Non-Metal

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Not every band on Metal Music Archives exclusively plays within a metal or metal related sub-genre. Some start as such only to later leave their old sound behind, others become relevant to the site later in their careers. Some bands like to release one-off experiments. The Non-Metal tag on MMA is used to cover releases that are completely removed from metal music in style, so in a sense is a catch-all sub-genre for releases that don't fit anywhere else.

Sometimes, artists will be added under non-metal exclusively due to being related to the metal genre and scene by association with metal artists, such as the symphonic prog act Transatlantic who feature the former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy, the ambient project Neptune Towers by Darkthrone's Fenriz or the folk band Fejd, who have members who are/have been with a couple of different metal bands (Fejd later became metal themselves, but were accepted on MMA long before that). Such artists are typically covered by the metal media due to this association with the scene, and are as such included on MMA for the same reasons.

Mostly however this tag will be used for releases belonging to other genres by metal (or other metal related) artists, such as Opeth's progressive rock albums Damnation and Pale Communion or Elvenking's folk/folk rock album Two Tragedy Poets.

- Written by adg211288 (August 2015).

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non-metal top albums

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

SWANS The Seer Album Cover The Seer
SWANS
4.78 | 9 ratings
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4.58 | 11 ratings
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MOTORPSYCHO The Death Defying Unicorn Album Cover The Death Defying Unicorn
MOTORPSYCHO
4.74 | 7 ratings
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MEAT LOAF Bat Out Of Hell Album Cover Bat Out Of Hell
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4.45 | 15 ratings
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PENDRAGON The Window of Life Album Cover The Window of Life
PENDRAGON
4.50 | 12 ratings
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ELOY Ocean Album Cover Ocean
ELOY
4.43 | 16 ratings
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ZZ TOP Tres Hombres Album Cover Tres Hombres
ZZ TOP
4.42 | 16 ratings
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BEARDFISH Sleeping in Traffic: Part Two Album Cover Sleeping in Traffic: Part Two
BEARDFISH
4.89 | 5 ratings
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SPOCK'S BEARD Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep Album Cover Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep
SPOCK'S BEARD
4.47 | 12 ratings
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KILLING JOKE Night Time Album Cover Night Time
KILLING JOKE
4.48 | 11 ratings
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ALICE COOPER From The Inside Album Cover From The Inside
ALICE COOPER
4.25 | 25 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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non-metal Music Reviews

SHINING Lots Of Girls Gonna Get Hurt

EP · 2012 · Non-Metal
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UMUR
"Lots of Girls Gonna Get Hurt" is an EP release by Swedish black metal act Shining. The EP was released through Spinefarm Records in May 2012 and it bridges the release of the band´s seventh- and eighth full-length studio albums "VII: Född förlorare" (2011) and and "Redefining Darkness" (2012). "Lots of Girls Gonna Get Hurt" features four cover songs of Katatonia, Kent, Imperiet, and Poets Of The Fall (three Swedish artists and one Finnish).

While Shining are probably mostly known as a depressive black metal band, their post-2007 period (from "V: Halmstad (Niklas angående Niklas)" onwards) have featured more and more progressive songwriting, excursions into goth/dark rock territories, and a generally more adventurous approach to writing music, so the release of "Lots of Girls Gonna Get Hurt" really isn´t that surprising. Lead vocalist Niklas Kvarforth have always been vocal about his love for melancholic rock artists like Seigmen, Kent, and Katatonia.

The EP opens with the cover of "For My Demons" by Katatonia and although it´s the most metal oriented of the tracks featured on this EP, it´s actually the weakest of the covers. It´s decent but Kvarforth just doesn´t hit the melancholic heights and subdued vocals of Jonas Renkse. "Utan Dina Andetag" by Kent is a much more successful cover, and it´s great to hear Kvarforth singing pop/rock style vocals with passion and conviction. "Kung Av Jidder" is a cover of Swedish 1980s dark rock/punk act Imperiet, and Shining does a good job with this cover, although the original song isn´t beaten. The Poets Of The Fall cover "Carnival Of Rust" closes the EP, and it´s a good quality cover, but not terribly different from the original rock song (a brilliant song by the Finnish band), and it´s therefore slightly redundant.

"Lots of Girls Gonna Get Hurt" is well produced and upon conclusion I like the idea that a talented artists like Kvarforth stretches his wings and embraces other genres and musical ideas like his done several times before and since...mostly with success. I could have wished for more personal interpretations of the source material, so I immediately would be able to say that it was Shining playing, but when that is said "Lots of Girls Gonna Get Hurt" is still a good quality release and a 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

MARTY FRIEDMAN Introduction

Album · 1995 · Non-Metal
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siLLy puPPy
While still in Megadeath, guitarist MARTY FRIEDMAN continued to release solo albums on the Shrapnel Records label after the success of his 1989 shredding bonanza “Dragon’s Kiss” but due to an incessant touring schedule during Megadeth’s most financially successful chapter of its existence he began to burn out on heavy metal and had a major need to use his solo albums to explore a completely new musical dimension that he had never entered before. This began with the 1992 album “Scenes” which to his fans’ surprise eschewed the lightning fast guitar antics that had made him a worldwide celebrity and instead ventured into the world of Japanese melody inspired new age which found him collaborating with the great Kitaro of all people. “Scenes” was quite the departure from his usual repertoire and although brief moments of metal lite still drifted in to the overall equation, the album was clearly designed to be pacifying and soothing as if composing the soundtrack for a Japanese tea garden only with a touch of what came before just to put his personal stamp on it.

Not having gotten the mellowness bug fix quite satiated on that album, FRIEDMAN returned two years later with his next excursion into the world of new age ambient flavored music only taken to the next level with several additional musicians and an upgrade in the compositional fortitude. INTRODUCTION came out at the end of 1994 pretty much released simultaneously with Megadeth’s “Youthanasia” album and once again featured fellow band member drummer Nick Menza in the percussionist’s seat.Along for the ride were pianist / keyboardist Brian BecVar and a few classical musicians including Sachi McHenry on cell, Charlie Bisharat on violin and Nick’s father Don Menza playing the Japanese woodwind shakuhachi who himself was a famous saxophonist as a member of the Buddy Rich band as well as playing with Elvin Jones and Louie Bellson. The end results followed in the footsteps of “Scenes” but INTRODUCTION was a completely different type of album with only a quiet, calming placidly shared as the commonality. FRIEDMAN claims most of the music was written during his endless flight schedule and created so he he could listen to it in order to pacify his hatred of flying.

Defying any true categorization, INTRODUCTION came off as some sort of progressive post-classical minimalist new age lullaby album with intricate melodic developments borrowing an idea or two from traditional Japanese folk musical forms as well as incorporating traditional pop techniques of the American 1950s. The album featured eight distinct tracks that added up to 42 minutes of playing and basically revolved around a catchy intricately deigned melodic flow that implemented the creative use of timbres and musical cadences as the primary methodology of spicing everything up with extended compositional build ons to simulate a verse / chorus / bridge style of compositional flow. The music was sparsely decorated with various pairs of instruments showcasing subtle variations in the same recurring melodies that retained the lullaby effect whether the music delivered an atmospheric new age moment, Western classical minimalism or the occasional moments into the world of guitar based rock that featured the bass and drums with an occasional guitar lick erupting into virtuosity.

The piano based opening “Arrival” sets the stage with alternating parts that allow the music to reprise the same melody only set to differing instrumentation and dynamic shifts. The tracks that follow all offer distinct personalities that showcase FRIEDMAN’s virtuosity delivered in impressive finger-picking skills that culminated the most complex Italian inspired melodies on “Mama.” The creative drop in and drop out effect of the Japanese flute, the violin, cello, piano and rock parts maintained an unpredictable framework within the overall continuity of the melodic process with a few moments of time signature deviations added for the element of surprise. “Bittersweet” began with a detached Japanese flute that slowly ratcheted up the melodic deliveries before with a lugubrious orchestral effect slowly upped the intensity while ultimately culminating in one of the most impressive clean guitar picking solos on the entire album.

“Be” on the other hand begins as one of the most placid tracks of the lot only to make a complete shift into the world of rock with the most dynamic electric guitar workouts on the album. “Escapism” on the other hand nurtures a brilliant compositional flow only to feature an extended improv in rancho relaxo mode only with clever guitar licks offering soul piercing note bends and FRIEDMAN’s obvious deeper connection to the very essence of melody itself. As the album progresses each and every track only offers an utterly instant ear worm with Japanese inspired melodic hooks with MARTY’s most tasteful of guitar bends that sound like their narrating a greater tale behind the scenes. The album culminates in the rather distinct sounding “Siberia” which offers guitar tones and drumming techniques not heard throughout the album. The album delivered all the compositions in surprisingly good taste while maintaining a basic new age placidity without really falling into that world whatsoever. This is the kind of intricately designed mellow music that Buckethead has been striving for for decades and never even come close to the sheer genius of the compositional fortitude laid out on these eight outstandingly beautiful tracks.

Fearing that he was alienating his fanbase completely at this stage, FRIEDMAN would never release these kinds of mellow albums again with future albums returning to the heavy metal basis for shredding and general songwriting. While this album may sound like an absolutely disastrous proposal it is pulled off with so much class it brings tears to my eyes when i experience it. The tasteful use of melodies and how they are forged into a unique compositional wholeness evokes the world of the classical musical geniuses of yore and FRIEDMAN after proving his top dog status as one of the top neoclassical and thrash metal masters of all time displayed how his talents went well beyond such confines of heavy music. This is an album i always think i’m going to outgrow after many years but every time i put it on i’m really just blown away like a was the first time i heard it. If i had only one complaint about the entire album it would be the lazy drumming techniques on the rock oriented sequences but even then they don’t distract from the overall goal. This is an all-instrumental affair with only the beautiful track “Luna” offering an uncredited female voice narrating some poetic prose in the Japanese language thus showcasing FRIEDMAN’s fascination with the Japanese culture almost a decade before he would permanently relocate there. Pure genius this one!

THE MASTERS APPRENTICES Masterpiece

Album · 1969 · Non-Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Sounding like a completely different band on their second album the lineup of THE MASTERS APPRENTICES completely melted down leaving only vocalist Jim Keays left standing and carrying the band to the next level. While it took three long years to follow up their garage rock / freakbeat debut the times had obviously changed and while the 1967 debut was pretty much playing catch up with the styles that were popular in the UK around the 1964 and 1965 timeline, on the band’s sophomore album MASTERPIECE once again it sounded more like 1968 than 1970. Scaled back to a quartet, THE MASTERS APPRENTICES adopted a completely new style that rocked the upbeat sunshine pop hooks with psychedelic touches and a touch of freakbeat leftover from the early days.

The band spent the majority of the time between albums was spent reorganizing the band and transforming it into a completely different creation. During the three year gap newbie Doug Ford and Keays stockpiled numerous songs and released a few singles and endured a heavy touring schedule but all this hard work and exposure paid off as this classic lineup is the same that would deliver the band’s following pair of albums which would finally seeing them find their own unique sound based in progressive rock. At this stage though no prog to be found and all the tracks featured are steeped in bubblegum pop hooks with bluesy guitar licks and boogie shuffles. The band signed to EMI and had a larger budget for production but at this stage despite an entire album of all original material, THE MASTERS APPRENTICES sounded like this second album was supposed to come out when the first one did back in 1967.

Alternating between bluesy rockers and poppy folk, MASTERPIECE featured a rather cheesy orchestral backing that made it sound like it was trying to emulate The Moody Blues’ classic “Days Of Future Passed” but far from the crowning achievement or cutting edge brilliance of that famous album. On this album the band wasn’t very focused and as a result the tracks are all over the place as far as uniformity is concerned. The pop folk “A Dog, A Siren and Memories” emulates the great Simon and Garfunkel while the following track “Linda Linda” featured an old-timer music hall style possibly inspire by The New Vaudville Band’s hit “Winchester Cathedral” form 1966. The piece even featured a kazoo! It was clear the band was trying to cop a bit of Paul McCartney’s showtune style from The Beatles. “Isabella” adopts a Spanish guitar theme and features a chorus that just repeats the name “Isabella” several times!

Some tracks like “Piece Of Me” are pure generic bubblegum pop and not even good at that. The band at this stage was clearly aiming for the teenie bopper crowds and wanted to be the next Ohio Express or The Monkees or something! The music is really awkward at some points with the track “Titanic” standing out as pretty hilarious. Not only does they sing the title in a funny way but The Chiffons provide a very mediocre backing not to mention the track features real ship noise samples. It’s about as cheesy as it gets really! It was also a sign that this band was a sinking ship and that if they didn’t get their act together then they would be history.

Luckily the band got the memo and found a much needed break from touring and let their prog-tinged hard rock fantasies run wild for their next album “Choice Cuts” which found the band evolve leaps and bounds beyond this collection of head-scratching 60s leftovers. It’s an ok album but extremely awkward and really not good enough to recommend unless you really love cheesy bubblegum pop from the late 60s but not good enough to find the ear worms haunting you for days after. It’s an interesting glimpse into the band’s missing years and how they would come back with a hodgepodge of material but as an album it’s actually pretty weak and ill-conceived. It’s hard to believe Columbia let this slip the quality control and it’s often considered the band’s worst offering. Despite the album’s title being MASTERPIECE, this one is far from it.

THE MASTERS APPRENTICES The Master's Apprentices

Album · 1967 · Non-Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Originally starting out as a surf rock band called The Mustangs in 1960s Adelaide, Australia, the quartet of Mick Bower on rhythm guitar, Rick Morrison on lead guitar, Brian Vaughton on drums and Gavin Webb on bass was forever changed after The Beatles toured Australia in 1964 and found their largest audience to date in Adelaide with an estimated 300,000 attendees amongst a population of 668,000. The band changed direction and ventured into the world of British beat music which resulted in the name change to THE MASTERS APPRENTICES and the addition of Scottish immigrant Jim Keays as lead vocalist / secondary guitarist.

The band’s name refers to its allegiance to the masters of the blues such as Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Jimmy Reed, Elmore James and Robert Johnson and after engaging in a healthy live scene around Adelaide, the band become one of the city’s most popular beat bands and slowly but surely captured a larger national audience which resulted in the band relocating to Melbourne where they recorded their debut self-titled release that emerged in late 1967. There were actually two self-titled releases. A four track EP emerged in 1967 with the songs “Undecided,” “Hot Gully Wind,” “Buried And Dead” and “She’s My Girl” before the full-length album came out in October with 12 tracks.

THE MASTERS APPRENTICE became one of Australia’s most innovative early progressive rock bands in the 1970s with popular albums like “Choice Cuts” but at this early stage the band was a fairly typical 60s sounding garage rock / freakbeat / mod act in the British tradition only a few years behind the curve as the actual British acts had evolved into the world of art rock by 1967. This debut adopted the usual approach of many 60s acts by only releasing a handful of original tracks and padding the rest with cover tunes which in this case included everything from Bo Diddley’s “Dancing Girl” and The Beatles’ “I Feel Fine” to Otis Redding’s “My Girl,” “Don’t Fight It” by Wilson Pickett and Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode.”

At this point it’s virtually impossible to predict that MASTERS APPRENTICE would amount to anything as this is one of the most generic debuts possible which shows no signs of individuality or creativity whatsoever. Sounding something like The Rolling Stones as far as the loose rhythm and blues guitar licks and vocal style are concerned, the band found minor success with its singles “Undecided” and “Buried And Dead” on the self-titled EP which hit the Australian top 40 singles chart and the primary reason a full album’s worth of material was rushed to cash in on the momentum. While cited as psychedelic rock, this album was behind the times and was pretty much in the same style of the British Invasion acts from 1964 and 1965.

This is a listenable album but not very compelling as its primarily a platform for the singles and a couple of extra originals with several mediocre covers. It’s a fairly typical copycat album of the era with nothing really to offer other than experiencing the debut album of one of Australia’s more famous bands that went on to better things in the 1970s. Personally i find this to be a decent dance hall type of band but not one that i would rush out and buy the album as the covers are far too faithful to the original and the band’s very own songs are much not better in terms of quality or creativity. Pretty much relegated to the hardcore fans and even then it wouldn’t be that much of a loss if you skipped this one altogether. It would take another full three years for the band’s second release “Masterpiece” to hit the market which finally did add some psychedelic elements but once again was woefully behind the times.

BIG BLACK Lungs

EP · 1982 · Non-Metal
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Warthur
The first Big Black release sees the group not really a group yet - more of an industrial solo bedroom project by Steve Albini. The production shortcomings arising from a very young man recording on a 4-track in a domestic setting using technology which was pretty far from cutting edge for 1982 are inevitable, and it's perhaps testimony to Albini's later career as an engineer and producer that it sounds as good as it does. There's nothing stellar here, but it's a serviceable bit of drum machine industrial music which doesn't yet have the bite and the fury that Big Black would pick up from the hardcore scene.

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PENDRAGON Past And Presence

Movie · 2007 · Non-Metal
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Warthur
Pendragon's Past and Presence captures a very special concert put on by Pendragon in celebration of the band's history. Recorded in Poland as a special treat for their very appreciative Polish fanbase, the concert saw a host of past members of the band making special guest appearances - with all the current and ex-Pendragon members present taking to the stage for show closer Stan and Ollie (a good call, since the song was essentially written as a goof-off piece to round off the band's sets with a happy party number, much like Marillion's Margaret).

Aside from 2AM from Kowtow (present as one of several encores), the songs here are all vintage Pendragon from their very earliest days - you have all the tracks from The Jewel and the Fly High Fall Far EP here, plus some delicious rarities otherwise only available in inferior versions on the Once Upon a Time In England compilations. Two decades have come and gone since the band recorded the versions of the songs we're most familiar with, and the additional experience really does show. Many of the songs here blow the original studio versions out of the water - even songs which sounded pretty decent on the original recordings, such as The Black Knight.

I'd go so far as to say that this show is, perhaps, the best way to experience Pendragon's material from before The World came out. Certainly, I would strongly encourage people to pick up the limited edition version which comes with a 2CD audio version of the show, because the audio stands up really well on there and I actually find I listen to the CD more than I watch the actual show. The main limitation here is that the material in question is a bit rough and naive, but the band couldn't really fix that without abandoning the idea of a nostalgia show.

ANATHEMA A Moment in Time

Movie · 2006 · Non-Metal
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Conor Fynes
'A Moment In Time' - Anathema (5/10)

First off, might I say that the rating for this work is not based on the music itself. 'A Moment In Time' is being rated here for what it is; a piece of visual media. The songs themselves are amazing, and have been commended as such on other reviews. As far as being a vessel for such beautiful music however, this DVD really comes up short. There are so many errors that make it a sloppy creation, that could have been avoided and corrected had extra care been given.

As far as the musical arrangement goes, things are really good. As well as the band performing, there is a string quartet that plays throughout, as well as a guest appearance from a talented female vocalist. The vocal passion I generally expect from Vincent Cavanagh is a bit lacking here, but that can be forgiven. There's a nice setup here, a beautiful selection of songs, so what could go wrong?

Throughout watching 'A Moment In Time,' I find myself increasingly agitated over the camera work. The camera is fixated on the vocalist, and fails to give a visual mention to either the bass player or rhythm guitarist almost at all!

Another issue is the recording of the sound. For example, during the climax of 'Empty,' the vocals drown out completely for a few seconds. For a band that's had such a high standard of musical quality, my jaw dropped at how they could ever let a DVD release come out to the general public with that sort of negligence.

Despite it's flaws and failure as a professional DVD release however, being an Anathema fan; it's hard to not at least find some enjoyment in it, and there's an CD counterpart included as well! Two stars.

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