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Ravenheart Music: Album Reviews

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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)

NERANATURE...'DISORDERS'

(Self Released) Reviewed 18th July 2014

My word, this is an awesome release from NeraNature. The band was founded in 2009 by Nera, a singer also associated with the Polish metal band Darzamat. Running in at a litte under 28 minutes, it is not exactly a lengthy release, but basically this is an all killer no filler album. This release follows on from their very good 'Foresting Wounds' album that was reviewed here in May 2011. This is an awesome dose of atmospheric Rock/Metal, but with the poppy and totally awesome vocals of Nera nailing the music to a tee, this perfectly shown in the second track in 'Drifting' - absolutely magical!! Neranature can rock too with tracks like 'In Contrast To' and although a little on the short side, there is nothing really to fault here on this recording. Check out their Facebook at www.facebook.com/NeraNatureOfficial/info, but by and large, I would highly recommend this! 9.25/10 (Dave)

NOISY TOYZ...'FOREVER ONE'

(Dark Sounds Records) Reviewed 25th June 2014

Noisy Toyz is an awesome English band who released the rather good 'The Fate Of Dreams' cd in 2012. Building on the success of this album, the band has now in 2014 released 'Forever One' that is at this moment hitting the shelves and boy, this is rather good too. They have a new vocalist, Lisa Axworthy who carries in a similar style to the previous front ladies of the band. There are ten tracks of pure Gothic Metal with melody to die for on this release, and what I do like about Noisy Toyz, is they have kinda developed a sound of their own, with the new record very similar in sound to their previous full length effort 'The Fate Of Dreams' - if it ain't broken, why fix it?. Very little to fault here and a very consistent release too. Difficult to pick out any highlights, so what I shall say is just buy the album and decide for yourselves - but I must say that 'Memories' is one fave track from an album of faves. In summary - the album features symphonic orchestral hook lines to add to the theatrical edge, along with the melting pot of synth atmospheres, 7-string wall of guitar sound and drum grooves. Well worth checking out - their Facebook is here... 9/10 (Dave)

OPUS DORIA...'A DAY ON EARTH'

(Self Release) Reviewed 5th June 2014

Opus Doria is a French Symphonic Metal band who took to life in the fall of 2009, with compositions mixing the lyricism and rigour of classical music and the rythmic power of metal. The band released their first album 'Infraworld' in 2011 and this their latest offering, came to fruition on May 1st 2014. The band is fronted by Christel Lindstat with all music and lyrics by the rather talented keyboard lass Laura Nicogossian. What the band offer the listener is a 7 track epic dose of Symphonic Metal, which all kicks off with the five minute + 'Prologue'. This as the title would suggest is an instrumental with a strong classical influence. This then segues into the up tempo 'The Mission' showcasing the operatic vocal style of Christel very nicely, with the good work carrying on into 'Crystal Ocean of Tears'. 'Lost Children In The World' is downright beautiful and rather quirky at times with a folky feel, while 'Epic Race' is another cool quirky instrumental. The closing duo of 'Wind Whispers' and the epic 8 minute + 'Requiem For A Wise Man' (great organ intro) closes a rather good album to my ears, and although Symphonic and to an extent Metal, it is slightly different but in a good way. For more info, check out their bandcamp at www.opusdoria.bandcamp.com/releases... 8.5/10 (Dave)

NIGHTQUEEN…'REVOLUTION'

(Wild Game Music - Belgium) Reviewed 1st June 2014

Musically, Nightqueen fronted by Keely Larreina brings a mix of heavy metal that is not only accessible within most metal communities, but also for all that enjoy a good riff. The style, as a result, is founded on these strong guitar riffs, rooted in the 80s, mixed with more modern metal beats, symphonic tunes and very catchy melodies from the vocal department. And this becomes immediately apparent on the opening salvo of 'The Hunter' and 'Love After Life', the latter having a catchy and very accessible chorus. The tempo is maintained on the uptempo title track and so far, a near faultless display. And the fine display of songs continues on the slower 'Rain Of Blood And Fear', with Keely giving a fine vocal display as she does on all the numbers here. 'Beyond The Gates Of Heaven' is a splendid Power Ballad with a fine choral display throughout the song too - this is a fave of mine from the album. 'Scream In The Night' ups the ante and this track along with others, confirms that Keely is backed up by a fine set of musicians. 'Demoncracy' starts with the sound of soldiers marching - an interesting song lyrically. Another cool song is the melodic thumper 'The Watcher' while closer, the 10 minute + epic Power Metal sounding 'Queen Of The Night' commences with a great church organ and symphonic instrumental intro - I have a feeling this song will be awesome live!! In summary, this is not Within Temptation, Delain or Nightwish sounding, being more comparable to bands like Battlebeast and the like, but nonetheless, it is a very enjoyable listen from beginning to end. The album is currently available world wide digitally (iTunes etc) and physically in Benelux, and furthermore it is well recommended from us here at Ravenheart Music.… 9/10 (Dave)

NOVEMBER-7...'Awaraxid 7mg'

(Daily Rock Records / Musikvertrieb) Reviewed 9th May 2014

Swiss band November-7 fronted by Annamaria it has to be said is one of my fave bands, having seen them live too here in the UK. And they prove that Switzerland is not just famous for watches, chocolate or cow bells :) This rather awesome and interestingly titled and very well produced album features 10 powerful tracks on the conventional version of the cd, and all the tracks rock with the familiar 'Acid Life' being a fave of mine, this number like much of the rest of the album rocking like a rhino on acid (no pun intended)! Very good indeed, with Annamaria exercising her lungs to full effect. 'Another Day' is another fave of mine from the cd, a melodic offering with a catchy chorus that screams radio airplay, and 'Your Turn' must surely become a live favourite! The album comes in at least two formats including a "full therapy collector package" that includes a feast of goodies including a bonus disc. Overall, the album is pure November-7: it embraces melodies and martial sounds, fusing catchy choruses, fat and obsessive guitars and industrial samples. Stefan Glaumann’s mix delivers each sound with extreme power and accuracy. It is damn good, and we here at Ravenheart must well recommend it to all and sundry. And they tour here in the UK in August too! ...9.25/10 (Dave)

NOUVEAU-EXPO...'THESE WOODS'

(Self Release) Reviewed 6th May 2014

Hailing from San Francisco, Nouveau-Expo brings listeners a quirky blend of indie-pop-rock music. Alexander Fostar (guitar, violin, vocals) and Kayleigh Mack (keyboard, tambourine, vocals) met while in production for a musical theater piece at the University of San Francisco, and their musical chemistry and compatibility developed instantly. The duo’s release of 'These Woods', has given the band a distinct sound that would suit the aforementioned indie-pop genre rather nicely. With the vocal duties shared between Alexander and Kayleigh, we are given a nice mix of original and quirky songs, some laid back, some upbeat - upbeat tunes including 'Quiet Space', 'Upturn In Texas' the rather good 'Classic Cut' and the title track, more laid back tunes including the bluesy 'A & A'. We also have the quirky and acoustic feel of 'The Ship', one of my faves from the record. It is not something that I would normally listen too, but this album is a good dose of Indie-Pop, so if you feel that may tickle your taste buds, go check them out - www.soundcloud.com/nouveau-expo... 8/10 (Dave)

OVERNIGHT COLLIDES...S/T EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 15th April 2014

Overnight Collides is an independent Canadian act fronted by Melissa Kay, who not only sings her little heart out, she is also the drummer and from what I have been told, is an avid guitar player too! We have here on the band's debut offering, 5 tracks of catchy alternative rock with a captivating addictive sound. 'Trials' kicks the EP off and sets the scene rather nicely for the remainder of the record. The standard is consistent and therefore, it is difficult to pick out a fave track, although I do rather like the closing duo of 'Fallen Reigns' and 'Surrender'. Check the website out here. There is promise being shown here and I am sure the band could progress onto bigger things in due course.. 8/10 (Dave)

ANETTE OLZON...'SHINE'

(EarMusic) Reviewed 8th April 2014

We could be forgiven in mentioning Nightwish within this review, but mention over, let us now concentrate on the merits alone of their former singer, who can also list the AOR band Alyson Avenue within her CV. Effectively, Anette throws at us on this solo offering, 10 tracks of what could best be described as easy listening Pop/Rock, and rather good it is too. Not wanting to continue the bombastic metal route of her former band, Anette's vocals as always are smooth and effortless, with the keys and strings tending to dominate proceedings throughout the record. This is to be perfectly honest, a beautiful record that would even please your Grandmother. It never strays too far from the aforementioned Pop/Rock path. I have heard Pop/Metal mentioned, but bands like Metallica need never fear, Anette is not going to remove you from the metal pile that you have dominated for so long. As a taster, check out the video to the song 'Lies' here, which many of you possibly have already!... 8.75/10 (Dave)

ONCE THERE WAS...'THE BLUE BOX'

(Demo) Reviewed 15th November 2013

ONCE THERE WAS is a project fronted by Jessica Lehto who is also front lady of the band Factory Of Dreams, Beto Vazquez Infinity and Erain. She seems a very nice young lass, and has so kindly sent me a demo from her new project. What I would like to say is that this is not really Metal, but Jess has proved one thing, she has an awesome voice and she can sing - but we already knew that anyway. This is great laid back music basically with just keys and strings, the kinda stuff you come home too after a hard day at the office, and relax with a glass of your fave tipple and actually, this is rather good. There are songs here that to my ears have the potential to be given the symphonic Rock/Metal treatment like the number 'Layers', but to be quite honest, I think the songs should be left just as they are. Jessica wrote all the music/lyrics/arrangements, apart from the guitars on the track 'A Truth Revealed' that were recorded and written by Beto Vazquez. There are a couple of clips to be heard here, so give Jess and Once There Was a listen and support a hard working musician....rather cool - 8.25/10 (Dave)

OF EYES THAT SEE...'EMPTY SHADOWS' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 15th November 2013

Bands that spring to mind while listening to this EP from OF EYES THAT SEE are Paramore, Firelight and Flyleaf to name just three. So if that kinda sound is your cuppa tea, you sure are going to lap this up. The band is fronted by Tiffany Sinko who is just a wee youngster at 17 years old, and she also writes all the lyrics, so I feel we have a talented young lass here. And this southern California outfit sure know how to rock in the vein of the above mentioned acts. There are five tracks here, the final song being a duet with a fellow musician from S. California Joel Piper. The numbers are all upbeat, they are all catchy so check the band out here ...Well worth looking into.. 8.5/10 (Dave)

NEVER TRUST...' MORNING LIGHT'

(Self Release) Reviewed 28th October 2013

Italy at the moment sure seems to be the hot bed of all things Rock & Metal, and NEVER TRUST is the next band to send a cd to Ravenheart Towers that just oooozzzesss musical appeal. Fronted by Elisa Galli, this band throws at the listener 11 tracks of awesome melodic uptempo alternative Rock on this their debut cd. To be honest, this is yet another record that has left me speechless - the opening three tracks are simply awesome and 'Rebound' should be on mainstream radio - massive! The album continues in a high octane fashion with tracks like the hideously catchy 'Honey' that is a Pop/Rock masterpiece, the hard rocking 'More Than This', the power ballad 'Heartbreak Warning' and well I will stop there, as to be honest, all the tracks on this cd are just simply that good! Produced, arranged and mixed by Onil Utsis & Jimmy Temper for Nookstudio, Cleveland, Ohio – USA and mastered by Dave Towne @ Welcome to 1979, Nashville, Tennessee, the eleven tracks here reveal the band's strong melodic rock’n roll essence. Check out the band's website at www.nevertrustmusic.com/ - great stuff and well worth spending some hard earned cash on! - 9/10 (Dave)

NORHOD...'THE BLAZING LILY'

(Wormholedeath/Dreamcell 11/Aural Music) Reviewed 7th August 2013

Italian Symphonic band Norhod was born in the summer 2009, with Michele Tolomei (keyboards), Giacomo Casa (growl), Giacomo Vannucci (guitars) and Andrea Stefani (guitars). A few lineup changes ensued, but then along came female vocalist Clara Ceccarelli to help complete the essential components of Norhod and settle things down. So what do the band offer on this their debut full length record? What we have is 11 tracks of beauty & the beast metal, with the operatic vocals of Clara combining well with the growls of Giacomo. The music is dark but well beautifully orchestrated at the same time, with a couple of the tracks exhibiting Folk Metal elements. This is well worth checking out when the cd gets released, I believe sometime in the Autumn - for fans of After Forever, Epica, Haggard, Nightwish and Cradle of Filth.... 8.5/10 (Dave)

NYA...'DRIVING THE NAILS IN' EP

(Self Released) Reviewed 27th June 2013

I admit to having heard of NYA but that basically was as far as it got. Then it was mentioned to me to check the band out, so I kindly asked the band for a copy of this EP, and to be perfectly frank, I am glad I did. Based in the south of England and fronted by Anežka Piška, NYA give us 5 tracks of well produced hard rocking but melodic rock/metal, that refuses to leave your head after the cd has finished, leaving you no choice but to hit the repeat button and hear it all again. Great songs with great hooks and well worthy of checking out because on this showing, this band will be going places! Take a peek at their FaceBook...8.75/10 (Dave)

ORIANTHI...'HEAVEN IN THIS HELL'

(Robo/Fontana/Spinefarm) Reviewed 30th April 2013

Not only has Orianthi Panagaris a strong solo career going for her, this being her third solo outing, she has also amongst other things been a guitarist in the late Michael Jackson's band and been more recently, the lead guitarist in Alice Cooper's touring band, having done two world tours with the legend. And not only that, she has the looks to die for, and she is only 28! What this young blonde lass offers the listener is 11 tracks of hard blues orientated rock, with even a touch of country thrown into the mix on occasion. And not only can the girl sing, boy can she shred that guitar, but with her pedigree, that is to be expected! Some awesome music on this CD, not only proving that the girl can rock with tracks like the title track opener and 'Fire', but she can ply her trade with awesome ballads like 'Another You' and the closer 'If You Were Here With Me'. And throw in the blues - 'How Do You Sleep' and 'Filthy Blues' and I am struggling to find fault with this album. This is a damn good record and I like it! 9/10 (Dave)

OUR DYSTOPIA...'BROKEN BUT BREATHING'

(Self Release) Reviewed 23rd April 2013

Occasionally a band sends me music that just blows me away. And when that band is local, that is even better :) Our Dystopia is basically a Melodic Hard Rock Band that was formed in late 2011, they are based in Birmingjam here in the UK and this four track EP is quite simply epic! The band's music is based on hard hitting guitar riffs and totally awesome vocals, and offering music that should be played loud, and I mean loud. And what has struck me apart from the impressive vocals from leading lady Jane Gillard, is the high standard of musicianship from the remainder of the guys, plus some awesome fret work from lead guitarist Jim Daly, that guy can sure shred it! I am not going to single out any track here as they are all bombastic and epic, but if the band was to release a full length cd based on what is on offer on this EP, we will be in for a monster. Check this video out here and visit them on Facebook - mindblowing... 8.75/10 (Dave)

NOVEMBER-7...'LIVE IN BELGIUM 2012' DVD

(Self Released) Reviewed 5th March 2013

Okay, it must be said that Swiss band November-7 ranks as one of my fave underground female fronted bands. Fronted by Annamaria Cozza, this band is actually quite a busy little outfit having released cds/eps in the past, and I can testify myself are awesome live having seen them in Birmingham UK. Okay, I was not at the MFVF gig that this live DVD relates too, but from having seen the live performance from a link that the band had given me, it is a downright awesome set. Running in at a little under 35 minutes, we have a set of 8 numbers featuring known songs plus a newie or two. 'Her Name' from the album 'Season 3' kicks the set off, followed by the live fave 'Two Sides' from the 'Angel' EP. This sees Annamaria bouncing around like a demented kangaroo and as one would have guessed is a hideously catchy number - just love it! This gal is awesome and I love her to bits! 'In My Mind' is another massive track from the 'Season 3' album, followed by the heavier sounding 'Angel'. So far so good! A newie 'Acid Life' (about the corrosion of life) presumably showcases the material the band are recording for their forthcoming album and is impressive, while 'Parasite' is another song from 'Season 3'. The live DVD closes with 2 further new ones I believe, the bouncy 'Another Day' and 'Black Veil'. The DVD quality is close too if not perfect, the show itself is a pleasure to watch, the band are awesome, Annamaria is lovely and gives it her all - what more can I say. Check out the band's website at www.november-7.com/ where the concert performance can be downloaded, while the accompanying recording can be downloaded from iTunes. I rather like this... 9/10 (Dave)

NEVERSTAR...'I'LL BE WAITING'

(Smash Down Records) Reviewed 2nd March 2013

"Female Fronted Hard Rock - Evanescence meets GodsmacK" according to the band's FaceBook page (Neverstar FaceBook), and that would just about sum it up. Fronted by the angelic sounding lass, South African Vega Sims, this Hertfordshire (UK) based band sure knows how to rock, and this album if given the correct promotion and support, should propel the band upwards towards the Premier League. Totally frikin' awesome is all I can say about this album. A brief intro leads very quickly into the melodic thumping 'Lose Control' that leads me begging for more, and that is just for starters. The hideously catchy single 'Don't Call' follows, and this should be massive on any rock/metal radio station, already having received airplay on my very own show. And it has been received very well elsewhere too. After that opening salvo, can this band maintain the momentum? The answer is a resoundng "yes"!. 'Break Me Apart' has an awesome atmospheric synth intro, a totally epic number leaving me breathless. And it doesn't stop there - 'Not Over Yet' and 'Drown The Shadows' leave me astounded. This band has produced a totally awesome album, and we are only on track number six!! The second half of the record maintains a full head of steam with a potent mix of tunes, leaving the listener begging for more. 'City Of Sin', 'Now Or Never' and 'A New Dawn' are up tempo, heavy but very melodic tunes. Indeed, the pace rarely slackens as we enter the final three tracks of this wonderful musical offering, with the power ballad 'Dry Your Tears' easing things down a shade - but I am a sucker for a good power ballad!! The title track closing the album, leaving the listener gagging for more and wanting to hit the repeat button, I kid you not! To summarise, Neverstar has blown me apart - we have classical and symphonic tones mixed with pounding melodic guitars and immense vocal melodies. That surely is enough to wet the appetite of any half decent Rock or Metal fan, so my advice is to get this album when it is released 8th April, as I guarantee that one will not be disppointed. This is a magnificent release - wonderful stuff and if there are any European label guys (or gals) reading this, what the hell are you waiting for? - start forming an orderly queue now!!!.... 9.75/10 (Dave)

OUT DAMNED SPOT...S/T

(Self Released) January 7th 2013

Out Damned Spot is based in San Francisco. And with members coming from diverse musical backgrounds, the band has found a sound all of its own. Fronted by Trinity Nay who also takes care of synthesizer and glockenspiel, the band give us 10 tracks of melodic indie based Alternative-Rock. And the opener 'Nothing To Hold Onto' confirms to the listener the type of music that is on offer on this record. 'Just A Lie' and 'Broken' are up tempo and catchy tracks that are becoming faves of mine on the cd, and proves to me overall, that singer Trinity is backed up by a competent band of musicians within her fold. 'Blind' is a slower, shorter and quirky number but equally as catchy as the aforementioned, while 'Undeserving' ups the ante just a little, and is another awesome song from this rather good album. 'False Conception' is by far the longest track on the cd running in at just over 6 minutes, but maintains the melodic accessibility of the previous numbers. 'Long Way Down' features Trinity and her glockenspiel, and showcases the power she has in her voice. Another fave of mine 'No Time Left', slows it down, while the closing duo of 'Saw You Again' and the atmospheric 'Jackie' end what is a pretty good album of music. Out Damned Spot follow in the musical tradition of bands like Concrete Blonde, 10,000 Maniacs and Grace Slick, with intimate and introspective lyrics by Trinity, that are taken from life's experiences. She also offers powerful female vocals over a rock arrangement, and as a consequence, this album is well worth checking out. Find their music here....8.25/10 (Dave)

NOISY TOYZ...'TRAIL OF TEARS'

(Single Release) Reviewed 4th December 2012

UK Band Noisy Toyz are to my ears a band that is going somewhere. Having gone through a couple of vocalists, the band has now settled with London lass Hannah Bingham as their new vocalist, and the single 'Trail of Tears' features the angelic vocal style of the lovely Hannah. The band adopts the "if it ain't broken why fix it ploy" here, and I like it very much! There are also two additional tracks on this little EP, remixes of songs from their debut, those tracks being 'Immortal Life' and 'Fallen Angel', these numbers now feature leading lady Hannah. Noisy Toyz together with fellow southerners Curvature and Training Icarus are mapping out a very fine future for themselves, so pop to their SoundCloud, listen to the song TRAIL OF TEARS and support some damn fine independent music. Great stuff (Dave)

NOSTRA MORTE...'SIN RETORNO'

(Self Release) Reviewed 19th September 2012

The Mexican Mort's return with the follow up to their terrific 2009 début Un Cuento Antes De Morir. They are like a grand operatic version of modern Nightwish, new Amberian Dawn, later Rhapsody and early Epica, as close as you can get to opera gone symphonic metal, or symphonic metal gone opera, featuring two fantastic authentic operatic singers, the sultry mezzo soprano Madam Dollette LaMort and baritone Eiven DuMort, with Alferis Mort's contributing some occasional deep tuneful growls in a couple of songs, and yes, all the band are called Mort, all part of their most striking image. With their use of the Spanish language, the whole experience is like an enormously enjoyable and easy to listen to evening at the Palacio de Bella Artes (Mexico's opera house), even the grand orchestral intro 'Sin Retorno (Intro en Vivo)' features cheering crowds to set the scene, a reminder that they are also a terrific live band. This is a set of rousing stirring dramatic operettas that will have you on your feet shout BRAVO!!!!, with wonderful orchestral and choir arrangements by main composer Pier LeMort, all brilliantly and perfectly produced by Pier in his Ice Productions home studio, showing you don't need a multi million pound studio to create a great sound. The interplay between the singers is mesmerising, the vocals blending beautifully together, plus there are a trio of guests as well, and it's great to have a male opera singer rather than the normal metal screamer or death growler. The variety of voices gives them remarkable versatility, whatever the mood, they have the right singer, whether Madame and Eiven duetting the verses before belting the refrain out together in the awesome title track 'Sin Retorno', Eiven having fun in the DSO esque 'Requiem DeMort', Madame's gorgeous voice in the stunning 'Persefone', the bit of growling to add accent by Alferis in the dynamic 'El Llamado', the guest appearance by rock singer Lucano Herrera in the Mexican Mariachi flavoured 'Cuando la Muerte se Viste de Gloria (Mariachi)', the famous symphonic metal soprano Gaby Koss (Haggard etc.) in the English version of 'Nova (Join Me to Dream)', and the top classical baritone Pablo Atahualpa in the theatrical 'Erick el Rojo'. The Morts have produced another wonderful and evocative album with outstanding vocals, if you like your metal operatic and symphonic, look no further. Their opera house can be found at here, a bravissimo 9.25/10 (Phil)

NEVERSTAR...'LOSE CONTROL' 2 track cd

(Self Release) Reviewed 7th September 2012

This is a two track single which gets released on the 22nd October that I must admit has kinda blown me away. I reviewed their debut 7 track offering back in April that was released last year, and I felt Neverstar with that demo were showing quite a lot of promise. That promise has well and truly come to the fore with the two tracks here, as the band develop a less symphonic but a more guitar orientated sound. The band's blurb suggests "Godsmack meets Evanescence" and that could be about right. Certainly Vega's vocals are now less operatic and are more akin to Amy Lee, but do not get me wrong, she is not copying Amy by any means, I feel that this is more her own vocal style, and I like it very much. The band kick ass here... track one and the single 'Lose Control' is a powerful pumping melodic number, while 'Forgotten' is a song that refuses to leave your head, even just after the first play. This song telling a heartfelt story of overcoming constant criticism and being told that you're just not good enough. I would imagine there is a lot of that happening within the music business at the moment. Neverstar's facebook is here and I must say that the band with these two tracks has come of age, the production is top drawer and they are deserving of huge success. There will be an album due in 2013 so I have been informed, and although I would not normally mark a two track cd, a full length album on what is offered here has to be worth at least a 9/10 (Dave)

ORPHEUM...'TREASON EP'

(Self Release) Reviewed 5th September 2012

Orpheum: - named after the old theatrical Vaudevillian circuit, formed from the ashes of different bands across 2010 and 2011. Fronted by the operatic vocal style of Erin Johnson, this three track EP from this London based band is pretty damn good! Kicking of with the Gothy sounding 'Treason', this track has a movie feel about it, and reminds me to an extent of Italian Maestros Mandragora Scream. 'Spiritus' ups the ante somewhat, an atmospheric number that still maintains a rather cool Gothy undercurrent, although I myself am not too keen on the brief 'drum solo' half way through the number - okay in a live scenario but perhaps not on CD. Only a minor gripe though! Closer, the 10 minue plus 'Porcelain Doll' is an epic Gothic/Progressive masterpiece. There is one other issue with this EP and that is the production. I feel it could have been a little better, but hey, these are hard working musicians who have done their best with the resources available, and I have it on good authority that they kick ass live! Their Facebook is HERE... 8/10 (Dave)

NUBIAN ROSE...'MOUNTAIN'

(Rambo Music) reviewed 13th August 2012

Nubian Rose is a brand new Swedish band starring the incredible rock voice of stunning Sofia Lilja who adorns the smouldering cover art that's so smoking hot it's burnt a hole in my couch, this lady is destined for mega stardom. This is premier league melodic, suped-up, Europe esque, radio friendly heavy rock/metal that has enough power to disintegrate mountains. Sweden is one of the World's leading nations in this style of music, and the album is mixed by their premier producer and two time Grammy award winner Tobias Lindell, with at times very American sound. Before you give it a spin, I should give you a health and safety warning, please remove obstacles and sharp objects from you vicinity, as it may cause uncontrollable headbanging and moshing. In the words of their party song 'Get Ready', are you ready to rock? The album is packed with highlights, the stomping opener 'Ever See Your Face', the belting fast and furious tile track 'Mountain', the lighter waving ballad 'How Am I', and pop-rockers like 'Your Love'. Adding to their reputation former Europe guitar master Kee Marcello contributes a guitar solo on the rocking and rolling 'Living For Tomorrow', and a terrific version of Lita Ford and Ozzy Osbourne's classic power ballad 'Close My Eyes Together' features a perfectly matched duet between Sofia and Mats Leven (Therion etc etc etc.), although I am unsure whether it is wise to tackle an old classic, it's not needed. With Mountain, Nubian Rose can scale the heights and reach the summit of worldwide hard rock/melodic metal, and not surprisingly they are causing a real stir across the globe. Their base camp can be found here, a mountainous 9/10 (Dave)

NEREIDS..S/T EP

(Self Released) Reviewed 7th August 2012

French band Nereids draws its energy from saturated sounds energized by a powerful and incisive rhythm, a symphonic orchestration full of harmonies. The band was born in 2006 and after a break of two years in 2008, the band was reformed in 2010, more motivated than ever, with musicians coming from the conservatory and music schools, set out to conquer an unexplored world of sound. The vocals of Julie Mathieu Miniconi go from the purest singing to a much more modern style, which in turn gives the songs a timeless light. We have four tracks on this EP offering up a total of almost 18 mins of music, that is strongly representative of the metal and gothic movement mixed with classical and baroque sounds. We have the six minute plus epic opener 'The End Of The Wizardry' which has an absolutely awesome and somewhat beautiful intro and a chorus that sticks with you for somewhile, the lovely 4 minute plus 'Elevation' and the closer 'Dark Sky' to captivate the senses. And let us not forget the haunting 'Lament of the Reaper', which not only showcases Julie's amazing vocal style, but also shows what great instrumentalists Nereids are, including their violinist Caroline Vergote, who adds another dimension to the music. This is damn good from this French band, and I recommend this! Check the band out at their website... 8.5/10 (Dave)

OVER THE EDGE...'HELD BREATH'

(AAA Cercasi) Reviewed 11th July 2012

Over The Edge was born from the idea and determination of two girls and two boys, who were recently discovered by Jason Rubal (producer of The Cure, Nine Inch Nails, Dresden Dolls etc). The band is based in Caserta in the southern half of Italy, the city lies at the foot of the Campanian Subapennine mountain range (some geographical info for you), and I have said this before, Italy seems to be the hotbed of Rock and Metal at the moment. Over the Edge continue to keep that hotbed alive and bouncing, with this their debut 11 track cd. The music here I would class as Alternative Rock with a Punk undercurrent running through it, and the Punk energy is there in opener 'If God Was A Lesbian' - great title by the way. The vibrant energy and attitude that this release offers the listener continues with 'Into A Thousand Pieces', another great number with a strong rock vibe. The vocals of leading lass Jen Blossom sure do rock by the way, and she can certainly let rip when she has to! Another great title 'Days Of Fucking Prayers' is another awesome number that actually tends to hang around in your head long afterwards, and it is a track that I think I have heard before, but when and where, I am not sure! These first three numbers fly by as does the remainder of the album - 43+ minutes of Rock mayhem. That mayhem is fully apparent on tracks like 'Full of Emptiness', '7x7 Theory', 'Wake Me Up Early' and closer 'I'm Searching Myself Under My Bed' but they can slow it down a touch too with 'A Deep Breath'. This is a good release from these energetic Italian Alternative Rockers, and the album is well worth checking out. Their Facebook can be found here... 8.5/10 (Dave)

OCTOBER TREE...'THE FAIRY'S WING'

(Canvas Productions) Reviewed 25th June 2012

October Tree was born out of the prog band Canvas when guitarist/vocalist Greg Lounsberry invited his wife Tammy to sing guest vocals on their upcoming album. Impressed with the outcome, they decided to embark on a new musical project with Tammy on lead vocals, an allegorical story about fairies. A broken hearted girl asks a witch for a cure, she is told to take a fairy's wing, but it causes the fairy to die. Ashamed, she flees to the forest where she is captured and forced to repeat her deed as a sideshow in a carnival. Escaping, she encounters further extraordinary characters like an ogre, a minstrel, a wolf and a magical snake oil salesman, who force her to face her actions, so she returns to the Fairy Tree where it all began. You can read the full version on their website. Musically, they are a mix of Materdea, Alan Parsons Project, Procol Harum and that famous firm of Saddleworth solicitors, Barclay James Harvest, with Tammy's deep bluesy voice that does remind me of Simon Papa. The album has a super collection of enormously enjoyable catchy songs with a great toe tapping beat, including 'The Fairy's Wing', 'The Ogre', 'Howl', 'Mortis Urgan', the closing epic 'Epiphanies' and the slower bluesier 'Dark Carnival' . These are interspersed with a variety of shorter numbers, some sung by Greg, others instrumental. They have called upon a fine array of superb musicians, with son Daniel on humming Hammond, lots of great synths from Chris Cobel, tasty guitar by Greg, and John Swope and Matt Sweitzer's lock tight rhythm section, all beautifully produced by Greg. A delightful album of very accessible and lovingly crafted music that is more melodic rock than prog. Their glade can be found here, a tremendous 8.5/10 (Phil)

ONATRA...5 track EP

(Self Released) Reviewed 6th June 2012

There are a few EPs floating around at the moment that contain some awesome music. The latest EP to come my way is from Onatra who hail from Ukraine, and they serve up here 5 tasty morsels of Symphonic Metal. They was formed in 2009 and the original intention was to be an In Flames tribute band. That idea was kinda cancelled, and so they decided to play their own music, composed by guitarist Sergiy, and I am glad they have. However, unlike most other Symphonic Metal bands, Onatra do not possess a keyboard player, the Symphonic elements being produced by computerised tecniques. There is some serious Gothic Metal here I must say, starting with the opener 'Lies' that sounded a little like Snow Patrol at the very beginning, before the song gained momentum and power, through 'Butterfly' that hammers along with heavy pounding riffs coupled with the awesome operatic vocals of Iryna and closing with 'Shadow's Steps'. Not a dufff moment on any of the 5 tracks here I must add, and a band well worth checking out - their Facebook music page is here. I must say that I am not sure whether the music I have here is actually a proper release as I just obtained the tracks from their facebook site, but EP or not, the music here offers up an awesome shop window for what this band has to offer.... 8.75/10 (Dave)

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