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Ravenheart Music: Album Reviews

REVIEWS N-O

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NOAMUTHEN...'THE BEGINNING'

(Self Released) Reviewed 9th December 2016

Here we have a Fantasy Symphonic Metal band from Budapest. Fronted by Niareth (Vér Anita) on clean vocals and Grifion (Verebélyi László) providing extreme vocals as well as bass, the band supply the listener with 11 tracks of the aforementioned style of metal, heavy and symphonic with a touch of fantasy thrown into the melting pot. Further clean vocals are provided courtesy of the keys person Grifion (Gyügyei Gábor). I just love these names! The music is hideously bombastic, pounds along by and large like a turbo charged express train, but maintains a strong sense of symphonic melody throughout, with flutes popping up on the odd occasion as well.There is a lot on this release I rather like, despite for some reason, some initial hesitations before I hit the play button. The band's facebook is here...8.75/10 (Dave)

OPUS DORIA...'THE COMPASS ROSE'

(Self Release) Reviewed 1st December 2016

If it ain't broken why fix it is a common saying and it applies to the awesome French Symphonic Band Opus Doria. The band fronted by the crystal clear and superb vocals of Christel Lindstat was conceived in 2009. Their music is heavily orchestrated and occasionally quirky Symphonic Metal and is a joy to these ears to listen too. There is some wonderful stuff here, the beautiful 'Dancing Sun', the quirky and mainly orchestral 'Fire Horses', which is then followed by the wonderful instrumental 'Stars Reflections On The Waves'. The band ups the ante with 'Frozen Flame' and then the awesome number Ghost Odyssey', that introduces the pipes and I do love the pipes. Then there is the Symphonic/Progressive 'Scheol', the beautiful and haunting 'Ethereal Texture', with the quality remaining high up to and including the closing 7 minute plus title track. This is a powerful and beautiful record mixing rock & metal with the classical giving an overall cinematic feel. The band's Facebook can be found here... 8.75/10 (Dave)

OVERCROWN...'HIGHER'

(Self Released) Reviewed 22nd November 2016

Overcrown (the first name was Crownless) is a Symphonic Metal band with doom influences from the city of Conegliano - Italy. The band was founded in 2006 by Aleksandar and Dusan Djeric with Fabio Affili. Through the years, the band played in a lot of local festivals and shared the stage with some of the bigger Italian metal bands. They released 2 demos: 'Aequilibrium' in 2007 and 'King Lear' in 2010. The first promo 'Monochrome' was released in 2014 and now in 2016 we have this album 'Higher'. Basically there are eight tracks of Symphonic Metal with operatic vocals from vocalist Giulia Morgana Penzo. Some interesting tracks here with the short number 'Barren Arms (Yggdrasil, PtII)' reminding me a little of Queen believe it or not with its multi tracked vocals. 'Frozen' is a catchy bouncy number with progressive influences with other standout cuts being 'King Lear', the haunting instrumental 'Cathy' and the doomy 'You Are Me'. Overall, not a bad effort from this Italian band. Their Facebook is here... 8/10 (Dave)

OPIUM DOLL...'DARK BLOOM'

(Death Tone Studio) Reviewed 13th November 2016

Opium Doll is a four piece melodic Symphonic Metal act from Russia. Their Facebook does not disclose too much unfortunately regards band members, and their website is in Russian. However, cutting to the chase, Opium Doll offer the listener on this record, nine tracks of melodic metal sung in rather good English. And a good album it is too, with tracks like 'Addicted', the riff-tastic 'If The Walls Could Speak', the haunting 'Asleep' and the rather cool piano led ballad, the awesomely titled 'Snow Is Falling Just To Die'. Overall, this is a good effort from a totally unknown band to us here. Their Facebook is here...8.5/10 (Dave)

NIGHTMARE...'DEAD SUN'

(AFM) Reviewed 1st November 2016

Formed in 1979, NIGHTMARE's last studio album, 'The Aftermath' released in May 2014, would spell the end of their collaboration with vocalist Jo Amore and drummer David Amore. Faced with this difficult change, the band was determined to come back stronger than ever! On October 10th 2015, NIGHTMARE held a presentation of their new line-up in their hometown Grenoble; announcing the addition of powerhouse vocalist Maggy Luyten (Beautiful Sin, Beyond The Bridge, ex-Ayreon) and drummer Olivier Casula (Sandragon, ex-Thalidomide, The Seven Gates). Well the pioneers of French Heavy Metal with their new line up have come up trumps with a winner here. Corking and pounding uptempo tunes with subtle symphonic elements, coupled with fist pumping choruses dominate this album. This awesome cd (due 25th November) has been arranged in France by the band’s long time friend and producer Patrick Liotard together with Joost Van Den Broek (The Gentle Storm, Epica…), produced and mixed by Joost Van Der Broek at Sandlane Studios in The Netherlands, and recorded at Noise Factory Studio in Belgium with Gerald Jans behind the desk. For all you lovers of heavy metal with a vocalist that can challenge many of the guys in the biz, here is one to check out!... 8.5/10 (Dave)

OBERON… 'OF METAL AND WHEELS’ EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 12th September 2016

Oberon come from Australia. This 5 track EP, the band’s second release so I believe, takes on a more laid back style of Gothic/Symphonic/Cinematic Rock and I do rather like the style adopted here on this album and indeed their previous release too. Lisbeth has a lovely voice, this EP possibly being slightly more laid back and cinematic than on the debut 4 track EP ‘All There Is’, that album in itself being a little more upbeat. Overall though, I do like this band and I think it is a shame they are down under in the land of OZ, as they would cause a storm here in Europe. After an instrumental intro, ‘Master Of One’ is a rather cool symphonic blockbuster, but thereafter, the pace slackens slightly, encompassing an awesome cover of ‘Scarborough Faire’. This is a good album with a true cinematic feel and is recommended by us. Oberon’s website is here… 8.5/10 (Dave).

OCCOEUR...'TWO' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 22nd July 2016

Occoeur is a fairly local band to us here in Kidderminster (UK), and I am familiar with their earlier output thanks mainly to a track of theirs that was played on BBC local radio. Fronted by the soaring and powerful female vocals of Alex Slawinski and an explosive backline, they strive to deliver visually entertaining shows that demonstrate their passion for the music within them. And good on them too. Their earlier material took on a kinda Melodic Rock vibe, but this their latest EP follows an Alternative Rock/Metal route, four tracks of awesome female fronted music flirting at times with the heavier end of pop. This band would possibly fit into a mold created by Lincolshire Rockers Skarlett Riot - a commercial sound that can and should appeal to the masses. This EP is an awesome effort and I look forward to seeing Alex and her band hit the big time! The EP is available from all the normal digital outlets including CDbaby (click here)... 8.25/10 (Dave)

ORPHEUM…’DARKNESS and DECAY’

(Self Release) Reviewed 23rd June 2016

London based Orpheum was born in 2010, but its roots actually date back to 2003 when brothers Finlay and Andy Thomson co-founded the original band with its then original singer. New singer Erin Johnson joined in 2008 and took the band in a new direction. They were later joined by former members of experimental metal band The Shard, Mars Martin and Matt Brewster in 2009. As the style of the band became more theatrical and progressive, it was decided that a new name was needed. Orpheum was a natural choice. In 2010, after personal commitments saw the departure of Matt, the band line-up was soon completed by former Hollywood Doll co-founder and bassist, KT Glitz. On 12th March 2012 their debut, the rather good 'Treason' EP was released, with worldwide availability through the Official Orpheum Store and being downloadable at iTunes, Amazon Music, Spotify, eMusic and multiple other download outlets. One or two further line up changes along the way but now in June 2016, their full length offering is about to hit the streets, tomorrow June 24th in-fact. The title of the record and even the name of the band may suggest Death/Black Metal, but that cannot be further from the truth. This is a good old dose of Gothic Progressive Metal to wrap your ear drums around and proof that the British Female Fronted Rock & Metal scene is buzzing. Erin has an awesome operatic vocal style and there are stand out cuts a plenty, including ‘Treason’ (featured on their EP), the rather kool ‘Said The Spider’ (a track I do rather like), the epic, complex and majestic 10 minute plus ‘Porcelain Doll’ (also on the EP) and the closing threesome of ‘Memento Vivere’, ‘Memento Vivere’ (Cello Lament) and ‘Memento Vivere’ (Choral). Overall, this is a superb offering from this London band and well worth a purchase. Their well set out website for further info is here - support these musicians in their quest to conquer the world :) … 8.75/10 (Dave)

NYMPHILL…’FACTUM LUX’

(Self Released) Reviewed 12th May 2016

Nymphill formed in 2009 come from Poland and this is a six track and 32 minute blast of Symphonic /Melodic Metal, and indeed a very good blast too. Fronted by Andżelika Mrozowicz, this their debut album (not including the 4 track 2013 demo EP), kicks off with the awesome and bombastic ‘Comrade In Arms’ that starts off with the sound of military fire and spoken intro, before getting into gear as a bombastic and catchy tune, and with a great Epica style choral ending. Next up is the title track, a Symphonic Metal offering which in turn is another good un, leading us into track 3, ‘Victoria’, which ups the momentum, taking the music into Power Metal territory but maintaining a strong sense of melody. ‘This Is What We Missed’ brings in the sound of pipes and is another strong Symphonic Melodic Metal tune that pounds along rather nicely thank you. The closing duo of ‘Cisza’, a lovely power ballad sung in the band’s native tongue and the epic sounding 6 minute plus ‘Cruise To The Dreamworld’, end this record. For a band that has just slipped onto our radar, this is good although rather short, but do enjoy as this little release to our ears is damn good, and will go down well with fans of female fronted Symphonic Metal. The band’s Facebook is here. Cruise to the Dreamworld and buy it!… 8.75/10 (Dave)

ONE LAST RUN…’UNBREAKABLE’

(Self Release) Reviewed 10th May 2016

One Last Run from Warrington UK is delighted to unveil their debut album 'Unbreakable'. It is a huge sounding album from a band that is now leaving a strong impression wherever they go! 'Unbreakable' is a 10 track powerhouse of an album, each track bringing something new. The vocal prowess of Becky Roberts connects the relentless riffs with meaningful emotion, resulting in an album that you can not only pump your fist to, but understand as well. Stand out cuts are in abundance and this band should actually set up a tour with Lincolnshire rockers Skarlett Riot, among many others I am sure. Recorded at Innersound Studios under the expert production skills of Joe Graves (Asking Alexandria, Yashin, The Family Ruin & Glamour of the Kill) and Mike Kingswood (guitarist of Glamour of the Kill and Axe Wound), Mike also gains co-writing credit for the album as well as showcasing his vocal prowess on the album closer, the rather lovely acoustic driven ballad 'Given Up'. Koolio artwork too by the way, the album being available to buy/stream now at all the usual outlets, and you can also get a physical copy of ‘Unbreakable’ from the bands online store here… 8.75/10 (Hannah Cooper)

NIGHTMEN...'FIFTEEN MINUTES OF PAIN'

(Lovely Records) Reviewed 29th April 2016

Cheap beer and endless movie-nights helped Swedes Nightmen create this their debut LP, a 28-minute primitive rock’n’roll-album filled with power-pop hooks and ingenious songwriting. Christine, Tony, Nopan and Erik have spent time in notorious Swedish acts such as MF/MB/, Terrible Feelings, and Yast, although Nightmen is something completely different from those bands. Three vocalists sing with equal measures of punk snottiness and sugary sweetness. The diversity of having three singers makes 'Fifteen Minutes of Pain' a dynamic garage-rock anthem. Nightmen are Ramones tangled up with Dead Moon and The Cars. This a twelve track killer-LP straight from the heart that was released the 15th of April. I will say that I just loved the Ramones, The Cars and the like, so this is right up my alleyway, this LP reminding me particularly of the Ramones. All the tracks here are killer cuts from the Ramones like 'Hot Days' and 'Habit' to numbers like 'I Only Want You' reminding me of The Cars. This is different to what we normally get here at camp Ravenheart, but the sort of music to play on those warm lazy summer evenings loud with all the windows open. This is damn good and well recommended if Punk/Power-Pop is or was your scene, a party record if ever there was one - band's facebook here... 9/10 (Dave)

NEXT DOOR TO HEAVEN...'LET'S DREAM'

(Self Release) Reviewed 19th April 2016

Next Door To heaven is a band that comes from Saint Petersburg in Russia, and they were sent my way by a band called PHASE. Next Door To Heaven describe their music as "post-grunge, alternative metal", and that does quite accurately sum it up on this eight track offering. To be honest, the amount of quality unsigned music at the moment worldwide is quite astonishing, and this album can be added to that pile. Some pounding up-beat numbers here with a strong melodic undercurrent as well, and that always pleases me, coupled with nice female vocals of course. All eight tracks are magnificent although at this moment, the number 'Prisoner' is one of my faves together with the acoustic driven power ballad ‘It Won’t Let You Go’. I would certainly say that this band is well worth checking out, and I thank the band PHASE for bringing them to my attention. Check out Next Door To Heaven's Facebook here... 8.75/10 (Dave)

NEMESEA…’UPRISE’

(Napalm Records) Reviewed 6th April 2016

The Dutch female fronted band, Nemesea, famous for combining rock with electronica to stir up a dark and strangely addictive brew, have fine-tuned this musical combination to perfection on this their fourth album ‘Uprise'. The guitars together with Manda Ophuis' outstanding vocals continue to be the driving force behind the band. The alternative rock trio has several sure fire hits up its sleeve on this record, and it's impossible to not be enthralled by the all-encompassing balance between driving addictive rock tunes like the opener ‘Hear Me’, the electronica driven ‘Time To Make It’ and the up lifting ’Get Out’, and the ballads like ‘Let It Burn‘ and ‘Light Up The Sky‘. ‘Uprise' is a gem that reveals its many colours more and more each time you press play! This album is catchy and addictive in typical Nemesea fashion, and well recommended when released 29th April 2016… 9/10 (Dave)

OTEP…’GENERATION DOOM’

(Napalm Records) Reviewed 6rh April 2016

After having just reviewed the Nemesea album, OTEP confirms the variety and diversification on the rosta of Napalm Records. Formed from the poetic marrow of creative intercourse, OTEP is an Art Project/Band/Movement/Revolution; Breaking ground, breaking rules and breaking barriers. Articulate, aggressive, pure Adrenaline, the ARTCore of Heavy Mental Rock. Transcending from the darkness, like wolves into the light, OTEP is an explosion of inspiration and motivation, empowered by their dedication to the arts, being a voice for the voiceless and fighting injustice. With Otep Shamaya’s multifaceted vocal approach, from gut wrenching roars to soft seductive poetry to singing with a surprisingly magically beautiful voice, to her evolution as a writer and story teller, Generation Doom erupts with thunderous, punishing grooves that harmoniously detonate into dark industrial fury, with magma flows of hard rock melodies that seamlessly shape shift into a mysterious musical beast. A dynamic and diverse album and at times surprisingly melodic, this record is mind blowing and earth shattering. Opener ‘Zero’ is a heavy rap infused number featuring those gut wrenching roars, with the following track ‘Feeding Frenzy’ pounding out of the speakers leaving you pinned against the wall. This is an awesome start to the record, but Otep does also show a strong melodic sensibility within her songs, this being strongly showcased in tracks like ‘In Cold Blood’ and ‘Lie’, the latter with its melodic chorus. Of the heavier numbers, there is a tsunami of awesome cuts like the blistering ‘Lords of War’ and ‘Down’. The closing track ’On The Shore’ is a slower rather more sensitive number and do not be fooled, once it appears to have finished, there is indeed more! Otep has ascended to new heights with this release - due 29th April… 8.5/10 (Dave)

ONIRICIDE…’REVENGE OF SOULS’

(Self Release) Reviewed 11th March 2016

Oniricide fronted by Mara Cek Cecconato come from Italy, that country seems to be quite a hot bed of metal music at the moment. Oniricide’s music can be described as Melodic, Symphonic Metal and is another good album to forge its way into our mailbox. The band was born in June 2011 from an idea by Andrea Pelliccioni (guitarist) and Daniele Pelliccioni (drummer and keyboardist). They started composing and arranging new songs by mixing different styles of music and sounds together, such as Symphonic metal, Prog metal and classical music. At the start, the project was called Agony Oniricide, meanwhile, keyboards and sequenced orchestrations were added to the songs while some of the original members left the band for personal reasons. In 2013, Mara, lead vocalist, joined and she is actively involved with the lyrics writing process. Now 2016 brings us their debut recording and I must say what I hear is good. I hear people say that the female fronted metal scene is now too saturated, but I will disagree with that statement. If these bands continue to produce good music, whether female fronted or indeed guy fronted, what’s the issue? What we have on this release nonetheless is 10 tracks of hi octane Symphonic Metal and flippin good it is too. ‘Oneiros’ is an orchestral into that leads into the first number proper, the bouncy title track’ and the momentum continues through tracks like ‘Noxy’, the rather cool ‘Visions From The Mirror’, the catchy and quirkily titled ‘Gypsy And The Cards’, the rather nice ballad ‘The Illusion of the Abyss’ and the symphonic sounding ‘The Beast’. This is impressive stuff from a band that until now had escaped my radar - the band‘s website is www.oniricide.it… 8.75/10 (Dave)

OCEANS OF SLUMBER…’WINTER’

(Century Media) Reviewed 3rd March 2016

Oceans of Slumber quickly rose from obscurity to local heroes after forming in 2011. In the span of two years, the group wrote and recorded their self-released debut album, ‘Aetherial’. Praised for their diversity, celebrated for their instrumental chops, and admired for their ability to out-prog any band in a 1,000 mile radius, Oceans of Slumber’s best-new-band status in Houston, in Texas, and across the world was well-deserved. But something was missing. They had the spark but needed the fire. They found their fire in Cammie Gilbert, a singer whose vocals are an unbelievable mix of power and grace. “She was honestly the piece of the puzzle we were missing all along,” drummer Dobber Beverly raves. “From the beginning of the band I’ve wanted it to be female fronted. I wanted the dynamics, the delicacy, and the rage only a woman’s voice can offer. All of us can sing and the guitarists and bassist handle all of the screams and heavy stuff anyway. Why not cover the full spectrum?” And they have! Oceans of Slumber aren’t an easy band to peg musically. Certainly, they’re progressive in the traditional sense, but they’re certainly not Genesis or Yes, or indeed the instrumental gymnastics of Transatlantic. But they’re informed by black metal’s nefarious note choices just as much as they’ve intensely read into Wes Montgomery’s jazz guitar approach. Indeed, the band's new album is a deft amalgam of all things melodic, complex, heavy, dark and atmospheric, and forward-thinking too, being well showcased within the opening track, which so happens to be the title track. Everything has been thrown into this number, it is heavy, melodic and gentle all at the same time, what a start! And second track in 'Devout' shows not let up to the aural and in this case near Death Metal assault, this number however showing rather more of the Progressive nature of the band. ‘Nights In White Satin’ needs no introduction, the Moody Blues song awesomely covered by the band, the original track actually an all time fave of mine – Cammie Gilbert’s vocals mind blowing on this epic of a track! Can I name any further highlights within the remainder of the album? No as everything here is a highlight! ‘Lullaby’ and ‘Laid To Rest’ are two brief atmospheric laid back cuts giving the listener a brief rest before the pounding and melodic ‘Suffer The Last Bridge’ kicks in - great guitar solo too. The whole package from beginning to end to my ears is a near faultless and beautiful piece of work from all the musicians involved. To summarise briefly: well recommended, enough said so go and buy… 9.5/10 (Dave)

OBSIDIAN SHELL…’AI NO KIZU’

(Self Release) Reviewed 1st March 2016

Obsidian Shell come from Hungary and ply their trade on ‘Ai No Kizu’ by way of Industrial infused Power/Gothic/Symphonic Metal, featuring male and female vocals. And to be honest, if this style of music takes your fancy, then this release is well worth checking out for all you purveyors of fine metal music. The vocals I must assume are shared between the two main band members who are Csató Henrik and Bakacsi Bernadett Zahra (female vox). Overall this is rather catchy from beginning to end and I must say that it all pounds along rather nicely, and is rather good for a self funded release. The opening number ‘The Day She left’ is one of my favourites on this 71 minute 13 track record, with its catchy chorus and angelic female vocals, and I also like the symphonic sounding ‘Summer’s End’ sung in the band’s native tongue – rather kool! Then there is the orchestrated ballad, ‘Autumn’, rather beautiful to say the least!! However, the cream on the top of the cake has to be the mighty, exceptionally epic and heavily orchestrated ‘Misanthropia 4:Ai No Kizu’, all 20 minutes of it! Everything on this album ticks all the right boxes, some great music throughout with elements of Gothic, Symphonic and Electro. Check out their FaceBook at www.facebook.com/obsidianshell Very addictive… 9/10 (Katie McIntyre)

NEVER TRUST…’THE LINE’

(Vrec Label) Reviewed 16th February 2016

Never Trust is a rock band from Milan. Their previous album, the debut ‘Morning Light’ was well received here at the towers. And it seems regards their latest offering that the good work continues. Fronted by Elisa Galli, we have twelve tracks of extremely catchy Alternative Rock to feast your ears upon, and rather good it is too. The high octane ‘Cut You Out’ kicks things off, and thereafter we some real corkers including ‘Turmoil’ (video here) which is a real belter, ‘Razor’s Edge’ that is a monster with its catchy chorus, the ultra commercial ‘Just A Little Girl’, the pounding, metallic and oh so catchy ‘Turning Point‘ and the dynamic closer 'Heavier'. The band‘s website is at www.nevertrustmusic.com/ - this record is a sure fire winner, especially if you like bands similar to Flyleaf, Paramore and the like… Another album that we strongly recommend… 9/10 (Dave)

NAWATHER...'WASTED YEARS'

(M & O Music) Reviewed 13th February 2016

Nawather is a band from Tunisia that offer the listener 9 tracks of Progressive Metal with strong Middle Eastern Folk Influences. The band was conceived in 2013, but in previous years, was known as Agony's Serenades. This album is certainly different to what I normally listen too, but indeed it is rather good, although may take a few listens to get used too. With vocals shared between the harsh male vocals of Raouf Jelassi and the melodic female vocals of Ryma Nakkach, the band mix Metal together with traditional Tunisian music. I am not familiar with traditional Tunisian music, but what the band do they do well. I have established however that they are among the first who choose to marry the Qanun, the king of Arabic instruments, to Metal music. This instrument tends to play an indelible part in Tunisian classical music called “malouf”. As a consequence, Nawather offers music across these nine tracks which smoothly alternates between authentic and western music. Such a cultural encounter is fostered by a harmonious duet between vocals: that being a female doing the clean voice and a male vocal performing the growl. The harshness of growl and guitars are contrasted to the melodic contribution of the Qanun and female vocal. I must offer Kudos to Nawather, as I am sure that Metal music within their own country is not something that is a welcome tradition, and the music here takes Metal music into a direction that I have rarely come across in the past. I will say that this is well worth checking out if you want to hear something a little different. The band's facebook is here... 8/10 (Dave)

NOVACROW…’BLACK SYRUP’ EP

(Self Released) Reviewed 12th February 2016

I have just reviewed an EP by a band from the Manchester area. Now I will divert my attentions to the Liverpool area and a band called Novacrow. Formed in late 2013, they combine sleazy female vocals, heavy riffs and ridiculous stage shows. They are fronted by the awesome looking and awesome sounding Kitty Staunton, and they give the listener a good old dose of addictive sleazy hard rock. Various influences spring to mind upon listening to this their debut EP including those of Alice Cooper. The opener ‘Fat Frog’ has a funky vibe and is a fab start to the record, with second track, the bouncy ‘Fight The Horde‘ (video www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iDOKrZ20YE) possessing a hideously catchy chorus. The title track ‘Black Syrup’ is a cool number with Kitty taking on a slightly bluesy and a rather sexy sounding vocal style if I may say so. ‘Set In Stone’ and ‘Colourless’ end the EP in a dynamic way, the latter being a brief acoustic instrumental. Novacrow’s debut EP aims to showcase the band's eclectic style, with vivid comic-book artwork from guitarist Jonyx and is well worth checking out when it gets released in March! The band‘s website is here….8.5/10 (Dave)

NORHOD...'VOICES FROM THE OCEAN'

(WormholeDeath) Reviewed 21st December 2015

Italy's Norhod hit us with their debut album during the latter part of 2013, and the first month of 2016 will see their second effort hitting the stores. And what an effort it is. We have beauty & the beast vocals, female vocals compliments of Clara Ceccarelli. Her vocals are complimented by the growls of Giacomo "Jev" Casa, and these two cogs drive the Norhod machine very efficiently and effectively, with the remaining cogs in the band giving their all. This is Symphonic/Gothic Metal from the top drawer with some real corkers. After a brief intro, opening track proper 'Endless Ocean' kicks in, and this track is a melodic thumper together with great operatic vocals from Clara, coupled with top class growls from the aforementioned Giacomo!! And this is just for starters, 'The Abyss Of Knowledge' is equally as awesome flirting with Power Metal, once again great vocals, and is that the sounds of a church organ I hear? 'July Rain' shows the sensitive side that merges straight into the heavy 'Bleeding Path, that after the subtlety of the previous track, knocks you back against the wall! 'Son Of The Moon (A Moon Tale Part VI)' is a piano led 6 minute + number, but with the full force of the band being felt behind it, and a great choir too! One of my fave tracks from the CD in fact. The bombastic and damn good 'Farthest Dream' features the awesome choir, while the closing track 'Last Chant' is an awesome atmospheric orchestral outtro of film score proportions! This album is well recommended when released 20th January we believe...get it! 9/10 (Dave)

ORDER OF CHAOS…’APOCALYPSE MOON’

(Killer Metal Records) Reviewed 27th November 2015

THE ORDER OF CHAOS hail from Canada and are fronted by Amanda Kiernan- so at least all of you out there loving anything with female vocals in Metal, should check this Canadian Metal machine out! And what a Metal machine it is, more like a power hammer that will hammer your senses as you scream for more :) The five piece band has its roots deep in Metal, but suddenly the band occasionally erupts into a storm of Thrash while Amanda weeps, screeches, croaks and growls...inhuman sounds coming from her powerful lungs! 12 tracks of humungous pounding Metal on this record, that in turn will send shivers running down your spine. This is true Heavy Metal in the tradition that all Metal fans know and is well worth checking out for fans of the genre, oh and not a ballad in sight although the closer ‘The Devil That You Know’ is one of the more commercial numbers from the album ! Fave tracks a plenty however, but I like ‘Sexwitch’ cos I am one :) … 8.25/10 (The Nugget)

NIKKI PUPPET…’DISCO INFERNO’

(7hard) Reviewed 24th November 2015

Nikki Puppet come from Hannover, and the band is fronted by the distinctive vocals of a young lass named Nicky Gronewold. They have been going since 2003 so well established kids on the block. This I believe is their 5th album, which gives 14 tracks of alternative pop/rock with leanings more towards the rock, but with pop sensibilities. I must admit to not hearing any of their earlier stuff, so I am unable to compare this album with any of their previous material. But some feedback being given to me by some of our European counterparts, suggests that this is an okay release, but simply just that! I suppose from my individual point of view, it is catchy foot tapping music, it is inoffensive and enjoyable. If you want an album for party time, throwing into the melting pot, melodic rock, AOR coupled with 80s/90s rock on one side, but then are there also danceable beats connecting with the more poppier side, this could be the one that will get people up and jumping around! Try it, you may like it!… 8/10 (The Nugget)

OMNIMAR…’START’

(darkTunes Music Group) Reviewed 21st November 2015

In an icy cold Russian winter, it becomes scorching hot when Maria Mar and Yaroslav enter the scene and all gazes turn towards them. The Moscow duo OMNIMAR are confident and style conscious, and their music melts male and female hearts alike. Like simply no other, Maria Mar knows how to use her lovely voice, which she presents in three languages, to convey an atmosphere that is simply unique, and which is embedded in synth pop of the very highest quality, and which leaves you begging for more. And synth pop of the highest quality this is. The album’s 11 tracks invite you to a journey for all the senses; a journey that seems to begin in the ruins of a difficult childhood, and which then moves through an entire life; past broken self-protection mechanisms, emotional breakdowns and loves found and lost. There are catchy melodies with electrifying rhythms, so much so that your legs almost begin moving by themselves, while your entire body gently rocks backwards and forwards to the gentle sounds, just as if you were in a cradle. And that is what propels this album into the top division of this genre of music. Okay people reading this that are into Hard Rock and Metal may have stopped reading this review by now, but if you are still with me, do check this album out. It is massive, it is catchy and it is so damn cool, and Omnimar so deserve the accolade of n"Newcomer of the month" and to be on the front cover of the world wide biggest Gothic Music Magazine "ORKUS". As for the cd, buy! 9/10 (Dave)

NETHERFELL…’BETWEEN EAST AND WEST’

(Noizegate Records) Reviewed 14th November 2015

Netherfell is a Folk Metal band from Cracow, Poland, which was conceived in 2008. They use elements of old-time and ethnic music (Slavonic, Celtic, German and so on) and traditional instruments such as bagpipes, gusle, tin whistle and balalaika. They blend these folk elements with melodic death metal and symphonic music. The band members are: Piotr Martuś - guitars, vocals, balalaika; Wit Rzepecki – bagpipes, tin–whistle, traditional vocals; Adrianna Zborowska – violin, vocals, recorder; Jakub Kondzielnik – drums; Łukasz Ścieranka - bass; Tomasz Indyka – vocals; Michalina Malisz (session musician) – hurdy gurdy, flute, tin-whistle. This immediately gives the listener an idea as to what instruments are used, and you know what? This album is rather good! The male vocals are generally of the death metal variety, but the use of traditional instruments makes the musical listening experience all rather interesting. The tracks here are consistently good without having a number that actually stands out and grabs ya! The band has played many concerts, supporting popular folk metal bands such as Arkona, Alestorm, Dalriada and many others, so they know their biz. So light up the camp fire, invite your mates, have some jolly good fun and give this catchy album a listen, you never know, you may like it, we do!.. 8/10 (Dave)

NEW YEARS DAY…’MALEVOLENCE’

(Another Century Records) Reviewed 19th October 2015

New Year's Day is an American rock band formed in 2005 in Anaheim, California. After building a reputation through promotion on the social networking website MySpace, the band released their debut EP in 2006. Their debut album My Dear followed in 2007. The band's second full length effort, ‘Victim to Villain’ came out nearly six years after their debut. And now in 2015, we have their newie, Malevolence’. This album has the potential to be absolutely huge and the band has the image to boot, as well. The tracks on this record offer the listener a huge dose of hard rock, with elements of electronica coupled with stax of melody - right up my alleyway in-fact. Massive choruses galore with stand out cuts a plenty, with the vocals of Ashley Costello reminding me some what of Maria Brink (In This Moment). This is rather good stuff and is a record well worth checking out further - kinda imagine In This Moment crossed with The Birthday Massacre!… 8.75/10 (Dave)

OPEN ACCESS…’OVER A MOUNTAIN PEAK’

(Self Release) Reviewed 12th August 2015

Open Access fronted by Marta Muszynka was formed in 2013. They are a six piece Polish Folk/Metal band and this is a four track EP that they have graciously sent us. They seem to be rather big in their homeland and in the near future, will be supporting the Russian band GRAI, who are well known to us here at Ravenheart Music. 'Into The Storm' kicks things off and offers a stormy start to the album, a mid paced heavy number in-fact with a catchy chorus, and the violin being a noticeable musical feature of this opening number, as it is throughout. I do like the way the violin is now used quite commonly in this style of music. Next up ‘Kozak’ is sung presumably in the band’s native tongue, a galloping Folk/Metal number as is ‘Over A Mountain Peak’ (the title track). Closing track ‘Vengeance’ ends this mini epic. I like this style of music, I do love the violin, long may it continue. The band’s Facebook is at www.facebook.com/openaccessband, and although I did enjoy this EP, I feel that the production could be a little better. But let it be said, we do not all have a Bon Jovi production budget so a good effort nonetheless... 8/10 (Dave)

OBLIVIOUS SIGNAL...'EXORDIUM'

(Pavement Ent) Reviewed 11th August 2015

Oblivious Signal fronted by Cristina T. Feliciano has become one of Florida’s hottest Rock bands. This their 2nd full length album following their debut 'Into The Night' is an awesome dose of Alternative Rock/Metal to get you in the mood to rock. Not a filler to be found on the eleven tracks on this album, and there is of course the single 'Crash'. This track will be felt like a stab in the heart by those who have lost anyone to drunken driving. This number being as obvious as it is too common (unfortunately). The band's website is here, this is a consistent release and recommended...8.5/10 (The Nugget)

OSUKARU...'TRANSITION'

(City of Lights Records/Simply Boundless Records) Reviewed 30th July 2015

Swedish band Osukaru is the baby of its founder, guitarist and songwriter Oz Osukaru. The intention being to create an AOR/Melodic Rock band. 'Transition' is their third album and boy, this is good, just like taking a trip back in time to the 80s. After having done a little research, the first half of the album are new recordings and the second half accompanied by a DJ intro, are re workings of tracks from their previous albums. I must admit to never having heard anything from this band before (new or old), but if you just love catchy 80s sounding melodic rock featuring male (Fredrik Werner) and female vocals (Cecilia Camuii), and there is just one album of this style of music you listen too this year, then just check this one out, including the awesome track ‘Tell Me You’ll Stay’ fronted by Fredrik – Jon Bon Jovi will cry himself to sleep not having written this one. The band's Facebook is here, and this is well recommended...9/10 (Dave)

NAOS...'LIFE'

(Self Released) Reviewed 8th June 2015

Naos from France was formed in 2006 and is fronted by the dolcet tones of MARION GIBELLO. Although the band released an EP in 2009, this album is the band's first full length release. 'Life' gives the listener 9 tracks of some rather decent mid paced melodic Metal, this well showcased in the opening track proper, the mid paced 'No Bounderies', this track following a rather cool title track - a choral intro that sets the scene rather nicely for what is to follow. Other highlights on this rather good album include the Middle Eastern tinged 'Shameless Desire', the ballad 'Goodbye', the bouncy 'Liberation', and the synth charged 'Origin'. The album has a lot of potential thanks to its fine production & composition and fine musicianship, therefore as a consequence, is well worth checking out. The band's website is here.. 8.75/10 (Dave)

OBERON...'ALL THERE IS' EP

(Self Released) Reviewed 26th May 2015

Oberon is a Symphonic Metal band from Australia and this is their debut EP, that the band has so kindly sent me. Fronted by Lisbeth Rowe, there are four tracks here of prime time Symphonic Metal, offering an explosive journey about loss, redemption and the struggle for meaning in a fallen world. Certainly another band from 'down under' that is well worth checking out, and I am sure would do well within Europe with their style of Female fronted metal. The EP can be streamed here so take a listen, it is a consistent release and you will not be disappointed... 8.25/10 (Dave)

ONYRIA...'BREAK THE SILENCE'

(Self Released) Reviewed 15th May 2015

Onyria formed in 2012 is a modern Symphonic Rock/Metal band based in Italy. With a young lass who goes by the name of Helena taking on vocal duties, this album is proving to my ears to be rather good. Helena's partner in crime within this project is guitarist Simon J. Gillman, who also provides guest vocals on certain tracks. I must say this is very catchy up beat stuff with the track 'Revenge' (that was released as a single) proving my point!. There are slower mid tempo numbers like 'Prisoner Of Mind', emotional ballads like 'Save Me From The End' and the closing tune 'Don't Forget Me', while they can also up the ante with tracks like 'Fake'. The powerful and symphonic 'Lagrimas De Cinixiu', features Alisandru "Quilo" Sanna who does a 'rap' interlude, this track being sung in the band's native tongue - and there is something about tracks sung in Italian - awesome! This album has the potential to be a biggie, the band's website is at www.onyriaofficial.com/, and this is yet another album we have to recommend to all and sundry.. 9.25/10 (Dave)

OH. ...'SYNEMOTION'

(Self Release) Reviewed 16th April 2015

OH. (aka Olivia Hadjiioannou) is a young multi instrumentalist and by all accounts is going to be the new Prog-Rock sensation. In October of 2008, as an amateur violinist and guitarist she left her home town of Athens in Greece for New York, on the verge of the deepest economic crisis in both countries. Through the mirk and mire of lack of opportunity and the mass frustrations of her “lost generation”, she taught herself drums, bass and keyboards, experimented with sound engineering on Logic Pro and Cubase, mixed and mastered her own songs. OH.’s debut album 'Sleeping World' was independently released in February 2013, while this her second and mainly instrumental album is scheduled to be released as a Double 12" Gatefold vinyl album and digital album on April 24, 2015. The songs on the new album journey through the complex emotional states we experience when we are overwhelmed by concerns and fears – escapist feelings in the song 'Run Away', anger and frustration in 'Rumpus' – wanting to cower and hide in 'Subterfuge' – longing and nostaglia in 'Elegy' and the experience of disappointment and let-down in the song 'Deception'. Finally, letting go and receiving the feeling in the song 'Reception' – and the awareness and sensation of irony knowing it will all start over again in the 'World of Warcraft'. The hard rockin' title track expresses in words of Olivia this entire journey from pain and fear to release and hope. But most importantly the song uncovers how we cope with pain, fear, disappointment, depression, embarrassment and futility, it uncovers what actually happens to us, when we are overwhelmed by experience, and with a strange twist of perception, gifts the listener a path out of the darkness and despair, into an even more compelling and complex palette of emotions and sensations. The song gives hope and strength to walk through life, even with wounds and disfigurement and have an even greater experience than before. Lots of instrumentation on this album - and it is damn awesome too from this young lass. The haunting vocals of Olivia first appear on fourth track 'Deception', still mainly an instrumental however, with the girl proving that she can shred it too. Everything on this album is done by Olivia except the mastering, what a talent! And another thing I notice, the tracks are fairly short and sweet, between 3 & 4 minutes, so no long potentially boring solos. Check out the videos to the title track here and the opening track from the album 'Runaway' here ... well recommended when released 24th April .. 8.5/10 (Dave)

NIGHTWISH...'ENDLESS FORMS MOST BEAUTIFUL'

(Nuclear Blast) Reviewed 3rd April 2015

When I listen to Nightwish, and I do not mean to be disrespectful to all the other massively awesome female fronted bands out there, but the total superiority of Nightwish over their counterparts shines through, often copied but never equalled. Not only are they premier league, they are anchored at the top of the league, and they cannot and will not be shifted. As with all other Nightwish material, this album is massive, and now with Floor Jansen at the mic, I fail to find words to describe its supremacy over anything else that this music scene has recently issued onto the music loving public. Do I dare to mention any track on the eleven on this record? Let me just say that they are all totally bombastically and magically awesome and that is all I am gonna say. And the closing track? - Epic!! Okay,as one may have gathered, I like Nightwish and I have for a long time now, and no doubt so have a lot of other people into this type of music. Believe it or not, it was a totally sweet 18 year old lass who was well into the metal scene, that way back in 1998 got me into Nightwish big time (Nightwish themselves were really only then just starting on the road to stardom). I still see her around town on the odd occasion and needless to say, we still talk music. I have digressed slightly, but to simply say that this Nightwish album is a must buy is an understatement, but if you are into the female fronted rock & metal scene and do not like or have never heard of Nightwish, you have a serious medical issue, no doubt about it! 10/10 (Dave)

ONLY WE REMAIN...'SIREN EP'

(Hellwyck Promotions/Ravenheart) Reviewed 11th March 2015

The Siren EP is an interesting release from the UK band Only We Remain, fronted by the sweet vocals of a young lass who goes by the name of Kitty. What we have here is 4 tracks of tuneful rock music with some rather cool electro/industrial influences. The band has developed from its early Gothic Metal roots and is materialising into a force within the UK music scene. The title track opens proceedings and instantly has become a favourite of mine. Second up, the catchy 'Run Away' displays some strong electro influences, which should become a dance floor fave if I had my way. 'Chase Me' is a featured track on the Ravenheart site and maintains the momentum of the opening duo. Closer 'Up' is a slow to mid tempo number. These four tracks showcase very well the strength of what can be found within the UK rock music scene, so if you enjoy bands like The Birthday Massacre, then please check out Only We Remain at their Facebook which can be found here, rather cool.. 8.5/10 (The Nugget)

NUBIAN ROSE...'MENTAL REVOLUTION'

(Livewire/Cargo) Reviewed 10th December 2014

Nubian Rose fronted by Sofia Lilja, released 'Mountain' a couple of years or so ago, this album being a Melodic Rock/AOR masterpiece. Now at the back end of 2014, we here are reviewing the latest offering from these Swedes and an interesting release it is too. Indeed, it seems the ante has been upped by the band, the music on the record being more up tempo Hard Rock in nature, but still maintaining a great melodic sensibility. 'War' is the opening track, initially making one think they are in the Vatican, before the number kicks in big time, a Power Metal offering in-fact with a rather catchy chorus. As I have said, the album maintains a melodic sensibility, with next up 'Time Again', one of the more AOR ish tracks on this album. 'Illuminated Within' is another powerful track that will rock your sox off and will take you back to the rocking 80s - great stuff. 'Mental Revolution' never really veers from the tried and tested Hard Rock formula with further corking heavy rockin' tracks like 'Tough Guys Don't Dance', 'Break Out' (video here), the bouncy 'Higher', the power ballad 'You Will Never Walk Alone' and the oh so good melodic rocking '(Taking This) Further'. This record is very good indeed from start to finish, and should be obtainable quite easily from your Hard Rock/Metal music stockist or Amazon amongst many others... 9/10 (Natalie Gold)

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