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

MOTORPSYCHO The Death Defying Unicorn Album Cover The Death Defying Unicorn
MOTORPSYCHO
4.74 | 7 ratings
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SWANS The Seer Album Cover The Seer
SWANS
4.80 | 6 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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RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS Blood Sugar Sex Magik Album Cover Blood Sugar Sex Magik
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
4.48 | 17 ratings
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ELOY Ocean Album Cover Ocean
ELOY
4.48 | 13 ratings
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KILLING JOKE Killing Joke (Debut) Album Cover Killing Joke (Debut)
KILLING JOKE
4.71 | 6 ratings
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FEJD Eifur Album Cover Eifur
FEJD
4.81 | 4 ratings
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KILLING JOKE Night Time Album Cover Night Time
KILLING JOKE
4.54 | 7 ratings
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ZZ TOP Tres Hombres Album Cover Tres Hombres
ZZ TOP
4.43 | 10 ratings
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MEAT LOAF Bat Out Of Hell Album Cover Bat Out Of Hell
MEAT LOAF
4.44 | 9 ratings
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GARY MOORE Still Got The Blues Album Cover Still Got The Blues
GARY MOORE
4.55 | 6 ratings
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ALICE COOPER From The Inside Album Cover From The Inside
ALICE COOPER
4.25 | 23 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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Pike 280 - In Dreamland
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non-metal Music Reviews

BUCKETHEAD Pike 280 - In Dreamland

Album · 2020 · Non-Metal
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siLLy puPPy
As we approach Thanksgiving 2020 in the USA i suddenly have a bizarre notion. I’ve reviewed every single BUCKETHEAD album as a solo artist under that moniker (and the BUCKETHEADLAND one). I feel like i’ve become fused with this mystery man behind the mask below a KFC hat. Have we become psychically connected like Voldemort and Harry Potter? If so which one am i? LOL. These are the existential quandaries of the universe i ponder on a daily basis. No wonder i’m socially awkward :/

The great mystery of what happened to PIKE 280 has been solved and released after PIKEs 281-283 and finally appears in November 2020 with the extended issue title IN DREAMLAND. This one features four tracks and clocks in at 30 seconds shy of 30 minutes. This is one of those mellow acoustic rock albums that Mr Chicken Lover has released so many of. Gawd, i really wanna call him Clucky Nogger.

There’s really not much to say about these. He’s done quite a few at this point. Lazy slow tempos with clean guitar riffs, mellow atmospheres frosting the horizon with a bass and drumming section that merely accompanies the lazy processions of arpeggios and unambitious guitar licks. Yep, it’s all been done before but these newer ones are much better for some reason as the production has been much improved and a nice backdrop atmosphere is like a zephyr wind that the melodies ride upon. Sleepy time is upon us.

Yeah, this has been called lullaby music and it’s certainly not my favorite style of BUCKETHEAD’s rotisseries of genre mashups but like i said…. these newer ones just work a tad bit better than the older ones and i can only surmise that is due to production upgrades. Glad mr BH is using the proceeds for a good cause. Not my fave yeah but for those into the mellower side of Clucky Nog, then this one is for YOU! Just don’t expect any chickens to lay any eggs over this. For that they need BH to break out da funk! OK, nothing more. Next.

SWEET Funny How Sweet Co-Co Can Be

Album · 1971 · Non-Metal
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siLLy puPPy
SWEET was one of the UK’s most successful glam rock bands in the 70s racking up thirteen top 20 hits in the UK and finding a good bit of international success as well. Starting out under the moniker Sweetshop the band went through a few members before the classic lineup of vocalist Brian Connolly, bassist Steve Priest, guitarist Andy Scott and drummer Mick Tucker took the band into huge success. This band formed in the greater London region in 1968 and began crafting their own catchy tunes while paying their dues in the club circuit. SWEET (also known as The Sweet) are most famous for having started as an Archies inspired bubblegum pop band as a result of hooking up with the blockbuster hit making machine duo of Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn before morphing into the more Who inspired hard rock band starting with the 1974’s “Sweet Fanny Adams” album.

FUNNY HOW SWEET CO-CO CAN BE was the band’s debut release that came out in 1971 right at the tail end of the bubble gum pop craze that had started in 1967 and ended about 1972. SWEET is one of the rare cases of a band that started out in the typical assembly line process of appealing to tweens and kids with an upbeat irresistibly catchy run of tracks and then later actually shed its skin and became a really good band in its own right on its own terms. However on this album the band hadn’t branched out into hard rock and was a pop band all the way. The album produced two UK hits, “Co-Co” hit #2 and “Funny Funny” made it up to #13, the latter of which displays a strong influence from The Archie’s 1969 hit “Sugar Sugar” which was a huge chart topping sensation.

The marketing strategy of SWEET resembled the British Invasion bands of the 60s with this album sporting different titles and album covers in different countries and many non-album singles appearing in the early 70s before the band transmogrified into a hard rock band. Many CD reissues will have many of the non-album singles (and B-sides) from this era but the original release of FUNNY HOW SWEET CO-CO CAN BE featured twelve tracks with most being quick eruptions of sticky sweet pop overload. The track “Tom Tom Turnaround” is the most glaring exception inching past the four minute mark and less saccharin than the other straight forward bubblegum pop tunes that sound a lot like late 60s band like The Monkees, The Arches and a harmony style adopted from the Hollies.

If you are only interested in the hard rock albums of SWEET then this is definitely one that you should skip as there are scant traces of rock whatsoever. This is pure sticky sweet pop through and through however if you have a sweet tooth for bubblegum pop which i do from time to time then this isn’t a terrible album at all. While all tracks aren’t created equal, there are more than enough excellent melodies laced with infectious vocal harmonies to hook you in and keep you engaged for the album’s run. My favorites include “Co-Co,” “Reflections,” “Jeanie” and the track that prognosticates a move to more rock influenced material with “Spotlight.” This last example actually displays rock chords and lead guitar and almost sounds like the band had already decided the direction it wanted to pursue only it was held back by selling their soul to the pop music machine which kept them cranking out the hits for the next several years. Overall this isn’t a bad album as i would’ve expected but obviously pales in comparison to the band’s peak years of “Sweet Fanny Adams” and “Desolation Boulevard.”

RIVERSIDE Love, Fear and the Time Machine

Album · 2015 · Non-Metal
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Kingcrimsonprog
Progressive Poles Riverside have such a fine track record when it comes to top quality, album-of-the-year level studio albums. Their fourth album Anno Dommini High Definition for example, is arguably one of my favourite albums by any band, ever.

2015’s Love, Fear And The Time Machine; their third consecutive gold album and final output with guitarist Piotr Grundizinski (before his untimely passing), is no exception.

Their early works were dark and interesting, they then hit a phase of being bombastic, colourful and Deep Purple influenced. I saw them live during this period and it was such a rocking good time, you didn’t expect such good fun from a morbid bunch of proggers who usually released concept albums about psychiatric hospitals.

This sixth full-length studio record sees yet another evolution of their sound. It is cleaner, softer, with more prominent classic-‘70s-prog moments and a bit more of an unexpected The Cure influence. (That’s not to say it doesn’t rock out when it wants to, “Saturate Me” hits a delicious Tool-influenced groove in the middle, for example).

I regret, I have been sleeping on this album for a few years, I was hoping to time buying it for just before my next Riverside live show for maximum excitement overlap, but in 2020 with all the concerts dried up, its gotten a bit “well, what are you waiting for?” so I’ve finally taken the plunge, and I’m beyond glad I did. In hindsight, I don’t know how I ever coped without “Afloat” in my life, (a chilling tune, which out -Judgements Anathema).

Its hard to chose highlights, but if I was to introduce the band to a stranger, the number one pick of introductory track would be “Discard Your Fear.” If you like my wet trousered praise of this album, that would probably be the first track you should investigate to see if you’ll like the album as much as I do. It doesn’t really sound at all like typical Riverside fare, but as a singular one-off song, it just rubs me up in all the right ways. If you already like the band but have been sleeping on their later works as I had been, try out “Time Travellers” to see just how well Mariusz’s vocals have developed.

There is rarely such a thing as a flawless album, but I feel confident in saying that this beautiful, exciting, mellow, peaceful, energetic, diverse, interesting, tasteful bag of contradictions is a completely magical masterpiece.

Ps. [If you are unfamilair with the band but like bands such as Haken, Dream Theater, Opeth, Pain Of Salvation or even The Mars Volta then I highly recommend you check them out.]

BUTTHOLE SURFERS Independent Worm Saloon

Album · 1993 · Non-Metal
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Unitron
Independent Worm Saloon is a testament to the creativity of the 90's and how you never knew who could've gotten a sampling of success. This is the same band that made one of the most bizarre and dissonant cover songs with American Woman back in '86, made a sludgy and noisy 12-minute opener to an album in '88 that also has an R.E.M. style song but with the lyrics being about seeing a woman fart through an x-ray.

In comparison to much of their previous discography, Independent Worm Saloon IS a bit more straightforward, but for Butthole Surfers that still means it's weirder than most other bands. There's grunge/stoner rock, hardcore punk, noise rock, R.E.M. style alt rock, 70's style heavy metal, and even a borderline thrash song. Opener Who Was in My Room Last Night? is a bonafide classic starting the album off with high energy punky grunge and then goes alt rock with the next two songs. Goofy's Concern is the hardcore, Dog Inside Your Body sounds like the band's version of thrash, Dust Devil is intense, and the melodic and heavy Dancing Fool probably takes place as my favorite.

With production from Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones, this sounds like the Butthole Surfers' version of an early 70's metal album but put through a 90's filter with the band's do-whatever-they-want ethos as exemplified by the vomit-sampling closing track of Clean It Up. Classic album that deserves more attention today beyond the opening single.

SPOCK'S BEARD The Light

Album · 1995 · Non-Metal
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adg211288
The Light (1995) is the debut full-length studio album by US progressive rock band Spock's Beard. This album sees Spock's Beard in what could almost be considered a prototype form for what was to come later. The band has most of its core line-up already at this point having made an early bassist change from John Ballard to Dave Meros, but they don't yet have Japanese keyboardist Ryo Okumoto in their ranks, so most of the Spock's Beard duties normally assigned to him are instead handled by band leader Neal Morse.

The Light only contains four tracks, most of them epics and two of them prog suites. The writing is reflective of a young band in that it's not as refined as later material, but oozes youthful passion, though also anger in a certain part of The Water that may seem out of place on a progressive rock record and certainly has since become a source of embarrassment for Neal Morse, a man who later become a born again Christian. The lyrics can also be noted for their humour, perhaps more so than any other Spock's Beard release. This is evidenced especially in the title track The Light, which became the band's signature song, where you get movements of the suite with titles like Señor Valasco's Mystic Voodoo Love Dance and The Return of the Horrible Catfish Man.

Spock's Beard has always seemed to be pigeon-holed in the symphonic prog sub-genre of progressive rock but for their most part I don't relate their discography to this style of music and associate it more with Neal Morse's prog solo work and that with the band Transatlantic. On The Light it's more appropriate, but the band would later prove to be more eclectic than they are often given credit for, with some albums being much heavier than this one, although like all Spock's Beard albums, there's at least a few moments where their heavier and hard rocking side rears its head. The Light though, remains a favourite of mine, like many fans for its title track especially. Of the two suites it is the better one, but I do like The Water as well. The FU/I'm Sorry bit, which sees Morse swearing like a madman, does indeed seem out of kilter with how the music sounds though. The other two tracks are also very good.

The Light could have stood to have been a little more polished, but it makes up for what it lacks there in charm. I cannot quite consider it a top tier Spock's Beard release because of noted faults, but it's one I'm personally very attached to and find myself drawn to more than many other, more technically accomplished Spock's Beard releases.

non-metal movie reviews

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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