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HEEL...'STRANGER JUST THE SAME' EP
(Self Release) Reviewed 30th July 2014
Heel fronted by Margarita was formed in the winter of 2011. They come from London which means that this is the 3rd British band I have had the pleasure of reviewing today. Seems the female fronted music scene here is gaining momentum at long last. On the downside, this is just 4 tracks long but it is bloomin' good! Opening with the high octane 'Stranger', I suppose they draw comparisons with Pennsylvania's very own Halestorm. Second up 'Gone' tones it down a wee bit, but is still an energetic number to sink your teeth into. 'We'll Fall Back In Love' as the title suggests is a rather good power ballad with an up tempo chorus, while closer 'Not You' ups the ante and is a great way to end this little epic. Their Facebook site can be found here
, so go and support some rather good unsigned music..8.25/10 (Dave)
(Bakerteam Records) Reviewed 19th April 2014
Another Italian Band to sink your teeth into and rather good they are too. The band was founded by Max (drummer) in October 2009 with the aim of writing and performing original metal music with a symphonic and epic inspiration. Fronted by Argentinian lass Erika "Aeon" Ferraris, with added 'gruff' almost male like vocals from Eliana "La Sisiki" Sanna, the band perform Symphonic/Epic Metal inspired by the greatest fantasy literature, including ‘A Game Of Thrones’ and ‘Lord Of The Rings’. Opener 'Bewitched (My Words Are The Power)' is a corker in a Symphonic Metal style, with the added benefit of a flute player to add to the tapestry of sound thrown at us by the band. Next up 'Winter Is Coming' has a video to accompany the song, and is inspired by the aforementioned American fantasy drama GAME OF THRONES. The album continues with some awesome tracks like the catchy and bouncy 'Holy Shire', the epic 'The Revenge Of The Shadow', the atmospheric but heavy 'Beyond', the 8 minute plus title track and the quirky closing bonus track (digipak version) 'Greensleeves'. This is another good album to check out and I do like the use of the flute that weaves it's way in and out of many of the songs. The record will appear on May 13th, but meanwhile, check out the video to 'Winter Is Coming' at www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyYgck8BpMk
- a promising debut indeed! 8.5/10 (Dave)
GHOST TOWER...'HEAD OF NIGHT'
(Self Release/MetalPunxRex) Reviewed 4th March 2014
Ghost Tower is a now defunct underground horror-themed traditional heavy metal band with thrash and doom metal influences from Bellevue, Nebraska, US. The band started in 2007 with founding members Ameven (Amy Hunley) on vocals and Matt Preston on guitar. After a couple of demos and some line-up changes, after adding drummer Mike Biggs to the line-up and Matt also taking on bass and keyboard roles, in February 2012 the 'Head of Night' album was self-released. In summer 2013, when the original CD pressing was no longer available, the album was released on cassette (yep, cassette) by Germany's MetalPunxRex label. What we have here is 9 heavy metal tracks with a raw 70s type production, harking back to the days of Ozzy, Black Sabbath, early Iron Maiden and the like. If you like the aforementioned acts and similar and have a liking for 70/80s sounding old school metal, check this lot out, including the atmospheric closer 'Elegy Of Dreamtime'. The album can be heard here: www.ghosttower.bandcamp.com/
The HOURGLASS...'THROUGH DARKNESS AND LIGHT'
(Self Release) Reviewed 17th Jan 2014
The Hourglass fronted by the lovely Alma Vomastek is a Metal Band from Romania formed in 2010. The band's music consists of a combination of Symphonic Metal elements, electro/industrial sounds and the dramatic soprano voice of Alma, all based on a strong melodic metal structure. And boy this, their debut album is good, and the opener 'Dying Star' is testament to this, a melodic thumping number. 'Rise' exhibits subtle industrial elements with great use of synths and keys from another lass in the band, Ioana Dîrvă, this song maintaining a strong sense of melody coupled with Alma's dynamic vocals. And the momentum and melody doesn't let up, we have the catchy 'Away', the rather good 'Dare' which is a fave of mine from the record and then there is 'Requiem', another awesome number with a slight progressive undercurrent. 'Dies Irae' is a great metal song with anthemic qualities and even a religious feel about it - indeed the "Dies Irae" was used in the Roman liturgy as the sequence for the Requiem Mass for centuries, as evidenced by the important place it holds in musical settings such as those by Mozart and Verdi. 'The Fall' is a song about suicide -"Should I jump? Or should I wait to see if I could Find another way? The wounds are deep, The game is lost...My role was played" Alma sings. 'Magdalene', is an uptempo number reminiscent of Nightwish, Magdalene losing someone dear to her - "Magdalene, your tears won't bring him back, He's gone, and you are trapped, Living in the shade of your past, Magdalene, he walked off with your heart". The following tune 'Abandoned' is another upbeat tune but with dark lyrics. 'In Remembrance' I understand is about Alma's late Grandfather and is a great rockin' number, while closer 'Way Home' is about the journey we take in our lives until we find our way home. This is an awesome album with very hard hitting and poetic lyrics throughout and I must recommend this cd whole heartedly when it gets released in February. The band's website is at www.the-hourglass.com/home
G.L.A.S.S. ...'GIVING LIFE A SECRET STORY'
(Indie Release) Reviewed 15th October 2013
German band GLASS (Facebook
) founded in 2009, is fronted by the awesome Katy aus dem Spring and offer up a mix of Symphonic Gothic Rock/Metal with a Progressive undercurrent. And GLASS is another band that is new to me, but sound very established and I do believe that this album was in-fact released a while back. There are ten tracks here that to my ears are not overly heavy. The progressive feel to the music is certainly apparent in openers 'Ancient Ring' and 'Wounded Heart', great commercial tunes aswell, to which I myself found an extremely pleasant listening experience - great guitar aswell compliments Manus Magi. Third track in, the more operatic 'Der Erlkonig' sung in the band's native toungue is a quirky number, while I do very much like 'Oceandeep' - Katy's vocals sensational! 'That's Why I Can Smile' starts with atmospheric synths and becomes more of a piano led ballad with further liberal use of haunting synths. The second half of the records kicks off with the very good and rather catchy 'Black Comedy', and it is a refreshing change to hear an operatic voice with out the bombastic symphonics that we get on many recordings. 'Galgenlied' is another rather quirky and catchy tune, with 'Who You Are' being another mainly piano led ballad, some great violin and with Katy's voice showing so much emotion! The closing duo of the folky 'Dance' with it's pipes and 'Soul In Pain' end what to me is a very good and at times beautiful record. This is very much a band effort it has to be said, but I will add that Katy has in the past been described as one of the most interesting new voices in Germany’s Metal Scene, and was awarded with ’Germany's Rock and Pop Award’ as "best female Hard´n´Heavy vocalist“ in 2009. And to be honest, on this showing I can see why and you know what, this release is a little special..8.75/10 (Dave)
(BOB Media) Reviewed 15th October 2013
Hot Mama I guarantee will rock your socks off. Hailing from Germany this band fronted by the good looking Sonya serve up on this record 10 tracks of Hard Rockin' mayhem. They list their influences amongst many others as Guano Apes, Ozzy, Stone Sour, Korn, Disturbed and Velvet Revolver and this is the style of music that you can expect. Some great turbo charged rockers here including 'Higher', 'Voodoo', 'Alcohol' the thumping 'Waiting For The Beast' and the closer, the melodic 'Your Way'. The band can also slow it down with tracks like 'Living Today'. The band's website is here
and this is a rather good effort from a band that is a new one to me... 8/10 (Dave)
(Costa Verde Records) Reviewed 10th September 2013
Gabriel is a messenger, the spirit of truth and the archangel of death. In-fact the band Gabriel is Sally Elsey who lives in the UK (not too far from where I used to live in Essex) and Albert Vinasco from the USA who now lives in Argentina. They decided to collaborate on a couple of songs four years or so ago after meeting on a musician's website called 'Broadjam', and here they are four albums later still doing what they so love - making rather cool music. And there will soon be a fifth one too. This current cd however, is an awesome collection of melodic songs, that to an extent musically remind me at times of Portuguese maestros Factory of Dreams. I also hear subtle resemblances to Queen or Boston at times in the guitar dept, but that may just be me! Albert provides all of the guitars, bass guitars and programming of the drums, and Sally provides all the piano, and most of the synths, strings, organ etc. Albert also providing occasional synth parts too. They also share the writing, which is about 50/50. Sally' vocals offers a softer approach to the music which in turn offers up an often heavy and mid to uptempo sound from Albert coupled with those lush and angelic vocals from Sally. One of my fave songs is the piano led and hideously catchy 'Delusions Of Conspiracy', being a rather enjoyable listen. But having said that, all ten tracks are consistently good with some epic numbers too - 'Into The Flame' being one such monumental tune and at times a haunting track weighing in at over 8 minutes. And let us not forget 'Soldier's Heart' that has been released as a single, all proceeds going to the 'Help For Heroes' charity. Ravenheart Music will always support hard working musicians and it is obvious that the duo involved in Gabriel are just that. And it also proves what can now be done musically via the internet. Take a trip to www.gabrielthemusic.com/
, while the album is well worth checking out for you lovers of female fronted music! 8.5/10 (Dave)
HIGHLIGHT KENOSIS...'SHIELD OF FAITH'
(Ravenheart Music) Reviewed 29th July 2013
Highlight Kenosis's first album 'Glowing' was an eclectic but brilliant collection, mixing rock, prog, metal and pop, their second, the suitably named 'Change', was perhaps a transitional album, as they sought to define and refine their sound. Now this new album from the band which was originally formed in Bucharest by guitarist Matei Damian-Ulmu in 2007 and now based in Cologne, sees the fulfilment of their ambitions, and takes them to a whole new level. To help them realise their vision they have enlisted some premier league help, After Forever's former mainman Sander Gommans producing the music, with Amanda Sommerville, solo artist, Trillium, Simone Simons's vocal coach, and a member of the team behind Epica, producing the vocals. The result is an exemplary top quality sound, truly outstanding vocals by beautiful new singer Marina La Torraca who also did the super artwork, and eight terrific tracks honed to perfection. What really brings this new collection to life are Matei's orchestrations and the keyboards of another new member Roje which add another dimension to their sound. When these elements are put together with Sander and Amanda behind the control desk it's not surprising that they head towards symphonic prog rock. The highly melodic and catchy songs remind me of a more rock orientated Edenbridge, mixed with some Ayreon including some short sharp bursts of prog metal demonstrating their technical chops, but with the bands signature swaggering strut. The result is most certainly accessible enough for the average rock fan, but with more than enough skill and flair for prog fans, who will also enjoy Matei's extraordinary fluid flying fretwork. The title track perfectly illustrates their style, a tinkling electric piano leads into a bout of furious riffage fools you into thinking that it's going to be a heavy workout, but then they go into a glorious symphonic verse and a lovely lilting refrain. The other songs are the rocking rousing 'Feel Me' and 'Through Somebody's Eyes', the menacing 'If The World Is Going Down', the anthemic 'Marching to Hell', the supreme ballad 'In the Shadow' featuring some wonderful piano, and the closing dramatic epic 'To Dare Is To Do', with lads given their showcase in the instrumental 'Fight the Evil'. Highlight Kenosis have really raised their game and produced an album with massive cross genre appeal, a rock/prog/symphonic fusion with a stamp of real quality that should go down a storm across the globe. You will find them here
, a swaggering 9.25/10 (Phil)
(Napalm Records) Reviewed 25th June 2013
HUNTRESS released their buzzworthy debut album 'Spell Eater' on April 27, 2012. The album, which Metal Hammer called "a magical debut from the hottest new act of 2012", was just the beginning for the Southern California heavy metal act. This, their somophore effort offers up 10 tracks of pounding metal that will blow your sox off, and leave you demanding more when the album has finished. And although the band revolves around front woman Jill Janus, we must not forget the other musicians involved in making this metal opus. I only have one reservation, and that is the song 'I Want To Fuck You To Death', co written by Lemmy Kilmeister. This could and should have been left off the album. Despite it's catchy chorus, musically and lyically this track is poor I am afraid, and I do not care who co wrote it! Otherwise, with it's 80s inspired metal riffs, this album is good. HUNTRESS remain true to the roots of melodic heavy metal, but has advanced musically and will indeed surprise many metal fanatics with this stunning new material, just listen to the title track, 'Receiver' and closer 'Alpha Tauri' as examples. The band's thundering drums, heavy riffs, spectral solos and catchy choruses are there for all to hear. So if the band steer clear of dodgy co writes with musicians that despite their awesome past, have nearly as good as passed their sell by date, then the future is bright most certainly. Currently, 'Starbound Beast' is your ship to other realms and beyond, so buy it! 8.75/10 (Dave)
HAND OF GOD...'HAND OF GOD'
(Sleaszy Rider) Reviewed 14th June 2013
Hand Of God featuring Marissia on vocals and Greek guitar hero Theodore Ziras, play an inoffensive commercial style of Melodic Metal that although sounds nice and modern, does at times remind me of the Melodic bands of the 80s, and that is a good thing. This album offers the listener 11 tracks of Melodic Hard Rock/Metal that as I have previously said, is very inoffensive and has some kinda commercial appeal to my ears anyway. The opening salvo of 'Falling' and 'Signs' shows the listener immediately the musical route this band is taking, and is a highly impressive way to kick off the cd. 'Start Again' is another very melodic song while 'No Holding Back' takes a slightly harder rockier approach, as do other numbers like 'No Regrets' and 'Reach The Light'. 'While I'm Here' maintains the momentum with further winners like 'Collapse', 'All About You' and the ballad 'Endless Circle'. This is a good cd, no song runs in over 4 minutes, but you do nonetheless get your monies worth! The band's website is www.handofgod.gr
and is a worthy purchase..8.25/10 (Dave)
HALF PAST FOUR...'GOOD THINGS'
(Paper Plane Music Inc) Reviewed 17th April 2013
Half Past Four, the Toronto based Art-Rock band play original progressive rock. The band offers something innovative to new music listeners and something familiar to those who have grown up loving the intricacies, driven melodies and exceptional musicianship of their influences: early Genesis, King Crimson, Frank Zappa, Mr.Bungle and many many others. 'Good Things' throws at the discerning listener, 12 tracks of Progressive Rock, that at times becomes rather quirky and catchy. The mature voice of Kyree Vibrant is well showcased in opener 'It Strikes you', and yes the musicianship and vocals do strike you in this opener. 'Good Things' the title track is next up and that does offer good things too! Great piano intro before the guitars kick in, and this is another Progressive Rocker's delight. All this is mature stuff from a very good Canadian Band, with one track that did catch my attention being the wacky Cossack sounding 'Spin The Girl', although other good numbers are the more commercial 'All Day and All Night', the six minute plus masterpiece 'I Am Lion' and the quirky and comic 'Wolf'. Building on rich traditions of classic progressive rock, this quintet beautifully marries the intricate complexity of neo-progressive time signatures with deep meaningful lyrical poetry and stories, adding a healthy dose of head-banging riffs and blistering solos to boot! Their website is here
, so whether you are new to progressive rock and you have never heard stuff like this before, or you are a seasoned, savvy listener, you may well be very pleasantly surprised... 8/10 (Dave)
(Southern Brigade Records/Scarlet Records) Reviewed 14th March 2013
Godyva is a band I have been into since their conception. Indeed their debut 'In Good and Evil' was released in 2006 (doesn't time fly), and together with their next album 'Planetarium' were to my ears very good releases. Now in 2013 we have 'Alien Heart', and it is very pleasing to see how this band has moved on over the years. They still stick to the Gothic Metal formula that they are known for but why not, if it ain't broken, why fix it?! The band has moved into the Premier League with this release, with the vocals of Lady Godyva still having that sensual, seductive but rockin' feel. The band offer the listener 11 tracks of prime time Melodic Gothic Metal with a wide listening appeal, with the band occasionally flirting with Power Metal territory. Many if not all of the numbers have hit the spot with me, but I do particularly like the rockin' opener 'Apocalypse Fire', 'I Feel You (Ti Sento)', the striking 5 minute power ballad 'In Your Eyes' and the bombastic 'Brainstorm'. This is damn good, it ticks all the right boxes and sees a band come of age. I whole heartedly recommend this record to all and sundry, and punters that may even be a little wary of Godyva, buy it, as there are songs on the cd to suit all moods.. 9.25/10 (Dave)
HERETIC'S DREAM...THE UNEXPECTED MOVE'
(Self Released) Reviewed 31st January 2013
This album that was released last year has come my way thanks to Peter 'Foggy' Ongley, who put Francesca from Heretic's Dream in touch with me. 'The Unexpected Move' is this all Italian but London based band's debut album, and a rather good effort it is too. Front woman Francesca Di Ventura has a nice Pop/Rock vocal style, although I must be honest and say that on a couple of tracks she perhaps ventures out of her comfort zone a little, but by and large, this girl's voice compliments the music really well. 'Forgiveness' is a corking way to start the album, a melodic number that will leave you gasping for more - great chorus. 'She Said' almost edges into mainstream territory, while 'A Kiss From The Sun' is a stomping heavier number. 'Golden Cage' sees Francesca's golden voice aided by some male shouty growls, and the great music continues on the rather catchy and bouncy 'Shades of Grey'. 'Thru The Unlocked Door' is a riff tastic number with great guitar solo, while 'Honey I'm Home' lowers the tempo, with Francesca's vocals showing more of a nice sexy Italian accent. 'I Need Your Love' and 'A Question of Coincidences' both take on a slightly more progressive but still melodic slant, while the awesome instrumental 'Hollow', including some great flute playing from drummer Maurilio Di Stefano closes the show, almost reminding me of Jethro Tull at times. This is a reasonable debut from this young group of musicians, and I am further delighted by the fact that Francesca has also sent me a two track demo of their newer material, and that is equally as good by the way. Their face book is here
.... 8.75/10 (Dave)
HITHERSIDE... S/T EP
(Self Release) Reviewed 4th January 2013
One singing, American red-head and one very talented Belgian multi-instrumentalist and guess what? They bond together to create infectious songs containing amazing guitar riffs, textures and haunting melodies with big doses of lush harmonies mixed in. Sounds like Evanescence meets Dolores O'Riordan from The Cranberries with a dash of Deborah Harry. Those comments are lifted from the band's Facebook and that just about sums it up! This EP gives us 6 tracks of rather listenable and certainly inoffensive modern melodic rock music, proving that vocalist Jennifer Summer not only has an awesome and rather unique voice, but multi-instrumentalist Sam Oerlemans ensures it all gels together very nicely in one totally cool package. Of the six tracks here, there is not a filler in sight! From the opener, the rockin' 'Insignificant Other' to the closer 'Learned to Loath' this is flippin' good. Do I have a fave? The heavy and riff tastic 'Asked But Not Answered' shades it, great chorus too! I must highly recommend this act, their website is here
. I rather love this! 9/10 (Dave)
(Self Release) Reviewed 20th November 2012
Celtic Rock yesterday (Mimi Burns Band), Space/Progressive Rock today with Hipgnosis. Hipgnosis formed in 2004 hail from Poland, and have some interestingly named musicians amongst their fold. For example, the drums, keys and all the electronics are taken care off by SeQ. There are further keyboards people including a person called ThUg, and vocals are courtesy of KuL and PitU. And one of the guitarists is called Little Rave N. Okay, after some mysteriously named band members, what about the music? Six tracks spanning 72+ minutes, that is correct folks, 72+ minutes of what is some pretty cool music. Imagine a mix of Jean Michelle Jarre, Tangerine Dream, The Orb and possibly early Pink Floyd, add female vocals to the mix and hey presto, we have it! I can't glean much more information from their Facebook page (here
) or their website as it is all in Polish, but the lyrics are sung in English, and despite my shall we say initial trepidation as to what to expect, this is damn good stuff! Obviously if you are expecting a Melodic Gothic onslaught, then you are reading the wrong review, but this well packaged cd with totally awesome artwork has caught me by surprise. Where do I start? The opener 'Cold' spans 19 minutes, a deep and mysterious song that sweeps you away in a synthesiser infused soundscape of complexity and beauty, a song that reveals further elaborate layers upon repeated listens. And let us not forget the stunning voice of KuL amongst all this. Next up 'Out Of Cargo' is a menacing number, with KuL's beautiful vocals rather sensual in their approach. Again the synths dominate proceedings - just listen through headphones!! And the solitude of 'Out Of Cargo' being interupted at times by a cacophony of guitar noise. 'Dr What' runs in at just a little over 6 minutes, and offers up another marvellous mix of hypnotic synths and vocals, just sit down and drift away in what this number has to offer. A more commercial sounding song possibly if that makes sense, despite it's complexities. The 5 minute plus piano led 'The Garden' which is an instrumental conjures up images of peace and tranquility, while the title track is a haunting piece of music with KuL's vocals again totally awesome, dreamy and sensitive. This 9 minute number being one of my faves on what is turning out to be a magical musical masterpiece. The epic closer 'Large Hadron Collider' is 22 minutes of magic, and I feel the band do enough with this track to engage the listener's interest across those 22 minute, there is no getting bored or getting up to put the kettle on!. Totally amazing stuff actually!! A slow, atmospheric, haunting and eerie start, imagine hearing the cry of Dolphins for want of anything better before the pace picks up around the 11 minute mark. It is an instrumental to match if not beat all instrumentals, great guitar solo towards the end too. The music on this epic record is a stroke of genius, and for anybody who feels that this type of music is your kinda thing, this is a complete and utter must buy...9/10 (Dave)
GATES OF DAWN...'SEPIA'
(Echozone/BobMedia Distribution) Reviewed 26th October 2012
This band from Germany has released an album here that has certainly made me sit up and listen, being right up my alleyway. Their third record I believe, the band on this cd has released some high quality Gothic Metal/Dark Rock tracks, which kinda remind me of Theatre of Tragedy and even to a slight extent Marilyn Manson at times. The rock/pop vocals of Martina and the gothic generally clean vocal style of Matthias, blend and harmonise together perfectly on the 12 tracks. Opener 'Serpent' changes from an epic orchestral intro passage into a boom of atmospheric guitar riffs, while second up 'Ferocity' has that catchy Theatre of Tragedy feel - great synths and great crunching guitars, overall an awesome start to this record. The upbeat 'The Silence Makes You Scream' maintains the high standard while the ballad 'Isolated' shows us the more tender side of the band. 'Hypothermia' bangs along in a dark rock way with it's rhythmic electronic lines, while the rather catchy 'Naked' keeps the momentum going. The second half of the album in my opinion seems to slacken off slightly, but nonetheless, there are still some corking tunes to be found! just listen to 'Titan (Lovers of Saturn)', the emotional and atmospheric 'The City Sleeps', the synth driven 'The City Awakes' and the beautiful closer '...to whom it may concern'. This is a very good release from this band and there is hardly a chance for a Gothic Metal/Dark Rock album to become more eclectic than this one. You as the listener will be able to make your own opinion as the album is released today! Great stuff! 9/10 (Dave)
GHOSTHILL...'FLYING THROUGH IMAGINATION'
(Self Release) Reviewed 24th October 2012
Ghosthill were born in 2009 in the western Russian coastal city of Kalingrad, on the cold and forbidding Baltic Sea, and they wasted no time in recording their début album, 'Embrace of a Chasm', released in 2010. Their music hovers around bands like Amberian Dawn and Wildpath, gliding from powerful rocking riffage to fast and furious flurries, with loads of imaginative musical bits and pieces and changes of tempo. During those flurries, drummer John shows that he has got to be one of the quickest on the planet, at times he's peddling faster than Bradley Wiggings with his pants on fire, creating an extraordinary skipping rhythmic blur. But they are never hurried or frantic, there's always a great song with loads of melody at the heart of their music, where sensuous new singer Margo can display her powerful rock voice with a distinctive sexy snarl which reminds me of Wereworld's Ana Rochas. Guitarist Val Metal provides an awesome sound, with those drums sounding particularly impressive. The stunning ballad 'Sometimes in my Heart' features a duet with Ivan Efimov from the band The Sloe as well as saxophone, it is very strange that since its heyday in the 80's when almost every song had a sax solo, this versatile and expressive instrument, perhaps the closest to the human voice, has almost totally vanished, to the point where it's now a novelty. Other great songs include the terrific opener 'My Garden of Seasons' (video on Female Voices), the dynamic 'In Cage' featuring Chucky, a lady who sings with Kropot and Boyanoz Gimn, the electro infused 'It Can't Rain All The Time' with it's phenomenal storming drumming, and the closing title epic, 'Flying Through Imagination'. Ghosthill have achieved an alliance between terrific tunes and thrilling flights of vivacious velocity. Fly to their website for the latest info here
, and it's easily available on Bandcamp
, a flurrying 8.75/10 (Phil).
HANGING DOLL..'THE SACRED AND PROFANE'
(Rocksector Records) Review Re-posted 4th September 2012
I reviewed this cd back in March, but the release was then delayed by their label until September, so to be perfectly frank, I really had to repost the review and that I have now done! So what about Hanging Doll then? Formed in Walsall (UK) in 2002, they went through some traumatic experiences when their previous vocalist Rachel Lilley committed suicide in 2004. But they have now bounced back, and are about to be promoted into music's Premier League because here, we have one scorchin' album with 'The Sacred and Profane'. Not only has this band released an awesomely hot album dripping at the seams with heavy gothiness, they are local to me and are some of the nicest people you could ever wish to meet. The album is on a small UK label, but this release must surely bring them to the attention of the bigger fry, surely it must? Kicking off with the ultra hot 'Cradle To The Grave', this opener proving what a singer Sally Holliday is too - heavy guitars that give way to a lightweight chorus. What I do like about Sally is that her vocals are very adaptable to the style of music, varying her style as and when she wants and with such ease too. That is very apparent on all the songs on offer here!! 'Carnival of Sin' is the single, great piano intro and a real gothic thumper when it gets going, another great chorus to boot! The band can slow down the tempo when they want, just listen to the piano led ballad 'Lacrimosa', such a haunting and beautiful song with Sally complimented by the clean male vocals from Dan, as is the case on other tracks too. 'Only In My Reveries' and 'Immortal Beloved' are other slow to mid tempo tracks, which shows what this band is capable of - upping the ante or slowing it down, and the end result still being mind blowingly awesome. 'Tincture' gets the pace going yet again, another great song which leads into one of the highlights of the cd, the title track, which is well worthy of being a title track I hasten to add, and a great bouncy number. 'Flames of Woe' slows it down again giving a brief instrumental interlude to proceedings, while 'The Final Descent' is another slow brooding number, totally awesome with great instrumentation. 'Bound in Servitude' is simply beautiful while the closing duo of 'The Inauspicious Host' and the gothy 8 minute plus 'A Question of Faith' end the album on a quality note. I have declined here to make any reference to any other female fronted band until now, but let me just say that Evanescence and many of the others that we are all into are good or very good, but Hanging Doll on this showing are proving that they are now as good if not better than most. With splendid musicanship from all involved including growls from bassist Kev, this album has to be bought and comes highly recommended from the Ravenheart team!...9.75/10 (Dave)
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