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Ravenheart Music: Album Reviews

REVIEWS C-D

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CRIMSON CHRYSALIS…’ENRAPTURED’

(Musik and Film) Reviewed 21st July 2015

This has to be one of the best albums of this type of music (Symphonic Rock) that one will listen to this year, and any other year come to think of it. Crimson Chrysalis is led by the captivating and incredible vocals of South African lass Rene Van Den Berg. And this album it has to be said is near perfection in every sense of the word. Without further ado, let us cut to the chase - ‘Soul Stalker’ gets things going rather splendidly while the amazingly wonderful ‘Elegy’ is a collaboration with Rainover’s Andrea Casanova. ‘Sacred Vow’ is one of my fave tracks ever. I am basically lost for words here, so much emotion and passion being poured into one song - to me it screams “TOTAL CLASSIC”. And to be honest, that could be said for every one of the 12 numbers here. The Symphonic sounding and upbeat ‘Burning Fire with Fire’, features American vocalist Jessica Mercy from Anaria and is another favourite of mine, while further heartfelt emotion is poured into tracks like ‘Enlightenment’, the upbeat ‘Raven’ (a song about Africa), the classic ‘Virgin Death’ and the penultimate track 'Grace'. With closing track ‘Poison’, the Alice Cooper classic being given the Crimson Chrysalis treatment in such an awesome fashion it leaves me speechless, it has become blatantly obvious that the seeds were being sown with the band’s previous release ‘Crimson Passion Cry’. Those seeds have now broken the surface and produced an amazing and incredible piece of music in ‘Enraptured’. If you are a total metal head, this may not be your cuppa tea, but for anybody that appreciates good music featuring Rock mixed with the Classics and the Symphonics, this is the biz and an utter classic in the making. My mind is made up and this may be a strong statement, this has to be one of the best and most perfect releases of any genre this year, and one of the best albums I have ever listened to, enough said!.. 10/10 (Dave)

DEMIST...'GUILT and PLEASURES'

(Self Release) Reviewed 14th July 2015

There are Symphonic Metal recordings that are damn good, and there are some that are damn excellent. Let us just say that this record slips into the latter category. Demist is a Gothic Symphonic Metal band from Belgrade, fronted by Dragica Maletic (and with a bassist that looks like a wrestler). They throw at the discerning listener 10 tracks of awesome Symphonic Metal. There is little to fault on the album as it all pounds along rather nicely thank you, and will sure appeal to fans of this style of music, no doubt about that. There are some great songs on this album and they are too numerous to mention. So let me just cut to the chase - check out their website at www.demistband.com/news/ and track the album down. Rather cool and well recommended... 9/10 (The Nugget)

DREAMSLAVE…’REST IN PHANTASY’

(Self Release) Reviewed 10th July 2015

Dreamslave fronted by a young lady named Emma come from Lyon in France, and play a style of Symphonic/Operatic Power Metal, with occasional growls from Cedric who also takes care of the keytar dept. There are 12 tracks here on this their debut full length, of consistent upbeat Symphonic Metal to keep those taste buds (or should I say eardrums?) happy. There is some corking music on this release and is well recommended for our readers. Check out pounding tracks like the dance floor feel of ‘Masquerade’ , the Symphonic Metal of ‘Doomsday’, the heaviness of ‘Wishes of Revenge’ and Emma’s awesome operatic vocals on the thumping ‘Angel Requiem’ , these being just four tracks from a great array of music on this album. Then in addition to that, let us get bouncing around our living rooms to the track ‘Pirate’s Anthem’ - brilliant. Dreamslave’s Facebook is here, the artwork is as cool as the music and the band’s image, so check it all out… 8.5/10 (The Nugget)

CHAOS MAGIC...S/T

(Frontiers) Reviewed 9th July 2015

CHAOS MAGIC is the new alliance between one of my fave Finnish songwriter/producers, Timo Tolkki (formerly of STRATOVARIUS) and Chilean singer Caterina Nix. Caterina's career started by singing lead vocals for the Chilean metal band AGHONYA, with whom she opened shows for such bands as AFTER FOREVER, EDGUY and WITHIN TEMPTATION. I have also had the honour of having spoken with Caterina on the phone in the past (who needs Skype). This album to be honest is totally awesome and to my ears is a total must buy. There are 11 tracks here of some of the best melodic Symphonic Metal you will hear this year, and any other year come to think of it. Bombastically awesome and if you do not believe me, just listen to the outrageously catchy opener 'I'm Alive' (video), that being followed by the equally amazing and catchy 'Dangerous Game'. Two tracks in and I am breathless at what I am hearing. 'One Drop Of Blood' is next and what can I say?, three songs and I am hooked! And it just gets better with tracks like 'Serephim', the power ballad 'From The Stars' (great chorus with choral backing) and the bouncy Delain sounding 'A Little Too Late'. Well so far that is every track on this album, the remaining five are equally as good, with not a filler to be found, although the second half of the record has a couple of slower more atmospheric tracks. The 'Chaos Magic' album was written, performed and produced by Tolkki to develop the vocal talent of the awesome Caterina, showing a diverse side of Timo's musical talents. And he sure has created a winner! This is good, very good, every song having more hooks than a Scottish fishing fleet, and is a must buy as a consequence...9.75/10 (Dave)

COTOS...'За тобой'

(Self Release) Reviewed 8th July 2015

The strange thing about this release is we have forgotten who the hell sent this to us for review. We seem to have lost the email, but what I can say is that this band is from Russia featuring female/mainly clean male vocals, and the album was released on May 24th. The eight tracks here sung in the band's native tongue, consist primarily of Symphonic Rock/Metal with a little bit of Folk thrown in, something the Russians currently seem to be rather good at, and this cd as a consequence is rather good. I have been trying to do some digging around, but my source of information to be honest is very limited regards this album, but if you enjoy Symphonic Metal no matter what language it is sung in, then try and track this down. Not bad, not bad at all...8.25/10 (The Nugget)

DOMINA NOCTIS...'MIGRATION OF SOULS'

(Black Fading Records) Reviewed 23rd June 2015

Domina Noctis in Latin means "The lady/mistress of the night" (i.e. the Moon, not some night time slapper LOL). Fronted by Edera, they are a Rock/Metal band from Italy. This album has in-fact been out for a wee while and for some reason has escaped our radar. But we still felt a brief review was in order. There are nine tracks of catchy melodic metal here, standout cuts a plenty but just listen to the opening musical blast of 'Imitation Of Silence' and 'The Illusionist' the latter a fave of mine from the CD, and that will give you a good idea as to the path this band is traveling on regards this record. I personally feel having listened to their earlier stuff which is rather good, that this album is even better. So if for some reason, you have not already checked this out, do so, it is rather good... 8.75/10 (The Nugget)

DEAD OF NIGHT...'THE DEAD SHALL RISE'

(Self Released) Reviewed 17th June 2015

Due to recent health issues and one or two other issues too, I have been a little bit out of touch regards many things Femme Metal, but Dead of Night is a British symphonic metal band comprising of Carl Eden (keys) Hadian Gates (guitars) and Courtney Cecere (vocals). The band formed in 2013 as a vehicle for Carl's symphonic metal compositions and this, the resulting album. And I will say that this band has literally blown me away! We have 11 dazzling tracks of exciting Symphonic Metal, Courtneys's vocals are amazing and the arrangements of composer and keyboards maestro man Carl surpass anything I am currently listening too. Everything here is from the top drawer and there are fave tracks a plenty. Just try 'As I Am Now So Shall You Be' as just one prime example, so cool and so catchy!! And then there are the ballads, and I am a sucker for a good ballad - the tracks 'Never Liked It' and the closing 7+ minute 'Ghost Stories' should be smash hits on mainstream radio! Enough said!! 'Will You Go' is a poppy tune and again another magical cut from this dynamic band, while they can up the ante with tracks like 'Riding Into Hell'. The musicianship is absolutely outstanding, and this band is knocking on the door of the Premier League, indeed they may already be there. Well recommended to all and sundry, cos I am gobsmaked - the band's website is here where the album can be purchased, and it can also be purchased from all good online music stores and some ropey ones as well.... 10/10 (Dave)

CHERRY WHITE...'STARING AT THE SUN' EP

(Self Released) Reviewed 16th June 2016

On a balmy summer night at a central London blues jam, four individuals who never met were about to ignite an ambition and start something very special. "The Spice of Life" blues jam is a night and a venue, that has gone down in the history of music in the UK with everyone from Bob Dylan to the Sex Pistols having played the venue (under whatever name it held), at one time or another. Fast forward to June 2015 and those four individuals who now go by the name Cherry White (fronted by Donata Sounds), offer up the listener with their new EP 'Staring At The Sun', the elegant sound of contemporary classic rock, steeped in a barrel of blues. Some good tracks here including the epic 'Angel', a fave of mine from this EP. So if you like your music infused with a decent helping of blues, Cherry White could be just the tonic, further info here... 8/10 (Dave)

DEAD LIGHT SHINES...'FACE YOUR FEARS'

(Self Release) Reviewed 11th June 2015

In December 2014, I reviewed the full length release from this Arizona Band titled 'Fall To Rise'. Now I have the pleasure of reviewing this their brilliant 5 track EP. Whereas 'Fall To Rise' had a Progressive undercurrent bubbling under the surface, this EP takes on a more commercial radio friendly route, although still maintaining subtle Progressive elements found in the debut. This by and large is a healthy dose of upbeat catchy Rock music with great vocals from Janette Martyn, coupled with great musicianship from her band mates. I do rather like this and to my ears this is well worth checking out. For starters, check out their Facebook here.. 8.5/10 (Dave)

DAEMON LOST...'WHEN VIOLENCE IS YOUR GUIDE'

(Self Released) Reviewed 5th June 2015

Using the band's own words, Daemon Lost is a Symphonic Metalcore band from Buenos Aires, Argentina. They are fronted by the operatic vocals of Ludmila Disa, and Ludmila and her band throw at us 11 tracks of prime time Symphonic Metal, although I am a little unsure about the aforementioned "metalcore" bit. Needless to say that some people will say that all this has already been done before, but when it is this good, I do not particularly care! Some good stuff on this record, being heavy, melodic and of course bombastic & symphonic. After a thumping start, fourth track in, the 5+ minute 'Beyond Torture' exhibits a middle eastern flavour also with the introduction of growly vocals, while tracks like 'Shadows of Reality', 'Consequence', the title track (great guitar solo) and 'The Final Struggle' (great synths at the end), will act as a timely reminder as to why you got into this type of music in the first place. This is well recommended, their bandcamp is here, so take a listen... 9.25/10 (Dave)

THE DREAMSIDE...'ANOTHER SPARK OF LIGHT'

(Spin Moon Media) Reviewed 26th May 2015

Co-creations with musicians of various genres and artists was always important to The Dreamside. Another Spark Of Light is just that: an album created in close cooperation with guest-musicians who are closely connected to the band. The Dreamside asked their fans to suggest songs which should appear in an alternative version on this album. The fan-requested songs have been reworked together with musicians who played an important role in the history of The Dreamside. There are thirteen re-worked tracks here, offering mainly an acoustic laid back feel and there are some goodies too. Although I do like everything here (but I am a fan of the band and its music), I do rather like 'Forsaken', but it must be said that I liked the original of that one anyway, 'Spin Moon Magic' that features Wim van Velzen who is a close friend to the band and semi professional brass player, the atmospheric 'Eurylheia – 2015 version' feat. Fried Jan Bruggink, who played the guitar in The Dreamside from 1995–2012, 'Carry On' featuring the vocals of Ralf Mastwijk (who was guitarist with the Dutch Alternative Rock band Face Tomorrow) and the up tempo and rather catchy 'La Tempesta - 2015 version'. I would like to add that the album closes with a couple of dance floor belters that I totally adore!! 'Another Spark Of Light' is an album that has been produced with a lot of effort and love for detail, and although not an album that you would headbang too, it is nonetheless very good...indeed well recommended, particularly if you are a fan of the band. Check out the band's website here - released digitally on 27th May.. 8.75/10 (Dave)

CIRCSENA...'DRYAD TALE'

(Self Release) Reviewed 15th May 2015

Circsena formed by Daniel Kirchhoff and Jens Wallace hail from Germany, and primarily sees itself as a storyteller and only in the second instance as a band. The 15 compositions are used for interpretation of the scenes and therefore do not limit themselves to any stringent genre expectations, but depending on the scene, include some major differences in terms of heaviness and instrumentation. Even within the mostly metal-orientated setting of the album, also some Folk and Pop elements can be found. And I must say that this is a little different and is damn good too, mixing 'Post Dryad' Black Metal with harsh male vox, with more Pop orientated Metal featuring occasional clean female vocals. I am finding it difficult to fault this disc, just obtain the album and get immersed within its harmonious glories for yourselves. The CD is the first part of a three part story, which will be completed with the following records: 'The Chronicles of the Vixen Princess' and 'Iyashikei', although at his current moment in time, with aforementioned founding member and drummer Jens Wallis leaving the band, it is impossible to say when these albums will follow. More info at www.circsena.bandcamp.com where you can also buy the album for just ONE EURO! (or more if you so wish). Another good and indeed rather infectious album (great artwork by the way) - well recommended.. 9.25/10 (The Nugget)

CINNAMUN BELOVED...'THE WEIRD MOMENT'

(Crysella Records) Reviewed 13th May 2015

The idea of CINNAMUN BELOVED, Buenos Aires based band, surfaced in the beginning of 2011 by the singer and keyboardist SABRINA FILIPCIC HOLM. After she left her previous band, which had her as a founding member and main composer, she decided to explore new music styles without compromising on her songwriting ability. The early materials were recorded featuring renowned musicians from the local scene such as: Marcelo Bracalente (Jeriko) bass, Juan Pablo Kilberg (ex Renacer, Magika) guitar and Jorge Perini (ex Jeriko, Barilari) drums, who became a permanent part of the band's live shows. The sound of Cinnamun Beloved is a mix of different Metal styles combined with electronic elements, which resulted in a new modern and powerful sounds, in combination with the lyrical characters of Sabrina Filipcic Holm's voice. The band can also state on their CV that they have opened for EPICA and TARJA TURUNEN (ex Nightwish) amongst others. There are 11 tracks here of awesome melodic Gothic Metal with those aforementioned electro subtleties, together with a Symphonic feel, and although this album I believe was released 3 years or so ago by the band, it still sounds grandiose and fresh today on the Crysella label. It should be officially released in July, so if you have not got the album already, buy it! There are some corking tracks here!! ... 9/10 (Dave)

DYSRIDER...'BURY THE OMEN'

(Tenacity Records) Reviewed 13th April 2015

Dysrider hail from Switzerland and used to be known as Trophallaxy, having released two albums under that name. Playing initially an effective but traditional Symphonic Metal, the band has continued to evolve in a more aggressive style by incorporating more elements specific to the Death Metal genre. The contrast between the sweet angelic voice of singer Joëlle, her cello and the keyboard, with the Death vocals of Jonathan, rapid and violent rhythmics of the guitar, the bass and the drums, proves even more striking and original. This however, is their first album using the Dysrider moniker and this is a Melodic Symphonic Death Metal masterpiece. The album by and large hammers along at an awesome pace, searing guitar riffs and pounding drums keeps the listener hooked from beginning to end. This record mixes very nicely the heavier and pummeling aspects of Metal music with the more symphonic melodic traits, 'Time of Decay' being one such number, great cello on this track too btw. 'Blind Avengers' is another fave track of mine, great vocals from Joëlle before Jonathan does his little bit during the second half of the song! This album overall is well recommended from this up and coming band, and an album that will maintain your interest throughout!... 8.75/10 (The Nugget)

DARK SARAH...'BEHIND THE BLACK VEIL'

(Inner Wound Recordings) Reviewed 20th March 2015

Dark Sarah is a new Symphonic Metal music project by Finnish metal band Amberian Dawn´s former vocalist Heidi Parviainen. Her debut album called 'Behind the Black Veil' is split into three episodes, and leads you through the psychological adventure of Sarah, who is hovering between her two personalities. Sarah´s thoughts are at best depicted in the dialogues (duets) with the guests - 'Memories Fall' features Manuela Kraller (ex Xandria), 'Evil Roots' features Inga Scharf (Van Canto) and 'Light In Light' is a duet with Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica). Sarah is a nice young woman, who faces one of the biggest crises in her life when her husband leaves her at the altar and leaves with another woman straight from church. Sarah thinks she's going to die and after spending some time at home alone, watching the rain outside, she collapses on the floor. After a while there is only silence, only darkness, until she rises, trembling. Scattered mascara has formed the character of Horus around her eye. Because of the trauma she has faced, another side of her personality wakes up inside her mind. She changes into Dark Sarah, the complete opposite of everything she represented before. She declares a war against her former husband and swears revenge. Furthermore she looms in between her two personalities.'SAVE ME' is the intro song and tells the story of how a confused Sarah, still wearing her wedding dress, wanders in the woods and at the end meets her husband tied up in a dark forest - in reality or in a dream? 'POISON APPLE' is a premonition of the future, dream-like illusion, where she plans her revenge. 'HIDE AND SEEK' is Sarah's saddest song, in which she says that she cannot be found, because she is no longer here here - Dark Sarah has taken her. In the end, still in grief, she meets her fate (Manuela Kraller ex Xandria), who tells her that only after entering into the darkness, she can be born again, and for the first time Dark Sarah appears as real in the 'MEMORIES FALL' duet. Sarah offers herself to the darkness, and here begins EPISODE II. At the beginning, Sarah meets the Queen of snakes, the dark tree - "the Queen of No Good" (Inga Scharf - Van Canto), in a duet called 'EVIL ROOTS'. The Queen lures Sarah to go deeper into the darkness. After this, Sarah´s last sane moment is in the beginning of the song 'VIOLENT ROSES'. She enters into her symbolic garden, where she gardens her roses. She realizes something terrible! Someone has destroyed her roses! Evil flowers are singing in the background. Sarah thinks it is her husband who has destroyed her beloved rose garden- that little snake! (but actually it had been the evil flowers’ plan). Now Dark Sarah wakes up, murderous and fierce and replaces her roses with poisonous plants, which will help her with her vengeance. She comes up with an evil plan, she will make an apple pie of poison apples to her husband! This is Dark Sarah´s prime time! In her recital 'HUNTING THE DREAMER' she tells how she is going to destroy all of her man's dreams as he had destroyed Sarah's dreams. EPISODE II ends in a scene where Sarah comes to her senses again and is shocked by the traces of blood on the floor. She is terrified; what has she done?! She requires Dark Sarah to let her go free, because she can´t recognize herself in the mirror any more. This is the song called 'FORTRESS'. These are the events of the EPISODE III. After realizing what horrible event she had encountered, Sarah is fully awake from the nightmare. In the song called 'SILVER TREE', things start to clear up in her mind, she remembers the tree that she used to go to with her beloved - they even carved their names and hearts on its bark. She used to love that silver tree, the most beautiful tree in the forest, she used to play hide and seek there as a child. Then she gets it! Everything is connected to that tree- the tree is evil! She decides to put an end to all the madness and runs into the wintery forest and hides herself from Dark Sarah. Sarah finds the silver tree in the woods and stabs a dagger in the middle of the carved heart. Sarah hears a terrible scream from the tree and the heart starts to bleed on the white snow. The tree shivers and it's silvery bark cracks and falls down like pieces of a mirror. In the song called 'SUN, MOON AND STARS', Sarah starts running, she runs and runs into the heart of the forest. Then she stops - she feels numb, even the moonlight has turned his light away from her, it is her destiny to carry the burden alone. She wants to be forgotten, left alone with her confused mind. What is real and what is not? She remembers the beautiful things she used to love when she watches the night sky. The last song of the story (track 11) is a duet called 'LIGHT IN YOU'. Suddenly Sarah sees a light, she falls down in awe of the silvery light in the sky. The moon has come (Tony Kakko- Sonata Arctica)! He tells Sarah that he has come to guide her to a new path in her life and he still sees the light in her. In the white wilderness they fall in love. However there is a shadow upon them - the moon fades away when the day comes. They can only wait for the sunrise. I have tried to detail the story of the album that is very relevant to the music on offer. All the tracks here are awesome, Heidi and her band is on top form, this is totally magical and a MUST BUY for fans of Cinematic/Symphonic Metal when released 8th May. I must also add that although the story encompasses 11 tracks, there are actually 14 on the cd - website is at www.darksarah.com/.. 10/10 (Dave with help from The Nugget)

CHASER EIGHT...'CHASER EIGHT'

(Self Release) Reviewed 16th Feb 2015

New Haven is the second-largest city in Connecticut and from this fine city comes the band Chaser Eight. The band writes moody songs led by the powerful female vocals of Audra (www.imjustaudra.com), these vocals inspired by Joan Jett and Alanis Morissette and their easily accessible songs, have gotten them air play on many radio stations. 'Lead Me Down' is the lead song from this, their debut full length album, a catchy ditty while next up 8 AM is gorgeously good, a slower number showcasing the bluesy and richly expressive vocals of Audra. There are a host of little goodies here including the poppy 'Major and Minor', the commercial sounding (as are most of the tunes here) 'To Find Him', the anthemic '3 Day Bender', the atmospheric and magical 'Go Home' and the awesome closer, the 5 minute plus 'I Wanna Die' with its great guitar solo. Okay peeps, this is not metal, more along the Pop/Rock of Fleetwood Mac and the like, but this certainly is recommended if you like your music a little on the 'lighter side'. Check out their website at www.chasereight.com. I do rather like this - rather infectious and addictive! 8.75/10 (The Nugget)

CONTROL THE STORM...'BEAST INSIDE'

(Self Release) Reviewed 5th Feb 2015

Control The Storm fronted by new vocalist Kate Norris, are Bristol's finest and to be totally honest, this band has already got what it takes to bounce straight into the Premier League of Melodic Metal with this their debut. There are ten melodic and powerful tracks here including three tracks from their original demo disk, that they have re recorded with Kate at the helm. This is hideously bouncy stuff and this is proven with the opening salvo of 'Days Of Days' and Hysteric Silence', what a way to kick off an album! And there is more! 'Believe' has an atmospheric and haunting intro before it steamrollers its way out of the speakers and pummels you against the wall. 'No Chance At All' is magical, while both 'Falling' and 'Stronger' are lovely power ballads. 'False Eternity' is a pounding melodic number. The whole album I must say is awesome, every track is a jewel to cherish. What I like about this release is the use of keys and synths that liberally appear throughout, something the band (and other European acts) does really well within the heaviness of the music. The album was recorded and produced at the home of keyboardist Raedon Mac in Swindon and mixed by Chuck Creese of CC Productions in Bristol and is due March 2nd. This is damn good and is well worth checking out. Signed copes of the album can be pre ordered at www.controlthestorm.bigcartel.com/, go on, unleash the beast inside and be a devil!.. 9.5/10 (Dave)

DEATHTINY...'IN CREEPS CLOTHING'

(STF Records) Reviewed 2nd Feb 2015

Formed in 2001, Deathtiny comes from South Germany and is fronted by Julia Mann, with male vocals compliments of guitarist Dennis Buffing. The band has a somewhat varied musical style ranging from Symphonic Metal to more extreme Death/Black Metal styles, but offering up at the same time a basketful of melody. Plenty here on this their latest release to sink your teeth into, with second track, the melodically charged 'Fly' so catchy, the tune will refuse to leave your head long after it has finished. 'Emptiness in Perfection' has an awesome synths intro before it kicks in good and proper knocking you back against your living room wall in the process. For a band that I and others here at Ravenheart have not really heard much about, this release is rather good. Julia is backed up by a fine compliment of musicians, with some awesome guitar work from Dennis. And at times, Julia reminds me of Nell (Theater of Tragedy and The Crest) in the vocal department. Not much to fault to be honest with closer 'Pain' an epic 11 + minute blockbuster. Deathtiny (www.deathtiny.com) offers up strong riff-oriented songs with pounding catchy melodies, coupled with occasional aggressive shouts. Well recommended so check them out, released last November.. 9.25/10 (The Nugget)

DAWN OF ETERNITY...'GUILTY'

(NRT-Records) Reviewed 8th January 2015

Where the voice of an angel meets the music of the devil. This might be an accurate description of the sound of this band, and that description is not precisely overblown. Founded by the very talented Singer Sara Seubert and guitar player Johannes Kittel, Dawn of Eternity rose from the ashes of their former project 'Buried Alive'. Their sound could be described as a mix of melodic death metal and goth, a combination of a clear beautiful voice and harsh death metal, with the instruments provided by Johannes Kittel, Sebastian Küpfer and Torsten Ossowicki. The singer Sara meanwhile, is just the icing on the cake. Opener 'Ego' sets the benchmark for this record, bombastically heavy and totally melodic as are other numbers like 'Cut Me Loose' with it's wow factor, the thumping 'Amorticure', the catchy title track and, well f**k, they are all good! They can even slow it down a bit with the acoustic based 'Fire'. The album that I am reviewing here for Ravenheart is the deluxe version, featuring extra tracks that originally appeared on their 'Catastrome' EP - to find out more, their website is here. We here at Ravenheart whole heartedly recommend this, every track a grandoise winner!.. 9/10 (Natalie Gold)

DIVINE ASCENSION...'LIBERATOR'

(Vicisolum Productions) Reviewed 5th January 2015

Here we have a grand dose of bombastic metal from this Australian Band. It is Symphonic, Progressive and Powerful to boot, and is rather good to these ears. Offering up 11 tracks, all of which run in at over 5 minutes with three breaking the 6 minute barrier, one sure gets their monies worth. 'Dawn Brings No Mercy' is the opener and this sets the bench mark for the rest of the album. A masterpiece of an album in-fact with great vocals from Jennifer Borg (a Rock approach rather than an Operatic style), who is ably supported by a great bunch of musicians. This album will please anybody into the female fronted metal scene, and indeed many others too I would think. There are standout cuts a plenty on this record, so just buy, sit back and enjoy! Difficult to fault - Facebook is here and the video to the awesome track 'Machine' that is track 7 from the album, can be found at www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWqHmZFLQ3U .. 9/10 (Rachel Louise Smith)

DEAD LIGHT SHINES...'FALL TO RISE'

(Self Release) Reviewed 31st December 2014

Arizona based Dead Light Shines is the result of a decade long musical journey conducted by Norm Wall and Kelly Morales. Janette Martyn provides the voice of the band, fusing her diverse background in theater, dance and art to create a larger than life persona onstage. Norm is the mad scientist guitarist who carefully writes and arranges the material, blending influences from all generations and sub-genres of rock and metal. Kelly uses his skillful bass playing to create agile depth and nuanced passages, melding his articulate tone with the punchy technical wizardry of drummer Stephen Mallicoat. And to be honest, this album from these guys is a delight, merging awesome vocals with powerful hook laden guitars and choruses. After a brief intro, 'Where I Belong' kicks things off and what a start, a great song, heavy, tuneful with the great vocals of Janette powering her way to the forefront. Other songs that pound your ear drums include the bombastic and Progressive 'Lost In You', the equally heavy 'Better On My Own', the melodic 'Even If I Die' and when they slow it down a bit in songs like 'My Final Fight', the band still kick ass. And closer 'Too Deep' which is equally as cool, features Greg Norris on vocals. Indeed there is something for every listener within the music on this release - Rock, Metal and Progressive Metal is there for the listener, each song carefully crafted to deliver maximum sonic effect. Dead Light Shines is an amazing band poised to shake the foundation of the Arizona music scene and who knows, maybe the world! Check them out at www.reverbnation.com/deadlightshines - well recommended.. 9/10 (Rachel Louise Smith)

CORONATUS...'CANTUS LUCIDUS'

(Massacre Records) Reviewed 4th December 2014

Coronatus need no introduction to fans of the female fronted rock & metal scene. They hail from Germany and I believe this is their 6th release, which all started back in 2007 with the release of 'Lux Noctis'. Fronted by two female singers, Carmen R.Lorch (2004–2010, 2013–present) and new kid on the block Anny Maleyes, this record offers up some pretty decent Rock & Metal, with a dash of Folk thrown into the pot. After the rather impressive opener 'Schnee & Rosen' (translated to Snow & Roses), next up 'Deborah' and 'No Holy Wars' are pounding melodic numbers, the latter having a quirky violin melody and an interesting lyrical theme. The flute pops up in the catchy 'The Elvenwell (I Can Give You...)', while the progressive tinged 'Freundschaft' and 'Cathy's Floor' pound along rather nicely, again with our friend the flute popping up on the former, to add substance to the melody. 'Unsterblich' is another quirky and quite heavy tune, and although obviously rather good, is possibly one of the weaker songs on the album - too much going on for my tender ears LOL! 'Autumn Child (In My Dreams)' puts the album back on track and is one of the better songs, while final track 'Ihr Habt Die Schuld' is a Powerful, Progressively Syphonically tinged number. To sum up: I must be honest and say that Coronatus is a good band, but they have never quite hit the spot with me for some reason that I am unable to explain (sorry Dave!), but this nine track release does, a good effort! - 8.5/10 (Natalie Gold)

CRIMSON BLUE...'THE ANGELIC PERFORMANCE'

(My Kingdom Music) Reviewed 3rd December 2014

Russia is emerging as a force to be reckoned with when it comes to Female fronted Rock & Metal. There are some pretty decent bands to be found and Crimson Blue is one such act. Fronted by the dynamic and very talented Dani Hellstrom who also deals with keyboards, Crimson Blue delivers close on an hours worth of Progressive/Gothic Metal and very well done it is too. 'Locust' gets things moving in a more than impressive way, the progressive tendancies bubbling under the surface, and the vocals of Dani well suited and equally as impressive - great start and the great work continues with next track 'Dolores'. '3rd Eyes Close' starts with an acoustic feel, and this song to my ears has that crossover potential - more laid back, commercial and a fave of mine from this disc.'Sacrifiction' and 'Mechanical Madonna' continue to show the great musical prowess of this band, while 'Road To Oblivion' slows things down featuring strings with just Dani and her piano. 'Lab II Yggdrasil' is a nine minute plus prog masterpiece, being followed by 'Dark Heart Of Mine', which as the title may suggest is a nice ballady type number. The subtle Middle Eastern vibes of 'Tonali' and the eleven minute plus 'Black Wings'close this rather good record, the latter having just about everything to throw at the listener. Crimson Blue are onto a winner here, now it is up to the music buying public to buy the album and propel this band into the premier league. Find out more here... 8.75/10 (Natalie Gold)

CADAVERIA...'SILENCE'

(Scarlet Records) Reviewed 13th November 2014

Ravenheart Dave has thrown another awesome album my way for review, and it is my pleasure this time to give the new Cadaveria record the once over. Fronted by the awesome lady who the band take their name from, this is the bands fifth full length record following the critically acclaimed ‘Horror Metal’, released in 2012. ‘Silence’ was mainly composed in 2013 and recorded between May and July 2014 in three different recording studios owned by the band themselves. It features eleven brand new tracks for a total running time of about 47 minutes, described as the perfect soundtrack for a contemporary horror movie, set in dark cellars, smelling of incense and seeping pain, rage and melancholy. Oh errr! Incorporating female growls together with clear singing, Cadaveria certainly know how to destroy your ear drums with their style of Dark, Death and Gothic Metal. Opener 'Velo (The Other Side of Hate)' immediately shows the more aggressive darker side of the band, while 'Free Spirit' maintains the heavy nature, but delivers it all within a sandwich of melodic creativity. 'The Soul That Doesn't Sleep' is another thumper and there is no let up on this aural assault of horror, with the closing duo of 'Loneliness' with it's great mid tempo chorus and 'Strangled Idols', being current faves of mine. Using the bands own words: "Our new album 'Silence’ is an immense and supreme ‘sound-folly’ that celebrates the capriciousness of destiny, the fugacity of life and the eternal presence of darkness in light. An instinctive impetus made of pure emotions, calibrated by awareness and experience." And I do love a bit of sound-folly within the gothy darkness, so let's do it - album released 17th Nov! 8.75/10 (Natalie Gold)

DIXON DID IT...'THE GAY, THE GORMLESS & THE GOOD LOOKING' EP

(Self Released) Reviewed 19th Sept 2014

Dixon Did It! They are a heavy alternative rock band from the Northeast of England, who draw their musical abilities and sound from bands like The White Stripes, Blink 182 and Paramore. We have a 4 track EP here that would indeed appeal to fans of the above mentioned bands. Featuring the vocals of Alex 'Joycie' Joyce, who also plays Rhythm/Lead Guitar and bassist Anna Jones on female vox, the catchy 'Dolphins' starts proceedings, this is a bouncy number, great live I would imagine. The following track 'Tattoo' is another catchy but slightly heavier tune, I assume the tattoo refers to one Joycie has on his arm, aptly named Dixon Fire. Actually, that is where the name of the band derived from when Anna Jones gave out a mighty cry one day - "Dixon Did It!". Whether he or she did or didn't, now you know. 'Breaking Out' and the closer 'Hometime' close what is a rather good little EP. Dixon has done it with this EP - the band's Facebook is here.. 7.75/10 (Natalie Gold)

DIVIDED WE FALL...'DREAMCRUSHER'

(Self Release) Reviewed 18th September 2014

Divided We Fall come from the Midlands here in the UK. I have known about this band for a while, I have had this 10 track cd for several weeks too, but for some reason even unknown to myself, it never received a review (thanks Aimee for the reminder). So better late than never I suppose. Fronted by the awesome, energetic and near angelic poppy vocals of Philippa Ricketts, this band coupled with their vocalist has knocked me over right from the start, with the opener and title track 'Dreamcrusher', a great start to a great record. The catchy 'Revenge' follows and this is another massive track and like the album as a whole, we do not have overly complex song structures - I love the keys on 'Revenge' too. There are highlights galore on this up tempo record, these include 'Dream My Life Away', the Symphonic sounding 'Until I Win' - great vocals here as Mel from Aonia joins Philippa to provide the operatics, and the bombastic 'Escaping Wonderland'. This cd is awesome and the future of British Symphonic Metal is looking good with it too. Onwards and upwards for Divided We Fall (www.facebook.com/Dividedwefallmusic/info), no question about it!.... 8.75/10 (Dave)

DISKELION...'REMEMBER SORROW'

(Self Release) Reviewed 27th August 2014

Diskelion is a Symphonic Metal project fronted by none other than Gaby Koss, with a little help from a rather talented English guy called Tom Harris. The project also involves other artists from the scene including such names as Kerstin Bischof (Ex-Xandria), Zuberoa (Diabulus in Musica), Ida Elena (Cantus Lunaris & Bare Infinity), Julie Deletoile (Kosmik Vortex) and Hannah Wagner (Saeldes Sanc). The project is completed by Daniel - Viola (Nota Profana), Albert Dannenman - Flute (Cantus Lunaris, Blackmores Night), Sebastian - bass (Symbolic) and Manuel di Camillo - drums (Ex-Equilibrium). And as one would expect, this is rather good. The album opens with the number 'Forgotten' and features Zuberoa Aznárez (Diabulus in Musica), and this is a very good start to the record with the two vocalists tending to gel rather well. Next up 'Far Away' is a duet with Hannah Wagner, a rather nice pounding Nightwish sounding track, with keys and string accompanying the two vocalists. Great guitar solo from Tom too! 'Call My Name' is another Symphonic masterpiece with a nice chorus and another one of these rather good but not overdone guitar solos from Tom - excellent. There is no let up as the album progresses with highlights galore, including 'the Power Metal sounding 'Cry For Me' featuring Ida Elena as Gaby's partner, the string led and rather comforting 'Silent Voice', the lovely ballad, the title track 'Remember Sorrow', together with a great viola from Daniel and album closer 'Broken Dream', feat Kerstin Bischof. The band's website is here: www.diskelion.com/, but what I want to say is that every track of the nine here are total gems, so if you are into the Symphonic Metal scene, then get it as a very good addition to your music collection! Furthermore, I must also thank Gaby for the album and further band information... 9/10 (Dave)

DOMINIA...'THEOPHANIA'

(Self Released) Reviewed 22nd August 2014

Okay, Russian band Dominia fronted by Anton Rosa is technically not a female fronted band, but when the awesome Gaby Koss is involved, even in a subtle capacity, then it becomes one! The beauty of Rock and Metal Music comes to the fore on this release, and right at the start too in the intro to the opener 'Everyone Else'. And what becomes apparent with this album, is that although this would be classed as Gothic/Doom/Death Metal, the violin (compliments of Dmitry "Casper" Rishko) plays a very important role within the structure of the band - damn awesome if you ask me. I rather like the next track, the amazingly beautiful 8 minute 'Death Only', a mid paced dark Gothy number with again that lovely violin, and in its own way this track is rather catchy, and the dolcet tones of Gaby put in an appearance too. So far, so exquisitely good! 'The Shadow Of The Lost Prophet' has a slightly more upbeat approach coupled with Death vocals, and that violin gets better as the record wears on. Can Doom get any better than this, I do not think so! The up tempo 'Mother Plague' features clean and Death vox, while the rather nice and progressively orientated 'Unseen Artist Realm' features clean vocals with Gaby offering background vox. The band does what it says on the tin and the beauty and darkness continues with 'Your Senseless Hope' and the massive 'The Final Trip'. The closing duo of 'A Murderer' and the epic 10 minute 'In Solitude', concludes what is a rather nice and indeed rather emotional but very dark release. And to mention the violin again - awesome! The band's Facebook is here, overall well recommended... 9/10 (Dave)

CELESTIAL WISH...'OUR CREATION' EP

(Self Released) Reviewed 30th July 2014

It is nice to see an influx of British Bands making their mark within the Female Fronted music scene, and this latest to catch my ear is Symphonic Metal Band Celestial Wish from the Midlands here in the UK. Currently consisting of the angelic vocals of front woman Saneeta Ram, and guitarist & orchestral composer Daniel Carpenter, this is another album that is rather good. If you are going to kick a record off with a track that will catch the listener's attention, then start with a track like 'Our Creation'. The title track being a catchy bouncy number that will be bouncing around in your head like a demented kangaroo long after it has finished. 'His Kingdom Come' adds a more Symphonic feel to proceedings, while 'Your Song' is a beautiful piano led ballad. 'Dear Beloved' is a mid tempo number and I am beginning very much to rather like this band - a great number!'The Highwayman' is another bouncy tune taking on more of a Power Metal theme, while the closer 'Crossing The River' ends the mini cd in bombastic fashion. Being heavily influenced by bands such as Nightwish, Kamelot, Avantasia, Rhapsody Of Fire and Sonata Arctica, their list of influences however goes far beyond the Metal genre, among their list of influences being Nobuo Uematsu, of Final Fantasy fame and Danny Elfman. Okay, this alum by Celestial Wish may be nothing new or original, but when it is this good, who cares. Well worth checking out if you ask me. Their Facebook is here.. 8.75/10 (Dave)

The DREAMSIDE...'SORROW BEARING TREE'

(Spin Moon Media) Reviewed 15th July 2014

Of my own admission, Dutch Rockers The Dreamside (www.facebook.com/TheDreamside), formed by vocalist Kemi Vita in 1993 is a fave band of mine and I have all their cds in my private collection. Sorrow Bearing Tree is the band’s sixth studio album and the first to be released on their own label, Spin Moon Media. The album contains fourteen driving and catchy songs that bridge the divide between Gothic Metal and Alternative Rock. The band has worked on this album with other artists - Flo Schwarz from the extraordinary German Alternative, Gothic, Death Metal Punk Rock legends Pyogenesis sings a duet with Kemi on the Depeche Mode cover 'Walking In My Shoes' while the Power Ballad 'Breathe With Me' was written and performed together with Ralf Mastwijk from the former Dutch alternative rockers Face Tomorrow. This is indeed a damn fine collection of tunes, in addition to the above mentioned songs, check out the rocking 'Perfection In Disguise', the Metallic and catchy feel of 'Miracle Days', the powerful 'Collide' and the bouncy 'Disconnected'. Produced by Kemi Vita together with the very talented Roman Schönsee, who does all the programming and is the band's bassist, this record is certainly well worth checking out. Many thanks also to Roman for sending this album to me - it gets released 31st July 2014... 9/10 (Dave)

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