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Ravenheart Music: Album Reviews

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HIGH FIGHTER...'SCARS & CROSSES'

(Svart Records) Reviewed 22nd May 2016

Attention sludge and stoner heads! HIGH FIGHTER (www.facebook.com/HighFighter) is about to kick ass with this their new opus, due 10th June. So if you are into soft and soppy ballads, erm stop now, otherwise read on! The band started as a new band project born by former band members of A Million Miles, Buffalo Hump and Pyogenesis in the summer of 2014. Their debut EP 'Goat Ritual' was recorded live and in one weekend. Most bands spend months and months to deliver an EP of that quality. Nope, not High Fighter. Their "FUCK IT, LETS JUST DO IT" attitude still continues to do this very day. I do have a kinda personal interest in this band, and that relates mainly to their singer Mona Miluski, who I have met personally when she was in the band A Million Miles. Anyway, back to this 40 minute full length riff-tastic offering, Mona simply lets rip with her intense vocal delivery, the music from the band is simply skull crushing and mind blowing, and they take no prisoners in the delivery of the amazingly consistent eight tracks within this album. So if you're into Doom, Sludge, Stoner and pure no nonsense Heavy Metal, then look no further than this release. The album was recorded live at RAMA Studio in Mannheim, Germany (Ahab, The Hirsch Effekt, Fjørt & many more) by Jens Siefert, and is mixed & mastered by Toshi Kasai (Melvins, Big Business) - recommended... 8.5/10 (Dave)

HOLISPARK...'THE HARVEST' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 22nd April 2016

Since 2015, French band Holispark have been playing radiant and powerful pop/rock, led by a beautiful female voice. Their music is a reflection of the strong bond shared by Manon (vocals), Kevin (guitar) and Roch (drums), who have been playing music together since they met in another band years ago. The band throw at the unsuspecting listener six tracks on this EP of the aforementioned catchy pop/rock. Well worth checking out if you like your music more poppy/ rocky than rocky /metal :) The band's facebook is here...8/10 (The Nugget)

The HELLFLOWERS...'COME ON LET'S DANCE' EP

(Self Released) Reviewed 18th March 2016

The Hellflowers from LA (USA) is a rock band reminiscent of 90's alternative rock, the music of which they have dragged by the short and curlies into the 21st century. Formed in 2015 by longtime friends Christina Lopez (vocals/guitar), Pete Grosso (guitar), Matt Eskew (Bass) and Katherine Wing (drums), they are a busy little bunch of musicians, expanding their touring reach and connection with audiences through their raw, live shows. This, their debut EP was released March 16th and offers up 4 tracks of catchy rock, very reminiscent of bands similar to Blondie and the like. This release is very enjoyable, very inoffensive, and absolutely ideal for radio airplay. Certainly a band to keep your beady little eyes on. Their website is here... 8.5/10 (Dave)

HEEL...'THE PARTS WE SAVE'

(Self Release) Reviewed 14th March 2016

Heel fronted by Margarita was formed in the winter of 2011 and are London based. I reviewed an EP of theirs in July 2014 and I was rather enthusiastic about it. As a consequence, I was awaiting any full lenghth offering with great anticipation and here it is. This is basically 10 tracks of high octane Alternative Rock - indeed the alt rock four piece are a serious force to be reckoned with, the album being jam packed with raw energy, infectious grooves and awesome guitar work, that will make you headbang before you even know you're doing it. This is a consistent release with no real standouts as the tracks are all rather good. The band comment: "This album is a paradox. It's the sum of different people and their different experiences but its utterly singular in its meaning. It's constructed from all the pieces of our past that we hide from the world as desperately as we show them. It was as torturous to make as it was euphoric. By making this album we lost something very important to us, but we couldn't be more happy about it." This may not be for any metalheads out there, but the record is well recommended by us here. The band's website is at www.heelband.com.. 8.5/10 (Dave

HAUNTING EDEN…’THE RUINS’

(Self Released) Reviewed 28th January 2016

Haunting Eden come from the USA and was formed in 2009. Fronted by the powerful vocals of JoLee they ply their trade by way of a melodic and haunting brand of Doomy Gothic Metal. After a haunting instrumental intro, this 8 track cd gets going in epic proportions with the 8 minute plus ‘Here’s To’, a damn awesome atmospheric tune exhibiting doom and subtle progressive influences, but with powerful clean female vocals. The epic tunes continue into track three with another 8 minute slow haunting tune, ‘Listen’, this track reaching near film score proportions! There is some intense stuff going on here!! Don’t expect to be dancing around your living room with your air guitar, this is what I would call thinking person’s music - further tracks like the beautiful but powerful ‘A Thousand Miles’, the equally enthralling ’Rise’ and closing track ’And In The End’ back that up! Apart from two brief instrumental tracks (not including the intro) the other five tracks run in at well over 7 minutes so this is intense and epic stuff. This is music that will not grab you first time around, but it is music that gradually unravels more layers upon repeated listens. Well worth looking into…facebook is here…8.5/10 (Dave)

GRAVESHADOW...'NOCTURNAL RESURRECTION'

(Mausoleum Records) Reviewed 30th November 2015

Graveshadow was originally conceived in the winter of 2012 by rhythm guitarist, William Walker. The line-up features Walker along with vocalist Heather Michele, lead guitarist Matt Mitchell, keyboardist Valerie Hudak, drummer Roman Anderson, and bassist Ben Armstrong. The Graveshadow sound is defined by crushing guitars, beautiful keyboard melodies, thundering bass, and earth shattering drums. Powerful operatic vocals shift into unearthly growls to create a rich and dynamic atmosphere throughout the eight tracks on this release. And from what I believe, Heather Michele deals with all the vocals, so she can not only sing like an angel, she can also growl like a demented honey monster! The growls may not be to everybody's liking, but this album is damn good, and although from the USA, the band present the listener with a strong European sound. Although a consistent release offering some damn good music throughout the eight tracks, there are standout numbers to my ears, these being the ultra catchy 'Winter's Come To Call' and the melodic ‘Fading’. The band's website is here... 8.75/10 (Dave)

GHOST EMBRACE…’QUANTUM HEART’

(Self Released ) Reviewed 24th November 2015

Ghost Embrace is from the USA and their front lady is a certain lass called Annette Freeman, who before we even get started, has an awesome set of pipes by the way. And not only that, she by and large runs the show as well, so a talented lady with a fine vocal presence. And with some rather cool harmony vocals from Leah Rose, this is another damn fine record to drop into Ravenheart Towers and is a fine slab of Symphonic/Progressive Metal, with a rather strong AOR/Melodic undercurrent running through the 12 tracks. And to be perfectly honest, those aforementioned mind blowing vocals of leading lady Ms Freeman are bang on the nail for the style of music this band throw at us the listener. Opener ‘Alone Again’ is a melodic corker, reminding me strangely enough of Queen with its harmony vocals! ‘Heartbeat’ is another melodic stomper, then we have the progressive sounding tracks like ‘If I’m Falling (Catch Me)’ the power ballad ‘Remember’, the bluesy ‘People’ that suits Anne’s vocal style to a tee and the acoustic ‘Question of Faith’. Annette’s writing and vocal style is highly influenced by her love of British Blues and Symphonic Metal and I must say that I am pleasantly surprised by this album, being a highly impressive release from this Denver based band, and well recommended as a consequence. Mastered at Sterling Sound, NY by Ted Jensen, you can check the band's website out here… 9/10 (Dave)

HUGE SHARK...'ALMOST OVER'

(Self Released) Reviewed 20th November 2015

Here we have an interesting release from an artist who goes by the name of Valerie Polichar. She comes from San Diego (California) and her music project is called Huge Shark. Vocally, she borders operatic, but the style of music I would class as Electropop. And to be honest, I have rather enjoyed the six tracks (about impossible desires) that are offered on this EP. Valerie's music fuses electronica and singer-songwriter styles — it has been compared to Eurythmics, Kate Bush, and Clannad among others. There is some beautiful music here - we have the electro elements of the opener 'The Line Of Life' and the interestingly titled and soothing '52_23' as two rather cool numbers. 'Almost Over' sees a release date of 6th December, but to be honest, I am not sure about it being almost over, but on this showing, Valerie is about to get going! It is not Rock and not Metal, but it is rather good! And it is mastered by the awesome Tom Baker as well at Baker Mastering. Check Facebook out here...8/10 (Dave)

HONEYMOON DISEASE...'THE TRANSCENDENCE'

(Napalm Records) Reviewed 19th November 2015

The Honeymoon Disease single 'Fast Love' (2014) was quite possibly the surprise of the year: The Quartet from Gothenburg Sweden didn't just release an acceptable debut single, but delivered a heavy-speed-rocking masterpiece, which could easily hold a candle comparable to classic outfits like DEEP PURPLE, THIN LIZZY or RAINBOW. With such a heavy hitting debut single, the weighted question remains as to whether the band can deliver the same quality on a full length debut. This album delivers, answering this question with an album full of future classics steeped in timeless charm, blessed with massive grooves, spirited with cocky howls, and seasoned with classic style riffs. Honeymoon Disease is proof that the Modern Retro Rock movement is not a male dominated genre, with two women, Jenna and Acid, jointly responsible for their unique sound. This for me is like taking a trip back to the 70s, with eleven tracks of infectious hard rock that has been dragged into the 21st century by the short and curlies. Great hooks, great melodies, great guitar solos, with tracks like the opener 'Higher', the catchy 'Gotta Move', the bouncy 'You're Too Late' and the closer 'Keep Me Spinning', ticking all the right boxes. This album is good, enough said... 8.75/10 (Dave)

GHOST REIGN…’IN BETWEEN SHADOWS’

(Self Release) Reviewed 9th November 2015

Ghost Reign is a Symphonic Metal band from France and is fronted by a young lady called Lucie. There are harsh male vocals as well, we think these grunts and growls are provided by guitarist Thomas, although we do not have that info as such, we only make that assumption from live photos of the band. Okay, how about the music? After a heavily orchestrated intro of near film score proportions, the album kick starts proper with the number ‘Skeleton Doll’. An up tempo Symphonic Metal number while the orchestrated/synth driven ‘Silver Throne’ which is rather good actually, sees the introduction of those growls. Listening to the album as a whole, it is consistently good without having any tracks that I would consider standouts as such, if that makes any sense as such. Numbers though that I myself would consider album goodies are the ballady ‘Slow Motion’ and the catchy ‘Lakes of Lava’. The band's website is at www.ghost-reign.com/en/home, and I nevertheless would consider this an album worth checking out, providing further strains on the bank balance.. 8/10 (The Nugget)

HAUNTED BY DESTINY…’ARIA FOR AN ANGEL’

(Doolittle Group) Reviewed 4th November 2015

Haunted By Destiny was formed and born in Norrkoping, Sweden – where drummer Christian Gardefuhr and guitarist Johan Söderhielm decided it was time to make reality of their creations. Singer Evelina Eliasson was found on the musical stage, and immediately brought the music to new stages with her energy, attitude and her pop way of singing. At this point the recording of demos began, and new songs got written. Soon the band was joined by bass player Marcus K Johansson and young but talented guitarist Simon Weston. This is their debut full length release although there has been an EP 'Aria', released in the past. This album is an energetic slab of catchy Pop/Rock from these Swedes, and confirms my belief that the Scandinavians overall have been and are still very adept at producing awesomely good music no matter the genre, for us the listener to enjoy (remember Abba?). There are some rockin’ goodies here including the melodic ‘Turning Pages’, the quirky and hideously catchy ‘Freakshow’, the bouncy ‘The Road’ and the slightly heavier but equally melodic ‘Follow’. The list could go on as there is not a filler to be found. Haunted by Destiny wants to reach out and grasp the world, and so they should with their mainstream appeal on this showing. This is a very good 12 track release and although possibly not an album for the total metalheads out there, this will certainly be a record for anybody that loves very catchy female fronted Pop/Alternative Rock. The band’s facebook can be found here… 9.25/10 (Dave)

HUMAVOID...'GLASS'

(Self Release) Reviewed 26th October 2015

Founded in 2013 as the brainchild of Amoral frontman Niko Kalliojärvi and vocalist/pianist Suvimarja Halmetoja, female fronted progressive metal band Humavoid combine heavy polyrhythmic grooves with rich harmony. Together with vocals altering between Suvimarja's crystal clear lines and Niko's trademark growl, the dynamic standard is set on this three track EP from this Finnish band. It all kicks off in dynamic and powerful fashion with the title track 'Glass', which blasts its way out of the speakers knocking you back against the wall in the process. A thundering start and before you are able to recover and catch your breath, along comes 'Light Pollution', another belter to blast your ear drums. Closing track 'Eyeshine' with its melodic chorus maintains the powerful momentum of the previous 2 tracks, and ends what is an impressive EP. The bands website is at www.humavoid.com/ where you will be able to view a couple of videos... 8/10 (Dave)

GALADRIEL…’LOST IN THE RYHOPE WOOD’ EP

(Gothoom Productions) Reviewed 13th October 2015

Galadriel was an Elven queen, married to Celeborn in the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien. They are also a Slovakian metal band, founded in July 1995 by vocalist and bass player Dodo Datel, guitarist Voloda Zadrapa and drummer Dr. Victor Gieci. After many trials and tribulations, we fast forward to the present day and the current line up is: Dodo Datel vocals, bass; Sona 'Witch' Kozakova vocals; Tomax Gabris guitar; Michal Kolejak guitar; Matej Ferianc drums. And needless to say that this band is producing some pretty decent Beauty&The;Beast style metal, being well emphasised in recent releases including this 6 track EP. Plenty of melody as well that always pleases us here at Ravenheart Music. I suppose a slightly more upbeat Draconian would be one band that springs to mind as a comparison, and I would go as far as to say that like Draconian, Galadriel produce some epic music, indeed the six tracks here are all massive!! There is a fave of mine on this record, and that is the 7 minute ‘Strong One Against The Storm’, although the other five are damn awesome too. This release is well worth looking into… recommended.. 9/10 (Dave)

HUNTRESS…’STATIC’

(Napalm Records) Reviewed 15th September 2015

Huntress is an American heavy metal band that was founded in the underground of Highland Park, California, when lead vocalist Jill Janus moved to Los Angeles, where she met an underground metal band called 'Professor' in 2009. Huntress then gained the interest of Napalm Records and was signed by them in November 2011. On December 27 2011, they released their first single, 'Eight of Swords', to promote their debut album, 'Spell Eater'. Fast forward to the present day and 'Static' their 3rd album, will be released on 25th September 2015, and features eleven tracks (inc bonus cut) of prime time top drawer Melodic Metal. Jill and the band has gone through a lot since the release of their previous album 'Starbound Beast', but they are back stronger than ever with this release. Jill’s trademark vocal style is as awesome as ever - if you like their previous efforts, you will want to be the first in the queue to get this on the 25th. There are fave tracks a plenty including the pounding up tempo track ’Sorrow’, the catchy but lyrically dark ’Flesh’, the brooding 8 minute plus ’Mania’ and the melodic ‘Noble Savage’. This album is a delight from start to finish, it would not be in my remit to think otherwise…Album number four!!! Bring it on!!!!!!…. 9/10 (Dave)

G.O.T.H...'G.O.T.H'

(Manifest Records) Reviewed 5th August 2015

G.O.T.H (Glam on Thy Hell) was formed in 2005, in the sunny city of Lisbon, by Ivan Prim. He sought to create a sound using the influences from different genres such as Glam metal, Heavy Metal, 80’s Rock, and today’s Gothic Rock. After some time had passed Ivan realized something was missing from the project that he had started. In 2006, after hearing Kate Prim sing while in passing, Ivan decided that a feminine voice was needed in this project. By adding Kate Prim they created a constant harmony that Ivan could have never achieved on his own. We have thirteen tracks on this release including the bouncy and extremely catchy ‘Darkly in Cradle, and this album sure is a grand old taste of Goth Rock mixed with the above mentioned influences. Some further corking numbers here including rockers and ballads, and these no doubt reflect the direction this band is traveling...which I am sure is up! The album was recorded and produced by Ivan Prim in his own private studio, and it is blatantly obvious that this man is a talent! If there was a Goth Jovi, this is what they would sound like! The band's facebook is here...9/10 (The Nugget)

HITHERSIDE...S/T

(Self Released) Reviewed 3rd August 2015

Hitherside is a part American, part Belgian and part Dutch Female Fronted Melodic Hard Rock band based in Antwerp, Belgium. The band consists of vocalist Jennifer, her bassist/son Joshua, guitarist, multi-instrumentalist Sam and drummer Stefan. They turn heads with their infectious, Modern Rock songs that contain amazing guitar riffs, textures and memorable melodies with big doses of lush harmonies mixed in, and a touch of prog. And all that is confirmed in the 12 numbers on this album, it is all rather good and very listenable. The numbers ‘All But Not Answered’ being one of the more riff tastic tracks, with the up tempo ‘In Solidarity’ a foot tapping stomper. The record as a whole is recommended by us. The band’s website is here... 8.75/10 (The Nugget)

The HILLINOISE...'THE SLEEPING BUTTERFLY'

(Club Inferno Ent) Reviewed 11th June 2015

Coming from the South of Italy, THE HILLINOISE have released this, their new three track EP. Standing at the deep heart of each tune is the gentle voice of Daniela Stefanelli, surrounded by a Rock solid wall of distorted guitar riffs. Intense powerful melodies make up the framework of this EP, with opener 'Lighter' being an ideal showcase as to what is to follow. Second up 'Nymphetamine' maintains the momentum, with closer 'Sleeping Beauty' closing the EP. Okay, this EP aint bad, but do not expected anthemic hook laden choruses, this is more Rock of the alternative nature, which strangely enough, makes ideal background music for me although it does rock! For the curious out there, this is worth checking out, but for the female fronted Symphonic Metal anorak, you may be advised to steer clear... 7.75/10 (Dave)

HEAVENSIDE...'A LONG WAY TO THE STOPLINE'

(Irond Records) Reviewed 28th May 2015

Heavenside come from Russia which sure offers up a bubbling music scene at the moment. By and large a guy fronted band (vocalist Mikhail “Michael” Guzz who was also guitarist and composer of such groups as Forgive-Me-Not and Dark Princess), there are various tracks that feature an 'unknown female vocalist', so we have decided to make this a female fronted review. This is an album chock full of Gothic Metal wonders and rather good it is too. And if you like catchy Gothic tunes, then check out the tracks 'A Reason To Fly', the catchy 'The Ghost' (featuring that unknown female vocalist), 'Sinnersaint' with its melodic chorus, the excellent and soooo good 'Waiting For The Silence' (what a track featuring 'that female' again!), the hideously catchy 'Born To Be Drained', the female fronted and another memorable tune 'Children of the Fire' and hold on, there are still another four tracks left. Tell you what? check this band out for yourselves and check out the aforementioned track 'The Ghost' here. This album is another record full of golden nuggets - play loud and enjoy... 9/10 (The Nugget)

HIGH FIGHTER...'THE GOAT RITUAL' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 3rd March 2015

When one reviews an album by a band whose singer I know fairly well, then the task of reviewing the record in question can become a little more difficult. I have known Mona, lead singer with German Stoner/Sludge heavyweights High Fighter for a wee while now, certainly since she was singer with the German band A MILLION MILES. And I am sure she will not mind me saying that she is one of the nicest people I have ever met. Anyway, 2015 offers us the debut record from the aforementioned band, the record's opener '2Steps Blueskill' seeing the band kicking ass, while Mona (who proves she has a great set of vocal chords as she did with A Million Miles), lets out a devilish roar. The demonic quality of her vocal delivery continues on the next rather addictive number 'Breaking Goat Mountains'. 'Black Waters' is a pounding track that hammers your ear drums, but ends in a quiet soothing fashion, with 'Fire In The Sun' continuing the fiery vocal assault, as does closer 'In Veins'. To summarise, this EP of five tracks is a cocktail of heavy riffs and intense infernal vocals, that would send the most hardened of people running for cover. Take a sneaky peek here... 8.5/10 (Dave)

HYDRA...'MALACHITE SKIES'

(STF Records) Reviewed 30th January 2015

Hydra from Regensburg, Germany was formed by guitarist Chris Diefenbach and vocalist Lisa Rieger, in October 2013. The first ten songs, which primarily fall into the category of melodic metal, took shape within a matter of months. One thing was clear to both Lisa and Chris - this was song material with potential that simply had to be released. The songs on this debut are enchanting to the full being characterised by deliberate contrast, these contrasts being raw metal meeting soft, orchestral arrangements evocative of fairy tales and enchanting melodies. And this is fully recognisable on the awesome atmospheric opener 'A Quarter To Reality', which is then followed by the up tempo 'Towards Copper Shores', which reminds me a little of Nightwish, rather good I hasten to add. 'Sandflower' is equally as bombastic and symphonic, a pounding number to hammer your senses, if you like female fronted Symphonic Metal, you sure are going to like this album. Everything here comes from the top drawer driving this band towards the premier league of female fronted metal. 'Swathe Of Destruction' features Liv Kristine, being another awesome track from this album of pure gold, while the ballad 'Lone Wolf' features a certain lass by the name of Maria Raum - beautiful! Further numbers that will blow your mind are 'Ad Infinitum' (reminding me vocally of Leaves' Eyes), the brooding but heavy 'Reign In Tears' and the closer, the epic 8 minute plus 'Harvest Neptune'. To be honest, there is nothing much if anything to fault here on this record, so check the band out for yourselves. Their pot of gold is at www.hydraofficial.com/... 9.25/10 (Dave)

HIGH IN MIST...'UNFRAMED'

(Crysella Records) Reviewed 6th Jan 2015

High In Mist from Cavite (Philippines) is releasing 'Unframed' upon the unsuspecting music buying public, this EP being the result of combined individual differences. The songs here offer everything from an angelic clean tone to a demonic scream courtesy of singer Annette. The melody of each track sounding sweet, dull and intense at the same time, the songs themselves being a collection of random thoughts, written in words and sweetened by your own emotions. This record is another good effort from a band that we here at Ravenheart have not heard of, giving the listener 6 tracks of Gothic Metal. All rather good stuff with 'Deceit' being one of my fave tracks - clean vocals, with crunching guitars and accompanied by strings. Also a mention must be made regards closing number 'Flowing Tears', a rather spiritual and religious sound to this short track. This album is produced by Joelen Mingi of the legendary German Goth-Rock/Metal band “The Angina Pectoris”. More info on High In Mist can be found at www.highinmist.fourfour.com/home. Overall, a good album, although I do think there is room for improvement, and given time, the band could well be knocking on the door of the Premier League. Worth checking out!..8/10 (Natalie Gold)

HOLLYWOOD GROUPIES...'BITCHCRAFT' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 23rd December 2014

Hollywood Groupies were founded in 2006 by Foxy (vocals) and Kelly (Lead guitar), the female section of the band. This ep follows their debut album 'Punched By Millions Hit By None' which was released in 2010. This release is indeed a punchy hard hitting rock album which will put you in a hard rockin' party mood for Christmas. All four tracks motor along quite nicely, but with copious amounts of melody. Just check out the catchy 'Get It On' and 'The Empress' as examples. The band has shared the stage with such acts as Twisted Sister and Motörhead and this ep is well worth checking out. Their Facebook is here..8/10 (Dave)

HIGHWAY DREAM...'WONDERFUL RACE'

(Street Symphonies Records) Reviewed 25th September 2014

Any band that lists Kiss, Scorpions, White Lion, Firehouse, Mr. Big and The Darkness as their influences will sure catch my attention. And Italian Melodic Hard Rockers Highway Dream fronted by Isabella Gorni is no exception to that rule. If you love the 80's hard rock sound, then check this band and their 10 track album out. There are some massive tracks here including the melodic and rockin' 'Wonderful Race', the catchy power ballad 'Let Me Be Your Breath', the pounding title track and the rather nice 'Some Stars'. Let us not forget also, the barnstorming closer 'Born To Be A Rockstar'. Highway Dream are on their way! The amazing voice of Isabella, the sleaze guitar of Roby, the strong bass of Gheghe and the explosive drum of Max are the perfect mix for a great band, and I would imagine the Americans amongst many others would love this record. The band's website is here: www.highwaydream.it/website/ - well worth checking out... 8.5/10 (Dave)

GABRIEL...'UNFORGIVEN'

(Ravenheart Music/Code7) Reviewed 12th September 2014

Gabriel is the angelic sounding name of an international, 100% virtual and internet-based collaboration between singer/songwriter Sally Elsey from England, and guitarist/producer Albert Vinasco, an American musician now living in Argentina. Formed in April of 2009, Sally and Albert met via their online participation in the musician community site, Broadjam. Although separated by thousands of miles and the vast Atlantic Ocean, both musicians had common musical roots and influences. To me Gabriel has a totally unique sound, this mainly due I feel to vocalist Sally, while I also do hear subtle Queen influences in the vocal harmonies and guitar dept at times during the cd. To be honest this, their 5th record is rather good and the title track opener cements that opinion of mine. A heavy but rather catchy opener, that is followed by the beautiful and at times progressive sounding 'Within The Circle', and when the song kicks into top gear, I do love that guitar sound. The opening salvo is followed by the heavy and up tempo 'Two Worlds Collide' and to be honest, I am blown away. The album continues with further such goodies as the pleasing to the ear 'Shelter From The Rain', the epic 11 minute plus 'Time Train', the very cool 'House of Shadows' and the closing track 'Meant To Be'. I must confess that I do like this record very much, and onwards and upwards for Gabriel is what I will say. More information can be taken from their Facebook site which is here. In summary of that little lot, Gabriel combines hard and soft approaches to melody and rhythm to create sonic images that are both moving and full of energy, so check them out and support good independent music.... 8.75/10 (Rachel Louise Smith)

GRAI...'MLADA'

(Noizgate) Reviewed 5th August 2014

Check the weather forecasts to make sure there is no rain forecast, go out and light up those camp fires, and let your hair down to Grai from the Republic of Tartary in the east of Russia. This is their third studio production that contains 11 songs, being characterized by the vivid mixture of delicate folklore sounds and powerful metal typical of the band. Ruzel 'Ruzveld', guitarist and mastermind of GRAI, reveals a little about the album: "Mlada is multifarious and lively, with songs full of mirth, dance, action and rhythm, as well as some slower, more contemplative tunes" he tells us. And that has hit the nail right on the head. We have clean female vocals and the complimentary growls, but it is all good stuff and so hideously catchy! The 11 tunes on the album follow a similar Folk/Metal formula, although I must say that the number 'I Will Sow My Sorrow' is a more conventional rock ballad with a rather more western European feel, great guitar solo too. I do rather like this tune and the album as a whole too, the band's Facebook is here, so rain or no rain, enjoy - released Oct 3rd! 8.5/10 (Dave)

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