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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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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ELOY Ocean Album Cover Ocean
ELOY
4.52 | 11 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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non-metal Music Reviews

ELOY Performance

Album · 1983 · Non-Metal
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Unitron
Among the many bands that made the transition from the 70's to the 80's, Eloy was one of the best at adapting to the new decade. They perfected their space rock/heavy metal hybrid in the 70's with the trilogy of Inside, Floating, and Power and the Passion, and with Performance they perfect a new sound appropriate for the decade.

Performance, as well as the equally excellent follow up Metromania, are a bit hard to pin down as far as genre goes, but they're so wonderfully 80's in the best ways. It's basically a combination of multiple 80's sounds, from new wave to the new wave of heavy metal, it's made to fit Eloy's own mold. Opener In Disguise is a fantastic piece of 80's new wave-tinged hard rock, and is what should've actually been Top Gun's theme song. Shadow and Light has some great metal riffing, Mirador is an instrumental dominated by bass and synth interplay, Heartbeat and Fools are more fantastic 80's new wave rock, and A Broken Frame closes out the album in a majestic fashion.

The best part about this album is just how electrified and energetic the band sounds. Even a song like Surrender which is just drenched in 80's cheese, turns into a total bop with how much these guys are having fun. It translates to the listener so well, it feels like I'm watching these guys on stage at a big arena.

Is it 70's heavy space rock? No, but it has no reason to be. If you want that, there's the fantastic albums they did in the 70's for that. It still sounds like Eloy, just with a new sound that fits the decade much better.

JOHN ZORN Angelus Novus

Album · 1998 · Non-Metal
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siLLy puPPy
After a fairly fruitful musical career established in the 1980s, JOHN ZORN really got productive all throughout the 90s especially around 1995 when he released five albums. The ensuing years would prove to be equally or even more productive and ZORN was always eager to take detours from his avant-garde jazz comfort zone. One of the lesser known aspects of his musical career ZORN was also a classical chamber ensemble composer but many of these compositions remained in the vault for many years to come.

ANGELUS NOVUS which was released in 1998 (the second of eight released that year) was the first album in a series that documented ZORN’s interest in the world of classical music. The album which consists of four lengthy compositions spanned three decades. “For Your Eyes Only” the opening chamber symphony was originally composed in 1988, the piano torture of “Carney” in 1989 and the title track the newest of the lot was crafted in 1993. The two part “Christabel” dates back all the way back to 1972 when ZORN was just a student and was inspired by the romantic mystic poetry of Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

ANGELUS NOVUS is yet another album where ZORN steps out of the limelight as a musician and occupies the role of executive producer but has always been quite unique in the fact that he releases these albums under his own name. Stephen Duty is the conductor, producer, artistic director and pianist of the project while the other instruments are performed by the Callithumpian Consort of the New England Conservatory who mastered the spontaneous jittery angularities of ZORN’s restless nature and pull it off flawlessly. “Christabel” the oldest piece on board is a piece for five flutes and a viola and a clear tribute to the European 20th century classical masters.

“For Your Eyes Only” features a 20-piece ensemble and wends and winds through various obtuse passages with occasional bursts of cartoon music and also a snippet from the occasional melody from the classical history books. The track skirts along for almost 14 minutes but keeps things spiced up to give it various flavors that keep changing. “Carny” is a 13 minute piano performance by Stephen Drury. This avant-garde piece exemplifies his mastery of precision and sounds like a mix of Chopin-esque technicalities with the dissonant abstractness of jazz virtuoso Cecil Taylor. This is definitely difficult listening if there is any but the rhythmic drive provides an underpinning of tangible compositional fortitude.

While the first half of the album is fairly engaging, the latter half is comprised of the title track divided into five different suites. It is very much a fragmented work that takes on many themes. It was dedicated to Walter Benjamin and encompasses both 20th century avant-garde classical flavors as well as inserting various traditional Jewish themes. It is a rather slow burner and the least interesting part as it sort of slinks around aimlessly although the execution is brilliantly performed. Overall it’s just missing that extra magic that gives it an engaging run. The tracks seem to lack a cohesive connecting tissue that makes it all seem relevant. Still though not a horrible piece by any means.

While ANGELUS NOVUS is a grand execution of ZORN’s compositional fortitude in the world of avant-garde classical music, i can’t say this is his best works by any means. While it’s above average for a jazz musician’s ability to effortlessly take on a completely different genre of musical expression, the second half of the album just comes off as way too sleepy and ho hum to make this album absolutely essential however for diehard ZORN fans, this is surely a worthy addition to the collection of countless albums that he has cranked out. The first four tracks alone are interesting historical perspectives of ZORN’s dabbling in this saxophone-free style of music. While this won’t go down in history as one of classical music’s crowning achievements, ZORN did successfully bring new perspectives into its purview and this does make great background music for when you’re feeling really disconnected from reality.

JOHN ZORN Elegy

Album · 1992 · Non-Metal
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JOHN ZORN’s vast canon of avant-garde sounds is daunting if you happen to take a quick glimpse at his discography as a whole. As of 2019 he has released no less than 145 albums of disparate genres ranging from his more familiar avant-garde jazz motifs to highly experimental rock and chamber orchestral music to even grindcore. After introducing the world to his unique hyperactive form of saxophone squawking that fires off like an AK-47 during a road rage incident somewhere in the USA at any given moment, ZORN quickly proved to be quite prolific in not only his own incessant studio output but also as a collaborator with like-minded weirdos who apparently have nothing better to do than dream up and record the most bizarre musical expressions in the known universe.

While ZORN is mondo bizarro in his own right, add a couple members of Mr Bungle and i’m talking Mike Patton with Trey Spruance (penned here merely as “Scummy”) and you are sure to have more fun than a barrel of monkeys dressed in drag and heading to Mardis Gras and enough weirdness to scare the bejesus out of Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa AND the Gerogerigegege for good measure. ZORN found a bit of notoriety as Patton’s object of obsession and main inspiration and appeared on the first Mr Bungle album. Striking up a friendship only music freaks could ever understand, the two became best buds and Patton as a reciprocity, ZORN featured Patton on many of his own music works with this album ELEGY being one of the first.

While ZORN flooded the 80s with a series of avant-garde jazz releases in 1988 he created the experimental rock band Naked City and released a few albums under that moniker but starting with ELEGY he was back to solo releases, well sort of. While released as a bona fide ZORN album, this album of classical chamber music mixed with avant-garde jazz and the occasional drifting into everything from dark ambient and turntable music to even throat singing and choral chants follows in the footsteps of ZORN’s 1987 album “Cuba” where he contributes no instrumental playing at all and instead steps back and provides the role of organizer and producer. Existing in an avant-garde playground of its own atonal and dissonant making, ELEGY showcases the talents of other musicians all united under the JOHN ZORN banner.

This album was dedicated to Jean Genet who was a French novelist, playwright, essayist and political activist whose main time in the spotlight was roughly from the 50s on. Equally known for his criminal activities as well as homosexual promiscuity (he was once a prostitute even), Genet provides the perfect subject matter for this dark terrorizing tribute in four pieces that each have a color as a title. Part avant-garde jazz and part 20th century classical mixed with strange outbursts of decibel maximizing after creepy acoustic build ups, ELEGY finds David Abel (viola), Barbara Chaffe (alto flute, bass flute), David Shea (turntables), David Susser (effects), Trey Spruance (as Scummy on guitar), William Winant (drums) and Mike Patton on vocals creating some extremely challenging musical motifs and yes this is defiantly some sort of music although it sounds like music from an alternative universe.

The four tracks, “Blue,” “Yellow,” “Pink” and “Black” all exude their own haunting charm but are quite varied in how they squirm around from mutated chamber orchestral music to freaky vocal perversions that remind me of Patton’s avant-garde freakery on albums like “Pranzo Oltranzista.” This is truly creepy music with unsettled flutes, violas and effects building up ghostly soundscapes that are sometimes accompanied by heavy breathing, sometimes ethnic tribal chants, throat singing or whatever Mr Patton can conjure up at the moment. Likewise the percussion and guitar strive to be as far outside of the box as possible and the scant few moments of recognizable music come from tribal drum circle type motifs but usually clamor on in bizarre irregular and often jittery cymbal abuse and jazzy interludes from the most avant-garde sector of the universe.

ELEGY, much like Genet’s life, is a startling reality. Unnerving avant-garde musical scales create an unresolved feeling but in a quiet placid state of mind only to be unpredictably interrupted by cacophonous outbursts of drumming frenzies, turntables gone wild as well as all the instruments just completely freaking out totally. This would be one of many collaborations between ZORN and Patton but perhaps this is one of the most interesting as the dynamics are haphazard and the album definitely achieves the alienation effect without coming across as forced. This really seems like a series of compositions that are being expressed in some completely extraterrestrial tradition. While this album defiantly flaunts its avant-garde mastery unapologetically, the album is quite intricately designed and showcases ZORN’s unique contributions to the world of avant-garde and experimental rock outside the context of his more usual comfort zone as sax squawker on speed.

PORCUPINE TREE Metanoia

Promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs) · 1998 · Non-Metal
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FMOTP
This may be a add-on to PT's main output, but it's still PT! This is probably the most experimental, kraut rock-influenced album Wilson released under the Porcupine Tree label. As a result it's not a part of my regular musical diet; I need more structure. However many people love this aspect of PT and they should surely appreciate METANOIA. Not surprisingly, it's brilliantly played. Colin Edwin and Richard Barbieri are sometimes the unsung heroes of the band; I'm assuming they had significant input to this recording. The nature of these songs ensures that they get a well-deserved, large part of the spotlight.. I think I would rather listen to Porcupine Tree play this brand of rock than any one else. This is an enjoyable alternative to Porcupine Tree's main discography.

THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN Gypsy Voodoo

Album · 2019 · Non-Metal
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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.

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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