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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)
(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)
(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)
(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)
(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)
(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)
DAWN OF DESTINY...F.E.A.R
(Phonotraxx) Reviewed 10th July 2014
All the music we review here is good or excellent, but occasionally, an album will come along that is so good it will totally and absolutely blow your mind, and in turn will leave you wanting more! So why are German Power Metallers Dawn Of Destiny not on a major label?, as from this showing this band is premier league. And when I say that, to me they are on a par with bands like Nightwish! This I understand is the band's 5th album and what an offering we have here! F.E.A.R. stands for Forgotten, Enslaved, Admired, Released, and is a concept album telling the fate of a girl in a wheelchair, put there in a car accident caused by her own mother, and not only is the girl wheelchair bound, she also leads a tragic life. The band tell the story both musically and of course lyrically, with the album being divided into four sections, these sections vary in mood and offer what is a highly emotional piece of work. This record is massive with catchy punchy songs and featuring guest contributions too from the likes of Mats Leven (Therion, Candlemass, Yngwie Malmsteen) and Jon Olivia (Savatage). I cannot fault this record at all from the heavy opener 'And With The Silence Comes The Fear' with its catchy chorus, to the power ballad closer 'To Live Is To Suffer'. Just looking at the song titles like 'End This Nightmare', 'Prayers' (song of the year?) and 'Dying In Your Arms' themselves tell the story. The song writing is top drawer, the musicianship from all concerned is faultless and the production is perfect. Sometimes an album comes along that pulls at the heart strings musically and lyrically, this does just that - a total must buy and I cannot fault it!! Here is their website: www.dawnofdestiny.de/
CONSPIRACY OF SEVEN...'THE LEGACY' EP
(Self Released) Reviewed 2nd July 2014
Conspiracy of Seven hail from...you've guessed it, Holland! The band play extremely accessible Melodic Power Metal, being fronted by a male (clean) and female vocals...James alias "The Dragonslayer" and Wilma sharing vocal duties. Inspired by a story called "De Zevensprong", the band has created their first project "The Legacy" which is being reviewed here. Five tracks of rather cool music I must say. There to be honest is not a lot to fault on this 5 track EP, with the band showing loadsa promise. And with tracks like 'Dragonslayer' and 'Madman's Riddle' the titles alone will give you an idea the path Conspiracy of Seven are travelling. Worth checking out, their dragon slaying Facebook site can be found here
(Self Released) Reviewed 17th June 2014
The name Destiny Potato had me intrigued. I picked up on the band when I saw mention of them on Facebook (social networking can work), and I felt I needed to find out more and have a listen. The name of this Belgrade based band suggests a Prog Rock Fest of music, but to be honest, although the Prog influences are there throughout the 12 tracks on this release, there is also a fair dose of what I would call Pop/Metal with potential crossover mainstream appeal. This is possibly helped along by the Poppy vocal style of the awesome Alexandra Djelmasm, but she can scream when she wants too as well. Kicking things off with 'The Build Up', this in turn builds up rather nicely into the track 'Indifferent' - a great mid tempo chorus. 'Take A Picture' is a heavy Metallic number although throughout, Alexandra maintains her innocent poppy style. 'Machine' is a low key rather short track reminisent to my ears of Pink Floyd, while 'Love Song' has a Middle Eastern feel at the start, turning into a kick ass tune with a Progressive feel and a poppy chorus. 'Lunatic' is a quirky track with another catchy chorus while 'Walls Of Thought' is a slower number (initially anyway) with again that kinda crossover appeal coupled with yet another foot tapping chorus. Little here to fault so far and the great music continues - further awesome tracks including numbers like 'Blue Sun', one of my faves 'U.Y.M' and another fave of mine, the slower brooding 'House Of Lies', closing with the epic 7+ minute 'Addict'. From what I understand, Destiny Potato has attracted attention from Century Media (the sound of the band at times similar to Century Media stalwarts In This Moment) but chose to go indie with this album. Label support or not, this is good! Their Facebook is here
DELUSION SQUARED...'THE FINAL DELUSION'
(Self Release) Reviewed 6th June 2014
Delusion Squared is a French Progressive Rock Band formed in 2009. After an eponymic debut album released in 2010, followed by the well received sequel simply titled 'II', the band has released a stunning album to complete the trilogy. Titled 'The Final Delusion', this 70+ minute concept album is set in the recent 20th century past, offering music ranging from ambient atmospheres to metal-prog rage with sweet and at times a dark vocal vibe. From what I understand, we are in a post-apocalyptical world where our heroine (who speaks to us through the lyrics) has defied the artificial intelligence agents who run the Inner World by giving birth to a natural child. This results in the child being killed and her being banished to the outside world where she is adopted by the outsiders and eventually becomes their spiritual guide. Influenced by such bands as Pink Floyd, Anathema and Porcupine tree, this release is rather good. The record is split into four sections - 'Ordeal', 'Awareness', 'Deliverance' and 'Surrender', offering up thirteen tracks in total. The album starts with the rather commercial sounding instrumental 'The Same River Thrice' which segues into 'Diaspora', which immediately showcases the very nice style of vocalist Lorraine Young. There are further awesome offerings on this very consistent release like 'Devil Inside', the atmospheric and magical sounding 'Last Day Of Sun', 'Prisoner's Dilemma' and the closer 'Deuce In Machina'. I find throughout the record the vocals of Lorraine rather innocent sounding and I like that style. Having lived with this album for a while, my enjoyment comes from listening to the music here via headphones, and that seemed to compliment my listening experience. Delusion Squared wrote all the lyrics helped by a Steve Hill, who is a great guy by helping to correct a bit of English and advising on pronunciation. Despite the title and the comment on their Facebook page (www.facebook.com/pages/Delusion-Squared/128476157279
) that "everything must come to an end", this I assume is not the end of the band, just the end of the album trilogy. Indeed, it should be the start of something big! Well recommended by Team Ravenheart.... 9/10 (Dave)
(Self Release) Reviewed 13th May 2014
Here we have a band that gives us 5 tracks of Alternative Metal on this EP. It gives us a mix of melodic elements and heavier metal sections. A tale of fire, journey, death and coming back to life, stronger than before, told in four chapters and sung in the Italian language. The EP's final track is a cover of "E Poi Silenzio - Part II" by Italian artist Red Sky. We here know very little about Caelestis, but this EP is worth a listen for the more curious amongst you. The band's facebook can be found here
... 7.5/10 (Aimee)
DIABULUS IN MUSICA...'ARGIA'
(Napalm) Reviewed 1st April 2014
Get ready for Symphonic Metal filled with emotion and magic! This Spanish Metal crew throw at us their third release, and like a good wine, they get better with age. Let's cut to the chase shall we, and I firstly should say that bands like Epica and maybe Sirenia had better watch out! After an atmospheric opener 'Et Resurrexit (Libera Me)', the band hurl at us 'From The Embers' which not only features the angelic vocals of founding member Zuberoa Aznárez, we have the grunts of Gorka Elso. But if you thought that the whole album was going to offer a beauty & beast style, that is not the case as any grunts and growls are kept to a minimum on this album. So early in the record, one of my faves comes to the fore, the track 'Inner Force', a catchy commercial number making good use of choir and keys, the keys giving the track a near electro feel. Next we have the splendid Symphonic arrangements of 'Furia de Libertad' featuring Ailyn from Sirenia. The awesome music continues with tracks like the Folk like 'Maitagarri' with further awesome choral arrangements, the thumping 'Spoilt Vampire' featuring the grunts of Gorka, the rather nice ballad 'Eternal Breeze' and 'Encounter At Chronos' Maze' featuring Thomas Vikstrom, best known for his work with Candlemass and Stormwind. 'Argia' is a testament to DIABULUS IN MUSICA‘s extraordinary ability to merge metallic heaviness with symphonic catchiness - well recommended!.... 9.25/10 (Dave)
DELAIN...'THE HUMAN CONTRADICTION'
(Napalm Records) Reviewed 23rd March 2014
I have followed Delain since their conception and to be honest, since that day, I knew that there was something about this band that had the 'X Factor'. Since the day that their debut 'Lucidity' was released back in September 2006, I have followed them with utmost interest, and to be honest, not only are they a fave of mine, they are one of the rare bands that I have seen live on more than three occasions, money well spent! Here we are in 2014, and this is the band's fourth studio release (not including 'Interlude'), so how do we feel here at Ravenheart Music about this latest offering? In a nutshell - "awesome". 'Here Comes The Vultures' kicks the 9 track album off, and this is a glorious Symphonic Metal track, with 'Your Body Is A Battleground' maintaining the awesome momentum of the opener, and featuring the dolcet and recognisable tones of none other than Marco Hietala (NIGHTWISH) on guest male vocals - superb! 'Stardust' raises the hairs on the back of your neck with a massive catchy chorus, while 'My Masquerade' is another catchy number reminding me a little of Beseech! 'Tell Me, Machinist' features another guest appearance, this time from grunter George Oosthoek from ORPHANAGE, and this is one of the heavier numbers from the album, but still hideously catchy. Faves of mine (although to be frank, they are all faves) follow, 'Sing To Me' and 'Army Of Dolls', the former again sees Marco from Nightwish popping up, I just love this guy!! 'Lullaby' is another melodic pounding number, while closer 'The Tragedy Of The Commons' did make me wonder whether Guy Fawkes had finally put us out of our misery here in the UK - seriously a number featuring the guest vocals of Alissa White-Gluz (THE AGONIST and now ARCH ENEMY) and a fine way to close the LP. Charlotte Wessels is an awesome singer, although her vocal style is limited to a kinda poppy range if that makes sense. But overall, this record is a very good anthemic Symphonic Metal album with massive hooks and catchy choruses, and shows how this band has matured over the years. Great stuff from all involved including keyboardist Martijn Westerholt who drives this album along with his awesome use of keys and synths. Needless to say, this album is a must buy, period, so get it!.. 9.75/10 (Dave)
(Epidemie Records) Reviewed 28th Feb 2014
I reviewed a short while ago, Dying Passion's most recent release 'Transient'. 'Amplify' released in 2012 was also sent my way so I thought I would do a review of what is another rather excellent album from this band. Lead singer Zuzana Jelínková again excels in the vocal department as the band deliver 10 tracks of what I can describe I suppose as Alternative Doom Metal, with a subtle Progressive under current. The opener 'Path To The Land Of Visions' is by far the longest track on the cd at over 8 minutes with next up, the equally as good 'Thousand Eyes' maintaining the mid tempo paced momentum. 'My Best Friend' is simply 6+ minutes of awesomeness, with further fave numbers being the atmospheric 'See The Bottom', the heavy 'Illusion', 'A Strange Something' and the closer 'Ci To Husicky' which is sung in Czech by Eliška Jelínková, who was six years old when the song was recorded. I assume she is Zuzana's daughter. I have always liked this band and I like their style of music - heavy, complex and atmospheric but never too over powering. If you have not got this rather slick release, go on, treat yourselves...8.5/10 (Dave)
DIVINO DISTURBO...'OP I: CHOOSE YOUR SIDE'
(Art Gates Records) Reviewed 21st Feb 2014
Yay- Classically influenced metal from Spain and what a scorcher this is. Bassist Matias started composing the music to this album in 2010 and after a hard time getting musicians together, Divino Disturbo was eventually born. Fronted by Raquel, the album kicks off with an orchestral intro, and you could be forgiven for thinking you have put a classical cd onto the player. That leads perfectly into the thumping 'Lux Aeterna', that combines Power Metal with a wonderful choral arrangement. A wonderful harpsichord arrangement greets 'Nirmia' and the start to this record would leave a Japanese bullet training standing in the blocks - awesome! 'Morrigan' is a cool intrumental while the pace refuses to let up with further powerful classically influenced numbers like 'Eternal Spring', the six minute plus 'The Wolf Song', the acoustic version of 'Morrigan' (with lyrics) and the closer 'Oniria (Prelude to Op II)'. Various influences spring to mind and are listed by the band including Nightwish - Rhapsody - Dimmu Borgir - Symphony X - WA Mozart - LV Beethoven - JS Bach amongst others. Divino Disturbo use metal as a way to reach music itself. They are not able to choose just one style among all sub-genres in which they fit. Of course their music has elements from others sub-genres such as Symphonic Metal, Neoclassical Metal, Power Metal... but their main influence is classical music. Okay, this release may take a few plays to get into but it is well recommended by the Ravenheart team - their Facebook is here
... 8.5/10 (Dave)
(Self Released) Reviewed 6th February 2014
'Dragon Tears' is the first and rather amazing Darkyra album being an 11 track concept album based on a Gothic interpretation of a Geisha tale that ends in tragedy - love, loss, lust, betrayal and revenge. The music is a fine blend of Symphonic Metal, Gothic Metal, Epic Metal and Progressive Rock offering up an overall cinematic feel together with influences from Japanese Petatonic Music. But what about Darkyra herself? She is from Fremantle, a city in Western Australia, and her music should grace the music collection of any music fan into any of the above mentioned styles. Vocally, to my ears she has her own musical style, although she will no doubt be comapared to other female fronted Gothic acts, but to be honest, this is slightly different, fairly unique and highly original. All eleven numbers here are different but are very fluent and offer up musical highlights galore, too numerous to mention. However, if Dakyra Black was based in Europe, she would be creating tidal waves of Tsunami proportions, believe you me. The numbers that do hit me upon numerous listens nonetheless are 'Lullaby of Death', the awesome 'Tears By Candlelight' and the metallic 'Kiss Of The Dragon', but overall, everything here is damn good! And ensure you keep the cd in the player to the VERY end. To summarise, Darkyra's music is Dark, Passionate and Edgy and demonstrating fine vocal prowess too. Find out more about Darkyra and the 'Dragon Tears' story on her website: www.darkyra.com/
. The album was co-produced by Garry King, Darkyra Black and George Boussounis, through Online Recording Masters in Athens and La Foret Groupe in France. This is a well crafted release and is well recommended by us here at Ravenheart Music.. 9/10 (Dave)
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