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(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)
(Self Release) Reviewed 21st January 2013
Eidon come from Tours in the heart of the romantic Loire valley renaissance château country, and I reviewed the wonderful album by Adrana who come from exactly the same place, it must be something in the historic cultural ambience that provides the inspiration to create symphonic metal. As you would expect, they are in the cour d'honneur with fellow French bands Wildpath, Whispering Tales, and the afore mentioned Adrana, with a hint of Nightwish here and there, and captivating chanteuse Gabrielle has that distinctive light operatic voice that is so characteristic. However, what makes Eidon so distinctive is that drummer Damien foregoes double peddling and instead creates a beat that will have you jumping, in fact the whole music has a joyous bounce that's guaranteed to get you moving, and a joie de vivre that's hard to resist with Gabrielle really letting rip, they must be terrific live and really get the crowd going. The intro builds the sense of anticipation, and then we're off to the mosh pit. At this point I must apologise, but it's very difficult to write while leaping around the room, but while they play the gorgeous ballad 'Night's Outline' it gives me a chance to tell you that you get a whole set full of cracking crowd pleasers packed with great instrumental flourishes by guitarist Thibaut and keyboardist Celile, now you have to excuse me, but they're just started playing 'Devil Soul', and I'm off again. Many albums have numbers that get you rocking, but it is rare indeed to have a whole album full, it like a 11 song encore, and 'Night Heart Passion' is thoroughly stuck in my cranium, I find myself bouncing up and down at the supermarket or strutting down the street. Appropriately Celile plays the reflective piano piece 'At the End of Exodus' at the end while they carry the bodies out the door and sweep the debris off the floor.Here we have a ultra catchy, great fun album with an excellent sound, music to bring a spring into your step and a grin to your face. Trip you way go-lightly to their website here
, a crystalline 8.75/10 (Phil)
EDGE OF ATTACK...S/T
(Self Release) Reviewed January 14th 2012
I reviewed a promo copy of this album in May of last year, and I was highly impressed with that effort by this band from Alberta in Canada. Now I have the actual copy of the 'real' cd with a slightly amended track listing and different artwork. Indeed, one track from the promo has been removed, and two new numbers pop up. I decided to review the album again, as it is due now to be released in February, and I remain equally impressed with what I have here. Fronted by Roxanne Gordy and ably assisted by the awesome male vocals of guitarist Jurekk Whipple, this band offer the listener 10 tracks of Metal with a thrashy and melodic edge. The Power Metal of new number 'In Hell' kicks things off, this track roaring out of the speakers like a Japanese bullet train. The melodic and mid tempo 'The Haunting' and the quirky 'Demon (Of The Northen Seas)' follow, the latter reminding me a little of UK rockers Magnum or even Thin Lizzy. 'Take Me Alive' is a thumping rocker while the other newbie 'In The Night', is a rather cool but powerful melodic rocker with a slight symphonic edge. The power and the melody shows no let up during the second half of the album, with further highlights like the Power Metal of 'Edge Of Attack', the awesome 'Rise Above', the powerful and catchy 'Forever' and the 8 minute + 'Set The World Aflame' with it's great choral intro. The music on this album is designed to be played loud, the all round musicianship is damn brilliant, and their website is at this location - www.edgeofattack.com
- check them out.. 8.75/10 (Dave)
(Self Release/Distro Nightmare Records) Reviewed 10th January 2013
There are bands that are so obscure that they probably have not even heard of themselves, they must go to band practice and say, who are we? This is a case in point, this band from the Netherlands, the spiritual home of female fronted metal and not outer Mongolia, has just 73 Facebook 'Likes', even a Peruvian nose flute band has more, but believe it or not they been around for ten years, added to that this is, even more remarkably, this is their second album, their début 'Barefoot and Naked' was released back in 2006. There must be a reason, logic dictates, i.e., they are rubbish, but in the strange case of Feedforward, a band I stumbled across accidentally, they are anything but rubbish, as we shall see. They feature Patrice on vocals, Pi on Sloggi underwear and drums (his drumming certainly is not pants), Jan on bass, Mario on snake guitar, and Job on keys. The first thing that strikes you when the intro 'Ahead of Echoes' burst out the speakers is superb professional sound and musicianship, then 'Deepest Thoughts' shows that they have the same combination of skill and songwriting as top melodic prog rock/metal bands like Akribi, Souls of Diotima, Touchstone and Efflorescence, with Patrice revealing that she has a terrific powerful voice. 'Thin Ice' glides effortlessly from subtle to catchy to rocking, cleverly constructed, carefully crafted, lots of super musical escapades, good grief, this is impressive stuff, and the quality never lets up through the following six numbers culminating in the epic 'For Now'. This is such a thoroughly excellent collection of accessible prog rock/metal with great crossover appeal that it is baffling why they are so unknown. Easily available from CD Baby, their website is here
, this is a hidden gem, 8.75/10 (Phil)
(Massacre Records) Reviewed 31st December 2012
The band ENVINYA fronted by Natalie Pereira dos Santos (she has however now just left the band), was established in 2006. The music of the six-piece from Bavaria is as magic and stunning and makes it hard to put the band into a category. Their sound is dark, heavy yet melodic and covers various musical influences and the characters every band member. It was this diversity who developed the slogan “more than metal” which describes the band’s’ sound pretty well. There are ten tracks on this record covering 46 minutes, which kinda flirts between Melodic and Power Metal. We have the addition of occasional male vocals compliments of Thomas Knauer who also plays rhythm guitar, while Natalie's vocals are more from the school of rock rather than the operatic that we have come to expect from some female fronted bands. 'Faceless' kicks things off with synths giving way to heavy crunching guitars, this number giving more of a Power Metally start to proceedings. Second up 'Forlorn' is another upbeat melodic thumper and that is the way the album continues. Listen to numbers like 'Inner Silence', 'In My Hands' the awesome 'Mirror Soul' and 'Too Late', and you will then know why you got into this style of music in the first place! For fans of Female Fronted Metal with loadsa catchy melodies, here is their Facebook
to get a taster for yourselves, this being another release to get your teeth into at the start of 2013. It gets released 25th January - great stuff... 8.5/10 (Dave)
(Self Released) Reviewed 31st December 2012
Enkelination (enkeli - meaning Angel in finnish) was formed in November 2011. Founded by Finnish classically trained former opera singer Elina Siirala, she moved to London in 2008 and fell in love with the power and performance of rock and metal. Now she is using her classical roots to help create her own mark in the world of alternative music. She’s a talented and powerful singer/composer creating Melodic Hard Rock from a multitude of influences. Surrounded by heavy guitar sounds and metal drums, Elina's angelic voice cuts through the darkness with an ethereal quality. 'Never Ending' kicks this three track EP off, a melodic guitar orientated track that showcases very well Elina's operatic vocal style, without the musical symphonics if that makes sense. 'Higher Ground' and the catchy 'Insane' follow a similar melodic route, with the vocals of Elina lifting this EP onto a higher level. To summarise, we have the operatic (but not overly done) vocal style of Elina, mixing it with a melodic guitar orientated performance. This is a band that is going to have to be watched in 2013, and I am certainly interested to hear more. For the time being, check their Facebook
out, as this is good! 8.75/10 (Dave)
(Self Release) Reviewed 8th December 2012
Parisians Elyose were founded in 2009 by classical singer Justine Daaé and bassist Ghislain Henry to create bouncing catchy electro metal in the same sort of ballpark as Skeptical Minds, I:Scintilla, Xe-none and Blood Stained Child. However there are no growls (apart from a short burst in the darker 'Wine from the Sick') and Justine's lyrical voice and the use of the romantic French language gives them a unique, distinctive sound. The thumping drums and grooving riffage makes you wanna pogo around the dance floor, while you are caressed by Justine's seductive voice and dreamy synths and orchestral sounds. Each number contains loads of variations from pounding to soothing so you will not be carried off on a stretcher, and if you want to sit a few songs out, there's lots of great sounds and super musical hooks to enjoy. The guitar sound can make or break an album, here Antoine Bouchet has a superb soft deep fuzzy tone, all part of the most excellent production. A brief intro leads into the first tune ' Le Libérateur' which gets this non-stop party going, fave raves include the symphonic 'L'orientale' with its terrific string hook, the deep down and dirty 'Incandescence', the highly charged joint jumping 'Overload', and the Liv Moon esque swinger 'Je Tempeste'. Elyose deliver exactly what they promise, music for the head and feet that’s guaranteed to keep you thoroughly entertained. Strut your funky stuff to their Facebook
, a entrancing dancing 8.5/10 (Phil)
ELFERYA...'THE STRAIGHT AND NARROW'
(Suisa) Reviewed 8th December 2012
Elferya from Lausaane in Switzerland were formed in 2008, releasing a demo EP Afterlife in 2010. Like Illuminata from across the border in Austria, Elferya's début offering sounded like it was recorded in a wheely bin on a mobile phone, which nearly put me off totally, but as with Illuminata's 'A World So Cold', this first album proper sounds fantastic, so if you’ve run to the Alps after hearing their EP, come back!!!! The other thing I must mention is the superb artwork and band photos both in the album artwork and promo material, I am fed up with ‘arty’ photos that are either so small you need a microscope, or are so dark that you can’t see a thing, that’s if you get any photos, Elferya show you how it should be done, it's nice to put a face to music and an important part of the creative image that sets the scene. Returning to the music itself, their Celtic infused true symphonic metal hovers between Mother Earth era Within Temptation, Lyriel, modern Nightwish and Silent Opera, with Claire-Lyse's voice also hovering between semi-operatic and operatic, and she often duets or counterpoints the two styles. The wonderful intro 'Once Upon a Time' builds appropriately into the first song 'Fairytale', setting the stage for an album of rollicking frolicking romantic romps that stray from the straight and narrow as they weave their way up humongous hills and down delightful dales in each each action packed adventure. Every song is so feature packed it's very difficult to pick out faves, they create a continuous tapestry that carries you though to the magical closer 'Awakening'. If push comes to shove, I would pick the afore mentioned 'Fairytale', the soaring 'Butterfly, the incendiary 'Burning Desire', the thunderous and conversely named 'The Silence of the Night', and the folky instrumental 'Mystic Lands'. This is a bewitching album of Celtic symphonic metal that is a joy to behold, beautifully crafted, performed, produced and packaged, so venture to their splendid website
, a fairytale 9/10 (Phil)
EVERLASTING DAWN...'OF FROZEN HEARTS AND BLOODY WHORES'
(Self Release) Reviewed 23rd November 2012
Everlasting Dawn from Graz in SE Austria started as a project in 2010 by multi instrumentalist Dave Slut, and is now basically a Symphonic Melodic Death Metal Band. Female vocals are provided courtesy of Lisa Tomantschger, and growls by Dave himself. The band provide the listener with 13 tracks and nearly 70 minutes of daunting guitar riffs, charming female vocals and catchy but complex keyboard arrangements, courtesy Adrian Wolfgang. This is the band's debut full length album, and I am very impressed at the press package this band has put together in support of this release. And indeed, I am very impressed with the music on offer too. Basically we are provided with what it says on the 'tin' - Melodic Symphonic Death Metal sums it up quite nicely, bags of melody, great female vocals, with the growls fitting in rather nicely too. One I suppose would make Epica as an immediate comparison. The tracks come out of the speakers with the power of an express train, with the melodic and catchy 'Frozen Inside' being a fave featuring clean male vocals as well as growls. 'Testament' is a power ballad that showcases the vocal style of Lisa to a tee, maybe instrumentally, shades of Nightwish here. 'World Domination' flirts with Power Metal, while 'Rotten Love' has a great instrumental intro, and is a massive number to maintain the listener's interest - great stuff and cool keys midway!!! 'Lost Thoughts Of Dying Days' is a 7 minute metal epic, while the remainder of the album maintains the ruthless aural assault with occasional touches of warmth - 'Winterhearts Nightmare' such an example. I just love it when an unknown band comes along and blows me away, and that is exactly what Everlasting Dawn has done. They are a Beauty and the Beast Band that offer some intense ferocity coupled with some great female vocals and some elements of tenderness. Their Facebook is here
, this is damn good! 9/10 (Dave)
FORTALEZA OCULTA...'DISCOS Y CINTAS'
(Denver) Reviewed 31st October 2012
The foundations of Fortaleza (Castle) were set down in 2004, and since then have safely stashed 3 terrific albums in their vaults. A slight change in style has been heralded the addition of Oculta to their name, also the title of this brand new album, as they move away from their light gothic rock/metal style to a more epic up-tempo symphonic sound that knocks on the gatehouse of power metal without pushing the door down as they retain their lightness of touch and distinctive Latin flavour. Part of this is down to new keys man Pablo who adds orchestral sounds into the mix as well as some decorative Moog machicolations, and he joined by their gorgeous new singer Ariana, who has a voice that's not too dissimilar to Sy Armonight. There are very occasional what I would call croaky vocals rather than growls, so nothing for anti growlers to worry about. They throw down the gauntlet with the scene setting theatrical instrumental intro 'La Fortaleza Oculta', and many of their other songs also feature sound effects to introduce the story behind the song. Then 'La Llegada', lead song 'Ninguna Eternidad Como La Mia' (video on Female Voices) and 'Dulce Agonia', after it's gentle intro, really motor along in great style (all lyrics are in Spanish). 'El Cisne Negro' (The Black Swan) is suitably brooding and dramatic, 'Juegos De Guerra' (War Games) is signalled by eerie sirens and really rocks menacingly, and 'Mia Moon' waxes and wanes between mellow and rocking. The next two are super catchy rockers, 'El Enemigo Silencioso' and 'Un Dia Mas', then they round things off nicely with the Latin piano torch song, 'Arrancame la Vida'. Fortaleza have produced another hugely enjoyable album, but this time with an added punch that will bring them a legion of new fans. Sally forth across their drawbridge to their citadel here
, a fortifying 8.75/10 (Phil)
ELYSION...'KILLING MY DREAMS' Digital only EP
(Massacre Records) Reviewed 23rd October 2012
Elysion is a fave band of mine hailing from Greece. There must be a reason for the label to be releasing this EP, as it features by and large tracks from their debut album that was released three years ago now. These 8 tracks here in various formats, acoustic, live etc. I have been in contact with the band, and there is still some left over recording to do regards a new album, but meanwhile, let's all enjoy this EP. I would however say that this digital only release would appeal mainly to fans of the band, and if there are people out there reading this that are unfamiliar with Elysion, may I suggest first purchasing the band's album 'Silent Scream', as the perfect introduction to this awesome Greek combo. This digital release will appear 16th November, but I myself cannot wait for any new stuff to appear! ... 7.75/10 (Dave)
(Massacre Records) Reviewed 3rd September 2012
Here is something to grab your attention folks. In the Summer of 2005, Portugese Metal merchants EnChanTya recorded their first demo: 'Moonlighting the Dreamer', released in 2006. The sound of the band was labelled and put in line with starlet bands like Nightwish and Within Temptation, amongst others. It may have taken 7 years, but Massacre Records have signed the band and now proudly announce the band's debut full length recording, that will be released at the end of September. 'Dark Rising' can quite easily be placed into the Gothic Metal territory, rather good it is too, plus you get your monies worth with 13 tracks and a good hours worth of stomping heavy music. The album features predominately operatic vocals courtesy of Rute Fevereiro, with some occasional growls from the young lady too, so she is very versatile in the vocals department. After a brief instrumental opener that includes air raid sirens, you get your fair share of pounding Gothic Metal including 'No Stars In The Sky', 'Clad In Black', 'Longing For You', 'Fear Me When You Fall' and Of course, there is the obligatory ballad, 'Winter Dreams' and as I have said many times before, I am a real sucker for a good ballad!! The album at times tends to remind me of Russian Metal girls Blackthorn, and will be well worth checking out when it gets released on the 28th September. This is classic Gothic Metal that offers a real punch in the process! Super stuff!! 8.75/10 (Dave)
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