RAVENHEART MUSIC is a tool to promote female fronted rock and metal music. However, we here on occasion receive music to review from male fronted bands. If a band or their label takes the trouble to send us music from within the UK or anywhere else, the least we can do is to try and review it!
And MOST of the reviews on this page (and some others too), will now be taken care of by the UK lass pictured above, North London (Islington) girl NATALIE (THE NUGGET) GOLD.
Archived Guy Band reviews here.
(D-Force Records) Reviewed 27th July 2015
Birmingham UK to be perfectly honest is the heartland of British Rock and Metal. And it continues into the 21st century and if band's like Devil's Dice are anything to go by, then it is going to continue a lot longer too. Having been in the recording process for a wee while now, what we have here are 11 tracks of pounding Rock music that will set the heartland and beyond a rockin' Fronted by Matt Gore, who is known as the front man in fellow Birmingham rockers THE MIGHTY WRAITH (of whom I have seen live more than once), Devil's Dice serve up a massive helping of hard rock. There are some massive sounding numbers here... 'Passive Resistance' takes you on a journey back to the rockin' 70 and 80s, while the catchy and anthemic 'I Walk Alone' is simply awesome! Then there is the bouncy ballad 'Forbidden Memory', totally majestic! There are further awesome cuts including the pounding title track and closing number 'Matter Of Faith', and that faith we need to keep. To summarise, this is an album that reminds us of the style of music that originally put England and the UK as a whole on the Rock and Metal map back in the late 70s/early 80s. This album will hopefully keep us there for a lot longer - the bands website is here
... 8.5/10 (Dave)
TEN...'ISLA DE MUERTA'
(Rocktopia) Reviewed 17th July 2015
I like Ten, I have always liked Ten, I have seen them live more than once, the first time way back in 1993 in Manchester. They have released an array of albums since then, this one being the band's latest to hit the shelves. Fronted by Gary Hughes, Ten is basically a UK based Melodic Hard Rock band, their music rather inoffensive, you could even play it to your Granny and she may even like it :) (as I mentioned in a previous review). Isla de Muerta is the fabled “island of the dead” in pirate folklore, and Gary Hughes and his bunch of pirates deliver ten tracks on this recording that I have and it is all rather good. Indeed, while writing this and coincidentally, Natalie 'The Nugget' emailed me to say "what a voice Gary Hughes has". How true! I shall not delve into the tracks individually, but if you like melodic rock from one of the UK's best bands within that field, coupled with the customary ballad or two, then check this album out. 'Isla De Muerta' is good old inoffensive melodic rock, although perhaps not as good as some of Ten's previous efforts, still however well recommended... 8.75/10 (Dave)
(AFM Records) Reviewed July 17th 2015
Canada is not really a country that springs to mind when it comes to high-class melodic metal. This could possibly change a bit now with BOREALIS (fronted by Matt Marinelli) from Ontario. So far this young and extremely talented band may mostly be known to insiders and to a smaller devoted fanbase, but this their new (3rd) album 'Purgatory' proves that BOREALIS could be one of the best metal bands to emerge in recent years on to the international scene via a top label, AFM Records. There are 12 tracks here of some rather classy melodic metal and I do hear female vocals compliments of Sarah Dee, on the track 'From The Ashes'. The opening cut 'Past The Veil' comes blasting out of the speakers, while the second track, the previously mentioned 'From The Ashes' maintains the blistering pace! There are further jaw dropping numbers including 'The Chosen One' with its great chorus, the classy acoustic string driven ballad 'Darkest Sin', the power ballad 'Rest My Child' and the melodic closer 'Revelation'. Already released in Europe (June 19th) and due in North America July 21st, this is an essential 12 track listening experience for any melodic metal music fan!.. 9/10 (The Nugget)
(Self Release) Reviewed 14th July 2015
Dreambleed is a Symphonic/Modern Metal band from Greece. Formed in 2009 by Manolis the lead singer, this is a rather interesting debut that features both Mark Jansen From EPICA, John LeCompt from We Are The Fallen (ex EVANESCENCE) and Christiana from ELYSION. Listening to this album, the Symphonic and Modern Metal influences are there for all to hear. And this record is also a very listenable experience, packing loadsa melody into the 13 tracks as well, coupled with some electro elements and two or three rather nice ballads to boot. 'I Will Forget' is a rather cool catchy opener while 2nd track 'Hopeless' features the unmistakable Mr Jansen. There are other coolio numbers here including the ballad 'Underneath My Mask' (feat Mr LeCompt), the bouncy & melodic 'Alone With Myself', another nice power ballad 'Hide and Sick' (feat Elysion's Christiana) and the Symphonic 'Hopeless'. Dreambleed's Facebook is here
..the album is well worth checking out if this style of music floats your boat... 8.75/10 (The Nugget)
(Massacre Records) Reviewed 14th July 2015
To/Die/For (often abbreviated TDF) fronted by Jape Perätalo is a Gothic Metal band from the town of Kouvola in southeast of Finland, assembled in 1993 as a hard rock band under the name Mary-Ann. In 1999, they decided to change their musical style to Gothic Metal, changing their band name as well. To be frank, they are a fave band of mine, hence me having the task of reviewing this their latest opus. If guy fronted melodic Gothic Metal is up your alleyway, then you are more than likely already aware of To/Die/For. And of course, they are from Finland and that wins brownie points before we even start :) Does anything musically that comes out of that country hit the button that says 'Crap'?. Needless to say, this is good. Opener 'In Black' gets things underway, a catchy opener and that catchy feel continues throughout the 8 tracks and 38 minutes of music. This is a 'safe & inoffensive' record that has commercial appeal, and even female backing vocals pop up on the recognisable Paula Abdul cover (yep, Paula Abdul!) 'Straight Up'. Released via Massacre, this album should be easy to get your grubby paws on...8.5/10 (The Nugget)
ANURYZM...'ALL IS NOT FOR ALL'
(Melodic Revolution Records) Reviewed 29th June 2015
Coming from the U.A.E this is a very interesting release we have here at Ravenheart Music. Anuryzm is a Progressive Metal quintet fronted by Nadeem Michael Bibby. They was formed in Lebanon in 2003 and now reside in Abu Dhabi. And they have a pedigree too, having shared the stage with the likes of Black Sabbath, The Scorpions, Epica and Nightwish among others. The album is divided into two sections, SEQUENCE I and SEQUENCE II with the songs according to the band spanning a variety of topics including humbleness, nanotechnology, illness, astral projection, extraterrestrial encounters, love, longing and remorse to name just a few. And it will be of no surprise that Dream Theater is one band that offers clear influences within Anuryzm's music. This is an intense release combining elements of Power Metal, Thrash Metal, Death Metal, Prog and even a little of the symphonic on the intro to the blistering title track, and it all keeps your ears glued to the cd player until the end. There are some awesome guest collaborations here including Michael Lepond (Symphony X) and interestingly the son of Charlie Chaplin, Christopher Chaplin who plays the cello on the laid back and rather nice instrumental track 'Oceans Apart'. Being a fan myself of Dream Theater and UK Prog Metal masters Threshold among others, I do rather like this Progtastic release (with its nice artwork too) as should anybody out there that is into this style of music, so check the band out here
and give them your support... 8.75/10 (Dave)
REAL:DEAD: LOVE...'VENICE FALLING'
(Self Release) Reviewed 18th Jun 2015
Tell you something: Finnish band HIM has a lot to answer for, with all these 'Goth Jovi' type bands springing up all over the place. But do not get me wrong, this type of music is the kind of stuff I really like. REAL: DEAD: LOVE come from Germany and ply their trade to the listener by way of 11 tracks of catchy, melodic Gothy Metal. Fronted by the vocals of Mr Blacksleaze (great name btw :)) the music here is rather cool. And I do love their very gothy and dark version of 'Nights In White Satin'. And for anybody who has been living under a stone for centuries, that was a hit by the Moody Blues way back in time, long before I was born. I must recommend this album if you love catchy Gothic Metal - check them out here
...8.75/10 (The Nugget)
CHILD OF CAESAR...'LOVE IN BLACK'
(Inverse Records) Reviewed 16th June 2015
We have another rather good guy fronted Gothic Band to get our teeth into. And as I said in a previous review, these people that send us this music sure know we have an ear for melody. The band this time is Child of Caesar (www.childofcaesar.bandpage.com/
) who come from Germany, and within this cd are 9 tracks of prime time melodic Gothic Metal for the listener to take a glorious romp through. Fronted by Daniel Mitchell from the USA, it all kicks into gear with 'Defector' and there are another 8 golden nuggets to follow the awesome opener. Second track in 'Red Sun' is as equally as good as the opener, and so is the rest. If you like your Metal Gothic and very melodic, my advice - buy this! Bloody marvelous!... 9/10 (The Nugget)
(Echozone) Reviewed 12th June 2015
Voodoma hail from Germany and they so happen to be a rather good Melodic Gothic/Dark Rock band. Fronted by a guy called Micha, this album is good! There are 10 tracks of Melodic Metal with some Gothic goodness from the darkside thrown into the mix. This is apparently obvious in opener 'Sanctus Domine', a great thumping opener with a Vatican like chorus :) And next up which so happens to be the title track is a tuneful Gothy blockbuster, rather good so I must say! The people that send us this music must know our taste buds like oudles of melody, and this album has just that. 'Abyss' is another pounding corker of a number and is one of my favourite tracks from this recording. There are other goodies including numbers like 'Faded Memory', 'Blood For Blood' and the nice power ballad 'One Last Goodbye', featuring the vocals of a lass called Amy Faye, and to be honest, throughout the 10 tracks there is not a filler to be found! This to my ears as a consequence is a very good cd and is highly recommended by myself and the team.. 9/10 (The Nugget)
SPEARFISH...'IN THE MEANTIME'
(Lion Music) Reviewed 8th June 2015
Sweden's classic rock underground heroes Spearfish fronted by bassist Thomas Thulin return with a hot new album ...'In the MeanTime'. SpearFish is also the backing band of 80-ies melodic rock legend Jon English, with who they have preformed several times at major festivals such as Sweden Rock. Spearfish have also toured as support act for Uriah Heep. This twelve track album is a real stunner, try to imagine Geddy Lee (Rush) fronting an AOR/Melodic Rock band! First track in 'Quicksilver Lining' reminds me a little of Asia in the intro, while 'South' is the album's first ballad - great guitar sound! There are some cool goodies amongst other goodies here including another ballad 'Gazing At The Moon', the intense 'Hawks Of War', the bluesy 'Gangsta City Blues' and 'Time Will Come' (listen to the lyrics - how true) . The cd overall is sound release and a very enjoyable listen for you music bods out there. Check the band out here
- album released 19th June... 8.5/10 (The Nugget)
MYRAH...'UNTIL THE END OF TIME'
(Art Gates Records) Reviewed 4th June 2015
) fronted by Patrik Essman come from Sweden - their journey began in 2005 in the cold mountains of Sweden, and since then Myrah has released three EP’s and two full-length albums; 'Six Feet Down' (2010) and 'My Deliverance' (2012), both receiving great reviews worldwide. Now in 2015, the band offers us with this latest release 11 tracks of rather catchy Gothic Metal. The catchiness is immediately apparent in the opening tunes 'Taken', 'My Angel' and 'I Lied', these numbers being a sure fire way to start an album. Yay, this is bloomin' good. And it continues throughout with further corking numbers including 'Into Oblivion', the awesome 'She Rides The Night', and the epic 'The Storm'. Myrah embellishes their Rock/Metal music with a Gothic feeling, giving the listener great melodies and emotions that engage the mind, and linger there for a long time. This recording is good and well recommended from the Ravenheart team.. 8.5/10 (The Nugget)
KONG...'ENTER THE MANESJ' EP
(Self Released) Reviewed 4th June 2015
Kong come from Norway and have recently released this 4 track EP. If you like old school hard rock/heavy metal, being influenced by 70’s and 80’s hard rock/Heavy metal acts like KISS, Iron Maiden, Metallica and the like, then this should be right up your alleyway. All four tracks from this popular band rock with that aforementioned 70/80s attitude, screaming all the while for your attention. Scandinavia has this habit of giving us some decent rock bands, add Kong to that list. The band's website is at www.kongrocks.com/
, Kong is King!!... 8/10 (Dave)
LOFFT...'FOLLOW TO SURVIVE'
(Make Big Records/Believe Digital/Soulfood!) Reviewed 19th May 2015
Call it what you flippin' well like - "Modern Rock", "Alternative Rock" - LOFFT from Hamburg, Germany celebrate Rock, that old four-letter-word. Their songs are totally energizing and straight to the point - and you're welcome whether you want to headbang or dance. Songs like 'All I Ever Wanted', 'Count On Me' or 'Inferior' practise the riffs somewhere between CREED, PUDDLE OF MUDD and VOLBEAT. LOFFT's real strength however, is the ability to write great ballads. If the tracks 'Power To Destroy' (great guitar solo) or 'Talented To Hurt' don't melt your heart, then you simply do not have one, period!. This is a great album, 12 tracks of rock solid songs with stax of melody. Check the band's Facebook out here
- gets released 12th June - frikin' good!... 8.75/10 (The Nugget)
CAPTAIN HORIZON...'IMITATION SUN'
(Rocksector Records) Reviewed 19th May 2015
Like the previous review I have just done (Carl Grocutt-Clarke), I have known the Captain Horizon guys for a wee while now, having seen them live on a couple of occasions, and this is their debut full length offering. The band has previously released 3 EPs, followed by a debut album 'The Lights Of Distorted Science' which was re-released as a digital-only bonus edition when they signed with Rocksector Records in 2014. The Birmingham (UK) guys give us here 10 tracks of Rock music similar I suppose to that of U2 and the like. Melodic, tuneful, radio friendly and totally inoffensive. This is an energetic and articulate release with passionate vocals from Steve 'Whitty' Whittington, backed up by an able bunch of musicians. Of the tracks on offer that are all consistently good, I am beginning to like the title track, 4+ minutes of total magic! Captain Horizon will be performing 2 sets at SOS fest this summer acoustic and electric. SOS fest is over three days this year 17th, 18th and 19th July @ Radcliffe Civic Hall, North Manchester. For a taster, check out some of their music here
- recommended... 8.5/10 (Dave)
CARL GROCUTT-CLARKE...'THE VIEW' EP
(Self Release) Reviewed 19th May 2015
Carl is an awesome singer songwriter who I have known for some while now. He has performed all over the UK and in Europe, fronting NWBHMB Cloven Hoof, rock band Undue and hard rock band RIP TYDE. Carl has many years experience performing live and enjoys writing music. Carl's Solo work however, differs greatly from the hard hitting Rock Bands he has been part of over the past years. This new and rather nice 6 track EP has overall a more atmospheric feel, more in keeping perhaps with acts like REM and James Blunt. I do like this, being radio friendly, catchy and something you could place onto the CD player when you have your Grandmother around for a cuppa! :) The album will be available early June 2015 on all good online stores worldwide, so well worth checking out! His soundcloud site is here
, so have a listen and get a taster of the guy's music - recommended... 8.5/10 (Dave)
HINDER...'WHEN THE SMOKE CLEARS'
(The End Records) Reviewed 15th May 2015
Hinder is a massive band that were formed in 2001, they come from Oklahoma City, and this album will do no harm towards their cause of conquering the world. Featuring new vocalist Marshal Dutton (who in-fact has been a part of the Hinder family one way or another since 2009) as their lead singer, there are ten tracks here that range from rowdy rock to subtle country influences to memorable pop hooks, all of which retain the DNA-distinct spirit of Hinder. Some potentially massive anthemic hits on this album like 'Hit The Ground', where we are told that the lyrical content is "so genuine", the massive sounding 'Wasted Life', the melodic 'Dead To Me', and the awesome number 'Letting Go'. With their new vocalist who has breathed a new sound and new air into this ever-evolving band, after previous vocalist Austin Winkler departed (substance issues being cited as one problem - he is now clean we believe), this is a great album, like their others I hasten to add, ten tracks that are well worth the purchase price... 9/10 (The Nugget)
(Frontiers Records) Reviewed 14th May 2015
Do you remember Crown of Thorns?, an American AOR band that issued a totally awesome S/T album on Now & Then Records in the UK back in the early 90s. They continued to release further albums that although very good, never quite hit the quality that made the debut the awesome release it was. Anyway, the two stalwarts of that band have come together again - Jean Beauvoir (Lead and background Vocals, Bass, Guitars, Keyboards, Drums) and Micki Free (Lead Guitars, Rhythm And Acoustic Guitars) to give us an album of killer guitar riffs and major melodic choruses, to have you hopping around your living room in no time whatsoever. Eleven tracks of Melodic Rock heaven. In brief, this is an all killer no filler album that is up there with the best of them, including the Crown of Thorns debut. Quite simply buy - gets released 5th June... 9.25/10 (The Nugget)
HOUSE OF LORDS...'INDESTRUCTIBLE'
(Frontiers Records) Reviewed 12th May 2015
House of Lords debuted in 1989 (when I was just five!) with the release of their self-titled album, a monumental Arena Hard Rock release. Now 26 years on, the new House of Lords album (their tenth studio effort) has just dropped in from Frontiers, and Dave has asked me to review what is a rather good album from these American hotshots. The cd features eleven brand new songs, which masterfully combine the best of Heavy and Melodic Hard Rock incorporating powerful and heavy songs, with major hooks & melodies, coupled with grandiose arrangements that House Of Lords are famous for. It is a belter of an album if you like this style of music with favourite tracks a plenty, all dovetailing together very well indeed. Check out the rather nice 'Pillar Of Salt', the thumping '100mph' the melodic 'Call My Bluff', the ballad 'We Will Always Be One' and the effervescent 'Another Dawn', as prime examples from a very good record. Featuring the soaring vocals of founder member James Christian, this is trademark Arena Rock so get it in June when released! .. 9/10 (The Nugget)
FASTER RED...'84 @ 13'
(Self Release) Reviewed 29th April 2015
FASTER RED is an Italian rock band formed in Turin (Italy) in 1984, being active until 1990. In 2011 however, the group gets back together for a series of concerts. And on this, their recently released newie, Faster Red offer the listener ten tracks of catchy alternative rock, with a subtle progressive undercurrent, this style being well demonstrated on tracks like 'Don't Waste Your Life', while on the atmospheric sounding 'Dance In The Rain' they sound a little like Pink Floyd, to my ears anyway, and that is not a bad thing! And there are some mid paced melodic tunes too like the near 7 minute 'I've Made A Mistake' and the foot tapping 'Tonight I'm A Loser', while 'Lonely' is by and large the album's ballad. Overall, this is a rather decent release with some great musicanship, inoffensive rock music that you can play, even with your Grandmother in the room doing her knitting! The band's website is at www.fasterred.com/
... 8/10 (The Nugget)
(Massacre Records) Reviewed 24th April 2015
Crystal Ball fronted by the awesome vocals of Steven Mageney, started in 1995 as a cover band (named "Cherry Pie"). These years of stage experiences became the foundation of CRYSTAL BALL, under whose banner the band has become one of Europe´s major forces in the Hard Rock genre.Tentatively entitled 'In The Beginning', CRYSTAL BALL started their crusade in 1999, but fast forwarding to 2015, and this is the new and 8th album by these Swiss melodic metal gods. We have the digipak version here and that gives us a massive 15 tracks and nearly 70 minutes of melodic hard rock for the coming Summer months. The extremely catchy 'Mayday' gets things going in tremendous fashion, and if you are able to keep still during this number, may I suggest you call the paramedics! Second up 'Eye To Eye' is another bouncy melodic tune that features a guest appearance by Battle Beast’s Noora Louhimo! And there is no let up with crunchy hard rock numbers like 'Paradise', 'Balls Of Steel', the pounding mid paced 'Hold Your Flag' and 'Sacred Heart' (Bonus cut) hammering their way out of your speakers for close on 70 minutes. And the band can do power ballads like the best of them - the 6+ minute 'Memory Run' being one such track. This exceptional album chock full of exciting melodies, is available as limited digipak with three exclusive bonus tracks as well as a jewel case CD, and is well worth the purchase - released 22nd May... 9/10 (The Nugget)
(Miner Recordings) Reviewed 9th April 2015
Very often suggested as the greatest Serbian metal band, Alogia have played many tours all over the Balkans during the last decade, and also performed on many huge festivals, such as Exit and Beer fest. They also had a couple of very successful huge solo concerts in Belgrade, SKC hall, and they have also opened for Whitesnake, Apocalyptica and Savatage. After 3 studio and one live album/dvd, the guys have released this their fourth studio album last September in their home country, and it will see a worldwide release this year (2015). Basically the band play melodic power metal and this album of 9 tracks showcases this style rather nicely. Sung in their native tongue, this is a consistent release across the 9 tracks if you like this style of music. A favourite track of mine from the album being 3rd one up, 'Galija', and indeed the catchy 'Ona Zna (Lilith)' is rather good too. The melodic 'U Tisini' I am sure I have heard somewhere before, while closing bonus track 'Intentionally Blind' features SILENT KINGDOM. This record is a reasonable effort and worth checking out - website is here
... 7.75/10 (The Nugget).
WORLDVIEW...'THE CHOSEN FEW'
(M24 Music Group) Reviewed 9th April 2015
Worldview formed in Los Angeles when George Rene Ochoa (Deliverance, Recon, Vengeance Rising) and Rey Parra (Sacred Warrior) spoke soon after their mutual friend Rick Macias (Sacred Warrior) passed away. He had always encouraged them to form a band together and though they were miles apart, Rick thought that it would be a great collaboration. Regrettably, he passed away before this would ever take place. So George and Rey decided to form this union to honor their friend and thus Worldview was born. The lineup includes the addition of John Gonzales (Recon, Deliverance) on drums and Todd Libby on bass guitar and keyboards. Ronson Webster also joined them as co-songwriter and background vocal guru. The Worldview unit including what is a host of guest players on this release was now complete. There are ten tracks here of rather good melodic metal, and for female music fans, the near 7 minute power ballad title track also features the dolcet tones of actress/singer Niki Bente, adding that female touch the track needed. Furthermore, Armand Meinbardis (Rob Rock) from the country of Latvia, dazzles with his awesome violin and piano playing. Mixed and mastered by the infamous Bill Metoyer (Slayer, Sacred Reich, Tourniquet, Trouble, Armored Saint, Deliverance) and produced by George Rene Ochoa, this record is a must listen and promises to deliver the metal goods. The album is due 22nd May (Europe), 26th May (USA).... 8.5/10 (The Nugget)
THE DEAD BETAS...'SIREN' EP
(Self Release) Reviewed 8th April 2015
The Dead Betas hail from Great Torrington from the lovely county of Devon here in the UK, and they will be supporting The Birthday Massacre on their UK tour later in April. This is the band's latest EP, which they describe on their Facebook page as Messy Electro-Punk! If you can relate to the punk sound of the 70's and add a 21st century electro sound, that just about sums it up. It is all synthed up, intense and with loadsa profound attitude, and I am sure that many of us have been able to relate at sometime or another to the lyrics within the songs the band throw at us! Listen, have a smile and think, "yep, that was me"! There are eight tracks here of which three are synthed up remixes. This is clearly an up and coming band to look out for, with the track '15' being a fave from the EP! Their Facebook is here
for you to find out more... 7.75/10 (Dave)
PYRAMAZE...'DISCIPLES OF THE SUN'
(Inner Wound Recordings) Reviewed 2nd April 2015
There are some guy band albums coming our way at the moment which by and large it has been decided that I review them or at least most of them! And I am glad I am, as this is another awesome melodic metal release, this time from Pyramaze. The band was founded by guitarist Michael Kammeyer in 2002 with the intention of creating an epic melodic metal band from scratch. And fast forward to 2015 and actually, 'Disciples of the Sun' is definitely going to be one of the most interesting and best melodic metal albums to be released this year, and fans of the genre won’t be disappointed! It is heavy, dark, progressive, melodic, extremely catchy and full of guitar riffs. These riffs complemented by the epic and cinematic keyboard arrangements of Jonah W, along with the blistering infusion and foundation provided by drummer Morten Gade Sørensen. New vocalist Terje Harøy brings power and catchy melodies with a modern flair, without sacrificing the dark and progressive edge that Pyramaze is known for. This is a blistering release, the title track one example that sets the world on fire, really really good! And if that is not enough, the track 'Back For More' will leave you coming back for more! The album was produced, mixed and mastered by Jacob Hansen [Volbeat, Amaranthe, Epica, Evergrey] and I would recommend it to any metal fan that likes their music heavy but very catchy. And closing with a quote from the band - "Divided by oceans, bound together by brotherhood, we must become that which divides us.... we are PYRAMAZE, and we are the Ocean!" Released Europe: May 22nd, UK: May 25th, North America: May 26th...9.25/10 (The Nugget)
(Ulterium Records) Reviewed 2nd April 2015
Shortly after their release of 'Theatre Of Redemption' (CD/LP) in 2014, Harmony is back with a 6 track 30 minute+ EP which includes four re-recorded songs from the band's debut album 'Dreaming Awake', as well as two new songs. Feat. the legendary vocalist Daniel Heiman [ex. Lost Horizon] on vocals on all tracks, the band throw at the listener an interesting mix of Melodic Metal. Opener 'Eternity' is a pulsating track incorporating a string section half way, rather cool me thinks! Further tracks that penetrate your musical senses and blow your mind include 'Dreaming Awake' with its subtle progressive tendancies, the awesome power ballad 'Without You' and the melodic, heavy and catchy 'In His Heart'. The EP which I must say is rather good with a strong melodic sensibility, is mixed at Studio Fredman [At The Gates, In Flames, Hammerfall] in Gothenburg, Sweden. Check it out when it gets released in May, and indeed check out their earlier releases too... 8.75/10 (The Nugget)
A LIFE DIVIDED...'HUMAN'
(AFM Records) Reviewed 26th March 2015
For about 5 years straight, German electro-rockers A LIFE DIVIDED has literally spit out one hit single after another. From mainstream to electronic rhythm-dominated songs, the band achieved great success on radio as well as in rock clubs. With this album to be released on April 10th 2015, the band not only unleash 13 new songs, each with the definite potential to become a hit single, but also a brutally honest journey to the core of the human being. “It’s like a critical look in the mirror”, frontman Jürgen Plangger explains. “Maybe you don’t always like what you see, but in the end you gotta live with it.” The 36 year old singer got his inspirations for the album lyrics not only from personal experiences, but also from looking deeper at the subject of self-reflection and the dilemma of his generation. “We live in a time that gives us the impression that we always have to strive for something more, something better. It’s like an obstacle course which is impossible to win. Accepting imperfection might be the key to happiness". On to the album itself, and briefly, there are 13 tracks here of amazingly addictive electro rock that will leave you screaming for more when the album has finished. As mentioned above, this band has a habit of spitting out song after song with hit single potential, and 'Human' is no exception! I will not add anymore, but if you feel that this may be right up your alleyway, then buy it in April when it gets released. An album that is a dynamically good, sexy and totally orgasmic all killer no filler release, f**k, I am already getting withdrawal symptoms - where is the repeat button?... 9.75/10 (The Nugget)
ICONIC EYE...'HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT'
(Sky-Rocket Records) Reviewed 26th March 2015
Iconic Eye formed by Greg Dean as a studio project to record his favourite self penned songs, has quickly transformed into something else. Having secured a slot at the prestigious DOWNLOAD festival this year, the future is looking incredibly bright for this talented bunch of gentlemen. The album features 2 vocalists, at the beginning Lee Small (Shy) was bought in to do session vocals on five tracks, and later the remaining seven tracks were completed by now permanent band member, vocalist Tim Dawes. There are 12 numbers here of inoffensive bouncy Melodic Rock/AOR from this British band, and if this type of music is what you love the most, then please check them out. This is a very enjoyable release including the cover of 'In a Broken Dream', which is a song and single by Australian rock band Python Lee Jackson featuring vocals from Rod Stewart, and it will see the light of day on May 1st. The band's FaceBook is here
... 8.5/10 (The Nugget)
(Empire 21 Records) Reviewed 26th March 2015
This is the self-titled debut album from new Swedish hard rock/metal act EMPIRE 21 (www.empire21.se
). For fans of melodic heavy rock and for those of you who need to consume a heavy dose of massive riffing by world-class musicians - this album IS a must. The members are all experienced from international bands including NARNIA, Darkwater, Rob Rock, Harmony and many more. The band was originally founded by drummer Tobias Enbert and singer Germán Pascual who were both part of the 2009 touring lineup of CJ Grimmark’s band NARNIA. When CJ decided to put NARNIA to rest, the idea of EMPIRE 21 was born. And this is good stuff from this bunch of musicians, with eleven tracks of top quality melodic hard rock, all carefully written without any time pressure, resulting in a no filler regime of music. This album has great potential to reach a very wide audience, thanks to its strong material and high musical energy, so why not treat yourself! It was released last November so it is readily available.. 9/10 (The Nugget)
(Lynchburg Records) Reviewed 19th March 2015
UK band Corvus fronted by Birmingham based Ciaran James, came into existence as the result of a completely unexpected scenario, that saw the members working as session musicians on another project. Happily they stayed in touch and an original band Corvus was formed. The result is this album - the corking “Chasing Miracles” being a superb slice of melodic rock/AOR. Recorded at Arkham Studio’s under the guiding hand of Alex Cooper (Hanging Dolls), Alex also lends his not inconsiderable skills on the drums to the album. There are 13 tracks here of music that takes us very nicely into the aforementioned AOR/Melodic Rock territory, the band having a sound, not unlike bands such as FM, Journey & Shy, but with a very modern feel. This is very good and well worth checking out if this kinda music is your cuppa tea, when it gets released June 1st. The band's facebook is here
- well recommended!!... 9/10 (The Nugget)
END BEGIN...'EMPIRE FOOLS'
(Self Release) Reviewed 18th March 2015
A delight to my ears is this album by Progressive Rock/Metal merchants END BEGIN fronted by Dave Rangel, who come from here in the UK. When I first heard THRESHOLD in the early 90s, I thought "hold on a moment, this band are something special", and look where they are now. END BEGIN may turn out to be something special too. This Yorkshire based band has kindly given me their debut album, and I am proud to listen and review such a treasure. I like all types of music, but this is most certainly up there with the best of them. Complex Rhythms and soaring lead guitars coupled with atmospheric synths is what this band is made of. The record is made up of eight brilliant tracks including two epic numbers that run in at over 10 minutes - the mid paced and totally awesome 'Numbers' and closing track 'Becoming'. 'Empire Fools' is an epic, complex and satirical piece of work creating a world of vivid imagery. Telling a gripping tale of one man's journey to save his race, the music challenges the listener to look at humanity's current ways and to truly question their roles in society. This record is somewhat special from a band that sure has a solid future, so do not be a fool, check it out when it gets released on April 1st via BandCamp and Wafer USB - their website is at www.endbeginband.net
- recommended...9/10 (Dave)
DAMNATION ANGELS...'THE VALIANT FIRE'
(Massacre Records) Reviewed 12th March 2015
Dave has given me the task of reviewing most of the guy bands that come our way, and this 63 minute + album is a delight to my ears. Damnation Angels is an English based band fronted by the clean and powerful vocals of Norwegian Per Fredrik. Formed in late 2006 by Will and John Graney, DAMNATION ANGELS set out to create a new benchmark in Symphonic Metal and to that extent, they have totally succeeded. Nine tracks of music that will blow your mind, with the number 'Icarus Syndrome' totally orgasmic as is the nine minute plus Symphonic power ballad, 'The Frontiersman', coupled with just about everything else here. There is not a lot I am going to say except that no matter where your allegiances lie, female fronted Symphonic Metal or otherwise, this is an epic & masterful album and is a must buy. Mixed and mastered by Scott Atkins at Grindstone Studio, Ipswich here in the UK (Cradle Of Filth, Sylosis), this album which sees the light of day on 27th March is awesome and I am now going to check out their earlier album 'Bringer Of Light' (2013)... 10/10 - no question! (The Nugget)
(Shunu Records) Reviewed 20th Feb 2015
Vanth come from Sweden and is fronted by a guy called Ace. What they throw at us are ten tracks of Melodic Synth Rock/Electronica/Metal all wrapped up in this little package called 'Future Overdrive'. I do rather like the sound of this band who have been banging around since 2006. This is a brief review, but certainly recommended if you like bands like Apoptygma Berzerk, Samael and Lacrimas Profundere, and your rock music with a fair dosage of electronica and catchiness. Check them out at their BandCamp here
... 8/10 (Rachel Louise Smith)
(Napalm Records) Reviewed 18th Feb 2015
Well what can I say when this album link was given to me by Dave to review. An album to wake up the people of this quiet village in Essex :) This to be honest is my style of music, although I do like all types of music from the softer stuff to the harder metallic music. Moonspell from Portugal is well known on the music scene, having come to fruition in 1992, and with a tsunami of albums under their belt, this their eleventh is their newie due soon on Napalm. The band deliver some rather good Dark Gothic Metal on this cd, that really does propel this band to the top of the Premier League of this style of music. There are stand out cuts a plenty here, and with Fernando Ribeiro`s sombre vocals colliding with modern riffing, blackened melodies and operatic grandeur, the band remains one step ahead of the rest, always resisting all genre boundaries! Well worth checking out when released 6th March... 9.5/10 (The Nugget)
FM...'HEROES and VILLIANS'
(Frontiers) Reviewed 18th Feb 2015
FM is another British Band that is enjoying the resurgence in the Melodic Rock scene that is in full momentum at the moment. I know for a fact that FM is a fave band of Ravenheart Dave, but I have the pleasure of offering a review for the Ravenheart website. The band has released a hatful of albums since their formation in the mid 80s when I was a wee nipper in nappies. And now I am an older lady (well touching 30) that likes most types of music, I have come to learn that Steve Overland to my ears is vocally a gemstone of the highest quality. Backed up by a loyal and classy band of musicians, Steve and co offer us their latest album due soon, which is a 12 track masterstroke of melodic rock brilliance, with Steve's gritty vocals leading the fray. Every track here is a standout cut, although I do rather like the catchy 'You're The Best' and of course the ballads that FM are famous for, give 'Incredible' and closing number 'Walking With Angels' a listen to hear what I am on about. This is an absolute belter of an album and they are British!! You heroes and villains out there need to buy this otherwise Dave and myself will be knocking on your door!... 9.75/10 (The Nugget)
(Rocktopia) Reviewed 18th February 2015
Up until 2012, British band Ten had released ten studio albums, two compilation albums, four EPs, a double live album and five music videos, so they are what you could call major players on the British Melodic Rock scene. The band released this, their 11th studio album on the 21st of November 2014 and they are currently in the recording stages of its follow up. This is typical Ten fare, 10 tracks of awesome and epic Melodic Hard Rock featuring Gary's purely magical vocals. I am not sure whether this is me, but at times he sounds like HIM's Ville Valo to my ears. This album is enjoyable and I do rather like it, so well worth a purchase if this is your music scene. Even your Grandmother may like it :) Produced by Gary Hughes and mixed and mastered by Pink Cream 69's Denis Ward... 9/10 (Dave)
(Frontiers) Reviewed 18th February 2015
Vega is a Melodic Hard Rock act from the UK and this is their third album and rather good it is too. This is the kind of music I enjoyed in my youth, and Vega bring the pre grunge period back to life with this release! Fronted by Nick Workman whose wife I believe works or used to work in Kidderminster, not far from the Towers, there are 12 tracks here of bouncy inoffensive Melodic Rock and long may this type of music continue. The opener and the title track sets things going and the album continues in the same vein. Totally exceptional and well worth the purchase. If this is your style of music and you have not already got it, then buy! 9.75/10 (Dave)
(Bakerteam Records) Reviewed 6th Feb 2015
Cult Slovak band Tristana (www.tristana.sk/index.php
) was founded in the late nineties and draws its inspiration from the chilling atmosphere, snowy peaks, wild ferocious rivers and endless forests of the Carpathian mountains. Virtual Crime is a follow up to 2010's 'Zircon Street', and as the light alternates with darkness, Tristana mixes ultra-melodic parts with hard passages and clean/screaming vocals, all within a Gothic Metal/Death Metal package. Eleven tracks here of Melodic and at times catchy Gothic Metal with vocals courtesy of Peter Wilsen. After having signed a deal with Bakerteam Records, the band is now ready to unleash this, their third long-waited new album, definitely their most ambitious to date, musically and lyrically. A very worthy purchase due 31st March, just check out tracks like the bouncy 'Bloody Snow' and the ultra catchy 'Jannie's Dying' (the latter also featuring the female vocals of Chiara Tricarico from Temperance) - a cool release .. 8.75/10 (The Nugget)
(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)
Archived Guy Band reviews here.