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Ravenheart Music: Album Reviews

REVIEWS L-M

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LADY FUEL...'MEAN GENIE'

(LGSR Sphere France) Reviewed 14th May 2015

LADY FUEL is a French rock band formed in Clermont Ferrand in 2010. The group’s musical style primarily consists of a generous helping of organic rock, with shades of other styles such as progressive rock, funk and heavy metal, all coupled with an occasional sense of humour. The essence of the band lies in the strong, powerful and unique voice of their front lady Steph Tinayre, ably supported by a band that produces furious as well as melodic guitars with tribal drums and groovy bass lines. And this is well showcased within the thirteen tracks that are offered to the listener on this, their new album. Some rather good tracks here as well, such as the pounding metallic opening title cut, accompanied by Steph's quirky vocals that I myself just love! And there is plenty more to enjoy such as the awesome 'Deform', together with some rather interestingly titled tracks too, such as the bluesy, rocky and occasionally progressive 8 minute plus 'Plumber's Smile' and the wacky 'Jeffrey And I'. And that's not all, the interestingly titled track 'Perfect Screw', has a rather cool retro feel about it! The band's Facebook site is at www.facebook.com/ladyfuel.music - this album is good, it is different and a little eccentric, but I just love it! 8.5/10 (Dave)

SHAYNE LEIGHTON...'INVINCIBLE' EP

(Spectra Music) Reviewed 27th April 2015

Shayne Leighton is a new rock artist signed with the Spectra Music Group, and she has kindly sent to me the tracks that form her new EP. As well as being a musician, Shayne is an accomplished actress and a bestselling author, and I must go on record to say that this EP is rather good. She has also "re booted" the Pat Benetar song 'Invincible' that is track three here. The EP kicks off with the mid paced catchy rock orientated tune 'This Time' and the wow factor is already peaking into the "high" category. The awesome start continues with next up, the AOR sound of 'Dream Of You' with its catchy chorus, before the aforementioned 'Invincible' joins the fray. So far so good! 'Midnight Man' is a slower number showcasing Shayne's awesome and powerful vocals. The closing and impressive duo of 'Foolin' and 'Wolf At My Door' end what is a rather good album. I am rather impressed with what I hear, this is catchy, melodic and deserves mainstream attention. Shayne's website is at www.shayneleighton.com/..8.75/10 (Dave)

MY WOODEN PILLOW…’UNCOMFORTABLE’ EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 3rd March 2015

My Wooden Pillow fronted by the awesome sounding growls/clean vocals of Michelle (with a little help in the backing vox dept of guitarist Hassan and bassist Patrick) hail from Manchester here in the UK. They are a 4 piece Metal/Hardcore/Rock band and on this EP, they deliver four kick ass tracks of no nonsense Metal music. From the blistering opener ‘The Line’, through the high paced but melodic sounding ‘Call For War’, the Hardcore of third track in ‘Decapitalist’ and closing number ‘MWP’, there is something here for any half decent metal fan to feast their ears upon. The band’s Facebook is here. Lay down on your Wooden Pillow with a beer or six, get uncomfortable, give this band a listen and annoy the neighbours, seems a plan!... 7.75/10 (The Nugget)

MY INNER BURNING…’DEAD AND GONE’

(Self Release) Reviewed 3rd March 2015

Some albums have recently escaped the Ravenheart radar, this not helped by Dave’s recent health issues. However, this album by German band My Inner Burning was released over a year ago, and for some reason did not penetrate (such a manly word) the confines of Ravenheart Music. I have now been given the duty of putting this right :) So here we go. Fronted by new and rather good vocalist Cecile Beelmann who has taken over from previous front lady Becky Gaber, this record is a female fronted music lover’s delight. Thirteen in yer face tracks of pure unadulterated Gothic Metal. This is intense stuff and rather melodic too for those that like their music to be very tuneful. And the band can belt out the ballads too, listen to the awesome ‘The One’ as just one example – totally awesome vocals! I like this album very much, great vocals and great musicianship. Their Facebook page is in German so how about checking out their YouTube channel instead that can be found here.. 9.25/10 (The Nugget)

LAPIS LAZULI...'THE DOWNFALL OF HUMANITY'

(Self Release) Reviewed 27th February 2015

Hailing from Sweden, Lapis Lazuli is a female-fronted metal band with a unique and eclectic approach; falling somewhere in between the attitude of Visions of Atlantis and the appeal of Nightwish. Although the band has changed lead vocalist several times throughout their career, they do have a new singer and front woman - Cecilia Kamf takes on the job with charisma and passion, and this is confirmed while listening to this, their latest release. Furthermore, Cecilia is also the main lyricist together with keys man Timo. Some one has recently said to me that this type of music sounds all the same. I beg to differ and even if it did, when it is this good, I do not basically care! This is essentially great stuff from this Swedish band and the crystal clear vocals of Cecilia are totally out of this world. There are nine tracks here of emotionally charged music, great lyrics, great instrumentation. Nothing much to fault with this release and certainly a must buy for fans of the above mentioned bands, and anybody that loves this style of music, period. There are some beauties here, including opener 'Prelude To Destruction' and the Progressive tinged 'Perilous Sleep'. Looking at some of the song titles, and speaking to Timo about the album, I asked him if there was any concept to the album. He tells me that he wouldn't really say that there is any concept or story. But the songs do have a kind of an dystopian touch to them, even though many of them have deeper meanings when you are scratching on the surface. The band's Facebook can be found here and what I like about this album is it is not overly bombastic, it is very listenable and enjoyable, and worthy of an 8.75/10 (The Nugget & Dave)

MORLAS MEMORIA...'FOLLOW THE WIND'

(Self Release) Reviewed 25th February 2015

The nicely monikered Morlas Memoria hail from Dresden in Germany and they were established in the Spring of 2011. This album was released in May 2014 and the lavishly packaged cd has just winged its way to me here in the UK. Featuring the lovely soprano vocals of Leandre Johne, this band is going places with it's brand of Symphonic Metal, together with a delicate mix of folk thrown into the pot for good measure. 'The Mirror' is the opening track from this 10 track offering and immediately showcases the music that the band has to offer the listener. Great vocals, great musicianship and even Leandre showing her expertise on the flute, a thundering opener! Next up, the mid tempo 'Sphinx' is another Symphonic Metal masterpiece, while the bouncy 'Incorrigible' with its heavy guitar riffs is sung in German together with some subtle harsh male vox for good measure. So far this cd is rather good! So what about the remaining seven tracks? A silly question really as they do not disappoint - 'Silence' is a rather nice instrumental followed by the early Nightwish sounding and bombastic 'Medusa's Tale'. The second half of the album is equally as good with further stand out cuts including 'Circle of Greed' together with it's flute refrain, the laid back and acoustic 'Ohne Probe' (sung in German) and the awesome 'Impetus' (sung in Italian). There to be honest is very little if anything to fault with this record, and with lyrics by Leandre and guitarist Eric Neufeld and with the music written by Leandre's Brother and guitarist Theo, this is an awesome Symphonic Metal release, using real orchestrations as opposed to samples. The band's Facebook is here... well and truly recommended... 9.75/10 (Dave)

LEAH...'KINGS & QUEENS'

(Inner Wound Recordings) Reviewed 10th Feb 2015

LEAH may well have released one of the albums of the year with this, her latest release. Featuring input from musicians such as Timo Somers and Sander Zoer of DELAIN, and Barend Courbois of Blind Guardian and Vengeance, this 14-track 78 minute epic emerges as the heaviest of all her releases. Dabbling in worldly Celtic, middle eastern, and New-Age flavors, while lyrically laced with epic imagery of dystopias, fallen empires, spiritual warfare, love and destiny, this album proves to be a very promising record, and is expected to be received by fans and critics as one of the top Symphonic Metal albums of the year. And to prove that what is said above is not total bullshit, just listen to opener 'Arcadia' to confirm what we are on about. 'Save The World' is equally as compelling and two tracks in, this is awesome - kinda cross Blackmore's Night and Enya with Leaves' Eyes, Within Temptation and Delain, got me drift? 'Angel Fell' is damn awesome while 'Enter The Highlands' which I believe is the album's first single borders Power Metal/Progressive territory, with varying changes in tempo.The sheer awesomeness continues with tracks like the enchanting and mythical 'In The Palm Of Your Hands', the number'Alpha et Omega' that sounds like a heavy sounding Enya as does the catchy 'Heart Of Poison', all near damn perfect! 'Hourglass' and the Delain sounding 7+ minute 'Palace Of Dreams' with its catchy chorus are faves as is about everything else on this cd. Great musicianship coupled with memorable melodies, plenty of variety together with LEAH's magical and addictive vocals make this album her best to date. All we can say is, if you have not already done so, this is a must buy, so buy it as it is highly recommended by us here!! 9.75/10 (Dave & The Nugget)

LUCID FLY...'STASIS' EP

(Self Released) Reviewed 9th December 2014

I am reviewing this EP from the depths of Dorset with patchy internet and mobile phone connection. Welcome to the 21st century :) Lucid Fly founders Nikki Layne and Doug Mecca joined forces in Florida back in 2001 and they have been known to me for some while now, having a couple of cds in the can. This little release is their latest offering and offers up three tracks of some rather damn good Alternative Rock/Metal. The tracks had previously been released as three singles during the course of 2014, but the band are now putting them out as this little collection titled 'Stasis', with limited edition merchandise and signed physical copies. The numbers in question are 'Waiting', 'What Winter Was Like' and 'In This Ocean'. All good rockin' stuff - some say the band sound like a cross between Evanescence and A Perfect Circle and some indeed may be right. The music is heavy, cool and melodic, the melodies are indeed unique and Nikki's cool vocals nail it big time! Check the band out at www.lucidfly.com/.. 8.75/10 (Dave)

MILITIA VOX...'BAIT'

(Self Release) Reviewed 3rd November 2014

Progressive, hard rock/metal vocalist Militia Vox has just released this cover EP BAIT. This album is also the tempting lead-in to the upcoming original release 'THE VILLAINESS', due out in 2015. Influenced by the darkness of Type O Negative, Tool and Nine Inch Nails, this multi-talented solo artist has been a classically trained pianist since the age of 7 and a central figure in bands including Judas Priestess (the world’s only all-girl tribute to the metal gods, Judas Priest), Swear On Your Life, and Disciples of Astaroth. Kicking off with the TOOL song '46&2' this I must say is rather good. Next up is the NINE INCH NAILS number 'Reptile' which is then followed by Militia Vox's rather good rendition of TINA TURNER'S 'We Don't Need Another Hero'. The haunting atmospheric 'Waiting For The Night' is a DEPECHE MODE song and Militia totally nails the 7 minute + 'No More Tears', this being an awesome cover of a song from the icon known as OZZY OSBOURNE, and done true to the original. Closing with 'Rid Of Me' (P J Harvey) and running in at around 35 minutes, this little platter is rather good if I may say so. Well worth checking out actually - website is here where you can also hear the track 'Rid Of Me'... 8.75/10 (Rachel Louise Smith)

MEDEN AGAN...'LACRIMA DEI'

(No Regrets Records) Reviewed 20th October 2014

Meden Agan is a rather good Metal band. They are based in Greece but in fact they was formed back in November 2005 in Paris, France by guitarist Diman Koutsogiannopoulos. They recorded their debut full-length album entitled 'Illusions' which was released in November 2007. It contained epic/progressive metal songs with male vocals. During that period, the band shared the stage with bands like Pain Salvation, Skyclad, Within Temptation, After All, Bloodtales, ETHS, and The Old Dead Tree. Then after the release of 'Illusions' and amongst other personnel changes, female vocalist Iliana Tsakiraki joined the band, but in February 2013, the band parted ways with their female vocalist due to musical differences. After 5 months of auditions, soprano Maya Kampaki joined this illustrious band, and in late 2013 they entered the studios to record this, their third full length. And the band has delivered one almighty release, 10 tracks of epic Symphonic Metal. There are some robust tunes here including the opener 'Divine Wrath', the Epica sounding and rather bombastic 'Portal of Fear', the catchy 'Everlasting Pain' and the closing number 'Commemorate The Fallen'. Everything here is good, the musicianship and vocals are from the top drawer and is deserving of your hard earned cash. Mastering was done at the famous Finnvox studios, Finland by the well known Mika Jussila (Nightwish, Children of Bodom, Stratovarius). Well recommended... 9.5/10 (Aimee)

MASTERCASTLE...'ENFER [DE LA BIBLIOTHEQUE NATIONALE]'

(Scarlet Records) Reviewed 26th September 2014

Founded in 2008 by guitarist Pier Gonella (Necrodeath) and vocalist Giorgia Gueglio, Mastercastle soon became one of the leading forces in the European Power/Neoclassical Metal scene, thanks to an addictive mix of strong riffs, virtuoso guitar solos and very captivating female vocals, developed through each of their four, critically acclaimed albums. After having signed a new deal with Scarlet Records, Mastercastle now present us with their new album 'Enfer [De La Bibliothèque Nationale]' - translates to 'HELL [NATIONAL LIBRARY]. This new work, inspired by the different meanings and aspects of "censorship", has been described by the band as their heaviest effort to date, while still maintaining their trademark sound and with a special mention for the strongest production the band has ever benefited from. There are 10 tracks here all running in at under 5 minutes with 5 tracks under 4 mins. 'The Castle' is the opener and a fine one it is too, that is followed by the melodic sounding 'Let Me Out', a great vocal performance from Giorgia as well on this track as with all the others. The great music continues to roll out of the speakers with tracks like the heavy and pounding 'Naked', the very catchy 'Enfer', the power of 'Throne Of Time' and the great 'Behind The Veil' with it's top class guitar solo. Closing with 'Coming Bach' which is a powerhouse of an instrumental, this is a fine release from a band that gets better with age - some top class nuggets here with a release date set for the 13th October... 9/10 (Natalie Gold)

MAY THE SILENCE FAIL...'OF HOPE AND ASPIRATION'

(Supreme Chaos Records) Reviewed 12th September 2014

This is my debut as a reviewer for Dave and his beloved Ravenheart Music, Dave being a guy I truly admire. Anyway, Melodic Death Metal band May The Silence Fail from southern Germany, is a young, ambitious band founded in early 2007. The current line-up has been creating, living and breathing music since 2008. The rare constellation - featuring two front women (Janina Kutschewski and Sarina Wijasuriya) took the chance to create its own monster and will be releasing it onto the modern metal world with a bang: a mean bastard that strips flesh from the bones! Inspired by bands like Heaven Shall Burn, Unearth and In Flames, the precise, tough-as-nails drumming, vibrant bass riffs, sharp concise twin guitars with clean vocals and deep growls, merge into a highly explosive mix of music. Thumping screachingly heavy tracks like 'Return To Mind', the melodic but still heavy 'If it Wasn't For You', the explosive 'Come Alive', the fierce 'Without Knowing' and the rather good melodic digipak bonus closer - the mid paced thumper 'When Time Is Asleep', complete with cool guitar solo, will leave you gasping "more baby more". The band through this release want to express their passion for music. The experience, adventure, emotion and idea of every single member express themselves through lyrics and melodies. Staying true to the motto: “We live our music - our music lives through us...” Recorded at Audiospezialist Studio with Martin Schmidt (Primal Fear, Sinner, Leaves Eyes, Atrocity amongst others) this very mean 11 track Motherfucker is well worth checking out and buying when it gets released 10th October - Melodic this is, Death Metal it sure is - this amazing young band's Facebook is here, release 10th October so get it!..8.75/10 (Natalie Gold)

LYRIA...'CATHARSIS'

(Self Release) Reviewed 3rd September 2014

Lyria is a Brazilian Symphonic Alternative Metal band. It was idealized and founded by the singer and songwriter Aline Happ in 2012. The name Lyria was inspired by the Greek Mythology and the lyre that was an important musical instrument for the Greeks. It is also related to the flower lily and to the word lyrics. And regards the music itself, this is another bombastic piece of Symphonic Metal to sink your teeth into - awesome! Fronted by the aforementioned Aline, this debut record from the band offers up 10 massively sounding tracks that will blow your mind! Aline's voice is angelically perfect and I like this album very much. Standout tracks a plenty including the pounding and bouncy 'Jester' the melodic 'Reflection', the metallic 'Light and Darkness' and the catchy 'What Do You Want From Me'. In-fact, I like everything about this album and it comes highly recommended from the Ravenheart crew. Check out the band's Facebook here... 9.5/10 (Dave)

LYRIEL...'SKIN AND BONES'

(AFM Records) Reviewed 29th August 2014

Another pulsating Gothic Metal album hits Ravenheart Towers, and this time it is the new 13 track goodie from German band Lyriel, fronted by the angelic vocals of Jessica Thierjung. And what a goodie we have here. The band's facebook page states that Lyriel's musical repertoire ranges from dreamy ballads, a pinch of medieval tunes, to heavy rock songs with elements of classical and Celtic folk music, coupled with catchy choruses. And this release just about sums that up rather nicely. And if you are going to start an album they way you mean to go on, then the melodic thumper 'Numbers' (Video here) will set the scene rather nicely, together with some tasty violin. An awesome start to what actually is an awesome record. Second up 'Falling Skies' maintains the bombastic momentum of the opener, leaving the staff at Ravenheart Towers somewhat breathless! The title track is just as massive, pounding along like a Japanese bullet train, and with a catchy chorus to boot. 'Black and White' sees the string arrangements of Cello and Violin come more to the fore, coupled with growls (compliments of Christian Älvestam’s - ex-Scar Symmetry, Solution.45) and another hideously catchy chorus - love it! 'Days Had Just Begun' is a folky Power ballad with next up 'Your Eyes' being a mid paced tuneful hard rocker, while 'Dust To Dust' is another awesome catchy tune - this cd is so damn good! This album does not let up with 'Der Weg', which is sung in the band's native tongue another thumping rocker with bags of melody, and again a chorus to die for! 'Astray' is a simple tune with Cello and Violin accompaniment, followed by another corker, 'Worth The Fight'. The album closes with the threesome consisting of the pulsating 'Running In Our Blood' that offers up another majestic chorus, the beautiful 'Dream Within A Dream', and the final offering, a Second Skin version of the track 'Black And White'. This album is very good, it has surely propelled the band into the Premier League, and is well recommended when released on 26th September, indeed, I am going to go for it...10/10 (Dave)

MOONLAND...S/T

(Frontiers) Reviewed 28th August 2014

The anticipated MOONLAND project finally brings back to the spotlight on the international Rock music markets the awesome Estonian singer, actress and TV personality Lenna Kuurmaa. Lenna has been the front-woman of the Pop-Rock sensation VANILLA NINJA, an all-female outfit, which debuted in 2002 with their self-titled album and went on to release internationally another 3 very successful studio albums (which won Gold Records awards in Germany, Austria and Platinum in their home country, Estonia). Indeed, I rather liked Vanilla Ninja and I must say that this release on Frontiers, is 12 tracks of total melodic heaven to lovers of prime time Melodic Rock/AOR. So where do I start? Well Lenna and her band of well known musicians including Bruce Gaitsch (Richard Marx, Chicago, Peter Cetera, Madonna, Agnetha Fältskog amongst many others), lay their cards on the table with opener 'Heaven Is To Be Close To You', prime time Melodic Rock and it continues with second up, 'Open Your Heart'. Further highlights of which there are many include the catchy 'Crime Of Love', 'When Love Is Gone', the pounding and very catchy 'Out Of Reach', the rather nice tear jerking ballad 'Live and Let Go', and the melodic 'Over Me'. However, it would be unfair to say that those are the highlights as every track is a gem. This type of music I fell totally in love with in the 80s, until Grunge came along and killed it off. But there seems to be a strong resurgence going on within the AOR scene (guy fronted and female fronted) of which Frontiers is at the forefront. Long may it continue - MoonLand's Facebook is here: www.facebook.com/MoonLand..released 19th September..9/10 (Dave)

LISTANA...'UNVEILED'

(Self Release) Reviewed 28th July 2014

Listana is a Progressive/Symphonic metal band from Istanbul and they have very kindly sent us here at Ravenheart their 4 track EP. Fulya Çelikel Soganci is their front lady, and the band play basically what it says on the tin - Progressive/Symphonic Metal. The four numbers here show a band with potential, but this is their debut and this EP is a consistent effort. 'Birth Of A Dream' kicks the cd off and immediately the Progressive elements come to the fore. There is the atmospheric laden 'The Legend Of Hellespont' that track being a favourite of mine, but overall, this is not a bad 4 track effort from this Turkish band. The band's facebook page is here so check it out.. 7.75/10 (Aimee)

JEN MILLER...'OVERGROWN'

(Self Release) Reviewed 23rd July 2014

Here is a little something laid back to enjoy on a hot summers day with a glass of something or other. Jen Miller is a Soul, Folk, Singer-songwriter from Columbus in Ohio USA, and here we have 10 tracks of laid back but very enjoyable music, based on life experiences. With influences such as Amy Winehouse, Outkast, Destiny's Child, Beyonce, Etta James, Counting Crows, Snow Patrol and Coldplay amongst others, this will tell the listener the path this girl is taking regards her music. Don't expect a blast of Metal here but anticipate a more subtle musical experience. The track 'Edinburgh' interested me the most and is in-fact one of my faves from the cd, this is presumably a track about Scotland's finest city (sorry you folks from Glasgow :) ). If you are looking for something to chill out to, checking Jen Miller out will do you no harm whatsoever. As Jen told me, "I create music for other people and to help myself get through whatever I am going through". Seems a very nice girl. Check out the track 'Edinburgh' for yourselves at www.soundcloud.com/jen-miller-1/edinburgh...8/10 (Dave)

MINDSHADE...'ASYLUM OF THE FALLEN'

(Self Released) Reviewed 17th July 2014

MindShade is a female fronted heavy metal band from The Netherlands. With a vocal combination of mezzo-soprano and grunts quickly placed in the typical Dutch gothic metal genre, MindShade creates its own variated style of rock/metal with a twist. With a heavy sound and melancholic lyrics, the band is fronted by Nienke Verboom with male grunts by Jeroen van Noort. 'Asylum of the Fallen' contains eight full songs (plus intro/outro), each one telling a tale of one the patients of the mental hospital. Not including the brief intro and outro, seven of the eight tracks run in at over 5 minutes with two exceeding seven, so you do get your moneys worth. Some good stuff here - check out the chugging Metallic 'Equilibrium', the epic sounding 'Planet Icarus', the After Forever sounding 'Don't Walk Astray' and the grinding but melodic epic tune 'In Life Or Death'. Aardschok.com say that MindShade can hold its own in an already full Gothic Metal genre and fans of Within Temptation, Epica and Nightwish should check out this band! I think they are right, certainly a band well worth checking out and one to keep an eye on for the future - their Facebook can be found here... 8.25/10 (Dave)

LISA DOLL & THE ROCK N ROLL ROMANCE...'NEON HEAT' EP

(Self Released) Reviewed 8th July 2014

Lisa Doll writes upbeat, fast-paced, and catchy music that spans pop, punk and rock n roll. Performing live with her backing band the Rock N Roll Romance, she started the project in the summer of 2012 where she released a 6 song demo called "New Blue EP", and then later released a tasty 7 incher called "Neon Heat" in Oct 2013. She has been compared to punk icons such as The Ramones and Nikki Corvette and this shows through on this EP. I would certainly say that if you was a fan of The Ramones, this will be for you. Not a bad effort from this Baltimore based lass offering 4 up tempo tracks running in at a little under 10 mins. Check her out here ... 7.75/10 (Rachel Louise Smith)

MATERDEA...'A ROSE FOR EGERIA'

(Midsummer's Eve) Reviewed 27th June 2014

MaterDea from Italy was born out of the collaboration between Simon Papa and Marco Strega in 2008. Since the release of their first album, they created a sound with a strong rock structure perfectly blended with mystical and dreaming atmospheres, where the voices, fiddle and keyboards graciously draw melodic lines on the powerful rhythmic session. This is the band's third album, which offers up a more powerful sound rich with technical refinements, although maintaining the flourished melodies for which MaterDea’s audience is already well accustomed. Simon Papa is the High Priestess of the band whose enchanting vocals do just that, enchant and captivate the listener. Keyboardist Elena Crolle and guitarist Marco Strega also offer vocal contributions, and let us not forget Elisabetta Bosio (Fiddle, Viola and Double Bass), Morgan De Virgilis (Bass) and Cosimo De Nola (Drums). This album is an accomplished recording that will go down a storm with Female Fronted Rock and Metal fans the world over. Every track here is very good, but I do rather like the heavy, bouncy and well orchestrated 'Whispers of the Great Mother', the awesome sounding 'An Unexpected Guest' the quirky & folky 'Land Of Wonder', while 'Altars Of Secrets' for a moment made me think I was in the Sistine Chapel. The recording has been mastered at Finnvox Studios by Mika Jussilla and is well recommended, I can listen to this all day - 9.25/10 (Rachel Louise Smith)

MUTUM...'PREMONITIONS OF WAR'

(Self Release) Reviewed 24th June 2014

Yet another totally phenomenal Symphonic release to add to the others that seem to be enveloping the market place at the moment. And when I say what I have just said, I mean that in a really nice way, because this type of music is right in my market place :) Mutum fronted by Myrthala Bray hail from Mexico and I have to say that this release is totally awesome, with magical choral parts to boot. 'Hourglass' kicks things off, and to be honest, I wanted the opener to go on longer than it did. At not quite 4 minutes, that led us into second up, the Epica sounding 'The Memories: Gloria Victis' which was just as good as the opener, just as bombastic and those orgasmic choral parts - need I say anymore! 'Fallen Angel' just continues the stunning work of the opening duo while 'Beyond The Sun' exibits a lightly more progressive approach. I must say at this stage that the vocals of Myrtha are so awe-inspiring together with the striking musicanship from the remainder of the band! There is not an awful lot to fault here if anything at all with all nine tracks pleasing to the ear if you like this type of music. Indeed, anybody into the female fronted Rock and Metal scene must check this album out as I am sure you will not be disappointed. After a quiter interlude with the tracks 'Two: The Poison' and 'One: The Stars' Lullaby' things get going again with 'Four: Curses' and I can barely pick myself up off the floor before the 7+ minute closing title track bursts out of the speakers. This is the bands official Facebook site: www.facebook.com/MutumOficial - check it out and buy the cd - awesome.. 9/10 (Dave)

MORNING STARLETT...S/T

(Self Released) Reviewed 13th June 2014

Morning Starlett fronted by the Poppy and innocent sounding vocals of Ann Marie Nacchio, hail from New York City and do actually boast themselves as New York City's very own Epic Metal band. And to be perfectly frank, that is a rather good assumption. Kicking off proceedings with 'Overture' this is what the title suggests, an instrumental intro that opens the door to the music on offer. 'I Need To Know For Sure' is a slow brooding number that is followed by the up tempo and 80s to my ears sounding 'No One Needs To Know'. 'Tokyo Nights' is a 6+ minute epic Power Metal sounding number, while 'Believe In The Sword' is a pounding sword wavering swashbuckling tune, that is rather more catchy than the plague I hasten to add. 'Runaways' is a straight forward rocker, with 'Children Of The Sun' more Symphonic sounding in nature, and very good it is too. 'Der Hölle Rache Kocht In Meinem Herzen' is a piece from Mozart's 'The Magic Flute'. The band wanted to really showcase Ann Marie's opera training and this piece does it so beautifully. For the music, guitarist Richie played each part as written in Mozart's score giving it the Brian May treatment. The last three tracks on the record span 21 minutes or so, all three numbers thundering along - 'Hero Lies' being a rocking fave of mine. And with the very impressive closer and progressive sounding 'Oblivion' running in at nearly 11 minutes in length, one does get their monies worth with this cd. And something tells me after listening to 'Oblivion', that this band somehow likes Queen - everything about this track is damn awesome, I am gobsmacked!! In summary, this is a very good all round band effort, with a hint of the already mentioned Brian May in the guitar department at times too. The band's website is here.. an impressive release that would very much suit the European market place...8.75/10 (Dave)

JESSIE LOWES...'WALK WITH ME' EP

(Self Released) Reviewed 13th June 2014

Jessie was once the vocalist with Cult of Whores and Dogs, but she is now a solo artist. In complete contrast to the music released by her previous band, Jessie has released a 5 track Ep of laid back, acoustic music with the potential to cross over into the mainstream. Kicking off with 'Deep End', this track sets the scene for the EP as a whole and vocally, what a voice this girl has. 'SOS' has a bluesy vibe while 'Broken' is a catchy little ditty running in at not quite two minutes. The title track is a brief instrumental with the EP closing with the brooding and rather commercial number titled 'Stars'. This EP is produced by Cult Of Whores And Dogs mainman Keith Baird and sure is different to the output of the aforementioned band. Worth checking out for those more laid back and reflective moments in life. Jessie's Facebook is here: www.facebook.com/kels.angel.3?fref=ts...8/10 (Dave)

LOVELORN DOLLS...'THE THRILL' (Single/EP)

(Alfa Matrix) Reviewed 11th June 2014

Since last year's release of their highly acclaimed debut album 'House Of Wonders', Belgium's very own LOVELORN DOLLS have been very active in studio preparing their follow-up full length release, together with new producer maXX, studio guru from cult-band HELALYN FLOWERS. 'This is the first single taken from their forthcoming album 'Japanese Robot Invasion'. With its intelligent mixture of haunting dark atmospheres, catchy wave pop synth tunes and full on trashy guitar assaults, beautifully lead by LadyHell's unique expressive female vocals, this highly dynamic new song will surely wet your appetite for more. The single gives us 5 various remixes of 'The Thrill', and I must say this whole package is hideously catchy - nothing wrong with a good old catchy song. Difficult to score just a single release, but based on this, the forthcoming album should be damn good! Pre-orders here.

METEORA...'PRICE OF SALVATION'

(self Release) Reviewed

The Symphonic Metal band Meteora was founded in 2010 in Budapest, Hungary. After many lineup changes the current one has been rocking since July 2013. Being influenced by bands like Epica, Nightwish, Sirenia and many more, the lyrics draw attention to the great problems of our world today, exploring the depth of the human soul. They have sent me an EP of 5 tracks of music that fit the Symphonic Metal style rather nicely, with the added benefit of male vocals to boot. The vocals of female vocalist Bernadett Bakos are more of the operatic variety, while the growlman vocals of Máté Fülöp bring the music into Beauty & the Beast territory. This is not a bad effort at all and seeds are being sown for bigger things to come with this band. Their Facebook is here, so check them out.. 8/10 (Dave)

The LEEJA STARK BAND...'HOUSE OF EYES'

(Self Release) Reviewed 29th May 2014

Leeja Stark is an artist from the USA (Pittsburgh) and this lass and her powerhouse band has rocked my sox off. They have recorded a five track EP titled 'House Of Eyes' and I am totally blown away. If you want any evidence of what I have just said, just check out the track 'Afterglow' which is a gem amongst other gems. 'Novocaine' is a metallic melodic rocker that I simply adore, great guitar solo too. And I do very much love the pop/rock vocal style of Leeja - awesome! The whole EP is very good indeed, so may I suggest you check this band out at
www.leejastark.com/. This little effort is highly recommended, so play and play loud! And I must add further, that there is also a single available not featured on this EP - 'Symptoms Of Insanity ' and that is rather good too ... 9/10 (Dave)

The LOVEHOWL...'THE CHASE' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 19th May 2014

The LoveHowl is a Brooklyn based blues-rock band shaking some soul into the hearts of young indie rockers in search of more than just the next hipster anthem. The four howlers consist of front woman/rhythm guitarist Amy Sheehan, lead guitarist Alex Sherba, drummer Jonathan Vergara, and bassist Jonah Durning-Hammond. On this EP, the band present us with four bluesy rockers, and this style is showcased immediately with opener 'Til I'm Found', a rather corking start to this little platter, and great vocals too from Amy. 'Game of War' is a marginally slower number while 'Fooled' is a good old Blues rocker. Final cut, a mid tempo rocker '24' ends a rather good EP from the band. Check their Soundcloud out here and judge for yourselves... 8/10 (Dave)

LAST DAYS OF EDEN...'PARADISE'

(Self Release) Reviewed 12th May 2014

Just when I think that there can't be any more female fronted bands out there that can surely blow me away, along comes another one to get me excited. This time it is Last Days Of Eden from Spain and this 6 track EP to be honest, is majestically epic. Their Facebook states their influences as Nightwish, Delain, Epica and the like, and that just about sums it up. Kicking off with the epic and bombastic 'The Last Stand' the band with this number lay their cards on the table, and the Nightwish influences (Anette era) shine through here. By the time you catch your breath, along comes second track 'Bring Me The Night', an awesome track with one helluva catchy chorus, this is just complete and utter magic. 'The Piper's Call' has left me speechless, a great synths intro, and needless to say the pipes are there, this number a totally pounding bombastic piece of melodic heaven. Half way through and I am struggling to find fault here. 'Lost' is another great symphonic belter and I am nearly lost for words. The closing duo of 'Paradise' and the Folky ballad 'A Siren's Song' finish off this great little platter. This may only be an EP, but this is so so good - their Facebook is here where you can download the EP - well recommended....... 9.75/10 (Dave)

LATELESS...'ILLUSION OF CONCIOUSNESS'

(Self Release) Reviewed 9th May 2014

Lateless from St Petersburg return with another humdinger of an album. This time fronted by a lass known as Anna, the band throw at us 9 tracks of awesome alternative pumping metal with subtle electronica influences thrown into the mix for good measure. This record sure rocks and nothing here will disappoint. I am at times kinda reminded of Italian band The Shiver when listening to this - standout tracks to my ears being the pulsating and interestingly titled 'Actors Are Silent', the crunching and electro influenced melodic tune 'A Million Lies', the rather good and atmospheric 'Older By The Day' (great synths by the way) and the epic sounding 'Walking Tall Upon Fragile Ice'. They are my personal faves at the moment but overall, the music here is damn good from beginning to end! There is some good stuff coming out of Eastern Europe at the moment, and this record is of no exception. The band's Facebook site is here where you can in-fact check the album out. So go on, be a devil, you know you should... 8.75/10 (Dave)

MERKABAH...'UBIQUITY'

(Maple Metal) Reviewed 22nd April 2014

Quebec City, Canada based female-fronted Symphonic Power Metallers, MERKABAH has released their third album ‘Ubiquity’. MERKABAH, were established in 2002 as a quintet, and self-released 2 albums: ‘Shadows Never Forget’ in 2005, and ‘The Realm of All Secrets’ in 2007. Fronted by Jacinthe Poulin, this release offers 8 tracks of the aforementioned Symphonic Power Metal accompanied with awesome keyboard arrangements and of course the great voice of Jacinthe. The songs are of a lengthy nature, 'Divine Sparks' the shortest track on the album running in at a little over four and a half minutes, and the closer and epic progressive tinged instrumental title track that hits the twelve minute mark. I would have preferred some vocals on this number, but that is just my opinion. Difficult to pick out a favourite track, but 'Brothers From The Seed Of Cain' hits the spot with me, a mid tempo melodic pounder. All in all a very good effort from these Canadians, the band themselves having shared the stage with such acts as Lacuna Coil, Hammerfall, and Gamma Ray in recent years. Check out their rather cool song 'Red Letter Days' at www.youtube.com/watch?v=_r9cyf7w41g&feature=youtu.be... 8.5/10 (Aimee)

LACUNA COIL...'BROKEN CROWN HALO'

(Century Media) Reviewed 14th April 2014

Lacuna Coil is like a good wine, the older it gets the better it gets and to put it simply, this is what can be said of this awesome band. This record, the band's seventh simply follows the male/female dual vocal formula which we associate with these Italians, coupled with some trademark catchy anthemic Gothic Metal that keeps this band well and truly in the premier league. There are eleven tracks here and none disappoint, a truly memorable listening experience. I am pushed to mention any fave track, but the catchy 'I Forgive (But I Won't Forget Your Name)' may just edge it for me at the moment, but repeated listens may well see that honour change. The album ends with the track 'One Cold Day', dedicated to their deceased ex-band member, guitarist Claudio Leo, a dark and moving tribute indeed. You know what - "if it ain't broken why fix it". Yep, I agree, well recommended and long may Lacuna Coil continue to make good music... 9.25/10 (Dave)

LIPSHOK...'SOUL OF A BROKEN MIND'

(Self Release) Reviewed 11th March 2014

LIPSHOK is a female fronted band from California playing progressive symphonic metal that is unique, gothic, haunting, melodic, ethereal and highly commercial. This their latest offering is rather good. Fronted by Scarlett Dark (Debbi Douglas) who also takes care of keys and is the main songwriter, the band kick the album off with the pouding 'Path Of Stone' (video link), which to me offers up an 80s feel with pouding guitars, a great guitar solo (compliments Art Cox) and liberal use of keys. Second up 'Just The One You Love' is an awesome power ballad, keeping that 80s retro feel going. This siegues very nicely into 'Evil Lost' - great use of keys and synths within the intro to this track. 'Against Me' is a massive power ballad with a huge guitar lead by guest guitarist, Glen Avelais, who toured with Testament and Forbidden. 'It's Over Now' keeps the momentum going, almost a bluesy feel incorporating another great guitar solo. 'Is It Far From You' sees the band slowing it down and going acoustic, while 'I Am No One' starts off with haunting keys, before turning into a pounding rocker, this number being a duet with Norman Skinner (Imagika, Skinner, and Dire Peril). The closing duo of 'Rain Of Fire' and 'Melancholy Madness' end the cd in an awesome fashion, the latter being an intimate song featuring piano, keys, and vocals only, and a rather nice way to end the record. Recorded, Mixed, and Mastered by Brad Barth at Audio Voyage Studios, Livermore, California, this album is rather good which to me offers modern day melodic rock & metal with an 80s influence. This is well recommended from the Ravenheart team. The band's Facebook is here... 8.75/10 (Dave)

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