Please also visit our comprehensive reviews storage library at Ravenheart Music Archived Reviews.
CARINA ROUND…’DERANGED TO DIVINE’
(Do Yourself In) Reviewed 20th June 2016
Carina Round is a lass fairly local to me. Now based in California, Carina was born in Wolverhampton (16 miles away from myself), and this album by the acclaimed songstress brings together for the first time material from her first four critically acclaimed albums, spanning from 2001 to 2015. I must admit that although I have heard of Carina Round, her music until now is totally unchartered territory for me, so this for myself is an ideal introduction to her work. The record is complimented by two previously unreleased tracks, ‘Gunshot’ and an alternative version of the number ‘Want More’. To be perfectly honest, the music on this 18 track collection is rather cool mixing slower numbers with more upbeat alternative rockers. Of the slower numbers, we have the opener ‘You Will Be Loved’, the US version of ‘Elegy’, the beautiful aforementioned ‘Gunshot’, and the jazzy feel of ‘How I See’. And the more upbeat tracks include ‘Into My Blood’, the catchy ‘Come To You’, ‘Lacuna’ (Radio version) with its quirky catchy chorus and the heavier sounding ‘Mother’s Pride’. Carina has collaborated with highly regarded musicians such as Lou Reed, Ryan Adams, Dave Stewart and Brian Eno among many others, and she is a member of Puscifer, the electro industrial rockers founded by Tool’s Maynard James Keenan. I must say that this album is a worthy addition to anyone’s music collection. Do not however, expect a metal onslaught, nonetheless, this is a damn cool album for those warm laid back Summer evenings (album released 29th July)! On a completely different note, I used to work in Birmingham (UK) with a guy whose name was Ian Round! Anyway, after that totally useless piece of information (LOL), Carina’s website is at www.carinaround.com
... 8.25/10 (Dave)
PRIMA NOCTE...'ANGEL OF SINS' EP
(self Released) Reviewed 18th June 2016
Prima Nocte fronted by the band's lyricist Nicole Magariños, is a Metal band from Galicia (Spain) founded in November 2012. After several lineup changes, the band finally settled down in August 2013 recording their first demo entitled 'Awakening'. Now in 2016 we have their first album proper to review which is in-fact an EP featuring seven tracks of blistering Melodic Metal. A brief intro leads us into the up lifting title track that is a real belter and the pace is maintained through next track up, 'Dream Eater'. The pace slackens on the power ballad 'From Deep Within', but it soon gathers momentum again on 'Unleashed' with its mid paced melodic chorus. The band flirts with Progressive/Power Metal territory on the pounding 'The Last Strife', while the cool closer and potential live favourite 'Wicked Queen', closes this rather good EP. Check the band out here
... 8.25/10 (Dave)
(Electric Chair Music) Reviewed 8th June 2016
Psideralica so happen to be one of my fave bands from the Industrial Rock/Metal genre. Fronted by Lady Marion, these Spaniards have taken the "if it ain't broken, why fix it?" policy. Fronted by the sensual vocals of Lady Marian, the band throw at us 11 tracks of the aforementioned Industrial Rock with metal guitars, electronic bases and some touches of pop thrown into the melting pot for good measure. I am not going to say much here, as the band I am sure are known to many people who like this style of music, but if very catchy Industrial Rock is up your alleyway, then get this album. It is currently available on the digital platform, with a physical CD release due soon. I love this band and I love this newie. Their website with all the band info, videos etc is here
... 9/10 (Dave)
(Self Release) Reviewed 4th June 2016
Rising Sunset was born in July 2001, when founder Carlo Calamatta (guitars) had the inspiration to initiate a metal band that delivers a positive message. Mario Camilleri Brennan (former guitarist) agreed with the idea and entered the band soon after the creation of the band. A few weeks later, Christa Calamatta (vocals) joined forces. Christa introduced atmospheric and stylish vocals, which had a great influence in the compositions of the songs being written. There have been line up changes along the way, but currently the line up is Christa Calamatta - Main vocals; Carlo Calamatta - Guitars & vocals; Joseph Camilleri - Guitars & growls; Clifford Smith - Bass; Ian Spiteri - Keyboards; Frederick Bowman - Drums. Having had a listen to their previous album 'Equinox' released in 2012 that was reviewed here by Phil, there are obvious differences from that release to the newie here, and all positive I hasten to add. Firstly, the production, which was most certainly okay on the debut seems to have improved even more, and we also see the introduction of male growls, which I really do think adds that little something to the album. The record having a bombastic Symphonic feel with subtle Death Metal elements provided by those aforementioned growls. The vocals of Christa are from the operatic school of vocals, while the violin that was apparent on ‘Equinox’ seems to be by and large absent on this album. This is a very good record and all the numbers are of a consistently high quality, although the track ‘Nephilim’ is a fave of mine at the moment. The album as a whole may take a listen or two to get into, but will be well worth the purchase money rest assured. The band’s website is www.risingsunset.com.mt
- awesome effort... 9/10 (Dave)
(Parlophone/Warner) Reviewed 3rd June 2016
'Good Karma' is the tenth studio album by this Swedish pop rock duo. The album being released on 3 June 2016 by Parlophone. It is the first album under a new international recording contract with Parlophone's parent company, Warner Music Group. The duo were scheduled to support the album with the final leg of the RoXXXette 30th Anniversary Tour, beginning on 3 June 2016, but it has been cancelled as lead singer Marie Fredriksson was advised by doctors to refrain for touring due to her health. Tour or no tour, if you like Roxette like I do, you will most certainly like this record, period. There are eleven tracks of awesome pop/rock with occasional electro influences, and will go down a treat in any self respecting music fan's pop/rock music collection. And let us not forget the ballads that Roxette seem to do so well - 'It Just Happens' being one such track. And the awesome closing track 'April Clouds', could this be the band's "farewell"? With standout cuts galore, founder member and vocalist Per Gessle said of the album: "For the new record, we wanted to combine our classic Roxette sound with a modern and slightly unpredictable production to create a soundscape where you would both recognise our sound and find something new." How true, and to summarise, this album is good, bloomin' good!... 9/10 (Dave)
PVRIS…’WHITE NOISE’ (Deluxe Edition)
(Rise and Velocity Records) Reviewed 26th April 2016
PVRIS (pronounced Paris) is an American rock band from Lowell, Massachusetts formed by members Lyndsey Gunnulfsen, Alex Babinski, and Brian MacDonald. The band formed originally under the name Paris, but later changed it to PVRIS in the summer of 2013 citing legal reasons. They have released a self-titled EP, an acoustic EP, before signing to Oregon based Rise and Velocity Records, releasing their single 'St. Patrick' on June 24, 2014 along with a music video. They released their debut album, 'White Noise', in November 2014, but the deluxe version reviewed here was released a few days ago. This newer version features 2 brand new songs and a stripped version of their single 'You and I'. This is rather cool release featuring 13 numbers of alternative pop/rock with cool electronic elements, and offering strong mainstream potential – call it electro stadium rock if you like :) Maybe not for the headbangers among you but nonetheless, this is a good album and well recommended. The band’s website is here
… 8.75/10 (Dave)
RHENIUM…’RISE ABOVE THE SEA’
(Self Release) Reviewed 2nd April 2016
RHENIUM is simply a one woman Symphonic Metal project from Milton Keynes in the UK! Cristina Pucci is the only member of this project and she therefore writes all the songs, along with recording all the instruments and vocals herself. Originally from Italy, Cristina moved to England in 2010, hoping to succeed in the music industry. After a long struggle finding reliable and committed band members, Cristina decided to go it alone by starting Rhenium in 2014. Entirely produced by Cristina, this 6 track EP is rather good, and kudos to the girl for this damn fine effort. I just love independent musicians who really make the effort sometimes in the face of adversity. The 6 numbers here are all in the good to very good category. Meanwhile, this fine young lass who lists her influences as Evanescence, Lacuna Coil, Stream Of Passion, Within Temptation and Epica, should be checked out. Rhenium’s Facebook is here
, and the album can be purchased from CDBaby and iTunes among others. Go on, treat yourself!… 8/10 (Dave)
PROUD LARRY…’THE RISING’
(Self Release) Reviewed 14th March 2016
With a name like Proud Larry, I think I would be a little dubious as to what kind of music to expect. Anyway, Proud Larry come from Portugal and they have recorded this 8 track album for us purveyors of fine music to enjoy. Fronted by Vanessa Monteiro, this band really means business and I like what I hear. The album is by and large a slow to mid tempo Alternative Rock affair, with some rather cool radio friendly music. The opener ‘War of Paradise’ is a melodic number, as is also the closing track ’Perfect Enemy’, but sandwiched in between we have by and large six slow to mid tempo cuts, the pick of the crop being the power ballad ‘Just Another Mistake’ and the rather nice ‘Closed Shelter’. Check out the CD baby website here
for more info, a decent effort! 8/10 (Dave)
RAVENIA…’BEYOND THE WALLS OF DEATH’
(Inner Wound Recordings) Reviewed 12th March 2016
Formed in Finland during 2013 by vocalist Armi Päivinen and guitar player Samuli Reinikainen, in 2014 the band released the two-track Wingless EP. After the release of the EP Armi and Samuli both felt that they wanted to do something else than the traditional symphonic metal they currently were doing with Ravenia. The goal was to create music that combined metal and film score music as Armi and Samuli were both big fans of both genres. The result can be described as a path between massive orchestrations and the aggression of metal, that leads to an epic journey beyond this world. This epic album features 8 tracks with only one of the eight running in at under six minutes, and each of the numbers is a joy to behold and are epic blockbusters in their own right. Close your eyes and let the music of Ravenia capture you, and bring you into another world of death, war, honor and hope. This is up there with the best of them… 9/10 (Dave)
(Pure Rock Records) Reviewed 10th March 2016
Want a dose of catchy anthemic melodic metal with a subtle symphonic undercurrent? Then check this album out. There are 12 songs of the aforementioned catchy, bouncy melodic stuff from this Swiss band, that features clean male vocals from Matt and female vox from Rahel. Every number here is a sure fire winner from the opening cut, the awesome ‘Nevermore’, through the hideously catchy ‘If You Rule The World’, the power ballad ‘Lost Without You’, the anthemic and epic ’I Follow You’, and the bouncy symphonic ‘New Age Dawn’. Jacob Hansen, one of the most popular engineers in metal, has mixed and mastered the album, he being known for his work with artists like Doro, Amaranthe, Volbeat, Epica, Delain, Pretty Maids and Primal Fear. Rizon‘s website is here
, and this album is certainly well worth checking out from track 1 through to the awesome track 12... 9.5/10 (Dave)
(Sliptrick Records) Reviewed 18th February 2016
Revenience is a brand new Female Fronted Goth tinged Modern Metal act and they have recently released this their debut album. Debora Ceneri fronts the band with growls provided by drummer Simone Spolzino, this as it happens is a rather good debut album from this Italian band. It condenses the very essence of Revenience: powerful metal songs, 'Flail' and 'A-Maze' being two examples, through to melancholic ballads like the piano led 'Lone Island', up to full blown symphonic metal tracks like the opening duo of 'A Landscape of Winter' and 'Blown Away By The Wind'. This cd I have to say is rather good and is well worth a punt of anybody's money. Check the band out here
... 8.75/10 (Hannah Cooper)
(Self Released) Reviewed 6th February 2016
On the Mediterranean Sea, Tunisia is a North African country. Okay that is your geography lesson, but Tunisia is not known for its productivity when it comes to Rock & Metal bands, particularly the female fronted variety. That however, is about to change with PERSONA. They so happen to be a Tunisian female-fronted alternative metal band. Their style fuses a modern metal sound with elements of rock, thrash and heavy riffs, coupled with synth effects, classical orchestration and a fair helping of melody. This in turn creating the perfect foundation for intense and captivating vocal lines from a lovely lady by the name of Jelena Dobric. Upon listening to this recording, this band to be perfectly honest is set to take the Europeans on at their own game, with this, their debut full length album. Featuring 10 tracks of the aforementioned style of music, this is a stunning debut from this North African band, and is certainly an album worth checking out. There are highlights galore, but certainly the opening salvo of the blockbusting 'Somebody Else' and the catchy 'Blinded' (video can be seen here
) set the scene rather nicely, while the closing track ‘The Sea Of Fallen Stars' ends the album rather nicely. With the band being considered one of the most accomplished and influential bands on the Tunisian metal scene, PERSONA are now ready to move on to the international level and with this release, they may have cracked it! A preview of their album can be seen here
.. released Feb 12th and well recommended .. 8.75/10 (Dave)
(Self Release) Reviewed 8th December 2015
This is a rather good album from this French Gothic Metal band. This is their 4th album, their first ‘Emanate’ bursting onto the music scene in 1999. With male vocals from main man Jaarlath and female voice from Ashphodel, you may be made to think that this was a Death Metal album going by those band member names alone. But, oh no, although Jaarlath can let rip vocally, Ashphodel’s vocals are from the Pop/Rock school of vocals. There are 10 tracks here of modern Symphonic Gothic Metal and damn fine it is too. Electro elements pop up aswell in tracks like the bouncy ‘Charon’, while the awesome ‘Exumed’ is sung entirely by Ashphodel, and is a haunting power ballad from the top drawer of power ballads. And I like the pipes that do also appear on one or two other numbers. Not much to fault here on this cd, it is heavy, catchy and very melodic. Well worth checking out… 9/10 (Dave)
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)
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