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).

non-metal top albums

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

TRANSATLANTIC Bridge Across Forever Album Cover Bridge Across Forever
TRANSATLANTIC
4.61 | 15 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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SWANS The Seer Album Cover The Seer
SWANS
4.80 | 6 ratings
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ELOY Ocean Album Cover Ocean
ELOY
4.53 | 11 ratings
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RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS Blood Sugar Sex Magik Album Cover Blood Sugar Sex Magik
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
4.50 | 12 ratings
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TRANSATLANTIC The Whirlwind Album Cover The Whirlwind
TRANSATLANTIC
4.36 | 17 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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ALICE COOPER From The Inside Album Cover From The Inside
ALICE COOPER
4.27 | 22 ratings
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NEAL MORSE One Album Cover One
NEAL MORSE
4.75 | 5 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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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
4.42 | 9 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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Gypsy Voodoo
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THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN
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Drone Activity
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ULVER
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Sower Of Wind
EP
ROSETTA
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non-metal Music Reviews

THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN Gypsy Voodoo

Album · 2019 · Non-Metal
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siLLy puPPy
So very very much has changed in the 51 years since Arthur Wilton Brown better known as the flamboyant theatrical rock singer with a wide-range operatic vocal style in THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BORWN hit the Billboard chart's #2 spot with a freak hit single in the form of "Fire." Forever known in the pop world as a one hit wonder for his 1968 near chart topper, BROWN has existed as a much more inventive character in the underground and one who was innovative not only in his proto-prog rock musical compositions that graced the 1968 debut album THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN but also supplied an ample supply of shock rock values that would be adopted by the future world of heavy metal with not only his outlandish stage performances that found his metal headpiece spewing out flames but also with his unique approach of belting out an aggressive multi-octave lyrical delivery.

Despite a rather prolific solo career which included several solo albums as well as a few by THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN, Mr. Brown has never topped his debut performance that managed to outstage even the wildest characters of the tumultuous 60s but come 50 years later, this dude is still cranking out the music! And now in 2019, only two days after his 77th birthday, he who is also known as The God of Hellfire has released a new worthy edition to his canon in the form of GYPSY VOODOO which is the culmination of a career's worth of ideas all woven together with a new version of THE CRAZY WORLD band which includes a total of ten different musicians and vocalists. No members from the original rendition of the band are on board here, no Vincent Crane, no Nick Greenwood, no Drachen Theaker. This is a modern day ensemble and after all this is the ARTHUR BROWN hour so who cares about all those others!

While the decades have gone by and musical styles have changed, BROWN seems to exist in his own world where time stands still. GYPSY VOODOO sounds very much like the pioneer of Theatre Shock Rock with the groovy funky vibes of his glory years along with the blues based hard rock that made his 60s and 70s run so addictively fun! With ten diverse tracks GYPSY VOODOO finds BROWN in good spirit and although his vocals haven't navigated the oceans of time completely in tact, they still don't sound too bad for the most part with only some of his attempts to hit the higher range sounding a little raggedy. However on spoken word segments such as on "Fire Poem," he sounds exactly as he once did. With a refusal to join the new sounds of the 21st century it also sounds like BROWN conjured up a new batch of tracks right after his zany revered debut over a half of a century ago when comic books were a mere 10¢!

OK, so what can one expect from a character like ARTHUR BROWN so many years after his peak years that go back so very very far? Well, pretty much more of the same. GYPSY VOODOO is very much a tribute to himself and even includes a remake of the "Fire Poem" / "Fire" tracks that made him famous in the first place but not exactly to the same effect. The good news is that if you totally dig the melodic blues rock based songs that BROWN has always dished out then you are in for a treat. This album is chock full of brand spanking new tracks that sound as if they were created long ago and only now resurrected with the miracles of modern day technology to make them sound squeaky clean and free of the analog technology's limitations and while the remake of "Fire" doesn't exactly blow the original away, it is by no means a terrible exploit of his primo material either.

VOODOO GYPSY is a mixed bag for me. One the one hand, every single track here is a worthy addition to THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN but on the other hand, there's a sense of been there / done that and the album is dripping with nostalgia albeit in a good way. ARTHUR BROWN clearly found his voice long ago and has hardly deviated from it since and has not been tempted in the least to add modern day musical influences to his tapestry of spoken word, blues rock, electronics and psychedelia. Don't expect any metal, hip hop or Beyonce making a cameo. This is ARTHUR BROWN as the God of Hellfire has always been and much the better for it however i do wish that there was some sort of upgrade to the ARTHUR BROWN sound that would connect it to the present. While in no way bad, this album doesn't exactly blow me away either. Definitely recommended for those who crave retro 60s sounds with the benefits of modern day production but if you are expecting a totally new musical paradigm from Mr BROWN then you will be woefully disappointed.

CYNIC The Portal Tapes

Boxset / Compilation · 2012 · Non-Metal
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UMUR
"The Portal Tapes" is a full-length studio album by US progressive metal act Cynic. The album was released through Season of Mist in March 2012. It´s not really a Cynic album though and it was probably only released under the Cynic monicker to capitalize on the wave of success that Cynic were riding after their comeback in 2006. The material featured on "The Portal Tapes" were originally recorded under the Portal monicker after Cynic disbanded in 1994. Although Cynic split-up Paul Masvidal (guitars, vocals), Sean Reinert (drums), and Jason Gobel (guitars) opted to continue playing together and formed Portal with Cris Kringel (bass), and female vocalist/keyboard player Aruna Abrams. Portal recorded enough material for a full album, but the project ended up shelved until 2012 when Season of Mist picked it up and released it under the Cynic monicker.

Stylistically there are many similarities between Cynic and Portal, but there are also some fundamental differences. First off Portal features female clean vocals as well as male clean vocals, and no extreme distorted vocals. Next there are no hard edged riffing or anything remotely aggressive about the music. The material on "The Portal Tapes" is a dreamy atmospheric/new age type of music with fusion oriented rhythms as the foundation (maybe new age fusion isn´t the worst description). There´s an almost ethereal spiritual quality to the proceedings, which song titles like "Karma´s Plight", "Cosmos", and "Mirror Child" also suggest.

The musicianship is on a high level on all posts. Aruna Abrams is a skilled vocalist, and Paul Masvidal´s sedated dreamy vocals compliment her well. It´s all very pleasant sounding and relaxing but by no means simple or easily accessible. You´ll have to dig for hooks and the tracks aren´t instantly easy to tell apart either. The latter is a slight issue to my ears, and the songwriting could have prospered from a bit more variation and more catchy moments. The album is very well produced, featuring a clean, clear, and detailed sound, which suits the atmospheric music well. So while the music doens´t make as much impact as it could have, "The Portal Tapes" is still a pretty interesting release for fans of atmospheric music with fusion rhythms and clean female/male singing, and the high level musicianship and professional sounding production pull in a positive direction too. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is deserved.

PENDRAGON Kowtow

Album · 1988 · Non-Metal
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siLLy puPPy
While PENDRAGON’s debut album may have landed without crashing, it didn’t exactly land on two feet as it was a mix of AOR dross cross-pollinated with high class Marillion inspired 80s neo-prog. The sophomore effort which came out three years later in 1988 found the band completely wiping out altogether. Despite the band starting to gain some momentum with the neo-prog sounds that would emerge in the 90s on the debut, on KOWTOW the band made a complete retrograde and in the process dumped its weakest albums of its career much less the neo-prog universe in general. This was the first album to see the debut of keyboardist Clive Nolan who had only worked with a band called The Cast at this point and while Nolan has been one of the bigwigs in the world of symphonic prog ever since, on this debut one could hardly guess that fact in any way, shape or form.

Not only did Nolan replace keyboardist Rik Carter but Nigel Harris was also replaced by percussionist Fudge Smith who would also stick around for the next eighteen years up until 2006. Pretty much considered PENDRAGON’s absolute worst effort, KOWTOW went off the rails and created the ultimately bad AOR infused album with only a few progressive moments. While everyone knows neo-prog is in the pop oriented sector of the prog supermarket, KOWTOW takes things to the ultimate extreme and dishes out a bunch of sappy overweening tracks that fail to take into account that good AOR music requires two vital elements. Number one: catchy well crafted pop hooks which are woefully missing from every track included here and number two: a competent vocalist that can focus the attention on the lyrical content. Neither are present here and while Nick Barrett would improve his vocal talents, here he falls woefully flat.

While the album is primarily a batch of irritating crappy pop tracks that are rich in tinny keyboard sounds and lifeless drum programming, the album’s saving grace is the decent but yet unremarkable “The Haunting” which hints at the more sophisticated epic themes that would emerge on the next album “The World.” There are also the occasional jazzy touches (by session musicians) with on “I Walk The Rope” and “2 AM” that unfortunately remind me more of Kenny G than Miles Davis. Barrett’s vocals have a very strange quality of sounding like a mix between a less talented Geddy Lee mixed with the Clash’s Joe Strummer at times and at other times hint at achieving some sort of deliverable goods but doesn’t quite cut the mustard leaving behind an unfulfilled promise where all the proper fluffing was delivered but no climactic resolution.

There are only so many ways to express how bad an album is. While i can understand why neo-proggers would want to craft some commercial success after once great legendary prog bands like Yes and Genesis were tearing up the pop charts and supergroups like Asia were raking in the bucks off their popification of prog, someone forgot to explain to PENDRAGON at this point that the songs would have to be irresistibly infectious and in the case of KOWTOW it is exactly the opposite. This is a difficult listen and i’m a very tolerant music lover to be fair. While i try to find any redeeming value in any given album i experience, KOWTOW is truly one of those absolute worst of the worst and a true burden to sit through for this review. Soulless and as plastic as Barbie’s bosom, KOWTOW is as bottom of the barrel as any album with the prog tag could possibly sink. To be avoided at all cost and a useful torture device for your enemies. Their heads will explode like the aliens on the movie “Mars Attacks!”

KING CRIMSON Live In Mainz, Germany, 1974

Promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs) · 2001 · Non-Metal
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Warthur
A decidedly welcome live release from the mid-1970s lineup of King Crimson; OK, sure, we have USA, we have The Great Deceiver, but even then there's still treats to be had here. Of course, the mid-1970s Crimsos had their famous penchant for improvisation, and you have several such pieces here, as well as an actual composed song that never made it onto a studio album in the form of the sleek and scandalous Dr Diamond. Combine this with excellent versions of old favourites, and the fact that the audio cuts off abruptly towards the end (this was sourced from a soundboard recording).

PENDRAGON The Jewel

Album · 1985 · Non-Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Amongst the bands that kept progressive rock on life support in the 80s, only Marillion gained superstardom and achieved arena live setting status but there were quite a few other bands that came and went without much fanfare. Included on a different list is the band PENDRAGON who came but never went away and in the process found relative success in the 80s neo-prog boom along with other bands such as Pallas, Solstice and Twelfth Night. The band actually was formed all the way back in 1978 by vocalist and guitarist Nick Barrett but soon joined by bassist Peter Gee. The two have been the only constant members since the band’s inception when it was called Zeus Pendragon. The Zeus part was quickly dropped.

The band went through several lineup changes and released a few EPs before crafting the debut album THE JEWEL which is the only album not to feature long time keyboardist Clive Nolan. At this early stage that task was performed by Rik Carter who was actually the second keyboardist after John Barnfield. The band was completed with drummer Nigel Harris who himself would soon be replaced after this album. While many neo-prog artists in the mid-80s were starting to differentiate, PENDRAGON followed the playbook of imitating Fish-era Marillion, the symphonic prog of 70s Genesis as well as the space rock of 70s Pink Floyd although like many contemporaries traded in the Moogs and mellotrons for digital 80s synthesizers that gave many of these bands a clear connection to the era.

THE JEWEL is the typical neo-prog album of the 80s that implemented the dramatic emotional lyrical outpouring with heavy keyboard-laden arrangements that ran the gamut from the cheesy AOR pop opener “Higher Circles” to the more fully gestated multi-suite prog gem “Alaska.” Despite a fairly consistent set of tracks that display the bands talents and showcase a somewhat gentler approach than the bombastic theatrical nature of Marillion, THE JEWEL unfortunately suffers from an extra weak production and if you ask me, nothing sounds worse than the one two punch of cheesy synth sounds of the 80s with a lackluster production job, however not all is lost as the compositions keep an even keel pace that allows the emotional connection to remain despite the flaws on board.

While not exactly excelling as they would with their 90s works, PENDRAGON became one of the more active bands which led them into the next chapter of the progressive rock revival that began in the 90s and in many ways the most familiar neo-prog sounds of that era resemble what PENDRAGON was doing at this moment rather than the idiosyncratic style of Marillion. While a pleasant experience of early neo-prog, i wouldn’t call THE JEWEL an absolutely essential piece of its history at least for a top dog in the quality department. While historically important for its role in defining the sub-genre as it evolved, THE JEWEL basically comes off as a typical example of 80s synth-laden progressive rock with a firm connection to the AOR melodic rock scene that was all the rage at the time.

Nothing is particularly bad here. Barrett’s vocals are in top form. The melodic guitar solos the same and the compositions are well done as well however neo-prog is a style of music that requires a decent production job and in the case of THE JEWEL even the 2005 remastered versions can’t quite make it sound complete, however definitely not a bad beginning and one that should be explored if you have any interest in PENDRAGON’s early origins that allowed them to garner enough clout to continue on as one of neo-prog’s most successful artists. The album was originally recorded at Soundmill Studios and Cloud Nine Studios in 1984-85 and then remastered at Thin Ice Studios in 2005 but in this case everyone failed in that department. So a crown JEWEL? Not really but one that was dug up and needs a little TLC to make it shine.

non-metal movie reviews

NEAL MORSE Live Momentum

Movie · 2013 · Non-Metal
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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

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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