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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)
RENTAP...'SUMMONING THE SUN'
(Self Released) Reviewed 29th January 2014
RENTAP, "Shaker of the world". An ancient Malaysian name, given to a warrior ahead of his time. A perfect name for this new, five-piece rock band from the Netherlands. Indeed, whether it is Symphonic, Gothic or in yer face Hard Rock, The Netherlands always seems to be able to produce the goods. And RENTAP is no exception to that rule. This EP released by the band some weeks ago, throws at the discerning listener 5 tracks of Catchy Melodic Hard Rock that will simply blow ya mind! With the stunning and powerful PhiNix on vocals coupled with some gut wrenching metal riffs from Nick and Yoep, not to forget the rhythm section of Bart on bass and Yuma on drums, this is simply bombastically good! From the moment the EP kicks off with 'Come Through The Fire' to the closing dynamically heavy melodic track of 'Future World Skies', this EP is a delight to the ears. The record, featuring a guest solo by Bart Hennephof from Textures, takes you from anthem-like choruses to relaxing bridge-sections back to bluesy rockriffs, so in summary, anybody that likes their music heavy and melodic, this sure is worth checking out. Their website is at www.rentapband.com/
. Check 'em out, you know you should... 8.5/10 (Dave)
(Self Release) Reviewed 28th January 2014
I suppose reviewing an EP by a band called Ravenia is rather appropriate for Ravenheart Music - Raven and all that. This is just a two tracker from a band that was only formed last month (Dec 2013). And I must say that this is rather good from these new kids on the block. This is prime time Symphonic Metal and okay, we all know it has been done before, but when it is this good, who cares really! The two tracks here are 'Neverending' and 'Wingless' and if this is a showcase as to what is to come, bring it on! The vocals from Armi Päivinen are angelic and operatic, but the operatics are not over done. I must say that this band are well worth checking out - their SoundCloud is at www.soundcloud.com/ravenia-official
. An album with tunes like this would be worthy of at least 8.75/10 (Dave)
RISE OF AVERNUS...'APPEL DU VIDE'
(Aural Music/Code666) Reviewed 29th November 2013
Hailing from Sydney, Australia, RISE OF AVERNUS is quickly becoming a well known entity throughout the Australian metal scene. Within the short time frame since the release of their debut EP in 2012, RISE OF AVERNUS has relentlessly toured around the country sharing the stage with bands such as ENSLAVED, ROTTING CHRIST and APOCALYPTICA, performing a unique style of music stemming for many different genres. The band can best be described as “Orchestral, Progressive Doom Metal “ and this styling is very evident throughout this, their 2014 debut album. Through the 8 tracks on offer on this cd, the band are surely knocking on the door of the Premier League and will give the big guns like Draconian a good run for their money. Well produced, atmospheric and explosive sums it all up in a tasty little package of Gothic beauty that will surely please the fans of the genre. I also quite like the Saxophone ending to 'Embrace The Mayhem' - rather cool. Cat Guirguis is the female vocalist here with male vocals provided by guitarist Ben Vanvollenhoven and bassist Daniel Warrington. Overall, we have dark and poignant themes being explored through the lyrics, and the extremity of beauty refracting against a dark aural environment with elements of Symphonic Doom and Death Metal. This is very good and I whole heartedly recommend this - released January 20th 2014.. 9/10 (Dave)
PHENIUM...'NO MORE HUMANITY' EP
(Self Release) Reviewed 28th November 2013
Phenium is a modern Death Metal band from Rome, featuring clean female vocals from Arianna Bonardi and growls & screams from Michele Finelli. As you would expect from this style of music, the EP thunders along at quite a rate, with all five numbers hammering their way out of your speakers like a turbo charged express train. However, melody is never too far under the surface, with 'Painless' being one such track, that is indeed a fave of mine from the EP. 'Tears and Scars' has a slow and brooding start before drums, guitars and vocals scream at you begging your attention. The vocals of Arianna bringing some calmness to proceedings within the melodic chorus. Overall, this EP is not a bad effort at all from this band, it is well produced and should go down well with fans of this style of music. Their Facebook is here
- check it out! 8/10 (Dave)
RAINOVER...'TRANSCENDING THE BLUE AND DRIFTING INTO REBIRTH'
(WormholeDeath Records) Reviewed 24th September 2013 (Re issued)
Rainover used to be known as Remembrances, and indeed, an album by that very band was reviewed here at Ravenheart Music back in October 2009. Now in 2013, WormholeDeath has so kindly sent us here a link to the debut and wonderfully titled album by Rainover fronted by the Pop vocal style of Andrea Casanova, and what a gracious dose of Gothic Metal this is. The Agharti album released on the same label reviewed by myself some weeks ago blew my head away, and this offering of 11 tracks has done exactly the same. This is Melodic Gothic Pop/Metal at its very best, and I think that this will I am sure be one of my fave releases of 2013. The band lay down the bench mark of the highest quality with the opener 'Rebirth', a pumping Melodic Gothic Rocker of the greatest calibre. And rest assured it does not let up, other awesome numbers include second up 'Despair' reminding me of Lacuna Coil, the ultra tuneful and pounding 'Cycles', and oh what the heck! They are all awesome and I at the moment cannot stop playing this cd. This kinda music is so catchy, so inoffensive, and will appeal to many female fronted rock and metal fans who do not like their music overly heavy. Release date is due during 2014, still to be scheduled. Here is their FaceBook
.. 9.75/10 (Dave)
(Self Released) Reviewed 6th September 2013
Riseback fronted by Riella Eskenazi is a Rock-Metal band from Turkey. The band was founded in Istanbul Feb 2010 and is influenced by and large by contemporary rock and metal music. What I must say about this release is that this is frikin' good, has a European Melodic feel and I am sure would go down a storm in Europe and the USA. The music is tuneful, it rocks and there are liberal use of keys throughout, that to me drives the music and gives it that 'x-factor'. There are nine numbers here and they are all rather pleasing to the ears, fave numbers currently being the opener 'Game Powered', the heavy and rather good 'My Treasure', the hard rockin 'Fake Numb Face', the power ballad 'Try To Say' (and it is well known that I am a sucker for the occasional power ballad) and 'Flowerstar' that to me screams mainstream radio airplay. Okay guys and gals, this is another female fronted release well worth spending one's money on, so check them out here
and consider making a purchase. I whole heartedly recommend this...9/10 (Dave)
(Nuclear Blast) Reviewed 3rd September 2013
Revamp is a band that has Floor Jansen (ex After Forever) as their vocalist, a lass that has gone through quite a bit lately on the personal front. Once her personal issues were sorted, she then she did a spell as a stand in vocalist with the awesome Nightwish. And now, we see the second Revamp album hitting the shelves. Described by Floor herself as "The most aggressive album I have ever made", and within the lyrics, she tells a great deal about her personal experiences of the past years, leading to some heavy stories and some openhearted screams. And on this album, there is nothing stopping the gal, because not only can she sing, including some operatics, she growls too, that is right, she can let rip with those vocal chords! The album is set around a triple header - "The Anatomy of a Nervous Breakdown". The opening salvo of 'On The Sideline' and 'The Limbic System' are the first two parts of "The Anatomy of a Nervous Breakdown, and show what the band and Floor has to offer, and they rock with a subtle progressive undercurrent. The title track tones it down just a bit, not much but it is one of the more melodic numbers on the cd complete with choral elements! Mark Jansen of Epica fame puts in an appearance with his customary growls on the rather good 'Misery's No Crime', with Mr Devin Townsend appearing on the third part of "The Anatomy of a Nervous Breakdown" - that track titled 'Neurasthenia'. Other numbers sees Floor doing the operatics on 'Precibus' (as she does on other numbers), whilst 'Distorted Lullabies' starts gently and serene before the bands kicks in like a turbo charged rhino, complete with orchestration and choir. To summarise, let us not forget about the awesome musicianship offered up by the band as a whole, but their singer is unique in many ways, a commanding presence on stage and commanding on record too. The album is more of a grower than an instant fix, it is heavy, it is metal and it has a choir to boot, so what more do you want? - buy it, you will not be disappointed! 8.75/10 (Dave)
PRIMER...'THE LOOKING GLASS'
(Self Release) Reviewed 27th August 2013
I have known Claire, the vocalist of Primer, and indeed the whole band for some while now, and they are very supportive of what I do at Ravenheart Music. They are a 4-piece female fronted rock group from the West Midlands. Formed in 2007, the band has seen several member and sound changes before settling on their distinctive, inimitable style; a mix of Celtic inspired vocals mingle with a strong, solid backdrop of expressive guitars, intense drums and an resonating bass to drive an original, unique sound with a difference that is not to be missed. And Primer prove that similar to NE based Winter In Eden, that if you work and gig hard over a period of time, then recognition will be forthcoming, it won't happen over night. 'Give Me More' kicks things of and is a melodic thumper with a catchy chorus, showcasing Claire's Celtic vocal style rather nicely. Smoke & Mirror' and 'Water' follow and these have proved live favourites in the past and are very familiar to these ears. 'I Surrender' is a fave of mine from this album, a mid tempo rocker, while 'You Don't Try' ups the ante a little with another catchy chorus and a little bit more oommmpphh in the guitar department. 'When I Fall' brings in a violin (compliments Terri Bethel) adding more of a Gaelic feel to the song. 'Reach Out' drops the pace a touch, and I quite like these slower paced songs on this particular release, while the guitars enter the fray again on 'Storyteller'. Closing salvo of 'I Am Your Anger' and another fave 'Begin Again', end what is a rather good album from a hard working local band. I have seen Primer develop over the years, and they like a good wine have matured with age. Check them out here
(Self Released) Reviewed 21st August 2013
Fronted by Helle Bogdanova, the original Parallax project was formed in early 2011 by keyboardist Evgeny Zhytnyuk (who also offers occasional growls) and Dmitry Volovnenko who is no longer in the band, as the first Ukrainian band to play oriental metal. Step by step, the band’s sound became more heavy and progressive, and the sound is well reflected in this, the bands first EP. It’s concept is based on space topics, in particular on Mars and the first ever human-made Earth satellite, Sputnik-1, and this is well depicted in the awesome opener 'Sputnik'. Second track in 'Firebird' showcases the awesome musicianship offered by the band, four minutes of sheer guitar/keyboard orientated bliss! 'Mind The Past' is a progressive metal masterpiece with one helluva catchy chorus, a fave track of mine from this EP, while the pace doesn't let up with closer 'Planet War', this seems to have an extra 'hidden track' added onto the end. This EP is damn awesome, and I would just love to hear a full length offering from this band if one is ever forthcoming. I must recommend this release to all and sundry - check their reverbnation here
ROCK & LACE...'PREY'
(Final Touch/Universal) Reviewed 21st August 2013
ROCK & LACE is a female fronted band from Greece that plays music comprising of energetic, intriguing melodies with driven guitars, crashing drums and alluring bass lines. Their seductive yet dynamic female vocalist Gale Petrou, gives colour to their dark and heavy riffs capturing a distinct sound that sends a shiver down your spine. With influences ranging from Halestorm, Within Temptation and Guns n Roses, you know you are in for a treat when listening to this album. There are ten tracks of hard rocking contagious tunes here, with the catchy 'Upon My Lips' setting the scene rather nicely. The equally catchy single 'Midnight Madness' (complete with squealing car tyres) follows and is a treat to my ears. Hardly a filler in sight on the cd, but there are standout tracks such as the title track 'Prey', the rather seductive sounding 'No Exception' (also released as a digital single), the ballad 'Sorry' and 'Breathe'. And let's not forget a rather good cover of the hit 'Bang Bang', originally made famous by Sonny and Cher. This is a very good offering from this Greek band and well recommended. Their Facebook is here
and a video can be seen to the track Midnight Madness here
. Great stuff, awesome musicianship and well worth the purchase... 8.75/10 (Dave)
(My Kingdom Music) Reviewed 8th August 2013
Amnio: the element that surrounds the birth of a child, what gives rise to a new "season". Well, it is Beauty & The Beast time again folks, except the beastie vocals are provided by a beauty, I hope that makes sense. Raving Season come from Rome, they play awesome Gothic Doom Metal, with heavy harsh vocals given to us by Federica, with the clean vocals offered up by Judith. And as is typical with this style of music, it can be brutally harsh one moment, and amazingly beautiful the next. And the opener 'Turandot' bears testimony to the statement. Seven minutes of dazzling bliss! 'Dusk Dance' is another rather classy track, an angelic melancholic start to this song before the beautifully brutal vocals kick in - melodic laid back doom at its finest! The atmospheric doom/ gothic format continues through songs like 'My Last Murderer', 'Restless Rain (il rumore della pioggia)' - I love the bells on this :) and 'My Darkest Season (Pt 2)'. This runs in at over an hour and is a disc with an excellent quality of recording, that gives everything a fresh and powerful sound, well-kept in detail, full of emotions that want to carry the listener through a journey that alternates between melancholy and anger. This is for fans of Draconian, early Anathema, My Dying Bride, Isis etc.... 8.5/10 (Dave)
PURSUING THE END...'SYMMETRY OF SCORN'
(Bakerteam Records/Scarlet Records) Reviewed 27th June 2013
Young and ambitious, Pursuing The End didn't aim to just survive in the crowded world of metal bands. Formed in 2010, the band from Parma, Italy, quickly got critics' attention with its first EP ‘Dawn Of Expiation’ (2011). Another EP, ‘Withering’, followed shortly in 2012, proving the constant growth of a band that has always believed in the commixture of musical genres - as the members' musical backgrounds include anything from extreme metal to electronic music, not to mention the influence of classical music. So what about the album - if you like the vocal approach of bands like In This Moment and Amaranthe to name just two, then this will most certainly appeal to the listener. I also hear Enter Shakiri influences too within this release. The two focal points of the band are Giacomo Benamati who gives us male vocals & growls and Chiara Manese who offers up the charming female vocals on the 10 tracks that we have here. The album powers along at an alarming rate, but despite the band's musical aggressiveness, there is always a sense of melody bubbling under the surface, this being attributed mainly to the female influence within the band. I must admit that I do like this style of music that blends elements from the world of Pop, Dance, aggressive Metal as well as Symphonic melodies· Pursuing The End incorporate the whole emotional spectrum - due 27th August and it is rather good too, rest assured! 8/10 (Dave)
RESISTANT ME...'3012' EP
(Self Release) Reviewed 21st June 2013
A rockin EP from this San Jose based Pop/Rock/Punk band, with lyrics focusing on heartbreak, the nightlife and sex. They actually released a full length album in 2007, but their new music is moodier and edgier so the band tell me. Fronted by Cyn Acevedo, the EP kicks off with the up tempo 'Tomorrow's Already Gone', reminding me of the punk era of the 70s. A great catchy way to start this little platter. 'Rockstar' is another catchy number with Cyn telling us that "baby I'm a rockstar". The six minute plus 'Goodnight' is a slower number, but equally as good and I do like the psychedelic break half way, which took me back to the 60s. The up tempo 'Heartbreaker' closes this EP. This is not a bad effort from the band, with Cyn's vocals reminding me a little of Ruby Ruin from California's own Saints of Run, but that may be due to the fact that Resistant Me are Californian too. The band can be checked out at their Bandcamp
... 8/10 (Dave)
PURPLE NAIL...'NIGHT LIGHTS'
(Self Release) Reviewed 17th June 2013
Purple Nail come from Sweden, and I keep asking what the Scandinavians put in their water, as there seems to be a continuous stream of good music coming from those parts. Furthermore, having seen pictures of this band, they seem so young, they sure have the right image, but despite their apparent tender young years, they have produced an album of music that is so mature, enjoyable and catchy, that it had left me pressing the repeat button after the cd had finished. What we have here basically is 12 tracks of Melodic Gothic Rock and Metal that takes a mix of many bands from the female fronted scene and mixes it all up to give us the music of Purple Nail. Indeed, I do actually find the music on this record rather unique, with the vocals of the lovely Lady Crow angelic bordering on the operatic at times, but without overdoing the operatics if that makes sense. Without going into track by track by detail, this release is totally awesome with standout numbers to my ears being 'Bring Me Down', 'Not Afraid' and the single 'Blood Tonight'. But to be honest, they are all good, and I would like to state that this is a very good effort from this band. Their website is www.thepurplenail.com
, and I must say that Purple Nail are well worth checking out, so go and buy their music and support a hard working independent band - awesome! 8.75/10 (Dave)
(Atlantic Records) Reviewed 4th June 2013
Paramore are back with their 4th studio release and the 1st without founder members Zac (drums) and Josh Farro (guitar). Formed in 2004, the band currently consists of lead vocalist Hayley Williams, bassist Jeremy Davis, and guitarist Taylor York. But without the Farro brothers, who were the primary source of Paramore’s songwriting team, the band I must say has released a solid and very addictive record here, with song writing duties now taken over by Hayley Williams and Taylor York. Track after track (and there are 17 of them) hit the right button being full of commercial pop/rock appeal, just like their previous releases. As I say, there are 17 numbers although three of them are just short ukulele inspired 'interludes', but overall, this is a very good and mature record from this young band. There are plenty of stand out tracks like the opener 'Fast In My Car', the catchy 'Ain't It Fun' (which is such a blast!), the awesome 'Last Hope', the bouncy and catchy '(One of Those) Crazy Days' and the punk feel of 'Be Alone'. The closing number 'Future' is a great track to close the album that starts acoustically and then explodes into a guitar/synths frenzy. I have read that the Farro brothers left because they claimed that the band was "a manufactured product of a major-label." They further accused Hayley Williams of being manipulated by her management, treating the rest of the group as her solo project, and claimed she was the only member of the band who was signed to Atlantic Records. But who effectively cares when it is this good! 8.5/10 (Dave)
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