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ENK ELINATION...'TEARS OF LUST'
(Self Release) Reviewed 7th July 2014
Enk Elination (enkeli - meaning Angel in Finnish) is a British band fronted by a Finnish lass Elina Siirala, who is herself a former opera singer. She moved to London in 2008 and fell in love with the power and performance of rock and metal. In 2012 she started working with a guitar player Shadow Venger, who’s previous band Empyreal Destroyer was voted as the best unsigned band of 2007. Having myself been familiar with Enk Elination for a while now, all I will say is they are damn good, this cd is well worth the money and I am even reviewing this while taking some time out from Ravenheart and relaxing. The music is I suppose you would call a toned down Symphonic Metal style, with the angelic and perfect vocals of Elina nailing it to a tee. I could hear this girl on the West End stage. To be honest, all the tracks here are above par, not a duff one to be found. I cannot really fault this release, so check out their Facebook here
and go make what will be a worthy purchase... 9/10 (Dave)
EPICA...'THE QUANTUM ENIGMA'
(Nuclear Blast) Reviewed 14th May 2014
Epica are back with a bang and have upped the ante yet again with this their latest release!! And Epica as always are totally Symphonic, Heavy, Melodic and Bombastic, mixing their signature heavy riffing to good effect. This album has literally blown my mind apart and is totally amazing, period!! And the choir basically offers up a complete backing vocal package. I am not even sure where to start here - leading lady Simone is on top form, we have the occasional growls from guitarist Mark Jansen and drummer Arien van Weesenbeek, and as for the choral arrangements, I have no words to explain the awesomeness of the choir. Just listen to songs like 'The Essence Of Silence', the pulsating 'Sense Without Sanity-The Impervious Code', the amazing 'Reverence-Living In The Heart' and the catchy 'Omen-The Ghoulish Malady', these being just four massive songs from an album chock full of awesomeness. This is not a huge review for such a huge record, it does not have to be - this is simply Epica's career best, enough said - simply astounding and breathtaking.. 10/10 (Dave)
EDENFALL...'UNDER SULTRY MOON AND VELVET SKIES'
(Ravenheart Music) Reviewed 23rd April 2014
Edenfall come from just down the road in Gloucestershire and the band is fronted by the angelic voice of Clare Webster. And I think it is fully appropriate to review an English Band who hail from the heart of England on St Georges Day, rather good me thinks. With influences listed that include such bands as Lacuna Coil, My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost, Draconian and Moonspell, that may give the listener a brief idea as to what path this band is treading. We have here 10 tracks and over an hour of rather good Melodic Gothic Doom Metal featuring the occasional growls of of Clare's partner in crime Rob George. Opener and intro 'The Rhinemaiden's Song' leads us into the heavy 'Thistle's Cairn' that is a massive song featuring both the vocals of Clare and Rob, kinda imagine if you will Draconian in full flow. 'Obsidian' is a radio friendly upbeat track with some great guitar from Rob. The Doom influences return with the track 'Dark Wings, Dark Words' and I can certainly hear Draconian or Moonspell influences here, amongst others - a simple piano melody driving this song along too. 'Wolves' is another great atmospheric Gothic song with great use of keys giving the number a near Symphonic feel. The second half of the record continues the great work with further stunning tracks to sink your teeth into, including the likes of the absolute 13 + minute epics 'Made of Mist' and 'She Brings The Winter', what corkers. Then we have the semi upbeat 'The Wyvern Child' and a mention should be made regards the rather nice track 'Escaping', that takes the acoustic route, although it does build up into a nice crescendo towards the end. I know this is a Ravenheart release, but this is a massive record. The band's Facebook is here
- whether you are a fan of Gothic Doom Metal or or not, this rest assured comes well recommended to all fans of female fronted Rock & Metal music. A gem!!! 9/10 (Rachel)
(Scarlet Records) Reviewed 15th April 2014
Following the success of their debut ‘Vitriol’, Symphonic metallers Evenoire has announced the release of their sophomore album ‘Herons’. The band combines Gothic and Symphonic Metal with a very distinctive Medieval/Folk approach, with a special mention to extraordinary lead vocalist Lisy Stefanoni, whose ethereal and powerful voice and evocative flute add an extra dimension to the melodies, and make her one of the most promising female singers around. And if ‘Vitriol’ was centered on “water” themes, this new album focuses on “fire” and all those mythological creatures that represent it. The music is heavier than ever within the 11 tracks on this cd, although the lyrical side of the band is still very prominent, keeping themselves well and truly on the Gothic, Symphonic Metal path - as I have said before, "if it ain't broken, why fix it". To be perfectly honest, 'Herons' is simply stunning and if you thought their debut 'Vitriol' was good, well this release is even better! Not a filler to be found here with the track 'Tears Of Medusa' featuring a duet with Linnéa Vikström from THERION. We must fully recommend this album to all and sundry, it has just been released so dig into your wallets yet again for another awesome album.. 9.75/10 (Dave)
ELEANORE & THE LOST...'THE GIFT (PART I)
(Self Release) Reviewed 10th April 2014
In 2009, Eleanore & The Lost released 'Parlour Game'. A rather good album which in-fact only came my way last year from this Guildford based band. The music of the band being compared to the likes of Jeff Buckley, Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac, Bjork, Kate Bush and Evanescence. I now have the pleasure of reviewing The Gift (Part I) which will in-fact be released in three parts, with part II scheduled for later this year. Clocking in at around 11-12 mins and featuring just four tracks, this litte gem is rather good, vocally reminding me of Kate Bush amongst others. We have the rather nice 'My True Nature', the mid tempo 'Leap Of Faith', the beautiful 'Sorry, Child' and the closer which is a cover of the Gershwin classic 'Summertime Blues'. This recording I must say I rather like, okay, it is fairly laid back stuff, but rather divine nonetheless. Will be interested to hear Part II as and when - check out the website here
.... 8/10 (Dave)
EVERLASTING DAWN...'SEDUCTION - PASSION - DEATH'
(Self Released) Reviewed 6th February 2014
Everlasting Dawn is a Metal Band from Graz, Austria and was founded by Dave Slut in 2010. Everlasting Dawn combines components of Symphonic Metal with charming female vocals from Lisa, elaborated orchestration with brutal guitars, complex drumming and harsh growls compliments of Dave Slut. This is their forthcoming second album and basically is another very good effort from the band to follow on from 'Of Frozen Hearts And Bloody Whores' that was reviewed by us here at Ravenheart in November 2012. 'Seduction - Passion - Death' is another 13 track feast of Melodic Symphonic Death Metal to sink your teeth into, and I must say like their previous recording, there is a strong emphasis on melody on this record. Some great corking tunes including 'Slave', the very catchy 'Seductive Death', the uptempo 'Faint', the Symphonic 'Final Words', the rather good 'Suicidal Fantasies' and the closing ballad complete with choir and operatic vocals from Lisa, the appropriately monikered 'Epitaph'. This album is very good and well recommended. Their Facebook is here
FRUIT n BEEF...'INTO THE LIGHT' EP
(Self Released) Reviewed 17th January 2014
The interestingly monikered Fruit n Beef fronted by Henrieta Stepanovsky hail from Santa Barbara CA. They are a four piece rock band in which the "fruit" represents the juicy, soulful, rockin' female vocals and the "beef" part, the heavy riffs and sound of guitars and blood pumping drums. After 5 years of performing and recording in their home country Slovakia, they hungered for a better life and relocated to the United Kingdom and two years later to the state of Texas, where they re-established the band and started to work on new music. 4 Years later, the band moves to California and continues to play LIVE and evolves into what`s now known as "Fruit n Beef". There is some hard rockin' stuff on this 4 track EP taking on influences from the 70s to the current day, and we even get a little reggae in the opening number 'In My Head'. Henrieta's at times raw vocals are totally awesome and she sure does have a set of pipes that suit this rocking style really well, these vocals shining throughout. Some good music here fusing Retro Metal with Classic Metal and dragging it by the short and curlies into the 21st Century. Check the band out here
END OF THE DREAM...EP
(Self Released) Reviewed 14th January 2014
Here we have an interesting band from Holland fronted by Micky Huiijsmans called End Of The Dream. And to be quite frank, although this has been all done before, this is right up my alleyway and I am enjoying the tracks here on this EP. Although the EP actually has four tracks, I have the honour to be listening to five numbers that Pieter, their Belgian drummer has sent me, the additional song being a new one called 'All I am'. The EP itself however kicks off with 'Colder', that has Evanescence influences that shine through the sheen that this number offers, a great way to kick of the record. And it continues with 'Follow The Angels' that maintains the momentum and adds into the mix symphonic elements. 'Through The Dark' lowers the tempo slightly, while closer 'Shadow's Embrace' is a 7+ minute bombastic symphonic progressive epic with great vocals and melodies - awesome stuff! The aforementioned additional track 'All I Am' just confirms the class this band is showing. What we have here is top drawer melodies wrapped in a casing of Symphonic Metallic bliss. Check them out at www.endofthedreammusic.com/
and support top class independent music...9/10 (Dave)
(Massacre Records) Reviewed 3rd January 2014
I reviewed the debut Elysion full length album back in November 2009 (doesn't time fly?) and to be honest, it was right up my alleyway..catchy inoffensive Melodic Gothic Metal of the highest calibre, full of radio friendly songs. Now at the start of 2014, I am reviewing their latest opus, and this strictly speaking carries on where their previous effort left off. A further assault of hideously catchy songs that will leave you screaming for more when the album finishes. - Produced by Mark Adrian at ARTemis Studios in Athens, Greece with the mix by Dan Certa (We Are The Fallen, Ben Moody, Kelly Clarkson, Seether), this is simply a massive release. I will not even bother to name individual tracks in detail, but if songs like 'Fairytale' and 'What Lies Beneath' don't send you into raptures, then boy, you have a problem! Let us also not forget 'The Promise', a total belter of a power ballad and the string led acoustic feel of 'Transparent'! Christianna's Pop/Rock vocal style I hasten to add is perfect for this style of music, ably backed up by an awesome band of musicians too. This is one helluva release to kick off 2014, and it will hit the shelves 24th January. A very early contender for my top five of 2014 - has to be! 9.75/10 (Dave)
FATAL CLICHE..S/T EP
(Self Release) Reviewed 3rd January 2014
Fatal Clichè is a Metal band from Italy. Fronted by Hellenoir Dearbone, the band present to us here a seven track EP of rather good Symphonic Metal, with vocals that veer from a Rock Vocal style to an occasional Operatic style. The opener, simply titled 'Fatal Clichè' is a catchy number that offers up a folky vibe with some awesome operatic vocals from Hellenoir. Second number in, 'Dark Way' is a Melodic Pulsating number, while third track 'Flashblack' is a fave of mine, another catchy number with Rock/Operatic style vocals - awesome! 'Lost Lands' is the customary Power Ballad and damn good it is too. 'Flaming Heart' has a rather cool piano intro before it kicks into gear while 'Illusion' is a grand blast of Symphonic Metal. Closer 'Alegria' (being listed as a bonus track) is a thumping Folk/Metal number sung presumably in the band's native tongue, and is fast becoming another fave of mine from this EP. The band's FaceBook is here
- okay, what you hear on this EP is not original and has been done before, but that does not mean this is not good, because it is....8.25/10 (Dave)
(Noisehead Records) Reviewed 5th December 2013
Fallen Arise fronted by a young lass known as Spyla, is a Symphonic Melodic Metal Band from Greece, and when I say Symphonic Melodic Metal, this is most certainly just that. Kicking off with the awesome Nightwish inspired 'Burned Ivy', the band set the bench mark, an absolute belter of a tune, with all the ingredients to make this band a force within the genre. The following double whammy of 'Eternity' together with the title track are Melodic Symphonic thumpers, the latter featuring the clean and rather nice vocals of guest musician Jon Soti, together with those of Spyla - great stuff! The magic continues featuring at times both vocalists, with tracks such as 'Under The Bliss Of The Sun', the catchy but bombastic power metal influenced 'My Fall', the magical piano led power ballad 'Never Forget Me' and the 7 minute + album closer 'Fly To Horizon'. This is a very good effort from the band, and this is yet another album I find myself whole heartedly recommending ...9/10 (Dave)
(Self Release) Reviewed 28th November 2013
OOOhhhh!! I rather like this. Elyria founded in 2012 hail from Germany and play a style of Melodic Prog Metal with slight parallels to Nightwish, Within Temptation and even Stream of Passion. The project was originally an experiment by Oliver Weislogel (Stormwitch, Dorian Opera) and vocalist/song writer Patricia Cooney, the final result now producing an EP of five catchy but progressive songs to capture the listener's attention. 'Salome' gets proceedings underway, a heavy melodic pounding number with a progressive undercurrent, and showcasing the rather nice vocal style of Patricia that compliments the music very well. I would think this song would go down a treat live! Second up 'The Vigil' takes on a rather more progressive stance while the heavy and awesome 'Faceless' is the longest track on the Ep at a little over six minutes. The progressive and complex 'Colours Of Silence' and 'Only Words' close the EP - the latter starting with an awesome haunting choral support and ends what is a rather stellar effort from the band. Check out their website: http://www.elyria.eu/
- recommended.. 8.5/10 (Dave)
ERAIN...'OCEAN's BREATH' 4 track EP
(Self Release) Reviewed 5th November 2013
Erain hail from Sweden and feature none other than Jessica Lehto (Factory of Dreams, Beto Vazquez Infinity, Once There Was) on Vocals, lyrics and various musical arrangements. Her partner in crime on this awesome and rather tasty music project is Johan Holmström (ex-My last escape) and this EP offers up four tracks of up tempo Symphonic, Gothic Metal. 'From Far Away' gets this little platter going, with second up, the epic sounding and pounding 'Perdition' moving the whole shebang into top gear - rather good if I may say so! 'Oceanbreath' is a slower ballad of such beauty while closer 'Hurt' is a great Symphonic Metal number. Jessica's vocals suit this style of music very well indeed and I can well recommend this little EP. Erain's Facebook is here
- for fans of Leaves' Eyes, Xandria and Nightwish!..8.75/10 (Dave)
(Self Released) Reviewed 30th October 2013
Elessar come from Argentina and recently in my snail mail box dropped their very recent cd 'Dark Desires'. And you know what?, this is damn good. I am not sure whether it is just me, but all the music that is coming my way of late is just so good. Elessar is fronted by the awesome soprano vocals of Alejandra Barro, and I suppose the first point of reference to their music would be Tarja era Nightwish, although having said that, the music is most certainly Elessar, they are no clones by any means. The music has a progressive undercurrent running through it at times, this comes to the fore on thumping tracks like the Power Metalish 'The Lonely Warrior'. 'Heroes Born Dead' is another track that flirts with Power Metal territory and is a highly melodic number too. 'Puppet Girl' is a bouncy song also featuring the clean vocals of guitarist Howen Rava and this record is turning out to be a very good effort. Then there is the Power Ballad 'My Soul My Life' - massive! The title track hammers along rather nicely as does the following number 'Your Own Being'. The album closes with an acoustic bonus track 'Para ver el Sol', sung in the band's native toungue. I want to say that all round, this album is a very good band effort, with every member giving it their all. Their FaceBook page can be found here
... well recommended for fans of Progressive Power Metal and Symphonic Metal - 9/10 (Dave)
EVE'S FALL...'FROM HERE ON'
(Self Released) Reviewed 14th October 2013
Eve’s Fall from The Netherlands fronted by the lovely Liesbeth Cordia, present here a catchy and accessible mix of hard modern metal with strong pop influences on this their debut offering. Indeed, when Liesbeth told me via FaceBook that she was sending me a copy of this album, to be honest, I couldn't wait. There is a fresh and varied sound on the record and I like what I hear very much. The cd gets off to a thundering start with the thumping 'Her Absence' which takes us into one of my album faves 'No Compassion'. A great way to start things off with Liesbeth's vocals reminding me to an extent of Sharon Den Adel, but there again, as we all know, they are both from Holland :) The impressive start to the album continues with the up tempo and very catchy 'Insignificant', the bouncy 'Flawless' and the spirited 'A Change For The Better'. And the second half of the album continues in an uptempo mood with 'Enough' before things slow down with the piano led ballad 'A Touch Of Fate', a great song with great vocals. That is followed by another great rockin' track that has got into my faves list, the melodic metallic belter 'Long Forgotten', while one has very little time to gather their breath before 'In Denial' comes hurtling out of the speakers. The awesome duo of 'Reflection' and 'The Spiral' ends what to me is a very good album from a very good band of musicians. In summary, the fresh and varied sound is for the majority owed to the different musical backgrounds of the members, but if you take a mix of Evanescence, Within Temptation, Anneke Van Giersbergen and Autumn, then that will give you an idea as to what this awesome band sound like. This is rather good and I must say is well worth checking out (Band's FaceBook here
) for all your lovers of Female Fronted Rock & Metal out there.... 9/10 (Dave)
ELEGY OF MADNESS...'BRAVE DREAMS'
(WormholeDeath) Reviewed 11th October 2013
Following on from 2009's 'The Bridge Of Sighs', and what we have here from Elegy Of Madness is yet another awesome offering from their label WormholeDeath, who are fast becoming the next Napalm Records. Fronted by the Soprano vocals of Anja Irullo, this album like the recent album from LEVANIA typifies the Melodic Gothic Metal genre rather nicely. The opening duo of 'Suad' and 'Sinner' kick things off, up tempo Gothic Metal with a subtle Progressive undercurrent. And then when the band do slow it down a touch with third track 'For You', well what can I say?, this number in itself is massive and bombastic with superb orchestration! 'Run Away' is a Melodic thumper and I am really beginning to like this album, and indeed there is no let up with the title track - a lighter waving awe inspiring mind blowing ballad. 'Red Dust' is another pounding Gothic Metal song, and I must say that the remainder of the record does not slow down. 'Into The Tale' is a brief instrumental of filmscore proportions followed up by the massively sounding ' The Sacred Willow', reminding me a little of Tarja era Nightwish! I am slowly becoming lost for words regards what I am listening too here and the band prove that not only can they rock, they can really pull out the stops with regards the slower ballady tracks - 'Holding Your Hand' is one such number of film score proportions yet again, and the vocals of Anja showing such powerful emotion. The closing duo of '21st March' and 'Uomo' are just so good - enough said! In summary, this is a massively sounding, bombastic, well produced and beautifully crafted Gothic Symphonic Metal album from Elegy Of Madness and to be perfectly frank, this could be on my best of the year list come year end... just love it and if I do, I know there are a lot of others out there that will as well. The record is due soon!.. 9.5/10 (Dave)
(Artist Station Records) Reviewed 5th September 2013
This German quartet originally came together in 2009 as Pink Mercury, changing their name to Eyevory only last year. They feature the dual vocal attack of bassist, composer and lyricist Jana Frank, and flautist Kaja Fischer, with guitarist David Merz and drummer drummer Sascha Barasa Suso completing the line-up. Very occasionally you come across a band that totally break the mould, they are sometimes described as 'progressive folk', which is very misleading, a good friend John Petersen described them as “a female fronted metal Jethro Tull”, and he has a point, if you locked Ian Anderson, Lyriel, Jellyfish and Fleetwood Mac up in a room, with occasional visits by Paul and John, then they might conjure up something somewhere near. Eyevory take metal, prog, rock, folk and pop, put it through a blender, and produce a harmonious whole that is not only genre defying, but also appeals to a vast range of music fans. In short, it rocks like a demon and it's as catchy as hell. Every track is a killer, packed full of flying flute, terrific tunes and clever wordplay, personified by the opening trio of 'Sacrifice', 'I Trust in You', and the ingenious 'Monster'. Some of the tracks segue together, 'On My Way to Bliss' transforms into 'Black Bird' with its wild flute wig out, 'In My Dream' ends with a 'Day in the Life' style cacophony that leads into the gorgeous 'Torn' which reminds me of 'Kayleigh'. '1001 Night' has a suitably eastern vibe, 'Good Times Are Now' brings to mind The Who, with Sascha summoning the ghost of Keith Moon, and they close with the rapping rocking epic 'Requiem Aeternam'. You even get Loreen's Eurovision Song Contest winner 'Euphoria' as a bonus track which has been Eyevoryfied. The old adage is you can't please all the people all the time, well, Eyevory have broken that rule, this is music for all the people all the time. Occasionally an album comes along that does not blow you away, it blasts you into the middle of next week, well, that's what's happened to me. Euphobia means the fear of good news, but Eyevory deserve nothing but good news about this opus, they await your pleasure you at their website www.eyevorymusic.com/
, an euphoric 10/10 (Phil)
FLYING KANGAROO ALLIANCE...'HIT THE WALL/WASTED'
(Punk Fox) Reviewed 22nd August 2013
Punk Fox is a label that does not have a money grabbing website, they are not on Facebook and they do not tweet. But what they do have is FLYING KANGAROO ALLIANCE fronted by Meri Everitt, an awesome band based in central England - a band producing music for the modern day, but with a 1970s in yer face Punk/Grunge attitude. Although this two track single (that was recorded "just down the road" in Leamington Spa), has been released primarily as a vinyl offering, it is also available from the band in all modern download formats. If you like music that has been compared to The Pixies and Hole, with undeniable pop hooks that will set you bouncing off around the room in no time at all, may I suggest you check this bunch out here
. It is difficult to score just the two tracks that were in-fact recorded "live in the studio", but this is good and well recommended!
FOREVER STILL...'BREAKING FREE' EP
(Self Release) Reviewed 1st July 2013
Rising fast from the Copenhagen underground, Forever Still is ready to conquer the hearts of those craving original rock with a twist. Fronted by charismatic singer Maja Schønning, the band demands everyone’s attention and with their convincing sound, they are more than ready to cross the borders and mesmerize the rest of the world. Four tracks here kicking off with 'The Key', that starts with a brief cool synth before the rest of the band kicks in coupled with the melodic vocals of Maja who also lets rip with the odd scream too at the end of this number. 'The Last Day' is next up, following a similar format to 'The Key', rockin' and melodic while 'Towards The Edge' is a well balanced tune and indeed is turning out to be a fave of mine from this record. Closing with a live acoustic version of 'The Last Day', with this their debut EP, Forever Still is quickly cementing their place in modern music and the combination of gritty guitars, electronic elements and catchy songs, should appeal to the inner rocker in everyone. Check out their website at www.foreverstill.dk/
.. 8.75/10 (Dave)
(SPV Steamhammer) Reviewed 29th June 2013
The awesome Austrian amalgamation of composer/guitarist/keyboardist Lanvall and sublime siren Sabine Edelsbacher return after a three year hiatus with a new album on a new label. Joining them are their regular team of Karl Groom behind the control knobs, the man who transformed their sound on 'The Grand Design' album, and Robby Valentine on choir vocals, a man who is the very definition of big in Japan. They have used real orchestra before, but here they take it to another level, becoming an integral part of the music, taking it to a higher plane, adding majesty and grandeur, with Lanvall himself doing all the arrangements. Sabine is my favourite singer on the planet, relying on pure tone rather than vocal gymnastics to express emotion, as one of the first ladies to sing metal she showed that you do not have to scream your head off, instead you can float and soar, gliding on angel's wings, I have never met a more graceful person, and that grace infuses every breath. The first half is filled with classic Edenbridge songs, the massive opener 'Mystic River, the uplifting lead song 'Alight a New Tomorrow', the big ballad 'Star-Crossed Dreamer', and the charging galloping 'The Invisible Force'. They then begin to show other sides with the brooding beguiling 'Into a Sea of Souls', the simply stunning 'Far Out of Reach', the headbanging 'Far Our of Reach', one of the heaviest sings they've ever recorded with its jagged riff and even some subtle growls, and the poignant 'Death is Not the End'. It all culminates in the humongous 15 minute epic title track, 'The Bonding', which sweeps across vast sonic soundscapes showing every facet of their creativity, truly Lanvall's crowning achievement, and his guitar playing has never been so melodic and magical, at times he reminds me of Mike Oldfield. It all comes wrapped in a gorgeous didgibook complete with a second CD of instrumental versions, why you would want a CD without Sabine is beyond me, but it makes a nice package. The whole album is a towering triumph that every symphonic metal fan will bond with, showing a band at the heights of their power, a timeless album for all time. You will cross the bridge to Eden at www.edenbridge.org/
, a bonding 10/10 (Phil)
ESTORIA...'LEARNING TO BREATHE' EP
(Self Release) Reviewed 5th June 2013
Estoria fronted by Meagan Reeves is a band from Alabama that has sent me three tracks that make up this EP 'Learning To Breathe'. And I must say that this is another independent band that has sent me some rather good music. A kinda female fronted Linkin Park - Melodic tunes with occasional male Rap style vocals. All three numbers here are good, although I do rather like the title track. And thanks to Estoria, my list of "bands to keep an eye on" gets longer by the minute. Check out their FaceBook
. Not bad, not bad at all :) ... 8/10 (Dave)
FACTORY OF DREAMS...'SOME KIND OF POETIC DESTRUCTION'
(ProgRock Records) Reviewed 8th April 2013
'Some Kind of Poetic Destruction' is Factory of Dreams 4th album. A conceptual sci-fi album that follows the adventures of Kyra, a unique and mysterious character who holds the key to our fate. Something is closing in on the Earth. What is it? What will happen to Earth? the storyline is full of surprises and mysteries, as we follow Kyra on an epic journey to find her purpose. This new album pushes beyond the boundaries of the Electronic Progressive Metal genre. And Hugo Flores and vocalist Jessica Lehto sure know how to push out those aforementioned boundaries when recording an album, and they yet again deliver another epic for one to get their ears around. This is not a record that will hit you on the first listen, but it will take repeated listens to get into, and indeed into the story line too. Angela Merrithew (Kyra) narrates the opening of 'Prelude', which siegues perfectly into 'Strange Sounds' with it's great synths coupled with a pounding guitar beat, and Jessica's operatic vocals shining as well! 'Escaping The Nightmare' is another pounding guitar/synth driven number with Hugo joining in with the vocals. The catchy 'Angel Tears' centred around Kyra sees Raquel Schüler (Hydria) taking on the reigns of lead vocalist, and is one of the more commercial numbers on the album - totally awesome! 'Seashore Dreams' continues this magical piece of musical genius, the song featuring some awesome synth and violin, and lets not forget that dreamy voice of Jessica, this track is epic! The pounding 'Dark Season' features Magali Luyten's (Beautiful Sin, Ayreon, Epysode) powerful vocals, while 'Sound War' has such an atmospheric and haunting synth intro before the piano takes over, another pulsating number! 'Hope Garden' and 'Travelling' maintain the momentum with some magical electric guitar from Chris Brown and some electrifying synth solos from Tadashi Goto. Entering the closing part of the story line now, and 'The Neutron Star' continues with some in yer face guitar from Chris Brown and yet more turbo charged synths to delight the senses. 'Join Us Into Sound' and 'Playing The Universe' close this totally epic and grandeur 12 track recording, the latter being a revamp of an older song. However, there is a track 13 (bonus) which is a video clip version of 'Seashore Dreams'. To summarise, this is simply an astonishing album that has everything, pouding guitars, impressive synths, breathtaking vocals, and an interesting storyline. My advice, shut yourself of in a darkened room, put on the headphones, and listen allowing images of the story to form in your own mind. The rest is up to you - massive!! ... 9.5/10 (Dave)
ECLECTIKA...'LURE OF APHEMERAL BEAUTY'
(Asylum Ruins Records) Reviewed 13th March 2013
French band ECLECTIKA now fronted by Noemie Sirandre, released their 4th album in November 2012 and this record has now dropped into Ravenheart Music for us to review. The band I understand is basically a three piece, and musically tend to remind me of German Gothic Rockers Mandrake. Noemie is obviously the leading lady, but vocals are shared between remaining members Aurellen and main instrumentalist Sebastien. This is an interesting album combining the death vocals of Aurellen and the operatic vocals of Noemie - Black Metal with an Operatic twist. Not an album that will hit you first time, but does require a few listens to get into. The ten tracks on offer, mainly up tempo numbers do sound a little samey, but overall this release ain't bad, and is a little different to what I would normally listen too. Opener 'Through The Supernova Remnant' is a rather cool instrumental and it would not sound out of place as a movie soundtrack. Second track in and the title track gets things into top gear, with the harsh male vocals immediately apparent before the operatics kick in. Although 'Trauma 835' is an industrial sounding instrumemental and 'Sweet Melancholia' is a laid back number featuring just Noemie's vocals, the similar harsh male vocal vs female operatic style by and large continues, although interestingly enough, the final track titled 'Aokigahara' is a ten minute atmospheric instrumental epic, and I have observed that their last three albums all have final tracks that last 10 minutes - no more and no less! The band's website is HERE
FACE OFF...'THE COLOUR OF RAIN'
(Maple Metal Records) Reviewed 26th February 2013
I must confess to having known about Face Off for a few months now. The Serbian based quintet was established in 2006 by vocalist Marija Kovacevic and guitarist Stefan Vitasovic. The Band has already won a few competitions in their native homeland, toured across Serbia, been broadcast by national radio, and performed on Serbian national TV in their short career. This debut album is a solid release from the band, featuring nine tracks of radio friendly alternative rock to capture one's musical senses. I suppose comparisons could be made to a more up tempo Evanescence or maybe Florida band Faces Of March (where are they now?), who released 'Confessions' several months ago. There are some really good commercial numbers here including the title track, the catchy 'Dream Chamber', the heavy 'Close Enough', the glorious 'Fragile' and the thumping closer, appropriately titled 'The End'. All nine tracks are good and to be honest, this album is worthy of a place in any Rock fan's album collection. The band's music can be found here
... 8.75/10 (Dave)
FLAMES OF FURY...S/T EP
(Self Released) Reviewed 18th February 2013
FLAMES OF FURY is a NYC based Female Fronted Melodic Metal act formed in 2009 by guitarist Jason Perez & vocalist Angelica Vargas. Their goal being to create the most intense and exciting metal songs possible. 2009 saw the pair writing & recording the songs that would become the foundation for the band's campaign, and in the fall of 2010, FoF became an active live act. By quickly building a strong reputation in the tri-state area as an explosive live band, FoF were steadily growing a solid fan base and audience on a regional, national and international level. I have here an EP of explosive Melodic Power Metal from this band, with opener 'Take It To The Limit' confirming the word "explosive", as does the number 'No Mercy'. 'Save Yourself','I Burn' and 'End Of The Road' are anthemic melodic thumpers, with the whole EP giving the listener a good excuse for a headbanging sesh. Their website is HERE
, which also includes a link to the video for 'No Mercy'. This is headbangingly good!! 8.5/10 (Dave)
(Lion Music) Reviewed 21st January 2013
Lion Music is proud to introduce the debut album by Japanese atmospheric rock/metal outfit Early Cross. The band is a four piece comprising of Natasha Vaichuk (Vocals), Hiroaki Kato (6 & 12 String Guitars, Bouzouki, Pianos, Mellotrons, Organs), Yugo Maeda (Bass) and Yushi Soutome (Drums). With a sound much bigger than the sum of their parts, this 7 track album is a strong label debut full of carefully crafted music, depth, musical richness and emotion with a dark foreboding presence, that will find favour with fans of Opeth, Porcupine Tree, Riverside, Day Six, The Gathering, The Wishing Tree etc. After listening to this recording, the band is sure to make a powerful impact on the Rock and Metal world outside of their native Japan. 'Ashes and Yarrow' is a superb opener, complex, melodic and with an awesome chorus, reminding me to an extent of The Gathering with a little bit of ooommmppphhh! 'Cry Havoc' is a powerful progressive song, showing the maturity of this amazing band, while the beautiful 7 minute + 'Hymn To The Fallen' blows me away - Hiroaki Kato on guitar is awesome and Natasha's angelic vocals are so adorable!! Natasha by the way is of Ukrainian/Japanese decent. 'In The Half Light Of The Canyon' is a brief instrumental that leads into 'Cairn', with it's subtle use of the mellotron reminding me a little of The Moody Blues, before it kicks into gear and ups the tempo. The epic 14 minute 'The Pilgrimage' follows which maintains the formidable quality of the previous numbers. As one would expect for a 14 minute number, the track is complex, intense and powerful, but still very accessible and melodic showcasing the great musicianship of the band. The closer 'The Fog' is my fave from this album, a rather more commercial number reminding me of the bands Embassy of Silence or For Selena and Sin, and some great keys from Bouzouki. Early Cross prove that there is a burgeoning metal scene pushing the envelope of styles in their homeland, and 'Pathfinder' will give listeners worldwide the chance to taste metal by one of Japan’s most promising acts. And another thing I will add - some Japanese acts sound Japanese, and I say that with the greatest respect. But Early Cross offer up a very clean and powerful production, more akin to the acts that Europe or the USA produce. Released on 14th February, this masterpiece of a record from Lion Music should be massive.. 9/10 (Dave)
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