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(Napalm Records) Reviewed 5th February 2016
DELAIN seem to be restless spirits: Their latest album 'The Human Contradiction' was released in 2014 and gained high praise from both fans and the press alike. The band followed up this release by touring the world with acts such as Sabaton, Within Temptation, and Nightwish, followed by a European headline tour that saw them conquering stages in sold out venues all over! Yet instead of resting on their laurels, DELAIN has hit the studio again to present a brand new epic endeavor: this exciting EP set to be released February 19th. Mastered by Grammy Award winning Ted Jensen, this EP offers two brand new songs in the shape of the ultra catchy ‘Suckerpunch‘ and the melancholic ‘Turn The Lights Out‘. ‘Don`t Let Go‘ (taken from 2014`s The Human Contradiction) comes in a brand new version and this EP also contains four incredible live cuts, as well as an orchestral reprise of ‘Suckerpunch‘, all of which proves once again how awesome DELAIN are. A near faultless release so go out and get it - Feb 19th is the date... 9/10 (Dave)
(7Hard) Reviewed 4th February 2016
Dylem is a Swiss Melodic/Hard rock band founded by Melody Dylem (vocals – songwriter) and Donovan (keyboardist – composer). Melody is also known as the singer in the Swiss band Elferya, who themselves have recently released the album ‘Eden’s Fall’. That album to me is damn good, and to be perfectly frank, Melody and her partner in crime have hit a winner with this release too. Nine tracks of prime Melodic Hard Rock kicking off with the pounding, powerful and mid paced ‘Walk Away’. And by the time you have recovered, the absolutely awesome ‘My Story’ pounds its way out of the speakers – Melody’s vocals powerful and faultless. Some further belters here that is sure going to cement this band’s place among some of Switzerland’s finest, and this is just their debut! Check out tracks like the ballad ’For Always’ and it confirms that Melody sure has a fine set of pipes, backed up by an awesome set of musicians, that I am sure will surely propel this band into the Premier League!! This record is a Melodic Hard Rock masterpiece and will please many people I am sure. Dylem’s website is here
, where you can also check out the video to the aforementioned track ‘Walk Away’. Get this album, it will be a highlight of the 2016 I am sure!... 9/10 (Dave)
DOCKER’S GUILD…’THE HEISENBERG DIARIES - BOOK A: SOUNDS OF FUTURE PAST’
(Lion Music) Reviewed 26th January 2016
Docker's Guild’s new album has just been released and is a part of a series of 4 transitional albums placed between the 5 main “seasons”, and which focus on an aspect of the storyline’s main character, Dr. Jack Heisenberg. This particular instalment focuses on Jack’s youth and love of science fiction, in fact the album contains exclusively vintage science fiction soundtracks reworked in the typical Docker’s Guild sound. “Book A” will be followed by “The Mystic Technocracy - Season II: The Age of Entropy”, already in development. Another unique feature of “BookA” is its all-female cast, which makes it as far as we know, the first all-female metal opera ever recorded. There are World-class performances as a consequence by an all-female cast comprising Elize Ryd (lead vocals), Amanda Somerville (lead and backing vox), Nita Strauss (guitars), Roxy Petrucci (drums), Anna Portalupi (bass), Mio Jäger (guitars), Yasi Hofer (guitars), Valentina Procopio (leading and backing vox) and Elisa Montin (drums). And then we have Mr Docker himself (Biloxi, Area 51) who takes care of the keys department, together with further lead and backing vocals and who produced the complete package to boot. This is an epic album with a strong emphasis on the instrumental elements, coupled with some familiar tunes that crop up, and highlights too numerous to mention. My suggestion is to immerse yourself in the music on offer while wearing headphones, and you will be well rewarded by this intense listening experience of this record and the beauty that it offers…. 9/10 (Dave)
THE DOLLYROTS...'MAMA'S GONNA KNOCK YOU OUT'
(Arrested Youth Records) Reviewed 26th January 2016
The DollyRots hail from LA and have been going for a while now - over 15 years in-fact, having produced 5 studio albums in that time. Until now, this band has been sneaking around under my radar, but oh well, they have now caught up with me. Fronted by Kelly Ogden this is a three track EP, offering some very catchy Punk/Rock, oh my Goth, only three tracks but this is good!! They have formally announced the release of their Pledge Music funded live CD/DVD - 'Family Vacation - Live In Los Angeles', which will be released this March. And on a footnote, their 2 year old son goes on tour with them, so it is a real family vacation. They tour the UK in February, this EP is released very shortly, well recommended... 8.75/10 (Dave)
CHASTAIN...'WE BLEED METAL'
(Leviathan Records) Reviewed January 6th 2016
Chastain is a heavy metal project formed in 1984 by guitarist David T. Chastain and signed by Shrapnel Records. The band was put together by Mike Varney, president of Shrapnel for a David T. Chastain solo album. Varney had noticed the shred guitar ability of Chastain, member of the Cincinnati-based band CJSS and at the same time, he wanted to create an output for the talent of young singer Leather Leone, formerly with the San Francisco band Rude Girl. That he did and now fast forward to 2016 and here we have their latest effort, that was indeed released in 2015. This is blistering commercial heavy metal featuring the awesome powerhouse vocals of Leather Leone, who although was part of the original formation of the band, was indeed absent from 1992 making her return on the band's previous record 'Surrender To No One' (2013). And let us also not forget the melodic fret board mastery of David T Chastain, who knows how to shred a chord or two. With an album title like 'We Bleed Metal' you know that this is not a record chock full of ballads, but every number here is a head banging battle cry to all metal fans out there. A consistent and bloomin' good release.. 9/10 (Rachel Louise Smith)
CONSUELA…’BREAK ME DOWN’
(Self Release) Reviewed 2nd January 2016
Consuela is fronted by Sara Grundström and they come from a place called Örnsköldsvik in central Sweden. The band give the listener a tsunami of synth driven melodic metal featuring the vocals of Sara together with the mostly clean male vocals of Jocke Grundström. Comparisons to Amaranthe spring to mind across the nine tracks on offer on the cd, and as a result, this is rather good. Without going into any explicit detail, every track here hit’s the spot so my advice…buy! Check their Facebook out first if you so wish, find that here
…8.75/10 (The Nugget)
(Self Release) Reviewed 17th December 2015
There are some good acts coming out of Australia at the moment, and in the case of Dark Symphonica (www.facebook.com/darksymphonica
), Brisbane to be precise. Fronted by Sam Wolstenholme, the opening 6 minute plus cut and lead single 'Chains of Misfortune' is a bombastic and rather impressive symphonic masterpiece, that belts along at quite a pace, with Sam offering up quite a cool vocal performance to boot. Second up, the epic 'Farewell' starts with a nice piano intro before the rest of the band kicks in with another fine symphonic performance, coupled with slower more intimate moments, almost like a soundtrack from a movie.'Envy' is heavy and fast flirting with Power Metal, but with a slower and rather catchy chorus, while 'Apophis' is a smilar sounding number to 'Envy'. 'Estrella' is simply a 10 minute epic, again with that piano putting in another fine performance together with occasional strings - an awesome number, again in places fitting of a film soundtrack. The album closes with the more commercial sounding ‘Set Me Free’ and the monster 14 minute ‘Goliath (Tyranny Part I)’ which is a goliath of a track that throws everything at the listener. This I must say is an impressive recording that proves that Symphonic Metal is not entirely the domain of European Bands. Great stuff! 8.75/10 (Dave)
CANDICE NIGHT…’STARLIGHT STARBRIGHT’
(Self Release) Reviewed 5th December 2015
A brief review - this is music to dream by. Thirteen tracks of laid back folk music from Mrs Blackmore, otherwise known as Candice Night. Seems after reviewing Enya, the laid back feel continues with this album. This lass has a lovely voice and long may it continue. There is nothing much to fault on this record, just sheer beauty in a world full of troubles from the voice of an angel, who is living her dream. Relax and enjoy… 8.5/10 (Dave)
DARK LETTER...'PSYCHOMACHIA' EP
(Self Release) Reviewed 2nd December 2015
Dark Letter is a Symphonic Gothic Metal band from Poland and they are fronted by Beata Golińska. This EP is a five track offering and I hasten to add is rather good. 'Toy' is a pounding Symphonic opener with some half decent vocals as well, not operatic, more from the pop/rock university of vocals. Next up 'Romasanta', is not about an Italian Santa Claus, but is a slower number sung in the band's native tongue (I assume), well slower initially until 2/3rds into the track it goes up a gear to end in bombastic fashion! 'Sleepy Hollow' is a dramatic up tempo melodic track while the pen ultimate 7 minute plus 'Anneliese' is a slower rather more haunting atmospheric number. Closing cut 'Toy' is another version of the opening track, this time also featuring Tomasz Wisniewski from the band Afterlife. Take a listen here
, not bad, not bad at all... 8.5/10 (Dave)
DAWN OF DESTINY…’TO HELL’
(Phonotraxx Publishing) Reviewed 1st December 2015
Dawn of Destiny is a German outfit that has been around for over ten years. Their previous album 'F.E.A.R.' was rather good, so can the band better that? Well 'F.E.A.R.' was a concept album about a young girl in a wheelchair, and their sixth album 'To Hell' continues the concept theme, this time telling the story of Mary and Tim. The two are faced in mysterious ways with the past of the bride on a cruise ship during their honeymoon. It is all linked to a strange tattoo. Anyway, all becomes unravelled during the course of the album. There are differing vocal styles here, melodic female vox, clean male vocals and of course occasional growls, and it all links together rather nicely. This is rather intense fist pumping anthemic Melodic Power Metal, in a way that Dawn of Destiny seem to do so well, but with some truly melodic parts as well - 'Hateful Heart' one such track and a fave of mine from the record together with the epic seven minute plus ‘Only The Ocean Knows’ and the power ballad 'Destroy My World'. Dawn of Destiny has been knocking on the door of the top league for a while now, this epic album has opened that door and as a consequence, is well recommended…9/10 (Dave)
CORONATUS…’RABEN IM HERZ’
(Massacre Records) Reviewed 12th November 2015
Formed as a project in 1999 by Mats Kurth and Georgios G., CORONATUS released its single 'Von Engeln Nur' in 2001 and debuted in 2003 as a complete band. First gigs as a double female-fronted band followed in 2004. The band started recording its debut in 2006, signed with Massacre Records in 2007 and released the debut 'Lux Noctis' in the same year. The albums 'Porta Obscura' (2008), 'Fabula Magna' (2009), 'Terra Incognita' (2011), 'Recreatio Carminis' (2013) and 'Cantus Lucidus' (2014) followed. Well, that project is still going strong and in 2015, less than a year after their previous album, ‘Raben Im Herz’ (roughly translated means "ravens in my heart") is about to hit the shelves. The compositions feature a lot of instrumental parts, which not only intensifies the joy of playing for all musicians, but also benefits the listening pleasure due to even more musical variety. The varied vocals are once again delivered by the female duo of Carmen Lorch (soprano) and Anny Maleyes (rock voice). Both singers once again show their exceptional talent in an even broader context than before - from operatic passages to dark growls! ‘Lady Of The Wall’ opens proceedings and is a mid tempo catchy number showcasing the vocal talent of both ladies - awesome! Next up, the quirky up tempo ‘König Der Nebel’ introduces Folk elements into the mix. The title track is a Symphonic masterpiece, wth pipes coming into play on the bouncy and addictive ‘Carpe Noctem’, while there is a brass sounding backing on the Symphonic bombastic ‘Hoffnung Stirbt Niemals’. The awesome momentum is continued through to the closing laid back acoustic based track ‘Frozen Swan‘, with a sniff of extreme vocals at the commencement of the track ‘Anderswelt’, one of my fave numbers from the CD as is the slow to mid tempo Folk infused ‘Canan Nan Gaidhael’. Overall, this album is a good un, with Coronatus continuing to produce the goods and consistently too. Recommended when released 4th Dec… 8.75/10 (Dave)
(Self Release) Reviewed 8th November 2015
Chiasma fronted by a young lass Katie Thompson, hail from Indianapolis and play a brand of what I would call melodic/atmospheric Prog Metal. And right from the start, I would like to say that this is one helluva release from this USA band. Okay, it was released a year ago, but this review is better late than never. Some types of Prog Metal can get a little widdly diddly and dare I say it, a little boring, but what I am finding regards ‘Synthesis’ is that it is never boring. The standard of musicianship is top class, and the vocals of Katie are so angelic and unique. The ten tracks that constitute this masterpiece keep you glued to the cd player/iPod or whatever listening device you use, with some middle eastern influences popping up at times, the track ‘Phajaan’ one example. This is a consistent release with every track a gem in its own right, but I do have faves, and that is the closing salvo of ’Wind Up’ and ‘Impetus Lost’, both great catchy numbers with the latter having one helluva chorus. To summarise, this is rather good Prog Metal fare, having the potential to appeal to a broad range of Rock/Metal fans. I know this was released last year but this is well worth checking out if one has not already done so - take a look at their bandcamp at www.chiasmatheband.bandcamp.com/album/synthesis
… 8.75/10 (Dave)
(Alster Records) Reviewed 5th November 2015
D-Wall is a Hard Rock/Metal band from Hannover in Germany. The band formed in 1999 and released a demo the following year. Following this release, there was a long period of silence as far as new material was concerned. But after eight years, the band was ready to release their first full-length album 'Godfood'. Now in 2015, the band has released 'Black Tree'. They had a dual vocal approach on 'Godfood', but on this release Sandra it seems handles all of the vocals. 'Black Tree' is a good album, the band having an uncanny habit of writing solid catchy foot tapping tunes. They used to include (maybe still do) Deep Purple, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake and Iron Maiden covers within their live shows, which gives a good indicator of what to expect from D-Wall. This a good record, well worth checking out further if you feel it may float your boat - it floats mine! Their website is here
and their facebook can be found at www.facebook.com/DWALLmusic
... 8.5/10 (The Nugget)
(Napalm Records) Reviewed 19th October 2015
Founded in 1994 in the Swedish Säffle, Draconian gradually refined their sound of melodic Death Metal with elements of Black Metal, becoming more ponderous and doomy over time. Draconian's sound has remained steadfast to its origins however, in particular, the powerful vocal growls of Anders Jakobsson, one of the band's defining and most unique features, along with newcomer female vocalist Heike Langhans sensitively interwoven melodies. This is Draconian's sixth studio album, set to be released on Napalm Records October 30th 2015, and immediately convinces the listener with its Beauty and the Beast-esque vocal contrasts, striking accents, and threatening moods. Bloomin’ awesome!! And an album like this confirms that Metal cannot only just be heavy, it can be 100% beautiful too - just listen to ‘Rivers Between Us’ for confirmation of that statement! If you like Draconian‘s music to date, you will like this, period! Superb! 9/10 (Dave)
DUST IN MIND…’NEVER LOOK BACK’
(darkTunes Music Group) Reviewed 2nd October 2015
With this their recently released debut album , the female-lead five piece band from Strasbourg promises not only to fulfil the highest of expectations expected of them, but to surpass them. Catchy melodies coupled with the most dissonant of riffs, that might be reminiscent of HYPOCRISY are presented here, and refined to a mixture of hardness and beauty by the angelic and vigorous voice of the female lead singer JEN. And let us not forger DAM, her male counterpart at the microphone, causing those metal fans to bang their heads with his dynamic growls. This is 11 tracks of pounding melodic metal at its finest, the two vocalists complimenting each other very well. And although we can compliment the vocalists, we must not forget the remainder of the band who throw in a sterling performance. Tracks like the guitar and synth driven ‘I Love As I Hate’ that hammers along like a Japanese bullet train, the cracking title track ‘Never Look Back‘, and the corking number ‘Give Up’ with its catchy chorus as just three examples. And for a taster, listen and watch the video to a another massive track from the album, ‘Frozen Smiles’ here
. Awesome!! One thing with this music, it is dynamically heavy, it is melodic and it sure is metal, no sugary ballads here, but I do love the occasional subtle use of synths, that takes the music to another level. Well and truly recommended… 9/10 (Dave)
(Nail Records) Reviewed 11th September 2015
Dalriada fronted by the female voice of Laura Binder is a prolific Folk Metal band from Hungary and this is their eigth release, their first album appearing 11 years ago. And the limited edition of this album is a double album of which CD2 is a complilation featuring 15 tracks from the band. Overall and across the two cds lasting more than 2 hours, this is a very good package of catchy Folk Metal sung in the band's native tongue, featuring both female and by & large clean male vox. Bloomin' awesome stuff, just listen to 'Hamu es Gyasz', so catchy! Then get your dancing shoes out for 'Futobetyar', a foot tapper if ever there was one. The band combines so well the use of heavy guitars and drums together with flute, violin and bagpipes! If Folk Metal is the type of music that floats your boat, then check this package out and then order here
... 9/10 (Dave)
(Cargo Distribution) Reviewed 2nd September 2015
Darkyra Black fronted by Gina Bafile, is a Metal band from Australia that is fast making their mark within the Symphonic Rock & Metal music scene. This is their second album, and is a three part concept about the people seen coming and going at the fountain of wishes, the fountain built for kings and queens of the past. The songs are a behind the scenes look into their lives and their foolish obsessions. There is a strong cinematic feel to this record blending Symphonic Prog with Epic Metal. And as a consequence, this cd is flippin' awesome! The album begins with the first section 'Fools of the Past', which is centred around the indiscretions of royalty. Kicking this section off with 'Pt2 Behind Closed Doors', and I do love the Middle Eastern feel to this track, before it blasts out of the speakers in epic and the aforementioned cinematic fashion. ‘Who Are They To Judge’ and ‘Truth Or Dare’ (the latter featuring the bass work of 'demolition man', Tony Dolan (M-Pire of Evil, x Venom)) are pounding melodic numbers, I hear a Hammond organ too on the former, and Gina’s powerful and intimidating voice powers these awesome songs along. Indeed, Gina’s vocal prowess continues to keep this album well and truly on the tracks, together I must add with fine musicianship from her band. ‘Of Fools and Gold’ closes the first section (‘Fools of the Past’), this is more of a mid-tempo number with progressive influences. ‘Where Will I Be’ and the catchy ‘Bleed’ constitutes the middle section of the concept, the former almost flirting with Folk Metal territory, while ‘Bleed’ features George Boussounis from Greece doing his finest Elderich impersonation :) The songs in the closing section titled 'Faces by the Fountain', are from the observations made of the different individuals seen at the fountain, and the last couple of songs, 'Fountain of Frozen Dreams' and closing number 'Pt1. Behind Closed Doors' are a summary that ties everything together. This album is a work of art from Gina and her band, a near faultless piece of musical magic! Check out the website: www.darkyra.com/
- top drawer stuff and well recommended..9.5/10 (Dave).
(Self Release) Reviewed 27th August 2015
Leaving Alaska and settling in Portland in Oregon in 2013, Divides are setting out to set the world on fire! The release of this their debut album, will show the industry that seems full of female rock & metal acts at the moment, that they are not just making up the numbers. Fronted by CJ Marie (CJ Brunke) who also takes care of the keys department, they mean business! With similarities to Fireflight and bands of that ilk, Divides throw at us a cacophony of music to shatter the eardrums, particularly in tracks like ‘Sirenium Scopuli (Sirens)’ and ‘Drag The River’, but maintaining a complete melodic sensibility throughout the golden nuggets that they throw at us. The first single off the album, the gutsy 'Echoes Fade' features Chris James from the band Defeat of the Low, and he joins CJ Marie on vocals, and this is just one good track among a pile of them. If you feel that this may be your cuppa tea, then check out their Facebook that can be found here
, and may be consider a purchase… 8.25/10 (The Nugget)
DIMLIGHT...'THE LOST CHAPTERS'
(Five Starr Records) Reviewed 26th August 2015
Dimlight’s music can be characterized as Symphonic Death Metal. Although the Band was formed in 2006 it was almost three years before they released their first full length album called 'Obtenebration'. Around mid-2010, the band started working on new material and in 2012 released their second studio album called ‘Psychosynthesis'. In December 2014 Dimlight finished the production of this their third studio album, and this is another awesome album for us to review. There is a concept running through this cd telling the story of a bloodthirsty evil Egyptian Goddess and the destruction she causes in her path. Nasty growly vocals and angelic female vocals compliments of new vocalist Eva Fourlanou, are wrapped within a tasty blend of orchestral dark metal mixed with various musical elements, making this a release to devour your taste buds (or more appropriately your ear drums!). The album features special guest appearances from the Story Teller Jean Baptiste (Randomwalk), Maya (Meden Agan), Maria-Melissanthi Routi (Kinetic) and Alfred Shtuni and is well recommended to all and sundry. This is premier league stuff from a band that has toured extensively in Europe having shared the stage with Arch Enemy, Lacuna Coil, Epica, Delain, Xandria, Vision of Atlantis, Leaves Eyes and many more to boot. Get the record asap, well worth it!...9.5/10 (The Nugget)
COFFEE POT DRIVE...'EDGE OF TOWN'
(Self Released) Reviewed 22nd August 2015
Having toured with the likes of Status Quo, Uriah Heep, Goo Goo Dolls and even REO Speedwagon, Blues/Rock band Coffee Pot Drive are proving that they are a force to be reckoned with. Guitarist Boanecker and front woman Lady Oracle make it perfectly clear, that “all this was perfect preparation for Coffeepot”, and it cannot be denied that the band are ready to hit the big time. And after having listened to the first track on the album after the brief intro, singer Lady Oracle has one helluva bluesy style voice, well showcased in this first track proper 'Fallback'. Further highlights among the 12 infectious tunes include the gospel sounding 'Bayou', the foot tapping 'Hey Suzy' (also a single), the reggae feel of 'Change', the catchy ballad 'I Love You' and the quirky 'Glass In My Mellow'. With over 5 different countries being represented in the band's line up, there is an eclectic mix of different genres and styles that help craft the Coffee Pot Drive sound. The album was produced by Andy Brook (triple nomination by Music Producers Guild for UK Producer of the Year, Breakthrough Producer & Breakthrough Engineer of 2013) and recorded at the legendary ARSIS Studios, owned and lent to the band by Status Quo front man Francis Rossi. This is not metal, it has in fact been labelled "dirty soul", but whatever, this is rather kool! Listen to the single 'Hey Suzy' here
.. 8/10 (Dave)
JASMINE CAIN...'WHITE NOISE'
(Self Release) Reviewed 19th August 2015
Jasmine Cain's music is raw and real. She is a modern day performer in an old school package. Raised on classic rock and metal, she is all attitude with a gypsy soul. Her songs are written from personal experience as well as stories heard from the road, like a true Highway Prophet. Sounding like Halestorm, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Soundgarden, Flyleaf and the like, you should now have got the drift. 11 tracks on this her 5th release, of hard rockin' music that overflows with melody. There are some stonking moments here, just check out the melodic belter 'Break Even' and the power ballad 'Hole' as a couple of examples from several examples. With special guest appearances by Jeff LaBar of Cinderella and Ralph Saenz (Michael Starr) of Steel Panther among many others, this is worth looking into further. A rather cool album I have to say from a down to earth gal - Facebook here
.. 8.5/10 (The Nugget)
CRIMSON SUN…’TOWARDS THE LIGHT’
(Maple Metal Records) Reviewed 5th August 2015
I am not totally sure what the Finnish people put in their water, but Finland and indeed Scandinavia as a whole, seems to be very adept at producing some very good bands. Now we can add Crimson Sun to that list. Hailing from Kotka in Finland, female-fronted quintet CRIMSON SUN fronted by Sini Seppälä, play on this their debut full length album, modern melodic metal with an in your face attitude, and just subtle touches of electronica. Founded in 2001 by guitarist Joni Junnila, the band went through various member changes before settling down with the quintet that recorded their EP ‘The Border’ in 2013. Into 2015 now, and on this album, there are some awesome and catchy tracks to digest, listen to the title track as just one example, totally mind blowing. The music is all very melodic and mid to up tempo, no soppy ballads. The record was recorded last Fall at Deep Noise Studios, Kouvola, Fi with Saku Moilanen, and the mastering was done by Jacob Hansen (Epica, Volbeat, Amaranthe, Primal Fear) in Denmark, and is well recommended by us here at Ravenheart Music, especially if you like bands like ONE WITHOUT (one example) – was released Monday 3rd August... 8.75/10 (Dave)
(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)
(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)
(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)
(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)
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