RAVENHEART MUSIC is a tool to promote female fronted rock and metal music. However, we here on occasion receive cds to review from male fronted bands. No matter what genre the music, male or female fronted, the musicians (in a scene that at times can be very intimidating), work damn hard. Therefore, we here at Ravenheart Towers will review on this page, any guy band music that is sent our way. If a band takes the trouble to send us music from within the UK or anywhere else, the least we can do is review it!
(Revalve Records) Reviewed 30th Dec 2014
Italian band SCHYSMA fronted by Riccardo Minicucci, is the creation of keyboardist Martina Bellini; with the bassist Giorgio Di Paola, they are both original members of Schysma since 2010. By mid-2012 drummer Lucas Solina, the guitar hero Valdimiro Sala and singer Riccardo Minicucci joined Schysma, and the band line up was completed. They released the critically acclaimed debut Ep 'Imperfect Dichotomy' in 2012, and this latest record we have here offers up ten tracks which are gathered in a perfect mix of heavy and progressive metal, telling stories of suffering, anger and misery set to the tune of swirling symphonic melodies and emotionally charged vocal backflips. With comparisons to bands like Edguy, Savatage and Queensryche, this album is rather good. The songs throughout are rock solid and shows a band that is moving towards the top tier of Rock and Metal. Fave tracks are 'Migdal' (great synths mid way) and the commercial sounding 'Time Man' (great chorus), amongst many others that make up this amazing record. Indeed, the link to their video 'Time Man' can be viewed here
, this track being the closing track from this rather awesome album. To be perfectly honest, this is well worth checking out, great musicianship and great vocals!.. 8.75/10 (Rachel Louise Smith)
ROBBY VALENTINE...'BIZARRO WORLD'
(Valentine Music) Reviewed 5th November 2014
Multi Instrumentalist Robby Valentine to my ears is a total icon. He was born Robert Kempe on December 4, 1968, in Leusden, Netherlands. He has released a tsunami of albums and is a musical hero in Japan amongst other parts of the world. I have most of his albums including Japanese imports, and to have been given the opportunity to review this album is to me an honour. Robby's music is totally bombastic and pompous, and if you like Queen and Muse amongst others, you will like this music. Indeed, upon hearing 1993's 'The Magic Infinity', Brian May invited Robby Valentine and his band to join him on his European tour, which they duly did. Moving onto 2014 and if you like Robby's previous works, you will lap this up, if you are unfamiliar with him, then check this little epic out as it will blow your mind. After a typical Robby intro, the title track and 'Rockstar' are epic songs, while 'You're Tearing Me Down' takes more of a pop route and should be played on mainstream radio everywhere - awesome!! 'Deadbeat Boy' could be a catchy Queen ditty from 'A Night At The Opera' era, 'Schitzopnonicated' and the catchy Pop/Rock tune 'Trip To The Moon' rock in typical Robby Valentine fasion while 'Close The Door' is the album's power ballad. 'From Dusk till Dawn' is a synth influenced dance floor filler, 'Save Our Souls' is a mid paced rocker with some metallic riffs, 'Black Rain' is another song screaming radio airplay, with the closer 'The Mistake' a nice ballad. The album is written, arranged, performed and produced by the amazingly talented man himself, with additional harmony vocals on just three songs. Totally awesome confirming this guy's icon status, and I wish to thank the Dutch band ANIDAY for sending us this album! 9.5/10 (Dave & Rachel)
(Roseblood Recordings) Reviewed 16th September 2014
Star Scream is a collective bunch of human beings from the South East of England, who use guitars, drums, white noise, strings, feedback, shouting and pianos to conjure up melodies to mesmerise you peeps in the 21st century. The band's sole purpose is to sound unlike anything else you’ve ever heard, whilst sounding exactly like everything else you’d ever want to hear. Offering a mix of contemporary rock sounds with huge choruses and jagged guitars, underpinned with elements of electronica, this band is going to be huge. Songwriter, vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist Adam Lightspeed, is joined by Sky London on drums, percussion and electronic bits & pieces, and Aoife who we can blame for bass duties and backing vocals. If you enjoy bands like Marilyn Manson, Muse and the like, you will enjoy Star Scream. We have 13 tracks of rather catchy upbeat punky funky stuff, with touches of 80's electro pop/rock and glam, and these numbers will bounce around in your head long after the music has finished. Just listen to the tracks 'Break The Night', 'Die On The Floor' (like a modern day T Rex), 'Frightmare', 'As The Earth Dies Screaming' the ballad 'Heart Of Ice (Falling Out Of Love)' and the synth driven 'Obsession (I, Alone)' as great examples of music from a great up and coming band. To my musical ears, this is a really enjoyable piece of circular plastic - the band's website can be discovered at www.starscream.co.uk/
... 8.75/10 (Rachel Louise Smith)
DESCENDING CHAOS...'HAUNTED SOULS'
(Self Release) Reviewed 20th August 2014
Death Metal may not be Ravenheart Dave's cuppa tea, and even though he is rather taken by this recording, he nontheless has got me to review it. Despite being a blond that occasionally likes to wear pink, I do rather like this style of music as Dave knows, and particularly this cd by Descending Chaos. Featuring Roy Ekelund on vocals, the band deliver 11 tracks of pure melodic Death Metal to completely blow your mind, and in turn will give you an idea what the Gothenburg Metal scene is really like. Roy is ably backed up by the rest of the band, and I really think this is a fine debut from a band destined to go places. Tracks I rather like are the opener, the melodic sounding 'The One Within', the 5 minute + mid paced 'So Far Away', the robust 'No Resistance' and the epic 6 minute + 'Breathe'. Nine of the eleven numbers run in at under five minutes so are short, sweet and totally raw with hard hitting riffs. Their Facebook is at: www.facebook.com/descendingchaos/
, so if this could be up your alleyway, check 'em out..8/10 (Rachel Louise Smith)
REIGN OF SIRIUS...'MIRROR FIGURES'
(Self Release) Reviewed 20th June 2014
The Symphonic Metal genre seems to be dominated to a large degree by female fronted acts, so to be honest, it comes as a refreshing change to find a band from the UK fronted by a guy. Manchester based Reign Of Sirius is fronted by Alex Blaikie but with guest vocals from Jennifer Douglas as listed in the credits. This basically is a huge 8 track slice of Melodic Symphonic Metal with choruses to die for, and after the brief spoken intro, this is proven with second track in, the 8 minute plus 'Dice of Fate' - damn awesome! The momentum continues with the pulsating 'Rook and the Feather', and the vocals at times kinda remind me of Geddy Lee (Rush). An amazing start to the record together with a massive production. And it continues with the thumping 'Clockwork Creation' and the Symphonic, very melodic and quirky 7 minute plus title track, both with their catchy trademark choruses and both totally rip roaring stuff. 'Theatre of Masks' is a slower number also featuring female operatic backing vocals, while the the ante is upped again with 'Devil In The Maze'. 'The Last Lullaby' is the number that closes what is to my ears a very good album, and I am very glad that I have come across this amazing Manchester band. Their Facebook is here
, check them out... 9/10 (Dave)
The EXPLODING BOY...'FOUR'
(Drakkar) Reviewed 18th December 2013
Very occasionally, I pick up on an all guy band, and this time, The Exploding Boy from Sweden has burst onto the Ravenheart scene. Indeed, they were sent my way by Anna Christina, vocalist with London based band LILYGUN, and to be honest, this record, the band's fourth full length effort is rather good. The first four numbers are pounding keyboard driven Gothic Rock songs that have sent a female member of the Ravenheart team into orgasmic spasms (LOL). Then we have a rather good power ballad titled 'Runaways' that keeps the quality top notch. The second half of the album perhaps drops the tempo very slightly at times, but maintains a rather good quality shown on the first five tracks of the record. This is Gothic Rock with Punk influences coupled with dark Pop/Rock hooks maybe with a subtle 80's synth feel. The band's Facebook is here
, this is rather good and worthy of an 8/10 (Dave)
RIP TYDE...'NEW HORIZON'
(Self Release) Reviewed 15th July 2013
Dave knows Midlands based UK band Rip Tyde, more especially Carl Grocutt who fronts the band, Carl having once fronted a band called Undue. For fear of being a little bias towards the four tracks that make up this little EP, Dave asked me to review it, as I have some time on my hands before I start my new job in two weeks time. I must graciously say that if Dave comes across this type of music on a regular basis, female fronted or not, then I want more of it. This is good with the songs reminding me of The Foo Fighters and Velvet Revolver amongst many others that I can fail to think of at the moment. All four numbers are corking and to be honest, the band has to be looking at bigger things if a label of any significance picked up on this. To summarise, if Rip Tyde recorded a long player with songs of this quality, then the UK has a force to be reckoned with. Get down and dirty and check out Rip Tyde here
, then go get the EP from iTunes - 8/10 (Rachel)
(Frontiers) Reviewed 18th March 2013
Okay, The Pretty Maids may suggest an all girl band, but they are a well established Danish Melodic Metal band, and I am reviewing here their latest release. This band has been around for somewhile now, with a whole host of releases under their belt, many of which grace my CD collection. 'Motherland' will see the light of day later in March, and there are 13 tracks of awesome Melodic Metal and dynamic Power Ballads to please the ear of many a melodic rock fan. There are powerful and very catchy tracks like the opener 'Mother Of Lies', 'The Iceman' that sure packs a punch, the melodic 'Sad To See You Suffer', 'I See Ghosts' and the pounding 'Who What Where When Why'. And then we have the ballads, and some awesome ones too including 'Infinity' and 'Wasted'. If you like your rock music melodic, catchy but still with some serious ooommmppphhh!, then check this album out. Every track here is a sure fire winner, awesome stuff... 9/10 (Dave)
DARK VICTORY...'ATTACK OF THE SHEEPEOPLE' EP
(Digital self release) Reviewed 6th July 2012
Dark Victory is a UK technology based alternative Heavy Metal project with Simon Bell as it's main man. The band's previous release 'Dystopia' (see somewhere below) was recorded with Paul Trevithic on vocals, but in August 2011, Simon and Paul parted ways. Now having re located to Birmingham, Simon has been joined by Rick Willock (formerly of Snakebite) on vocals. This EP is a three track affair that was released onto the digital platform last month. Rick's vocals kinda give the music a 'punk vibe' reminding me a little of Pete Shelley from the Buzzcocks. So if you think Buzzcocks go metal, then this may give you an indication as to what is on offer. Kicking off with the pounding 'Plutonomy', this track is not a bad effort, while 'Fade' maintains the momentum started by the opener. Closer 'Sensuous Touch' as the title suggests is a slower more emotional number. Keep hard at it guys, I am sure fame will beckon. Their myspace is here
, and also check out their Facebook
. 7.75/10 (Dave)
DARK STARES..'TELL YOUR FRIENDS' EP
(Self Release) Reviewed 9th March 2012
Dark Stares hail from St Albans in Hertfordshire here in the UK, and after having sat on the 4 track EP for a while now, I have finally got around to reviewing this little epic. My apologies to the band for the rather lengthy delay with the review, but what I must say is that this is good!! Opener 'Whisky' is a hard rock song that has been given a 21st century makeover, while second track in 'Long Live The King' is one of those songs that when you hear it after the first time, it sticks to you like glue - awesome! The "King theme" continues with third track in 'We Are The Kings Tonight', which is a slightly slower acoustic based number, while closer 'Invaders' returns to the hard rock theme. It is very hard for any rock/metal band to make it in the current musical climate, but if Dark Stares become the preverbial pain in the back side and start to pester some of the labels out there, someone just may sit up and take notice. Good stuff - check the band out here
.. 8.5/10 (Dave)
ANGER MANAGEMENT..'OUTSIDE THE ASYLUM'
(Self Release) Reviewed 18th November 2011
I am always interested in music that comes my way, and here is another little gem. This band is called Anger Management and come from Kent. They offer up 5 tracks of music with attitude - Punk Rock to be precise. I have always liked the Punk scene with bands like The Sex Pistols and The Ramones striking a chord with me. Some hideously catchy stuff on this recording, with some interesting and thought provoking lyrics...'APATHY' for example - "IT'S NOT MY PROBLEM THAT YOU'RE STARVED WITH NO MONEY, GO GET A FUCKING JOB YOU USELESS LAZY SLOB". Come on guys & gals, have we not looked around at some of the dossers that roam our streets and thought just that, I know I have. That is in-fact a fave track of mine. The acoustic driven 'The Pursuit of Happiness (Leads To Sadness)' and 'And Then There Were 3' are other goodies. This EP is damn cool and will appeal most certainly to the bods out there that are into the Punk Rock scene. Their Myspace is here
- recommended! 8.25/10 (Dave)
(Self Release) Reviewed 6th Sept 2011
Sometimes, a cd comes along and blows you away. This EP by West Midlands (UK) based Undue fronted by Carl Grocutt is one such record. The band was formed in late 2009 and offers up a kinda Melodic Hard Rock style, with a modern twist and a slight bluesy vibe. This 5 track EP showcases their style of music very well, and I know for a fact the disc is now picking up internet radio airplay Stateside. All the tracks here are masterful, but the highlight for me is the power ballad 'A Million Ways', with one of those guitar solos that send shivers down the spine. This track by the way dedicated to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation
. I would certainly suggest checking this band out here
. A recommended album and I would also like to add, that this band kick ass live! 8.75/10 (Dave)
CAPTAIN HORIZON..'RADIOSTASIS' EP
(Self Release) Reviewed 22nd June 2011
Birmingham based Captain Horizon I suppose you would class as a Melodic Rock Band. The type of Americana style rock music that the record labels were throwing all their bucks at in the 80's, before grunge came along and ruined it! I have seen this band live and I must say that that in itself is an experience. Vocalist Steve "Whitty" Whittington moves all over the place, and I am sure if you had a stage as big as Wembley Stadium, it would not be big enough for Steve. Anyway, the music on offer should grace any self respecting rock fan's cd player. Whitty's vocals offer a cool gravelly style that suits the music well. All four cuts on the EP are good melodic cuts, but the fave to my ears are 'Anxiety Breaks Us All' and the title track. Anybody into the Melodic Rock/AOR scene will do themselves no harm in checking this band and their music out. Their Facebook is here
. Throw down the sunroof, hit the highway and play Captain Horizon, loud. 8.5/10 (Dave)
PLAN THREE..'SCREAMING OUR SINS'
(Ninetone Records) Reviewed 26th May 2011
We review the occasional male offerings here at Ravenheart Music, and I must say that this band sure has captured one's interest here at the Towers. Plan Three is Swedish, and they play the type of music that would send Americans crazy. A kinda post Grunge sound, similar to an extent to Creed, The Calling or a more upbeat Radford. I admit to not having heard of this band until a track of theirs 'Brush It Off', was played on the mighty Kerrang Radio. Indeed, I must say that Kerrang now seems to be playing some decent rock/metal music again, steering away from the Indie Rock that used to be so common on that station not too long ago. Back to Plan Three, I love this band, with the vocals of Jacob certainly suiting this type of music - the quiet verse powerful chorus style. Some awesome offerings here, the powerful and catchy 'Still Broken' one such track amongst a goldmine of music. But the highlight amongst the 11 tracks has to be the single, the power ballad 'Brush It Off'. Mind blowingly good. This is post grunge Americana/Modern Melodic Rock at it's best and they are well worth checking out! 9.5/10 (Dave)
(Self Release) Reviewed 8th March 2011
Guitar based rock music from the East Midlands. That part of the Midlands seems to be a hot bed of melodic metal at the moment. A four track EP here from Dark Victory (fronted I understand by Paul Trevithick) that I am reviewing, with openener 'All I See' exploding out of the speakers in a wall of sound. Next up 'The Manufactured Truth' chugs along and is a fave of mine and to my ears in the strongest track on the EP. 'Memories of Amnesia' you do find yourself sub conciously tapping your feet too, whilst closer 'Mortal Coil' keeps the standard up. My only gripe, it sounds rather trebly to my ears and could do with a tad more bass. Would be interesting though to see this band live. Anyway, check them out at Dark Victory - Myspace
. Not a bad effort at all... 7.75/10 (Dave)
IMPERIAL CIRCUS..'ABOVE THE DEEP'
(Self Release) Reviewed 19th February 2011
Here we have a blast of alternative Metal to wake up the neighbours, this five piece from Nottingham proves to me yet again the quality of unsigned talent out there no matter what genre you listen too. Shades of grunge here aswell on this, their debut offering. The intrumental 'Nykur' kicks things off, with the almighty 'In Stitches' following, coupling Leigh Dickens clean vocals with occasional demonic screams. The vocals are one of the plus points on this album as a matter of fact. Vocally, Leigh can do almost anything, backed by a totally competent bunch of musicians. Ballads, forget it as this album is an in yer face aural assault from all concerned. 'A Bitter Pill' and 'Fall From View' are fave tracks of mine on this album, the latter offering an almost progressive feel at times. An impressive debut here and the band is worth checking out at their reverbnation site
. A good effort..8.25/10 (Dave)
VEGA..'KISS OF LIFE'
(Frontiers Records) Reviewed 3rd February 2011
Our first guy band review :) We will do the occasional few and this is the first. Vega features vocalist Nick Workman (ex UK Rockers Kick), together with the successful and respected song writing partnership of Tom and James Martin (guitar and keys) and drummer Dan Chantrey. And this Band has produced an album chock full of rather infectious tunes with more hooks than a Japanese Whaling Fleet. Some cool melodic rockers that occasionally remind me of Swiss Rockers Gotthard (Steve Lee RIP), 'One of a Kind' is one such track, and some rather tasty power ballads too,'Too Young For Wings' as an example. Bon Jovi influences shine through, listen to 'Headlights', while one of my fave tracks has to be the title track, but to be frank, this is an awesome release throughout. This kinda music may not be the stuff Kerrang FM would fall over backwards to air, but nonetheless, if you are a lover of Gotthard, Def Leppard and Bon Jovi, you will love this. And with production by John Greatwood (engineer for Tom Lord Alge of QUEEN fame) and mastered by the one and only Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69), on this showing, Vega may well spark a Melodic Rock revival...9.5/10 (Dave)