additional collaborator - because in his lyrics Neal is interpreting Bunyan's characters and plot, rather than coming up with his own story from whole cloth.

The end result is something which is both different from what Neal Morse would have come up with adapting The Pilgrim's Progress all by himself and then just handing down the finished compositions to the band, and different from what the Neal Morse Band would have come up with just wandering into the studio with no fixed plan for a second time. As such, despite all the retro-prog influences on it, the album still seems fresh in the context of Neal's prog discography, and helps to continue the revitalisation of that side of his output which the Neal Morse Band represents.

SPOCK'S BEARD Snow Live

Live album · 2017 · Metal Related
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Warthur
It was one of the biggest shocks to hit the early 2000s prog scene: no sooner had Spock's Beard released Snow, an ambitious double concept album, band leader Neal Morse (who had composed a substantial majority of their material to date - including almost all of Snow) quit. His declared reason at the time was that he wanted to focus his time on making solo work exploring his religious beliefs, and didn't think it would be right to expect the band to follow him down that particular rabbithole; as he would later allude to on the Testimony 2 concept album, a health scare involving his young daughter may well have prompted him to want to pull out of band projects altogether and stay at home more. Ambitious plans to perform Snow live were shelved, never to see fulfillment...

...until 2016, that is. After shocking the prog world by quitting all his existing band projects in 2002, Neal shocked it again in 2009 by returning to band work, reforming Transatlantic. Between that, the brand new Flying Colors project, and The Neal Morse Band (in which, despite the name, songwriting duties are shared much more evenly than on Neal's solo albums), it became evident that Neal was now comfortable with working as part of a band again, even on projects which didn't have an overt, explicitly stated Christian focus.

He'd even make appearances with Spock's Beard, joining them onstage at a festival or two and even making contributions to the Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep album, though being careful to be credited as a guest rather than a full member of the band. This was a classy move, because that album was the debut of Ted Leonard as the group's full-time frontman (after filling in for a departing Nick D'Virgilio on some live gigs), and it's clear that whilst Neal was happy to stop by to help out, he was also humble enough not to upstage the new singer right when he needed that spotlight.

Snow Live, however, represents perhaps the biggest and most significant reunion of Neal and Spock's Beard to date: a full live performance of the album, performed at Morsefest. (Morsefest is Neal's homegrown fan convention, a bit like his version of Marillion's weekend bashes - one likes to think of him chatting with his Transatlantic bandmate Pete Trewavas between takes in the studio, picking his brains about the logistics of running such things.) This consists of the full Snow epic, plus two encores - old favourite June and Falling Forever, a track previously recorded by Neal and Spock's Beard for the First Twenty Years compilation album.

Inevitably, such an undertaking involves Neal being prominently featured front and centre - a de facto reunion, even if just for this show (and a repeat in Europe a short while later). Snow was an extremely personal concept for him - it's basically him working through his feelings about quitting the band before he actually quit the band, he wrote almost all the music and lyrics, that's just inevitable.

Nonetheless, Neal and the band do a grand job of making the show less about Neal coming back and acting as frontman for one more night, and more about a celebration of the band's entire history. Far from sitting this one out, Ted Leonard is included in the show, the group doing a fine job of finding ways for him to contribute some lead performances as well as assisting with the backing vocals where it would serve the concept to do so. Likewise, Nick D'Virgilio came back for this gig, with the band using a two-drummer setup to allow him and Jimmy Keegan to play together, and he also contributes some vocals too in keeping with his role of frontman for the run of albums between Neal leaving and Ted Leonard joining.

(Having multiple vocalists on hand, in fact, turns out to be not just a bonus, but essential - after all, as with much early Spock's Beard stuff, there's some moments where they get into intricately intertwined vocals reminiscent of some of Gentle Giant's experiments in that vein; you might be able to do that solo in a studio by multi-tracking your voice, but you need a bunch of vocalists on hand to do that live!)

In other words, the album doesn't just include Neal Morse playing with Spock's Beard again - it also includes every single person who'd been an official member of Spock's Beard on a studio album up to this point. (Original bassist John Ballard isn't on it, but John was only in the band fairly briefly, departing before they recorded The Light.) The result is a performance of Snow which is somewhat warmer than the chilly title implies - and it works an absolute treat. Some credit has to be given to the delightful acoustics of the venue - it's Neal's local church, which gives the whole thing a nice, intimate sound, and on the whole I actually think the resulting performance sounds better than the rather clean, precisely-produced studio album.

The execution is absolutely spot on; despite the fact that neither Spock's Beard nor Neal's solo backing bands have performed all this material like this, they really nail it, like they've been playing this setlist regularly since Snow originally released. Or perhaps it sounds even better than that - maybe letting the material sit fallow for this long gave Neal and the group the appetite to really get their teeth into it now this wonderful opportunity had arisen. The fact that they deliberately only planned to play this show a very limited number of times, rather than doing a full Spock's Beard And Neal Morse Play Snow tour, might have also added a certain helpful frisson - nothing like knowing that you've got limited chances to get this right to focus the mind!

Of course, it'd be foolish to write off the possibility that Neal and Spock's Beard will perform this set again in future, or otherwise collaborate again - the very existence of this live album proves that all bets are off and "never say never" should be one's motto. But at the same time, if this is the last major collaboration between the two parties and it's just occasional guest appearances on a song here and there from here on out, this is a magnificent way for the Neal Morse-fronted incarnation of Spock's Beard to bow out, and does a fantastic job of providing the closure we never got back in 2002.

OPETH Sorceress

Album · 2016 · Metal Related
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Warthur
Sorceress finds Opeth continuing the run of nostalgic prog albums that began with Heritage and continued through Pale Communion. As on those two albums, the band show a keen appreciation of not just the prog rock bands of the past, but also the sounds which were influencing and inspiring those bands.

Pale Communion had its moments where it took on influence from the heavier end of psychedelic rock, and Sorceress finds the band deepening their appreciation of and drawing on the psychedelic sounds which the early prog scene coalesced out of. Indeed, one song is named The Wilde Flowers, after the band which would, post-fracture, spawn Caravan and The Soft Machine, and whilst I wouldn't say the band go full Canterbury here, I would say there's passages on here which aren't entirely incompatible with that.

Other tracks, such as Will O the Wisp, have a folky air to them and a general production approach highly reminiscent of Jethro Tull from the early 1970s, or heavier moments. The band have still more or less exited the metal sphere on this album, but Chrysalis is hard rocking enough to suggest a potential route back, with a pulsing intensity which puts me in mind of Hawkwind.

Whilst many Opeth albums took a while to grow on me, Sorceress gripped me from the start, and I think it's an excellent further improvement of the approach of Heritage and Pale Communion.

SPOCK'S BEARD The Oblivion Particle

Album · 2015 · Metal Related
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Warthur
The second studio album of the Ted Leonard era of Spock's Beard finds the band exploring another fresh blend of prog sounds. Minion, for instance, starts out by reminding me of what might happen if Kansas ended up jamming with Jadis, with a combination of harmony vocals, sunny neo-prog guitar lines and synth - but then adds in jazzy drum fills and heavier moments to shake up that combination just as I think I've got it figured out. Much of the rest of the album is the same - there's a deeper, richer bench of influences than just the usual touchstones that retro-prog bands often go to time and time again, and the new subtlety and sophistication in how the band blend them together showcased on Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep continues to surprise.

As foundational as the Neal Morse era was for Spock's Beard, I think it only produced two absolutely top-tier classics (The Light and V), with the other albums of the era being good - often very good - but a little patchier. As for the Nick D'Virgilio era of the band - well, I think Nick was no slouch and did a fine job of stepping into the lead vocalist role under challenging circumstances. However, there's no getting around the fact that the band had to switch from a mode where Neal Morse was composing most of their material to one where they needed to all pitch in more to get those songs pieced together - and while they quickly righted the ship, none of the Nick-fronted albums quite hit the five-star tier.

This Ted Leonard era of the band, however... that's got me intrigued. Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep I thought was the band's first five-star classic since V - in fact, I sneakily think it was better than that - and I actually think this one has the edge on it, not least because Ted Leonard gets to show more personality. (Mental note: revisit the Enchant back catalogue, this Ted guy's clearly got something good going on.) The centre of gravity of the album puts me in mind of a somewhat more avant-garde take on Crucible, whose Tall Tales so deftly mashed up the approach of Trick of the Tail-era Genesis and classic Kansas back in 1997.

CHELSEA WOLFE Abyss

Album · 2015 · Metal Related
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Warthur
A doomy, gloomy gaze into the titular Abyss, on this latest release Chelsea Wolfe blends industrial and ethereal influences together into a mixture that contemplates dark and ugly things but which teases out a great inner beauty within them. A top-tier entry into her discography which ranks amongst her best albums and a strong case for Wolfe as the premier standard bearer for 21st century gothy darkwave magic. Veering even closer to doom metal territory than she did on Pain Is Beauty - and, indeed, on parts of songs like the apocalyptic Iron Moon, crossing over into it - this album finds her getting deeper into the louder, more discordant side of her sound.

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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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