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Ravenheart Music: Album Reviews

REVIEWS L-M

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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)

LYXX...'RUN AWAY' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 26th Feb 2014

LYXX is an all-girl hard rock band from North-East England, and here we have a rockin' three track EP to blow away the cobwebs and confirm that girls in rock do just that - "rock", and with attitude! Three tracks running in at just a little under 9 mins. Imagine a female Motley Crue or Danger Danger and that will give you an idea where these young lasses are going. Their Facebook is here - these girls have more balls than most guys - so check them out...8/10 (Dave)

LENORE S. FINGERS...'INNER TALES'

(My Kingdom Music) Reviewed 11th Feb 2014

Coming from the southernmost region of Italy, Lenore S Fingers is a band formed in 2010 by five people with very different styles, influences and musical approaches. Roman Dirge’s comic “Lenore, The Cute Little Dead Girl” and David Firth’s fantasy character Salad Fingers, are the basis of their monicker, but it also represent the roots of the music made by dark and melancholic atmospheres with Metal distortions and rhythmic structures. The band is now ready to debut with a 9 track album showcasing the intense work and dedication of this group of musicians. Standing at the deep heart of each tune are the dolcet and angelic tones of singer Federica Lenore, and she is accompanied by the band which offers up a rock solid wall of distorted guitar riffs coupled with an intense groundbreaking work made by the rhythmic section, all this being in the great tradition of bands like Katatonia, Anathema and The Gathering. I must say that everything melts together with the most intense and melancholic melodies of the alienating and decadent young voice of this lass, bringing on an absolutely soulshaking contrast. This album is magical with the heaviness of opening duo of 'Inner Tales' and 'The Last Dawn' coupled with the beauty of numbers like 'Cry Of Mankind' and 'Song To Eros'. This is a stunning masterpiece of a recording from this band, so may I suggest you enjoy the musical journey too and buy this record, which is available from 24th February. The band's Facebook can be found here...8.75/10 (Dave)

LESBIAN BED DEATH...'THE DEVIL'S BOUNTY HUNTERS'

(Self Released) Reviewed 13th November 2013

Another rather good album we have here from Midlands UK based band Lesbian Bed Death, who is fronted by the awesome vocals of Kittie Racchea. The funds for this album was raised by the fans via PledgeMusic.com, and I must say that anybody who has pledged any of their hard earned cash, will not be disappointed by what is on offer here. And I would also like to add that the band is donating 10% of the cash raised in excess of what was required for the album, to their nominated charity ‘Dogs For The Disabled’. Totally awesome guys and gal!! This indeed is cool Gothic Punk as the band like to call it, but I would like to add that the album despite it's Gothic Punk status, has a host of accessible and radio friendly tunes, including 'Soul Sucker' (from their previous cd 'Riot Of The Living Dead'), 'Ghost In The Mirror' ( a fave of mine) and the ultra commercial 'Broken', amongst a host of other real gems. The musician ship throughout from all band members is from the top drawer, and there are even three un-plugged versions from previously recorded numbers - 'Seven Days', 'Bela Lugosi's Back' and 'Everybody's Dead'. For those who pledged money to the campaign, the album is now available, otherwise one will have to wait until January - well worth the wait however, I hasten to add. The band's website is at www.lesbianbeddeath.net/ - recommended!... 8.75/10 (Dave)

MADNESS OF THE NIGHT...'THE ASGARDA'

(Massacre Records) Reviewed 7th November 2013

This is the debut album from Swedish gothic rock/dark wave duo MADNESS OF THE NIGHT. The band features Daniel Dante, former member of the Swedish gothic metal band Soulgrinder, and female singer Abir Blackshadow. Daniel from Sweden, deeply rooted in 80’s metal, met Abir from Beirut, Lebanon, through the internet. They shared love for gothic and dark wave bands - such as Sisters Of Mercy, Dead Can Dance or The Cult, which eventually led to forming MADNESS OF THE NIGHT in 2011. This their debut album, goes way beyond being the satisfying musical offspring of their collaboration. It is also the intimate soundtrack of singer Abir, holding on in times of hostilities and oppression. The attempt of leading the self-confident life of a woman within the confined space of an Arabian metropolis. This ideology is well represented in opener 'Oppression', just listen to the lyrics! 'The State of Madness' and 'Theatre of Life' are bouncy melodic numbers and the Sisters Of Mercy influence begins to shine through, again lyrically dark tracks, although the latter I believe may be sung in Abir's native tounge. 'The interestingly titled 'We Are Gothrockers And We Don't Care', is another uptempo track, and well we don't care, do we? Vocally on this track, I even hear influences to Russell Mael of Sparks fame - remember them?, those falsetto vocals! Those influences even spring up on the slower 'She Is The Demon'. The second half of the record is equally as awesome and as lyrically dark, it sets you thinking, with 'Voices Of The People' showing real aggression against oppression! Produced by Andy Horn (Mortal Love, Darkseed, Edenbridge), it was he that created the album‘s tight and oomphy 80's Goth Rock sound. Furthermore, the record represents and reveals all these pent-up emotions and suppressed aggressions in a very intense way. This musical expression of pain, helplessness and the rage evoked by intolerance and acts of violence grabs the listener instantly - simply because of it‘s authentic nature. Nowadays Abir and Daniel are married with two children and live in Sweden, far away from big city madness. Due 29th November and well recommended, and I very much doubt this will be available in any Arab countries!!... 8.5/10 (Dave)

LEGEND...'SPIRIT'

(Ravenheart Music) Reviewed 6th November 2013

I get a little nervous when reviewing an album on my own label for this website, even more so when that particular record is so damn good, that I can't help liking it no matter what label it is on. 'Sprit' by these UK Progressive Rockers, who have been on the scene since 1988, is one such album and it is their seventh! - and it is damn awesome to boot! Okay, one may look at the cover and say, 5 tracks running in at just over an hour? Are we in for a feast of Progressive widdly diddly shenanigans? The answer to that is a firm "no". Okay, these amazing tracks are lengthy, the shortest 'Wood For The Trees' runs in at just under 7 minutes, while 'A Tangled Skein' runs in at 18+ minutes. But I must say that there are more hooks on this release than a Japanese whaling fleet and I can not get at all bored listening to anything here. Okay, the bands Progressive roots are still firmly entrenched in the music that is on offer, but what they also do is introduce a grand Melodic and Symphonic element to the music, and they do that very well, very well indeed. Another plus factor here is vocalist Becks Sian, who so happens to be related to Kate Bush, and you can actually hear Kate Bush influences shining through in the girls awesome vocal approach. The diversity of sound on the cd has encouraged comparisons to such luminaries as Jethro Tull, Within Temptation, Rush, Renaissance, Jefferson Airplane, Nightwish and Loreena McKennitt. I have to say again that this record is very good and it will appeal to the Progressive Rock/Metal fan, as well as those that like their music rather more Symphonic. It is easy for me to say this, but nonetheless, I whole heartedly recommend this album to all and sundry, so buy it!.. 9.25/10 (Dave)

LEAVES' EYES...'SYMPHONIES OF THE NIGHT'

(Napalm Records) Reviewed 5th November 2013

Leaves' Eyes including the husband and wife team of Alexander Krull on vocals & programming and Liv Kristine Espenæs Krull as the lovely front lady, present us with their new release and as we would expect, it is another melodic corker to add to the ever growing music collection. The new album brings the listener into a world of legends! Majestic and sweeping songs coupled with beautiful melodies that will you breathless, and offering a massive amount of catchiness as well. Clad with a perfect sound – featuring a real orchestra, choir, Uilean pipes, Irish whistle, fiddle and dulcimer – LEAVES’ EYES present musical fireworks of the highest level. Kicking off with opener and leading single 'Hell To The Heavens', this record is Symphonic Metal of the highest calibre and I do not think I have heard Liv Kristine in such good form vocally. We have some storming songs throughout including 'Symphony of the Night', the majestic 'Saint Cecelia' and the thumping 'Angel and the Ghost'. The heart of the album however, is the bombastic 'Hymn to the Lone Sands' that combines all of the band's trademarks and is magical!. The two bonus tracks on the LIMITED EDITION are a special treat too! 'Eileen’s Ardency' is a sensitive duet featuring Liv Kristine and her sister Carmen Elise Espenæs (MIDNATTSOL), and 'One Caress' which is a fantastic cover of DEPECHE MODE’s classic song. This album is awesome - enough said - released on various dates in various territories from mid to end November.. 9.5/10 (Dave)

MAGION...'A DIFFERENT SHADE OF DARKNESS'

(Self Release) Reviewed 1st November 2013

Hailing from The Netherlands, Magion fronted by the voice of an angel Myrthe van Beest, bring you their second album, containing 10 epic tracks of sheer Symphonic Metal bliss. And 'Beloved Enemies' is a monumental way to kick off such a fine album - a very gradoise start and I love it. And before you can catch your breath, second up 'Masquerade' powers it's way out of the speakers with some awesome growls from Chris Vrij..the guitarist, composer and producer - a talented guy obviously. 'Ever And A Day' is powerful, a little folky and reminds me of Leaves' Eyes to some extent, as to some of the other numbers presented here. 'Shallow Grounds' is another epic Symphonic masterpiece, while 'Out Of Time' is a collosal number, simply a master stroke in Power Balladry - one of my faves from the album. And if the first five tracks of the album leaves you breathless, then the second five will too. 'Chance To Change' and 'Break The Silence' being two such songs that really push this band into the Premier League, while 'Untrue' shows no let up, Symphonic Power Metal from the top drawer. The closing duo of 'Body's Betrayal', another epic atmospheric power ballad and the powerful and bombastic 'Neverending Winter', end what is a very good album from this Dutch band. And I think there are some people that will be having some severe cashflow problems, as I have been receiving some very good cds of late. Anyway, the record offers a dark and bombastic sound, top-notch performances, massive production and breathtaking artwork, that in turn should impress any true fan of powerful, melodic music. Go for it and buy at CDbaby and other internet locations - well worth it.. 9/10 (Dave)

LEAH...'OTHERWORLD' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 18th October 2013

Let's put it simply, this is awesome and to be frank, this Canadian girl should be picked up by the likes of Napalm Records, enough said. Her last full length album 'Of Earth & Angels' was absolutely massive and should by right have propelled the girl to stardom. And now she releases this little gem which to my ears proves that her last cd was not just a one off masterpiece. Five massive numbers here mixing Within Temptation with Enya, and on the last track titled 'Dreamland', LEAH really ups the ante. I am lost for words but I love every moment of this! Order it here.. 9.5/10 (Dave)

LEVANIA...'RENASCENTIS'

(WormholeDeath) Reviewed 10th October 2013

Levania (meaning "moon" in Hebrew) is fronted by the awesome LIGEIA on vocals and they are a Gothic Metal band conceived in Ferrara (Italy) in March 2007. Their songs are based on several inspirations and influences. It therefore may not be totally proper to label them as a pure "Gothic Metal" band. Perhaps "Gothic-Epic-Death-Metal" is a more appropriate definition for Levania's music and composing style. There are 12 tracks being offered to the listener on this release and although I did make a mention of "Death Metal", I myself would not say this a total Death metal release, the songs taking on perhaps more of an epic Symphonic Gothic Metal feel, with female vocals coupled with occasional growls and some clean male vocals as well. And to be honest, if I had to aptly describe a Symphonic Gothic Metal record, this album would be it. And very good this package is too with standout tracks a plenty and some numbers of colossal beauty too - one such grandiose number being 'My Writings Of Hope' which indeed is one of my faves from this, the band's second 'proper' record. Take a trip to Levania's website here, this album being well recommended by us here at Ravenheart...9/10 (Dave)

LEAVES...'THIS IS THE TIME' EP

(WormholeDeath) Reviewed 9th October 2013

Leaves fronted by a young lass called Rachel is a band from Barcelona that plays music with powerful guitar lines, a good rhythm section and a melodic female voice. I reviewed their debut full length cd 'While The Light Continues Spinning' back in March 2010 and that was and indeed still is a very good effort. The band has now been picked up by WormHoleDeath who has released this 6 track EP. This record very much carries on where the full length cd left off. Six tracks of mid tempo and at times laid back rock music that still to me bears strong resemblances to The Gathering (their earlier stuff I hasten to add). Leaves offer up here a very powerful but sensitive sound and I well recommend this release, with a fave track of mine being the laid back 'Ahora Yo'. I am informed however, that at the moment, the EP will only be available digitally. The band's Facebook is here... 8.5/10 (Dave)

LATELESS...'WAY OUT'

(Self Released) Reviewed 23rd August 2013

I must admit to rather taking a shine to Lateless, the rather good band from Saint-Petersburg in Russia. It seems to me that Russia is quietly becoming the hotbed of Gothic Rock and Metal, and this album just serves to prove the point. 'Way Out' offers 10 tracks of uptempo Melodic Gothic Metal with electro elements to set feet tapping, and have you dancing around the room in no time at all. Onto the album itself, and the opening salvo of 'Farewell' and 'Artificial Girl' are good enough, but then along comes the song 'Ôàëüø'. Sung in Russian, I have no idea of translation, but yay, what a catchy bouncy number that one is I must say - rather cool. And you will not be allowed to recover as next up 'Let Go' maintains the momentum. 'Vampire' slows it down a bit initially, but once the band kick in, we see the tempo being raised. The title track is damn awesome, while 'Óëåòàþ' is another Russian song that is the album's power ballad. Again, my Russian is a little rusty, but musically, this is excellent! 'Against', 'Korosu (To Kill)' and 'Queen of Hearts' bring the album to it's conclusion, and to be perfectly honest, there is not a duff track to be found if you like this style of music. The album bounces along like a demented Kangaroo, their Facebook is here and I must say, this is rather good! 9/10 (Dave)

MOJAVE...'RAINY GHOST'

(Black Canvas Records) Reviewed 2nd August 2013

Voted one of Vancouver’s best bands by readers of the Georgia Straight and named “promising newcomers” by Billboard Magazine, Mojave are set to release a 3rd album ‘Rainy Ghost’ through their own label Black Canvas Records on August 7th. I have had the real pleasure to have known front lass Lisa for some while now, while at the same time she has been supporting what I do. Indeed, the Mojave sound continues to take Lisa and Paul's (her partner in crime) hard rock roots and winds it into a quieter intensity. Lisa’s clear and impressive vocals soar over delicate acoustic guitars & instrumentation and eclectic percussion – weaving melodies and telling stories all at the same time. This album is damn beautiful and Lisa's vocals hit the spot with me - the angel with those totally awesome vocals actually lives in Canada, now you know! All the numbers here are fantastic and I am not going to bother to name any standout tunes as they all standout. If you have had a hard day at the office and want a soothing and comforting album to listen to when you get back home, this is it folks. Produced by Geoff Johnson and recorded in Tofino BC, 100% of all proceeds for this recording will be donated to three amazing animal charities – Stillpointe Llama Sanctuary, Catskill Animal Sanctuary and Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary. It is a download only release, but please support this band and their chosen charities. A track from the album can be heard here..9/10 (Dave)

LAPIS LAZULI...'LOST'

(Self Released) Reviewed 25th June 2013

Lapis Lazuli hail from Sweden, and with this their latest release, they offer up a rather nice healthy dosage of Symphonic Metal, not too far away from Tarja era Nightwish, although perhaps not as bombastic. Now fronted by Cecilia Kamf after the departure of Frida Eurenius in January, we have 13 rather tasty numbers here to sink your teeth into. My only gripe is the track 'No Escape' that features male growls and nothing but male growls. There is nothing wrong with that, but it just seems a little out of place on this release. Anyway, there are a host of corking Symphonic tunes here including the openers 'Overture' and 'Floating Away', the 7 minute plus and one of my faves 'Darker Shade Of Me', the catchy 'Forgive, Never Forget', and 'Illusions' with vocal duties on this number shared with keys man and founder member Timo Hautamäki I believe. Overall, this is a good release from the Swedes, and to be perfectly frank, I am surprised that they have not as yet caught the attention of a bigger label. And just as a footnote, while writing this review, I am in-fact chatting to ex vocalist Frida on Facebook about the weather and other not so musical themes, plus her new EP due this coming winter :) - I digress however, 'Lost' by the way is recommended... 8.5/10 (Dave)

LA-VENTURA...'WHITE CROW'

(Self Release) Reviewed 3rd June 2013

My initial flirtations with the Dutch band La Ventura is a long story, after I bought a sub standard cdr of the band's rather good debut 'A New Beginning' from cdbaby. This sub standard copy was nothing to do with the band or indeed cdbaby, just some unscrupulous record label trying to make a quick buck! Five years or so have lapsed since then, but now the band present to us their latest recording, the rather tasty 'White Crow'. The debut album was more keyboard orientated but very catchy with very accessible melodies. This record sees the keys pushed more to the background, giving the guitars more room to provide some added crunch to the music on offer, but still with the emphasis on strong melodies and catchy tunes. And it all works very well indeed! Opener 'Falling Down' offers an immediate taste as to the path this band is now treading, heavy and abrasive, and surely one of the heaviest songs they have put onto disc since their awesome debut. And there is not a duff track to be found as the cd powers through 'Human Vanity' and the rather good 'Close To You'. Now then, I do have a soft spot for a catchy melodic tune, and the superbly titled 'Song For An Idiot' will have you singing along in no time - surely a potential live favourite. From then on there is no let up, as further songs power out of the speakers, the title track is a solid crunchy number with the powerful 'Drowning' seeing Carla Van Huizen's (formerly Douw) authoritative vocals commanding affairs. Indeed Carla's vocals are massive throughout and I feel that she has made the band her own, in other words without Carla there would not be La Ventura. 'Time and Time Again' is a massive tune, while 'Neverending Story' begins to make you wish that this cd would never end! The closing duo of 'The Only One' and 'Watch Me Go' end what is a rather good record that to my ears deserves to do very well. I have to say that since having received this cd, it has been a regular visitor to my cd player with the tracks also safely installed on my iPod. I have read a review elsewhere where the debut is preferred to 'White Crow', but I beg to differ :) All I will say is get this album as it will not disappoint! The band's Facebook is here, go on buy it! 9/10 (Dave)

MARVEL...'BLACK STONE' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 23rd May 2013

Marvel fronted by a young lass called Olga, is an alternative progressive metal band from Kiev in Ukraine and they here serve us a feast of three tracks of rather good Progressive Metal. I rather like what the band offers here - the title track is a good way to kick the EP off, heavy, melodic, progressive and coupled with a great chorus. 'Revolution' maintains the sheer intensity of the previous track showing more progressive elements, while closer 'New Way' just wants you screaming for more when it has finished. Indeed, I will say again that this is a very good and mature release from a band that look so young. Check them out at their myspace...8.5/10 (Dave)

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