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A HERO FOR THE WORLD...'WINTER IS COMING, A HOLIDAY ROCK OPERA'
(Self Release) Reviewed 26th November 2013
Christmas is coming - like it or loath it, the Holiday season is just around the corner. A HERO FOR THE WORLD is an epic melodic metal band consisting of Jacob Kaasgaard (Vocals, Keyboards, Composer) and David Sivelind (Guitar and Bass), both originally from Sweden, but nowadays living in the Philippines. The drums are played by virtuoso drummer Andy Gentile from Los Angeles, USA, with female vocals from Louiebeth Aratan who hails from the Phillipines. And this indeed marks their third (!) release this year, after releasing their self-titled debut album in April 2013 and the extended EP 'On Fire' in October 2013. This ambitious Rock Opera in Two Acts, combines original songs with re-written lyrics and new arrangements of some Holiday favorites such as 'O Come All Ye Faithful', 'O Holy Night', 'We Three Kings Of Orient Are' and many more. It tells a story of a Princess; Lost on a journey, in a faraway land, trapped in snow on a treacherous mountain. Only the Angels can see Her now, singing songs of Peace & Love, Hope & Glory, not far from what we know as Tibet. And the Man who would be King; When Winter Is Coming, He's struggling with a decision, Should He leave the Kingdom behind, Follow His Heart, travel to the Mountain to save the Princess? Should He stay and protect His people against the looming Darkness? Or... Can He achieve Both? Can He bring Glory to everyone? Can He truly become; A Hero For The World? Certainly an interesting concept we have here, and if you would like to get into the Christmas Spirit in a Rock & Metal kind of way, then check this rather good and at times beautiful release out. Dec 3rd is the release date, the website can be found here
- 8.5/10 (Rachel)
(Frontiers) Reviewed 25th November 2013
Following in the footsteps of such legendary bands as Warrior, Rough Cutt and Psychotic Waltz, BENEDICTUM, with roots in San Diego, California, are truly mighty ambassadors in the world of Heavy Metal. Invoking power reminiscent of early Rainbow, the definitive sound of Savatage, and a nod to all the Gods of Heavy Metal, BENEDICTUM unleashes a stylish, epic brand of Metal on all fronts. Aggressive riffs, fierce rhythms, strong melodies, shredding leads and delicate textures converge at the crossroads where tradition and 21st century innovation merge. Veronica Freeman's vocal gymnastics are the pit-bull on the pant leg of heavy metal and on this performance, will no doubt remain so for years to come. Having now signed with Frontiers Records, the band throw at us 12 tracks of in yer face heavy metal coupled with epic melodies and awesome musicianship that will shred your ear drums and leave you begging for more! And there is the ballad, the massive sounding 'Cry' feat Tony Martin! What more can I say? Obey what we say here at Ravenheart and buy - this deserves your utmost attention, a screaming 8.5/10 (Aimee)
ARITY...'PHYSICS FALL APART'
(Self Release) Reviewed 15th November 2013
Running in at around the half hour mark, what we have here from this LA band is 6 tracks of rather good technical Progressive Metal, similar to the music I recently reviewed from Florida based Sacrifice To Survive. Fronted by Nicole Macias, who also takes on rhythm guitar duties, the album kicks of with the 7+ minute track 'I Want To Know Your Mind', which typifies the path this band is treading. Not the kind of music that hits you straight away, but with repeated listens, reveals a mountain of musical treasures - one band that may spring to mind while listening to this track being Dream Theater. 'Nights Alone' does not stray too far away from the sound of the opener, although having said that, it does sound a touch heavier, but continuing to show the musical all round prowess of this band. The band sure do lay their cards on the table with the remaining songs, all Progressive Metal masterpieces, with the heavy sounding title track possibly edging it as my fave - awesome clean and harsh vocals. However, closer 'Twisted' which by the way is the shortest number on the record at just under 3 minutes, is to my ears the most commercial sounding track on the album. Arity's website is here
. Worth checking out most certainly for fans of the genre.. 8.25/10 (Dave)
(Self Release) Reviewed 8th November 2013
Bronze Honey is a rather good Israeli (Tel-Aviv) alternative rock band, playing a blend of Rock, Metal, Industrial & electro, all this being fronted by the Pop/Rock vocal style of Polly Gutman, and she has the ability to incomparably combine dark gothic mystery and precise rock/pop, which is essentially the visiting card of the band. And like just about everything I am reviewing at the moment, this is good! 'Free' offers up 13 tracks of mainly up tempo Rock and Metal spiced up with the aforementioned Industrial & Electro influences, which to be frank puts this album right up my alleyway. The record is ooozing throughout with awesome tracks, including the powerful opening duo of 'Lies' and 'Convicted', the slower and commercial 'Promise', the heavy and bouncy 'Bee', the massive sounding power ballad 'As Free As The Wind' and the Pop/Rock sounding 'So What'. This is a powerful, grandoise and melodic release from this Israeli band and to my ears is well worth checking out, so check them out at www.soundcloud.com/bronze-honey
. Also, one can download the album for free via the band's Facebook page, "FREE" for FREE here
. To me it is great to hear music from countries that you do not immediately associate with this style of music, and long may it continue.. 9/10 (Dave)
(Frontiers) Reviewed 8th November 2013
An exciting new AOR music star is born: Swedish singer Angelica Rylin (The Murder of My Sweet) has decided to pursue her childhood dream and has recorded an all Melodic Rock album! Her Murder of My Sweet bandmate and partner in crime, Daniel Flores assisted her on the production. "I always wanted to record an album like this" says Angelica, "my childhood heroes were Robin Beck, Ann Wilson of Heart and Leigh Matty of Romeo's Daughter". And I have to say that this album will appeal to all who love those above mentioned bands and indeed Melodic Rock and AOR in general - this record is totally awesome! All 12 tracks rock, are so melodic being musical gems in their own right. I have to say that music like this sends me back to my youth and there are some good memories back then too. Some Melodic Rock songwriting luminaries worked hard to create the music here, Harry Hess, the aforementioned Daniel Flores, Robert Sall, Alessandro Del Vecchio and Anders Wigelius all contributed. Then there are some excellent guitarists such as Jesper Stromblad (In Flames), Magnus Karlsson (Primal Fear), Per Berquist (Smash Into Pieces) also appearing on the album. There is also a very special performance by keyboardist Matt Guillory (James LaBrie). It is also special to note that not only is Angelica a superb muscician, she wrote or co-wrote several songs on this record showing another side of her artistic abilities. Well recommended and I like this very much!! - released end of November/beginning December.. 9.5/10 (Dave)
ANOTHER DESTINY PROJECT...'METADO PARANOICO-CRITICO'
(Self Release - FREE digital download) Reviewed 30th October 2013
Another Destiny Project is basically the musical brainwave of Peter Pahor, and it is a new experimental music project of creating, listening, sharing and distribution of music. It effectively is an isle of musical creativity free from copyrights and greed. There are ten awesome tracks here that cover a wide range of sub genres within the main genre of Metal which include Electronic, Cinematic, Industrial, Gothic, Prog, Acoustic and Ambient amongst possible others. The tracks of interest here to lovers of female fronted rock & metal music would be 'Frozen In Time' featuring Susana C. Marquez, 'So Close To Heaven' feat Ana Axe and 'Others' - Spanish version featuring the vocals again of Susana C. Marquez. This music is completely FREE and by and large it rocks hard, so check it out HERE
and tell your mates...8.5/10 (Dave)
ASHES TO ASHES...'BORDERLINE'
(Underground Symphony) Reviewed 16th October 2013
Italian band Ashes To Ashes started in 2010 and chose the name from the song by David Bowie. They are fronted by Marta "Polverina" Vassallo who not only sings like an angel, she can growl like a demented honey monster as well - great stuff! The band here churn out 11 tracks of catchy melodic music which at times reminds me of Paramore/Flyleaf on the tracks, 'Ballad Of The Wolf', 'Paradox of Perfection' and 'Empty Bottles and Tears', to name just three, and in their heavier moments, the vocals of Marta are more akin to those of Angel Gossow of Arch Enemy fame. I must say I have taken a liking to the track 'Change' with it's ripples of synths within the number and the track 'Vain' that is a slower number that explodes into a monster melodic song - hit single material surely!. The closer 'Home' is rather nice too - an acoustic led ballad. Drawing comparisons from bands like Evanescence, Avenged Sevenfold, Paramore, Arch Enemy, In This Moment and Flyleaf amongst many others, this is a rather good effort from this band and I highly recommended the record to the punters who like the aforementioned bands. Their Facebook is here
.. 8.5/10 (Dave)
BRING ME ETERNITY...'DRAW THE ECHO'
(Self Released) Reviewed 15th October 2013
Grenoble is a city in southeastern France, at the foot of the French Alps. It is also home to the band BRING ME ETERNITY. 'Draw The Echo' is their very recently released debut EP, which mixes epic melodies with heavy rhythmics, with a healthy dose of metalcore to boot. The five tracks here showcase the totally awesome and angelic vocals of Lyriel Bena coupled with the occasional guttural vocals of Florian Gatta, these mainly in the opening track. Indeed, opener 'Road of Dreams' will hit you backwards as it roars out of the speakers, while 'Deception' featuring solely the vocals of Lyriel is a great thundering melodic number. Third up 'Vanity' is another heavy track, but to be perfectly honest, this band certainly knows the meaning of the word "melody". This album has stack of it - great stuff! 'Silent Memory' as the title may suggest is an epic string/piano led ballad with choir, while closer 'Pride Of A World' is a damn fine way to end a damn fine album. There is a tremendous amount of unsigned talent around at the moment, and this is another band that deserves one's attention. Check out their Bandcamp
and hear for yourselves. A full length album of this quality would be a joy to hear.... 8.75/10 (Dave)
BEYOND VISIONS...'YOUR FACE IS FAMILIAR'
(Sliptrick Records) Reviewed 8th October 2013
Beyond Visions is a three piece metal band from Stockholm, Sweden formed in 2007 and fronted by Rebecka Heijel. The band’s first contact was when guitar player/songwriter Sauli Ranta and singer Rebecka met at 7 eleven where she worked in 2005. Sauli used to buy cigarettes (it's bad for ya :) ) from Rebecka, they started talking and found out they shared an interest in music. In a nutshell Beyond Visions was then born. 'Your Face Is Familiar' is the band's debut release and throws at the listener 12 tracks of Melodic Alternative Hard Rock and Metal done in the typical Stockholm tradition, kinda similar in a way to One Without amongst others. To be perfectly honest, I love this style of music - the fact that it engages the listener with a certain heaviness, but at the same time provides a strong melodic element. This is aptly proven when listening to numbers like 'Feeding The Crow', 'Septic Heart' and 'Compulsive Liar'. The band can also slow it down to with the balladry of catchy numbers like 'Leaves Are Falling', a song that screams hit single! I like this release very much and it is well worth checking out - their Facebook is here
AS ANGELS BLEED...S/T
(Self Released) Reviewed 6th Sepember 2013
I am being sent some really good music just recently, but occasionally, a cd will come along and take my breath away. And this epic release from Aussie band As Angels Bleed has done just that. Recorded at Hells Gate Studios Sydney & Mixed by Mark Lewis and Eyal Levi at Audio Hammer Studios USA, this 9 track Gothic masterpiece, besides displaying thundering drums and searing guitars, also enlists the help of the Hells Gate symphonic Orchestra and the unholy voices of the Choir of the Dammed, not to mention the ethereal vocal of vampire artist Avelina De Moray. Regards the music on offer, let us take a mix of Within Temptation and Evanescence, ramp it up somewhat and then add a healthy dose of Mandragora Scream...okay, got the picture. This album should strictly speaking cause massive great tidal waves globally as it is simply breathtaking! I am not even sure where to start, but from track one through to track 9, the music is absolutely stunning! The band's website can be found at www.asangelsbleed.com/
, and I want to close by saying that this is bombastic prime time Vampire infused Gothic Metal with huge doses of melody. I am loathe to score less than a ten..so it is a 10/10 (Dave)
ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN...'DRIVE'
(InsideOut Music) Reviewed 2nd Sepetember 2013
Having proven her credentials and immense vocal talent for 13 years as front woman of The Gathering, in 2007 Anneke felt it was time to begin her own solo career. Along with her new band Agua de Annique the charismatic singer quickly established herself as a solo artist, releasing several albums to critical and popular acclaim. On this, her new album, Anneke offers up ten cool tracks and all are well worthy of a listen. 'We Live On' and 'Treat Me Like A Lady' kicks things off like a real treat - great rockin tunes with a real sense of melody and sure heading to be live faves, and that is just the first two numbers. Third track in 'She', maintains the awesome momentum of the opening two tracks, taking a slighly more poppier stance, as does the title track. 'My Mother Said' is a rather nice ballad, while 'Forgive Me' picks up the tempo again. 'You Will Never Change' is a bouncy rocker with a rather catchy chorus, like many of the others on this record actually. 'Mental Jungle' has a Middle Eastern feel at the start and is a duet with Anneke's dear friend, Turkish superstar Hayko Cepkin! And next up 'Shooting For The Stars' is a melodic monster of a tune with Closer 'The Best Is Yet To Come' being another classic tune. I am wondering whether the best is yet to come from this lass, as this album is really good. Indeed, the new album shows Anneke to be on top form and more multifaceted than ever, with songs ranging from her signature intimate ballads to euphoric stadium rock anthems – and as always, her ethereally beautiful voice is the jewel of the package. This is well recommended to the punters out there when it gets released September 23rd, so start saving those pennies rather quickly! 9/10 (Dave)
ASRAI...'BETWEEN DREAMS AND DESTINY' EP
(Self Released) Reviewed 28th August 2013
Asrai have released three full length albums in the past, and now they present us with this EP featuring some rather cool and catchy Gothic Metal tunes. Hailing from Holland, one would expect this release to be good, and yep, that sure is the case. Fronted by Margriet Mol with jolly good tub thumper and sister Karin on drums, this band sure do belt out the six numbers that make up this EP. To be perfectly honest, 'Between Dreams And Destiny' is right up my alleyway, and all the numbers are up tempo melodic Gothic belters. And closing track 'Stone Cold' which is a Grendel remix of the opener, will have you on the dance floor in no time at all. Check their website out here
, this is rather good!...8.75/10 (Dave)
(Cargo Records) Reviewed 23rd August 2013
Robin Beck is amazing. Not only does she continue to release awesome music, she is doing it at the ripe old age of 58, indeed she will be 59 years young in November, looking about 15 years younger I hasten to add!. She is also married to one of the Kings of Melodic Hard Rock, James Christian who is not only one of the awesome musicians on this hard rockin album, he also mixed and produced the package. Now then, I will not hide my love of Melodic Hard Rock, I grew up through the 60's and 70's, so I have a highly Melodic side to my musical tastes. All I will say is that this album is awesome - 11 tracks of hard rockin' delight to tickle those musical taste buds. Just listen to the openers, 'Wrecking Ball' and the amazingly catchy 'Ain't That Just Like Love' and that will confirm exactly what I am on about - astounding! And it continues with further hot rockers like 'Sprain', 'Perfect Storm' and 'Ya Can't Fight Love' , the ballads 'Underneath', 'Burnin' Me Down' and 'I Swear The Nights', coupled with the more poppy 'Catfight' and 'Check Your Attitude'. If you have a love of all things hard rocking and melodic, may I suggest you pick this album up. Corking stuff from this lass!!... 8.75/10 (Dave)
BEL O KAN...'THOUSANDS OF CONQUERORS'
(Brennus) Reviewed 21st August 2013
I reviewed the début by this French combo a few years ago, 2009's 'Birth of a Queen', it was a terrific album of folk tinged symphonic metal, slightly let down by weak vocals. Now they have a new singer, Carole Eyraud, and have subtlety changed their style, more power and less folk, in the grand tradition of French speedy symphonic bands like Kerion, Fairyland and Wildpath, but with more than a hint of Whyzdom. Carole has a light semi-operatic voice, in the same vein as Kerion's singer Flora Spinelli who appears as a guest on 'Requiem', she hasn't got the strongest of voices, but she is a marked improvement, and she is wonderfully support by their own Conquers Choir. By the way, their curious name comes from the kingdom of the ants in Bernard Werber's trilogy 'Les Fourmis' (the Ants). The template is set by the stomping opener 'A Gothic Girl', with the sound and orchestrations by the band suitably massive, as they then stampede their way through the first four stonking songs until the building ballad Gorlebella, based on the work of the 'Bard of Brittany' Anatole le Braz, allows us to rest our sword arms. 'Independence' launches the charge again through the next quartet, including the mighty 'Power of the Throne', and the terrific catchy 'The Price to Pay', and its rounded off by the dramatic eastern flavoured 'Battlefield' . The sound and orchestrations by the band are suitably massive. Bel O Kan have produced a rousing full throttle monster anthology of anthems all beautifully wrapped in a digipak that is sure to to please aficionados of symphonic power metal. Follow the trail of ants to here
, an all conquering 8.75/10 (Phil)
BAD POLLYANNA...'MONSTROUS CHILD'
(Factory Music Agency) Reviewed 6th August 2013
As their name suggests, Bad Pollyanna from the north of England enjoy combining beauty and darkness. Fronted by an eccentric and theatrical Rock Goddess who goes by the name of Olivia Hyde, the songs tell the story of an innocent young woman who falls victim to a crazed scientist's desperate attempts to reincarnate his lost love and, against her will, is transformed into a beautiful but deadly monster. As she looks at herself and her old life through new eyes, she can see how she had been conditioned by the world around her to be fearful and subservient. With rage and lust coursing through her powerful new body but her memories intact, she faces a brutal battle between holding on to her humanity and her desire to avenge a lifetime of powerlessness. The story is told through 10 tracks that draw influences from Anime/ Manga and gothic science fiction as well as cutting edge alternative rock and electronica. Before I heard this, I was a little hesitant as to what to expect, but this to be frank is damn good and I am rather impressed, the songs also maintaining a huge sense of melody throughout. Bad Pollyanna have three years of live work under their belt, sharing stages with The Birthday Massacre, Fearless Vampire Killers, Die So Fluid, Pulled Apart By Horses and Cruxshadows, as well as an acclaimed headline slot at Whitby Goth Festival. The pedigree is most certainly there, a link to their video is here
, so now consider buying the album, due August 28th - well recommended..9/10 (Dave)
ARVEN...'BLACK IS THE COLOUR'
(Massacre Records) Reviewed 30th July 2013
Arven hail from Germany and is mainly a girl band. I say mainly, as there so happens to be one male member, and he so happens to be the drummer. So to be a drummer positioned presumably behind all those lovely ladies, must make him a rather happy person, one would assume :) Together since 2007, Arven’s professionally educated musicians bring various influences to the music of the band. But above all they share a strong passion for melodic metal. Carina Hanselmann’s nightingale-like vocals are the priority for the band on this their second release, giving Arven its unique and rather fitting sound. All in all the sound comes across as powerful and dynamic, filled with all kinds of dreamful and catchy melodies. Heavy guitar-riffs, accompanied by a double-bass thunderstorm, and groovy head banging-parts are masterly combined with both orchestral and medieval instruments. There are 12 tracks on this offering - Melodic Metal with catchy Folk elements and occasional choral bits best sums it all up, and rather good it is too. Furthermore, Stefan Schmidt (Van Canto) did some guest vocals on the song 'The One for Me', great stuff adding a little variation to the mix. This is a feast for all who dig ear-catching, thunderous symphonic metal songs with a touch of Gothic and folk. Release date 23rd August - nearly 60 minutes of harmonious bliss on this the digipak version, which closes with two rather awesome laid back bonus tracks, so get it! 8.75/10 (Dave)
ANIMAL HANDS...S/T EP
(Self Released) Reviewed 10th July 2013
Seems Australia has a Grunge Queen. Going by the name of Danielle Whalebone (I am sure I have heard of this lass before), she founded and fronts the rather cool band Animal Hands. They have offered to me their 4 track EP and I am glad they did. I must admit to not being a total fan of Grunge, although Alice In Chains and one or two others did hit the spot with me. Although this could be classed as Grunge, it to me has a commercial appeal that would catch the ear of many a music fan. Cool vocals, gritty guitars and somewhat catchy choruses, the music here gives you a very good idea as to what direction this band is moving in. And I would like to add that listening to this is a welcome change from the norm. Check out the music for yourself at their SoundCloud
, as this is rather good! 8.5/10 (Dave)
BATTLE BEAST...'BATTLE BEAST'
(Nuclear Blast) Reviewed 12th June 2013
Let's rock! Finland's Battle Beast is back with a new album and a new vocalist offering the listener 14 tracks (on my copy anyway inc bonus) of in yer face melodic keyboard laced metal with great choruses. And like the band, new gal Noora Louhimo kicks ass as she roars on opener 'Let It Roar'. The thumping 'Out Of Control' is the next number with a chorus so hideously catchy it belies belief :) 'Out On The streets' is equally as good with further awesome numbers including the bouncy 'Neuromancer', the all out metal assault of 'Raven', the power ballad 'Into The Heart Of Danger' and the rather good 'Black Ninja'. Overall, this is a good release from this band, a metal party album if ever there was one - great stuff so go and get it! 8.75/10 (Dave)
BLACK STARS FALLING...' A MEMORY - A MELODY'
(Self Release) Reviewed 10th June 2013
This German trio is the creation of one man band Lars (capital A), and it fronted by two luscious ladies, Regina and Jasmine. They have a unique style, light symphonic metal that bounces along joyfully, like a jollier Silent Force era Within temptation, or Nightwish in their merrier moments. Regina and Jasmine sing along cheerfully with their innocent young voices, and normally in unison which again is unusual. It's all very enchanting, charming, enjoyable and easy to listen to, a million miles away from brain bashing metal with screaming vocals, they obviously had a great deal of fun recording the album, with a real love of this type of music. LArs's orchestration really are superb, it must have been a real labour of love that took countless hours, and you get a second CD with just the music. Opener is like the intro music for a Hollywood fantasy blockbuster, and this sets the frolicking fairytale tone of the whole album, in fact one song is called 'Fairytales' (without an I) and they give their address as SunDownCity, Arcadien. Each song is short and sweet and all jolly good, the piano motif to 'Starlight' is frighteningly close to Nightwish's Nemo, but imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and 'Orkland' has a very atmospheric spoken bit. If you like you music merry and melodic rather than hard and heavy, then you will be captivated by the charm of this album. Gambol along to their Facebook www.facebook.com/BlackStarsFalling
to find out more, a frolicking 8.5/10 (Phil)
BLACKMORE'S NIGHT...'DANCER and the MOON'
(Frontiers Records) Reviewed June 10th 2013
DANCER AND THE MOON is BLACKMORE’S NIGHT’s 8th original studio album, and is a distinctive album, that is both melodic, rhythmic and full of classic influences. Led by the dynamic and signature alto vocals of Candice Night and the phenomenal fret work from one of my heroes and a much respected icon Ritchie Blackmore, this is another awesome effort from this married couple who since the release of their last album, have produced two lovely children, Autumn Esmeralda and Rory. Sticking to the tried and tested formula of placid but rather quirky folk songs, this is a very good album from this duo and their band. There are some covers on this album too, with proceedings kicking off with Randy Newman's 'I Think It's Going To Rain Today', which is given the Blackmore's Night treatment and very good it is too. Uriah Heep's 'Lady In Black' is included plus the rather beautiful 'Temple Of The King', which is in fact a Rainbow cover and sees Ritchie letting rip! We also hear a version of the rather familiar 'The Ashgrove', which is a traditional Welsh Folk Song whose melody has been set to numerous sets of lyrics over the years. The album closes with the number 'Carry On...Jon', an instrumental dedicated to the late Jon Lord. This is a very good record and it seems that the tracks 'The Moon Is Shining (Somewhere Over The Sea)' and 'Dancer and the Moon' are being pushed out to radio stations, so expect to hear these cool tunes on the radio soon (hopefully). DANCER AND THE MOON continues to establish the band that has been growing its following steadily in the jam, pagan/wiccan scene, new age, folk and progressive worlds, as well as the classic rock community. This release is very good and well worth the spend if you like your music at the lighter end of the scale, so light up those camp fires and bring out the ale!. Due June 14th.. 8.75/10 (Dave)
(Wormholedeath/Dreamcell11) Reviewed 5th June 2013
Agharti hail from Croatia and what can I say about this their debut release? This is a record that offers up 13 tracks of awesome Melodic Metal spanning 43 minutes, that has simply blown me away. Fronted by the Pop/Rock vocal style of Tina with male vocals from guitarist Alen (I think), I can find very little to fault with this record. From the moment the cd kicks off with the one minute intro 'The Voice of Freedom', to the closing orchestral style of 'The Voice of Change', we are treated to a formidable array of songs that do not let up from start to finish, and we do not have a filler in sight. It is difficult to make comparisons, but I suppose Lacuna Coil may spring to mind on certain tracks perhaps mixed in with a host of other Melodic Gothic Metal Bands, that simply give us Agharti. Iva, the keys girl with the band tells me that the album has kinda two themes running through it; one is more personal and covers their own experiences through life, and the other one is turned outwards and is a sort of critique of modern society - therefore the album name 'Change'. To be honest, although the record may not offer anything that much different to other female fronted metal acts playing this type of music, you will never here me complain as this is simply stunning! I can only suggest that you punters out there check this out when it gets released...this is very good, very good indeed!!! Here is their website www.agharti.eu
, so go take a peek! Just to add, a release date for the record is still to be confirmed, but watch this website for news!!.... 9.5/10 (Dave)
(Spinefarm Records) Reviewed 15th April 2013
Here is the somophore release from this Swedish Band fronted by Elize Ryd, with growls from Andy Solvestrom and clean vocals from Jake E Lundberg. And it will be plainly obvious upon listening to this, that if you enjoyed their debut outing, you will most certainly lap this up! And if you have never heard their debut, then there is something wrong with you and you are missing some awesome stuff! This is a great mix of up tempo songs with choruses to die for, kinda Pop meets Metal. And with only two songs exceeding 4 minutes, and they both run in at 4:01, the numbers are short, sweet but wield a punch worthy of Mike Tyson knocking you for six! And we are even treated to a power ballad, the superb 'Burn With Me', while the track 'Electroheart' has more of a synth driven dance floor beat to it. There is so much addictive stuff on this album, loads more than the local drug dealer could supply in a year, that I must simply recommend 'The Nexus' to all and sundry (and it's legal!!). Like I have suggested above - Pop meets Metal and this release should propel Amaranthe into the Premier League if they are not already there!! ....9/10 (Dave)
BEEF SUPREME...'ROYAL BITCH' EP
(Self Release) Reviewed 8th April 2013
This band from from the SW of the USA plays no frills rock and metal music with balls and a fair share of melody. Fronted by the attractive Niki BelGrande, I reviewed an EP of theirs last October, and this is their latest offering that has dropped into Ravenheart Towers and continues where their previous effort left off - well if it ain't broken why fix it? However, after hearing the two EPS back to back, I think 'Royal Bitch' takes a slightly more melodic route, and the music sounds as if it has benefited from a better production. This is great music with great vocals by the young Niki, well backed up by the remaining members of the band. All four numbers here kick ass, with their influences taken from Grunge and Stoner Rock. This is highly infectious stuff nonetheless with bags of attitude, the fave track to my ears from this little foursome being the catchy and bouncy 'This Is My Money (And This Is My Mouth)' - great title. I like this little offering, and the band are well worth checking out here
. The EP gets released June 4th so make a note in your diaries... 8.5/10 (Dave)
BELLADONNA...'SHOOTING DICE WITH GOD'
(Self Release) Reviewed 4th April 2013
Italian quintet Belladonna have this uncanny knack of producing albums chock full of cracking tunes, not heavy songs by any means, but heavy enough to suit the appetite of the unsuspecting rock fan, while at the same time having enough crossover appeal to satisfy the mainstream, if that mainstream was to give them a chance. And it has to be said that their latest offering is no exception. 'Shooting Dice With God' gives us 11 tracks of corking music. 'All Is Vanity' is the opener, and you immediately know this is Belladonna by the awesome vocal style of Luana Caraffa. And a great way to start the album, a mid to high tempo number with the trademark catchy Belladonna chorus. And we have other catchy and up tempo numbers including 'Karma Warrior', the metal sounding 'Ishtar Blues', the rather good (and one of my faves from the album) 'In My Demon's Name' and 'Primal Dream' (another fave). Ballads are well represented on the cd and they include 'Abduction', the acoustic based 'If I Was God' and 'Wonderlust'. 'Multiverse Love' is epic and bombastic in the true sense of the word, while closer and the wonderfully titled 'I Set My Controls To Overdrive' offers up a foot tapping way to end the cd. This album is damn good and will be well worth checking out when it gets released on April 18th, although it can be purchased from HERE
now. Great stuff.. 9/10 (Dave)
BLACKLANDS...'A NEW DAWN'
(Self Release) Reviewed 2nd April 2013
Blacklands from Germany was founded in 2006 by drummer Thomas Kelleners, with keys player Manfred Reinecke and lovely singer Moja Nardelli joining shortly afterwards. Many different guitarists and and bassist came and went until they finally found in 2010 bassist Rüdiger Sartingen and Michael Stockschläger on guitar and vocals. Moja has a premier league rich soulful voice and when Michael's excellent vocals and various guests join her here and there they combine with terrific effect. They music lies at the point where classic rock/metal meets prog rock/metal, so you get top quality songwriting allied to terrific instrumental solos, outstanding vocals combined with exemplary musicianship, in the same general area as Flaming Row, Beyond the Bridge, Roswell 6, Ayreon, Pendragon, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Touchstone. Opener 'Cold Embrace' sets out their signature style, building from poignant ballad sections to powerful peaks, rising and falling, rousing and easing seamlessly, with highlights including the Celtic infused 'Dance of the Witches', the dramatic 'A New Dawn' featuring Giles Lavery from Dragonsclaw, the awesome anthem 'I Can Hear Your Heart' which you will be singing for weeks, and the rocking 'Floating Pictures'. The album would be incomplete without a closing epic, the mighty 15 minute middle eastern flavoured 'Power Play' written by Thomas based on the events of 9/11, with guest appearances from singer Lennie Rizzo of Exxplorer and guitarist Terry Gorle of Heir Apparent. It's rounded off with the lovely reflective piece 'The Meaning' sung by Michael. You get 80 minutes of top quality music without a moment of weakness rammed into the grooves, all impeccably produced by Michael. This album bridges across multiple genres and is a must buy for fans of prime quality classic/prog rock/metal. Head across the blacklands to their website, www.blacklands.de
, a building 9/10 (Phil).
ALLEGRO FOR MY REQUIEM...'CHAPTER 1'
(Self Release) Reviewed 30th January 2013
Spanish band Allegro From My Requiem were founded by guitarist Tony Master, he gradually built the line-up until they started recording this début album last year. Tony has distilled the essence of European power metal, bands like Rhapsody, Visions of Atlantis, Ancient Bards, and brought in two premier league rock singers to front the band, the mighty lungs of Javier Vega Moyano who reminds me of Damian Wilson, and Ekate who reminds me of Maree from Awaken Solace. The result is mighty sword waving anthems that do not break the mould but do absolutely everything right. The songs have plenty of variation from more subtle moments to majestic to dramatic to putting the double pedal to the metal, the twin voices giving them tremendous flexibility, with lots of recurring themed and motifs to tie the whole album together. It's packed with terrific numbers from the key song 'Look At Me' to 'Lost in Paradise' to the epic signature song 'Allegro from My Requiem' to the theatrical 'Requiem', but the stand out track is the jazzy ballad 'Dark Temptation' where Tony manages to make his guitar sound like a blues saxophone. The top draw production is by José Garrido and Daniel Melian and mastering by Jens Bogren, who has worked with the likes of Opeth and Symphony-X. If a Martian lands in your back garden and asks what symphonic power metal sounds like, just play them this ultra professional, top quality, classic sounding album, you really cannot go wrong, and I hope that this is the first of many more chapters in their story, and certainly not their requiem. Allegro fortissimo to their website here
, a top draw 8.75/10 (Phil).
ACELSIA...'DON'T GO WHERE I CAN'T FOLLOW'
(Quietude Productions) Reviewed 22nd January 2013
The debut full length album from Norwegian rockers Acelsia has arrived. The band is essentially vocalist Malene Markussen and Odd Henning who plays just about everything else except drums. This is an album where the band has dragged Melodic Rock and Metal into the 21st century and given it the Acelsia treatment. Totally awesome! I reviewed the 'Quietude' EP two years ago, and that four track offering left me rather impressed and gagging for more! And now I have more, 11 tracks of awesome Melodic Metal. The opening salvo of 'Roads' and 'Stitches' sets the scene as to what is to come. Two up tempo melodic numbers with Malene's Pop/Rock and at times sexy vocal style nailing it perfectly. 'Up On The Roof' slows it down as does the power balladry of 'The Most Important Fight', two numbers showing the band's more sensitive side. The single 'The Mender' is a catchy number, that starts slow and then kicks into gear with it's soaring vocal melodies, heavy guitars and throbbing drum patterns, whilst next up 'Blue Knell' is a heavy thumping number. The second half of the album shows no let up although slightly slower in pace. 'Haven' and 'Hold My Breath' being those aforementioned slower and rather sensitive numbers - great stuff I hasten to add. 'Before I Fall' instrumentally in the chorus reminds me a little of Draconian amongst others, whilst the closing duo of 'Another Day' and the laid back 'Left Alone' end what is a very good album. Maybe I would have preferred one or two rather more up tempo numbers, but nonetheless, I am very happy with what I have heard. A great album with a great production - their Facebook is here
... 8.5/10 (Dave)
KERSTIN BISCHOFF...'PROJECT AVA'
(Self Released) Reviewed 22nd November 2012
Kerstin Bischoff (ex Axxis and ex Xandria) has unleashed her 12 track offering onto the listening public, and to be honest, this is an album that should be well received into any female fronted music fan's music collection. 'Midnight Earth #1' opens the album, a piano intro from Kerstin herself, while 'second up 'Crimson' is a great mid paced rocker with a catchy chorus. Next up 'Frozen' is a another cool guitar driven alternative rocker, and like the previous track is one of the more heavier numbers on the album. 'Over The Stars' showcases Kerstin's awesome vocal style, and proves what a great drummer Guido is, plus we are graced with a choir that adds substance to the song - lovely and one of my album faves. 'Wish' rocks ala Evanescence/Xandria fasion, and five tracks in, this album is proving to be a worthy winner! 'Keep You From Harm' is a slower number with great vocals, and I can hear this on mainstream radio if given the chance. The awesome rockin' 'Shrink' is the single, of which there are two verions on this album, the video version and the long version, great stuff! 'Battery Eyes' drops the tempo in the verse, but ups the ante in the chorus, while the mellow 'In Contemplation' is another album fave of mine. 'Enough' is a mid paced number that I also rather like, the album closing with 'Midnight Earth # 2' and the long version of 'Shrink'. I like this album, I have mentioned those tracks that are faves of mine, but to be perfectly frank, this album overall is a good release and is a must buy to my ears. 8.75/10 (Dave)
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