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Ravenheart Music: Album Reviews


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(Self Release) Reviewed 24th May 2016

From the south of the Netherlands in Eindhoven; the metal capital of the Netherlands, Shadowrise is born; a Symphonic Power Metal band inspired by heavy melo-death. Fronted by Laura Guldemond (Ayreon – The Theater Equation Choir, Robby Valentine) and with male grunts courtesy Roman Potasse, Shadowrise I am sure will release a storm on the metal scene as we know it, with this their debut EP! Opener 'Rise' pounds out of the speakers knocking you against the wall, offering up heavenly clean vocals and those dirty grunts, giving the music a much heavier feel. And that opener sets the scene rather nicely - 'Django' is a melodic Symphonic belter, while 'Monsters' is a monster of a track! The pounding title track closes this rather cool EP, the album itself being a melodic yet heavy record, with beautiful guitar harmonies and riffs, heavy blast beats, thundering bass together with clean and harsh vocals, not forgetting loads of neo-classical influences added by Shadowrise’s Daniël Boomsma. The band can be checked out at worth looking into.... 8/10 (Dave)


(Self Release) Reviewed 15th May 2016

Sevi is a Bulgarian rock band from Sofia that was conceived in 2010. The current members are Svetlana "Sevi" Bliznakova (lead vocals), Temelko Temelkov (lead guitar), Rally Velinov (bass guitar), Pavlin Ivanov (drums, percussion) and Dessy Markova (keyboards, backing vocals). The band describe their music as heart rock because of the emotional content of their songs. This is their 2nd studio album and in turn is a rather cool slice of melodic hard rock featuring 11 belting numbers, all rather pleasing to these ears with Svetlana singing with very little detectable accent. Indeed her powerhouse vocals are well suited to the style of music. There are a number of fave tracks here, but the catchy and awesomely titled ‘Screw You, Honey’ and the AOR sounding ‘Destiny’ being highlights to my ears. Sevi‘s website is here… rather cool… 8.5/10 (Dave)


(Maple Metal Records) Reviewed 14th May 2016

Tothem is considered by international critics as one of the most talented and promising bands of the Italian and international melodic metal scene, and quite rightly to my ears too. After releasing the EP (Tothem - 2003), only in 2010 did Black Cyril, the guitar player, and Roslen, lead singer, decided to restart the project with the entry of three new members: Leo, on bass guitar, Andrea, on drums, and Marco, on keyboards. During the years they have played at the best clubs in Italy and Europe. Up til now they have recorded two Eps (Tothem in 2003 and Osaka Bed & Breakfast released in 2010 in limited edition), with their first full-length in 2013,'Beyond the Sea' seeing the band hook up with the Canadian label Maple Metal Records. And now in 2016, the new 2nd album is unleashed upon the record buying public. Roslen has an awesome voice that can switch from a kinda Poppy/Rock feel to soprano at the flick of a switch. Everything here is damn good from the opener, being the upbeat and fast paced title track to the closer 'The Witch (Live)' - the studio version of this track appeared on the 'Beyond The Sea' album. There are standout cuts a plenty, but the aforementioned opener is a goodie for starters together with soprano vocal ending, other tracks include ‘Legacy’ which I am sure will become a live fave and crowd pleaser in due course, the electro flavoured pounder ‘Bipolar Disorder’, the catchy ‘Liar’, the mind blowing ‘L’essenza’ and the buoyant ‘The Other Half’ among the others on this record. This is another awesome album from a fine Italian band – out now so get it! 9.25/10 (Dave)


(Scarlet Records) Reviewed 14th May 2016

Italian band Secret Rule was formed in 2014 with the intention to create a powerful, melodic and rhythmically challenging sound. They released their first album ‘Transposed Emotions’ the following year and toured Europe extensively in support of it, building a solid fan base in countries such as Belgium and the UK especially. The band is fronted by powerhouse singer Angela Di Vincenzo and includes notable musicians such as keyboardist Henrik Klingenberg (Sonata Arctica) and drummer Sander Zoer (ex Delain). ‘Machination’ will be released this summer (June 26th) on Scarlet Records, featuring special guest appearances by Stefan Helleblad (Within Temptation), Timo Somers (Delain), Fabio D’Amore (Serenity) and more, and with such a line up, you would expect something a little special, and that is truly the case with this release. With a powerful and melodic rock-metal sound coupled with industrial structures and electronic influences, this album should be on everyone's shopping list. The opener 'Ex-Machina' confirms that statement, a belter of an opener as is the quirky and bouncy follow up track 'The Saviour'. Two tracks in = a frikin’ good start. Next up, the metallic and Middle Eastern sounding ‘I Have The Sun’ follows and is another quality track with such a catchy chorus. ‘Dolls’ flirts with Power Metal territory, while ‘I Will’ is a melodic belter! The obligatory power ballad comes with the awesome track ‘The Image’ which is from the top drawer, as is basically everything on this record to be perfectly frank. ‘You’re The Player’ is a melodic blockbuster running in at just over three minutes with another catchy chorus, with next up ‘Your Trap’ having an electro feel together with great guitar solo. The final three numbers maintain the ‘awesome factor’ - ‘Foolish Daisy’ brings in briefly some harsh vocals with a progressive undercurrent, ‘Short Stories’ again flirts with Power Metal while the ballad ‘A Mother’ closes this fine album. The band’s website is - here, this is well and truly recommended and to be honest it deserves a 10/10 (Dave)


(Self Release) Reviewed 10th May 2016

Shiny Black Anthem is an Italian band featuring the glamorous fashion model Sarah Moon (recently featured in Playboy Magazine) on vocals. They offer the listener an alternative rock/metal sound inspired by bands like Paramore, Pvris and the like. And to be honest, this is another album that has dropped in here that we find rather cool. Thirteen tracks of captivating melodic tunes, that to be totally honest are all damn good. After a brief instrumental opener, fist track proper 'Fade Into White' kicks in with its catchy chorus, although I did begin to find the chorus a little repetitive as the tune wore on. Some interestingly titled tracks too like 'Your Lips Are Cocaine', which offers up another catchy/melodic chorus as do most of the numbers here. Other highlights include 'Let Me Out (I’m A Monster)’, the powerful ‘Your Enemy’, the catchy ‘Give Me More’, a fave of mine being the belting ‘Chasing Shadows’, with another great chorus and the awesome power ballad ‘Alone In My World’ that features Daniele Tofani. All out headbangers may wish to steer clear of this album, but for fans of the aforementioned bands (Paramore etc), then this 13 track radio friendly alternative rock release is well worth checking out when released 8th July, and is recommended as a consequence by the Ravenheart team. The band’s Facebook is here, the recording being produced by Daniele Ingrati and Becko (Universal Italy) @ Skie Studio... 9/10 (Dave)

SOLREID...'Цена Открытий/Cena Otkrytiy' (The Price of Openings)

(MUSICA Production, Moscow) Reviewed 8th May 2016

This is the second review from a Russian band today, proving that Russia is becoming a hotbed of Rock and Metal. Anyway, female fronted sympho power metal band SOLREID has just released this their debut album “Цена Открытий/Cena Otkrytiy» (The Price of Openings in English). The band was founded in 2010 in Smolensk, Russia and is fronted by the awesome voice of Victoriel Filth, who is also a professional soprano singer. On this album, they bring us 7 numbers sung in their native tongue, that would appeal to fans of early Nightwish or Edenbridge. This is a short album of around 25 minutes, but there are some corking numbers here that hammer along rather nicely, nothing here over 5 minutes in length, so all short and sweet. One of my fave tracks is the power ballad 'Wechnost' together with awesome guitar solo. Although a rather short album, I do rather like this record and it is well worth looking into for fans of this style of music. View an album teaser here.. 8.5/10 (Dave)


(Sliptrick Records) Reviewed 8th May 2016

SLOT come from Russia and is fronted by a young lady by the name of Nookie, with male mainly clean vox from Cache. Together with Korn, Slot performed at Saint Petersburg's Ice Palace and at MSA in Moscow in 2006. Indeed, they have released six studio albums, two remix albums, one live DVD, several singles and several soundtracks, so the Russian hit makers have quite a pedigree, and are now about to release this their seventh album via Sliptrick Records, in July 2016. They had a major setback however in early 2014, when female singer Nookie was stabbed multiple times in her neck during an autograph session with the band’s fans in St. Petersburg. She was rushed to the hospital, where the doctors said that she was "moderately grave", but her life wasn't in danger. Thankfully she has recovered and together with the band throw at the listener 13 tracks of Alternative Metal with a strong melodic sensibility coupled with cool electro influences. The tracks are sung in Russian, but I have English titles to the songs. The opener ‘Reincarnation’ is a real belter and sets the scene for what is a totally awesome album. Nookie belts them out like a good un with fave tracks a plenty. Just listen to the corker ‘As He Wants’, the totally magical and rap influenced ‘Russian Soul’ with its catchy chorus (I really love this one!) and the metallic, pounding and interestingly titled ‘Ctrl+Z’, with yet another awesome chorus. Damn it I am only 4 tracks in, so I may as well just say that the whole shebang is superb including further tracks like ‘Where, There The Sky’. If you love melody, subtle electronica, male and mainly but not exclusively clean vocals, and belting tunes, this is for you! I have known about Slot for some while, but have never really got into any of their music big time. This is rather damn good and well recommended – check out and put 8th July into your diaries!... 9.5/10 (Dave)


(Factory Music) Reviewed 2nd May 2016

The new EP from Lincolnshire (UK) rockers Skarlett Riot is now available, and is another awesome record from this band that like a good wine seem to mature with age :) 5 tracks of melodic alternative hard rock with the signature Skarlett Riot sound that offers huge verses and catchy addictive choruses. This hugely talented UK band continues to push out awesome music at an alarming rate, and surely world domination must ensue. Everything here on this little EP is impressive, well recommended and available from today on iTunes and the like.... 9/10 (Dave)


(Self Released) Reviewed 28th April 2016

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 released last year, 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 ya. 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 not too long ago 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 and well recommended..8.5/10 (Dave)


(Self Release) Reviewed 8th April 2016

The South African rock/metal music scene is not one that from an outsider anyway, could be described as vibrant. However, what bands that I am familiar with in that amazing country, they are rather all good. We can now add The Just to that list, as they offer up six tracks on this EP of up lifting Alternative Rock, similar to bands like Flyleaf et al. Fronted by the voice of Illona Grobler, the EP gets going with the track ‘No Mistakes’, a monster offering and then ‘Burn’ gets ya, a track with a hideously catchy chorus, one of my current faves from this little EP. ‘Wake up’ jangles along rather nicely, while ‘Brave’ flirts a little with hard rock territory. The closing duo of the bouncy ‘She’ and ‘Now Hear Me’ ( close what is a rather good record. The latter being a sort of anthem where the band want people to be able to sing over their "haters", especially those pursuing their dreams and passions that are outside of the norm. Indeed, the album basically is about chasing your dreams, not giving up, realizing you are worth far more than society wants you to believe. The band has set out to make music that rocked, but would reach as broad an audience as possible and even radio play. I think they may have succeeded. A very good effort from this young Sth African band – their Facebook is here.. 8.5/10 (Dave)


(Self Release) Reviewed 1st April 2016

An email dropped in the other day from Jackie Chambers (Girlschool) offering me the new EP from her other band SYTERIA. The band comprises of Jackie (Guitar, Vocals), Julia (Vocals), Keira (Bass Guitar, Vocals) and the lucky guy Pablo (Drums, Vocals). Well after a successful pledge campaign, the band on this EP throw at the listener three high octane tracks of some rather decent Punk orientated Rock Music, 'Sheeple (Model Citizen)', 'When I Get Out Of High School' and 'Reflection'. A kinda throw back in time to the heady hazy days of crowded boozy clubs and pogo sticks :) This is like the output from Jackie's other band rather good, so how about becoming a model citizen and check out their website here, and subsequently make a purchase!.... 8/10 (Dave)


(Self Release) Reviewed 31st March 2016

The Silent Delusion project led by Gonçalo Antunes, with collaborators Duarte Cruz and Daniel Pereira is a music project rooted in heavy metal, but with a strong melodic sense and a pop sensibility, resulting in an accessible and very captivating sound. This release contains interpretations by female vocalists of recognizable value within the Portuguese metal scene, reinforcing the innovative and unique character of this work at the national level. The guest artists are: Sara Freitas (Monolith Moon), Diana Rosa (11th Dimension), Rute Fevereiro (EnChanTya, BlackWidows) and Célia Ramos (Mons Lvnae, Red Rose Motel, Candymoon). There are eight tracks here and pretty good they are too. We have the standout up lifting melodic opener ‘Traveling In Time’, the equally as awesome but slightly heavier ‘Equilibrium’, the seven minute majestic ‘Come Fly With Me’, and the heavy but equally as catchy ‘War Within’. But there’s more! The pace does not slacken as further pounding melodic tracks blow your mind… there’s the occasional power metal within the number ‘Hollow’, the mid-tempo ‘Hurricane’, the operatic folk influenced ‘Return of the King’ and the awesome progressive influenced closing track ‘Delusion’. Everything on this album drives along as smooth as a well driven formula one racing car, and as previously stated, is very accessible and should appeal to all fans of the female fronted melodic metal music scene. View a video taster to the record here…this is well recommended when released in May… 9.25/10 (Dave)


(Demon Doll Records/Atomic Stuff Promotion) Reviewed 22nd March 2016

This is a brand new smokin' hot all female combo from Italy, or San Marino to be more precise. THE PHOENIX is a quartet and a month or so ago released this their first EP. There are four tracks of pulsating no nonsense hard rock, and with a drummer called Luna RocketQueen, you know this band sure means business. This is good catchy stuff and certainly worth checking out. Have a look at their facebook's time to party! 8.25/10 (Dave)


(Sony Records -Oceania, Japan/Fearless -North America) Reviewed 3rd March 2016

Tonight Alive is an Australian rock band from Sydney, formed in 2008. The band consists of lead vocalist Jenna McDougall, lead guitarist Whakaio Taahi, rhythm guitarist Jake Hardy, bassist Cam Adler and drummer Matt Best. Guitarist Jake Hardy and bassist Cameron Adler already had an existing rock project covering other bands' material. Later, they met Whakaio Taahi through mutual friends, and asked him to join in on keyboard and lead guitar. Meanwhile, Jenna was writing her own acoustic music at the time, and had Cameron Adler helping her record and produce a demo. After the demo was finished, Cam gave Jenna a song the band had written and asked her to record her vocals over it. On May 31, 2008, the day before her sixteenth birthday, Jenna joined as lead vocalist, forming the first version of the band. Anyway, here in 2016, the band release what is their third album of what I would call some rather good tuneful and melodic Pop/Rock. 'To Be Free' gets the album underway and is a fine way to start, a great melodic song that would set radio airwaves on fire. The slower but equally as good 'Oxygen' follows and to my ears is another sure fire hit! ‘Human Interaction’ and ‘Drive’ are low tempo numbers, while ‘How Does It Feel’ ups the tempo, and so far everything here pushes all the correct buttons! And it continues with further awesome cuts like the lovely ballad ‘Waves’, the damn cool and catchy ‘Power Of One’ and the closing track, the ballad ‘The Greatest’. This sounds rather crazy but despite their apparent high profile worldwide including to a small extent the UK, I must hold my hands up and say that this band has slipped by and large un-noticed by myself. Time to rectify, this is a good record. Furthermore, the band is often compared to fellow alternative Rock/Pop band Paramore. However, regarding the comparison, guitarist Whakaio Taah stated "People are going to compare, it's human nature, but we don't really let it affect us. We just do what we love to do and hope people like it." Recommended!… 9/10 (Dave)


(Self Release) Reviewed 22nd February 2016

Spaceship Underground is an Alternative Rock band that was conceived in 2013 and they come from Israel. To my ears, it is refreshing to hear something that differs from the run of the mill Gothic/Symphonic music that very often comes our way. Fronted by Grace M (Chen Mogzamov), who also is the main lyricist within the band, they throw at the listener 10 tracks of rather good Alternative/Indie Rock, that could quite easily cross over into the mainstream if given the chance. I must admit when I listen to music that is sent my way, I sometimes never quite know what to expect. This is one of those albums that when being played then offers a pleasant listening experience. Plenty on offer here from the rocky catchy opener ‘Clay’, through the quirky ‘Circus’, the heavy ‘Here It Comes Again', the laid back ‘I Wish I Didn’t Know’ and the bluesy 'Goodbye'. Although the music has its roots in Alternative Rock, this debut also welcomes elements of hip-hop, modern rock and atmospheric electronica into the band’s music. Spaceship Underground’s Bandcamp is here…recommended.. 8.5/10


(Alfa Matrix) Reviewed 17th February 2016

Here we have the first 6-track EP by the rather enchanting project SIN.SIN. This album invites us into Kristell L.’s magic supernatural world located on clouds up in the heavens. An intimate and almost introspective world made of rainbows and bright nights and only accessible through the magical power of mixing fantasy with electronic music. Known for her work as lead singer of the goth rock/industrial metal band LOVELORN DOLLS, Kristell L., literally opens herself up on this new SIN.SIN project of hers, through which she spreads her butterfly wings and reveals a more colourful side of her personality. This six track EP offers rather cool and danceable electronic–alt pop– ethereal wave, including various re mixes, all accompanied by the awesome angelic vocals of Kristell L. This is not Metal but it is rather kool, and would go down a storm in clubland!! It also screams mainstream radio airplay. It was released on 26th January and is well worth checking out… 8.5/10 (Dave)


(Self Released) Reviewed 13th February 2016

I reviewed 'Terroristian' from Leeds (UK) band Spekulus back in October 2013, and that was a really good album - a young lady called Amanda Amorphic fronted the band on that album, and I stated in that review that she spat venom with loadsa attitude. Well Amanda is still here on the awesomely titled 'SEALED WITH A FIST', the band's most recent release. And she still spits venom, making the African Black Mamba (a highly venomous snake) look quite a friendly character really. This to be totally frank is a completely awesome album, as the band hurl at the listener 7 tracks of highly charged Industrial Metal, with Amanda screaming like a honey monster craving whatever honey monsters crave (erm, honey I suppose)! Talking about monsters, there are some monster cuts here in-fact, but I at the moment do particularly like the title track - 5 mins of Industrial Metal heaven that would even leave Isane Bolt gasping for breath. And the pounding 'Disposure' is rather good too! This record is heavy, it should be played loud and it is damn good. The band's website is here where you can download the album. Well recommended, but a word of advice, do not get this for your Grannie for her Birthday :) ..... 8.5/10 (Dave)


(Spinefarm) Reviewed 31st January 2016

Skunk Anansie is a British band whose members include Skin (lead vocals), Cass (guitar, bass, backing vocals), Ace (guitar, backing vocals) and Mark Richardson (drums and percussion). They formed in March 1994, disbanded in 2001 and reformed in 2009. The name "Skunk Anansie" is taken from Akann folk tales of Anansi the spider-man of Ghana with "Skunk" added to make the name nastier and more sinister. Their last studio output was in 2012 with the album 'Black Traffic' and the awesomely titled 'Anarchytecture' is what greets 2016, and an interesting album it is too. Kicking off with the danceable and catchy 'Love Someone Else', this may set the benchmark for what is to come, but the album in-fact does offer an interesting mix of music. ‘Death To The Lovers’ for example is simply a beautiful ballad, while the dance vibe returns with the number ‘In The Back Room’. ‘That Sinking Feeling’ does not have a sinking feeling at all, a great foot tapper if ever there was one, while following track ‘Without You‘ is damn cool. Everything on this release is top quality, may be lacking the big choruses of the past, but this album comes from the top drawer from a top band British band. The record is worth a punt from a band described by Skin as a ‘Clit Rock Group‘ and mentions Sex Pistols, Blondie, dub, reggae, electronica, hip-hop and world music as significant influences! 8.5/10 (Dave)


(Tin Idol Productions) Reviewed 22nd January 2016

There are not many if any Gothic Metal bands from Hawaii apart from this rather cool band who calls themselves STORM. Fronted by Sandy “Storm” Essman, she so happens to be a classically trained singer with a versatile background in the music business, Sandy being a vocal powerhouse and front-woman extraordinaire. Onto the album now and 'Medusa' is the band’s 2nd cd following on the heels of ’Storm’s a Brewin’ that we reviewed in Feb last year. This latest record is a "Metal Musical" and I must say is rather good too, adopting a sound that would I am sure go down well within Europe and the UK. Some catchy tracks all linked by a deep haunting male spoken voice, the complete musical package telling the tale of Medusa. There is a storm on the horizon striking in the blink of an eye, and if you don’t check this LP out it may well strike you. To be honest, this is rather good! Facebook is here… 8.5/10 (Dave)


(MOLIX, s.r.o.) Reviewed 21st January 2016

Fronted by the rather pretty Erika Strečková and with a keyboard player that looks like an American pro wrestler, Symfobia come from Slovakia, and give the listener a rather catchy and melodic style of Symphonic Metal that to these ears is rather good. The music actually reminds me particularly in the orchestration dept., of Danish Metal Kings ROYAL HUNT, a band I do particularly like. The whole package is awesome from the rather cool opener 'Dragon', through the bouncy and bombastic 'Bloody Wings', the epic awesome title track, the 7 minute plus emotional power ballad 'Last Teardrop', to the closing appropriately titled 'Finally'. You know what?, this has totally blown my mind!! It was released a few months ago and has been sitting in our catch ups pile. If you have not already got this, my advice to go, buy and enjoy! The band's website is here... 9.5/10 (Dave)


(Self Release) Reviewed 14th January 2016

Secret Signs hail from Spain and yep, you’ve guessed it, they so happen to be a Symphonic/Gothic Metal band. Fronted by the operatic vocals of May Lucas, this is their 2nd full length release, their first ‘For A Lifetime’ appearing in 2012. ’Under Dark Skies’ is standard fare run of the mill keyboard driven Metal and although a good album, having listened to the cd a few times, nothing here really stands out and grabs you. A band that has to do a little bit more to promote themselves into the Premier league. However, having said that, this album is a good listen for fans of this style of music, but I feel more has to be done for them to gain a wider fan base. Unfortunately, I do not own their debut album, so I am unable to make a comparison, but I have been told reliably that the debut may well be a better release with a better production. Anyway, let us not be too critical of music from a scene we so love, but if you want a taste of Secret Signs, it may be an idea to check their debut out first. A band though that shows promise, their Facebook is here…. 7.75/10 (Dave)


(Trisol) Reviewed 17th December 2015

Spielbann is a band that is fully committed to singing in their native tongue - German and kudos to them for that! The band is centred around the duo of Seb Storm and his female partner in crime Nic Frost. And add to that the front man of ASP (Alexander Spreng), who contributed to the album and also contributed to the production process. Musically, this is your typical catchy Gothic Rock/Metal that the Germans love so much and do rather well too, with the vocals of both Seb and Nic complimenting each other well, and no growls either! Also add subtle electro elements and that more or less puts the icing on the cake. Some corkers here like the tracks ‘In Alle Ewigkeit’, the rather nice ballad ‘Aquarell’, the metallic ‘Haus des Vergessens’ with its catchy chorus, another rather awesome ballad ‘Lebewohl’ and the atmospheric and rather haunting ‘HeimSuchung‘. This record overall certainly hit’s the good category and as a consequence is well worth getting hold of…. 8.75/10 (Dave)


(Dead End Exit) Reviewed 28th November 2015

Welcome to the realms of Cinematic Metal or as the band describe on their Facebook page, Symphonic/Industrial Metal. It is interesting that over the years, Heavy Metal is simply now not just Heavy Metal. There is Melodic Metal, Symphonic Metal, Gothic Metal, Dark Metal, Black Metal, Stoner Metal and so on. Okay, some of those sub genres have been around for a while, but every day, a new sub genre seems to be springing up, no matter what style of music we are talking about, whether its Pop, Rock or Metal. Anyway, The Grim is a Swedish outfit and consist basically of vocalist and mastermind Carl Lofvenhamn and female vocalist, the lovely diva Maria Storck. And as a consequence, we have an album that could quite easily be a sound track to a massive sci-fi movie. Great orchestration, great vocals and great tunes, all put together into this awesome little package. Indeed, if you put Industrial, Classical, Symphonic, Gothic, Rock and Metal (among others) into a melting pot, add heaps of atmosphere and melody, the result would be this amazing record! Certainly an interesting and haunting listening experience and well worth checking out. Facebook is here - unique and epic!.. 9/10 (Dave)


(East West Records) Reviewed 27th November 2015

The Corrs…well what can I say? Formed in 1990 and it had all become a little quiet just recently within The Corrs camp until now. Indeed ‘White Light’ is their first studio album in a decade, after ‘Home’ (2005), their first of original material since 2004, and marks their much welcome return to the music scene. And they are still musically stunning as they give us an album full of great Pop/Rock! Andrea remains on top form vocally and the girls (and lets not forget that lucky guy Jim as well) all seem like a good wine - they get better with age. There is some fine awesome music here with many stand out cuts, ‘Kiss Of Life’ being just one track that kinda hit me with the word ‘magical’, from a tsunami of awesome music on this album. As many of you will have gathered, this is not a Metal album but who cares, I love this band, always have done and it is nothing to do with the pretty girl factor, just damn fine inoffensive Pop/Rock music!! Released today so get it!… 9/10 (Dave)


(The Leaders Records) Reviewed 27th November 2015

Scarleth come from Ukraine and on this album, they are fronted by two young ladies: Irina Makukha – vocals and Oksana Element – extreme vocals. However, I am a little unsure as to whether Irina Makukha is still in the band, as she is not listed within their current line up according to their website and indeed their Facebook page as well. Anyway, no matter who is in or not in the band, ‘The Silver Lining’, the band’s second album offers the listener 9 tracks of pure in yer face Melodic Metal. It all kicks off in manic fashion with the track ‘Night Of Lies’, this number laying the foundation for what is to come. And if they are Oksana’s growls, well she can growl like the best of them! But for those of you out there that are not fans of growls, then they are not overly done on this release. The momentum continues with second track ‘Double Memory’, another up tempo blast of Melodic Metal, while ‘The Gates of Dark Sun’ drops the tempo a little, but is a massive epic song nonetheless, with a kinda Middle Eastern feel! ‘Voices’ with its melodic chorus blasts out of the speakers, while the awesome ‘Dying Alone’ is the album’s power ballad. ‘One Short Life’ will have you dancing around the camp fire, with the closing trio of ‘Before The Night Falls’, ‘Pure Desire’ and ‘Last Hope’ failing to disappoint, so overall, a very good album from this Ukrainian band…. 8.5/10 (Dave)

TRACKTOR BOWLING…’Бесконечность'

(Moroz Records) Reviewed 15th November 2015

Tracktor Bowling is a Russian alternative metal band, formed in Moscow in 1996. The band is fronted by Lousine Gevorkian (who also fronts the Russian band Louna) and from what I understand from my contacts, they are one of the most popular metal bands in Russia. 'Бесконечность' is their fifth album and please do not ask for any translations LOL, but what I can say is that this band rocks and Lousine can sure belt out an awesome tune with those power house vocals of hers. There are 12 tracks on this record sung in the band's native tongue, and as my knowledge of the Russian language is literally non existent, I am unable to give any translation. But this is Alternative Rock/Metal of the highest calibre with a strong melodic sensibility. My advice - buy?... 9/10 (The Nugget)


(Self Release) Reviewed November 3rd 2015

SACRED GROOVE from Germany stands for energetic and ear catching songs with a fat groove. The musical style is based anywhere between heavy rock and melodic metal, while lead singer Alona’s exceptionally vibrant voice guarantees uniqueness. SACRED GROOVE´s trademarks are bombastic guitar riffs, a grooving rhythm & bass section, symphonic key and piano-parts, emotional vocals and of course lots of melody. The band's words actually and this is not too far from the truth, with the album offering up some great catchy numbers. A consistent release, which as a result due to its consistency fails to throw up any real highlights as all the tracks are good! The band’s website is at - find out for yourselves, but this band is good. Just one more thing on a tragic note - the album is dedicated to bandmate Juppi Pullen' who lost his life in a tragic road accident on his way home from band rehearsals in July 2014. The keyboard tracks on this album he had already recorded. RIP our friend!! 8.75/10 (Dave)


(Decca Records) Reviewed 26th October 2015

The groundswell of interest in Country music in the UK is now officially unstopable. But one of the acts helping to make country cooler than ever on this side of the Atlantic aren’t from Tennessee or Texas, they’re from Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire in southern England. And the duo of Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes have swiftly become one of the real buzz bands of 2014. This album is their debut and this album so happens to be rather good. Alright, we will get one thing straight here, this certainly is not metal, so if metal is your forte, you may not even be reading this anyway, but we here are very open minded to the music we listen too. I am reviewing the deluxe edition featuring 15 outstanding tracks of easy listening Pop/Country Music, and everything here clicks all the right buttons. From the opening number, the bouncy 'Tonight', through the country feel of 'Nashville Grey Skies', the lovely ballad and title track 'Brave', the catchy 'All Over Again', the beautiful single 'State Lines' and the lively 'Drink You Away' (Deluxe edition). The Shires have literally found a piece of country to call their own. They love American music, but they’re proudly British and intensely keen to add some real indigenous flavour to the pot. The song ‘Made In England’ is a perfect example, a real celebration of all things British. My Dad who is not the worlds best authority on anything music (apart from Elvis or Roy Orbison) has just said to me; "do Decca Records still exist then?". Obviously they do...this is a brilliant record and is well recommended from a very talented duo! 8.75/10 (Katie McIntyre)


(Self Released) Reviewed 22nd October 2015

September is a female vigilante grim reaper, and a trouble-maker in the eyes of the Reaper-ruler, Fate. She does what she thinks will "make things right" but in doing so, she often screws up the fabric of space-time. September is unique because she is part human, part reaper. So she has the ability to fight against the orders of Fate, swap souls, and other rogue reaper behaviour. For this reason, she is hunted by Fate. The Skullfly – like a moth with skulls on its wings - appears as a tattoo on September’s neck that comes to life to collect the souls. And now, she's coming for yours...So a word of advice, buy this EP because it is awesome and I will say that as September is knocking on my frikin’ door. Six tracks of awesome music on this EP, not a filler, it rocks, kinda imagine In This Moment crossed with Evanescence on speed! Got it? Good… website here…well worth it and rather sexy too! 9/10 (The Nugget)


(SD Records) Reviewed 18th October 2015

Symphonic Destiny come from Temerin in Serbia! What a band!! Fronted by Timea Santa, this band has released one helluva debut full length album here. There are 12 tracks on my version of Melodic Symphonic Metal to feast your ears upon, and I have to be honest and ask myself if I will hear a better debut album in this style of music this year. This is a massive record running in at well over the hour, and not a duff track to be found. This band on this record has all the ingredients to make the big time. Kicking off with the appropriately titled ‘The Beginning Of An Adventure’, that is sure what we have got here. There are Symphonic belters like ‘Light In The Darkness’, ‘The Magical Sphere’, the atmospheric ‘Voice Of Temptation’, the belter ’Witch’s Cottage’ and after all that, there is the awesome pen ultimate 15+ minute title track that is the cream that tops this little lot off. And let us not forget the ballads, ‘Garden Of Eden’ and the beautifully crafted ‘Well Of Souls’. Everything here hit’s the spot! A massively beautiful debut that has surely propelled the band into the Premier League at the first attempt. The band’s website is here.. 9.75/10 (Dave)


(Self Release) Reviewed 15th October 2015

What an awesome album we have here from this Scottish Band. We have pounding Symphonic Metal fronted by Laura Tracey (also known as Evangeline), music that is similar to the greats such as Within Temptation, Nightwish, Epica, Lacuna Coil and the like. And it all becomes immediately apparent how good this band is from the start, with the melodic and pounding ‘Under My Skin’ that kicks thinks off in a near perfect manner. And after that awesome start, ‘Abandon’ keeps you glued to the music player, this being one record you will not abandon, I can assure you, while ‘The Devil Never Sleeps’ is a Symphonic Metal masterpiece. In all honesty, there is nothing here to fault with further blistering numbers like ‘Our Salvation’ and the amazing ‘Destiny’. And of course let us not forget the ballad ‘Forgotten’. This record from this Scottish band is straight out of the Premier League. Frikin’ awesome, and for a debut full length, amazing! Check out their Facebook pages here… 9/10 (Dave)


(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)


(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)


(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)


(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)


(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, jump on the Space Elevator and enjoy... 8.5/10 (Dave)


(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), Patrik Johanson (bass), Christopher Vetter (guitar), and Daniel Flores (drums and all keys). 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 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)


(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)

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