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(Ulterium Records) Reviewed 22nd November 2013
Formed in Modena Italy, Sleeping Romance (once known as Enlighten) is another rather fab Gothic Symphonic Metal band to hit the airwaves. An epic cinematic intro to the cd takes us into the title track that kicks this cd into gear in a way I have not heard in a while. An absolutely massive start to what to me is a very good record. And then having barely recovered from the opener, 'The Promise Inside' comes along. A bombastic Symphonic song with a huge chorus and this could be one of my tracks of the year - great cello too. The upbeat and melodic 'Soul Reborn' and the Symphonic 'Free Me' maintain the tempo, and at the halfway point, I know we are onto a winner here! Great stuff!! 'December Flower' is a beautiful and heavily orchestrated power ballad, again showcasing some rather lovely cello work within it's framework. There is no let up during the final stages of the cd - four further awesome songs that will leave you gasping for more once the album has finished. Fronted by the emotional vocals of Federica Lanna and the epic songwriting from the very good guitar player Federico Truzzi, Sleeping Romance has created something really special here, that I know will appeal to fans of this style of music - Nightwish, Xandria and the like. Their Facebook is here
and to my ears, this is a must buy!.. 9.25/10 (Dave)
THE FALLACY...'THE SLEEPING MOON'
(Self Release) Reviewed 21st November 2013
The Fallacy from Chile has released their first acoustic album. The whole idea started when they performed an acoustic show in Winter Park, FL during their first tour to the US at a beautiful cafe named 'The Sleeping Moon Cafe'. It was a big challenge to create good studio acoustic versions of their songs but they have done it. This is a beautiful album of 10 songs, 5 of which featured in their original format on their previous album 'Love Division'. Although unfamilair with their debut 'Falling Roses', I assume the other 5 numbers are acoustic versions of songs lifted from that album. The Fallacy has decided to share this conquest with all of their fans, so it is available for FREE download from their website www.the-fallacy.com/
.The band also made 100 physical copies. For those who would like to purchase it, contact the band on their official Facebook page or send them an e-mail to: email@example.com. 8.5/10 (Dave)
(Back UP Records) Reviewed 31st October 2013
Sainte Ombre hail from Vendée in France and is fronted by a young lass called Celine, whose vocal style is more akin to Pop/Rock than Soprano. This is the band's second release and to describe the music on this release, I would say this a good old dose of Melodic Metal with Gothic and Symphonic influences. And it so happens to be yet another good release to come my way, one of many just recently. The opener 'La belle ou la Bête' is an epic 7+ minute Melodic Symphonic belter and before you can catch your breath, second up 'Maléfice' hammers out of the speakers. Third up, another 7+ minute epic 'Décadanse' starts up like a child's lullaby before the song kicks in proper and becomes a lighter waving crowd swaying power ballad - awesome. ' Le Monde Selon Cornélia de Beaujoy' and 'Keiko' that follow are further Symphonic Melodic thumpers, with the latter making awesome use of choral arrangements, something that is however, apparent throughout the record. 'Par le Sang' is a catchy bouncy rocker featuring the vocals of Nicolas Blaizeau together with those of Celine, while 'Le Chemin' is a mega piano, orchestra led ballad. 'Amazone' ups the ante again, another hideously catchy rocker, while closing duo of 'Sainte Ombre' and 'Elixir Lacrymal' close what is a very good album from this French band. The band's website is here
(you may need google translate). A worthy effort...9/10 (Dave)
(Self Released) Reviewed 18th October 2013
Yay - a UK band with attitude fronted by a young lass who goes by the name of Amanda Amorphic. Having chatted on Facebook she seems ever so nice, but on record she spits venom and has loads of that aforementioned attitude! Indeed, this is a totally mind blowing release we have here from the Leeds based band. If you are expecting Nightwish or are of a nervous disposition, then I suggest you turn away now, as what I am reviewing here is a total awesome slab of Industrial Rock and Metal that should be played real loud to let's put this politely, piss off the neighbours! With awesome tracks that have titles like 'Skin & Tonik', 'Dirtier', 'Spit' and 'Pain Junkie', you will not find any soppy ballads here. They list their influences as "NIN, Ministry, Rammstein, Genitorturers, Depeche Mode + a shit load of others". And it has been pointed out to me by a member of the Ravenheart team based in the USA that at times vocally, Otep springs to mind, although there is also an occasional sexier and poppier side to Amanda's vocals. The production is top notch for an indie release and this style of music makes a change from what I normally review. Amanda and the gang has nailed it with this record - I am highly impressed. Their website is at www.spekulus.co.uk
, and the last track has an interesting band conversation tacked onto the end, plus a brief quirky musical outro ... 8.75/10 (Dave)
GRACE SOLERO...'HUNDRED YEARS APART'
(Self Release) Reviewed 17th October 2013
We have here one helluva talented lass who goes by the name Grace Solero and she is based here in the UK. This is her second album, her previous 'New Moon' having first appeared in 2007 I believe - certainly the copy I have has (c)&(p) 2007 on it, although I believe the debut may have been officially released in 2009. And Grace and her multi talented and multi national band on this her latest record serve up a healthy dose of raw and explosive rock music, with the opening salvo of 'Riptide' and lead single 'Electro' showcasing this to a tee - a great way to kick off a great album. And that continues with tracks like the powerful 'We Don't Wanna', the Alanis Morrisette sounding and very catchy 'St Ives', the thundering 'Once Again', the massive sounding 'Yard Of Blonde Girls', the power ballad 'Far Away' and the acoustic 'The Woman By The River'. But having said that, the whole record is premier league stuff! I suppose one could compare Grace at times to the aforementioned Alanis Morrisette, but with a little more ooommmppphhh in the ooommmppphhh dept. However, I will say that this is a Grace Solero album through and through and is damn frikin' awesome. Take a trip to her website www.gracesolero.com/store/
to buy the album or get it from all the usual digital outlets. This is very good, very good indeed and I must whole heartedly recommend it... 9.5/10 (Dave)
THE DEAD GOOD...'THIRTEEN POLAROIDS' EP
(Self Released) Reviewed 9th October 2013
The Dead Good formed by Isabella Knight (vocals) and Sonny Lanegan (guitar/vocals), formerly frontman of the electronic rock band White Pulp, is a German-Italian alternative rock duo based out of Los Angeles. They come across on this EP with loadsa female attitude and raw sounds. This band not only has the aforementioned attitude, they have the image too, but furthermore, the six tracks on this CD ensure that you won't be able to sit still and could well become massive dance floor favourites. And opener 'Junk Nation' is testament to that, a great thumping high energy Electro Rock opener, kinda Glam Rock meets Electro meets Punk! Next up 'Saws, Drills and Glue Guns' keeps the momentum and slams out of the speakers in an aural assault of Rock/Metal mayhem. 'Room 106' is a slower number with a early 90's guitar feel to it while 'Crush' has a bluesy feel and is damn awesome in the process, with it's fuzzy guitar sound. The closing duo of 'I Put A Spell On You' and 'Through My Bones' just do not let up, the former being a 1956 song written by Screamin' Jay Hawkins and having been covered by Nina Simone. 'Through My Bones' by the way being a fine way to end the cd, a great Electro/Rock track. In summary, this is a rather good raw sounding record from this duo, and makes a refreshing change from the run of the mill female fronted music that comes my way rather frequently nowadays. Anybody into dirty, sexy, aggressive music with rough guitar riffs and a steamy Punk attitude, coupled of course with the nice amount of melody, check their BandCamp out HERE
... 8.25/10 (Dave)
TRAINING ICARUS...'STAND ASIDE'
(Ravenheart Music) Reviewed 1st October 2013
Training Icarus is a band from around London that has been causing quite a stir on the UK music scene for the last couple of years, and at long last they are about to unleash their debut album. They are fronted by Leigh Turner and her remarkable, powerful, rock voice, with guitarist Martin Eldon the musical brains behind the band. They quote a wide range of influences from traditional to symphonic metal and classic rock, but their signature sound harks back to big bands with the big sound, big drums and big hair of the 80's like Heart and Jim Steinman's roster. The first two tracks caught me off guard, being almost straight for the jugular metal, the title track 'Stand Aside' and the more gothic inflected 'Nightmares'. 'No Chance For Life' takes them back to their core style for the rest of the album, big dramatic songs packed with light and shade as they take it down and then build it up, rock out and then calm, featuring songs like the classic lighter waver 'Inamorata', the catchy rocker 'Taking What is Mine', the eastern infused 'Try', and the closing epic 'Set Them Straight'. The sound is suitably big, but I feel keyboards lack punch and volume, the synths should rattle the rafters, and the 80's exploding drums are very big, at times it's like being at Waterloo. This is a big record for people who love big rock and metal that should go down a storm on both side of the Atlantic. Fly close past the sun to their website www.trainingicarus.com/
, a big 8.75/10 (Phil)
SORRONIA...'WORDS OF SILENCE'
(Bakerteam Records) Reviewed 1st October 2013
First conceived in 2011 by vocalist Anna Király and keyboardist István Biró, Hungarian band Sorronia released a promotional video for the song 'Enemy Of Yourself' in January 2013, soon attracting a very strong response. And now on this their debut album, the nine tracks combine a wide range of influences, resulting in a striking Symphonic album made of grandiose melodies and hard rockin' riffs, neo-classical solos and gothic elements. The lyrics offer references to delusion, love, tragedy, anger and anything a human being can possibly experience throughout life. This is a consistently good album and has even attracted the attention of Tuomas Holopainen (Nightwish), or at least someone who is/was blogging on his website. It is difficult to pick out any fave tracks as they are all damn good, but the mid tempo folk influenced 'Seranade of Memories' is a good one to my ears. Sorronia is a band for all melodic and symphonic metal fans and they are well worth checking out. The album is released 28th October, but meanwhile, why don't you check out the video to the track 'Enemy of Yourself' here
... 8.75/10 (Dave)
SWORDS OF DIS...'TIDES OF MALEDICTION'
(Self Release) Reviewed 25th September 2013
Swords Of Dis come from our own shores here in the Uk and to be perfectly frank, I have never heard of them before. But that is what I like about doing the occasional review, bands come along that are totally alien to me, but the music they offer up is rather good! There are nine songs on this release that runs in at almost 40 minutes and I suppose one would put the music into the Doomy, Atmospheric Gothy Dark Metal category. But what may keep it apart from other bands that explore a similar territory is the fact that we do not have any harsh/extreme male vocals here - the clean female vocals belong to a certain Ms Alice Collins. Her partner in crime being Richard Corvinus who covers all the instrumentation. The album sometimes ventures onto Death Metal turf regards the heavy riffage, and I upon first listen was expecting to hear male grunts, but keeping the vocals clean actually makes the record rather more accessible to the listener, and that gets a thumbs up from me. I rather like this recording, and it is a cd that despite it's gloomy dark atmosphere that it portrays, has became a pleasure to listen to, being not too over bearing in it's intensity. Their Facebook is here
so check them out - rather good! 8/10 (Rachel Miller)
TARJA...'COLOURS IN THE DARK'
(E.A.R. Music) Reviewed 7th September 2013
I suppose the one problem Finnish soprano Tarja Turunen has is that she will always be known as the former singer with Nightwish, even though she is forging ahead with a solo career, and being rather more productive on the music front than her Finnish counterparts. This in-fact is her fourth solo studio album, that mixes very well Metal with the Operatic and succeeds where some others have tried and failed miserably! Now then, I shall admit that I was rather good at music while at school, but back in those days, the music studied was more of a classical vein. Therefore, I instantly recognised the intro and outro to the opener 'Victim Of Ritual' being an interpretation of Ravel's 'Bolero', and what a corker of a metallic opener this is. Totally awesome and Tarja's vocals - just take a listen yourself but the wow factor is well and truly there, I can assure you. And with the opener barely leaving you time to catch your breath, '500 Letters' kicks in, and I very much doubt you will hear a better chorus this side of Christmas - it will stay stuck in your head guaranteed - sheer brilliance! 'Lucid Dreamer' is 7+ minutes of musical inspiration, and with headphones, you can quite easily lose yourself mid way where the music takes on a near hypnotic and psychedelic feel just as if you was in a dream - magical! These opening three numbers have totally taken my breath away and it continues through tracks like 'Never Enough', already a live fave and having been featured on Tarja's 'Act 1' CD, the cover of Peter Gabriel's 'Darkness' complete with an Industrial feel coupled with distorted vocals, the classically infused 'Deliverance', the bombastic and melodic 'Neverlight' and the haunting ballad 'Until Silence'. With every track an utter winner, Tarja has found her own style with this release. It is heavy and bombastic, it has touches of the Classical and Operatic, it doesn't sound like Nightwish (for those that may be asking), and it is simply superbly stunning. I have a strange feeling that Tarja is leaving Nightwish well behind in her wake with this release! Well, at least if you are the vocalist in your own band, you haven't got to worry about the vocalist quitting!! 10/10 (Dave)
THE LAST YEAR...S/T
(Shanachie Entertainment) Reviewed 6th September 2013
The Last Year, fronted by singer/songwriter Niki Barr and her partner in crime Scott Ensign (guitar, bass, synth, percussion, programming), has released its new EP and it features five brand new songs, including the single 'Sugar'. Describing the new release as “limitless” with “everything from buzz saw synth to airy atmospheric ambience to 80s drum sequence loops”, this Baltimore based group says that their latest songs come from the dark place Niki Barr is almost known for, and the release showcases the band's perfect blend of natural and synthetic sounds. And that is perfectly true. Indeed, I have known about Niki since the early days of Ravenheart Music and this release is rather good. And to be perfectly honest, this EP should open the band to a wider audience. Opener 'Not The One' is an awesome synth infused rock number with a chorus to die for - what a start! And it continues with next up and the chosen single 'Sugar'. There to me is certainly a cross over appeal here! 'Imagining' should have you bouncing around the floor while 'Kill Me Now' takes on a more rocker vibe. And 'Flying' is a rather cool atmospheric way to close the EP. In summary, this is a very good effort from Niki and Scott and this again is another release that I see myself fully recommending. Their FaceBook is here
.... 8.75/10 (Dave)
SACRIFICE TO SURVIVE...'SINGULARITY' EP
(Self Release - digital only) Reviewed Sept 3rd 2013
If you like bands like Dream Theater, Threshold and the like, I would imagine you would like Sacrifice To Survive. The band fronted by Emily Aldridge come from Florida, and offer up a feast of Progressive Metal. There are five tracks on this EP giving us 20+ minutes of some rather tasty Metal music. It is progressive, it is technical and there is a lot going on within the music on offer. But what I like about this band, is what they do, they do so well. Emily's vocals are possibly more reminiscent of those of Amy Lee, but we do have some male grunts compliments Cory Stewart (guitars and him with the ginger beard LOL) added to the awesome mix of music. Tell you what, this EP may not hit the spot the first time you hear it, but on repeated plays, it unravels more musical marvels. As I say there is a lot happening on this release, but it is very good and I would well recommend this to the lovers of mucic that is a little more technical and progressive in nature. The band can be checked out here
SIRGAUS...'SOFIA'S FORGOTTEN VIOLIN'
(Self Release) Reviewed 13th August 2013
Italian band Sirgaus was founded 2011 by bassist and composer Mattia Gosetti with his wife Sonja on vocals, and Massimo Pin on guitar. They released an EP last year called Sofia Returns, and then Mattia started work on this concept album based on a gothic fantasy drama. As I have the only English copy of the story, and it's download only at the moment, I had better explain the story briefly. Sofia is an orphan living in an orphanage covered by creepers, which have a special significance, when a mysterious violinist starts playing outside. Sofia is drawn to discovering her past and her half forgotten memories of how her and her family were cured of sickness by a magical violin melody played by her grandmother. A mad priest had tried to play the melody, but he kept getting it wrong, causing terrible events, Sofia must find a way to free herself from the enchantment. The music fits the story perfectly, dark, dramatic, haunting but rocking symphonic gothic metal with a gritty, windswept, reverberating sound, if you start somewhere between The Gathering, Materdea and Therion, and then add some classic heavy rock and a touch of prog, then you will be roundabouts. Sonja has a very expressive sexy voice, she is inspired by American grunge singers which gives their music a distinctive vibe, with the superb violin of Elvingking's Lethian a key feature, as befits the subject matter. This is a consistent set of songs that reflect the mood of the unfolding story, exemplified by the opener 'The Orphan's Letter', but I will highlight a few notable tracks. The powerful emotional 'Through the Creepers' is a duet with Mattia showing he too has a fine rock voice, and he accompanies Sonja on several numbers. 'Evening Lessons' has a nice prog grove, like Under Heaven the drums are programmed, but it's very difficult to tell (in fact I asked Mattia who the drummer was!), they do their job perfectly and never over elaborate or intrude. 'Believe in You' is a classic arena anthem, like a gothic Bon Jovi, and it ends with the rocking 'Real Angel' and the bright funky 'Sofia's Memories'. Mattia has produced a hugely imaginative and atmospheric album that is a distinctive take on symphonic gothic metal, and it's a real grower, you cannot capture it's full essence in one take. It's available of various download platforms, and you will find their Facebook here
- a beguiling 8.75/10 (Phil)
THEATRUM MUNDI...'THE EYES OF THE WORLD'
(Self Release) Reviewed 29th July 2013
Theatrum Mundi, literally World Theatre, inspired by Shakespeare’s “all the worlds a stage”, is a book and rock opera tie in created by guitarist Michael Ray Gould and keyboardist Li'anne Drysdale from Springfield Missouri. The 'Eyes of the Realm' was the name given by Elizabeth 1st of England to her circle of spies led by alchemist John Dee (1527- 1609), the first man designated the codename 007, he liked his mead shaken but not stirred. They were an unlikely bunch of anti-heroes, including a pirate, a jester, an assassin, a masked vigilante, a priestess and a beautiful master thief. The baddies are the Spanish Inquisition, a sort of medieval S.P.E.C.T.R.E. but with added torture, and together they are both after an ancient relic that can tell the future of mankind. It would make a fantastic film, blending fact and fiction, full of colourful characters and a fascinating plot, a mix of James Bond, Indiana Jones, Zoro, Merlin and Lara Croft, but with lots of codpieces and corsets (Daniel Craig in tights for the ladies, now there's a thought!!!). Li'anne and Michael are obviously avid students of European symphonic gothic rock/metal, British musical theatre and British melodic prog, in the general realm as later Therion, Apparition, and Whispering Tales (who also did a concept album about the Inquisition), blended with some Alan Parsons, Rick Wakeman and Elizabethan theatre, but given their own unique spin. Rock opera style vocals by Christy Campbell and Gina Ronat are most excellent, and they are supported throughout by the superb Springfield Chamber Choir, who give the music the appropriate ambience. Fittingly the whole album is a rip-snorting romp with ten terrific top tunes full of super instrumental passages, the rocking title track 'The Eyes of the Realm', the dynamic 'Test Your Metal', the ballad 'It's a Mystery to Me', the moody 'Rescue', the throbbing groovy 'Dance With Me Tonight' and the dramatic tango with death 'A Plan For the Universal Happiness of Man' to name just a few. Every so often a project comes along from the most unlikely of places that really captures the imagination, an album that is more than the sum of it's parts, with enormous appeal to fans of European symphonic gothic rock/metal, rock operas and melodic prog, this is music just 'as you like it'. Their Globe can be found here
, where you can partake of their digipak, a romping 9.5/10 (Phil)
SAD ALICE SAID...'YESTERDAY'S TOMORROW'
(The Leaders Records) Reviewed 19th July 2013
Anybody who is into Sad Alice Said from Ukraine and has bought their EP 'Clock of Eternity', will be familiar with some of the numbers here, but I will do a full review anyway of this, their debut full length offering, and what a corker it is too. After having just updated the Cryoshell S/T cd review from the same label, and now reviewing this Sad Alice Said album, it seems to me that The Leaders Records certainly have two winners here. I suppose the style of Sad Alice Said is similar to an extent to that of Cryoshell, so if you like the Danish band, then this is another sure fire winner to add to your collection. The hideously catchy 'Open Your Eyes' kicks the cd off and the vocals of Alisa Shakor are an angelic treat. 'Alive' is a heavier number with pounding guitars joining the fray, while Alisa continues to sing like an angel - a sure fire start to the record, and it continues! 'Fade' being a cool rocker with an equally cool guitar solo, while 'Clock of Eternity' is a catchy mid paced rocker. 'Tomb-Like Silence' is a melodic pounding guitar/piano based rock song that just maintains the excellent quality of this record. Soldiering on, 'The Son Of Nightmare & Pain' is an awesome mid paced Gothic Metal number and is one of my faves and possibly one of the more heavier and complex numbers on the record. The album closes with the six minute plus 'Door In Autumn' and 'Garden Of Our Thoughts', the latter being a formidable string led ballad. This album gives us 8 tracks and 42+ minutes of music and not a filler in sight - go here
to buy it...9/10 (Dave)
SISTER SHOTGUN...'FOR THE LOVE OF HATE'
(Self Release digital EP) Reviewed 25th June 2013
Sister Shotgun is a five piece female fronted Rock band based in the West Midlands UK. On this EP they create a furious yet catchy mixture of hard rock and metal. 'Riots' is an up tempo rocker with a kinda 80s retro feel to my ears about it. Next up 'Saving My Soul' is a melodic hard rocker with a great chorus, while 'Dirty Minds' is another pounding rocker with Chloe Ozwell getting down and dirty singing "I've got a dirty mind, you've got a dirty soul'. 'Interlude' is simply that really, an intrumental break from proceedings before the title track, a gentle ballad ends the show. This little EP is good and should appeal to fans of Melodic Hard Rock with an 80s sheen. I would very much imagine that this band are good live, but check the music out first here
at their reverbnation.. 7.75/10 (Dave)
SILENT LIE...'BLOOD UNDER SNOW' EP
(Self Release) Reviewed 20th June 2013
Italian Band SilentLie was conceived in 2005 from an idea by Giorgia (vocals) and Luigi (guitar). Fast forward to 2013, and on this 5 track EP, they offer the listener a mix of Hard Rock and Metal coupled with a dark atmosphere to boot. In-fact, I am finding this EP a rather pleasant listen, with the songs not only offering up a good mix of Rock and Metal, but with a fair dose of melody too which adds to the musical experience. 'Regret' and 'While I Hurt Myself' is a great up tempo way to start the cd. The rather good music continues with the massive sounding title track that has a great verse and chorus with a subtle progressive undercurrent, and I am sure will be begging for airplay on my radio show (www.rockindocradio.net
). With three awesome tunes under the belt, I wondered whether maybe the quality would drop regards the closing two numbers, but no way as the formidable 'Cruel Look' hammers out of the speakers, followed by the 6 minute plus atmospheric but rocking 'Any Emotion In You'. This is a very good EP from a band who are hoping to release a full length album in 2014. Their Facebook is HERE
. Recommended... 8.75/10 (Dave)
SELENE...'AMONG THE FROZEN' EP
(Self Released) Reviewed 10h June 2013
Selene is an exciting new Metal band from Northern Ireland, mixing powerful operatic vocals with heavy atmospheric music. As a consequence, they create their own brand of hard hitting Symphonic Metal with this, their very first EP consisting of six tracks. Fronted by Shonagh Lyons, with vocals, guitars and keys by John Connor, there are six tracks here featuring the Symphonic sounds of 'Peace of Mind' including operatic choir, the melodic 'Til The Shadows' and the single, the rather good 'End Of It All'. We also get treated to a piano led ballad 'Ghost' which showcases the beauty of Shonagh's vocals, plus the instrumental 'The Codex' that shows what a fine musician John is. They list their influences as Nightwish, Evanescence and Sonata Arctica and that may be just about right. Okay, this kind of music is not original, but this is certainly a band that we have to keep a close eye on and like a good wine, will get even better with age. Their FaceBook is here
, with the EP being released in July.. 8/10 (Dave)
(Napalm Records) Reviewed 7th June 2013
The Norwegian Gothic Metal pioneers revolving around charismatic front lady Mariangela Demurtars, have the gift to combine heavy tunes with emotional finesse. This latest long player is filled with numerous details, diverse arrangements, a great atmosphere, beautiful melodies and hooks, and just the right amount of heaviness. The fantastic voices of Mariangela and Kjetil are the perfect match and crown the catchy riffs and the imaginary soundscapes. The modern sound of the new songs combined with the quality of musicianship, will take every Gothic Metal fan by storm. There are as a consequence, some meticulously crafted Gothic Metal tracks here with opener 'Number' having Kjetil's vocals screaming out of the speakers, before Mariangela calms proceedings down. Kjetil really lets rip on this opening number though, showing that he and the band mean business. The album starts as an up tempo affair with catchy choruses, and second number in 'Darkest White' is testomony to this featuring just the vocals of Kjetil, while third up 'Himmefall' is as awesome! Great vocals from Kjetil by the way while Mariangela is allowed to let rip too. But the stand out track to my ears is 'Requiem' where Mariangela really makes this number her own, totally grandoise in every respect. 'Diagnosis' slows things down a little, but is still rather captivating, done in a way only Tristania know how. The second half of the album keeps the momentum going, with both Mariangela and Kjetil still delivering the goods! 'Lavender' is totally amazing with clean male vocals before Mariangela comes into the fray - simply a lovely song! The closing duo of 'Cypher' and 'Arteries' fail to disappoint to end what is a rather good album. 'Darkest White' comes recommended by the Ravenheart crew, and it should be easily available at your friendly local rock and metal store...8.75/10 (Dave)
SUMMER LASTS FOREVER...'EVERY TIME I CLOSE MY EYES' EP
(Self Release) Reviewed 2nd June 2013
Summer Lasts Forever started in Orem, Utah the summer of 2009. Within two months the band was in the studio recording their first EP, and playing gigs about twice a week around their home area. More recently the band has finished their first full length album which they will soon release, and a five song preview is available by way of this EP. The bands dynamic rock/metal music, coupled with the vocals of main girl Danielle Worwood and those of guitarist Travis Jones beautifully coupled with acoustic melodies, and sprinkled with some screams and Hardcore breakdowns makes for pure entertainment, in the vein of Paramore and maybe a lighter In This Moment. The band can also slow it down too on a couple of numbers, the rather cool titled 'Skin Heads On Lovers Lane' being one such song. This is a damn cool Summer time rock record which is a total blast and I must say I rather like it. Check them out at their FaceBook
SEVENTH SEEKER...'ANGEL'S TEMPTATION'
(Self Release) Reviewed 14th May 2013
Seventh Seeker (FaceBook
) fronted by the angelic vocals of Daisy Brookman is a new female-fronted band taking the South Coast of England by storm, playing a melodic mixture of hard rock and metal. Full of powerful guitar riffs, technical rhythms and resonating lyrics, Seventh Seeker takes you on a journey through good and evil showcasing their talent for creating catchy and melodic tunes. Four tracks on this EP, all awesome Melodic Hard Rockers, and to be honest there is some corking stuff here. This is the second review I have done today relating to a band from the south coast of England and with Vampyre Heart already established in that part of the world, is this area of the UK becoming the new mecca of Rock & Metal? Cool stuff and a band well worthy of checking out...8/10 (Dave)
THE FALLACY...'LOVE DIVISION'
(Attic Records-Dark Media Group (Russia)) Reviewed 8th May 2013
South America seems to be one of the hot beds of Gothic Rock/Metal and Alternative Metal at the moment, and we can now add The Fallacy to the list of bands from that Continent. Fronted by Angeline Bernini, this band from Chile belt out 12 numbers of catchy guitar/synth driven rock, with 'Love Division' and the title track being a great way to kick off proceedings. We have clean male vocals compliments of the rather cool looking guitarist Marco Cusato, and his vocals compliments well the vocals of Angeline, similar possibly to a slightly laid back version of Brazilian band Ravenland. Third up 'Mistaken Love' maintains the awesome start, another catchy number to sink your teeth into - lovely stuff. And it continues, just listen to the up tempo 'Drops Of Fire', the piano led & string infused 'Holy or Ghost' and one of my faves 'No Dreams At Home', which is more male vocalised if that is a term I can use - brilliant! This record is not a totally in yer face Gothic Metal release, but it takes a slightly more laid back stance at times, but it does occasionally rock and 'Force Of Nature' and 'Die With Me' are two such tracks. I may be out on my own saying this, but at times, Angeline reminds me a little of Vicky Johnson from our very own Winter In Eden. The band's Facebook can be found here
and I must say I rather like this. And it seems the Russians do too, as the band has just signed a Russian deal... 9/10 (Dave)
(Self Released) Reviewed 26th April 2013
Solsticio fronted by Caro hail from Buenos Airies and I suppose you would put them loosely into the Gothic Metal category. I reviewed their EP 'Winter Solstice' in February 2012 and I knew then that this band were going to be "one to look out for". Now I have the honour of being in Possession of their debut full length album 'Lost Souls', and this should certainly go down well with fans of the female fronted Gothic Rock and Metal scene. If I had to complain, there are only eight tracks, but what the hell, no filler all killer applies quite nicely here. 'Triumph' kicks the album off and is a quirky upbeat number, one of those songs that bounces around in your head long after it has finished. The title track is a piano led power ballad that still maintains a certain quirkyness about it, coupled with some awesome orchestration to give it a certain epic feel. 'Fairytale' is another quirky eccentric number with a masquerade feel at times, but it is a very powerful song with further majestic orchestration to boot. This is a very good start to this record and the impressive work continues with the track 'Greed' that offers up a slight progressive edge to proceedings. The second half of the album is equally impressive, 'Free' and 'Far Away' being up tempo and grandiose numbers and a couple of faves of mine from a rather good album. 'Celtic' and 'Mummer's Dance' close proceedings down, and it has to be noted that although the whole album is good, the second half seems to be a little more upbeat with perhaps more of an appeal to Gothic Metal fans out there. For a relatively unknown band in these parts, this is very good and I would very much recommend this. Their facebook is here
TIMO TOLKKI's AVALON...'THE LAND OF NEW HOPE'
(Frontiers) Reviewed 26th April 2013
It’s A.D. 2055 and most big cities of planet earth are either flooded with tsunamis or destroyed by earthquakes and fire. The whole infrastructure and communication system has broken down. The destruction is total. A small group of survivors leaves for a quest to find a sacred place known as “The Land Of New Hope”. It is an old fairytale that has been told since decades but very few has actually ever believed of its existence. They travel far on a journey that is full of dangers and come across a seer who guides them further. She explains to them that “The Land Of New Hope” does exist but it is guarded by a Keeper and only those who are pure in heart can pass him. They wander further towards their ultimate destiny. Former Stratovarius main songwriter and guitarist, Timo Tolkki has been silently preparing his musical revenge. Following a call in the summer 2012, from Frontiers Records President Serafino Perugino, Tolkki started writing a new album from scratch following an original concept discussed years ago between the artist and Perugino. The idea was to have a magniloquent metal / rock opera with some cinematic orchestrations to bring back the Stratovarius original sound in a more symphonic and grandiose fashion. Tolkki managed to gather some renowned singers around, with particular focus on one of the most talented young female singers, Elize Ryd (AMARANTHE) who has the lion’s share of the lead vocals on the album, plus a guest appearance from Sharon Den Adel (Within Temptation), and opera vocals from Magdalena Lee. I will cut to the chase and say that this album is the business, all ten tracks being melodic, bombastic, epic and symphonic, all rolled into one, fantastic! My fave tracks being the bouncy 'Enshrined In My Memory', the exuberant 'Shine', the awesome power ballad 'I'll Sing You Home', and the closer and title track 'The Land Of New Hope'. The stunning artwork was specially created for this project by Stanis W. Decker which will be released in 2 versions – regular cd and deluxe edition, with a 30 minutes documentary “making of the album” and 2 promotional videoclips. A must buy - released 17th May in Europe and 21st May in Nth America...9/10 (Dave)
SKARLETT RIOT...'TEAR ME DOWN'
(Factory Music) Reviewed 25th April
I have known about Lincolnshire band Skarlett Riot for some while now, and for a band so young, they show a musical maturity that not only belies their young years, this maturity is going to propel them into the big time, and by all accounts they are well on their way there as well. 'Tear Me Down' is one helluva release that although will have some people comparing them to a heavier Paramore, there is no doubt that Skarlett Riot are simply Skarlett Riot, and indeed there are no comparisons to other bands within their field, simply no comparison. This 10 track debut full length release from this band is totally mind blowingly awesome. 'Faded Memory' and also the first single kicks this mighty record off, and the cards are laid on the table right from the onset - no fillers, just all killers as further up tempo and awesome melodic punchy hard rockers continue to hammer their way out of the speakers. Take a listen to 'Rock n Roll Queen' and the title track as just two examples from a cd chock full of them, and you will know what I mean. This band just has to be big and all I can say is bring on the big guns from the USA, as I am sure Skarlett Riot will beat them hands down any day! Stunning!! 9/10 (Dave)
(Valery Records) Reviewed 15th April 2013
Tystnaden was born in 1999. The sound of the band is a charming mix between aggressiveness and melody, giving the listener a modern dark gothic metal sound. Fronted by Laura De Luca with occasional growls from keyboards player Giancarlo Guarrera, this is a very commercial and accessible release from this Italian band. The opening salvo of 'Lust' and 'Struggling At The Mirror' is a very good way to kick off the album, two very catchy tunes, particularly the latter that tends to stick around in your head for a while. 'Egonist' and 'Days and Lies' are epic tunes with awesome vocals from Laura and are just a couple of my faves from the album - great choral parts in the latter!. As I said earlier in the review, this is a very commerical and accessible release, and this is confirmed throughout the remainder of the record, just listen to the rather nice ballad 'Father Mother', the heavy but catchy 'The Life Before' the rocker 'Innerenemy' (great strings) and closer 'The Journey'. The previous two releases by this band are good, but this record I feel is better. Check the video out to the aforementioned 'STRUGGLING AT THE MIRROR' here
. Great stuff and well recommended to lovers of the female fronted Gothic Metal scene and beyond!... 8.75/10 (Dave)
(Brennus Music) Reviewed 12th April 2013
With five years of existence, a demo, an album and many concerts in Switzerland and in France, Power Metal quintet Trophallaxy from Swizerland led by their singer and cellist Joëlle, are back this year with this their second album. This is more darker, more powerful and will undoubtedly do much more than confirm the hopes raised by 'DawnFall', their first album released in 2010 and acclaimed by the critics of the european metal scene. 'Ever Since' opens the album and is a Power metal masterpiece, with a progressive slant with male growls compliments of keyboardist Jonathan. 'Living Dead, Dying Alive' is another treat for Power Metal fans, as are further numbers like 'Scar Me To Death' (with awesome cello mid way - great stuff!), the melodic 'Nothing' that offers everything and 'Hellvetia'. The atmospheric synth intro to the symphonic melodic sounding 'Apologize For A Silence' is downright cool, and indeed, this is one of my fave numbers from the album, this track featuring just the vocals of Joëlle. If you like bands like Epica, Nightwish, Sonata Arctica, Stratovarius and Dream Theater, then add some occasional cello to the mix, this may well be up your alleyway....8/10 (Dave)
SAINTS OF RUIN...'ELEVATIS VELUM'
(Echozone) Reviewed 9th April 2013
One of my fave bands is Saints Of Ruin from the sunshine state of California, proving that Gothic Bands need not necessarily come from the wastelands of Scandinavia LOL! Seriously, this band fronted by Ruby Ruin has released yet another consistent record, to add to the previous array of two full length albums and one EP that have appeared in the past. The rule of "if it ain't broken why fix it" applies to this release, as the band throw at us 10 tracks of Melodic Gothic Rock to keep their previous fans happy, while hopefully bringing their music to a newer audience too. Stylistically, the band offer the listener a range of infectious tunes that vary between traditional Gothic Rock and modern Dance Rock, the vocals of Ruby Ruin being dynamic and charismatic throughout. Every track on here is a winner from the opener, the bouncy 'The Thirst', through mid to up tempo numbers like the catchy 'Tin Box', the awesome & bombastic 'Stand Alone' and the rather good 'Your Ruin', to mega ballads like the 7 mins + 'Boundless'. Saints Of Ruin should surely continue to grow following this release, and I highly recommend this album to all and sundry... 9/10 (Dave)
THE BLACK TEARS...'PHILOSOPHY OF PERCEPTION'
(Tear Records) Reviewed 6th April 2013
What I like about what I do here at Ravenheart Towers, is I can get "sneaky peeks" of music that sooner or later is to be released. I recently reviewed an album called 'Lacrimal Lake' by Midlands based The Black Tears. I now have three tracks that will form the EP 'Philosophy Of Perseption' that I am reviewing here. Opener 'Commitment' has to my ears a retro vibe harking back to the 70's, but dragged into the 21st century by this awesome band, and those vocals of Lischana Lane, damn cool! 'He Knows Love' kinda has that bar room blues vibe running through it, but it still rocks your frikin' socks off, while my fave from the EP, 'So Far Down' has that fuzzy guitar so commonly found within the early 90s Seattle scene. So what about the EP then? The songs here will not grab you on the first listen, so if you are after an instant fix, forget it! But give it repetitive plays, and you know you are onto a winner. This is not Gothic and it sure ain't Operatic or Symphonic, but it is grungy dirty hard rock, and I rather like it....8.5/10 (Dave)
(Self Release) Reviewed 3rd April 2013
Sündenrausch is a rock band from Hamburg, Germany, formed in November 2011. Five professional musicians started writing and playing music together, quickly realizing the band's ambition and potential. And that potential shines through in this their debut album. Fronted by a young lass who goes by the name Kira, the band offer the listener 8 tracks on this album of catchy rock wih huge melodies, which are sung also in their native tongue - awesome! 'Alles' is a great opener, with 'Starker' an up tempo and hideously catchy tune. Third up 'Wolfe In Der Stadt' maintains the momento and is a heavier number, but equally as addictive as the opening duo. I am rather liking this release as these songs are right up my alleyway! 'Zerrissen' is a piano led power ballad, while 'Beiss Mich' is another slowish number with a rather quirky catchy chorus. 'Flammen' is a ballad, taking on a more acoustic feel, with 'Falsches Spiel', being yet another rather addictive tune to set your feet tapping. Closer 'Bis Mein Herz Nicht Mehrschlagt' is just a haunting piano led ballad with string accompaniment. This release is a very good effort from this German band and they are well worth checking out here
. One issue - it is just a shame I have a limited understanding of the German language but great stuff nonetheless... 8.5/10 (Dave)
TRAIL OF TEARS...'OSCILLATION'
(Massacre Records) Reviewed 20th March 2013
This is the new and seventh album (together with bonus tracks) by the Norwegian gothic & dark metal masters TRAIL OF TEARS. Mastered by Mika Jussila at Finnvox (e.g., Nightwish, Sonata Arctica, Children Of Bodom, Eternal Tears Of Sorrow) and with cover artwork by Jan Yrlund/Darkgrove Design, who has worked with Ravenheart Music on our most recent Weeping Silence release, this is an epic album by this well established Band. As with the band's previous release, Ronny Thorsen and Cathrine Paulsen share vocal duties. 'Waves of Existence' kick proceedings off, a thundering start showcasing the vocal talents of both vocalists. 'Scream Out Loud' is rather catchy if I may say so, a pounding guitar/synth driven number. The rather interestingly titled 'Crimson Leads On The Trail Of Tears' follows and takes a similar up tempo path to the previous tracks, with Ronny taking the main lead on this one. The album rarely slows down with the title track maintaining the momentum, although 'Path Of Destruction' is a slower number with Cathrine Paulsen letting rip with her awesome voice, that I must say on this number is also rather seductive. The pace quickens with 'Vultures Guard My Shadow' and 'The Dawning', while onwards to 'Lost In Life', and we find that this is an awesome orchestrated power ballad sung with real passion by Cathrine. 'Eradicate' is the pounding closer on the conventional release, but the digipak as two thumping bounus tracks - 'Sleep Forever' and 'Quick Fix of Shame'. 'OSCILLATION' is a good record from Ronny Thorsen and the crew, which I can who heartedly recommend when released on 26th April... 8.5/10 (Dave)
SERENITY...'WAR OF AGES'
(Napalm Records) Reviewed 18th March 2013
On their fourth album, the Austrian Symphonic Metal band dives deep into long forgotten centuries and draws the listeners attention to historical personalities like Henry VIII of England, Napoleon or Alexander the Great. Numerous concerts have matured the band’s songwriting skills and the interaction between the individual musicans. This is the reason why 'War of Ages' is filled with excellent and characteristic compositions and world-class refrains, for which the term "catchy" would be an understatement. The mixture of remarkable riffs, perfect timed variations from symphonic passages up to ballads, shows SERENITY’s ability to write haunting songs. The band has reached their musical and lyrical height and in particular Georg Neuhauser impresses with what could be his best vocal performance so far! And for all you female lovers out there, and that is why you are reading this (is it not?), Clementine Delauney guests on vocals. Some cracking numbers here including 'Wings Of Madness', 'Shining Oasis', the bombastic 'Age of Glory' and the catchy 'Tannenberg'. We then have the ballads 'For Freedom's Sake' and 'Royal Pain', both duets featuring Georg and Clementime. Friends of AVANTASIA or KAMELOT should lap this up, and therefore have to make sure to give this album a spin! But there again, everybody should go get this too - a great release!... 8.75/10 (Aimee)
TEARS OF MARTYR...'TALES'
(Massacre Records) Reviewed 15th March 2013
TEARS OF MARTYR fronted by female soprano singer Berenice Musa was formed back in the late 90’s on the Canary Islands (Spain). At that time the band had clearly a doom death flavour, but they already showed the key elements that can be easily identified nowadays, like the distinctive use of lead voices and classical orchestration arrangements to create their songs. Even though the metal scene in their homecountry was very small, the band kept growing and earned respect from the national media and attracted an ever-increasing fan base. In August 2012, TEARS OF MARTYR entered New Sin Studios in Loria, Italy, where they recorded this, their second full-length album. And what we have is ten tracks of epic Symphonic/Gothic Metal with harsh male vocals supplied by Miguel Ángel Marqués, who also takes on guitar duties. After the pounding opening duo of 'The Scent' and 'Golem', things slow up with the majestic and epic 'Mermaid & The Loneliness', with shades here of Tarja era Nightwish - very good indeed!! The pace picks up with the rather catchy'Vampires of the Sunset Street', while the folky vibe of 'Ancient Pine Awakes' brings a serene feel to proceedings. So far and so good - moving onto the second half of the album and can it get any better? Well, yes! 'Lost Boys' is a bombastic Symphonic effort, while 'A Fallen Hero' is a likeable mid tempo number. 'Of A Raven Born' has progressive fundamentals but has echoes again of Tarja's Nightwish together with choral elements. The closing duo of 'Wolves and a Witch' and the short instrumental 'Rain Into The Forest' (outro) are equally impressive, the former offering up some folk metal components. This is a well balanced, impressive and fresh mix for the listener, who will be immersed in a journey where the emotions play an important role. Great stuff and well recommended when released on 26th April... 8.75/10 (Dave)
(STF Records) Reviewed 11th March 2013
Expressive vocals, fast riffs and unique melancholic piano parts - that is TBC. On TBC's second album, which was recorded and produced in Germany, the five Austrians combine the classic vocals of Natasha with Steve's epic vocal contributions. The pensive lyrics and the music are perfectly united and result in artfully arranged songs. TBC provide Gothic-Symphonic Metal at it's best. The band musically lies somewhere between Nightwish and Metallica, but they still have their own constant and distinctive sound which is rather likeable I must say. There are some catchy very accessible numbers here including the single 'Your Way' - the video to that can be viewed here
. 'Gnade' is sung in their native tongue which showcases very well the vocal talents of both Natasha and Steve and is a great mid paced rocker in the process. 'Crystal Bride' is a Nightwish sounding number while 'Save Me' ups the tempo a touch - a catchy number featuring just mainly the vocals of Steve. Other songs that caught my attention was 'Lost', the rather cool 'Rush Of Antilogy', both featuring the TBC choir, the Metallica influenced (particularly at the start) 'My Sweet Hell' and the catchy closer 'Phonix' which is an extended bonus track. The album reflects the versatility of the band so why not check them out at www.tbc.cc/
THE BLACK TEARS...'LACRIMAL LAKE'
(TEAR RECORDS) Reviewed 9th March 2013
They call this ‘grunge-pop’, which is not a bad word for it. Accessible songs played with a sound that lies somewhere between heavy rock and garage, rather than harking back too much to early 90s Seattle. However, it has that dark, dirty vibe which is loud, frikin' heavy, rather melodic and it’s well played too. This Midlands (UK) based band is another band that is right on my own doorstep, but my radar has malfunctioned in picking this lot up. I must give my radar service guy a phone call. Seriously though, The Black Tears could give some of the Seattle monsters a fair old run for their money - and having said that, just give the tracks 'Well' and the up tempo 'Spoil Me Rotten', a listen and you will hear what I mean. We even get a gutsy guitar solo on the former! As mentioned above, the ten songs have a dark and dirty vibe which is well suited to the awesome vocals of Lischana Lane, who sure has a powerful set of lungs. I am rather taken by this release as it is a little different to most of the female fronted music that comes my way. So folks if you want to get down and dirty with some gritty rock music, give this a listen and check their Facebook here
- you will not be disappointed.... 8.25/10 (Dave)
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