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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)
THE WAY I AM...'APOCALYPSE? NO WAY!'
(Klonosphere) Reviewed 26th March 2015
Freshly signed on the Klonosphere label and distributed by Season of Mist, The Way I Am was born from the meeting of the musical universe of J-War (Composer, Multi-instrumentalist) and Saturne (Singer, Painter). This music is intense, hypersensitive and extremely accesible, their compositions are a blend of British Rock (Muse, Radiohead et al), American Alternative Metal (Deftones, Korn, Flyleaf...) and movie music (Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner). This EP of 6 tracks is rather good, heavy, tuneful and there is no reason why this band should not be heard on mainstream rock radio. Kinda Kerrang music fodder if you like, with the heavy riffs on the track 'Miss Anger' making this one of my favourite tracks from the EP. I also do rather like the closer 'Answer My Call' - a melodic pounder. The synergy between J-War's music and Saturne's graphics form a true mesmerizing mix and make this band well worth checking out with their eclectic mix of music - website is here
... 8/10 (The Nugget)
SilentLie...'LAYERS OF NOTHING'
(Bakerteam Records) Reviewed 17th March 2015
Established in Trieste, Italy in 2005, SilentLie fronted by Giorgia Sacco Taz, were initially influenced by the rising male-fronted Gothic Rock movement. After their first EP 'Behind My Face', which includes songs being used in several compilations, one of them, 'River of Torments', becoming part of the soundtrack for the movie 'Blood Sisters', they released in 2013 the awesome EP 'Blood Under Snow', soon followed by the video clip for the song 'Regret'. In 2014 SilentLie settled for what are the songs for this their debut album, a mix of modern Hard Rock & Metal with dark atmospheres. And rather good it is too offering ten tracks of Melodic and very catchy Gothic Metal for the listener to enjoy. The album was recorded and mixed at Fear Studios (Extrema, Blaze Bailey, DGM) in Ravenna, Italy and mastered by Mika Jussila (Nightwish, Apocalyptica, Children Of Bodom) at the magical Finnvox Studios in Helsinki. There are highlights everywhere on this album (just listen to the title track!), by and large too numerous to mention, so just get it folks and enjoy - due April 14th.... 9.5/10 (Dave)
T.H.L...'THIRTEENTH HELL LEVEL'
(Sound Management Corporation) Reviewed 6th March 2015
) fronted by Federica Cressi was born in Brescia, Italy in 2010 with the intention of writing and composing their own songs. The project blends the experiences that every single member has brought to the band, including the passion for rock music seen as a natural expression of art. The name T.H.L, Thirteenth Hell Level, a sort of provocation, sums up all the topics faced in the lyrics of each song: war ('War'), modern society ('Sociopathic'), drugs ('Erythroxylum'), the road to death ('Longway To Redemption') and rape ('Forget'). The album is overall a consistent affair with a 70/80s hard rock feel and features 10 tracks, 8 original songs and 2 covers (The cool Honky Tonk Woman by Rolling Stones and Born To Be Wild by Steppenwolf). One of my face numbers from the album being 'Really Cruel', I like the atmospherics half way into the tune, while the intro to another fave track of mine, the bluesy ballad 'Longway To Redemption', reminds me very very briefly of the Moody Blues tune 'Forever Afternoon'. With a six-piece line-up, the band is currently continuing its live activity and composing new songs. On February 2015, T.H.L. signed a deal with Atomic Stuff to promote 'Thirteenth Hell Level'. I think the band has what it takes to move onto the next level but may have to make subtle improvements, we shall see, but having said that, there are some tasty nuggets here so they are worth checking out... 7.75/10 (The Nugget)
(Scarlet Records) Reviewed 5th March 2015
OMG! quick on the heels of their well received S/T debut album that was released last year, we have the new one from Italian female fronted band Temperance. Fronted by Chiara and ably backed up by a fine bunch of musicians, I reviewed their debut for this site back in May 2014, and I stated after looking in my crystal ball, that "Temperance is seriously challenging the heavyweights of the genre". Well with this release and I must thank Dave for allowing me to review it, the band has well and truly thrashed any competition well into the ground. Featuring 13 tracks of some of the finest and catchiest female fronted Melodic Metal you are likely to hear this year, Temperance has become a major force within this style of music. Everything here is a gem of the highest quality, starting with 'Oblivion' with its wonderful choral interplay, through the pulsating and catchy 'Save Me' that pounds along like an out of control express train, the equally bouncy and superb 'Stay' and the bombastic 'Me, Myself & I' (lyric video here
), there is nothing at all to fault within the record's confines. And to add that the closing title track is possibly the heaviest the band has ever done, but still so catchy!! To put it simply, this album is heavier than the debut, but maintains the strong melodic sensibilities of its predecessor. Temperance will be at The Quinphonic Festival on Sunday 5th April at The Roadhouse in Birmingham so may I suggest you go and check them out! 'Limitless' is a total must buy, expected release date 31st March and as one of Ravenheart's contacts has told us and I quote - "the album is as catchy as velcro". I second that!... 10/10 (Rachel Louise Smith)
TALES OF EVENING…’SZILANKOK’
(Nail Records) Reviewed 24th Feb 2015
Hungarian Band TALES OF EVENING has taken our breaths away here at Ravenheart Music. This is an amazing 12 track album full of Symphonic Metal delights, sung in the band’s native tongue by Ivett Dudás. Some bombastic offerings here including the opening track Hagyi repulni’ that comes into the fray after a brief intro. And if that left you breathless, just listen to the rather nice ‘Van a pillanat’, what a way to start an album from this unknown (to me anyway) band. Further stomping highlights include the catchy ‘A szel feltamad’ (Winds Will Rise) which was released as a single I believe (an English version is digitally available - video here
), the awesome power ballad ’Rimekben elsz’, the thumping ’Lelekvihar', and the penultimate track, the spoken word of 'Utravalo'. Certainly, the European mainland seems to be delivering the goods at the moment and this band is of no exception, heading for the top tier of Symphonic Metal with this release. Although I have no idea of any translations apart from their aforementioned single, there are nonetheless musical highlights galore on this recording, so go check them out here
. Enough said, but regarding trying to pronounce some of the stuff here, if I tried to pronounce the title of the album, I think it would sound rather rude!.. 9/10 (The Nugget).
RACHAEL SAGE...'BLUE ROSES'
(MPress Records) Reviewed 17th Feb 2015
This is the tenth (yep tenth) studio album from New York singer/songwriter Rachael Sage and the album will be released on the 9th March. This is not Metal so do not expect an aural assault, but expect a listening experience to enable one to chill out after a hard day at the office. There are 13 tracks of laid back Pop/Rock, just listen to tracks like the title track 'Blue Roses' as an example. Rather nice I think! There is also a duet with Judy Collins (Amazing Grace fame amongst many others), that being the closing track 'Helpless'. There is a subtle Country undercurrent surfacing too at times, 'Newspaper' and the aforementioned 'Helpless' being two such tracks, while I myself rather do like the number 'Not Leaving You'. This release is gentle, soothing and very good, and deserves attention from music lovers that enjoy their music rather more laid back. To be honest, it is a pleasure to review this in front of my fire with my glass of red wine in hand. Rachael's website can be found here
.... 8.25/10 (The Nugget)
SILENCE THE ARIA...'YANYEU FAREWELL'
(Self Release) Reviewed 17th Feb 2015
Progressive Metal group Silence The Aria is the effort of Ian Brush (composition, instruments,scream/growl vocals) and Meghan Alvis (singing/lead vocals). Originating in Denver, Colorado as a solo endeavor, this latest release has unleashed Meghan’s angelic vocals into the foreground. I admit to not knowing much musically about this band and Ravenheart Dave sure doesn't either, but nonetheless, lets have a crack at the whip and get the review done for the site. There are six tracks here, clocking in at roughly around the 33-34 min mark, so not a lengthy effort by any means. Opener, the awesomely monickered 'Let's Just Not Call This What It Is' seems to be divided into two parts, a good deal of instrumention within the opening track and it is well executed Progressive Rock/Metal, awesome vocals from Meghan too. 'Giant Dead God' follows which features deathly growls from Ian, while 'True Position' has a kinda Middle Eastern vibe coupled with some rather good technical wizardry, which propels this song into the very good category. 'Silence of the Aria' is a slow atmospheric number clocking in at a little under three minutes, this gently leads into 'There's Life In Here' which ups the ante somewhat, becoming a hammering Progressive Metal creation. Closing track from this cd is titled 'Onward Outward' and closes the album on a fine note. The cd lands March 12 2015 so I believe and although this may not be everybody's cuppa tea, it is well worth checking out for fans of technical and progressive rock & metal, the record offering a metal sound of movement and ever changing soundscapes. More info about the band's music here
... 8/10 (The Nugget)
STORM...'STORM'S a BREWIN'
(Tin Idol Productions) Reviewed 6th Feb 2015
Hawaii has a Goth-Metal band on the rise...and a Storm is brewing...Sandy “Storm” Essman is a classically trained singer with a versatile background in the music business, Sandy is a vocal powerhouse and front-woman extraordinaire of the band STORM. She balances her appetite for dark heavy rhythms by appearing on Hawaiian music projects, Na Leo O Hou Hawaii and Love Songs in Paradise among them. Now, her lifelong dedication to her craft is focused solely on breaking new ground in Hawaii’s Goth-Metal scene. Ably backed up by a contingent of experienced musicians including a female keyboardist from Serbia, STORM deliver a blistering 13 track album that will assault your senses. I suppose the band has a way to go before they even enter the same league as the European Gothic-Metal elite, but this is a fine start and paves the way for the future. Listening to tracks like 'Fly' and 'Crossfire' proves this band has got what it takes. Their Facebook is here
and check out their YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/channel/UCE-6QE2Tqswg7BFg3T94XkQ
.. 8.25/10 (The Nugget)
SHADOWICON...'SMOKE & MIRRORS' EP
(Self Release) Reviewed 28th January 2015
Born and raised in Slovenia, ShadowIcon fronted by the sexy poppy vocals of Ana Prijatelj Pelhan, is a six piece Melodic Metal band with a heavy impact and a compelling vocalist. Their previous album ‘Empire in Ruins’ picked up excellent reviews around Europe and the US (inc this site), now they’re back with a brand new EP totalling six epic songs. Taking elements from metal and thrash, but marrying them to a tuneful vocal and a great appreciation for a stylish groove, the band serve up a potent blend of heaviness on this new EP. And this is immediately brought to the fore on opener '(Now I See) Through A Mirror Darkly'. Great powerful Melodic Metal with subtle symphonic elements - cool!! 'If I Was The One' is a catchy rather bombastic number which bangs around in your head long afterwards, as does following track 'The Edge'. 'The Beauty Of A Rose' is a fave track of mine that has the beauty of a rose, a compelling 5 minute power ballad that gains momentum to become a melodic thumper - awesome! The closing duo of the oh so good 'My Plea' and the reprise of the opening number do not disappoint, so in summary: Building on the new Melodic Metal sound of the debut, the songs are a fusion of different tastes and styles from the band’s three songwriters, all blending into a great cocktail of pounding drums, searing guitars and piercing vocals. This is also in-fact an innovative double CD release, featuring a 2nd CD of instrumental versions, and it all gets released March 16th. The band's website is at www.shadowicon.com
- mixed and mastered by Charlie Bauerfield and Thomas Geiger (Helloween, Blind Guardian) this is well recommended .. 9.25/10 (Dave)
SECRET RULE...'TRANSPOSED EMOTIONS'
(Rocksector Records) Reviewed 22nd January 2015
Resonating with the dramatic and poetic backdrop of their home city of Rome, Secret Rule have created a fitting masterpiece of progressive rock, with inspirations taken from the worlds of Power Metal, Goth and Pop, with acoustic and electronic inserts, plus catchy and totally awesome memorable melodies. Formed at the beginning of 2014, the band is fronted by the powerful and crystal clear vocals of Angela Di Vincenzo (Kyla Moyl, and most recently a guest with Kaledon), masterminded by lead guitarist Andy Menario (Martiria) who has worked with a host of luminaries including Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath, Dio), Jeff Pilson (Dokken, Foreigner), and Carlos Cavazo (Quiet Riot). The line-up is completed most excellently by bassist Michele Raspanti (Graal) and drummer Ruben Ramirez (Myr). This record is damn good it has to be said with hardly a filler to be found. Opener 'The Journey' is so catchy with a progressive undercurrent and this insanely catchy music continues throughout the album. I cannot begin to comprehend what I am listening too here as it is so so good! Listen to tracks such as the hideously melodic 'True Friend', the pounding 'Sensation' and the memorable 'Sleep Forever', these being just three from a melting pot of potential blockbusters. And I should also give a mention to the ballad 'Vision', this number possessing the wow factor! 'Transposed Emotions' was recorded in 2014, produced, mixed and mastered at Antfarm Studios (Denmark) by Tue Madsen (Halford, The Haunted, Mnemic, Hatesphere, Ektomorf) and is available from 16th February 2015. The single and aforementioned track 'True Friend' can be downloaded for free here
, and the video can be viewed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdeEwxhB9tM
, so check it all out! This captivating release is well recommended and we simply love it!... 9.5/10 (The Nugget)
SONIQUE SANCTURY...'RESILIENCE' EP
(Self Release) Reviewed 16th January 2015
It is not very often we get music from Bermuda, in-fact this release will be the very first one I believe :) The band was started in 2011 by drummer Nick Wadson and guitarist Ace Cepeda as an instrumental band, to display a high level of musical technical proficiency. Then singer Dr. Tracey Lynne Harney came into the equation and Sonique Sanctury entered a new gear. The band with this EP throw at the listener five tracks of very well done Progressive Rock - deep and dark music in-fact that relates to human experiences. Dr. Harney likes to call it "concious rock" and maybe she is right. All the tracks here are technically perfect with a spoken intro to each track from Tracey Lynne, there is great musicianship throughout from the band, this is Progressive Rockers heaven! The final track which so happens to be the title track to this EP is possibly the most commercial number here, but they are all good. Tracey Lynne's vocals are strong and powerful and really drive this music along together with the band. This is worth looking into if you feel this music is up your alleyway, cos it should be. So show some resilience and check the band at their website: www.bermudaguitar.wix.com/soniquesanctuary
. And furthermore, a full length album is in the pipeline.. 8.75/10 (The Nugget)
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