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PLUMB...'EXHALE' (Deluxe edition)
(Word Records/Curb Records) Reviewed
'Exhale' is the seventh studio album by US artist Plumb. Word Records alongside Curb Records released the album in May. Plumb worked with Matt Bronleewe in the production of this album and it follows her 2013 album 'Need You Now' also produced by Matt Bronleewe. Plumb is a Christian artist and although I am not an out and out religious person, I do appreciate good music, and this like her other albums falls into this category. This lass possesses awesome vocals which really gives her music the 'X Factor'. There is some great stuff on this 14 track album, including the opener which so happens to be the title track, the emotional 'Lord I'm Ready Now', the ballad 'Resurrection', the rather nice 'Broken Places' and the pen ultimate ‘We Stand For You’. Okay folks, this is not Metal, but there is some rather good Pop/Rock mixed in with some beautiful and rather awesome ballads. And couple this with the spiritual and heart warming lyrics, it makes this record well worth checking out, please do not let the 'Christian' tag put you off! 8.75/10 (Dave)
PERGANA…’THE VISIT’ EP
(Self Release) Reviewed 22nd November 2015
Well well well. I often wonder if the fountain of magical Female Fronted Rock & Metal will ever dry up and we will be left with no bands to review. Pergana I understand come from Paraguay, and this so happens to be their 2nd EP and what an awesome slice of metal this is! There are 4 tracks that come in at a little under 17 minutes, but if this is what Pergana can throw at the listener, I cannot wait for a full length recording. This little platter kicks off with the number ‘Return To Innocence’, this is a bouncy melodic number with a chorus that will refuse to leave your head - awesome! Then we have the title track that just confirms to us what an awesome band we have here - top drawer Symphonic Metal. This title track merges rather nicely into the quieter more acoustic and rather nice ‘The Whisper’ that then leads very nicely into closing number ‘Redemption‘. A nice quiet start to this song similar in style to the previous number, before the ante is upped and it becomes more metal! This is damn good, the band can be checked out here
- Recommended… 9/10 (Dave)
RAIMEE...'AFTER ALL THIS TIME'
(Self Released) Reviewed 10th November 2015
Established in 2011 by singer/pianist Rei Haycraft, hard rock band Raimee wowed the North Carolina music scene with powerful, emotionally driven female-fronted melodic hard rock. Rei was soon joined in the studio and on stage by guitarists and siblings, Brandon and Daniel Mullin, bassist Lily Marino, and drummer Ryan Morris. Together they have developed a unique sound propelled by the angelic and rather lovely vocal presence of Rei. This album offers up 10 tracks of mainly mid paced rock that has a well prescribed dosage of melody. There is some very decent music on this release, not a duff track to be found - just listen to the tracks 'The Sacrifice', the heavier ‘Angels’ and the power ballad ‘Wake Me Up (If I Dream)‘ and be prepared to be blown away. This release that has recently come our way is something a little unique and deserves worldwide attention, a pleasant surprise in-fact, similar in a way I suppose to the band Worhol. The band's facebook is https://www.facebook.com/raimeemusic
... 8.75/10 (Dave)
PHANTASMA…’THE DEVIANT HEARTS’
(Napalm Records) Reviewed 7th November 2015
Allow yourself to be transported to another world by PHANTASMA - a project sprung from the collective energy of Georg Neuhauser (Serenity), Oliver Philipps (Everon) and Charlotte Wessels (Delain). The release features memorable songs and intense arrangements centered around included novella ‘The Deviant Hearts’. PHANTASMA was born from the longstanding ambition to create a story driven concept record of Georg Neuhauser, vocal force behind Symphonic Metal outfit Serenity. He found his partner in crime with multi-instrumentalist composer, producer and vocalist Oliver Philipps (Everon), who gladly embarked on this new mission that allowed him to reconnect with being a musician in the first place. As Oliver worked with DELAIN since their debuting record, a request to Charlotte Wessels’ address was made to complete the dynamic trio of PHANTASMA. To introduce Charlotte Wessels to any connoisseur of Symphonic metal would be like carrying coals to Newcastle - she is, after all, since 2005 the vocal figurehead of Dutch grandees DELAIN. It is therefore not only surprising, but also gratifying that Charlotte now even found some leisure time, to lend her voice to PHANTASMA but also her debut novella ‘The Deviant Hearts’ - which was written especially for the project. With PHANTASMA she can let her beautiful and variable voice run free like the wind - sometimes tender like on 'Runaway Grey', plaintive on 'Let It Die', and the duet 'The Lotus And The Willow' - makes Charlotte’s passion for Nick Cave abundantly clear. Meanwhile Georg’s dedication for classic rock acts like Queen and Meatloaf shine through in tracks like 'Crimson Course' and 'Novaturient'. Giving a face to other characters in the story are noted guest vocalists, such as Tom Englund, who performs on title-track 'The Deviant Hearts', Cloe Lowery on the heart-wrenching awesome ballad 'Try' alongside Dennis Schunke, who can be heard also on the comforting 'Carry Me Home'. Closing with the breathtaking ‘Let It Die, this is epic top quality stuff from premier league musicians and I feel that no other female vocalist could have pulled this off like Charlotte does. The beauty of this release is a total joy to behold, with excellent vocals all round and brilliant musicianship! Anything less is a total injustice to a near perfect piece of work, which could be the album of the year, so it has to be a 10/10 (Dave)
RUCKZUCK…’SAFE n SOUND’
(Self Release) Reviewed 23rd October 2015
Let's take a trip back to the late 60s/early 70s when psychedelic music was the in thing, a trip being the operative thing with whatever gave you the 'buzz' giving you that 'buzz'. Okay dokey, I am not suggesting that today we go seek that so called 'buzz', just let the music do that. Anyway, RUCKZUCK fronted by Faith Kelly is a female fronted psychedelic space rock family band hailing from Long Island, NY. They seem so young but boy, not only do they have the 'hippie image', they can come up with the goods too. This album is different to what I would normally listen too, but after having listened to the album through the cans, I am totally spaced out! This is basically what it says on the tin, psychedelic space rock. There are five tracks of the aforementioned style of music, all basically intense slow to mid tempo kinda stuff. I am not sure whether this will have mainstream appeal, and would indeed only appeal to a certain type of music fan, but heavens above, kudos to the band for doing something they obviously believe in! I will most certainly suggest checking them out, and if you do get your grubby paws on their music, listen though headphones. Website at www.ruckzuckband.com/
POWER OF MIRANTIC...'WEEP' EP
(I.A Studio) Reviewed 23rd October 2015
Power Of Mirantic is (now) an all-female Symphonic Power Metal band from Surabaya, East Java in Indonesia. They are fronted by the angelic vocals of Dwi Fatmawati, and this release is a five track EP featuring two covers - 'Eva' (Nightwish) and 'Somewhere' (Within Temptation). My scribes tell me that they have already released 2 full length albums, and on this showing, I wouldn't mind tracking them down. This EP is well recommended - Facebook here
PERPETUAL LEGACY…’A NEW SYMPHONY FOR HIM’
(Metal Survivor) Reviewed 16th October 2015
Perpetual Legacy from Brazil was founded in 2014 and is comprised of: Michelle Braglia (Vocals), Bruno de Souza (Guitar), Matheus Maia (Bass), Rafael Lobo (Piano & Keyboard) and Gabriel Pedroso (Drums). They play Melodic Symphonic Metal, with influences from Heavy, Power Metal and elements of Folk and Industrial thrown into the melting pot for good measure. This in-fact is a stonking release giving the listener 11 tracks of good quality Symphonic Metal music, and for a band that was only conceived last year, this is damn good! With numbers like the bombastic ‘A Beautiful Truth’, the Folk influenced title track, the ballad ‘Metonymy’ and the beautifully heavy but catchy ‘Our Pride‘, I would go as far as to say that there is not a filler among the tracks here and it has to be well recommended to all fans of this style of music. Google them and check ‘em out because the record is well worth it! 9/10 (Dave)
PRYTI...'TALES OF A MELANCHOLIC'
(Welcome To Pariahville) Reviewed 3rd September 2015
'Tales of a Melancholic’ (TOAM) is the debut full length album from Birmingham (UK) singer/songwriter Pryti. The album released on her own label features dark stories, anthemic riffs and grungy guitars. Justin Hill from Sikth produced it, while the lass herself must be very talented, as in addition to releasing the album on her own label, Pryti wrote, sang, played guitars and bass and to be perfectly honest with you readers out there, this is a flippin' awesome package! Melancholic Metal with massive and melodic choruses, would be one way of describing the music on this album, with opener 'Insomnia' a perfect example! Indeed, there are many perfect examples among the 10 tracks that we have on this record, and she can blow your speakers out too, listen to the pounding 'Angst' - bloody wonderful and totally melodic! Despite the mention of "Meancholic Metal", no worries, this won't drive you to a state of depression, too good for that!! This was released a few months ago, but better late than never. Pryti's website is here
...well recommended... 9.5/10 (Dave)
RITES OF ASH...'KILL FOR LOVE'
(DJ Boy Records) Reviewed 27th July 2015
Rites of Ash is an American rock band from Washington, DC, formed in 2006 and 'Kill For Love', is the band's 5th full length release that was released towards the end of 2014. The band features founder member Alex on male vox and Toni doing female vocal duties, and this is a healthy dose of melodic modern rock, rather cool it is too. Foot tapping stuff on this 14 track release with tracks like 'Monster', 'Your Surrender', 'In Dreams and Death' and 'Believe' that will have you bouncing around your living room in too time at all. The band is nominated for the Washington Area Music Association (WAMA) 2015 Best Modern Rock Group award, and on this showing, I cannot say I am at all surprised. The band's website is www.ritesofash.com/
. Catchy radio friendly rock and well recommended.. 8.5/10 (Dave)
PLAGUE OF STARS...'WHEN MORNING CAME'
(ZeroBudget Records USA) Reviewed 8th July 2015
Plague of Stars is a female-fronted Doom metal band from Minneapolis. The band is fronted by the vocals of Melissa Ferlaak (formerly Aesma Daeva and Visions of Atlantis), the vocals of Melissa I do think, giving the tracks that 'wow factor'. Do not expect Visions of Atlantis style Gothic Metal here however, as that is not quite what you will get. I call this thinking man's (or lady's) Gothic/Doom Metal and is mainly for fans of Novembers Doom, Tristania, Swallow the Sun and Paradise Lost among others. However, there is a melodic sensibility among the music that the band has recorded here, although there does seem to be a lot going on. There is I suppose something for everybody on this release, but I would like to see the direction of their music a little more focused, rather than shooting off in various musical directions within the ten tracks. But I suppose that is a plus, the listener does not quite know what to expect next. This is an okay release with the closing number 'Requiem Liberum Arbitrium' possibly the most commercial and symphonic sounding track on the album. Anyway, if you think this cd could be your cuppa tea, then do check the band out here
.. 7.5/10 (The Nugget)
RAGE OF ROMANCE...S/T
(Steel Gallery Records) July 1st 2015
Why oh why are we being bombarded with new music? But nevermind, we like it :) Again another review that is sitting on our 'catch up' pile, Rage Of Romance is Greek based fronted by Vicky Psarakis (currently vocalist with The Aghonist). This Symphonic/Gothic Metal band has given us a very good eight track album in the vein of Nightwish and Within Temptation. This overall is a good debut effort, with the track 'Holy Serenade' being a fave of mine, rather catchy and melodic this one. I wonder though, how many more bands this style of music can take - the bus must be nearly full surely, but I like it, and so do many others! A video to the track 'Let Me Breathe Again' can be viewed here
...8.5/10 (The Nugget)
(RD Records) Reviewed 29th June 2015
Romeo's Daughter has been going for a wee while now. Fronted by Leigh Matty's crystal clear vocals, here we have an album of 10 tracks of enjoyable Melodic Rock, and possibly one of the best albums the band has released. However, I still rank their s/t debut that appeared in 1988 as one of the best AOR/Melodic Rock albums ever released! Some awesome tunes here however, including 'Already Gone' and the gem of a tune 'Love Will Come To Those That Wait', both scream "hit single" and should be played on mainstream radio. There are many other jewels to be found including 'Enemy', the acoustic driven 'Tonight' and the bouncy 'All Because Of You'. To summarise: This is radio friendly Pop/Rock at its best and yet another album that is well worth the purchase price, so go see your Bank manager now! Their website is here
.. 9.25/10 (Dave)
R-GENIUM...'WONDERFUL WONDERFUL WORLD'
(Metalism Records) Reviewed 29th June 2015
R-Genium is a brilliant Russian Symphonic Metal band and this their first full length English language album, is Premier League stuff. Fronted by the operatic and mind blowing vocals of Tat'yana Shevchuk with occcasional deathly growls from keys man Nik Litikov, we will cut straight to the chase and say that if you do not have this album, get it by fair means or foul. It all kicks off with the 8 minute plus 'Blue Sky', heavy, bombastic and totally beautiful all at the same time. Listen to this track in its entirety and you will hear what I mean! And if that has not got you in the mood, the rather catchy, fist pumping and anthemic 'One Day' sure will, cos if not, then you have a medical problem. This track is one of my tracks of the year so far! Two tracks in of the 13 on offer and this is great music, this Russian band has nailed it - Symphonic Metal at its finest! There is no let up as the fine music continues, track after track of music to blow your mind - the thumping and catchy 'Fantastic Story', the equally as good 'I Know Your Lie', the interestingly titled 'Whiskey, Piano and Gentle Lie', the so melodic 'What I Know' and the acoustic flighty based 'Holidays'. But to be honest, I could list every track on this album as they all that good. With their Facebook here
, who needs drugs, nicotine or booze when you can get your kicks from music like this. It sure is a wonderful wonderful world when one has a fantastic array of music to listen to from bands like R-Genium, and Tat'yana's vocals are totally magical!!... 9.5/10 (The Nugget)
ROCKSTAR FRAME...'ROCK N ROLL MAFIA'
(Musicarchy Media) Reviewed 20th May 2015
Rockstar Frame fronted by Faith Blurry, is a Milan five piece whose spontaneous approach to songwriting lends to their heavy rock style. With influences from the likes of Guns 'n' Roses and Aerosmith, they've already won the national 'Rock the Road Contest' where they had to compete with 70 other bands. Rockstar Frame was started when founder member and drummer Max Klein was in a coma after falling from a cliff. His family played him rock music while he was unconscious, and he woke with the belief that the music helped to bring him back, this in turn inspiring him to write and record music. There some real belters here on this rather tuneful 15 track album and some interestingly titled tracks too, such as the melodic and catchy 'Cherry Boobs' and the ballsy vibe of 'I Don't Give A Fuck'. 'The corking track 'Guilt' kicks things off while other rather good songs include the mid tempo 'Addictions' with its melodic chorus, the ballady 'Song For You', the pounding 'Lie', and the tuneful 'Years Gone'. On this showing, the band could well make a name for themselves, their Facebook is here
- a great melodic Hard Rock album... 8.25/10 (Dave)
SONJA PERENDA...'WINTER EYES'
(Self Release) Reviewed 7th May 2015
Sonja Perenda's vocals have once been described as "Mezzo-Contralto with 'balls' meeting Rock Opera". Sonja is an Austrian-based artist who released three years or so ago her debut album 'Time Has Come'. And aside from her musical activities, Sonja is a law school graduate, which was prompted by her heart always beating for the people on the shadow side of life, and indeed she currently is a practicing attorney in Austria. Well, putting her legal work to one side, the time has come for her new release, and what a whoppa it is too. Featuring 10 tracks, some of which are re recorded versions from her debut, this record also features brilliant lead guitarist John Slater, John playing lead solo on some of the songs here. John has toured Europe extensively, and after the singer Blaze Bailey did his short two album stint with Iron Maiden, Blaze formed his own band and toured Europe, the US and South America with John as his lead guitarist! Overall across the ten tracks, this is a very good effort just like her previous release. The album is consistent, and like Phil had mentioned when he reviewed Sonja's debut back in March 2012, the track 'Victim of a Miracle', re worked for this album is hideously catchy, and will have you bouncing around your living room before you can actually say "Sonja Perenda"! And the closing title track is a 10 minute plus epic with a bluesy vibe and some awesome guitar work - totally magical, yay! This release is well recommended - Sonja's website is here
..... 9.25/10 (Dave)
The RACK DOLL...'HOT CITY'
(O.R.A. Music) Reviewed 7th May 2015
Another great record comes our way! This time from a band called THE RACK DOLL. Their singer, Minna Ora will already be known from her release as The Electric Lady, that album titled 'Black Moon'. Now from being an Electric Lady she is now a Rack Doll, and this album is a 12 track record full of awesome music. It is like taking a trip back to the 80s, a melodic rockin' record chock full of hard rockin' delights. Just take a listen to tracks like the opener 'Hot City', the catchy '100 Miles Away', the instrumental 'Riff Raff Song', the bouncy 'This Road Is Ending' and the closing track, the ballad 'Pain In My Heart'. Two things to add, some of the songs were originally recorded by the band Hurriganes, a Finnish rock band that was formed in the early 1970s and in the career span had released 13 albums. They were very popular in Finland in the 1970s and early 1980s; they were also a popular live act in Sweden during this time. Indeed, Hanoi Rocks guitarist Andy McCoy has said that the 1970 and 1980s has had only two real Finnish rock bands: Hurriganes and Hanoi Rocks. But there are some original compositions on this release too - and awesome they are! And secondly, singer Minna bravely fought cancer during the recording of this album. An album by the way that is well worth checking out - their website is at www.therackdoll.fi/
! 9/10 (Dave)
RISE OF AVERNUS...'Dramatis Personæ' EP
(Code666/Aural Music) Reviewed 20th Feb 2015
Since their inception in 2011, Sydney’s RISE OF AVERNUS quickly became a well-known entity throughout the metal scene, with two critically acclaimed releases under their belts and a third currently on its way. The 5 track 'Dramatis Personæ' EP, their latest focuses on the heavier aspects of their music, while still maintaining the core doom and strong orchestral elements that the band has become renown for. Featuring a guest appearance by Grutle Kjellson, the vocalist of the legendary Norwegian band ENSLAVED, who lends his vocals to the track 'Acta Est Fabula', this is a good effort for fans of epic Orchestral Gothic Doom and Gloom. Vocal duties are shared between Ben vanVollenhoven who is also responsible for guitar and orchestrations and Mares Refalaeda who also takes care of keys. To my delicate ears however, it seems that the main vocals are taken care of by Ben, unless Mares is a damn good female growler :) But what I do know is that Mares does put in an appearance on the closing Draconian sounding track, 'In Hope We Drown' (Draconian in the Australian bush). This little epic gets released 30th March so check it out - rather good I do think, and I do like the way the tracks segue into one another... 8.75/10 (The Nugget)
PYTHIA...'SHADOWS OF A BROKEN PAST'
(Genepool/Universal) Reviewed 9th January 2015
Pythia come from the UK and have been around for a wee while now. Indeed, formed in 2007 by vocalist Emily Alice Ovenden (Medieval Baebes, Celtic Legend) and drummer Marc Dyos (Descent, Ten Masked Men), the band began to forge a path through the masses of faceless bands that littered the music scene. They were united in their love of gothic and fantasy literature, the darker end of the classical spectrum and a burning desire to tell the world their tale through ear-splitting, gut-crunching heavy metal. 2014 was a bit of a roller coaster year for the band, but that didn't stop them releasing this little bombastic effort in December of that year. This latest record continues Pythia's charge up the Premier League, throwing at us 10 tracks of crunching metal to turn up loud and annoy your loving neighbours. Fave tracks a plenty, but I do currently rather like 'The Highwayman', 'Bring Me Home' and 'Your Eternity'. Well produced by Pythia and Are Koltveit and mixed and mastered by Jacob Hansen, this is well worth checking out for you Pythians out there, or anybody who just loves their female fronted metal hard & frikin' heavy. And God bless Brian Blessed :) The band can be looked at further here
.. 9/10 (Dave)
Kari Rueslåtten...'THE COLLECTION'
(GMR Music/Border) Reviewed 26th November 2014
Kari Rueslåtten has been celebrating 20 years in music in 2014! She sums up her solo career so far by releasing this, a Collection of songs from all her solo albums, including her 2014 version of The 3rd and the Mortal’s 'Why so lonely', featuring Nightwish’s Tuomas Holopainen on piano and keys. Kari began her musical career as one of the founder members of the progressive doom metal band The 3rd and the Mortal. The band was a source of inspiration for many other bands worldwide, among them Nightwish and The Gathering. After leaving The 3rd and the Mortal in 1995, she released five solo-albums. There are 12 amazing tracks here showcasing Kari's amazing musical and distinct vocal ability - 'Wintersong' and 'Make Me A Stone' are two such numbers, totally beautiful. Indeed, Kari’s natural talent combined with classical training and roots in the Norwegian folk music tradition has resulted in a voice that is difficult to describe. Her music has been compared with artists like Tori Amos and Kate Bush, maybe not necessarily because the music sounds very similar, but because these are artists who sing with their own distinct voices. This album is damn good, okay it is not metal, but it is certainly ideal for those cold winter evenings in front of the fire! Check out this video.. www.youtube.com/watch?v=wA8l8QM0gow&feature=youtu.be
... 8.75/10 (Dave)
PROTOKULT...'NO BEER IN HEAVEN'
(Self Release) Reviewed 29th October 2014
Although PROTOKULT is a Canadian-based group, the members come from various backgrounds (Polish, Irish, Russian, Czech) and the result is a marvelous mix of Canadian and international forces. The goal is to unite these cultures into one sound, balancing tradition and folklore with heavy, thrash and black metal for head-bangers everywhere. With a beauty and the beast-like contrast between Ekaterina’s haunting and at times operatic vocals and the band’s fresh metal onslaught, they have an exhilarating openly fresh sound that is a delight to the ears. This little piece of plastic consisting of 14 tracks (inc 2 rather darn cool bonus tracks), is well packaged with numbers like the opener 'Get Me A Beer' (I wish LOL), the rather cool sounding 'Sol Intention', the melodic metal of 'Edge Of Time', the stomping 'Desert Scourge' that pulverises your senses and the power ballad 'Summer's Ode'. The two bonus cuts are worth a mention - the club dance floor sound of 'Brotokult' and the reggae sounding closer 'We Smoke The Ganga' - love em both! Clocking in at around the hour, ‘No Beer In Heaven‘, captures the quintet at an all-time high, showcasing an impressive palette of compositions, and straps the listener on an adventurous, heavy and experimental trek, diving into themes of drinking, history and human endeavor. Folk infused Metal seems to be in vogue at the moment - so this is well worth checking out, go get a beer and buy - facebook is here
... 8.5/10 (Natalie Gold)
REASONS BEHIND...'THE ALPHA MEMORY'
(Maple Metal Records) Reviewed October 24th 2014
This is flippin' good. This band come from Bologna in Italy, and Dave reviewed the five track 'Ouverture' EP from this band in 2012. Now towards the end of 2014 (doesn't time fly?), they are about to unleash onto the unsuspecting music buying public, this their debut full length effort. There are ten tracks here although track one and ten are brief intro/outros. 'Under The Surface' is the first track proper and delivers a wow factor of 10! Melodic Power Metal I would call it, with some awesome use of electro elements to add to the wow factor. Next up 'The Chemical Theater' is equally as good and I do like the haunting synths intro to this track. Let's have more and boy we get it! Other totally magical and bombastic tracks include everything that is on this record to be honest! Tracks like the near 7 minute 'With Your Light' and 'Starlight in the Shades' just blow my little Essex Girl mind. The vocals of Elisa are so angelic at times, and the remainder of the band deserves an Oscar, particularly their keys/synths guy Dige. I myself and Ravenheart Dave do like this album very much. It is available from December 1st we are told. The band's website can be found here
- the key to a good record is if times flies by while you are listening to it, then it is orgasmatronically good - this is orgasmatronically good!... 9.5/10 (Natalie Gold)
PURPLE NAIL...'EMBRACE THE DARK'
(WormHoledeath) Reviewed 15th October 2014
Purple Nail fronted by the vocals of Lady Nail come from Sweden, and they self released their rather good debut album 'Night Lights' a short while ago. Now they mean business, having signed to Wormhole Death for the release of this their latest to hit the music buying public. And if one thought their debut was good, this pushes the band towards the Premier League. There are 11 standout cuts here on this record, check out the catchy and bouncy 'Bound Together', 'Sister of Faith' and 'Precious Pearls', the magical power ballads 'Through Thistles and Thorns' and 'One Moment Pure', and the awesome at times atmospheric 'Between White Sheets'. This record (out Nov 18th) will most certainly appeal to anybody into the female fronted Gothic Rock and Metal scene, so on the advice of all at Ravenheart, go and buy it. The band's facebook is at www.facebook.com/thepurplenail/info
- The balance between the cross and the hammer, the royalty of the nail, compared to no other - lets all go and embrace the dark... 9.25/10 (Aimee)
ROSE AVALON...'NORTHERN STRENGTHS'
(Self Release) Reviewed 24th September 2014
Rose Avalon is an awesome outfit from Barcelona and 'Northern Strengths' is their debut. The band takes their name from their awesome vocalist and lyricist, and this release together with its occasional flute, bagpipes and violin, I must be frank and say is totally awesome. Okay, this style of Symphonic Operatic Metal may have all been done before, and will continue to be done over and over again, but when it is this good, to be honest I do not frikin' care. There are 12 great tracks here which kick off with 'Capio Mea Fides'. What a start, a bombastically catchy tune, which is followed by the Tarja Nightwish sounding 'Earth'. I am in seventh heaven! There are further awesome tunes which include just about everything on this cd. I just love the folky ballady vibe of 'Life', the bouncy 'Seven Hundred Mile', the emphatically wonderful 'Empty Hearts' and the sheer beauty of 'Sharing The Path Through Time'. There is nothing I can really fault here, I love this and it is continually being played here at Ravenheart Towers and in my car too. Do yourselves a favour and check the band out here
. If you are into this style of music, you will find that listening to this album will give you a damn big fix! - 9.75/10 (Dave)
(Self Released) Reviewed 30th July 2014
Revenant fronted by Anna Williams is a Welsh Female fronted Heavy Rock/Metal band, formed in March 2013. The band released a 2 track demo in September 2013, which gained radio play across the UK, Europe and the US, and the band spent the latter half of 2013 gigging across Bristol, South Wales & the South West. 2014 has seen the band up their game supporting high profile acts such as ex-Rainbow legend Graham Bonnet and up and coming metal stars Skreamer, as well as spreading their reach to bigger venues and bigger cities. Now they have unleashed their 3 track EP which is pretty damn good if you want my honest opinion. A great dose of hard rockin' Melodic Metal with some early 90's influences popping up too. 'Second track in, the pulsating 'Defamation' is my fave with this little mini offering closing with the rather good 'Devil'. This band can rock and I bet they are good live! Find out more here
- this is a fine effort!!.. 8.75/10 (Dave)
PATRIZIA...'ROCK THE THRONE'
(Self Release) Reviewed 29th July 2014
Italian born, Canadian raised PATRIZIA is in a nutshell, a "Rock Opera Goddess"! Often referred to as the female Freddie Mercury, PATRIZIA's unique spine chilling 4-octave voice takes the listener into an emotional and impassioned journey. A musical visionary, a rebel soprano that breaks all rules, crosses forbidden boundaries by fusing opera, rock, metal and classical creating a new genre in the music world. And it comes across really well on this album, so well she actually does it better than some of the more well known players on the scene. Apart from a couple of exceptions, the album contains Patrizia's interpretation of well known classical and rock tunes. Take a listen to opening salvo 'Zombie' and 'On The Brink' as testament to the fact that this girl has a splendid set of lungs. Radiohead's 'Creep' is another magical song from this album that keeps the momentum going. There is a lot of familarity here musically including a more laid back version of Queen's 'The Show Must Go On', Beethoven's 'Moonlight Sonata', 'Seduction and Rage' based on Bizet's 'Habamera' and the rocky version of the medieval Latin Goliardic poem 'Defiance (O Fortuna)', this tune will be familiar to listeners of my radio show by the way. This record then closes with 'I Won't Stop Believin', one of Patrizia's own songs, that was voted one of Toronto's best pop songs by Toronto Exclusive Magazine Awards. Overall, 'Rock The Throne' is good and a little different, and we here at Ravenheart like it as does a big UK rock magazine. Check out Patrizia's Facebook here
... 8.5/10 (Dave)
RetConStruct...'DENIZENS OF THE DEPTHS'
(Pavement Records/Sony Red) Reviewed 17th June 2014
Here we have an original sounding Symphonic Horror Metal band from San Jose California fronted by the haunting vocals of Jill Valdes, and this is their album that hit the shops on May 27th. Listening to this pricked my ears up as to me they sound like a rocked up version of UK rockers Vampyre Heart. This becomes immediately apparent in opener 'Gods Among Men'. 'Funeral Dawn' is less commercial but I still cannot help but hear the Vampyre Heart sound within RetConStruct's overall sound. The album continues with the upbeat 'Moskstraumen', while 'Hounds Of Hell' for some reason reminds me somewhat instrumentally of Swedish band ACT III. So far so good! 'The Ravage Of Ages' and 'The End Of Men' take us to midway point, and although not perhaps as accessible as some of the more mainstream stuff of a similar vein that is in the market place at the moment, this so far is not a bad effort. The second half of the album continues with the melodic pounding 'The Devil In The Well', coupled with a dancefloor beat and once again those Vampyre Heart vocal similarities. Further highlights include the rather good 'Animate Beings' and the industrial sounding and catchy closing track 'What Lies Below'. Although there possibly is not a standout track here that jumps out and grabs ya, this is a consistent effort and a grower - the band has the image too. RetConStruct (Retroactive Continuity Construct) brings together Melodic Metal and cinematic soundscapes with lyrics that invite the audience past end of this world and the edge of imagination. I am also informed by a reliable source that they are good live. This is their Facebook link: here
. No operatic warblings but a cd worth looking into... 7.75/10 (Rachel Louise Smith)
(Self Release) Reviewed 5th June 2014
From Tver in Russia I present to the listener PESANTE. Offering a mix of female soprano vocals from Natalia Alvane Sibiskaya and male gruff vox from Danill Zykov, the band throw at us 6 tracks of rather good Melodic Metal with a Gothic, Symphonic undercurrent. Although there are only six tracks, the running time is around 38 minutes, so there is a good dose of music on offer here from the band. And I do like what I hear, from the opener 'Prozium' to the closer 'Shame, Fear, Denial', this is all up tempo stuff, proving that there is some rather good music coming out of Russia. This is an epic, corking and very solid release from this band. Check them out here
... 8.75/10 (Dave)
RAVENSCRY...'THE ATTRACTION OF OPPOSITES'
(AudioGlobe.it - Revalve Records) Reviewed 15th May 2014
Ravenscry was born in 2008, near Milan, from the encounter between guitarist Paul Raimondi (Hyperion ex-drummer), Fagio on bass and Simon Carminati behind the drums, joined shortly thereafter by guitarist Mauro Paganelli and singer Giulia Stefani. This album, their latest offering will be released on the 27th May and contains 13 tracks of Melodic Modern Rock & Metal with subtle Electronica influences and some slightly more laid back moments, all spanning close on 55 minutes - so you do get your monies worth. I may well have said this before, but I do hear Jennifer Rush influences within Giulia's impressive vocal style. The album meanwhile, is consistently good from start to finish, although there are standout tracks like the mid tempo 'Alive' (great sax), the catchy and pulsating 'The Big Trick', the rather good 'Cynic', the riff tastic and Metal sounding 'Noir Desire' and the Melodic closer 'Real Lies'. Check their website out here
, where you can also view a video to the track 'Missing Words'. There is some rather good music coming my way at present to upset one's bank balance, and this is another goodie to sink your teeth into... 8.75/10 (Dave)
(Arcus Records) Reviewed 22nd April 2014
Russia has some awesome bands within it's boundaries, and we can now add another one to the list. Looking at the information sheet that came with the release, the band is effectively the tender voice of Alexandra Revontulet and her partner in crime, drummer Sergey Zorg, with a little help along the way from some friends. And not only that, all songs were written, composed and orchestrated by Alexandra Revontulet, who also has a Masters Degree in Sound Production, so she is a very talented young lady by all accounts. This release offers us 8 tracks of some of the finest female fronted Symphonic Rock & Metal you will hear in 2014, coupled with some epic orchestrations. This album had me making full use of Google, as I was totally blown away by the laid back track 'Suomi', great intrumentation here - Suomi meaning "Finland" in Finnish as I established after using Google - what would we do without it?. There are other gems galore on this record including another laid back number, the commercial sounding 'Rainheart', the heavier and epic sounding 'Velvet Night', the cool and bombastic 'The Pianist Of The Darkest Night' (a song driven by the piano) and the epic 15 minute closer and title track 'Hear Me', this closer a track of colossal proportions. Revontulet are certainly no Nightwish clones, and I must say that this is a well written and well produced album that deserves wide recognition, a solid and a very competent recording indeed. Check out the band's website here
, and oh, going back to Google, REVONTULET is a Finnish word for "aurora", although it also does mention this on the band's Facebook page. Now you know! ... 8.75/10 (Aimee)
PRECIOUSTONE...'CLEAN AND PURE'
(Self Release) Reviewed 3rd February 2014
Oh yes! This is the new project from Brazils very own Aldo Carmine (Rhevan) together with singer Letícia Zarita. 'Clean and Pure' is an amazing hard rock EP that brings back memories of the hard rocking days of the 70s and 80s. But that is of no surprise as we have a Kiss cover 'Lovegun' and a Warlock cover 'All We Are' on the digital version. But the physical cd has two extra tracks including the Ozzy Cover 'Bark At The Moon' and Dio's 'Don't Talk To Strangers'. This is very good and reminds me of the type of music that got me into the music scene in the first place. This is well worth checking out and the digital EP can be downloaded here
for FREE. Well recommended to music lovers everywhere who love their music pure and hard rockin'!.. 8.25/10 (Dave)
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