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Ravenheart Music: Album Reviews


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(Self Release) Reviewed 21st October 2016

Lureaway fronted by Jevgenija Korkina come from Latvia, and clear strong soprano vocals fused with symphonic metal is a characteristic feature of this EP. There are four tracks and although it has all been done before, I am not complaining. If you like your metal symphonic with awesome soprano vocals, this is worth checking out. Take a listen here, then support independent artists and make a purchase... 8.5/10 (Dave)


(Sand Hill Records) Reviewed 17th October 2016

Think of Evanescence combined with Halestorm and you have Letters From The Fire. Fronted by Alexa Kabazie, the album from this San Francisco group of musicians offers up 13 new songs that in turn offer a beguiling mix of melody and heaviness. A consistent release, all rather good and well worth the spend if you ask me, so why not check out their facebook that can be found here. Only a brief review but worth an 8.5/10 (Hannah Cooper).

LILYGUN...'INSIDE' (single)

(A Line Records) Reviewed 15th October 2016

Lilygun is fronted by Anna-Christina and on October 8th they released a single called 'Inside'. This was the last song singer Anna-Chistina wrote before suffering from a Subarachnoid Brain Haemorrhage. I have always liked Anna-Christina and Lilygun, their self titled album that I reviewed in 2012 is a good un. The song in question is a great number with crossover appeal and a great chorus. The track is from the forthcoming album 'Strength and Grace'. On the strength of this one track, if the album is this good, it will be well worth checking out!! The single is obtainable from the usual digital outlets. (Dave)


(Self Released) Reviewed 13th October 2016

Mercy Isle was formed by Kassandra Novell in November 2014. Founding members were Kassandra (vocals), Chad Novell (bass/vocals), Joop de Rooij (keys), Cory Scheider (guitar), and Adam Maltby (drums). The band released their debut single 'I'm Gonna Make It' on 18 March 2015. Shortly after the single release, the band launched a successful Indiegogo campaign to fund their debut 4-song EP 'Storm', and a small tour in the US taking the band from Michigan to Florida. In 2016, members Cory and Adam resigned to pursue other opportunities. The band welcomed drummer Ywe Van Der Pol and guest guitarist Sebas Honing. In August 2016, guitarists Freek Gielen and Eelco Slont joined the band. Mercy Isle will release this, their first long player at Metal Female Voices Fest in Belgium, and to our ears, this long player is very good indeed. I am always able to tell from the first 2 or 3 tracks how good a record will be, and as with this one, I knew this was going to be damn good. There are 10 tracks of kool Melodic Metal mixing in a little Pop-Metal and Symphonic Metal together with the odd awesome ballad, and I am a sucker for a good lighter waving ballad. Just listen to the lovely ‘If I Could’ and the wonderful but sad ‘Saying Goodbye’ (something I can relate too) – great vocal performances too from Kassandra. This album is a goodie from start to finish and with every cut a standout, I am sure this band will go down a storm at the MFVF! Their facebook is here… well recommended… 9/10 (Dave)


(AFM Records) Reviewed 6th September 2016

LEAVES' EYES is one of my fave bands and soon they will be releasing this five track EP. The title track is a brand new song, featured in both a regular and an acoustic version. In addition, the EP includes three songs from the band's latest album 'King Of Kings' in new versions (feat. their new vocalist Elina on vocals). If the title track, the catchy and very addictive 'Fires In The North' is anything to go by, new material from this band is going to be awesome. The EP due 7th Oct in Europe and rest of the world,and 4th Nov in USA/Canada. It is diffcult to score the music basically on the strength of one new track, but all I would say is get this when available and to add, Elina has molded in very well! (Dave)


(Self Released) Reviewed 3rd September 2016

Formed in 1998, MALICE IN WONDERLAND is a German band musically attributable to Symphonic Metal, with the powerful and varied voice of the singer Argentina Schumacher at the helm. This album offers up to the unsuspecting music fan 13 tracks of Symphonic Melodic Metal, that will strongly appeal to fans into this style of music. We like our music melodic and catchy here within the towers, and this album does not disappoint, although there is a little complexity thrown into the mix. The topping on the cake however, has to be the 11 minute epic 'Leviathan', that in itself is almost like a mini album within an album. This review in itself is only a brief one, but I would certainly say that this record is well worth looking into. The band's website is here, but you may need google translate. And I will just add that this band as far as I know is nothing to do with the Norwegian band of the same name that now no longer exists... 8.75/10 (Hannah Cooper)


(Massacre Records) Reviewed 31st August 2016

After a long journey, Swiss rockers MIRACLE FLAIR has finally reached a point, where their hard work will pay off. 'Angels Cast Shadows', the band’s second album is a piece of art, which showcases the band's passion and attention to detail. It's an international affair, and the album's been refined by the production skills of the living legend Tommy Vetterli (Coroner). Miracle Flair centres around the two creative forces Nicole Hartmann and Daniel Maurizi, who produce beautiful melodies entangled with crisp guitar riffs. This long player is peppered throughout with Melodic/ Epic/ Symphonic metal that will sure please fans of the genre, and there are some corking tracks here as well. All I can say is check this record out when it is released 21st October - recommended… 8.75/10 (Dave)


(Psychophonic Records via Shellshock Distribution) Reviewed 18th August 2016

LESBIAN BED DEATH, the UK female fronted HARD ROCK/GOTHIC PUNK band is back with this their fifth studio album. This is also the first album to feature new singer SIENNA VENOM and new lead guitarist VIK VOODOO, who originally played on LBD's first album, 'I Use My Powers For Evil'. Founder member, MR PEACH, retains his status on rhythm guitar, and the band will be joined by AARON SAMEDI on drums and ROY SWAMPI on bass for live shows. Overall, this is a good album from a band that to my ears has consistently delivered the goods in the past, and it seems with this album too. We have 11 tracks showing the band's huge love of 80s hard rock tainted with moody gothic tinges, all delivered with a fresh contemporary twist and heaps of melody. A dark sense of humour runs throughout the album too, which lends itself well to the lyrics about sour relationships and Horror movies. Sienna’s vocals are melodic and crisply delivered and overall, this is another winner from this UK band. This record was recorded at the acclaimed Chairworks Studio in Leeds (Skindred/Marmozets/Kaiser Chiefs), with mixing and mastering completed at Lower Lane Studios in Stoke-on-Trent… The album is released 23rd September, well recommended… 8.75/10 (Dave)


(Self Release) Reviewed 28th July 2016

Mortsure is a Symphonic Metal band from Bolivia fronted by Delphine Pelaez. I was rather curious about this release, because as far as I am aware, there are not many Symphonic Metal bands from Bolivia. Musically it is okay, with most of the tracks sung in the band's native tongue I believe. However, the album does seem to lack the power and ooommpphh of many of their counterparts from Europe, and I feel more needs to be done if the band want to propel themselves forward. However, Mortsure obviously does not have the financial clout of some of the bigger acts, and this comes across within the final sound quality of the album. There are 11 cuts here nonetheless, none of the tracks really stand out and hit you, but there is some good use of strings and orchestration on some numbers inc the 9+ minute epic 'Distancia/Cercania' - I like the haunting guitar solo on this track too. Let's not be too critical, the band's facebook is here.. 6.5/10 (Dave)


(Self Release) Reviewed 15th July 2016

Murmur Tooth fronted by Leah Hinton was born in New Zealand and England and are now based in Berlin. They blend grunge and pop into a grimy and beautiful din. Sometimes dark, sometimes light, the three piece combine a driving rhythm section with dirty guitars and soaring female vocal harmonies. The harmonies are apparent from the off in opening cut 'Knees Are Clean', while second track 'Bumps' has a kinda retro feel to it and has elements of the aforementioned grunge. The female harmonies return on third number ‘And I Wait’, a catchy and rather accessible tune that is one of my faves from the EP, while closer ‘Waste Away’ is a 6+ minute haunting dark doom/grunge laden tune, that will leave you wanting to hit the repeat button on the player and listen to the EP all over again. Murmur Tooth’s bandcamp is here. And I just wish to add that front lass Leah recorded and mixed the EP herself, as an extension of her creative song writing process. Good on her! 8/10 (Dave)


(Self Release) Reviewed 24th June 2016

Leecher from Hungary is a Female Fronted Metal band with cellos! The band was formed in 2008, and has been playing ever since. A notable point of their career was being the support act for Epica in Spring 2011 in Bratislava and Budapest. Leecher’s music would best be called Symphonic Metal, with a twist – instead of a classic guitar-oriented line-up the base of the music is played by the cellos, capable of heavy shredding as well as soft melodies. And overall, the album is good – 13 tracks of pounding Symphonic Metal featuring those aforementioned cellos and the cool vocals of Anett, who by and large is also the band’s lyricist. There is an interesting spoken intro (prologue) of film score proportions featuring the cello, that then takes the listener straight into the first number proper ‘Damnation’, an absolute melodic belter of a Symphonic Metal number with its catchy chorus. The awesome start to the album more or less sets the scene for what is to come, with further pounding tracks like ‘Eclipse’, reminding me of Nightwish, the up tempo and catchy ‘Encore’ and the closing melodic symphonic tune ‘All The Stars’. Leecher can also slow it down a touch with numbers like the awesome power ballad ‘Fading’, a fave of mine from this record. I do rather like this album, a well put together piece of work from this Hungarian band, certainly an album for fans of female fronted Symphonic Metal and as a consequence, should be placed on your shopping lists. Their website is here… 8.75/10 (Dave)


(Self Release) Reviewed 16th June 2016

MeNZiA invites you to enjoy the circus that we live in that is called "life". You are invited to enjoy boldness, irony and lust in the most sincere and healthiest way you can imagine, in the company of strong guitar riffs, dark sweet keyboards topped with an unpredictable, lovely and sexy voice, all wrapped up in a powerful show of musical prowess! And so... without any more delays the show must go on! And it does, Menzia being a Melodic Metal band from Spain, the Iberian Peninsula seemingly becoming the hotbed of Rock & Metal at present. Fronted by a young lady named Gat, this is a band that sure has caught my attention with their catchy style of bombastic Melodic Metal, this being well showcased in the opening salvo of 'Not Like You' and 'My Worst Nightmare'. And it continues with tracks like 'Anemophobia', the ultra catchy ‘Wrong Way’, the kool ‘Storm’ and one of my faves from the album, the bouncy 'Escaping The Cage'. And let us not forget the obligatory power ballad ‘Card Castle’, great stuff! This from beginning to end is a dynamic and at times quirky offering from this Spanish band, choc full of melodic choruses and damn cool hooks. My advice? Check out the band’s website here and then get this 12 track album!! This is uplifting for those dull Summer days we tend to have here in the UK, especially just recently, and if you keep still while listening to this album, with the utmost respect, you need to seek medical help!!!.... 9/10 (Dave)


(Century Media) Reviewed 26th May 2016

Delirium is the eighth studio album by Italian Gothic Metal band Lacuna Coil who are in their 23rd year so I believe. This is the first album to not feature long time drummer Cristiano "Criz" Mozzati and guitarists Cristiano "Pizza", who retired from the band on Valentine's Day, February 14, 2014, and Marco "Maus" Biazzi, who left the band just before recording sessions, making it the first album since their debut to feature other band members, and the first one completely recorded and mixed in Italy. Featuring stalwarts Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro on female and male vocals, this album kicks ass, and the opening track ‘The House Of Shame’ made me wonder whether Lacuna Coil had gone all Death Metal, as Andrea’s vocals came steamrollering out of the headphones like a Japanese bullet train. Some absolute belters here, with the aforementioned opener possibly one of the heaviest tracks on the cd. The title track is rather catchy, with the vocals of Andrea not so fierce, and indeed, everything here from start to finish is hideously catchy and addictive, but heavy and metallic to boot. Cristina’s vocals add the ’poppy touch’ to proceedings while Andrea and the band adds the metal. There are slower numbers too like ‘Downfall’, a massive anthemic number, a great crowd pleasing track I would imagine coupled with awesome guitar solo! Then there is ‘Take Me Home’ with its quirky chorus. This is a massive album from one of my fave bands, and is rest assured well and truly recommended - a surefire winner that is released 27th May… 9.5/10 (Dave)


(Trisol/Soulfood) Reviewed 16th May 2016

Mantus is a band from Cologne, Germany and was formed in 1997 by Martin Schindler. The band's name derives from the eponymous god of the underworld of the Etruscans. The band was disbanded in 2005 but reunited in 2008. Current members are Martin Schindler (music, lyrics, vocals 1997–present) and Chiara Amberia (vocals since 2012). I am really beginning to like some of the bands and music coming out of Germany whether sung in English or German, and Mantus is one such band that defines the Gothic Rock/Metal genre rather well and indeed is a fave band of mine. With Martin and Chiara sharing vocal duties there is some really catchy stuff on this release, the lyrics in German but who cares, the band do come from Germany! A tsunami of highlights here including the bouncy ‘Niemals genung’, the atmospheric ‘Das Wunder des Lebens’, the metallic/symphonic 'Süßes Gift', the power ballad 'Gefangener' and one of my faves, 'Welt in Flammen'. I am unsure as to whether to file this under female or male fronted reviews, but due to the presence of Chiara’s whose vocals appear on some of the tracks, I will class this band as ‘female fronted’ for the purpose of this review. Recommended… 8.5/10 (Dave)


(MJM Music PL) Reviewed 14th May 2016

Milczenie Owiec fronted by Ola Wysocka come from Poland, and this release sung in their native tongue offers up 12 tracks of rather cool, accessible and tuneful rock music. Check out tracks like 'Przyjda Tu' and 'Bunt' as just two examples from a cocktail of goodies. I am reviewing this album during the Eurovision Song Contest that is on TV at the moment, and this album beats anything from Eurovision hands down. This is a brief review, I have no idea what the band is singing about, but who cares, what I hear is good! Their Facebook is here... 8.75/10 (The Nugget)


(Self Release) Reviewed 13th May 2016

Metalwings is a Bulgarian Symphonic/Gothic metal band with a Celtic influence, formed by the vocalist and viola player Stela Atanasova in 2010. The band offers a unqiue combination of powerful guitars, magical Irish flutes, damn fine angelic vocals and the gentle sound of the viola. The EP has five tracks of fine music that generally defines rather nicely the Symphonic/Gothic Metal music sound. I myself was already familiar with the band's music by way of the final track on this EP, 'Crying of the Sun', which I discovered on YouTube a while back. The opening track is the title track and is an awesome way to kick off this EP, while next up, the Nightwish influenced 'Slaves of the Night' is another fine offering - lovely vocals. This EP is right up my alleyway with the bouncy ‘Ship Of Shadows’ and ‘Immortal Metal Wings’ maintaining the momentum of the previous tracks. The aforementioned catchy closer ‘Crying Of The Sun’ ends what is a very fine EP. With the band’s website here, this release is certainly one for fans of Symphonic Melodic Metal, bouncy, tuneful, great vocals and overall great musicianship, certainly one to look out for – it is available from today, I myself like this, well recommended… 9/10 (Dave)


(Epictural/Seasons of Mist) Reviewed 12th May 2016

Symphonic Black Metal would not normally be classed as my cuppa tea, but I decided to try my hand (or in this case my ears) at giving this new effort from French band Malevolentia a try. Indeed Black Metal is one of those genres where many bands fail, but a few do succeed and Malevolentia it seems do fall into the latter category. Republique is the band's first release in over five years and it certainly does what it says on the press release - it is Symphonic with great instrumentation and occasional choral backdrops, it is Metal and it sure is Black :) With the young lass Spleen taking the mic stand, she lets rip like a good un, her vocal delivery bull dozing you against the wall, but I bet in real life she is rather sweet :) The album is sung in the band’s native tongue, the vocals despite their ferocity show emotion, the album is heavily orchestrated and to be honest would make a great movie soundtrack. The CD is sometimes violent, sometimes melodic and with Malevolentia’s popularity with the French speaking world, will do very well like its predecessor ‘Ex Oblivion’ I am sure. I am surprised by the quality on this album as I have never really seen myself getting into this style of music. I cannot say I am quite there yet, but this awesome effort deserves an 8/10 (Dave).


(WormholeDeath) Reviewed 10th May 2016

Lightless Moor with founder member Ilaria Falchi at the helm is a band I have been familiar with for some while, indeed since the release of their debut EP 'Renewal' in 2006. The band has developed since that time to become a force within the Gothic Metal community, this being their second full length effort, their previous album, 'The Poem - Crying My Grief to a Feeble Dawn' released in 2013 on WormholeDeath. This current album I believe shows a major progression since Lightless Moor's past effort, showing more maturity, and I think has the capability to reach out to a larger audience, being I believe to be a little more accessible musically than its predecessor. Okay, the growls are still there, but the poppy vocal style of Ilaria is being allowed to take more of a prominent vocal role on this album. Some corking numbers here that will grab you by the short and curlies (or whatever), and surely this is a record that has driven the band into the premier league of Gothic Metal. Fave tracks a plenty but I do rather like the single release, 'The Unlocked Door To The Other World', with subtle elements of electronica as one track from an album packed full of goodies including the bouncy 'The Rain That Clears My Sins Away', the rather nice 'When My Mind Sleeps', 'Kings Of The Sulphur Crown', that I am sure will be a live fave and the superb 'A Dream Written In The Sand'. Recorded, mixed and produced by Carlo Bellotti and Wahoomi Corvi at RealSound Studios (Parma) and mastered by Tony Lindgren at Fascination Street Studios (Sweden), this 12 track epic is scheduled for 9th June through all major digital retailers. I would wholly recommend this to all and sundry, and if you are reading this, then that includes you!!... 9/10 (Dave)


(Maple Metal) Reviewed 29th April 2016

Misteyes started in 2012 with a five-member line-up, with which, the year after, they released their first single 'Brains In A Vat', which was characterized by a melodic death/black sound. In 2014 the band's sound started having a profound evolution, which in turn involved a female vocalist and a keyboard player in the project. With this new seven-member line-up, they released a demo 'Lady Loneliness', giving a first glimpse of their new path, being characterized by duality and contrast. In 2015 Misteyes' musical evolution came to a fundamental point and they decided to record a full-length album. And that has come to fruition with this record 'Creeping Time'. Fronted by Edoardo "Irmin" Iacono (Growl and Scream Vocals) and Denise "Ainwen" Manzi (Clean and Opera Vocals), the band throw at the listener a tsunami of intense Gothic/Symphonic Metal with a progressive undercurrent. Indeed,music to annoy the neighbours, but certainly not music to play to your Granny LOL. But despite the heaviness of the album, it is melodic and at times rather catchy, 'Inside The Golden Cage' as one example, while 'Lady Loneliness' is one of the lighter tracks, and beautiful it is too as the vocals of Denise shine. There are guest appearances on this record, the track 'Decapitated Rose' features a special guest appearance by Björn "Speed" Strid from SOILWORK contributing additional clean and scream vocals. Other special guests appearing on the album include Nicole Ansperger (ex-Eluveitie), violin on the track 'Winter's Judgment', and Roberto Pasolini (singer of Embryo) backing vocals on the blistering song 'The Demon Of Fear'. When this Beauty & the Beast music is done well it goes down very well with me, this being one such album. For more info on Misteyes, visit their Facebook page:… 8.5/10 (Dave)


(Aural Music) Reviewed 24th April 2016

Messa from Italy play obscure and evoking doom with deliciously haunting female vocals, influenced by Pentagram, Bellwitch, Windhand, Jex Thoth, Sabbath Assembly, Bathory and the like. This their debut album mixes dark ambient drones with vintage heavy occult doom and mesmerizing female vocals from a young lady called Sara. Ten tracks of deliciously intense music that wraps itself up into a triptastic little package bringing the vintage 70s doom back into your living room. The opener ‘Alba’ is an instrumental that in itself should send you on a mind bending trip of a lifetime, while the other numbers exhibit similar traits. Sara sure can belt those vocals out, ably backed up by a competent band of musicians. In summary, the band delivers a heavy sound, occult-reminding, very experimental, also with ambient episodes, that will drive you through a scarlet velvet trip across the whole of the record. If you feel a little adventurous and fancy a mind bending musical trip, this trip of course being a legal one, then get this album when released May 6th. But if you are inclined, the listen may be even a little more enjoyable with something perhaps not so legal, but I am not here to encourage that kinda thing :) Messa’s Facebook is here.. 7.5/10 (Dave)


(RepoRecords) Reviewed April 22nd 2016

On Friday 29.04.2016 the re-release of the self-titled debut-album 'Me The Tiger' will be available as CD and digital release in all the relevant music stores. Gabriella Åström (Vocals & Synth), Tobias Andersson (Synth & Guitar) and Jonas Martinsson (Drums) formed the Swedish electro-pop band back in 2012. And on this re-release, there are nine tracks of wickedly catchy tunes, the band giving the listener an album full of energy and melancholy electronica with a focus on strong and catchy choruses - an extravaganza in-fact of club hits. ME THE TIGER is the next generation of electronic music, the vitriolic wind of change in the deadlocked electronic music scene. This cd is a damn cool dose of Electro Pop to greet those lighter evenings as Summer beckons, so get a few drinks in, get those dancing shoes on and enjoy. The band’s facebook is here… 8.5/10 (Dave)


(Inner Wound Recordings) Reviewed 4th March 2016

Midnight Eternal is a Symphonic Metal band based out of New York City/NJ. The band was formed in March 2014 when two members of Operatika (Richard Fischer and Boris Zaks) invited Daniel Prestup (Rivera Bomma, Spider Rockets) and Mike LePond (Symphony X) to join them in recording a two-song demo. During the recording, the band acquired the talents of vocalist Raine Hilai based on her previous work in theater and her solo endeavour. The planned demo quickly evolved into the formation of a full-time band when it became apparent the group had something special on their hands. Shortly thereafter, Greg Manning (Spider Rockets, Zamora) joined the band as permanent member taking over bass duties. What characterizes the sound of Midnight Eternal is the sense of melody and power coupled with the beautiful multi-layered vocals, all this being showcased within the 12 rather catchy and pounding tracks on this recording, closing with the epic 8 minute plus number ‘First Time Thrill‘. With the album being mixed and mastered by Tommy Hansen [Helloween, Pretty Maids, Jorn], Midnight Eternal with their strong European influenced sound coupled with the angelic and rather unique poppy vocals of Raine Hilai, will I am sure appeal to fans of Delain and Nightwish among others. Well worth checking out when released April 29th…8.5/10 (Dave)


(Stargate Music) Reviewed 26th February 2016

Luminize are based in The Hague in Holland and are four energetic women making music with a purpose and a passion! These four ladies were actually born in Croatia, and always persisted in developing their talents into the skilled musicians they are today. When their music teacher started an all-boy band, it inspired the girls to start their own all-girl group, and I myself am frikin glad they did! And their passion was to provide an albums worth of totally addictive Pop/Rock songs, and that is exactly what they have done. Fronted by Marcela, this album is totally awesome. The opening salvo of ‘Done With You’ and ‘Get It Back’ kicks things off in sensational fashion, the latter a totally bombastic and melodic rock song. And it doesn’t stop there as further cuts come blasting their way out of the speakers. Tracks like the bouncy ‘All or Nothing’ with its catchy chorus, the anthemic power ballads ‘Love Takes No Prisoners’ and ‘Damn It’, the addictive ‘Fuck You’ and the oh so bouncy closing track ‘The Other Side’ – what a chorus! Powerful women such as P!nk, Gwen Stefani, Kelly Clarkson and Hayley Williams provide them with inspiration while they write all their own songs. In summary, this record is indeed a powerful statement of intent from four young women who want to share their music and energy with the world – literally going for ‘All Or Nothing’. And the world should look up and take notice! Every track here screams radio airplay with more hooks than a well equipped Japanese whaling fleet. Their website is at This is a must buy for anyone into this style of music - well recommended!!... 9.25/10 (Dave)


(Self Released) Reviewed 25th February 2016

Morning Dew is a German Hard Rock band fronted by Lisa Katharina Merschroth, and from what I can gather have been around for a while in one form or another since at least 1989.This is a five track EP of 70s style Hard Rock Music and boy, this is good. A particular reference must be made to the final track 'Whiskey Lee', a number that will have you getting out your air guitars and dancing around your living rooms. Whiskey Lee was actually a drummer with the band who obviously enjoyed the rock n roll lifestyle, until his sudden passing in 1997 - "gone but not forgotten". Without going into too much detail, all five tracks rock and is a worthy purchase. The band's Facebook is here... 8.5/10 (Dave)


(Self Release) Reviewed 24th February 2016 (Review re-issued)

Molllust hail from Leipzig and the music here would be best described as Opera Metal, and that is confirmed by the band via their Facebook page. Featuring the vocals of leading lady Janika Groß and the male vocals of Frank Schumacher, this is different and damn cool. The band also has within its ranks a violinist, cellist and a double bassist, all this together with a strong choral back drop. Consequently there is a strong classical influence here, so do not expect shredding guitar solos folks or a thumping rhythm section, but do expect some awesome, inspiring and at times rather cultural music! You get your monies worth too, with the record carrying 15 tracks. Okay, this will not grab you immediately, but repeated listens will reveal new layers of musical delights that peel away in an awesome aural experience. This will possibly not appeal to the total metal heads out there, but so what! Anybody who is open minded towards their music should enjoy this. As previously mentioned, this has been described as Opera Metal, and yes the Metal is there but so is a strong operatic or classical influence within the numbers. Well worth checking out or downloading - their Facebook is here - an interesting and slightly different release.. 8.5/10 (Dave)


(Another Century Records) Reviewed 22nd February 2016

It all seems rather quiet on the EVANESCENCE front, although Amy Lee is assuring everyone that Evanescence is still in existence. But to keep her fans happy, this is an EP she has recorded of covers. Cover albums can be a strange kettle of fish, but firstly, these songs are not ones that you would normally hear covered, and secondly, Amy has put her own stamp on the songs, almost making the tunes on this EP her own. The songs here are laidback, so do not expect an aural assault of Evanescence proportions, these are tracks to enjoy with a bottle of wine or two. 'It's A Fire' (Portishead) opens proceedings, followed by Amy's interpretation of U2's 'With or Without You'. 'Going To California'is her version of the Led Zep song, while electro infused Chris Isaacs's 'Baby Did A Bad Thing' closes the album. This ain't bad, just four tracks but worth a listen... 8/10 (Dave)


(FOLLOWSPOT Records) Reviewed 14th February 2016

Lacey Nicole Sturm is an American singer-songwriter from Arlington, Texas. She is co-founder and former lead vocalist of the hard rock band Christian Rock/Metal band Flyleaf, a band she left in 2012. Once an out and out atheist, things then changed and she is now involved quite actively within the Christian scene within the USA. 'Life Screams' is her debut solo offering detailing her life experiences that have been artfully crafted and included throughout the entire LIFE SCREAMS album. The album kicks off with the track 'Impossible' that is also the lead single from the album, a cool anthemic rocker with a nice catchy chorus. And what follows offers up plenty of classic melodic cuts with memorable hooks and catchy choruses, the title track being one of my fave tracks. There is also a monster cover of 'Roxanne' (The Police) and this is as good as the original I hasten to add. A handy addition to anyone's cd collection, this record is worth checking out, and will most certainly please fans of her former band. Released 12th Feb... 8.75/10 (Dave)


(Aereostella/Fermenti Vivi/Et-Team) Reviewed 8th February 2016

Mardi Gras fronted by the awesome vocals of Claudia Loddo is an Italian band, but with an international view. From a duo to a rock band with six members, Mardi Gras mix a blend of folk, Americana and pure rock music which make for a rather pleasant listening experience to these ears. This is their 3rd full length release, recorded in Roma and mastered at Abbey Road Studios in London. There are 14 tracks offering a collection of ballads, rock, acoustic tracks, a little bit of old school funk and songs about violence against woman. Some cool tracks here including the beautiful opener ‘I Say Yes’, reminding me a little of Snow Patrol instrumentally, the up tempo and melodic ‘Never’, the subtle country tinged ballad ‘Road Song’ featuring Irish musician Mundy, the funky bluesy ‘Painlover’, the tuneful and oh so good ‘Another Place’, the haunting ‘Snakes and Bones’ and the serene ‘Alys‘. There is an open space where children can play freely and where the adults can return for a while to the days of their youth, living once again the flavours and colours of their most beautiful and precious memories. ’Playground’ by Mardi Gras is an album well worth checking out! Their website is here… 9/10 (Dave)


(Alliance Entertainment) Reviewed 7th February 2016

Here we have a formidable Progressive Metal/Rock Opera sung by Russell Allen and Amanda Somerville together with the outstanding Clive Riche's narrative voice. The concept behind the Opera tells about oniric/introspective protagonist's trip. This Opera is a vision, an introspective journey, a dream not dreamed, a concept turned into music with great musicians to make it happen. Everything comes from the lucid madness of two southern Italy's musicians: Giancarlo Trotta and Luca Contegiacomo. This is Classical music mixed with Progressive Rock & Metal, featuring international musicians from the likes of Russell Allen, Amanda Somerville, John Macaluso, Randy Coven, Marco Sfogli and the Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra, used to achieve the ultimate Rock Opera. The music itself as one would expect after reading the above is metal heavily mixed with the orchestral & operatic, to achieve a near perfect piece of music spread across 14 tracks, with a sterling job done by all involved. I am not sure about the history of this release but it seems it originally saw the light of day in 2007 in Italian, and has now been released in English as a 'World Edition'. Proceeds from the album, which is globally distributed through various digital media platforms (eg iTunes, Amazon, Spotify) and physically distributed through CDBaby, goes to the nonprofit organization, Heroes Temporis for Autistic Children in southern Italy. If you love Symphonic Metal, there is no reason not to listen to this album. May we suggest you buy and support a good cause...well recommended... 9.5/10 (Dave)


(Self Release) Reviewed 5th February 2016

The foundation-stone of Swiss band Legenda Aurea was laid in August of 2005 when Renato Trinkler and Martin Roth united to create a new band. Even without knowing what was going to happen, the main aspects of the musical concepts were clear: a blending of Symphonic Metal with Opera chant. Fronted by the magical vocals of Simone Christinat coupled with occasional male growls, this is the band's third album (albeit a little short at just over 36 mins) of cool melodic Symphonic Metal. The opener 'Frozen' (nothing to do with Madonna btw) is the longest track at 6.43 and is a melodic bombastic opener and sets the scene rather nicely thank you, as does second up 'The Seventh Wish'. A string and piano intro takes us into 'Remembrance', and the momentum is maintained as the band blaze their way through this 3rd number. 'Eternal Essence', after a kool synth intro is a pounding up tempo cut, while 'Abundance' is impressive and pulsating as is the pen ultimate number 'Unbroken'. Closing with the energetic 'Internal Enemy' a track that starts with a subtle feel before it all kicks up a gear (or six), this in summary is a good album, although on the downside it does not seem to offer much variation within its contents. Recommended though.. 8.25/10 (The Nugget)

LYRA...'Твой путь'

(Unsigned) Reviewed 2nd February 2016

Good old Dave, he gives me the album that is sung in Russian, so effectively I do not have a clue as to what the band is on about, but musically, Lyra is rather good. There is some good Rock and Metal music coming out of that country and this band throw into the melting pot thirteen tracks of rather good Symphonic Power Metal. As for the fine detail regards Lyra from Saint Petersburg, I have to pass on that fine detail, although I do know that this is their debut recording. Nonetheless, I am a little curious as what little info we can obtain regards this album, suggests it runs in at 47 minutes with nine tracks, but our copy has 13! We even have bag pipes on the track ’Князь тьмы', so a grand old mix of music. If you can live with the lyrics being sung in Russian, and there is nothing wrong with that, then this digital release is worth checking out if you can track it down. It has just been released so hopefully, that may not be too difficult… 8.5/10 (The Nugget)


(Art Gates Records) Reviewed 18th January 2016

L'Endevi come from Spain and this I understand is their third LP. Fronted by Lorena Gascón, I know little about the band except that this is the first album Lorena has recorded with them. Before I get started, I wish to raise a point here, something that I have mentioned in the past. Some bands label themselves as a "Gothic Metal" band, or they get labelled as such by third parties, by virtue of the fact they have a female singer and may perhaps have a 'gothy' image. I have seen this band labelled on more than one website as a Gothic Metal band. I would like to change that and say that they ply their trade with Modern Alternative Rock/Metal. Okay, having not heard their previous two releases, I cannot speak for the style of these specific albums, but this record offers up 12 tracks of the aforementioned Alternative style of music. Some of the cuts here are sung in English and some in Spanish. However, there is nothing here that jumps out and grabs you, although I do rather like the laid back albeit rather short opening number ’Déjà Vu’ and the heavy closing track ’Peligro’ (sung in Spanish), with what is sandwiched in between being okay but average. The album is released across Europe today - an okay sort of album…7.5/10 (Dave)


(Metal Scrap Records) Reviewed 2nd January 2016

The standard of music coming from Eastern Europe at the moment is very good, and Ukrainian band Mizantropia are no exception. Consisting of a vocalist (Catherine Sinegina) who can sing the operatics one moment and then scream like a demented honey monster the next, really adds to the consistency of this 50 minute + release. And there is a female drummer who plays damn good too. This record, Mizantropia’s second full length offering is a rather good album, sung mainly in the band’s native tongue, but with three numbers that are sung in English. This new release narrates all about the acuteness of feelings and emotions experienced by us during our life, and has taken on a more heavy and aggressive form, retaining the lyricism and the tragedy of the early work of the band. It embodies Extreme Gothic Metal with splashes of Doom, Dark, Black and Melodic Death Metal, all wrapped in a rich layer of melody. A bright female soprano changing to a desperate scream all at the flick of a switch - like the two sides of the same soul, telling of the way to the inevitable and unavoidable. This CD is strongly recommended for "dark" music genre fans in particular, as well as fans of In Flames, Draconian, Insomnium and Moonspell!! Fancy buying a cd and playing it rather loud, then get this release… 8.75/10 (Dave)


(Pure Steel Publishing) Reviewed 31st December 2015

The legendary Blackmass of Rotting Flesh along with fellow axeman Mancer, have joined forces with former partner in crime Kerk, to form a new alliance. Signing a pact with Hel, the band's shadow whisperer, all has been agreed upon. They have a story to tell, and woe to those who dare not listen. Indeed, that story is told as a result of the above pact, Lachrymose. They so happen to be a melodic dark/doom metal band from Thessaloniki in Greece. Basically they offer what they say on the tin, 10 tracks of the aforementioned melodic dark/doom metal and with a band image to boot. The tracks are mainly up tempo and melodic with some great guitar work too from Mr Blackmass, who also supplies occasional but not overly done growls. There are some corking numbers here, including the epic 8 minute plus 'My Shadow (A Revelation)', the atmospheric 7 minute plus title track and the pounding ‘Face Of Horror’. Lachrymose isn't just a band, Lachrymose is a dream, an ideal, a way of life, a breath of fresh air in the realm of dark metal. They recommend you turn up the volume and skip your prayer for the night, that sounds a good idea to me. Their Facebook is at Please be advised to get the album otherwise Blackmass will come and get you...9/10 (Dave)


(Cleopatra Records) Reviewed 6th December 2015

A masterpiece! That sums this album up. Not to be confused with the Welsh band of the same name, Norwegians Magenta formed by vocalist Vilde Lockert and Anders Lodden, have graced the musical world for a wee while now, their first EP appearing in 1997. 'Songs For The Dead' was in-fact born out of a deep tragedy. The Magenta family had been invited to stay at Ministry leader, Al Jourgensen’s 13th Planet Studios compound during the Xmas of 2012. They arrived the same day that Ministry guitarist Mike Scaccia left after finishing some recording. Shortly after, on December 22, news reached them that Mike had died. Everyone at Al’s compound was overwhelmed with grief. To try to get somewhat back to normal in the midst of this, they all decided to record something. Vilde and Anders’ daughter, Regine, had written a song called ‘Ghost’ in the castle of Duke Hank Von Hell (ex-Turbonegro) the Xmas before. They recorded this track with Al's magic touch and the idea for the album dedicated to those who have past on, was born. Indeed, the catchy and rather addictive ‘Ghost’ is one of my fave tracks from this record, but there are others - ‘Descending’ which is a cool Industrial Metal track being another. The album is like a requiem and is a new birth for Magenta. It is the first album Magenta has done that they feel represents them fully as the kind of musical entity they want to be. Recommended.. 8.75/10 (Dave)


(Pride and Joy Music) Reviewed 30th November 2015

Fronted by the angelic and poppy vocals of Lady Ani, I have rated this Spanish band very highly since I heard their EP ‘Paradise’ a while back (thanks Dave). And this their debut full length, has just well and truly laid the foundations to what I believe to be a very good band that is knocking on the door of the premier league. And what I love about LAST DAYS OF EDEN that provides the topping on the cake so as to speak, is their use of Celtic instrumentation within some of the tracks, something normally reserved for bands from more northern climes. There are no fillers from the numbers here, the record is just a totally magical slab of Melodic Symphonic Metal from beginning to end, that all fans of this style of music will I am sure fall in love with. There are standout cuts in abundance, but just listen to tracks like ‘Bring Me The Night’ (featured on the EP), the Nightwish influenced (Anette era), ‘The Last Stand’, the bouncy ’Here Come The Wolves’ and the totally kool ‘The Pipers Call’ (again from the EP, and I love the pipes by the way), and these alone will have you screaming for more!! But there is just one more track to add - the blockbuster and 16 minute epic ’Game Of War’. To put it very simply to all and sundry out there, this album is totally stunning and a worthy purchase if this is the only album you so happen to buy this year…9.5/10 (Katie McIntyre)


(Hall of Sermon) Reviewed 25th November 2015

Lacrimosa is a Gothic duo led by German Tilo Wolff, the main composer, and Finnish lass Anne Nurmi. The band has of late developed their style more towards powerful metal, but Gothic elements still remain. Their current musical style mixes Gothic rock and heavy metal along with violin and more classical instruments, although their musical development throughout the years has also led to changes in instrumentation. Lacrimosa's lyrics are written almost exclusively in German, although since the 1995 album 'Inferno' every album has featured one or two songs in English, these generally written by Anne Nurmi. ‘Hoffnung’ is their 12th studio release and is yet another bloomin’ awesome album. The vocals are mainly courtesy Tilo Wolff, but Anne Nurmi does contribute, hence this album drops into the female fronted reviews pile. And it all kicks off with an epic 15 minute mainly but not entirely orchestral/instrumental masterpiece, which at times evens reminds me a little of Pink Floyd and is of film score proportions!! What an intro! And the record following that as a whole is rather good. Sung mainly in German with Tilo as the main vocalist I must admit to liking this, although I must say that I do not think the tracks quite hit the dizzy heights of that mindblowing15 minute opener ‘Mondfeuer’. ‘Kaliedoskop’ is a catchy upbeat number with Tilo singing German and alternating with Anne’s angelic vocals who is singing in English. Other highlights include the brooding ‘Die Unbekannte Farbe’ featuring Tilo on vox, the melodic and symphonic ‘Thunder and Lightning’ with Anne on vocals and another epic - the 9 minute plus closer ‘Aperion - Der Freie Fall Pt2’. This album is really a bombastic masterpiece and on Tilo’s own label as well. Worth checking out! 8.75/10 (Dave)


(BFD/Red) Reviewed 18th November 2015

Manhattan-born singer-songwriter, Madame Mayhem™, is a true rocker with an eclectic style in every aspect of life. With her ‘in your face’ attitude, Mayhem is definitely the right word to describe this extreme artist. She has just completed this new record, featuring a powerhouse team of rock talent including Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big, Winery Dogs), who produced and played on the album, Ray Luzier (KoRn, KXM), Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Guns N’ Roses), Russ Parrish (“Satchel” from Steel Panther), and Corey Lowery (Saint Asonia, Stuck Mojo). With hard rock roots and melodies that show off her vocal range and talent, Madame Mayhem is excited to bring these new songs to the masses. As for the album itself, it is quite a melodic hard rock feast actually, and from those names mentioned above, what a team this fine Madame has behind her as well! And you get your monies worth with 14 monster tracks that kick off with the appropriately titled ‘Monster’, this sure wets your appetite as to what is to come on this record! A riff tastic gem of a tune that is followed by the equally as good and pounding ‘Perfect Nightmare’. The metallic ‘Something Better (Now You Know) is damn awesome, while other tracks that will send you into orgasmic fits of ecstasy include the power ballad ‘Left For Dead’ with its catchy chorus and angelic vocals (a sure fire radio hit!), the cool sounding ‘Nothing To Lose’ and the brooding acoustic based ‘Pain. And lets us make a mention of the closing number - a cover of the Cilla Black classic ‘Anyone Who Had A Heart’. This album kicks ass and is well recommended - Madame Mayhem’s website is here… 8.75/10 (Dave)


(Sensory Records) Reviewed 29th October 2015

Melted Space is a project created in 2007 by French pianist and composer Pierre Le Pape (Wormfood, Embryonic Cells). Influenced by metal, movie soundtracks and electronic music, he tries to create compositions mixing those styles. Here are the roots of a strange “world”: Melted Space! A world that would be the last step of Dante’s journey, a world occupied by lost and forgotten souls which tell their adventures to travelers. Sunk into oblivion, this is their only way to perpetuate their memory. To give life to this epic saga, Pierre surrounds himself with 26 singers and musicians from bands such as Hacride, Destinity, The Old Dead Tree, Carnival in Coal, Kells, Phazm, Goro. Each member puts a lot of effort into their role, bringing depth and originality to the relevant character or instrumental part. Then let us not forget the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra that undertakes the symphonic work. Overall, this is an impressive album from a very talented guy who has put a lot of effort into this release. This has been filed under the female fronted reviews section, but there is a mix of male and female vocalists. Well recommended nonetheless to all the punters out there… 8.5/10 (The Nugget)

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