Please also visit our comprehensive reviews storage library at Ravenheart Music Archived Reviews.
(Self Release) Reviewed 2nd October 2015
Here we have a very talented band from Northern Ireland, a small country that with the utmost respect, does not really have a place on the Symphonic Metal map. However Selene aim to change that scenario, as they are about to burst onto the Symphonic Metal scene with this 11 track opus. Fronted by the cool vocals of leading lady Shonagh Lyons, the band has already released two EPs, ‘Paradise Over’ and ‘Among The Frozen‘. Indeed three tracks from the latter feature on this debut full length, which to be perfectly honest is totally awesome from beginning to end. Highlights are in abundance, we have the catchy and melodic ’Neverending Silence’ (lyric video here
) , the bombastic ’Fade Away’ (featured on the ’Among The Frozen’ EP), the ballad ’Sweetest Dreams’ and the epic 9+ minute closing epic track ’Piano Black’, to name just four, with the closing number showcasing very well the direction this band is taking. Overall, the album offers a bombastic and melodic sound, being well worth the purchase price when released on November 19th. The band’s FaceBook is here
… 9/10 (Dave)
THE INFERNO DOLL...'DOLLMINATION'
(Self Release) Reviewed 30th September 2015
Yay, yay and triple yay! The former Sacramento singer Laura Vargas gives us a real musical treat here. This is The Inferno Doll, ten tracks of totally bombastic modern melodic metal to blow your mind totally. No soppy ballads on this record as Laura Inferno as she is now called, pummels her way through tracks like the opening cut 'Crushing Me', the absolutely marvellous and tuneful 'Conciencia' (ft. Paula Barouh from the band Barouh - Chile) the powerful and pounding groove of one of my faves, 'Nemesis Within' (ft.Roland B. Marx from the band The Outside - Germany), 'Asylum' (ft. Claudio Carrasco from the band Poema Arcanus - Chile), the pulsating 'The Dream' and the totally melodic and thumping closing number 'Carmilla', a live fave I am sure this number will be! Indeed, despite giving a mention to the above tracks, everything on this album is so awesome and as a consequence, it is without a doubt a no filler all killer album, being heavy, melodic and it is a record to play loud and play again and again and again. I have to say it, on this showing, Laura can create an inferno and dollminate me anytime - the website is here
- my advice is buy!...9.5/10 (Dave)
PATRICIA TAPIA KHY...'GENESIS'
(Warner Music Group) Reviewed 23rd September 2015
Genesis (released last year) is the third album from Patricia Tapia, formerly of Nexx and now second voice in Wizard of Oz (who I believe have so far released 14 albums!). Sung in Spanish, this latest album from Patricia is another rather good record to come from this talented musician. There are some catchy rockin' numbers here including second number in 'Miedo (En Lo Mas Profundo), the melodic 'Me Cuesta Respirar' (great chorus), the infectious 'En Mis Suenos' and the riff tastic 'Penquenas Almas'. They are just four tunes from a plateful of golden nuggets. Then we have the slower numbers like the atmospheric Power Ballad 'Neckna' (video here
) - rather good if I may say so. Our version of this album closes with the Anastasia cover ‘Left Outside Alone’ - cool! If one has been lagging behind like we have, this is well worth adding to your ‘to buy list‘… 8.75/10 (The Nugget)
THE V...'NOW OR NEVER'
(Frontiers) Reviewed 21st September 2015
Veronica Freeman aka The V is the lead vocalist of the American heavy metal band Benedictum. Her most recent album with Benedictum is 'Obey', released through Frontiers Records in 2013. In July 2015 Frontiers Records released this her debut solo album, which includes an array of special guests including Pete Wells, Aric Avina and Rikard Stjernquist of Benedictum, Michael Sweet (Stryper), Garry Bordonaro (The Rods), Jeff Pilson (Dokken, Foreigner), Mike Lepond (Symphony X), Tony Martin (Black Sabbath), Jerry Dixon (Warrant) and more. With such an array of musicians involved, one would expect this to be from the top drawer and of course, this album does let rip, with 12 tracks of melodic hard rock/metal, showcasing as Veronica does in Benedictum, what a belter of a voice she has. Of the numbers on offer, 'L.O.V.E' and 'Line In The Sand' takes the more melodic 80s sounding route, while 'Love Should Be To Blame' is a slightly slower number but hideously melodic to boot - kool! I have seen one or two not very good reviews of this album, because it is different to what Veronica normally does in Benedictum. Erm…that is why it is a solo record guys, therefore it may well be different! Overall, this is a damn good hard rockin’ record, well worth checking out if not already done so... 8.75/10 (Dave)
(Self Release) Reviewed 11th September 2015
Formed in 2012, Since Ever is a 5 piece Symphonic Metal band from Stockholm fronted by Linda Lundberg, and to be honest, anything out of Scandinavia and the surrounding regions will attract my attention. To be released on 2nd October, this is a massive mix of metal with a huge dose of Hans Zimmer-esque film-scores, which creates what we here at Ravenheart like to think is a very epic listening experience. Indeed, I must say that The Murder Of My Sweet (also from Sweden) springs to mind as a comparison, although Since Ever do have a sound of their own. I have already used the words "epic" and "massive", but those two words do sum up everything that is here, you can add bombastic to that as well. For a debut offering, this is absolutely superb, and I can honestly say that there is not a filler to be found among the 11 monster tracks! And with the final track which so happens to be the title track running in at over 10 mins, this is so damn good - the closing epic taking the listener on a great journey through the last days of our civilisation. I am finding it hard to fault this - great production, great musicianship from all involved. The band say that they are ready to embark on their quest for world domination, on this showing, they are almost there, not a bad start eh?! More info here
... 9.5/10 (Dave)
SPACE ELEVATOR…’SPACE ELEVATOR 1’
(Self Release) Reviewed 2nd September 2015
Space Elevator fronted by a young lass who goes by the name of The Duchess (who also takes care of Backing Vocals and all Vocal Arrangements) features among others Neil Murray (Whitesnake, Black Sabbath, The Brian May Band) on bass. There are 12 tracks here of AOR/Melodic Rock inspired by the likes of Queen, Genesis and The Darkness to name a just a few. And furthermore, I would like to add that this is a release that hits the awesome category. If you like your metal heavy with a large dosage of “ooommmppphhh”, this may not be to your liking, but if you are open minded regards the music you listen to, and enjoy a good helping of Melodic Rock inspired by the above mentioned bands, with the occasional ballad thrown in for good measure, this is an album well worth checking out. Check out the website at www.spaceelevatorband.com/
, jump on the Space Elevator and enjoy... 8.5/10 (Dave)
THE MURDER OF MY SWEET…’BETH OUT OF HELL’
(Frontiers Records) Reviewed 26th August 2015
The Murder of My Sweet was founded in Stockholm in 2006 by drummer and producer Daniel Flores. It consists of Angelica Rylin (vocals), Andreas Lindahl (Keyboard), Teddy Westlund (bass), Christopher Vetter (guitar), and Daniel Flores (drums). Their debut single ‘Bleed Me Dry’ reached 14th spot in the national Swedish singles chart. In January 2010 they released their debut album ‘Divanity’ on the Italian label Frontiers Records. Fast forward to the current day (August 2015) and this new one is their 3rd, and to put it in a nutshell before we even start, it is bombastically, mouth wateringly and symphonically awesome! Around 70 minutes of music, a total mind blowing concept piece as one track merges into another. It will take more than one play to get into the music here as it is not too easy to digest all at once, but boy, once you have got it, it sure will not let you go! I personally just love this, a kind of mini opera traveling the spectrum of emotions from anger through to love, passion and angst. This is a work of art, a grower but a work of art. I will not bother naming any individual tracks as such, they are all that good! Just get it, play it and you will hear what I mean. Fans of the Female Fronted Symphonic/Gothic scene will find this a totally orgasmic experience to the full :) ….9.75/10 (The Nugget)
(Self Released) Reviewed 19th August 2015
Sovereign Council from Canada is comprised of five members: Alexander MacWilliam (vocals), professional vocalist and vocal coach Lisa Thompson , Chris Thompson (guitar), Shaun Vanhooser (bass guitar) and Brandon Schneider (drums). The group’s blend of male/female vocals has earned them comparisons to Lacuna Coil, Evanescence, Delain, Nightwish, and Kamelot. On this their 2nd album, they have throttling guitar riffs, intense bass lines, driving drums and fluctuating vocals that are at times guttural and at others more mellow and introspective. Their unique and at times Progressive sound has been influenced by a wide array of artists, from Chopin and Mozart to Slipknot, Metallica, Slayer and Epica, and they find inspiration for their song writing in lost loves, betrayals, deaths and other hardships in life that many of us sure experience at one time or another. Like many US bands that embrace this style of metal, the use of keyboards is subtle, preparing a more in yer face guitar sound for the listener. And one sure gets their monies worth on this record with 14 tracks to wrap your ears around. This is a consistent and a very accomplished release, although no one track actually jumps out and grabs me. However, the band was able to acquire the services of Timo Somers from Delain who features on the heavy and metallic sounding track ‘The Human Condition’, Delain of course recently released the similarly titled album ‘The Human Contradiction ‘. There are not many Symphonic Metal bands coming out of Canada at the moment, but Sovereign Council is certainly one band from that country to watch out for! Their Facebook is here
- this is a grower..8.25/10 (The Nugget)
(Self Released) Reviewed 18th August 2015
Israeli Symphonic Metal band Salvation began its way at the dawn of 2000. Their music is a mixture of Symphonic and Gothic melodies, with a small amount of middle eastern flavour as expected of a band from Israel. The band finds way to integrate these influences into classic symphonic melodies and metal riffs, with clean female vocals and deep deathly growls and grunts. Original Female Vocals on this recently released debut full length, were performed by Natalie Akselman, a very talented session singer. However, during the production the band was joined by vocalist Victoria, and they then decided to re-record all lead female parts with the current vocalist, leaving a fair amount of backing vocals performed by Natalie. There are some heavy and pounding corkers on this record including tracks like ‘Tears I Cried, Years I Bled’, the melodic ’Dark Shades Of White’ and the keyboard/guitar driven ‘All Is Silent Now’ . Indeed, the band has come a long way since its conception, this album including songs from various eras of the band’s history, a refined mixture of new and old, including a remake of closing track, the rather nice 'Roses' that was originally from their very first EP . This album is rather good and well recommended as a consequence. Their website is here
… 8.75/10 (Dave)
SKARLETT RIOT…’WE ARE THE BRAVE’ EP
(Self Release) Reviewed 18th August 2015
Quality exists within this band as they continue to release awesome music, as demonstrated within the music on this, their latest offering. This young and very confident band from Lincolnshire here in the UK is fronted by Skarlett, and they continue to mature like a flippin’ good wine. ‘We Are The Brave’ was released earlier in the year, but due to various circumstances totally beyond my control, coupled with illness, I myself have only just got around to reviewing this rockin’ masterpiece. There are five tracks here of blistering melodic tunes, and surely this band is going places if they continue to release music like this. There is not a filler on this EP so my advice is just go and buy the damn thing. It rocks and certainly will not disappoint!... 9/10 (Dave)
(Self Release) Reviewed 18th August 2015
Skies Below from Seattle consist of Liz Porcayo on vocals, Dan Sides on guitar, Ryan Akin, bass, and Tim Strovas, drums. Recorded and mixed at Witch Ape Studio with Tad Doyle (Tad, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth), 'Aphelion' is the much-anticipated follow up to their 2013 debut EP 'Prologue'. Their music conjures elements of progressive rock, metal, doom, blues, and jazz. Evoking awe-inspiring vistas and glimpses of eternal darkness, the haunting melodies and lyrics will draw the listener in, guiding them through tales of wonder and despair. The album may not be to everybody's liking, but if you think that industrial prog served amongst a doomy atmosphere will be up your alleyway, then check this out. Okay, this is an intense journey musically with no ooohhh lala choruses, but it is good and highlights very well what this band is capable of! They ply their trade with seven tracks of the aforementioned style of music, with the band TOOL being I suppose a major influence style wise to what they offer the listener. Ending with the epic and haunting 9 minute plus ‘Doorway_Descent_Dissolution’, you will find the band’s Facebook here
. The album meanwhile, is worth checking out, is due August 29th and it can be pre ordered here
!... 8/10 (The Nugget)
SAMANTHA SCARLETTE...'VIOLENT DELIGHTS + VIOLENT ENDS'
(Self Release) Reviewed 31st July 2015
Samantha Scarlette is an Alternative Rock singer/song writer & film music supervisor, originally from Saddle River, NJ, and she released a 7 track EP last November. Five of the tracks on the EP were produced by Hiili Hiilesmaa (HIM, The 69 Eyes, Amorphis, Apocolyptica) and we are reviewing that very EP here. I have known about this artist for a wee while now, and she is rather good. The album kicks off with the catchy and bouncy 'These Violent Delights', possibly one of the best tracks from the CD. Next up 'Forgive Sins (From Dusk Til Dawn)' is another catchy number, showcasing Samantha's poppy vocal style. Thereafter, the listener is treated to 5 further foot tapping radio friendly numbers. My copy however, has a digital only bonus track, that being the number 'Fallen Star', released as a free download single in February 2014, accompanied by a music video. For more info, Samantha's website is here
.. 8.5/10 (Dave)
THE VAL…’HEADING FOR THE SURFACE’
(Self Release) Reviewed 16th July 2015
The Val feature German lass Gabrielle de Val on vocals and are a Madrid based band. I am no spring chicken and my younger years saw me listening to bands from the hard rockin’ 70’s and 80’s. The melodic rock/AOR scene became quite strong then until grunge came along and killed it off. I was into all the hair band stuff, Glam Rock/Hard Rock/Melodic Rock/AOR and it is bands like The Val that confirm to me why I love music in the first place. This effectively is prime time Melodic Rock/AOR and to be honest, I simply just love it! There are 12 tracks here and I simply cannot fault this little package. OK, if you are into all the Symphonic /Gothic stuff and are not open minded to the music you listen too, then this possibly will not be your cuppa tea. But this is inoffensive radio friendly rock music that to me demands mainstream attention. I reviewed their previous album ‘Back’ in January 2012 and I liked what I heard then, but this is even better. If you like your Fleetwood Macs and your Totos, then this will be for you. The band’s facebook is here
, for some reason, Mcafee would not let me onto their own website..well recommended to lovers of this style of music.. 9/10 (Dave)
SEVEN WATERS...'HUNTER'S PREY'
(Self Released) Reviewed 9th July 2015
Here is what can best be described as a rather cool band from The Netherlands. This by all accounts is their 2nd EP and needless to say, as with most bands from Holland, the music here is rather good. I would class it as Melodic Metal with subtle Progressive tendencies. Fronted by Karen, there are four numbers on this EP, all of which tick all the right boxes! The opener and title track commences instrumentally and briefly sounds like something from Gustav Holst’s ‘The Planet Suite’, before the band kicks in and ups the ante - awesome. Second up ‘Weight of Loss’ maintains the momentum carried by the opener, and is sheer evidence why the Dutch are good at this game. The 7+ minute ‘Mother Egypt (All For Love)’ is a totally epic and majestic tune, the EP closing with the bouncy ‘Broken Images’. Advice: Why not check out their website at www.sevenwaters.nl/
, where you will find the video to the title track - this song and video is also a booktrailer for the fantasy books "Hunter and Prey" from Kim ten Tusscher. Well recommended... 8.75/10 (Dave)
SHINE IN ASH...'No Way Out'
(Jetglow Recordings) Reviewed 2nd July 2015
Shine in Ash is an Italian metal band born in Padua in 2007. The band was founded by the bass player Enrico Coi, the guitarist Paolo Braghetto (who is also the main composer) and the singer and lyricist Eleonora Sattin. The final line up was acquired when the keyboard player Giorgia Alfonsi and the drummer Giovanni Renzini joined the band. Shine in Ash play a genre characterized by a mix of prog, metal and gothic elements coupled with symphonic influences, and that is well characterised by the nine cuts here. Certainly the prog and symphonic elements shine through which makes Shine In Ash a little different from the major players in this field. The band's Facebook is here
....well worth checking out even though the album was released some months back... 8.25/10 (The Nugget)
(Self Released) Reviewed 29th June 2015
I see on some sites that this is being listed as 'Gothic Metal'. Okay, a band fronted by a female does not necessarily mean to me that it is 'Gothic Metal'. I would myself call this Alternative Metal and boy, this Spanish band is rather good. Sounding vocally at times like Amy Lee (Evanescence), this is 40 minutes of some rather awesome music. After a brief intro, the album gets going good and proper with the track 'Pull Off My Skin' a catchy track and a good way to kick of this record. 'Flying Alone' sounds a little like Evanescence vocally, but is another awesome track with such a catchy chorus. And it all continues with great sounding numbers like the ballads 'Weak Dreams' and 'All The Lies' and rockers like 'Back To School' and 'Don't Open Dead Inside'. This is good - their Facebook is here
and well worth looking into as to my ears, the game is far from over regards this band.. 8.75/10 (Dave)
TEARS OF HEAVEN...'THE SECRET'
(Indie Release) Reviewed 25th June 2015
Okay, I have absolutely nothing on this band except I believe that they are from Russia and they are big there too. But despite what I do or do not know, I have an album here in my grubby paws featuring 9 tracks of awesome mainly mid tempo Symphonic Metal. Of the nine tracks there is not a duff one in sight. And we also get a little Folk Metal thrown into the melting pot too on tracks like 'Le Legende', while there are ballads like 'I'll Remember You' and 'Beautiful Night', and I am a sucker for the odd ballad as most know. As I say, I know very little about Tears Of Heaven, but if you are able to pick this album up, it will be well worth it. Despite my lack of information regarding the band, they do have some videos on youtube including a 50 minute live video, so check the awesome ballad 'I Don't Believe You' out here
... 9/10 (Dave)
SAVE OUR SOULS...'THE OTHERSIDE'
(Shinigami Records) Reviewed 25th June 2015
Save Our Souls come from South America (Brazil) and this is another belter of a release that has drifted our way. Released this month digitally, we understand from the label that a physical release is yet to be scheduled, however the album can be preordered here
. But what about the music? This is a stonker giving the listener 11 tracks of some great Melodic Symphonic Metal, occasionally flirting with Prog Metal. Fronted by the Iron lady, a 25 year old who goes by the name of Melissa Iron, who also deals with the keys department, this is rather good. It all gets going in the best way possible with the 7 minute plus 'Another Life', and if that left you breathless, then next up 'All The Lost Souls' will leave you with the feeling you have run a marathon - totally awesome. It all continues with belting tunes like 'The Judgement Day', the energetic 'Web Of Lies', 'Leave Me Alone' with some great organ interplay, 'You (Leave Me Alone Pt II)' and the epic 'Dark Enigma'. And then let us not forget the ballads: 'The Sound Of Heart' and 'Find The Way' as two examples of fine music from this excellent band. This is great Melodic Metal, and another release worthy of using one's credit card... 9/10 (The Nugget)
T.H.E. SACRAMENT... 'СверхНовая' (Supernova)
(Self Release) June 22nd 2015
Dave has palmed this one on to me but to be perfectly honest, like him I do not have a clue about the Russian language. So this will be a brief review upon what I can hear musically. What I do know is that this release is heavier and more bombastic than the other full length release I am aware of, that being 'The Sobering Cold' that was released in 2010. After doing a little snooping around however, this album's Russian title translation to English is 'Supernova'. And it seems an English version of this record will be released later this year! But from what I hear, this is very good. Some catchy and at times grandiose stuff on this 12 track record and as a consequence, the album is well worth looking into, whether you check out this Russian version or wait for the English version. The vocals of Ekaterina Stalukova (LoraSS) are from the school of pop/rock and are rather delectable. Check the band's website out here
(you may need Google translate)...8.75/10 (The Nugget)
(Inverse Records) Reviewed 17th June 2015
And yet another corker, this time we have Sinners Moon from Slovakia. Fronted by the awesome and clear vocals of Simona, this is your typical Symphonic Metal fare, incorporating cool female vocals with male growls from Derick. There are eleven tracks of pounding metal and boy, this is rather good. I know we have a lot of people saying that it has all been done before, but personally I do not give a toss. Some well crafted numbers here that define the style of music very well. And we even have Tony Kakko from Sonata Arctica popping up on the track 'My Servant'. And I am always a sucker for a good power ballad, so check out 'Pray For The Child'. Everything on this record is damn good and overall it is a very solid melodic effort - well recommended and their Facebook is here
... 9/10 (Dave)
SENSORIUM...'THE ART OF LIVING'
(Self Release) Reviewed 15th June 2015
Sensorium fronted by the operatic vocals of Kesenia Glonty, is a Power Metal band from Israel founded in 2012 by Michael Timoshko (lead guitar) and Alexander Piavsky (keyboards). This band by the way is not to be confused with another band of the same name from Italy. 'The Art Of Living' is the band's Debut Album and it resides deep within the Power Metal and Operatic Metal styles, with emphatic keyboard elements. There are thirteen tracks here on this album that spans around 68 minutes, so one gets their monies worth. The album pounds along at quite a rate, offering up some thundering numbers like 'Surreal Nightmare' (awesome vocals), 'Winter Death' and 'Leviathan'. Plus we have the customary ballads like the awesome 'Thousands Of Stars' and the closing title track. When I was at school, okay, I was a rock and metal lover, but our music lessons were based on the classical stuff - Bach, Beethoven and the like. And dare I say it, I was good at music at school, so when I listen to music like this from this band (and many others too), combining Metal with the symphonics, it is right up my alleyway. The band's Facebook is here
- well recommended.. 8.75/10 (Dave)
(Echozone) Reviewed 10th June 2015
Yay! This may be sung in the band's native tongue but this is good! Sündenrausch hail from Hamburg and this is a brand new effort from the band. The long work of singer and lyricist Kira and guitarist/producer Michael, this album was about a year in the making, and to me it is jolly well worth the wait. The results are powerful in your face rock songs with stacks of melody, and so so catchy. Although I do not speak or understand German, the lyrics apparently revolve around the different facets of love and passionate mind consuming sex! The opening four track salvo offers up a tsunami of tuneful rock music, great foot tapping stuff and sure offering chart potential in their native land. It slows down a bit for the instrumental atmospheric track 'Poesie' that is followed by the rather nice ballad 'Lug Mich An' - so far so good! 'Wahnsinn' ups the ante again and is yet another hideously catchy melodic tune, to get your ears around. 'Brenn!' pounds along, a real melodic thumper while 'Verstand Verloren' slows it down again, being a bluesy sounding number but with an uptempo chorus. The closing duo of 'Ewig Verbunden' and the bonus cut, the piano led ballad 'Narben', end what is a very good record. I do rather like this album from this German band - Well recommended... 9/10 (Dave)
(Self Released) Reviewed 9th June 2015
Tiarra is a gothic metal band from Bucharest, being formed in 2004. They are fronted by the lovely vocals of Anda Pomponiu with male vocals I believe from Alex "Indianu" Pantea. And boy, I wanna tell you something, this album is absolutely amazing, offering a 14 track double cd of nearly 107 minutes of Gothic Metal mayhem. Indeed, there is everything here from Death, Doom, Darkwave, through to Gothic and Progressive as well as Modern Metal, and I am sure the kitchen sink can be found somewhere among that little lot! There are two epic sounding tracks that exceed 14 minutes ('Broken Echoes II' and 'No More Sun'), but despite their length, do not bore the listener. Anda's vocals meanwhile, kinda remind me of Nell from The Crest and latter day Theatre of Tragedy, while there is a helluva lot going on here to plow through. Tiarra's style combines Metal instruments with classical instruments - we have heavy guitar riffs vs the poignant and warm sound of the cello, violin and the sound of keyboards, that in turn create subtle contrasts. I must say that there is something for everybody on this double disc...'Cold' is one of the slower atmospheric numbers, the band can also rock out totally on tracks like the 8 min plus 'Burn', featuring the growly vocals of Alex and the number 'Hard To Let Go', while offering a commercial feel on tracks like 'When She Cries'. Until recently I had never heard of this band (website here
), but the album that lyrically is based on personal experiences and is exploring the duality and antagonism of human feelings, is totally awesome and well recommended.... 10/10 (Dave)
(7HARD Records) Reviewed 5th June 2015
Here is yet another album to grab ya by the doo dahs! Setanera come from Italy, and from 2004 to 2009 they played as an Evanescence cover band. A wee while ago (Jan 2011 to be precise), they released a five track EP that was rated highly here at Ravenheart Music. So now in 2015, the band at the end of May released their debut offering and this is another album that has completely blown us away here at the Towers - the tracks that featured on the EP are also on this recording. This Symphonic Metal album gets going with the oh so catchy title track, and if that doesn't have you bouncing around your house, well nothing will. With subtle electro elements popping up at times throughout the record, next up 'Bring Me Back' is a heavier but equally melodic offering, and I love the vocals of Valentina Setanera, and the choral symphonic bits - awesome! 'Spettralia' was featured on the EP and is just another great offering sung in the band's native tongue. 'Dance Floor' is a pounding bouncy number as the title may suggest, the first four numbers of this album having blown me away! 'I Must Go' enables you to catch your breath and is a breathtaking 5+ minute piano led power ballad, while the 6+ minute 'Black River' is a bombastic and yet another catchy Symphonic tune, which appeared as the opening track on the EP. 'Oltre' is a slow but powerful atmospheric track again sung in Italian I believe and all this is leaving me breathless - totally overwhelming!!! 'Heroes' is not David Bowie but is another impressive track from these Italians, while the Evanescence sounding 'Lie' (again from the EP) just maintains the awesome momentum of this album. With closing duo of the Folky/Symphonic Metal of 'Meadows Of May' and the Symphonic 'Journey To Freedom', I am having big problems finding fault with this impressive album. It is a wholesome band effort led by Valentina, some great guitar work too from Alex Merola, but all I can say is get it and listen for yourselves, you will not be disappointed... 9.75/10 (Dave)
(Espanta Espiritos Records) Reviewed 5th June 2015
Born in 2011, Portugal's Secret Lie is fronted by the dolcet tones of an amazing 20 year old talent who goes by the name of Sara Madeira (she is 21 in November). And although this awesome band has been together for a relatively short period of time, this is in-fact their second album. And I must say that although this would not be called all out metal, there are some damn fine tunes here, some of which scream mainstream radio airplay. I do in-fact love this style of music, that also has an AOR feel about it at times. 'Filling Spaces' starts the 11 track record, being a slow to mid paced catchy rock tune, with a chorus that refuses to leave your head. Next up 'Until Death Do Us Part', is another bouncy commercial rock tune, and certainly this album has started of with a rather cool "wow factor". There are the slower passionate numbers to sink your teeth into including 'Black Butterflies' the subtle bluesy vibe of 'That Place', the atmospheric Power Ballad 'Trying To Reach' and closing track 'His Star' (with a hidden track tacked on the end - an acoustic version of 'Trying To Reach). There are further upbeat bouncy tracks too including 'Spinning Around' with its melodic chorus and the up tempo 'Another Chance'. To summarise: if you are an all out metal head, this may not appeal, but by and large, this is a very good rock record with lots of mainstream appeal. I think the USA would go mad over this, which is interesting as Silent Lie has already picked up a FOX MUSIC USA award for the Best Rock band! They are well worth checking out, no matter where you are and what music you are into (website here
). And just one more thing, founder member Pedro Teixeira Silva is a damn good violinist, and an extremely talented musician to boot, who has also studied here in England!... 9.75/10 (Dave)
(Self Release) Reviewed 3rd June 2015
This album by German band Soulslide (www.soulslide.net
) has actually been out for around a year now, but better late than never. The story of the band begins in September 2002 when a handful of young musicians from different local bands got together in order to pursue a new path apart from the caved ways of Black and Death Metal. Encouraged by good reviews of their debut record, 'Dreamshade', the band soon gained high publicity - even as far as Mexico! Fast forward to current time, and this is a very good recording, although vocalist Silenia who took part in the record is no longer in the band - current leading lady Juliane not joining until Sept 2014. There are nine tracks of Symphonic Metal with hardly a duff track to be found. If the band has not found it's way onto your wants list, well put it there now - damn cool! 9/10 (The Nugget)
SIRENADE...'WISH TO FLY AWAY'
(Self Released) Reviewed 29th May 2015
OMG, the quality of music being sent our way doesn't seem to subside. Sirenade fronted by leading lady Simona Janovičová come from Slovakia, and this album throws at the listener 9 tracks of rather good Melodic Metal. 'Fallin' opens the record, a mid to high tempo melodic tune which in turn is followed by the equally as good 'Master Of Pain'. There are other goodies to be found here including the catchy and Gothy sounding 'No One Hears You', the track 'Treasure' featuring male & female vocals, the heavy and pulsating 'One On The Other Side' and the mainly mid tempo title track. The band's Facebook (link here
) lists their music as Gothic Metal, but a band fronted by a lady should not immediately bring the word "Gothic" into the equation. I would call it catchy Melodic Metal with perhaps a Gothic and Progressive current bubbling under the surface, but we here do wholeheartedly recommend the album being checked out - some good stuff here.. 8.5/10 (The Nugget)
TEARLESS…’STEP INTO DARKNESS’
(WormholeDeath) Reviewed 27th May 2015
Tearless from Croatia was formed in autumn 2003 by Zlatko Kušter (guitar, vocal), the late and dearly missed Marko Bregović (drums) and Zoran Ernoić (guitar) as a cover band. Soon after that, they started to compose their own music and write their own songs. The band expanded after Matija Brežni (keyboards), Josip Cujzek – Fure (bass guitar) and Kristina Mojzeš (female vocal) joined Tearless. In 2005 they recorded their first demo called 'Reverie', with Ivana Vuglač replacing Kristina as a female vocal. Fast forward to the current time, and there have been further personnel changes within the band, now featuring Ivana Novak as a female vocalist. This is a ten track Gothic Metal opus and in addition to Ivana's vocals, we have male vocals compliments of Zlatko Kušter and Filip Babić. This melodic and gothy album thunders along like a Japanese bullet train and to be honest, is rather good. We are unsure of a release date as yet, but the album will be well worth checking out when it appears. A preview of the album (the track 'Dreams Of You') can be viewed here
… 8.5/10 (Dave)
(Gaphals) Reviewed 19th may 2015
Slowgold is Amanda Werne, and can be described like a vague dream hovering over the western parts of Gothenburg. The music brings to mind the Swedish archipelago in the earliest hours of midsummer eve - sitting alone, gazing at the horizon while your loved one is leaving. This album having already been praised by Classic Rock magazine here in the UK, is sung in Amanda's native tongue. There are 10 tracks here of laid back relaxing music for those coming Summer evenings, where you can lay back with the odd beer (or indeed wine) or six! But warning: This is NOT Metal, but it is rather good - facebook here
. Imagine Mazzy Starr crossed with early Fleetwood Mac... 7.75/10 (Dave)
(Rocksector Records) Reviewed 7th May 2015
British band Triaxis who actually hail from south Wales, is about to release their third album, 'Zero Hour' and prior to its release, we here present a review of what is a rather good album: The album clocks in at over 70 minutes and is a twelve track masterpiece of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, very impressive indeed. There are some epic songs here, only one, 'Victorious' clocks in at under four minutes, and the majestic closing title track runs in at nearly eleven minutes. And vocalist Krissie Kirby sure has a fine set of pipes that she utilises to full effect! And the track 'Lest We Forget' as the title may suggest, is a slower brooding number although still a track with a metallic feel - check out the lyrics. What can I say about this album, except to tell all and sundry to check this fine release out when it gets released later this month. The band Headline SOS fest on Friday 17th July in Manchester and return to Bloodstock open air on 9th August. This is well recommended - facebook here
.. 9/10 (Dave)
SIRENIA...'THE SEVENTH LIFE PATH'
(Napalm Records) Reviewed 5th May 2015
Among the tsunami of Female Fronted Gothic/Symphonic Rock and Metal bands that seem to be gracing our presence at the moment, quite a few stand out, some rather more than others. Sirenia is one such band that graces the Premier League of this style of music and quite rightly so as well. Without going into too much detail, Sirenia have released a gem of an album here, we have 11 tracks and nearly 70 minutes of golden nuggets to grace your cd player or mobile device, depending on your preferred mode of listening. But I do have faves, the extremely catchy 'Elixir' being one such tune from this record of awesome stand out cuts. Ailyn's clean poppy vocals alongside Morten screaming at times goes together so well, a factor that some bands fail to achieve in this Beauty & Beast style. To summarise, fans of the Female Fronted Rock & Metal music scene will need no introduction to Sirenia, so my advice is to buy this awesome epic upon release, you will not regret it one little bit! ... 9.5/10 (The Nugget)
(Self Release) Reviewed 1st May 2015
Somnia from Israel began their career in 2013 as a duo project, when the musicians Orr Didi and vocalist Noa Gruman wrote a rock opera called Gates of Dawn. The opera was arranged for a full symphony orchestra, choir, and metal ensemble. A demo was fully recorded at a home studio quality, but due to technical reasons was not recorded professionally and officially released. In Summer 2014, the band then began performing at local clubs, with a choir of four singers dressed in black hooded cloaks. In the fall of 2014 they recorded this Shadow EP at Cast Iron studios. There are four tracks here of Symphonic Metal, 'Tantibus' is the opener, a catchy pounding opener, while next up 'Shards - PtI: Birds' is a slower rather more mellow number at the start, before it kicks in big time exibiting progressive influences together with great vocals from Noa.'Shards - PtII: Shadow' has a symphonic and indeed a folky feel at times with further progressive influences coming to the fore, while closing track. 'Shards - PtIII: Gravity' pounds its way to the finishing line. This EP is rather good from a band that I must admit is unfamiliar to me, so check them out for yourselves - their website is here
... 8.25/10 (Dave)
THE DYSTOPIAN PROJECT...'DEATH LEAVES AN ECHO' EP
(Self Released) Reviewed 20th April 2015
Oh my word! Can the music that gets sent our way get any better. The latest to turn up at the Towers, is a 5 track EP by a fine bunch of Dublin based musicians. They go by the name The Dystopian Project, being fronted by a young lass, Antonia Close. I have heard the word "Prog" mentioned when I did a little research into this band, but to be honest, I wouldn't call it 100% prog! This is hard rock from the top drawer with stax of melody thrown into the melting pot and a subtle Prog undercurrent! Opener 'Broken Reality' is one of the best openers you will hear this year, a melodic metallic belter of a tune, and before you catch your breath, the awesome 'Delirium' follows, another near damn perfect tune, the vocals of Antonia nail it perfectly! And I can guarantee that this song, will bang around in your head long after it has finished. 'Dystopian' is a 9 minute epic blast of metallic musical imagination, with an introduction that would do many symphonic metal bands proud! Indeed, the track carries that aforementioned subtle prog undercurrent and would also appeal to fans who like a little bit of symphonic metal thrown into the mix. Great stuff!! - can it get any better? And it does!! 'Last Innocent Man' slows things down a bit, an acoustic feel to this number and equally as good as its predecessors. The album closes with another colossal tune, the 8 minute plus 'Winter's Hall', totally epic in its construction. This album is damn good and well recommended, so why don't you check the video to the track 'Delirium' here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSHX_TaVa18
, then buy the album... 9.5/10 (Dave)
TEZAURA...'UNLEASH THE BUTTERFLIES'
(Crysella Records) Reviewed 10th April 2015
Emotions, dreams, the raw reality of life. This is the fabric which makes up the music of Czech Neo Gothic Metal band Tezaura. This their debut album is built around intense clean female vocal melodies, and balances across genres with modern electrosynth elements, classical orchestral parts and heavy distorted guitar riffs. It takes you on a dreamy journey to a world of fun, happiness, love, anger, sadness and every other daily emotion. Tezaura was originally formed in 2010 as a new project from singer Lori and keyboard player Filip. Other members joined in time, guitarist Nemo, drummer David and bass guitarist Mara. The band then released their demo EP 'Daydreaming', and the first music video 'Mechanical Ballerina' followed soon as a prequel to this album. Basically, what we have on this cd from the opening title track to the bouncy closer 'Heavenhell', are 10 high octane tracks of very catchy melodic Gothic Metal, that should appeal to a wide range of female fronted music loving fans, and possibly beyond too. This is rather good and very commercial sounding, some may argue that it has all been done before and is still being done, but what the frikin' heck is wrong with that when it is this good! Well worth checking out - released June 22nd!. The band's website is here
.. 9.25/10 (The Nugget)
THE ONE2s...'EP 2'
(Self Release) Reviewed 8th April 2015
The One2s fronted by Leiana who also plays bass (with a little help in the male vox department from guitarists Sean Bombz and Tom Nuzzie) come from Philadelphia, and this EP simply titled 'EP 2' is an intetresting release. Needless to say there is an 'EP 1', and the band via their Facebook site call their type of music Post Punk Indie Shoegaze Alternative Rock, or something like that - imagine Joy Division and Sonic Youth meeting Blondie. This is not at all bad, opener 'Gazed Out' being an atmospheric synth infused instrumental, before the rather good and quite stunning 'Cryer' kicks in big time. 'Pop The Ripper' is another good un, an up tempo number, while like the other numbers here, 'I Can See' offers up some impressive guitar work. Closer 'Blank Stare' runs in at almost 6 minutes. It starts slow and atmospheric before it ups the ante half way through the number - awesome! The One2s create a shoegaze, brit-pop, punk influenced sound all of their own. There is some great musicianship here, and I must say that this is a pleasant release and well worth checking out, especially through your headphones. The band's Facebook is here
... 8/10 (Dave)
THE GENTLE STORM...'THE DIARY'
(Inside Out Music) Reviewed 2nd April 2015
Here is another epic album from the pen of Mr quiet guy, Arjen Anthony Lucassen, this time with a little help from Anneke Van Giersbergen' amongst others. She herself, should be well known within the female fronted scene, mainly with her work with The Gathering. Arjen's latest work under the moniker of The Gentle Storm is called 'The Diary’, and follows a love story of two protagonists - Susanne and Joseph, a couple living in 17th century Netherlands. Joseph has gone on his voyage of endurance, sailing across the sea for 2 years. The only way for Joseph and Susanne to communicate is via letters, which form the base of the songs on offer here. The second concept of the album is quite vivid, kind of like Ayreon’s ‘The Dream Sequencer’ and ‘Flight Migrator’, but with similar yet more epic songs. Both the CDs on this double album have the same songs played with different arrangements. The first CD, ‘Gentle’ includes 11 songs played on folk and acoustic instruments, while the second CD, ‘Storm’ includes the very same songs, but with a heavy sound combined with subtle progressive tones that Arjen is known for. I think to review any or indeed every song here will be a total injustice, so go and get the album and listen for yourselves, it is totally unique, has a great vocalist in Anneke, overall all round musicianship making it well worth the outlay!.. 9.75/10 (Dave)
REMEMBER to visit our comprehensive reviews storage library at Ravenheart Music Archived Reviews.