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.
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)
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)