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(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)
(Self Released) Reviewed 10th December 2012
This 8 track 30 minute album is as far as I am aware the second release from songstress Robyn, her previous offering 'Who I Am' being released in 2006. 'Desire' is full of delightful pop/rock songs, the occasional heart felt ballad, coupled with an acoustic flavour that pops up on some numbers. Great stuff and I would say this release would please fans of Heart, Melissa Etheridge and Sheryl Crow. The record is available from cdbaby, and is worth checking out if you prefer your music on the lightweight side. This is her website
, so why not pay her a visit..8/10 (Dave)
(Self Release) Reviewed 23rd October 2012
Riverlust hail from Hungary, and this 6 track EP of epic Symphonic Power Metal is a must for fans of the genre. What I like about this style of music from these Hungarians, is the vocals from Zsizsu are not necessarily Symphonic, but are more akin to a Pop/Rock style. As I previously mention, there are six numbers here, with the EP kicking off with a brief instrumental before the whole affair kicks in good and proper - upbeat Power Metal from 'Edge of Innocence' through to closer 'Passage'. The EP can be downloaded from their FACEBOOK
so what are you waiting for - good stuff! 8.75/10 (Dave)
REVOLVING DOOR...'MILK AND HONEY'
(Fastball Music) Reviewed 23rd October 2012
If Paramore or In This Moment (without the screaming) excites you, then check this lot out from Germany. The band was founded in 2004, and since 2006 they have performed over 350 gigs and they play every year around 50 to 70 concerts. So they are not novices by any means, even though I admit I have never heard of them before - shame on me. What this band fronted by Liesa offer up here are 12 up tempo catchy rock numbers, well influenced by the current modern rock and metal scene. This is a no filler all killer album running in at around 43 minutes, and will be well worthy of the purchase price when it gets released on the 26th October. Check the band out here
...this is pretty damn good! 8.75/10 (Dave)
(Self Released) Reviewed 16th October 2012
This little EP has two new tracks from the awesome Brazilian band Ravenland. And upon listening to what I have here, I detect that this band is certainly moving forward leaps and bounds from their previous full length offering, which in itself was damn good! Ravenland keep the dual vocal attack of Dewindson Wolfheart together with new vocalist Juliana Rossi, and I like what I hear. The title track and single is a good un, with Dewindson's vocals making an immediate impression, but it is the second track 'Sad Afternoon' that screams airplay and has a certain shall we say commercial appeal about it - I like it. It is difficult to score a two track EP, but a full length album based on what I have heard here, I am sure will be awesome! Check the band's music out including these two tracks here
RISE OF AVERNUS...S'T EP
(Self Release) Reviewed 23rd August 2012
RISE OF AVERNUS is a progressive doom metal five piece from Sydney, Australia. The brainchild of guitarist / vocalist Ben Vanvollenhoven (Ex-STODOWA) and vocalist / keyboardist, Catherine Guirguis (KATABASIS, Ex-BLACK HORIZON), the music is based around the incongruent, yet complimentary combination of Guirguis’ classically inspired piano melodies and Vanvollenhoven’s monolithic riffs. Through their duelling vocal personas, Catherine and Ben explore dark poignant themes, with impassioned arrangements and a unique down tempo theatricality. There are three tracks on this rather good EP that will sweep you on an atmospheric journey of enchanting sombre beauty and crushing metal crescendos. It is a kinda mish mash of Paradise Lost meets Draconian meets Lacuna Coil, although I am sure listeners will conceive their own ideas. The epic and awesome 8 minute plus number 'Beneath the Frozen Hand of Time', also features vocal contributions from Marc Grewe, front man of the legendary German death metal group MORGOTH, and his contribution compliments the track very well. RISE OF AVERNUS weave an atmospheric journey that sweeps the listener into a rapture of enchanting sombre beauty and crushing metal crescendos and they are well worth checking out HERE
(Self Release) Reviewed 31st July 2012
Resilience is a project formed in France in 2004 by guitarist Benjamin Sertelon and gorgeous Adeline Gurtner, who we last met as lead singer of Akin, whose wonderful album 'The Way Things End' I reviewed last year. The title comes from when Adeline left Akin in 2004 in difficult circumstances, and the resilience she showed, it was only recently that the band members reconciled their differences and reformed to produce that album. Their melodic prog rock/metal falls in the same general area as Wedingoth, Delusion Squared, The Gathering, The Reasoning, Pulse of Reason and Touchstone, but there is a distinctive slant, more of which later. Their music is powered along by Ben's driving guitars, laid on beds of bubbling Jean Michel Jarre esque sequencers and synths, and topped by Adeline's superb expressive voice. The introduction 'Introspection' sounds like one of those self hypnosis relaxation tapes.................... sorry, where was I, ah yes, which is followed by a trio of more conventional concise songs that that really rock along. Now things become interesting as they begin to show their prog credentials with their first multi-faceted epic, 'Finally Be Me', then 'The Edge of the Abyss Inside' that really steams along, and the delicate reflective 'Let Him Fly'. The next song ‘The Fall’ has what appears at first to be a real curve ball, as they throw in some Beyoncé style R&B, as you do, and why not, it's bootyliscous. However, there is a catchy pop soul R&B undercurrent that surfaces throughout the album, but here's it's highlighted. 'In The Hurry' really grooves and funks before none other than Daniel Gildenlöw (Pain of Salvation) takes the mike for 'Introspection 2.0' that heads towards The Foo Fighters mixed with Ayreon. Finally, the pulsating 'Threat' and their second awesome epic 'Rewind' feature all their influences from pop soul r&b to electronica to melodic prog metal. Ben and Adeline have produced a smart, sophisticated and stylish album that can take prog into new trendy territory, far removed from from it's 60's beards and kaftans origins. In fact 'The Fall' (without its electronica second part) and 'In The Hurry' have real single potential. J-set your way to their Facebook
, a brilliant, resilient 9/10 (Phil)
REIGN OF THOUGHT...'BEGINNING OF THE END'
(Self Release) Reviewed 28th June 2012
Reign of Thought are a new prog metal band for Albany, in the Big Apple, founded by guitarists Matt Becker and Aeron Yerdon, with Shanna Becker on vocals who also supplies the keys and violin. Their music is in the same Central Park as a less technical Akribi, Tool and To Mera, with some alt-metal thrown into the mix à la Edenial, with Shanna's vocals veering towards the more European semi-operatic style away from typical American alt-metal wailers. They present on their début a set of consistent numbers based around jagged staccato riffing, with Shanna's expressive voice carrying the melody. I particularly like the more symphonic power metal 'Reality and the Dream', the Spanish jazzy flavoured 'When Daylight Ends', and the tasty guitar in the subtler 'In My Head'. American bands seem reluctant to use keys, an important ingredient in prog, perhaps it's not considered 'cool' and 'metal', the interlude and her occasional embellishments show that Shanna is a talented keyboardist, I wish they had used them more to add variety and richness to the well produced sound, and her violin only features very briefly, which seems a shame. A good solid prog metal album from a band that has tremendous untapped potential. Their throne can be found here
, a thoughtful 8.25/10 (Phil)
(Electric Halo Records) Reviewed 26th June 2010
What a corker we have from these rockers from Miami in Florida. This I understand is their third release of original material (there was a remix and covers album released in 2009), their previous original album being 'Meridian' being back in 2006. Basically the band was conceived shortly after the marriage of vocalist Phoenix and drummer/songwriter/producer Armando back in 2001. In October 2003 their debut full length album titled 'Distanza' was released, and in November 2006 phoenix/NEBULIN released their sophomore album 'Merdian'. On this album the band’s sound took a heavier hard rock approach. And that hard rock approach with electro influences is strongly apparent on this album. What we have here is 11 tracks of catchy hard rock with those aforementioned electro influences...totally great stuff from the band - music that will bang around in your head for ages after the cd has come off the player. Take 'Bleeding On The Inside' and the rocking 'Irreverence' as two such tracks, so so catchy!! I hear Nine Inch Nails, Evanescence and even possibly electro period Theatre of Tragedy on this album and I am highly impressed with what I hear. Every track is a humdinger and this band deserves attention from the female fronted rock and metal fan. On this album, phoenix/NEBULIN has elevated their sound to a new level taking musical and technical inspiration from various giants of the industry. Check them out here
, whilst I well recommend this!...9.25/10 (Dave)
RAVENSCRY...'ACOUSTIC PARENTHIS OF A DREAM STATE' EP
(Self Released) Reviewed 25th May 2012
Italian Band Ravenscry have given us an EP of 4 acoustic workings of numbers that appeared on their debut 'One Way Out' album, that picked up a 9/10 review last May (doesn't time fly?). The main feature with this cd, as with their debut full length offering is the vocals of leading lady Angela Fagiuoli, that are simply awesome, and take this music onto another level. Anybody who has 'One Way Out' in their cd collection, will be familiar with the songs here, anybody who is just curious, well maybe I would advise to go all out and purchase the band's debut cd. Having said that, this EP is a very useful acoustic introduction to the band. Pop to their Myspace here
REASONS BEHIND...'OUVERTURE' EP
(Self Release) Reviewed 8th May 2012
Born from the ashes of a gothic metal cover band (After Forever, Within Temptation, Nightwish), Reasons Behind is a power - prog - symphonic metal band from Italy, fronted by the lovely Elisa. I suppose to be honest, for anybody that misses Tarja era Nightwish, Reasons Behind could be the band to satisfy your appetite. Indeed, anyone who likes the bands mentioned above, this should be right up your alleyway, although the Nightwish influences shine through the strongest. Opener 'The End Of Our Chapter' certainly has that Nightwish feel with the operatic vocals of Ely from the top drawer of Operatic Metal. Great instrumentation and musicianship coming to the fore on this opener. 'My Last Act' carries on where the opener left off, and the strong Nightwish theme continues with '1000 Fading Lives', a great thumping Symphonic rocker with a further awesome vocal contribution from Ely. 'Choices' has a great instrumental intro and is possibly one of my fave tracks on this EP, while the slower and emotional 'The Last Night Of Ilion' finishes of this mighty EP. To finalise, if this band were to record a full length album of the quality we have here, it would be mightily good. Okay, they will be compared to Nightwish, but so what! Check them out here
- recommended!! ...8.75/10 (Dave)
(Self Released) Reviewed May 1st 2012
Let us loosely imagine a mix of Evanescence and Iron Maiden, and if this was to get you a little excited, then maybe the Canadian band Perpetuate will be right up your alleyway. Featuring some wild lead guitar from James Hush and Chris Rafinski, plus the awesome vocals of keyboardist Kim McInnis, this 7 track offering from the band featuring 5 original songs (my copy is graced with a bonus track) is an epic affair, which also features a cover of the Iron Maiden Classic 'The Trooper'. Great Power Metal within the seven tracks here with a progressive undercurrent, Kims vocals swaying between those of a powerful Rock Goddess to those of an Operatic Angel, and ably backed up by the band I hasten to add. There is no let up from the powerful opener 'Above and Beyond' to the closing duo of the aforementioned 'The Trooper' and the additional bonus song 'Black Velvet', originally recorded by Alannah Myles. I would certainly recommend checking this band out further, so why not start at their website here
... 8.5/10 (Dave)
(RD Records) Reviewed 25th April 2012
Here we have an album from a band that hail back to the late 80s'. Their debut was partly produced by 'Mutt' Lange (who also worked with Def Leppard) and partly by John Parr (St. Elmo's Fire). It presented a melodic AOR style with refreshing originality. Their second album 'Delectable' from 1992, did not quite hit the spot to my ears anyway of the S/T debut, but was and still is worth checking out nonetheless. So what about this newie from Leigh Matty and the band. It to my ears is a stunning return, with opener 'Trippin' Out' a stunning track with an anthemic chorus and a strong melody. 'Bittersweet' follows and almost has a country feel to it, but still with a hideously catchy chrous. 'Cannot Be The One' is a mid paced number, and proves that vocally, Leigh remains on top form, ably backed up by the band. An admirable opening threesome to this record I must admit, while the whole album continues in a similar vein, with some catchy and melodic tunes, and slower ballad type numbers. Okay, they may not offer the in yer face melodic rock assault of the debut, but this is awesome stuff full of catchy guitar based Melodic Rock goodness. Any fan of Heart and FM (amongst others of the AOR/Melodic Rock genre) should get this album and appreciate what it has to offer. An impressive return from a band who have been away for around 18 years...9/10 (Dave)
(Karthago) Reviewed 20th April 2012
As befits their name, Swiss band Rizon have been on the rise through their 2005 début Evolution and the 2008 follow up Sudden Life (my review is in the archives). This new album sees a significant increase in power, with their Sonata Arctica / Statovarius esque powerful melodic metal fittingly mixed in Finland by Nino Laurenne (guitarist wth Thunderstone) in the equally appropriately named Sonic Pump Studios, they have really pumped up the sonic output. Leading out front is the perfectly matched dual vocal attack of Matthias Götz and scintillating Seraina, sounding like Tony Kakko and Doro as they trade verses and bridges, then belt out the choruses together. Opening power metaller 'High Flyer' throws down the gauntlet as they rip through a classic collection of high octane humongous rockers all equipped with immense choruses that you will be singing for weeks, but with enough variety to stop it becoming tiring, an important factor in an album with 13 tracks weighing in at a whopping 72 minutes. You will discover songs like the title track 'Masquerade' with its burst of blues, the awesome swaying anthem 'Tears of the Sun' (video on Female Voices), the dramatic 'Remotion' that takes off into the stratosphere, if they went any higher they would break orbit, the rousing eastern infused 'Same Same', the mega power ballad 'Cold Winters Night', the superb multi-faceted prog tinged 'Lost in Silence', and they finally let their hair down with the party song 'Bells' which humorously compares one of the band's choices of music, Iron Maiden, to that of his girlfriend, The Bee Gees. There are a couple of tracks from their début album that have been rerecorded by special request, the stomping Spanish 'El Dios', originally just a bonus track it has become a big favourite, written in Spanish by Matt because, in his own words, “"Soy el Dios de la noche" sounded better to my ears than "I'm the Lord of the night"”, and a new version of the epic 'Out of Nowhere' which was chosen by their fans. Rizon perform songs that in lesser hands would be good catchy melodic metal numbers, but the sophistication of their songwriting, premier league sound and musicianship that even the most ardent of prog fans will admire lifts them onto a different level. In a nutshell, this is top quality metal. Their masquerade awaits you at here
, a rising 8.75 /10 (Phil)
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