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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
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)
(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)
(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)
(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)
(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)
IL LACRIMO...S/T 5 TRACK EP
(Resisto Digital Distribution) Reviewed 11th Dec 2014
Il Lacrimo is an Italian-Hungarian Alternative Rock/Metal band, and this EP is the first release from this very good band, the release due towards the end of January. Recorded in Italy and mixed at the Fastermaster studio in London, this self-titled EP is comprised of 5 songs, that represent a little preview of the project and the direction taken by the band between two languages and two heritages. The EP offers up ballads and more up beat stuff. The most impressive feature of this band is the voice of Federica Sara that is fused with Davide-Kristof's guitars. Just listen to tracks like 'Burning Fields', 'No Longer' and the wonderful 'Non Credi' to get a grip on what I am talking about - amazingly good!! This is another new band to appear on the scene and another great band to check out. Their Facebook is here
and the video to their single and EP track 'Chains Of Gold', can be viewed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfviLtkTvPw
- well recommended... 8.75/10 (Dave)
IN THIS MOMENT...'BLACK WIDOW'
(Atlantic Records) Reviewed 10th December 2014
I am a fan of IN THIS MOMENT fronted by the unique vocals of Maria Brink and this is their 5th studio release, being another very good album. Intro 'The Infection' is haunting, creepy and rather dark that then leads into the corking 'Sex Metal Barbie', a track that sees Maria Brink meeting Marilyn Manson - an absolute corker and what a start! 'Big Bad Wolf' is next up, a howling number (excuse the pun) with another haunting, creepy undercurrent showcasing well Maria's vocal range - a belting track. The addictive 'Dirty Pretty' follows, then we have the very good pounding title track, and we get to learn a little about erm...spiders of the Black Widow variety :) 'Sexual Hallucination' is a duet with Brent Smith (Shinedown) and screams mainstream radio airplay! 'Sick Like Me' (video here
) is the first single and is rather addictive (using that word again) with its crunching riffs, while 'Bloody Creature Poster Girl' is one of those songs that you may hear sung by a sexy chick wearing a slit dress in a smokey bar :) 'The Fighter' is a piano led song and is a very commercial offering, a fave of mine actually with the track 'Bones' equally as good, Maria's vocals so sexy! 'Natural Born Sinner', the creepy 'Into The Darkness' and the piano led 'Out Of Hell' round off this very impressive album. The music here is very infectious, great vocals, great musicianship, enough said... 9/10 (Natalie Gold)
(Napalm Records) Reviewed 29th October 2014
Vienna’s blood is cooking and brewing, bringing the muscles to twitch and the nerve pathways to explode across the universe. The Kontrust debut I am reliably informed was released in 2005 and three records later, this world we live in knows from which European country the hottest Crossover of the present day is coming from! This record is the fourth album by these explosive Austrians and has everything that this style of music needs: rapid rhythms, catchy slogans, brutal guitars and angular riffs. Fronted by Agata and Stefan, the opener 'Dance' lays down the gauntlet and from then on there is no let up - this album is so so catchy with tracks like 'Why', 'Shut Up' and 'Bulldozer' being just three numbers from this eleven track album chock full of mind blowing awesomeness. EXPLOSITIVE gets released in the early part of November - it is rather good so bulldozer your way to the shop and get it!... 8.75/10 (Natalie Gold)
(Napalm Records) Reviewed 15th October 2014
When Dave offered me the chance to review this album, I grabbed the opportunity with both hands, so here goes. One of my favourite bands is in-fact Leaves' Eyes and their vocalist Liv Kristine is an icon, so what about this masterpiece, which so happens to be her fifth solo album? Well it unfolds as a dark rock gem assembling terrific melodies, enthralling song structures and a world class voice from this top class vocalist. Everything within the 10 tracks is from the top drawer - the opener 'My Wilderness' is a classic Gothic Metal track to kick the album off, like a cross between Liv Kristine and Leaves' Eyes :) And the next track 'Love Decay', a duet with Michelle Darkness is Gothic Rock/Metal at its finest. And there is more, a helluva lot more in tracks like the title track, the power ballad feat Doro, 'Stronghold Of Angels', the synth sounding and pounding tracks 'Hunters' and 'Elucidation' and the closer 'Oblivious'. Everything on this release is a classic - 'VERVAIN' being a true gift for myriads of Liv's followers, who have been following her career since her golden times with Theatre of Tragedy! Truly magical and a must buy... 9.5/10 (Aimee)
IDEOGRAM...'LIFE MIMICS THEATRE'
(WormholeDeath) Reviewed 3rd October 2014
The Ideogram Project (Opera - Voice, Kabuki - Growl/Guitars, Grand Guignol - Screams/Keyboards and Absurd – Bass) was created at the end of 2012. Its objective was to bring together an experimental and innovative musical proposition with a strong conceptual visual art, uniting the best elements of the North Italian underground scene under a new unique, ambitious creature. At the beginning of 2013 the band released the 'Raise the Curtain' Demo and 'Theatre of the Absurd' Video clip. These are the two things that paved the way for the first Italian tour, fantastic reviews and ultimately the signing of a record deal with Wormhole Death Records at the end of the same year. This deal has led to the realisation of this, their first full length that shows a more modern and electronic sound than the previous work. I do not have names of any band personel, but opening with the brief atmospheric far eastern sounding 'Life Is Pregnant Of Death', the album is mightily heavy, with some thumping tracks like 'The Art Of Bleeding', the totally pulsating 'Evil (In Her Hands)' and 'Geisha For My Demons' and the pumping hi tempo 'Am Candle'. Then we have the more melodic numbers like the catchy 'Falling Snow', the cool 'Invisible Again' and the track 'Rain Of Stars' that gives the release more of an accessible feel. Closing with 'Death Is Pregnant Of Life', overall this is a very good album from this Italian outfit that hammers its way through to your ear drums. The version we have here does also include two bonus cuts - acoustic versions of 'Invisible Again' and 'Falling Snow'. Recommended! .. 8.5/10 (Natalie Gold)
INSIDE RIOT…’GLASS MANSIONS’
(Self Release) Reviewed 19th August 2014
Here we have a hard rocking band from southern California and they offer the listener 9 tracks of hard but melodic rockin’ music. And if you are able to sit still through any of this, then boy, you have a serious medical problem. Fronted by Fawn Nicole Baxter who also plays rhythm guitar together with occasional lead vocals from lead guitarist David Strickland, this is rather good stuff. The kinda music you play with the roof down as you drive along the highway under nice sunny skies. Well that is unless you live in the UK of course. After an intro that is more akin to the noise at a Kidderminster Harriers (my local soccer team) home soccer game (only joking), the album kicks into gear with ‘The Last Chance’, a thumping tune to get you in the mood… for rock ‘n roll! The momentum continues with tracks like ‘Under Control’ and the punk like ‘Fix’! I also rather like the track ‘F**k You Righteous Sir’ – great title too :) and the rather good number 'Castle', this being a fave of mine from the cd. Closing with the twosome of ‘Love & War’ and the melodic tones of ‘The Wanted’, this is rather good bouncy Rock & Metal which we here at Ravenheart recommend wholeheartedly – similar I suppose to our very own Skarlett Riot… 8/10 (Rachel Louise Smith)
(Self Release) Reviewed 17th June 2014
In September 2010, Kalidia from Italy was born. Fronted by a young lass, Nicoletta Rosellini, the band recorded this their debut album between August and December 2013. What we have here is some rather good melodic Power Metal which is well showcased in the catchy and up tempo opener 'The Lost Mariner', which in turn is followed by the equally as good 'Hiding From The Sun' with it's catchy chorus - yes this album sounds good and we are only two tracks in. 'Dollhouse (Labyrinth Of Thoughts)' is another pleasing number to the ears, and another comment to note is how the keys play a part on the album so far. And this remains so during the remainder of the record with all round good musicianship to be noted, and further catchy and very favourable tracks to enjoy. 'Reign Of Kaluda' has a Middle Eastern vibe bubbling under the surface, while 'Harbringer Of Serenity' sees the introduction of harsh male vocals. 'Black Magic' takes on more of a Power Metal vibe and I do like Nicoletta's vocals, rather nice and not too overpowering. 'Shadow Will Be Gone' is a nice slow ballad type number, and this adds another dimension to the record - very good indeed. The title track follows and hits Power Metal territory again and is damn good. The closing duo of 'Winged Lords' and 'In Black and White' close what is a very gratifying cd from this Italian band, making them well worth checking out!.. 9/10 (Dave)
IDEAL ZERO...'PERFECT DARKNESS'
(Self Release) Reviewed 11th March 2014
Formed in 2010 by lead vocalist Irina and her guitarist husband Clint, Ideal Zero is a rather cool alternative rock group from Orlando, FL. This is their first full length album, after releasing a well received EP in April 2012, that picked up a 9/10 review here at Ravenheart Towers. This 10 track effort is a massive release and Irina's vocals are awesome, a kinda powerful sexy pop/rock type voice. I hear massive commercial potential here with just the opening three numbers, 'Before We Drown', 'Little Blue Man' and 'Don't Give Up' and the production is near damn perfect. The cd continues in an awesome fashion, with further near perfect tracks like the slow to mid tempo 'Walls', the slightly heavier and rocky 'Show The All', the sensual sounding 'Love Crime', the heavy, rocking and a fave of mine 'Now That We Know' and the piano led and very good closing ballad 'My Last Request'. Ideal Zero has created without any doubt a unique blend of hard hitting music with heartfelt lyrics and infectious melodies, and there is a lot of commercial potential on show here, with the second half of the cd offering a slightly more heavier, metallic and up tempo feel. This is damn good!... 9.25/10 (Dave)
(Self Release) Reviewed 4th Feb 2014
Kowai from Holland is very proud to announce the release of their long awaited debut album. The album will be released on Feb 7th and has been produced by Dutch top producers Joost van den Broek (Epica, Stream of Passion, ReVamp and Nemesea) and Jeffrey Revet (Stream of Passion/Milkmark). And I will tell you something - we have another awesome release from The Netherlands and this should be absolutely massive! The band give us 9 tracks of bombastic Gothic Metal that has totally taken my breath away. Fronted by Laura van Nes with occasional subtle grunts from Bertran Zwijnenburg this release is from the top drawer, and could well propel the band immediately into the Premier League of Female fronted Metal. Every track here is an intense bombastic monster waiting to pierce your ear drums and this is one helluva debut from this band. All nine numbers here are magical highlights and I suggest that anybody who is into Within Temptation, Sirenia, Stream Of Passion, Delain and the like, gets this one immediately... 9.25/10 (Dave)
(Nuclear Blast) Reviewed 31st January 2014
Nuclear Blast describe this as "Fairy Pop" and I suppose in a way they may be correct. Indica are one of those bands that ask the question; "why are they signed to a metal label like Nuclear Blast?". Maybe something to do with their links with Nightwish main man Tuomas Holopainen. Anyway, metal label or not, this is pretty good stuff that certainly has Pop leanings and indeed reminds me a little of some of the Eurovision songs we hear over here in Europe. Indica's music and lyrics are written by the band's charismatic singer Jonsu (with a little help from her friends), who started her composer's career even before she went to school, writing little 'symphonies' two bars long. 'Shine' offers up 12 tracks of rather catchy Pop/Rock with the occasional Pop Ballad, that will have you tapping your feet before you can say Indica! I have been known to go for some of the poppier stuff, just listen to my radio show, so this to my ears is good. I perhaps may have liked 'Shine' a little heavier but that is not a complaint, and you will find the album growing on you with each play. If you like your music at the lighter end of the Rock spectrum, certainly flirting with Pop, then buy this...recommended 8.5/10 (Dave)
JEWEL NIGHT...'HOW FOREVER' (Single)
(Self Release) Reviewed 28th November 2013
So the voice of an Angel lives down under in Melbourne Australia, and after chatting with her, she seems very nice too. This track by a new artist on the block, Jenni (AKA) Jewel Night I stumbled across while trawling the net, and I dragged up this little 5+ minute gem as I pulled my net in. This is totally awesome and musically can be compared to Enya, Sirenia and Within Temptation. This is simply a haunting emotional ballad from this lovely lass who on this showing deserves massive success. To be honest, Europe and the USA will go bonkers over this. I do not normally review singles but I just had to bring this to the attention of the masses out there. Her Facebook is here and the single can be purchased from cdbaby, and all the normal digital outlets. I do not normally score a single track, but let me just say that an album of the same quality would score a 9+ (Dave)
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