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Ravenheart Music: Album Reviews

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FREQUENCY DRIFT…’LAST’

(Gentle Art Of Music) Reviewed 24th May 2016

Formed in Bayreuth, Germany by classically trained keyboard player and multi-instrumentalist Andreas Hack, Frequency Drift released their debut, Personal Effects Pt. 1, in 2008 via Musea. The conceptual work about the tragic story of two sisters in a futuristic setting was inspired by films like Bladerunner and Ghost in a Shell. The follow-up album, Personal Effects Pt. 2 was released by Cyclops in 2009 and once more showcased Frequency Drift’s talent for powerful, soulful melodies and atmosphere. Featuring Melanie Mau on lead vocals, their 6th album 'Last' is darker than its predecessors, yet still highly melodic, with stunning artwork and mournful lyrics. There is some cool, haunting and atmospheric music on this cohesive and cinematic release, and I must say it makes for a relaxing listen. Chill out with a bottle or two and absorb the music into your mind and soul – music to make love too perhaps, listen to the track ‘Shade’ as an example – steady on, I ought not to say anymore! This is a family show :) After digressing, 'Last Photo' in parts is possibly the heaviest track on the album and a fave of mine too, great atmospherics, and upon that, I must say that this album overall is a jolly good Progressive Rock release - the band’s website is here. With Germany more well known for its Gothic and Symphonic Metal, this is a refreshing change… 8.25/10 (The Nugget)

ERIKA…’DEAF, DUMB AND BLONDE’

(Escape Music) Reviewed 24th May 2016

Swedish lass Erika started her own band at just 12 years old. As a teenager she started to write and record demos with various rock bands. In the late 1980’s she dated and later married guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen. In 1989 Erika was offered her first deal for a record, which was called “Cold Winter Night”, an album she co-wrote which proved to be a resounding success. However, her marriage with Yngwie ended in 1992 but that did not stop the young lass from recording further albums, this one indeed being her sixth outing, an album which surpasses all she has done in the past. There are 12 tracks of prime time Melodic Hard Rock on this release and well worth checking out as a consequence. Also featured on the recording are band members from Europe, Candlemass and In Flames, and with production from Alex Angleflod and Erika herself, I well recommend this release to lovers of AOR/Melodic Rock. Erika so happens to be the most successful female Swedish hard rock/AOR singer of all times, in short, she is a legend. Her website is here… 8.75/10 (Dave)

Ex ANIMO…’NEVERDAY’

(Metal Scrap Records) Reviewed 17th May 2016

Ex Animo come from Ukraine and is fronted by the rather lovely vocals of Julia Orwell, with band colleague Andrew Lunko letting rip with occasional growls. And it has to be said that this is another awesome album to grace our cd players here at Ravenheart Towers. This ‘Neverday’ album is Ex Animo's 2nd full length CD, their first titled ‘Solitary’ appearing in 2004. There are eight tracks here, with six of them running in at over 6 minutes. The album in-fact being a well-balanced mix of Dark, Doom and Symphonic Metal, featuring three tracks from the 2010 'Soulglass' EP, accompanied by five completely new tracks that make up the remainder of this album. Indeed the track ‘Soulglass’ from that aforementioned EP is one of my faves on this album, atmospheric synths and thundering drums and guitars drive this heavy 8 minute track. The following number ‘Spring Covered With Snow’ is another one of my likes from this well balanced and impressive record. 'Neverday' is the moment when a man will finally be able to throw away the burden of fake and imposed values, listen to his inner self and realize why he came into this world... this is the day that never comes. Whether you are haunted by the ghosts from the past or suppressed by the fear of the future, you will find a song that echoes in you! Yet another album we must recommend – band’s website is here… 8.75/10 (Dave)

EVIG NATT…S/T

(Self Release) Reviewed 26th April 2016

Norwegian band EVIG NATT has just released their 3rd and S/T album on March 19th, recorded and produced by the band themselves. Evig Natt's music is best described as aggressive but subtle, noisy yet beautiful, a maelstorm of symphonic darkness and how true that description is. A tsunami of Female Fronted Orchestral Black Metal. Indeed, from the unholy metal grounds of Karmøy, west Norway, this band follows in the footsteps of Einherjer and Enslaved, featuring ex-bandmembers of both. It all started as a studio project in 2003, by vocalist Kirsten Jørgensen and bassist Stein Sund, their sound is unique, blending everything from progressive metal to black metal, incorporating inspiration from bands like Anathema, My Dying Bride, Swallow The Sun and The Provenance. And I must say that when music like this is done well, it is damn good and it deserves one's attention in the process. This little package combines the beauty and the melodic with the extreme, and takes no prisoners in the process. Standout cuts a plenty, the heavy and pounding ‘How I Bleed’ and ‘Svartsinn’ being a couple of the heavier numbers, while tracks like ‘Wildfire’ and the awesome closer ‘Weathered Emotion’ being a little more sedate. This album looks set to break the band into the big league, their website is here, and that site in turn will give you further links relating to the band. This is a well recommended record… 9/10 (Dave)

FALLEN SENTINEL…’THE MAIN SOUL’

(Suspiria Records) Reviewed 12th April 2016

When Beauty and the Beast albums are done well, they are good, which has put me in a bit of a quandary, as I am not so sure about Spanish band Fallen Sentinel. I sometimes think the growls can be a little overpowering in such releases, and to be honest this is one of those overpowering growly B&B releases. This immediately becomes apparent in the pounding first number proper ‘Behind The Walls’ (which follows a brief intro), where the growls from the opening chords push you against the wall, with a further tsunami of growls following. The rather more angelic vocals of Laura Comesaña tending to take second stage to the extreme vocals of bassist Rubén Alonso. Maybe this is the intention of the band as this is my first foray into their music, but having said that, they did start out in 1997 as a pure Death Metal band, ‘refining’ their sound as years went by. However, the band certainly has a pedigree having toured with the likes of Cradle of Filth (UK), Overkill (USA) Gamma Ray (Germany), Immortal (Norway) Cynic (USA), Primal Fear (Germany), 3 Inches of Blood (Canada), Eternal Mourning (Portugal) Suidakra (Germany), Exodus (USA), Draconian (Sweden) and Primordial (Ireland) among others. Back to the cd and the album continues in a similar style to opener ‘Behind The Walls’, but let us not be too critical. Repeated listens do tend to make the album rather more palatable, possibly as one knows what to expect, with tracks like the Progressive sounding ‘Fallen Sentinel’, the bombastic Symphonic sounding ‘Nothing At All’ (one of my faves) where the vocals of Laura are more prominent, the thundering ‘I Don’t Want To Be’ and the closing subdued number ‘Silence Is a Song’ all tending to hit the spot. Despite my initial hesitations, I have grown to like this release and for anybody reading this review who is into the heavier side of Gothic Metal, check this one out! 8.25/10 (Dave)

FALLEN SYMPHONY…’MOONSPELL’

(Self Release) Reviewed 22nd March 2016

Fallen Symphony come from Uruguay and whose style of music can be put into the Gothic/Symphonic cubby hole. There are eleven numbers running in at around 55 minutes on this their second full length album, which is a concept album about the legends of Greek Gods. Offering up mainly operatic female vocals coupled with clean and occasional guttural male vocals, this is run of the mill stuff, good but not quite premier league level. I don’t hear anything on this album that wants me to hit the repeat button to hear a particular track again, but having said that, I am not saying for one moment that this release should be ignored. Just proceed with a little caution. The album can be picked up at CDBaby here… 7.5/10 (Hannah Cooper)

EVOLUCIJA...'IGRA POCINJE'

(Take It Or Leave It Records) Reviewed 18th March 2016

Evolucija (meaning Evolution) fronted by Ilana Marinjes-von Arx come from Ćuprija in Serbia, although I believe were located in Switzerland for a while. This is their second full length album sung in their native tongue and is an awesome near 40 minute offering of Melodic Metal. What is interesting to my ears is the opening track 'Letim', that sounds very familiar, although I do not know why. Second up 'Nisam za tebe ja' pounds along rather nicely, driven along by pounding drums and such a catchy chorus. And it is a non stop tsunami of further catchy and oh so melodic tracks that come pounding out of the speakers, such as 'Kao iz sna', the up lifting ‘Rekvijem’ and the up tempo and rather awesome ‘Proci ce vek’. The band’s Facebook is here - here, and I must say I do rather like this all killer no filler release – very catchy and very melodic... 9/10 (Dave)

ELYRIA...'REFLECTION AND REFRACTION'

(Dark Wings) Reviewed 20th February 2016

Elyria fronted by Patricia Cooney hail from Germany, and offer the listener a fine mix of Female Fronted Metal with a prominent Progressive Rock undercurrent. This is by and large run of the mill stuff, but to us female fronted fans will be seen as a useful addition to our cd collections. The progressive undercurrent is certainly there among many of the 13 tracks, but there is also a slight parallel with bands like Nightwish and Within Temptation. With fave tracks that include the pounding 'Salome' and the pen ultimate ballad 'Virtues', this album in summary would possibly hold more of an appeal to Progressive Rock/Metal fans to those who prefer their Metal rather less technical and a little more straight forward, but it is good and recommended by us here... 8.25/10 (Dave)

ECLIPTICA…’ECLIPTIFIED’

(Mars Music Productions) Reviewed 9th February 2016

Six piece band ECLIPTICA was founded in 2005 and 2 years later they released their EP 'The Awakening'. In the same year they have played at the Wacken Open Air. The first LP 'Impetus' followed soon and the album was released by Frontiers Records.The follow up album 'Journey Saturnine' underlined the status of the Viennese band and the band rocked at various festivals like Metalfest Open Air, Börsencrash Festival and even repeatedly at the Wiener Donauinselfest. They have also supported many bands like Symphony X, In Extremo, Tim Ripper Owens, Freedom Call, At Vance, Axxis etc. This their third full length, was released worldwide on January 15th 2016 via Mars Music Productions (Distribution: Rebeat Digital). However, the physical Compact Disc has as yet only been released in Austria. The digital release of 'Ecliptified' contains 13 original Songs, the physical release also contains a conversion of Roxette’s 90's classic rock song 'Sleeping In My Car', which is featured on the copy I have here. With Sandra and Tom sharing vocal duties, there is some classic melodic hard rock for the listener to behold coupled with heaps of melody, exactly what we here like at Ravenheart. Highlight cuts include the rocking monster ‘Hate the Pain’, the melodic ‘Road To Nowhere’ with its catchy chorus, the ballad ‘Need Your Love’ with its fist pumping chorus, the pounding metal of ‘Hero Of The Day’ and a fave of mine ‘No Surrender’. Indeed, everything on this album is good and should certainly appeal to the Melodic Rock/AOR fan. The band’s Facebook is here, so get some Rock n Roll medication and buy!!… 8.75/10 (Dave)

FENIX TALES…’THE ABYSS EYE’

(Self Release) Reviewed 15th January 2016

Fenix Tales is an Italian Symphonic Gothic Metal Music band, that was founded in 2008 in Florence (Italy) by the keyboard player Marco. The big variety of musicians taking part in the band affects it in a many-faceted manner, with the following inputs as a result: Classical from keyboards and voice, Folk and Celtic from the violin, Rock from the bass and the guitar, and eventually Metal from the drums – all of which contribute to obtaining the special and original sound that characterizes the band. Fronted by Lucia who is a professional lyric soprano, she has carried out performances over the years in the following countries: Greece, USA, Spain, Germany, Argentina, Israel, Japan, during which she received good critics from the experts and the audience. And within this band, the violinist deserves a mention too - Federico is the First Violin in many important lyric symphonic institutions and organizations in Italy and worldwide. Federico has recorded 12 CDs!! He has also been invited to fill the role as second viola at the Scala Theatre String Quartet, and has worked with Andrea Bocelli among many others. Overall, the standard of musicianship from all involved is awesome within the very consistent eight tracks on this cd. The band seems to very calmly mix the classical & operatics with the metal and pull it off with fine aplomb! This may not quite appeal to the all out metal head out there, but if you like your classical and metal thrown into the blender, then do check this release out, well worth a listen. The band’s website allows you to listen to the album: www.fenixtales.it/… 8.5/10 (Katie McIntyre)

EPIC…’LIKE A PHOENIX’

(Self Release) Reviewed 11th January 2016

While writing this review, I am totally devastated at the news of the death of David Bowie, this being a very sad loss to the music industry and to the world as a whole. From my mid teenage years onwards, I was in love with the music produced by this guy! Anyway, onto the job in hand, Canadian band Epic is composed of songwriter Tanya Rizkala on vocals, composer Mario Agostine on Guitars, Souheil "Sous" Moukaddem on drums, and Mike Ganime on bass. This power quartet is drawing on years of experience and musicianship and playing in international venues and large arenas alongside some of the legends of rock. They are well-known for their hard-driving energy and Mario's melodic guitar-driven grooves, which along with Tanya's powerful vocal range, and a "rock-solid" rhythm section with "Sous" on drums and Mike on Bass, thrills rock-loving audiences. This die-hard rock formation wasted no time getting to work as soon as they met, writing, composing, and recording this their debut album. The album is basically a mix of Melodic Hard Rock, AOR and ballads, which would have fans of this style of music into fits of ecstasy, as if the late 70s and 80s and not gone away. Some awesome music on this record with the opening trio of ‘Love Will Find Away’, ‘Like A Phoenix’ and the ballad ‘I Can Take You’ setting the scene rather nicely for what is to come. Check out the video to the title track here. Overall this album is catchy radio friendly rock music…buy! 8.75/10 (Dave)

ETERNALLY YOURS...'THE MASQUERADE'

(Self Released) Reviewed 8th January 2016

Eternally Yours from Hermosa Beach, California consist of Sarah Uhle (vocals) and Guitarist Luis Palacios. Sarah and Luis had been searching for years to find musicians who shared their passion for music, both of them were coming from different musical experiences. Sarah had been in bands where her band mates were just not taking music seriously and weren't willing to put in the hard work causing Sarah to take up many roles from lead singer, writer, manager, and band promoter. She had enough and decided to part ways with her beloved project. On the other side of town, Luis had been struggling to find consistent musicians for over 6 years. He had a large selection of music that no one would ever hear. Sarah and Luis met up and they realized they both had the same drive and passion as the other for making and playing music, but they were both skeptical because they both still had bad experiences with other musicians in the past. Anyway, musicians they eventually did find and hey presto Eternally Yours was born. They list their influences as Staind, Lacuna Coil, Godsmack, Evanescence, Black Label Society, Megadeth and by and large this does come out within the music showcased on this 13 track album. There is a tsunami of decent mainly mid tempo rock/metal music, but I particularly like the tracks 'Black Winter', the tuneful 'Sweet Delusion' and the power ballad 'Been A Long Time'. Check out the band's facebook here…. 8.5/10 (Dave)

ENYA…’DARK SKY ISLAND’

(Aigle Music - Warner Music) Reviewed 5th December 2015

Enya’s eighth album was inspired by Sark: the tiny island just 80 miles off the South Coast of England, where cars are banned and a total lack of public street lighting make conditions perfect for stargazing. Let’s face it, there is one star we know as Enya, who would not be Enya without there being an Enya, right? Okay, I like my Rock and Metal music, but I also like Enya. Her music is so haunting and atmospheric, it is total beauty in a frikin’ troubled world! Dark Sky Island was seven years in the making, but this 54 year old singer/songwriter is still on top form, and she is not about to drop off our radar screens just yet. Tell you what, this is only a brief review as I am speechless at what I am listening too. Eleven tracks of sheer awesomeness, enough said. Get her album, put it on, forget about life’s troubles and chill, as life’s too short! Well worth it!! 9.5/10 (Dave)

ESCALANE...'THE DAYS OF DECAY'

(Inverse) Reviewed 2nd December 2015

The debut album by the Finnish Pop Metal newcomers Escalane fronted by Hanna Uimonen, sees the light of day December 11th 2015 in Finland and January 22nd 2015 internationally. A year in the making, the album was recorded, mixed and produced by the band themselves. Their music can be described as modern metal with heavy pop influences, catchy choruses and crushing riffs. And this very well describes the band's music, heavy but very catchy, with the rather kool track 'Seven Months' reminding me of fellow Fins FOR SELENA AND SIN. But in general, anybody out there that has a liking for bands like Paramore but with a bit of bite, and bands of a similar ilk, then yep, this is for you - rather good actually. Escalane's website can be found at www.escalane.com/band/ ...8.75/10 (The Nugget)

FATUM AETERNUM...'THE DARKEST HOUR' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 30th November 2015

Fatum Aeternum fronted by Evelyn Shor and Steve Gershin (on male vox), is an Israeli Rock and Metal band, founded in 2006. The band went through major line-up changes during its first years, until the current line-up was formed. This is the band's 4th release, although only one of those is a full length effort ('The Dream Is Dead' released in 2011). After a short intro track which so happens to the title track, there are four further tracks here on this EP of Gothic Metal with Doom elements. Evelyn's vocals are highly original and tend to grow on you, maybe reminding me a little of Kate Bush at times. This is an interesting release featuring the violin, these violin duties taken care of by vocalist Evelyn. I would say that this EP is not an instant hit, but it does grow with repeated listens. The band's website is here... 7.75/10 (Dave)

EARLYRISE…’COLORS’

(Self Release) Reviewed 14th November 2015

EarlyRise was founded by Orly Lari (Vocals, Piano) and Raz Klinghoffer (Guitar, Producer), who combined their different styles and started writing music together. They were later joined by Itamar Goldwasser (Drums), Dima Grossman (Bass), Ido Klotz (Guitar) and finally emerged with their debut album 'What if,' which was self released in May 2011. Now in 2015, we have their newie 'Colors' from this LA based band. And we have 14 tracks of awesome Alternative Rock/Metal, kinda Evanescence with an large element of gutso! Indeed, it could fall into the same category as the Forever Still album that has just been reviewed by this very site. A very good album, with a great vocal performance from Orly. Unlike the Forever Still record that by and large rocked, there are slower numbers here, ‘Sober’ being one such massive song together with ‘Peace‘ and closing atmospheric number ‘Save A Life‘. In summary, this is a massive album that deserves huge recognition. Check out their Facebook here.. 9/10 (Dave)

FOREVER STILL…’TIED DOWN’

(Self Release) Reviewed 14th November 2015

I have been following Danish band Forever Still for some while now. I would like to say a big thank you to Maja Schønning, their front lady who has been keeping me posted regards proceedings, and for all the music that she has so kindly been sending my way. Not only is she an awesome vocal presence within the band, it seems she more or less runs the show as well, the driving force within the band set up. This to be perfectly frank, is a damn fine album with those vocals of Maja, well she sure has some power within those lungs of hers! The first six tracks from this record will be familiar to anybody who has the ‘Save Me’ and ‘Scars’ EPs, and no matter how many times I hear these numbers, I am just simply blown away by the music that I hear! Tracks 7-10 do not feature on any earlier EPs to my knowledge and therefore, are unfamiliar to me. But they are equally as awesome as anything else I have heard from the band. This is powerful in yer face alternative Rock/Metal and not a filler to be found and as a consequence, is well recommended from us here. Forever Still’s website can be found at www.foreverstill.dk/ and the album gets released Jan 15th 2016.. 9/10 (Dave)

EXILIA...'PURITY'

(Eat The Beat EU/Gracie Prod US) Reviewed 4th November 2015

Exilia formed in 1998 in Milan (Italy), when vocalist Masha met the guitarist Elio Alien. 'Purity' is their sixth full length album bringing the familiar mix of pounding nu metal/alternative metal that the band is well re known for. Some real belters here like the melodic thumping 'Bliss' that will have you jumping around your living room before you can say the word "bliss". This album so happens to be nu metal of the highest quality and they can even throw a little prog metal into the mix - the title track being one such number. EXILIA has conquered audiences with their songs that haunt the mind hours after they've stopped playing. If you have not already done so, this is well worth checking out... 8.5/10 (Dave)

FALLEN ARISE…’ADELINE’

(ROAR Records) Reviewed 3rd November 2015

Fallen Arise is a band that has been around for six years or so and here offer up their second full length album. The Greek band fronted by Spyla (with male vocals from Chris), tells the story on this record of a young girl Adeline, who is doomed to die at the young age of eighteen. And within the music that provides this story, are all the ingredients that give us the listener, a rather good Gothic/Symphonic Metal album, with a full 40 piece orchestra as well. Plenty of highlights within the 13 numbers, but I do rather like the track ‘My Last Breath’, a bouncy in yer face melodic number together with the power ballad ‘As Far The Memory Remains’ - awesome stuff! This album will sure appeal to fans of this style of music most certainly, and as a consequence this is a recommended release… 9/10 (Dave)

EPHYRA...'ALONG THE PATH'

(Bakerteam Records) Reviewed 4th October 2015

Ephyra is an Italian Melodic Death Metal band with Epic and Folk influences, and with a bright future ahead to boot. The band debuted in 2013 with the album 'Journey', an exciting venture in every sense of the word, musically and on a personal level, with songs that ranged from epic, grandiose atmospheres to dark and introspective passages. The band’s musical style meanwhile, has evolved into a modern mix of Death Metal guitar riffs and rhythmic section, growl/scream male vocals, clean female vocals and folk/symphonic/ethnic influences. The lyrical concept links every song to the same story: a warrior needs to find his way in life, constantly matching his own fate. The setting alternates a fantastic background (with battles, wild landscapes and glorious hymns) and dreamlike atmospheres. And all this is well showcased within the eleven tracks on this album, which is immediately brought to the fore on second track 'Human Chaos', the opener ‘Melancholy Rise‘ being an instrumental to ease you gently into the fray. Folk influences are there on the third track 'All At Once', together with its catchy chorus. And it continues in a very similar style with numbers like fourth track in 'Cruel Day', the brooding acoustic ‘Hope’ and the tuneful ‘Land’s Calling’. ‘Along The Path’ is a bouncy offering featuring special guest appearances by Mattia Stancioiu, Davide Cicalese (Furor Gallico,), Silvia Bonino (Folkstone) and Lisy Stefanoni (Evenoire - Flute), so if you like growly vocals coupled with clean female vox, and then add into the mix a recipe of Folk/Metal, then this should be right up your alleyway. It all is rather good - released 20th November... 8.75/10 (Dave)

ELFERYA...'EDEN'S FALL'

(Self Release) Reviewed 25th September 2015

Elferya come from Switzerland and like their fellow countrymen November 7, are a totally awesome band. This release is their 2nd full length following their debut cd 'The Straight And Narrow'. Fronted by new vocalist Melody Dylem, Elferya throw at the listener 11 tracks of melodic Gothic/Symphonic Metal offering a great variety of stonking tunes. The title tracks opens proceedings being an instrumental, and if second track in 'With All My Love' did not get you in the mood, the epic and melodic 'Elferya' (this track taking its name after the band), will surely do just that! There are further highlights galore on this cd, just listen to numbers like the massive sounding 'Cruel Night', the Folk Metal of 'The Dreamcatcher', the more laid back folkiness of 'Alone With You', and the metallic and pounding ‘Metal Hearts‘. And let us not forget the closing tune, the beautiful ballad 'Close Your Eyes'. It is albums like this that got me into this style of music in the first place....totally majestic, great vocals, great musicianship and well worth the purchase money as a consequence - an album that will make waves of tsunami proportions within the genre I am sure!!... 9/10 (Dave)

ELITANIA...'TEMPLOS de CRISTAL'

(Self Release) Reviewed 25th September 2015

This band may be from Mexico, but if you start an album with bagpipes, then you have our attention for sure. Basically, this is an album of Symphonic Metal. There are four vocalists too: Yesenia Jacobo - (Soprano), Carla H. Orozco - (Mezzosoprano), Cristobal Basulto - (Barítono), Rafael Molina - (Tenor), and it all gels together rather well. Sung in Spanish, this release is rather Kool. Opener and the title track showcases the vocal capabilities of the band, while second up 'Donde las Sirenas Cantan' is an up tempo melodic corker, again featuring their stunning array of vocalists. Third track 'Desde mi Ayer' is a rather nice ballad as is 'Agnus Dei', I am not familiar with Spanish but I am sure there is a meaning within the lyrics of these awesome tunes. There are other good uns here like the epic sounding ‘Dragon de Medea‘, and the 100% epic closer and 16 minute plus ‘Ultimo Aliento’, a mini EP in its own right. I must say that this is an album that sure does mix the Symphonic (more so vocally) with the Metal (listen to the track ‘Pluton‘) and pull it off rather marvellously. Released earlier this year, this is yet another record that is well worth checking out! The band's Facebook is here. An appealing release..9/10 (The Nugget)

MARTINA EDOFF...'UNITY'

(Into Records/Cargo) Reviewed 23rd September 2015

Martina Edoff comes from a certain country called Sweden, and was one of the founder members of the Glam/Rock Band The Poodles. For this her second solo album, MARTINA was supported by Jona Tee, keyboard player in the Swedish hard rock group H.E.A.T. This hook laden opus is effectively an 11 track journey into the fields of Melodic Rock/AOR, and listening to this, those fields are well and truly green and rosy. Some massive anthemic fist pumping tunes here as one would expect, such as tracks like 'Never Let You Down', the catchy single 'World Has Gone Mad', the melodic 'Come Alive' with its memorable chorus, and well, I think I will stop there as everything here is captivating and addictive. Overall, this is strong up tempo Melodic Rock, chock full of radio friendly tunes, coupled with occasional ballads like 'Spirit of Light' and 'Moment of Truth', and is well worth looking into when released in October... 9.25/10 (The Nugget)

EMBRACING SOUL...'MAKE ME BELIEVE' EP

(Illusive Records) Reviewed 21st September 2015

Formed in 2009 by Chelsea Pisano and Brandon Iajecznyk, Embracing Soul has developed a Gothic/Rock/Metal sound unlike any other in Canada. They developed their debut LP 'Shadow' for release in early 2010, followed by EP 'Luna' in 2012, single release of 'Soteria's End' in 2014, and continue to expand their sound with this their latest 5 track EP. Indeed, this latest effort from the band encompasses the heavy riffs, the angelic vocals coupled with deathly growls, and the subtle progressive elements that were a familiar sound on their previous efforts. A previous review of their EP ‘Luna’ done by Dave suggested that vocally Chelsea sounded like Amy Lee (Evanescence). Those comparisons can still be made, this is what Evanescence may sound like if they took a heavier more metallic route. Generally though, this is a half decent release that should appeal to Evanescence fans and female fronted nut cases in general. The band’s website can be found at www.embracingsoul.com/Home.html… 8.25/10 (The Nugget)

EMBASSY OF SILENCE...'VERISIMILITUDE'

(Self Released) Reviewed 12th September 2015

Embassy of Silence come from Finland and that in itself tells us that there is a good chance of an awesome package of music here, and yep, an awesome package of music we have! There are eight numbers on this cd of what can best be detailed as Progressive Rock/Metal, with a poppy vocal style from leading lady Ines Lukkanen. This is rather good I myself have to say, and we have the trademark Embassy of Silence sound, which is certainly there within the catchy choruses. Rather good me thinks, with a fave track of mine being the closing epic, the 7 minute plus 'Dear Mr Steele'. Embassy of Silence sure did turn it on with their previous 2 albums and this continues the consistent output from this Finnish band. Their website is here - so don't hang around, go get it! And dare I pronounce the title? Nope, I have had a bit to drink LOL…9/10 (The Nugget)

ELEINE…S/T

(Cardiac Records) Reviewed 12th September 2015

Eleine is a Symphonic Metal band from Sweden, fronted by a female singer with the same name. On April 18th 2015 they released their debut album, and it has been well received to say the least. Eleine herself is also known as an alternative model. Working world-wide with brands/companies like Elegant Curiosities, Odium Clothing, Heartbreak Tattoo, to name a few. So what about the music? There are eight tracks here of Melodic Metal with Symphonic influences, ‘Land Beyond Sanity’ being the opener, a pounding track also featuring the male vocals of guitarist Rikard Ekburg. ‘Destiny’ is another heavy number with soaring guitar riffs to ‘ blow your speakers. ‘Gathering Storm’ offers up vague similarities to Within Temptation or Delain, while ‘Devotion’ just simply carries on the awesome start to the album. ‘Turn To Dust’ is an emotional ballad that builds into a ballad of mammoth proportions, with following number ‘A Glimpse of Hope’ being a brief piano led instrumental. ‘A Sin’ has an awesome organ led intro, starts slow and ballady before the band kicks in big time and turns it into a hammering tune with a progressive undercurrent. Closing the album is the number ‘Death Incarnate’ and what a way to close this awesome record. Another absolute heavy melodic belter to leave you wanting hit the repeat button. This is good - website is here…. 9/10 (Dave)

EMERALD MIND…’CIVILISATION’

(Self Release) Reviewed 2nd September 2015

Originally called Diadema (they changed their name in 2008), Emerald Mind come from Russia and this is the band’s second album of Power/Progressive metal featuring the beautiful operatic vocals of Svetlana Vysotskaya (The Rimsky-Korsakov St. Petersburg State Conservatory). The album contains Emerald Mind’s thoughts about nature and Mother Earth and about their role in life. It contains the band's experiences about growing up and the loss of magic that surrounds us all. There are nine tracks contained within this awesome musical package, it is melodic, it is tuneful and those vocals of Svetlana are a joy to the ears. A brief review but this is sure worth checking out for fans of female fronted Symphonic Metal. It has just been released so check it out at CDbaby (www.cdbaby.com/cd/emeraldmind2) and have a listen on Spotify too… 9/10 (Dave)

FERIDEA…’INTO A DAWN’ EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 26th August 2015

Feridea was founded in 2012 by Henrik Airaksinen, who had been making filmscore music for some time. Originally Feridea was formed by: Henrik Airaksinen - keyboard, Aleksander Viitanen - guitar, Jukka Ahlström - drums, Miika Hänninen - bass, Heidi Mankinen - vocals. Heidi Lahtinen, who had long history of playing classical and folk music joined Feridea as violinist, while Heidi Mankinen is since no longer the vocalist, having been replaced by Katra Solopuro (remember the band KATRA?). On this CD, the band offers the listener basically a straight forward Symphonic Metal sound, revolving around traditional Symphonic and Power-Metal, but with some pop-ish melodies - without forgetting orchestrations of course. Four bombastic tracks of totally awesome music can be found on this album including the closing 9 minute epic power ballad ‘Song Of A Longing Heart’, leaving me wondering when we can expect a possible full length album. And despite running in at nearly 28 minutes, the EP (due 28th August) flies by quicker than a speeding Japanese bullet train, totally brilliant. Their website can be found here… 9.5/10 (Dave)

FRAM...'KEEP CALM AND BLOW YOUR BAGPIPE'

(Self Released) Reviewed 10th August 2015

FRAM come from Ukaraine and this is a rather good album of covers given the Folk Rock treatment. There are 9 tracks on our copy of catchy little numbers raging from Leonard Cohen's 'HALLELUJAH', the Beatle's 'LET IT BE' and closing with 'OHNE DICH' originally recorded by Rammstein. I must say that this is very catchy and very good, and I also love the title! Check it out if you can and here is their website: www.framband.com/, so get your bagpipes out and light up your camp fire!..8.5/10 (The Nugget)

FIFEFLIGHT…’INNOVA’

(Self Release) Reviewed 30th July 2015

Christian Rockers Fireflight fronted by Dawn Michele are back with their latest offering. Due to a website glitch, we are having to do this review again, as the original seems to have zapped its way into cyberspace and not come back. Anyway, the band was formed in 1999, so they are well established on the music scene. After having been on a label that is a major player within the Christian Music scene, the band decided to self release this record, with the help of a crowd funding campaign. Anyway, the 12 tracks here are an awesome helping of Pop/Rock with touches of electronica, giving the listener a solid release to get their grubby paws on. There is a message within the lyrics, but the band do not overly preach the message. Furthermore, I myself admit that I am not an overly religious person, but I sure like good music when I hear it. There are standout cuts galore here, that will have you bouncing around like a demented lamb in a field full of dandelions. Listen to tracks like ‘I’ve Got The Power’, the power ballad ‘Here and Now’ and 'The Fallout' from a record chock full of nuggets. The band’s website is at www.fireflightrock.com ...recommended...8.75/10 (The Nugget)

EQUINOXEM...’NIGHTGENESIS’

(Self Release) Reviewed 29th July 2015

Equinoxem come from Argentina, a country that seems to be making a strong foray into the realms of female fronted Rock&Metal. ‘Nightgenesis’ is the band’s second full length album, and is the second rather good Symphonic Metal album I have had the pleasure of listening too today. We have operatic vocals compliments of Ashe Alder , with male vocals/growls from Matt Tallón. And let us not forget the Mystic Choir: Erika Van De Staaj, Natalia López and Roberto Castiglioni. ‘The Serpent Seal’ opens proceedings and is a mid tempo half decent number to kick things off. Following that, the music throughout the cd is mainly mid tempo and familiar Symphonic stuff and okay, it has all been done and heard before but nonetheless, it is all rather good. However, I did find myself losing interest a bit towards the end of the record, as I felt it was getting a little one dimensional and repetitive. The band’s website is here... 8/10 (Dave)

ELECTRA...'THESE TIMES'

(Self Release) Reviewed 29th July 2015

Electra Barakos was born in Los Angeles California, but raised in Athens, Greece. Influenced by her father who is a professional Bass player, Electra started her music career from a very early age. She started playing piano when she was 6 years old, wrote her first song and recorded it when she was 8, was involved in a professional children’s choir in Greece, performed for the Greek President, and attended a Performing arts high school in Athens. Now in 2015, this is the rather talented girl's debut full length release, offering the listener 11 tracks of rather good catchy Pop/Rock. This review is actually a re-review as the original seems to have disappeared from the website, but if you like the aforementioned style of radio friendly and inoffensive Pop/Rock music, offering tracks like 'Push Me', 'I Gotta Go' and 'Life's A Bitch', then this release is well worth checking out. Electra's website is at www.electrarocks.com/home.html.. check it out, you know you should. Recommended to all and sundry out there..8.75/10 (The Nugget)

EMERA…’LEAP OF FAITH’

(Self Release) Reviewed 29th July 2015

The recent review that was done of Emera’s album ‘Leap Of Faith’ seems to have disappeared into cyberspace along with a couple of others, so here is a quickie. Emera hail from France and offer the listener 10 tracks of rather good Melodic Metal, with rather sweet female vocals. I would say that this is rather good , it being the band’s debut that was released towards the end of 2014. If you like your metal with a bit of ooommppphhh together with loadsa of melody, this is certainly worth checking out. The band’s reverbnation site is here.. 8.75/10 (The Nugget)

FFERYLLT…’ACHANTEREZ’

(Stygian Crypt Productions) Reviewed 28th July 2015

The history of this Russian band under the mysterious name “Fferyllt” is deeply rooted in the autumn of 2003, when the keyboard player Dmitry Elissev had thought over making a musical project devoted to Western European paganism. The first line-up was gathered in spring 2007 and the band begun active creative work. In 2009 the label Stygian Crypt Productions released the debut album of the band. A year later in 2012 the same label released the second album 'Prediction'. In 2015 FFERYLLT finished work on the third full-length album that is reviewed here. The main features of the cd is the female voice of Ekaterina Godlevskaya, the male growl of М. Chikviladze, choirs and orchestral arrangements, also parts of Western European folk instruments (bagpipe, Irish flute) and more traditional for Symphonic music, the cello, violin, viola and double bass. And it all adds to a Folk Symphonic Metal masterpiece - 11 tracks (my version) of it, with the tracks ‘A Sprengisandi’ and the bombastic 'A Missing Page' being current favourites of mine. Actually, I think Folk Metal has generally become the domain of Beauty and the Beast Metal, with the female vocals now quite often accompanied by male growls. But if you like a good old shot of Folk Metal with your pint of mead, together with plenty of orchestration, pipes and the biz, get this album. Available at CDbaby amongst other locations and recommended… 9/10 (The Nugget)

EGO LIKENESS…’WHEN THE WOLVES RETURN’

(Metropolis Records) Reviewed 23rd July 2015

Ego Likeness is an American rock band from Baltimore, Maryland. They were formed in 1999 by artist Steven Archer and writer Donna Lynch. After a hatful of releases, 2015 sees the release of this, their latest epic album that was released mid July. There are 12 tracks here of what can best be described as catchy up tempo darkwave/industrial rock, which will have you bouncing around the floor in no time whatsoever. Despite being a so called metalhead, I do like all types of music, as long as there is melody, and this album is included, being yet another awesome ‘dance floor’ release from Donna and Steven. A host of goodies here including the atmospheric closing title track. Well worth looking into, a decent album…8.5/10 (Dave)

FLYNN EFFECT…’SKIN’

(Self Release) Reviewed 22nd July 2015

Fronted by Tomina Vincent, Flynn Effect is an alternative metal band from Brisbane, Australia. The brainchild of a video game composer, they draw influences from artists like HIM, Rammstein and Lacuna Coil to create a bold but catchy and accessible sound. This 13 track album was released a few months back and has been held up in the reviews pile due to Dave being unwell, but better late than never. Putting into the blender electronic, symphonic and heavy rock elements, these Australians have pulled it off rather well. There are some blistering nuggets on this album including the opener ‘Whispers’, second up ‘Flourescence’, the powerful sounding ballads ‘Petrichor’ and ‘The Runaway’, the Middle Eastern influenced and totally magical ‘Comatose’ and the heavy and symphonic ‘Pretender’. Other sources have described the album as "impressive” and “a wonderful electronica influenced symphonic alternative album that grows with every time you listen to it." We can second that! The band’s facebook is here... 8.75/10 (The Nugget)

ELYOSE...'IPSO FACTO'

(Season of Mist) Reviewed 7th July 2015

Here is a rather good French band, their musical repertoire consisting of what we would call Industrial/Gothic Metal. Fronted at the mic stand by the rather awesome vocals of Justine Daaé , there are eleven tracks here of the previously mentioned Gothic Metal with Industrial influences thrown into the melting pot. And this is good bouncy stuff on this their 2nd full length, with some pounding catchy tunes such as 'De Guerre Lasse' and 'Chronocide' to annoy your neighbours when played loud :) The album thunders along as a whole rather nicely thank you without any soppy ballads, although final track 'Contretemps' does slow it down a bit introducing a bluesy feel. The album is well recommended... 8.75/10 (Rachel Louise Smith)

EDENWAR...S/T

(Self Released) Reviewed 1st July 2015

Edenwar was born in January 2014, inspired by the best sounds of the Symphonic Metal and Epic bands of the last decade. The founders, Nicolas Dobernack from Switzerland and Anna Fiori from Mexico, set their first steps in the fascinating world that lays between Metal and Epic music, mixing innovating sounds with complex atmospheric soundscapes. There are 8 songs here that shows the great potential of the band. This album counts on the collaboration of great musicians including Timo Somers (Delain), Fabio Lione (Angra, Rhapsody of Fire and Kamelot) and Christian Vidal (Therion), that empowers the album quality with excellent results. And let us not forget the EdenChoir featuring 20 people from Mexico. Eight tracks of sheer symphonic bombastic power on this cd and not a bad track to be found. The band's website is at www.edenwarband.com. This is very good and well recommended...9/10 (Dave)

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