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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
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)
(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)
(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)
(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)
NUIT...'TIME OF INNOCENCE' EP
(Self Release) Reviewed 18th May 2012
NIGHT (NUIT) was created in northern France by Anthony B. From 18 years, Anthony began composing his first songs, different inspirations, electronic, metal, or even trip-hop. A demo was released late 2004, but for professional reasons, the project was shelved for several years. In 2009, Camille joined to vocally interpret the songs, and NIGHT is now the result of that alliance between Anthony (composition and arrangement - synth / guitar / bass / vocals / lyrics) and Camille (vocals / words). We have six tracks here, featuring the angelic vocals of Camille, and she does just that, sing like an angel. The music is easy to relax too, without being drab, if that makes any sense. Opener 'The Grey Cloak' features both female vocals and baritone male vocals, while 'Dark Forest' ups the tempo a little, but is still a cool song and quite a catchy number. 'Mystic River' has a heavily orchestrated intro, but again has a sense of catchiness about it, and is almost of film score proportions - interesting. 'Windy' has an ambient feel to it that embraces you with calm, while 'Abeus' is a quirky orchestrated/synth led number. The ethereal closer 'Petit Soldat' closes this EP. This overall is atmospheric music tinged with rock sounds, electronic, ethnic and classic - the concept of NIGHT is a journey symbolizing the escape into fantasy. This is good, their Facebook is here
, so check them out! 8.25/10 (Dave)
NEVERSTAR...'WHEN DREAMS COME TRUE'
(Self Released) Reviewed 7th April 2012
Neverstar is a Symphonic Hard Rock Band from Hertfordshire here in the UK, and it is pleasing to see that the Female Fronted Metal scene in the UK is well and truly buoyant at the moment. This cd offers up seven tracks of pretty decent symphonic metal, from a band who I have been told on good authority kick ass live. This is their first EP that was released last year, and for a band that are fairly new kids on the block (formed during 2009), they have sure started well with 'When Dreams Come True'. Vega's vocals take the more operatic route on the opener 'Vengeful Hypocrosy', and this vocal style continues throughout the recording. Although I feel that none of the seven tracks actually jumps out and hits you where it hurts, Neverstar has nonetheless produced a consistent record here, the music being emotionally charged, and also filled with theatrical settings and dark characteristics, amplified by ear splitting yet melodic guitar riffs - the twin guitars of Peter Cronje and Tom Coleman providing a forceful combination throughout the seven tracks on offer. A full length album is due later this year, and will be well worth waiting for. Check the band out here
.... 8.25/10 (Dave)
NOISY TOYZ..'THE FATE OF DREAMS'
(Dark Sound Records) Reviewed 28th March 2012
Noisy Toyz hail from the south of England, and are now fronted by Nadia Vella, who I believe has replaced Eleanora D'Elia as front lady of the band. I was quite taken aback by a 3 track single from this band that I reviewed last July, the band then fronted by Italian girl Eleanora, and this record continues very nicely from where that single left off. I actually said in that review and I quote - "The three tracks showcased here are all excellent, and if what I hear on this little platter is typical of the album to come, the UK may have something special to unleash onto the music listening public". And that is exactly what can be said of this 10 track album, as we have here a rather interesting offering, proving that Gothic Symphonic Metal can be merged together quite nicely with Hard Rock, while at the same time, the genre is very much alive & well and living rather healthily in the UK. Tracks 1,4,5 and 7 feature new vocalist Nadia, while the others feature the previously mentioned Eleanora, so it seems that they changed vocalists whilst recording the album. However, the two girl's vocal style is very similar, so the tracks blend together quite well. Opener and the title track is a very great way to start this album, a good old symphonic plodder, with second track 'Fallen Angel' being the single that was reviewed last year. There are many highlights within this album, with the superb 'Immortal Life' reminding me of Theater of Tragedy, particularly with the male vocals of guitarist and synths guy Mars Marshall. Other highlights for me are the thumping 'Die Another Day' and 'Frozen Heart. Keep still while these are on the death deck and there must be something wrong with you - great guitar solo too on the former. Another fave is 'Solitude' with Mars taking on lead vox duties. A slightly progressive feel to this, but damn awesome! I would certainly advise fans of the female fronted scene to check this band out, as I feel that they are certainly a one to watch together with some other similar and rather awesome UK acts including Winter in Eden, Hanging Doll and Apparition. Here is their Facebook
- very melodic and highly recommended! ....8.75/10 (Dave)
ONE HEADED MAN..'WE ARE NOT UNIQUE'
(Catapult Distribution) Reviewed 21st February 2012
The OneHeadedMan was formed in 2007 (Budapest, Hungary). The band is fronted by female singer Lídia Markovits and backed by the usual band of metal musicians who certainly hammer out some good melodic metal on this EP. Opener 'Open Seas' I suspect could become a pounding live favourite - a good opening gambit while second up 'Mahwyk' initially introduces folk elements into the music, before the track opens out and really gathers momentum, an awesome number. Great violin too I hasten to add. 'The Room' has a heavy and pretty damn good Nu Metal vibe featuring Mr Endre Tarjanyi on vocals, while a 2011 version of 'Shine On Me', a track from their earlier Winter, Thunder, Clouds album closes this 4 track EP. This is the second EP I have reviewed today, by a band that I feel could be going places. This is good so I whole heartedly recommend you check the band out here
and listen for yourself... 8.5/10 (Dave)
NIGHTQUEEN..'FOR QUEEN and METAL'
(Massacre Records) Reviewed 27th January 2012
Nightqueen was founded at the end of 2004. Songwriter and guitarist Rex Zeco wanted to break the illusion that heavy metal is only popular in metalminded quarters; he wanted to compose a kind of metal for everyone. The formula was simple ... strong guitar riffs in an 80’s style, upgraded with modern metalbeats and a melodic song melody, with catchy tunes that stay in the listener's head for a long time. Couple that with well considered lyrics about love, understanding and social abuses interweaved with mystic and fantasy and there you go! The first song they ever wrote was 'Queen of the Night'. And that title sounded good for a band name as well, thus, ‘Nightqueen’ was born. Fronted by Keely Larreina, this Belgium based band have recorded 11 tracks of Melodic Power Metal for the listener to sink their teeth into. The powerful vocals of Keely are more akin to a metal style than operatic, and this is well suited to the powerful music that the band pumps out. 'Into The Night' is a cool intro before 'Night Fall' powers it's way out of the speakers, quickly followed by the equally powerful 'Mystical Nights'. The title track is a mid paced thumper with one helluva chorus and guitar solo to boot - great all round musicanship in-fact. 'Lady Fantasy' is so catchy it belies belief, great 'shouts' from the guys in the band too! 'Nocturnal Thoughts' is the obligatory Power Ballad, and again I will say it, I am a sucker for a good Power Ballad :) And the totally cool powerful tunes still keep coming...'Secret of the Blindman' being another, and indeed, the album is high octane stuff until the very end, with closer 'Dark Fairy' an 8+ minute total epic to close what to me is an excellent album. All I can say is hail to our Majesty, the Queen and her Knights, this is epic stuff to grace any Palace, and well recommended when it gets released on Feb 24th! 9.25/10 (Dave)
(Nuclear Blast) Reviewed 12th December 2011
This is most certainly a Nightwish album through and through. Okay, it may drift away from the typical Nightwish path now and again, but as I say, this is Nightwish. And it has certainly cemented vocalist Anette Olzon's place in the band, who I must say is very impressive on this album! Why do people keep slagging this lass off..please leave her alone...she is f*****g awesome!!! For those wanting your typical Nightwish, it comes along in the opening salvo of 'Taikatalvi' and Storytime', that kick this platter off in typical bombastic Nightwish fashion. And just as you try and catch your breath, 'Ghost River' offers up another pompous track with epic choral and orchestral elements, also featuring the dynamic male vocal interplay with bassist Marco Hietala, that again pops up quite often on this album. 'Slow Love, Slow' does give us a breather, but this jazzy sounding tune (that's right, I said Jazzy) would be more akin to a bar room somewhere. Kind of imagine Anette moving slinkily around a bar singing this in a long skirt slit up to the thigh (steady David!), then you kinda have the picture :). And what a voice!! 'I Want My Tears Back' returns to the classic epic Nightwish sound..totally mind blowing! There are in-fact a whole host of corking tunes on this record that will set your pulse soaring, numbers like the pulsating 'Scaretale', that features the epic orchestration of Pip Williams (who teaches music technology and the London College of Music), the folky and laid back 'Turn Loose The Mermaids', the ballad 'The Crow, The Owl and The Dove' and the closing 15 mins or so of 'Song Of Myself', ending with the title track itself. I have to say that 'Song Of Myself' with it's spoken passages and classic instrumentation, is a total winner for me - love it! I have taken a few days to ingest this album, but I must say that this is typical Nightwish - just take bombastic and classic orchestration, epic choral arrangements (compliments of The Metro Voices and The Young Musicians London), add great musicianship and an awesome female voice to the mix, and the nail has been hit right on the head. This is a must buy, and I would imagine that many fans of the band have bought it already! Superb Premier League stuff! 9.5/10 (Dave)
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