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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
4.76 | 8 ratings
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MOTORPSYCHO The Death Defying Unicorn Album Cover The Death Defying Unicorn
4.74 | 7 ratings
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KILLING JOKE Killing Joke (Debut) Album Cover Killing Joke (Debut)
4.72 | 7 ratings
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ELOY Ocean Album Cover Ocean
4.48 | 14 ratings
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BEARDFISH Sleeping in Traffic: Part Two Album Cover Sleeping in Traffic: Part Two
4.89 | 5 ratings
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ZZ TOP Tres Hombres Album Cover Tres Hombres
4.41 | 12 ratings
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KILLING JOKE Night Time Album Cover Night Time
4.53 | 8 ratings
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MEAT LOAF Bat Out Of Hell Album Cover Bat Out Of Hell
4.44 | 10 ratings
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RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS Blood Sugar Sex Magik Album Cover Blood Sugar Sex Magik
4.27 | 20 ratings
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ALICE COOPER From The Inside Album Cover From The Inside
4.25 | 23 ratings
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ULVER The Assassination Of Julius Caesar Album Cover The Assassination Of Julius Caesar
4.60 | 6 ratings
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ELVENKING Two Tragedy Poets (...and a Caravan of Weird Figures) Album Cover Two Tragedy Poets (...and a Caravan of Weird Figures)
4.28 | 16 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

PORCUPINE TREE Tarquin's Seaweed Farm

Promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs) · 1989 · Non-Metal
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"Tarquin's Seaweed Farm" is the first studio release by UK artist Steven Wilson under the pseudonym of Porcupine Tree. The album was released through No Man's Land in January 1989. It´s a compilation of recordings from the mid-80 to 1988, and they were originally only released in a very limited number on cassette tape. Strict catalogizing would probably say this is the debut full-length studio album by Porcupine Tree, but it should probably be considered a demo album instead. Tracks 1 - 7 on the album and a re-recorded version of track number 8 "Radioactive Toy" would appear on "On The Sunday Of Life... (1992)" (the official debut full-length studio album by Porcupine Tree).

The material on the 15 track, 77:17 minutes long demo album is psychadelic rock at times strongly influenced by the early Pink Floyd releases. It´s an adventurous sonic journey from minimalistic ambience, to odd spoken word passages, to more regular sounding psychadelic space rock flows. Tracks like "Jupiter Island", "Radioactive Toy", and "Mute" are quite entertaining, but there are several parts of the album which feel uneventful and as a listener it´s hard not to become a little impatient when Wilson opts to spend more time with psychadelic experimental noodling, than on producing memorable songs.

For a "bedroom" recording, "Tarquin's Seaweed Farm" is relatively well sounding, although the programmed drums don´t really do the music any favors. They are simplistic and a little one-dimensional. So upon conclusion "Tarquin's Seaweed Farm" is an album featuring both great promise but also featuring more amaturish tendencies. Which is of course completely understandable at this early stage of Wilson´s career. I see this as more of a novelty recording that it´s nice to have heard to understand where Wilson came from than anything I´ll return to and listen to repeatedly. A 2.5 star (50%) rating is warranted.

BEASTIE BOYS Licensed to Ill

Album · 1986 · Non-Metal
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Along with Run DMC, the Beastie Boys helped pioneer the fusion of rock and hip hop that would influence many bands to come. Starting out as part of the growing New York Hardcore scene, the band pretty quickly made the transition into the even faster growing East Coast Hip Hop scene. After a self-released single and getting signed to the new Def Jam label, which would serve as a hub for several major hip hop and metal artists, Beastie Boys flew and crashed onto the album market with Licensed to Ill. It went on to become one of the best selling hip hop albums of the 80's.

As soon as the opening Rhymin' & Stealin' starts, it's no wonder. Sampling the iconic drums from Led Zeppelin's classic When the Levee Breaks as well as the equally iconic riff from Black Sabbath's Sweet Leaf, the way they're mixed together makes it a precursor to the now incredibly popular art of mashups. Add onto that the exuberant bravado of Mike D, MCA, and Ad-Rock, and you've got an incredibly fun album that's bursting with energy. Big loud drums dominate the album, as does excellent sampling and vocal flow. She's Crafty, Hold It Now Hit It, Brass Monkey, and the underrated deep cut Slow and Low are songs that'll remain in your head with great hooks of different varieties. My favorite though will always be the aforementioned Rhymin' & Stealin', it's really an explosion of sound that's impossible to not scream along to the chanting of ALI BABA AND THE FORTY THIEVES, ALI BABA AND THE FORTY THIEVES! with elements of two hard rock/metal classics backing it.

The group's goofy sense of humor is on full display, with a satirical edge. Hit singles Fight for Your Right and No Sleep 'Till Brooklyn are able to both nail the mood of 80's party rock while making fun of it at the same time as the videos show. They make fun of themselves too, as the lyrics of Rhymin' & Stealin' show, serious musicians who love to have fun.

Licensed to Ill is a classic hip hop album in every way with easy crossover appeal. Despite its massive success, Beastie Boys were not ones to let money take over creativity, and their next album would show them keep experimenting and create what is maybe one of the most layered hip hop albums of all time.


Album · 2011 · Non-Metal
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Let me take you back to 2011 for a moment. My junior year of high school had just come to an end, and I was ready to take on senior year in a few months. But in the summer that separated these events, my brother and I - along with a few friends - decided to attend a metal concert together. Children of Bodom, Devin Townsend, Obscura, and Septic Flesh were in the lineup for the show we attended at the Los Angeles House of Blues (back when that place was actually around… rest in peace). Now... usually, to get hyped up for a show, we’d play some sort of extreme metal to get us in the mood for the moshpit. However, when we finished a show, we’d try to wind down with something a bit more calming and relaxing to get rid of the intense headaches we’d likely have by the end of the event. But this particular show was significant for two reasons. 1: It was my very first concert (although unfortunately I got food poisoning. How’s that for a start?). 2. The album we chose for the car ride home would change the way I view music forever. It would not only be my favorite album of that year, but it would also be the record that opened the floodgates to a world of music I never even explored or considered.

Ghost had just been released in the summer of 2011 to coincide with the release of Deconstruction, and the two are quite obviously polar opposites. For everything the latter did to be loud and chaotic, the former would counter with the most mellow new age-oriented folk rock around. Devin Townsend had already explored the avenues of atmospheric rock before, as heard on the phenomenal solo releases Ocean Mahine and Terria. But Ghost was the first time that his sound was this stripped down and light on the typical distortion and force of his output. In fact, Deconstruction was the reason I went to that concert in the first place, but Ghost was the reason that the same night ended up turning my music taste on its head. All of a sudden, it was time to stop placing so much emphasis on pure technicality or brutality, and more on atmosphere and what “environment” the music inhabits. Before then, I was listening to progressive rock and metal almost exclusively; hearing genres such as folk, new age, or classical music (outside of piano lessons) was completely alien.

However, just the aspect of loving this album on a personal level doesn’t mean it can’t be appreciated on a more objective level. To put it simply, this experience is just beautiful. It loves immersing you in its world, taking you to exotic locations, and letting you stay for as long as you like. Devin’s the tour guide, and his smooth vocal performances are a perfect compliment to the lush, lavish instrumental passages that do their best to provide a aural sea to bathe in. Also, for as soft as the overall collection is, there’s a surprising amount of variety that helps it stand out. From the little swing-like rhythm of the title track, to the soothing bluegrass inflections of “Blackberry,” to the understated flute-driven melancholy of “Monsoon,” to the expansive ambient grace of “Infinite Ocean,” there’s a lot to sink your ears into. But the biggest thing that defines this album is the immersion. Rarely has an album - even in genres like new age or ambient - transported me away from reality and offered so much escapism. There’s still a lot of technical detail and intricate artistry that goes into this album, but it’s all poured into the atmosphere it generates. “Texada” in particular uses Devin’s trademark “Wall of Sound”-style production to create incredible layers of synthesizer and guitar melodies that resemble the feeling of floating on the ocean itself.

2011 almost feels like a distant memory today, but there’s no doubt that Ghost still casts its influence on my listening habits and interests even now. It’s fascinating that a musician who’s most famous for his metal output can explore the softer side of his art so well, but as he’s proven time and time again (Casualties of Cool being the most recent example), he’s truly an example of a multi-faceted artist who can cross genre boundaries with ease. And no matter how much City or Ocean Machine get brought up when people talk about Devin’s best records, Ghost will always be the one I associate the most with HevyDevy.

ANATHEMA Hindsight

Album · 2008 · Non-Metal
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Peacock Feather
The existence of acoustic Hindsight in the Anathema portfolio seems to me rather a delay in the release of We're Here Because We're Here, because by the time this compilation of acoustic reimaginings of the Liverpool formation's hits came out, there have been no full-lengths for 5 years since A Natural Disaster, and fans longed to hear something new from their favorites.

The above confirms about half of the tracks from Hindsight. Did it make sense to remake, say, Inner Silence or Flying? I find this question quite rhetorical. The family union of the Cavanagh brothers and brother/sister Douglas resolved this issue in different ways. In the context of the tracks already mentioned, as well as Temporary Peace and the title one from A Natural Disaster, the rhythms and arrangements on the surface have not changed one iota. A strange decision was to frame One Last Goodbye in an acoustic shell, and as a result, the composition, which is deliberately pathetic, is necessary as a light air, lost this serve, becoming just pretentious and uninteresting ballad, which is trying to break out and light a bright flame all around, but it's not happening.

However, in terms of other songs Anathema really tried and gave some songs a new, beautiful, soft point of view. A striking example is the opening Fragile Dreams, a powerful hit from Alternative 4, which in the reimagined version became even more explosive and, of course, incredibly beautiful in its simple but ingenious tragedy. A grim hit from Eternity, Angelica, in the acoustic version became contemplative, getting rid of thick metal riffs. Are You There, it would seem, does not require any radical acoustic alteration, but Daniel managed to make a different from the original and a beautiful version of this ballad, and by the way, this version then fit on the collection of the best hits Internal Landscapes, released 10 years later.

The bottom line is simple: half-remarkable, half meaningless, Hindsight, however, is a worthy example of another facet of Anathema's talent in creating deep and soulful songs.

ULVER Metamorphosis

EP · 1999 · Non-Metal
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"Metamorphosis" is an EP release by Norwegian music act Ulver. The EP was released through Jester Records in September 1999. It bridges the gap between the band´s fourth and fifth full-length studio albums "Themes From William Blake's The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell (1998)" and "Perdition City: Music To An Interior Film (2000)".

"Themes From William Blake's The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell" was quite the departure from the band´s black/folk metal past, featuring an avant garde/experimental rock/metal style, but "Metamorphosis" proves that Ulver were far from finished developing and changing their sound. Stylistically the 4 tracks on the 25:17 minutes long EP are experimental electronic music, which is predominantly instrumental but occasionally also features vocals. In retrospect it was obviously Ulver experimenting with electronic effects, sounds, rhythms, and technology in preperation for working on and recording the material for "Perdition City: Music To An Interior Film (2000)", but back then it was a bit of a shock release for most fans.

To others it proved what they had long known, that Ulver were an unpredictable act, composing and playing exactly the type of music they wanted, without regards to the wishes of the fans and the critics. They even adress this in the sleeve notes to the EP, explaining that they don´t see themselves as a black metal band anymore, and that they think of the early part of their discography as a stepping stone to something else.

"Metamorphosis" is an ambient release. It´s not slow and droning all the time (only "Of Wolves And Withdrawal" fully falls under that catagory), but both mid-paced and even upbeat at times, featuring some busy programmed drums. Layers upon layers of sounds and effects make up the tracks, which according to band founder Kristoffer Rygg were slowly developed as a result of improvisations in the studio. As a consequence you´ll have to look long for conventional vers/chorus structures or catchiness in general. It´s music featuring interesting ideas, but to my ears they seem a little random and a bit more structure and a few more catchy moments could have made this a more memorable listen. I´m not blown away by what I hear (the closing 8:55 minutes long "Of Wolves And Withdrawal" is a downright tedious affair), but a 2.5 star (50%) rating is still warranted.

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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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