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Ravenheart Music: Album Reviews

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MISTEYES…’CREEPING TIME’

(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: www.facebook.com/misteyesband… 8.5/10 (Dave)

MESSA…’BELFRY’

(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)

ME THE TIGER…S/T

(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)

MIDNIGHT ETERNAL…S/T

(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)

LUMINIZE…’ALL OR NOTHING’

(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 www.luminizemusic.com/. This is a must buy for anyone into this style of music - well recommended!!... 9.25/10 (Dave)

MORNING DEW...'PRISONER OF DREAMS' EP

(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)

MOLLLUST…’IN DEEP WATERS’

(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)

AMY LEE...'RECOVER, VOL 1' EP

(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)

LACEY STURM...'LIFE SCREAMS'

(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)

MARDI GRAS…’PLAYGROUND’

(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)

MAGNI ANIMI VIRI...'HEROES TEMPORIS'

(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)

LEGEND AUREA...'AEON'

(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)

L’ENDEVI…’DON’T GO BACK’

(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)

MIZANTROPIA…’IN OBLIVION’

(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)

LACHRYMOSE...'CARPE NOCTUM'

(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 www.facebook.com/Lachrymose.band.official/timeline. Please be advised to get the album otherwise Blackmass will come and get you...9/10 (Dave)

MAGENTA…’SONGS FOR THE DEAD’

(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)

LAST DAYS OF EDEN…’RIDE THE WORLD’

(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)

LACRIMOSA…’HOFFNUNG’

(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)

MADAME MAYHEM…’NOW YOU KNOW’

(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)

MELTED SPACE…’THE GREAT LIE’

(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)

LOLITA KOMPLEX…’THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH’

(Trisol/darkTunes) Reviewed 29th October 2015

Roll up, roll up! Come a little closer; don't be afraid! Witness this unique attraction for our times! Experience this unique freak show direct from LOLITA KOMPLEX's cabinet of curios! 'The Greatest Show on Earth' comprises 13 new works of art that the band present to us. As well as having a spoken intro by Nigel Barber (Mission: Impossible and James Bond), a number of other artists were invited to guest on the album, and so help create an unforgettable listening experience for the eager and willing public. These include Mike Kelly from cult band THE MISSION and Alexander Kaschte from SAMSAS TRAUM/WEENA MORLOCH. As you can imagine, this is a quirky release with fave tracks a plenty, including the melodic ‘The Awakening’ with its catchy chorus, the bouncy and awesomely titled ‘Rumplestielzchen’, the metallic and up tempo tracks ‘One In A Million’, ‘Masquerade’ and ‘Hide and Seek’ and the acoustic ‘Dance with Me’. To summarise, I was not sure what to expect with this release, but I have to say it is rather good with a great batch of catchy tunes, and is well recommended as a consequence! 9/10 (Dave)

MOANING SILENCE…’A WORLD AFRAID OF LIGHT’

(Self Release) Reviewed 13th October 2015

Moaning Silence was born many years ago, during a cold quiet night, in the dark alleys of the mind of their main composer and guitarist Christos Dounis, while he was studying the varieties of human nature. Emotions, thoughts, pictures, gave birth to lyrics and music notes, while the great poets and writers of our times, created a dreadful atmosphere in which music, dreams, feelings become one. In late 2014, Christos’ steps crossed with vocalist Aimilia Papatheochari and recordings took place under the supervision of producer Bob Katsionis (Firewind,Outloud), at Sound Symmetry Studio, Athens, Greece. One year later, the dream became reality and we have here ten songs about sorrow, love, darkness, memories and lost hope, which in turn are ready to fill the hollow wounds. The music is an atmospheric/doomy/gothy style, but with clean male vocals as opposed to the Beauty & The Beast style that this type of music is often associated with. To be honest, like the Galadriel album that has just been reviewed, this release is rather good and there is also an Anathema cover, the track ‘Parisienne Moonlight’. This is quite simply a lovely album, just listen to tracks like the 6 minute plus ‘The Last Days Of December’, the acoustic driven ‘Just Another Day’ and the metallic ‘An Elegy For The Creastfalle’ from an album full of gothic gems. The band’s Facebook can be found here...awesome and well worth checking out…9.25/10 (The Nugget)

MAGNA UMBRA...'SOMEONE AT YOUR DOOR'

(Self Released) Reviewed 4th September 2015

Magna Umbra come from Brazil and I know very little about them as the email that accompanied this link was in Portuguese. What I can say is that this is their debut release, featuring 10 tracks of Symphonic Power Metal with a progressive undercurrent. There is a lot happening here, but it may well be worth tracking down if you feel that this may float your boat or tickle your cockles. The riff-tastic 'I Am My Own God' sets the album off and is a thumping way to start the album, some powerful operatic vocals too, perhaps though just a little overpowering. 'About Stars' is a rather quaint number and is one of the slower ballady tracks on the album, while the following track 'Hark Manat' will blow your speakers :) 'Insane' powers along leaving Usain Bolt in its wake, with 'Force To Face' being a more melodic tune, some great guitar on this track, and this also ranks as one of my faves from the record. The pen-ultimate number 'Beyond Forever' is a powerful doomy track, while I personally feel that the album does seem to get better the more you listen to it. No doubt some will beg to differ, but for a taster, check here.. 8/10 (The Nugget)

LAST RED RANSOM…’SNUBNOSE’

(Self Release) Reviewed 1st September 2015

Last Red Ransom was formed in the late 2000’s. Their debut album, 'Sleep Well Sweet Vanity' that featured an intoxicating array of styles and emotions, was well received and gained a following in their hometown of Atlanta and the surrounding region. Classed by their PR people as "Glitchrock, Rock, Electronic, Metal, Industrial, Soundtrack", the new album sees the band delving deeper into their Electronic and Industrial tool bag. And to be honest the music on 'Snubnose' like their debut, is all rather good. Featuring CK Woods on female vox, keys & guitar, Andrew St Woods on male vox, guitar and keys, Lance Adair on drums and Zakk Morrow on Bass, there are 10 tracks on this release that is due sometime in September. This is great record featuring tracks that take the listener through a field of haunting industrial soundscapes, encompassing melodic and harmonious traits. The music here remains in the laid back to mid tempo category but it is bloomin' awesome in the process, with tracks like ‘The House’ hitting the spot with me!. The band's website can be found here... this is music that is well worth checking out! ...8.5/10 (Dave)

LEAVES' EYES…’KING OF KINGS’

(AFM Records) Reviewed 12th August 2015

For more than a decade now, LEAVES’ EYES have been setting world history to music and undeniably, by doing so, have raced to the top of the very much alive Symphonic Metal tree. With this their new monumental epic , the band now further justifies their leading position as a compass in the genre and re-awakes the thousand-year legend of Norway’s first king, ‘Harald Fairhair’, in the process. Once again, this band prove their amazing talent of capturing sagas and legends of the past and truly making them come alive in the here and now. Welcome to the Vikings! Onto the music, and with an almost cinematic intensity, LEAVES’ EYES with Liv Kristine’s unique voice at the helm, lead us back in time to when Harald I was uniting Norway as one kingdom. The epic title track with its huge choirs (brought to you by the “London Voices” ensemble, who have famously worked on movie productions such as “Star Wars”, “Lord of the Rings” and “Harry Potter” amongst many) gives a perfect start to the saga. It’s a perfect match to the band’s ambitions and to the vision of producer Alexander Krull, who sonically lifts “King of Kings” to the level of these blockbuster productions. And under the guidance of ex - Rage guitarist Victor Smolski, the powerful White Russian Symphony Orchestra adds even more feel. And we have barely got going with the album then offering musical variety galore throughout, and songs that just scream “HIT” such as ‘The Walking Eye’, while the awesome and bouncy ‘Edge Of Steel’ also features none other than Simone Simons (Epica), this song leading us into the battlefields of Harald I himself! This classic of an album offers stylistic diversity everywhere you look: -from folk rock and gentle tunes to Symphonic, catchy, epic and heavy hymns. It’s an overly impressive display of musical pictures which the band brings alive. Now having caught my breath and caught your attention, this record comes well and truly recommended to all and sundry when released in September!...9.75/10 (Dave)

LILJANA…’GOODBYE TO MYSELF’ EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 7th August 2015

Liljana from Leipzig is: Lily (vocals), Frank Oberländer (guitars), Ralph Leistner (guitars), Johannes Hank (bass guitars) and Nathanael Erler (drums). And this is their debut EP. The album was actually released last year but this copy has just dropped into the Towers. There are six tracks of prime time Melodic Metal that is well worth checking out to fans of this style of music. Tracks like the opener ‘Crystalline’, ‘One Delusion’ and the atmospheric and rather lovely 6 minute plus tune ‘Chains’, confirm as to why I myself got into this style of music in the first place – melodic, not overly heavy and kinda radio friendly. This EP is rather cool and well recommended if you have not already got it, website here…8.5/10 (The Nugget)

LUNDEN REIGN…’AMERICAN STRANGER’

(Cleopatra Records) Reviewed 31st July 2015

NIKKI LUNDEN (Lead Singer, Guitar, Composer) & LORA G ESPINOZA-LUNDEN (Composer, Guitarist, Keyboards) came together to form LA Based Lunden Reign in mid 2013. And as a result of that meeting, they proudly offer the listener their debut album. So do you want some pounding Melodic Rock to awaken your senses and realise what good music is all about? This it has to be said is a rather massive dose of Melodic Alternative Rock that has been dragged into the 21st Century by the short and curlies. As the album and its wonders unfurls, it becomes blatantly obvious how good Nikki, her band and this album are. The record was recorded at Capitol Records, Hollywood, CA, Abbey Road Studios, London, UK and Stagg Street Studios, LA - mastered by Grammy winning Evren Goknar at Capitol Records, Hollywood. One reviewer after having seen the band’s London show described them as the new sound of LA, how right is that? Impressive stuff and certainly well worth dipping into your hard earned cash for, so pop to Amazon and get a copy!... 9/10 (The Nugget).

MELPHOMENE...'DESTRUCTIVE CRESCENDO'

(Self Release) Reviewed 31st July 2015

Although fairly new kids on the block, the Mexican band MELPHOMENE has within its ranks, musicians with extensive experience in this art. The band itself is a Symphonic Metal band founded in 2013 by Mario Del Rio and Esthíbaliz, guitarist and vocalist, respectively, and both composers, were shortly joined by Omar Silva on bass and Ignacio Fontan on drums. This is their debut EP/CD comprising of seven tracks of the aforementioned style of music. Although I was a little wary before listening to this album for some reason, I did actually find the listening experience a rather good one. The tracks are bombastic and melodic, with the vocals of Esthíbaliz switching between a rock and operatic vocal style. This album is actually worth checking out, so check the band out here.... 8.5/10 (Dave)

LIVING SHIELDS…’DELIRIUM’ EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 15th July 2015

Living Shields are Brazilian and I must state that there is some very good music coming out of South America at present. This EP presents us with five tracks of extremely good Sympho/Gothic Metal from a very good bunch of musicians. ‘Painful Fate’ is a grand way to start this 5 track EP to get you in the mood, which is then followed by the catchy and bouncy ‘Beyond The Cry’. This is all rather good! ‘Beneath’ is a slow to mid tempo number, it has a folky feel to it with a little flamenco guitar thrown into the mix, while the awesome ‘Empty Search’ is a grand Symphonic number (Epica/Within Temptation – eat your hearts out!). Closing track, the ballad ‘Candle Light‘ ends what is a very good release from this Brazilian band. I whole heartedly recommend this EP, it can be purchased from CDBaby for only US$4, less than one US Dollar a track, so what are you waiting for. This is rather nice… 8.75/10 (Dave)

MUTE TALE...'THE GORDION KNOT'

(Metal Breed Records USA) Reviewed 26th June 2015

Where the "fairy tale" comes of age and epically courts metal, we find Mute Tale, a band from Athens, the creation of soprano Annou, composer and lyricist of the band. This is Symphonic Metal straight out of the top drawer from this band. Not knowing anything about Mute Tale, I placed the cd on the player a little hesitantly for some reason, although I do not quite know why I was hesitant. But I am glad I did as there is some awesome stuff here to enjoy. After a short intro, things kick into gear with the catchy track 'Realm Of Serenity', after which things quieten down just a little with the rather quirky 'The Dale'. 'Ravensky' ramps it up a bit, and is another great track, and we are only 4 tracks in! 'Sunken Hope' is an instrumental and has a Folky feel about it while 'Chain Of Fear' is another bouncy quirky number that I do rather like! With just four numbers to go, all this is flying by too quickly, and that is a surefire way to know that the album is good. The remaining numbers do not let the listener down with the catchy 'Good Intentions' and the metallic and melodic 'The Curse Of Time (Eclipsis)' being two of my faves from the album. Pen ultimate track 'Scar' is a lovely folky style ballad, while the Symphonic 'Mute Tales' closes this awesome album. The band's facebook page is here... 9/10 (Dave)

MY OWN GHOST...'LOVE KILLS'

(Self Release) Reviewed 22nd June 2015

My Own Ghost is a rock band from the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg founded in 2013. The music relies on the warm and powerful vocals Julie Rodesch and her fellow band members differing backgrounds, ranging from pop to metal. And if you take into account the aforementioned pop and metal and add some electronic tweaks, that sums up the music of this very good band in a nutshell. One helluva record here, offering 13 tracks of some of the best mid to up tempo melodic pop/metal you will hear in the 21st century. Everything here hits the very good category, but I do particularly currently like the tracks 'Crystal Ball', the awesome 'Beautiful Mistake', the second single, the breathtaking 'Silence', the rather good 'Pathways' and the penultimate track 'Mute'. In February of this year, the band released their first official music video for their second single 'Silence' (video here), and in March they signed a deal with the German booking agency Red Lion Music. In July 2015, My Own Ghost will perform as support for Delain and they will also support the Japanese Heavy Metal pioneers Loudness on 4 dates on their European Tour - this cd is well and truly recommended I must say - website is here...9.25/10 (Dave)

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