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Ravenheart Music: Album Reviews

REVIEWS I-K

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KRATOS…’ARLECHINO’

(Inverse Records) Reviewed 22nd April 2016

Being a young and dynamic band, Kratos from Romania adapts to a new style which is reflected in this their new album. With a new image and line up, the band, who released their first EP in 1997 charges the Metal arena with a bombastic offering of nine songs and a bonus track album, which focuses on the drama, life contrast and inner struggles of the soul, a psychological puzzle “like an Arlechino act”. We- freaking killers, we-angels, we - victims, we- playful children, we-gods, devils, we- creating our own intriguingly and suspicious vision about universe and life, "lying ourselves with such a grace..". In fact, the album is a transposition of universal evolution of the human spirit, revealing such a stunning bouquet of feelings and emotions. On 'Arlechino' can be heard theatrical voices, especially angelic female voices (compliments Monica Barta) with an unusual construction regarding the backing vocals. All this is supported by a symphonic orchestra combined with dark and atmospheric passages, and with the intriguing sounds of an anvil to boot. Dramatic intense stuff eh? and guaranteed to blow your mind. I do rather like this, mixing metal with the symphonics and very well done too. We certainly seem to be getting some heavy stuff coming our way at the moment, and by and large, it is all very good. Indeed, the numbers on this album are consistent, everything hitting the right buttons, but I do currently rather like second track in, ‘Fishing’, although I feel that upon repeated listens, this may change. The record gets released 6th May, the band’s website is here… this is a well recommended album from a very good Romanian band!!...8.5 /10 (Dave)

INFRARED...S/T 5 track EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 12th April 2016

Infrared so happen to be four musicians from Milan who decided to finally give their music a shape. Their sound is initially influenced by the alternative rock of the 90s and has become a more contemporary, energetic one, oriented to the pursuit of melody. Many different kinds of music mix together within this 5 track EP to bring to the listener a pop, funky, post-rock, electronic and noise vibe. Tania Tiozzo's occasional soulful and at times seductive voice works a treat, backed up by a competent band of musicians. All five cuts here are kool and to be honest, have appeal that should in the ideal musical world see the band cross over quite easily into the mainstream. The band’s website is here - I do rather like this.. 8.75/10 (Dave)

INNER BLAST…’PROPHECY’

(Nordavind Records) Reviewed 8th March 2016

Portuguese female fronted Gothic Metallers INNER BLAST so happen to be a breath of fresh air in a crowded and at times predictable scene. In a word, their music can be described as inspiring; everyone in the band pushes the envelope and sets new standards not just for themselves but for everyone playing in the style internationally. Fronted by a young lady called Liliana, I must say that this is a fine effort from the band, and furthermore, Liliana does the growly vocal bits as well so I understand. She also at times sounds to me like Sharon Den Adel (Within Temptation). 'Prophecy' is a highly accomplished and mature effort with some excellent tracks like the opener, the rather bombastic and symphonic ‘Private Nation‘, second track ‘Insane’, is insanely good, then there is the anthemic ’Tears’ and the Middle Eastern sounding ’Time Machine’ to name just a few. Here we have an up and coming bunch of musicians, a band that surely is on the path to making a name for themselves. A tantalizing, mesmerizing and scintillating release. The band’s website is here - all nine numbers are well recommended within the context of the album, that FYI gets released 15th April...8.5/10 (Hannah Cooper)

KINGBREAKER...'TO THE FIRE'

(Self Released) Reviewed 7th March 2016

High octane heavy rock is described on the band's facebook page (www.facebook.com/KingbreakerUK) as the style of music London band Kingbreaker throw at the listener, and that is an apt description me thinks. Fronted by the powerhouse vocals of Spinky who Dave tells me is Rebecca Spinks from The Mariana Hollow, this cd should be one of total orgasmic pleasure to any lover of British hard/heavy rock. No soppy sugary ballads here as the band gets straight to the point in the opener 'Outlaw', which is then followed by further pulsating tracks that include 'At The Kill', the pounding 'Shock Trauma' and the closing track 'Bury The Witness'. This is a thundering debut - hard rock done the British way and the way the only the Brits know how - well recommended.. 8.5/10 (The Nugget)

INNER SENSE…’LIFE SENTENCE’

(Self Released) Reviewed 25th February 2016

The story of Inner Sense began somewhere around 2008 when Jenny Larsson and Markus Sarronlahti got the idea of starting a new band after they had both been playing/writing music together in another band earlier. The idea was to make story-based music with a heavy and melodic sound. In 2009 Drummer Tobias Gustafsson and his brother Fredrik Gustafsson (bass) joined Inner Sense and completed the current line-up. In late 2011 they played a few gigs in Stockholm and realized that the chemistry within the band live, felt very natural and solid. So in 2012 they focused on writing new songs for this their first full-length album. There are eleven tracks within a 50 minute package of rather good Melodic Metal, Jenny’s vocals tending to take the gentler more poppier approach. The album gets under way with the track ‘St Elmo’s Fire’, not to be confused with the John Parr version by the way. A cool start to the record and it carries on in a similar vein. ‘Pitiful Mind’ is a bouncy number with an anthemic chorus, while the awesome ballad ‘A Different Part Of Paradise’ showcases the versatility of Jenny’s vocal prowess. ‘Fluorescence’ is a fairly brief electro/synth influenced instrumental, while ‘Fountain of Youth’ kicks things back into action, again a great and powerful vocal display. We have guitar riffs, keyboard melodies and powerful vocals that characterize the songs on this album, and lets not forget the catchy choruses. This is a good album and yet again, another Scandinavian band delivers the goods. The band’s Facebook is here… 8.75/10 (Dave)

JANIZ…’SCARS AND A LION’

(Dissid) Reviewed 24th February 2016

JANIZ is a female fronted Alternative Rock band from Germany. The band’s name is actually a mix in honour of the great Janis Joplin and her amazing work. Back in 2012 the band started as Janiz Lee and released their debut record titled 'The New Black' in April 2013. After changing the band’s name to simply JANIZ and replacing their main vocalist with a stunning new voice (Juliane) in 2015, a whole new record is going to be released in April 2nd 2016, under the flag of the band's very own label Dissid. And to be pretty honest about it, this 15 track album is rather a good deal for one's hard earned cash. The Alternative Rock tag fits the music rather well. Some scorching and rather catchy music to take us through the Spring months into Summer. Where do I start? Well the opening salvo of ‘Ground Zero’ that merges perfectly into ‘Free At Last’ gives us an idea as to what direction Janiz is travelling. ‘White Flag’, the first single from the record continues the fine start to this album, with other awesome cuts that include the mid tempo ‘Through Glass’, the oh so catchy ‘Falling’, the bouncy ‘Event Horizon’, the piano led ‘Grayscale’ and the epic 6 minute plus closing number ‘Scars’, this by far the longest track on the album. In summary, this album does not belong to the Metal Family, but to these ears it is damn fine tuneful Rock Music with awesome poppy style vocals from Juliane. The band’s website is here, and for anybody that may think this record is going to be up their alleyway, it is well worth checking out!.. 8.75/10 (Dave)

KANE'D...'RISE'

(Self Release) Reviewed 20th February 2016

KANE’D is a hard hitting, 6 piece alternative indie rock/pop band from Wales, fronted by sexy rock chicks, Stephanie, Stacey and Chez. Behind the girls you’ll also find a raunchy all male backline. Apart from the unbelievable high energy performances and unforgettable music which will set your pulses racing quicker than Usaine Bolt, Kane’d will amaze you with unique harmonies and musical riffs. This is a pounding album full of in yer face rock tunes, with pummeling riffs and anthemic fist pumping choruses. This is scorching stuff with enough energy to light up the streets of Cardiff! Well worth checking out if you have not already done so (album was released last year), their Facebook is here... 8.75/10 (Hannah Cooper)

IMPAVIDUS...S/T EP

(Self release) Reviewed 12th February 2016

Last March, this site reviewed an EP by a Manchester band called MY WOODEN PILLOW. It is rather good but we have had some news from the band! Since last June the band MY WOODEN PILLOW went on a break and 3 of the 4 members - vocals, bassist and drummer put something else together called Impavidus. My Wooden Pillow will still continue under a different form, but Impavidus has kindly sent us their debut EP and tell you what, this is as good if not better than the EP under the My Wooden Pillow moniker. The band members: Michelle -Vocals, Paddy - Bass & Vocals, Gav- Guitar & Backing Vocals and Chris -Drums have given us an EP of what I would call Melodic Death Metal, featuring clean and growly vocals. Overall this EP is heavy but catchy and infectious all at the same time, no soppy ballads here I hasten to add!! This is worth checking out so visit their bandcamp here and buy! 8/10 (Dave)

IRRADIANCE…’DISSIDENCE’

(Self Release) Reviewed 11th February 2016

Founded in January 2014, French band Irradiance was brought about through the shared intent of Audrey, Stéphane and Lucas to establish a project in which 'originality' was the key word. Directed by a strong link to metal, coloured by elements of Retro-futurism, Irradiance do not hesitate to blend diverse influences from jazz to tribal music, whilst making passing references to classical music or the blues. Strengthened by their rich musical involvements, their education, training, performance and recording experience, the musicians of this group are constantly seeking improvement and professional development. Following a period of intense compositional work, Irradiance entered the scene in June 2014 and took the decision to realise the creation of this their first album 'Dissidence'. The concept of the album:- After countless conflicts to take rare resources over, the Reforme, a new self proclaimed government, tainted with religious radicalism and totalitarianism, took power on inhabited lands. Neutral territories extending between the reformed cities, true citadels with huge glass walls, still shelter a core of active resistance, led by former mutinous officers and other ambiguous personalities who fight for freedom, life and the right of expression. The movement, Irradiance, the refuge, every bit of hope. One watch word Dissidence. And this is a very ambitious and certainly a rather good record from what appears to be a very fine band of musicians, also featuring a whole host of guest musicians and a choir to boot! The music certainly has a strong, powerful Symphonic Metal feel with subtle progressive tendencies, coupled with the above mentioned diverse influences, and it all pounds along at an awesome pace and to be honest, the sheer quality of what is on offer here has blown me away! The band has a violinist within its ranks (Alexandra Vallet), and I really do like the addition of a violinist that many bands of this ilk now tend to employ, adding substance to the music. Without detailing any of the tracks that are all damn good, this release is awesome and will appeal most certainly to fans of Symphonic Metal. The band’s Facebook page is here.. well recommended…9.25/10 (Dave)

KLIODNA…’THE DARK SIDE’

(Self Release) Reviewed 2nd February 2016

KLIODNA is a 5 member Symphonic Metal Band from Minsk in Belarus! Their unique style is created by Helena, who has a pure magical soprano voice, their dual guitarists Alexandr Korobov and Anton Michailovskiy who provide an incredibly powerful guitar sound, and their extremely tight rythms provided by bassist Vasya Sinspirit and drummer Rostislav Globnichy. A year ago, I reviewed a four track EP from this band and it was highly impressive stuff! Now we have their 10 track full length album, which features the four numbers that appeared on the aforementioned EP. To be honest and frank, this record is pure Symphonic Metal from the top drawer, that sees the band knocking on the door of the Premier League with the quality on show here. This is an all killer no filler album which after a brief intro, kicks off with the track ‘Kliodna’, a pounding Symphonic Metal number which leaves the listener in wait for what more is to come. And there is more, and damn good it all is too – check out the equally pounding and majestic ‘Road To Anywhere’, but hang on a minute, I will stop there and save my time, cos every track on this record is near faultless, enough said! Their website is at www.kliodna.com/ – go out and buy the damn thing!! Absolutely awe-inspiring!! 9.5/10 (Dave)

IMPERIAL AGE...'WARRIOR RACE'

(Self Release) Reviewed 20th January 2016

Imperial Age is Russian and this is another fine release to come from that country. By and large, this is bombastic Symphonic Metal from this Moscow band, featuring female vocals, male vocals and a strong choral presence (pipes and all). Standout cuts a plenty here, totally mind blowing and a sure fire winner for lovers of the female fronted Rock and Metal scene. And I will further add that the final track 'Turn The Sun Off' is recorded live and is epic! Quoting from the band's facebook page (www.facebook.com/imperialageofficial): "The spirit of ancient civilizations goes live in modern music". We here rather like this... 9/10 (Katie McIntyre)

KAIRA…’ROOTS OF VELES’

(Sliptrick Records) Reviewed 18th December 2015

This band from Belarus takes their name after their scantily clad singer Kaira, and I suppose the music can be described as Symphonic Metalcore. And as a consequence, this is heavy stuff that does take a little bit of digesting. But it thunders along, with mainly screamo vocals from the aforementioned Kaira, sending the nervous amongst us to the hills until safety can be assured. However, if the mood suits you and if you wanted to annoy the neighbours, this is one cd that should be stuck into the player and played loud. And just when you thought there was no respite from the cacophony of noise, the more commercial sounding track ‘Lost Past’ comes screaming out of the speakers, and to my ears one of the more palatable numbers from the album. Also the closing cut ’No More’, although maintaining the heaviness, does slow it down a touch too, while I do also particularly like the pounding opening title track! This record overall is okay, but maybe just a little too heavy on occasion for my ears. But that does not mean to say that it isn’t good, so if you want an album that kicks real ass coupled with a very sexy looking singer that can let rip vocally with the best of them, this could be the one… 8/10 (Dave)

INKUBUS SUKKUBUS…’MOTHER MOON’

(Resurrection Records) Reviewed 16th December 2015

Inkubus Sukkubus come from here in the UK, have been going since 1989 and have released in that time a prolific number of albums - 17 in-fact including this one! They are a well established Pagan Rock Band, and do have a sound that is instantly recognisable, with vocalist Candia Ridley aiding and abetting that awesome sound. As in previous albums, ‘Mother Moon’ follows a tried and tested formula - catchy Pagan Rock with a Gothic undercurrent. After an up tempo opener being the title track, things do slow down taking on a more acoustic feel, before the rather good ‘Shadows In The Darkness‘ ups the tempo a wee bit. The acoustic feel returns with’Zephyrus’, while we can expect a broad mix of up tempo and slower numbers throughout the remainder of the cd. ‘My Demons’ and ‘Witch Child’ being two tracks that fits into the former category, while ‘I Am The One’ and ’Dark Sisters’ fall into the latter. By and large, this is a another good album from these UK rockers, although if there is a downside, some of their lyrics can be a little repetitive, a minor gripe!…. 8.75/10 (Dave)

IMPERIA…’TEARS OF SILENCE’

(Massacre Records) Reviewed 29th October 2015

'Tears Of Silence' is the new album by multinational Gothic Metal band IMPERIA. For everybody who is a fan from the beginning and everybody else who is into epic metal, gothic, opera and of course the powerful voice of Helena Iren Michaelsen, then this album is a joy to behold. We have thirteen tracks of no nonsense music that will send fans of this style of music into pure ecstasy. Too many highlights to mention, but the album does flirt with Viking Metal with the appropriately titled and very catchy ‘The Viking Song’ - awesome! Other numbers that did catch my attention were the melodic ‘My Screaming Heart’ and the bombastic ‘Spirit Chase (Keep Fighting)’ with its great choral back drop and catchy chorus, but they are only three tracks from the 13 highlights! With my digipak version running in at over the hour, IMPERIA's music is full of vivacity, it is heavy, bombastic and orchestral, but it also contains elements of pure metal. This is another awesome release from Helena and the guys - due 20th November.. 9.75/10 (Dave)

INFY...'A MORTAL'S TEAR'

(Self Released) Reviewed 21st September 2015

Born in Amsterdam on a cold winter day in 1991, Infy moved to Israel with her family at the age of four and grew up in Kibbutz Yotvata. From a very early age Infy has shown an immense passion for music. Her family confirms that as soon as she began to talk she used to sing just as often. She then grew and as a young teen she began writing and composing her very own songs. Despite her passion for music, she was a shy girl, but as a teen she began taking singing lessons with various teachers and preforming occasionally on local concerts and holiday celebrations. But during those years Infy's interests were varied, and music seemed more like a secondary hobby than an actual promising career. Everything changed in 2012 when she entered the studio with Omri Lahav, an old-time friend and a professional composer to bring her old works back to life. By the end of the year, they started working regularly on this her debut full length. And flippin' good it is too. There are 13 tracks of superb Melodic and at times Symphonic Metal, mainly mid to uptempo with the occasional slower ballady number, and boy, this is good! you wanna taster?, then click here. Plenty of highlights, so just get it and hear for yourself. Website is at www.infyofficial.com...9/10 (Dave)

I AM BELIEVE…S/T

(MyPixo Records) Reviewed 17th September 2015

This 12 track album by I Am Believe fronted by Morgan Riley was released last October around the time Dave suffered a suspected TIA, and as a consequence, was one album that slipped through the net. But as we have said before, it is better late than never. The music is a blend of heavy guitars with soaring melodies and gothic storylines. But here lies a problem I have, it lies with Morgan’s vocals. The vocals are okay, but to be perfectly blunt, I do not think she will win any oscars for her vocal delivery as her vocals to me are rather irritating. They may sound okay to other people but not to me. It gets better with the slower numbers like ‘Arcana’, ‘Slow Down and the superb closing number ’Sparrow’ (the best song on the album to my ears), but lets however, not get too carried away slagging the vocalist off as overall, this is not a bad album from all concerned. Some further good tunes here including the powerful ‘Isolation’ and ‘Gather Within Me’. And I must say that Morgan’s vocals do seem to get better as the album wears on, maybe as I am getting used to them a bit. I am sorry if I seem to be hyper critical here, but may be on the odd occasion we should be. Nonetheless, all criticisms aside, this is an album that is worth looking into if one has not already done so… 7.75/10 (The Nugget)

ICE BLUE…’BACK TO THE LIGHT’

(RockCd Records) Reviewed 12th September 2015

Ice Blue from Zaragozana (Spain) was formed in late 2000 and in 2002, they released their first EP. Then it all went quiet, but after several years of silence and a change of formation, the band released earlier this year their second album, which we are reviewing here. Fronted by Elena Cintora with male vocals from guitarist Miguel Bravo, there are 11 tracks on this record of prime time Melodic Rock/AOR, that was all the the biz during the late 70s and through the 80s, until grunge came along and killed it off. This is an album that has come along as if the aforementioned grunge had never happened, and will have fans of Journey, early Bon Jovi and the like in AOR heaven! There are tuneful rockers and blissful ballads among the numbers here and to be honest, this is all rather good. I am unsure about the availability of physical copies, but the album is available digitally… 8.75/10 (Dave)

KERION...'CLOUDRIDERS PART 2: TECHNOWARS'

(Beyond The Storm Productions) Reviewed 11th September 2015

Kerion is a Symphonic Metal band from Nice, France that was formed in 2002. After a couple of demos, in 2008 their first album 'Holy Creatures Quest' was released and showed a powerful and distinguished kind of Symphonic Metal: direct, aggressive, epic and poetic. During 2010 the second album 'The Origins' was released and the album was the start of the Barberi’s tale. Kerion had grand plans for their new album and in 2012 the next album 'CloudRiders Part 1 : Road to Skycity' was released. It was a concept album with a whole new fantasy story - the music was a blend of the classic Rhapsody of Fire inspired Symphonic Power Metal together with folk and celtic music inspired by bands like Elvenking. Finally the time has come to present the new Kerion album, and the follow up to the 2012’s 'Road to Skycity' album. This new album includes impressive performances by guests like Elisa C. Martin [DarkMoor, Dreamaker], Rachel Aspe [ETHS], Phil Giordana [Fairyland], Raphael Dantas [Caravellus] and Fil Palmer [Replosion] and needless to say, this is a totally marvelous and bombastic release from these French Metal merchants. It takes you on a majestic journey filled with Symphonic Power Metal, cinematic influences and even some electro influences thrown into the pot - every track a real corker. The production was once again handled by Willdric Lievin and the artwork was created by Genzoman, famous for his involvements with World of Warcraft and Marvel. Kerion boldly steps out and calls this style “Comics Metal”. Call it what you like, this is frikin' awesome! Check out the band's website here: www.kerion.net/... 9.5/10 (Dave)

KOBRA AND THE LOTUS…’WORDS OF THE PROPHET’ EP

(Kobra Music under license to Titan Music) Reviewed 28th August 2015

Canadian Heavy Metal band Kobra and the Lotus has just released an EP consisting of cover songs recorded by the band, in order to pay homage to the bands to which the band themselves grew up listening too. There are five tracks here: 'Lay It on the Line' (Triumph), 'Sign of the Gypsy Queen' (April Wine), 'Black Velvet' (Alannah Myles), 'Let It Ride' ( Bachman-Turner Overdrive) and 'Spirit Of The Radio' (Rush) - Kobra Paige would make a good Geddy Lee :) This is good particularly if you a covers person like myself. This is a brief review but the music is well worth checking out! Available on iTunes and the like…8.5/10 (Dave)

INKUBUS SUKKUBUS...'LOVE POLTERGEIST'

(Resurrection Records) Reviewed 22nd August 2015

Inkubus Sukkubus is an incredible UK band formed in the summer of 1989, when Tony McKormack, Candia Ridley and Adam Henderson met at college studying graphic design. They shared an interest in paganism, witchcraft and vampirism as well as making original music from an early age. So the type of band that was to emerge from the joining of forces was, quite naturally, an expression of this style. The original aim of the band was (as it still is today) to be the vehicle in which the celebration of the Pagan experience could be conveyed. Anyway, after a tsunami of awesome albums, the band throws at us this album that was actually released last year and has been sitting on our 'catch up' pile. But as we have said before, "better late than never". The style of this album is similar to past releases, so we have some great and catchy Pagan Rock music on the album, that will certainly continue to appeal to the band's large UK fan base and beyond too. The pulsating 'Lips Of Love' is a fave of mine from the cd but do not get me wrong, everything on this record is a winner! Just listen to other numbers like 'Evil Men' and the rather lovely haunting acoustic/string based 'Summerlands' (video here) - damn awesome! There is not a lot to fault here! great stuff... 9.25/10 (Dave)

INVOCATION ARRAY…’A COLOR FOR FICTION’

(Self Release) Reviewed 10th August 2015

'A Color for Fiction' is the debut album from Invocation Array, featuring 10 songs of epic cyberpunk fantasy rock (their words). This Californian band comprising of two young ladies, Cerys and Kailani, uses curiosity and fearlessness to discover and present truths, inspiring and evoking progressive action, evolving through communication and diversity. Indeed, after studying Earth from afar and developing an interest, the girls dived into what would be the most progressive medium in order to assist and learn from the species they’re passionate about. Onto the music itself, and this is a 10 track album of monster Electro Pop/Rock songs. Of course this style of music may not appeal to everybody that visits these review pages, but what is on this record is good and if you are open minded towards the music you listen too, then this is well worth that listen. The band can be checked out at www.thelunasequence.com/invocationarray... 8.25/10 (The Nugget)

JATD (Janina and The Deeds)...II

(Comand Records) Reviewed 27th July 2015

Fronted by the good looking Janina Dietz, German band Janina and The Deeds to my ears is an awesome Pop/Rock band offering up some hideously catchy tunes. In-fact we have 17 tracks on the version I have here, the final four tracks I think are possible bonus cuts. This is a rather cool release, check out numbers like the single 'By Your Side', the equally as catchy 'Heavenly Body' and the ballad 'You Are The One' as just three examples from a chockful of tracks. Many here scream mainstream radio airplay (Some mainland European radio stations have already been playing their music) and would certainly go down a storm in places like the USA. This is only a brief review but do check out the track 'By Your Side' here. If you like that, you will like this album... 8.75/10 (Dave)

IVORY…’SWEET SIN’

(Terrific Music) Reviewed 23rd July 2015

Ivory is a 4 piece alternative Rock/Metal band from Germany and is fronted by Vanessa Vitkus. Driving drum beats and catchy guitar riffs, coupled with the awesome pipes of Vanessa drive the music along, with some great catchy melodic tracks to boot. Fave tracks amongst the thirteen rather cool numbers on offer include the catchy ‘Fucking Routine’ (how true!), the bouncy ‘Evil Eyes’ with its catchy chorus, the powerful ‘Broken Hero’, the ballad ‘For You’ and the single 'Sweet Sin', which so happens to be the title track. With their ‘Stateside sound’, the album reflects what Ivory embodies, alternative rock with the band's unmistakably own sound, yet leaves enough room for variety. Ivory’s website is at http://www.ivorybandmusic.de. Recommended... 8.5/10 (Dave)

JADED STAR…’MEMORIES FROM THE FUTURE’

(Sensory Records) Reviewed 22nd July 2015

Jaded Star from Greece is a female fronted metal band that has recently exploded into a rather exciting female fronted metal scene that we have at the moment. Read on...
...Maxi Nil (ex Visions of Atlantis) and Raphael Saini (ex Iced Earth) after touring the world and captivating audiences along the way, decided to join forces and re enter the music world as the band Jaded Star! And then they decided to record this, their rather good debut album. From the opener ‘The Mask’ to closing track ‘Raining In Sao Paulo’, the ten track album explodes with catchy melodic metal energy and is well worth the purchase money. So another rather promising album one has to find the dosh for. So if you have not already purchased the album, do so now as I am damn sure you will not be disappointed. Check the band out here… 8.5/10 (The Nugget)

IN DIVINIA...'UNTHAWED'

(Self Release) Reviewed 13th July 2015

Rather nice female vocals (Emma Backman) and male screams (Niclas Buss) define the music from In Divinia (facebook) who come from the Finnish plains and forests of Ostrobothnia. This is another Symphonic Metal offering that has just come our way. One could say this follows the familiar and tried & tested formula of Symphonic Metal with occasional male screams, but whatever you find on the menu of 12 delicious servings, it is all rather good. The opener 'Dawn' is an instrumental that takes us into 'Is It Too Late' that features male and female vocals. 'A New Beginning' is a mid tempo track featuring just the vocals of Emma as does the mid tempo 'Before The War' - great chorus and one of my fave numbers from the CD! There are other goodies in the bag here including 'Icehymn', 'Mortal Slide' and the melodic 'Good Enough' with its dance floor synth driven elements. As I have previously said, this is rather good, but they are from Finland and that in itself says it all really. Recommended.. 8.5/10 (The Nugget)

KELTRIX...'BETWEEN STORMS'

(Self Release) Reviewed 29th April 2015

Keltrix is a new all girl Folk group from the Cambridge area (UK). And they do not do things by half, as this is a double cd featuring 19 tracks. CD 1 concentrates on the rockier side of their folk style, while the 9 tracks of CD 2 have a more electronic roots feel. And not only is the album well packaged, the punchy quirky voice of singer Keri Kel has totally blown me away!! This gal is awesome! And the music ain't half bad either :) As previously said CD 1 offers up 10 tracks of Folk music with a rocky wacky feel - different, original and rather good me thinks. And the titles of some of the tracks have sure made me smile. Track 5 on CD 1 is titled 'You', track 6 is called 'Dick' and track 7 is titled 'Head'. And I do rather like the off-the-wall track 'Dick' actually, LOL!! Another fave track from CD 1 is 'Sea Song' CD 2 is equally as good (I actually prefer CD2 over CD1) and concentrates on the more mellower folkier side of their music, with that aforementioned electronica and at times dance floor feel, which I do rather like. This album is unusual, bizarre, oddball but at the same time damn good! The band's website is at www.keltrix.co.uk/... 8.5/10 (Dave)

KISKE/SOMERVILLE...'CITY OF HEROES'

(Frontiers) Reviewed 16th April 2015

The new chapter of the musical collaboration between vocalists Michael Kiske (ex-Helloween, Unisonic, Place Vendome) and Amanda Somerville (Trillium, Avantasia) is certainly one of the highlights of the season in Rock music. This new album is indeed a major step forward compared to the debut album, which saw the light of day and garnered glowing reviews in 2010. Kiske’s soaring overtones seem to blend perfectly with the ethereal quality and diverse range of Amanda's voice and this time the results are truly over the top. The opener and what is the title track sets the scene with second track in 'Walk On Water' being a melodic and a very catchy pop/rock masterpiece. There are further flippin' good numbers such as 'Salvation' with its symphonic undercurrent, the ballad 'Ocean Of Tears' and the mid tempo 'After The Night Is Over'. This exciting and glowing album sees Mat Sinner (Primal Fear, Sinner) and Magnus Karlsson (Starbreaker, Primal Fear) handling most of the songwriting (with a song contribution 'Breaking Neptune' from Sander Gommans formerly of After Forever and Amanda Somerville herself) and with Sinner also overseeing the production in various recording studios in Europe. Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Amaranthe, Primal Fear, Pretty Maids, Doro etc.) then took care of the mix of the album ensuring a sonic quality second to none. Well recommended - release date Europe 17th April, USA 21st Apr....9/10 (The Nugget)

KHAELYS...'ACROSS THE AGES'

(Self Release) Reviewed 25th March 2015

Khaelys hail from France and they are a Symphonic Metal band with Death Metal influences. With cool female vocals from leading lady Anaïs SIEFFERT and male growls from bassist Stephane Come, the band deliver 12 tracks of Beauty & The Beast style metal. There is some good stuff here with 'Abyss' offering up some clean male backing vocals and this being one of my favourite tracks from the album. Other numbers shine through like the heavy 'Shades of Pain', the balladry of 'The Weight of Time', the bombastic 'Lies', the equally good 'Call From The Darkness' where the vocals of Anaïs (and her operatic style) really do shine through and the closing number 'Order and Chaos'. At times, vocalist Anaïs sounds to my tender ears a little like Sharon from some band we know called Within Temptation, but to put it in a nutshell, we here must highly recommend this release to every Symphonic and Progressive Metal fan out there! 53 minutes of pure metallic heaven - check them out at www.facebook.com/khaelys.music ... 9/10 (The Nugget)

KARNATAKA...'SECRETS OF ANGELS'

(Immrama Records) Reveiwed 25th March 2015

Karnataka is British and have been around since 1997. In that time they have released I believe up until now four studio and two live albums. Based around the awesome Ian Jones (bassist and founding member), the band has seen many changes within their line up, but now it seems to have stabalised with the truly magnificent Haley Griffiths at the mic. And this album that was released earlier this month, is a magnificent masterpiece incorporating Symphonic and Prog Rock elements within their sound. 'Road To Cairo' as the title may suggest has Middle Eastern influences and is an awesome start to the album, great vocals, great musicianship and a rather catchy chorus to boot - a great synths/orchestral driven sound. Second up in this eight track opus, we have the Within Temptation sounding 'Because Of You', another wonderful chorus and simply great! 'Poison Ivy' maintains the momentum and this band sure is now knocking on the door of the Premier League (if they are not already there) and we are just three numbers in! 'Forbidden Dreams' shows the awesome Haley in full flow, while Chiming bells greet the start of the rockin', pounding and very catchy 'Borderline' - one of the heavier tracks from the cd. 'Fairytale Lies' is an emotional power ballad of the highest quality, with next up 'Feels Like Home' being another slow orchestral sounding ballady number - I just love this! And just when you thought "wow", along comes the seven part 20 minute epic title track that has just about everything, to bring this grandiose album to a close. Recorded at Real World Studios in Wiltshire and Quadra Studios in London and featuring guest musicians, Troy Donockley (uilleann pipes and low whistles), Seána Davey (harp), Rachel van der Tang (cello), Clive Howard (viola) and Lynn Cook (violin), to my ears this is a truly melodic masterpiece from Ian and the gang, and as a consequence is a must buy. The album can be purchased at www.karnataka.org.uk/. Enough said, I am going to give this a 10/10 (Dave).

IMOGEN BRAVE...'FALL OR FLY'

(Self Release) Reviewed 11th March 2015

A band that lists The Pretty Reckless, Stone Temple Pilots, The Dead Weather, Garbage and Paramore as bands they may sound like has certainly aroused our interests here. And their bio states: "This is a band that should not be taken lightly... Punchy rhythms, powerful guitars and pouting vocals combine to deliver a blend of original rock that draws from a range of influences, yet bravely defines itself as original." And that listeners sums it up rather well me thinks. What began as a pop songwriting project in 2005, Imogen Brave has metamorphosed into one of Adelaide's most solid hard-rocking female fronted bands, well known for their gutsy live shows. The most unique aspect of this band's style lies in its amalgamation of genres, giving us some pop-laced hard rock tunes among the seven tracks here on this cd, the powerful voice of front lady Stef Crowley being backed up by a rather amazing group of musicians. This is a consistent effort from Imogen Brave and I am having problems trying to dig out a particular nugget from the gems on offer here. Hear more at www.reverbnation.com/imogenbrave and let us just say all the numbers here are good, enough said... 8.75/10 (The Nugget)

KLIODNA...'SET ME FREE'

(Self Release) Reviewed 13th Feb 2015

There are not many bands that I know from Minsk in Belarus, but we have one here that to be perfectly honest is totally awesome. They are Kliodna and are fronted by a lass by the name of Helena Wild (not her real name I have been informed). They have been composing and touring the bar scene in Belarus and some places in Ukraine and Russia. They have released an EP of 4 songs which we are reviewing here, and they are presently working on a full length album to be released in the fall (perhaps sooner!). Back to the music in question and the EP is absolutely magical, the opener 'I'll Do The Haunting', immediately showcasing the absolutely awesome vocal prowess of Helena. Next up 'Blood In The Sea' takes on a more Symphonic style, great musicianship, and I am having to recover my senses before the next number 'Night Symphony', which maintains the sheer quality that this EP has to offer - a slower track but keeping the heaviness that shines through on this EP. The closing track is the title track and with quality like this, I cannot wait until a full album becomes available. Furthermore, I have been given two extra tracks to preview that may well feature on the full release. 'Northern Wolf' and 'Road To Anywhere' maintain the quality of the EP and will certainly give us something to look forward to in due course. Being influenced by bands like Nightwish, Epica, Xandria and the like, this is cracking stuff. The video to the aforementioned 'I'll Do The Haunting' can be viewed here... well recommended.. 9.5/10 (Dave)

ISSA...'CROSSFIRE'

(Frontiers) Reviewed 6th Feb 2015

Norwegian Melodic Rock Queen ISSA is back with her fourth studio album. This new release is an 11 track Melodic Rocker's wet dream with huge vocals, layers of synths and keyboards together with masses of guitars! Think Roxette, meets Romeo’s Daughter melted with 80’s Heart albums coupled with a more up to date production, and you have it nailed. This is the kind of music that in all honesty I really do love. And when ISSA teams up with one of my fave male vocalists, Steve Overland from awesome UK rockers FM on the power ballad 'Raintown', I am in seventh heaven - awesome. Other guest musicians stepped up when asked upon to perform solo's include Daniel Palmqvist (XORIGIN), Alessandro Del Vecchio (HARDLINE), Steve Newman (NEWMAN), Robert Sall (WORK OF ART) and Daniel Johansson (DEGREED). And let's not forget the powerhouse choir including Pete Newdeck (IN FAITH/TAINTED NATION), Matt Black (FAHRAN) and Michael Kew (VEGA). There is little to fault here as there are highlights galore and to be frank, this is prime time Melodic Rock/AOR offering fist pumping choruses together with some well crafted and totally magical tunes. The album has been carefully produced by John Greatwood (VEGA) and Vega ivory-tinkler James Martin and is well recommended, so get it!.. 9.5/10 (Dave)

ILLUMINATA...'WHERE STORIES UNFOLD'

(Self Release) Reviewed 21st January 2015

This Austrian female-female-fronted metal band fronted by Katarzyna Nieniewska, will release this their new album on Jan 23. It was recorded with the 60-piece Czech Film Orchestra, two different choirs and various other guest musicians. With this new release (the band's second proper release) the band has tried to create something of truly epic proportions. This has included recordings with one of Europe's most prestigious orchestras, the Czech Film Orchestra. Furthermore, additional chamber strings as well as a classical choir and a musical choir partake, and Mario Plank, for years vocalist of Visions of Atlantis, again contributed to the album on certain tracks as a guest singer. And to sum up, this is rather good. The cinematic introduction 'A Story Unfolds' leads us into the awesome and bombastic 'Eternity Of Today' and I so love the chorus. The epic cinematic sound continues with 'Violets Compass', 'Phoenix', the more progressive tinged, but equally as bombastic 'Danse Macabre' and the classic closer, the 9 minute plus 'The World Constructor' amongst the other numbers here. And I do also like the slower tracks that include the heavily orchestrated 'White Heart' and 'Entwined' - stunning. The album was mixed and mastered by Jan Vacik at Dreamsound Studios in Munich, whose references not only include albums by Edenbridge, Serenity and Visions of Atlantis, but he who also did an amazing job on the band's previous effort, 'A World So Cold'. This 11 track and 62 minute epic record is a grandiose effort and well recommended by us here at the towers. Check the band out here .. 10/10 (Dave)

JAMIE-LEE SMIT...'MON AMOUR MONIQUE'

(Epictronic) Reviewed 19th January 2015

Jamie-Lee Smit is a talented singer and model, and is also widely known within Female Fronted Rock & Metal circles for her metal band Azylya. However, she is about to spring upon us a strong selection of tracks within this her debut solo album, that is due on March 30th. The album contains 10 tracks of what can best be described musically as Indie Rock and New Wave, encompassing emotional and strong French Lyrics. The album which has been written, composed and produced by Riccardo Daga is certainly different from the music pushed out by her band Azyla. Some good numbers here including 'L'amour De Freddy' which I think translates to "The Love Of Freddy" and the catchy closer 'I'm Waiting For My Ghost' (sung in English). This record is well worth checking out and recommended by the team here at Ravenheart... 8.5/10 (The Nugget)

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