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Ravenheart Music: Album Reviews

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BEYOND GOD...'DARK LIGHT OF DAWN' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 1st September 2014

Beyond God fronted by Cynthia Knoch, is a female fronted Symphonic Metal band from yep, you've guessed it.... The Netherlands. And this EP offers up 4 tracks of rather decent Symphonic Metal. Okay, it can be said that this style of music is being done over and over again by many bands, and to an extent that is true, but if it is good, I basically do not give a toss! And this is rather good! The opener 'Destination Darkness' has a near cinematic intro before the song proper kicks in, and is a mid paced Symphonic Rocker to sink your teeth into. Next up 'Memories' has a choral intro reminding me of something from The Vatican, and is another rather cool slow to mid paced song with an acoustic undercurrent - great vocals from Cynthia! Third up, the up tempo 'Passion' offers up passionate and at times operatic vocals, while closer 'Nocturne' is a nice piano led ballad to end proceedings. If you like Within Temptation, Delain, Nightwish and the like, this I will imagine will be right up your alleyway. Check out the band's Facebook here... 8.5/10 (Aimee)

A DAY IN VENICE…’A DAY IN VENICE’

(Self Release) Reviewed 19th August 2014

A Day in Venice is a Doom Metal project from Italy created by the poet, painter and composer Andrej Kralj, who virtually plays all the instruments as well as vocals. We also get vocal contributions from Martina and Goran. The band’s major influences are My Dying Bride and Anathema, possibly appealing to fans of Draconian (amongst others) as well. The album deals with the theme of cardinal sins and kicks off with ‘Into A Luxurious Masquerade’ and ‘A Dripping Gutter’, the opening duo are mainly although not entirely instrumental. Third track in ‘Crowns’ ups the tempo and with the introduction of male vocals, the number itself is a reasonable effort. ‘Tower Of Gold’ featuring Martina on vocals, is a mid tempo number and is another good track from the cd. The title track is a cute well executed string instrumental while ‘Your Bread, My Flesh’ goes into full Doom Metal mode – my cuppa tea and I love it! ‘The Coming’ is a haunting tune with Martina at the helm again, while ‘You Take It’ and ‘A Day In The Woods’ are short ones. ‘As The Ship Docks’ is a 9 minute + song of epic Doom Metal proportions with rather interesting opera style male vocals. Closing with ’Kaplijce’, my only gripe regards the album is that to me, some of the songs could be just a little longer, they finish too quickly. But that aside, this is rather good. The special edition of the CD created with pantone colors (bronze) was conceived and designed by two artists from Trieste: Aleš Brce and Luca Silvestro - and the physical medium of the audio will be available by September 2014. The band can be found here, and for those into this style of music, this is worth checking out… 8/10 (Rachel Louise Smith)

ANIDAY...'ANIDAY'

(ValentineMusic) Reviewed 13th August 2014

Dutch band ANIDAY is storming the music scene like a deranged tornado. Featuring the lovely and talented Maria Catharina on lead vocals, Paul Coenradie brings his absolutely astonishing guitar riffs to the mix, holding down the rhythm section are Alex Mol (bass guitar) and Danny Simons (drums) and wrapping it all up into a nice package, is none other than writer, producer and multi-instrumental marvel, Robby Valentine. Anybody who knows the music of Robby Valentine, will know that he is an icon in his own right! This is Aniday's debut and contains twelve tantalizing tracks. We have tracks that feature the modern upbeat sounds of 'Buscando la Vida' to the intense rock balladry of 'When Loving You Is Wrong', leaving listeners in awe of the solid compositions and impressive vocals of Maria Catharina, who herself compares to the likes of Bonnie Tyler, Stevie Nicks, and Pat Benatar, but with a fresh and modern twist. AOR influences shine through on this record too, the opener 'Can't Take No More' and second up 'Hole In My Heart' are solid proof of this - the latter showing Mr Valentine's influences! We must also mention the hard rocking 'Born Yesterday' and the Robby Valentine influenced and hideously catchy 'Don't Fool With Me' - massive! There is very little to fault here to be honest and although the Netherlands is a small country, it is home to many great bands. There are plenty of reasons for this new band to join their peers: Within Temptation, Epica, Stream of Passion, Floor Jansen as examples. All I can say to the band is go for it, this is magical stuff and well worth every penny of one's money - their Facebook is here... 9/10 (Dave)

ARCH ENEMY...'WAR ETERNAL'

(Century Media) Reviewed 7th August 2014

Melodic Death Metal seems like a contradiction, but when you get a band like Arch Enemy, they sure know how to combine the aggressive with the melodic. And with new front lady Alissa White-Gluz (The Agonist) safely installed together with her rather awesome growls, Arch Enemy continue their rise up the Metal Music ladder with their latest release 'War Eternal'. This is prime time Melodic Death Metal, with the songs as catchy as ever, while maintaining the assault of an unstoppable steam train. 'Tempore Nihil Sanat (Prelude in F Minor)' kicks things off, a brief instrumental almost leading the listener into thinking that this could be a Nightwish album. That is until 'Never Forgive, Never Forget' kicks in with the ferocity of an assassin's bullet - an impressive way to start the album. The title track is melodic and catchy, but as equally as ferocious, and we must praise guitarists Nick Cordle (Arsis) who has just recently joined the band and fellow axeman Michael Amott, for their blistering assault on the senses throughout this record. There are further numbers that will leave you breathless, and these include the pounding 'As The Pages Burn' and 'No More Regrets', coupled with the catchy but heavy 'You Will Know My Name'. Other standouts that will leave you wanting more include the interesting 'Time Is Black' and 'Avalanche', both with their subtle orchestral elements. Having already mentioned the guitarists, we also have impressive perfomances from drummer Daniel Erlandsson and bassist Sharlee D'Angelo, and with Alissa proving her worth on this her debut with the band, this record is good! 8.5/10 (Dave)

AONIA...'SUNCHASER' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 22nd July 2014

Aonia hail from Worksop in Nottinghamshire here in England and give the listener a feast of Melodic Metal, with a Symphonic undercurrent to satisfy the Female Fronted taste buds. And what is more, this seven piece offers us two female vocalists - Melissa Adams and Joanne Robinson. What we have here in-fact is rather good I must say - 5 tracks of the aforementioned Melodic Metal and I do like the twin vocal assault from the ladies in the band. Nothing much here to fault really, with the opening salvo of the title track and 'Echoes' setting the scene rather nicely thank you. 'Warrior's Path' and the catchy 'Reflections' are pounding numbers (great guitar solo in the latter too) while closer 'Nightmare' starts a little more serene before it kicks into gear in a bombastic Power Metal fashion. Their website (www.aonia.co.uk) states that “Aonia” is the place near Helicon mountain where the muses dwell. While this image sounds serene, the band’s sound is the polar opposite. Driving, almost thrashy riffs juxtapose against melodic, almost operatic vocals from ‘a soprano with balls’ for a sound that is a blending of the very old and the very new, tempered steel in a velvet glove. I agree so why not support yet more rather cool independent music and check them out... 8.5/10 (Dave)

ANN MY GUARD...'INNOCENCE DESCENT'

(Smash Fabric Records) Reviewed 14th July 2014

I am continually astonished by the amount of quality music that comes my way. Another act that has dropped into Ravenheart Music is a Hungarian band by the name of Ann My Guard. Fronted by the innocent dolcet tones of Eszter Anna Baumann-Tóth, what we have here is a rather good selection of tunes - 13 lush, melodic and haunting songs showcasing Eszter’s stunning vocal performance brilliantly. From the super-catchy, pogoing Pop/Rock 'Crush Honey' to the much darker and heavier 'Fallen', every song reeks of the quality you’d expect from an album that took 6 years to write. And there are many other numbers on this record to sink your teeth into, including the heavy, pounding and melodic 'Ivory Ballad', the rather cool 'My Lullaby', the Metallic Punk Rock of 'HKA BITCH', the catchy 'Gone' and the epic 7+ minute closer 'Circles'. I am not quite sure if there is actually anything much wrong with what is on offer on this record. 'Innocence Descent' is rather good stuff and with production by the most renowned producer in their native Hungary, Gábor Vári, I would suggest checking this album out. For more info on Ann My Guard, pop along to their Facebook here... 8.75/10 (Dave)

ANARIA...'CHRONICLE'

(Self Release) Reviewed 2nd July 2014

Here is a US band that is uniquely American but with a strong European sound. This cd is basically a collection of previously released songs. Indeed this serves as a very good introduction to the band, especially with the promise of a new album sometime during 2014. We have standout tracks galore, although I will admit to taking a liking to their two most recent numbers - 'Into The Flood' (Oct 2013) and 'I See Fire (Jan 2014), the latter being a Cover of Ed Sheeran's track from The Hobbit soundtrack. I would strongly recommend that our readers check Anaria out if they have not already done so. You can listen to Anaria here... 8.75/10 (Aimee)

ANCIENT BARDS...'A NEW DAWN ENDING'

(Limb Music) Reviewed 11th June 2014

This is the new album from Italian Metal outfit Ancient Bards, containing the third and last chapter of the first part of the Black Crystal Sword Saga, which began with 'The Alliance of the Kings' in 2010 and continued with 'Soulless Child' in 2011. Ancient mysteries, entangled schemes, come in succession together with strange revelations, during the long and intense battle this chapter is about, a battle that takes place both inside and outside the characters. The album meanwhile contains 10 songs (including 2 suites): one number running in at over 12 minutes, and one of nearly 17 for a total of over 70 minutes of class, so you sure get your monies worth. Classic cuts worthy of one's attention include the pounding 7+ minute 'A Greater Purpose', the awesome 'Flaming Heart', the aforementioned early Nightwish sounding 'The Last Resort' and the epic 12+ minute 'Showdown'. However, to be perfectly frank, every track here is outstanding, including the sheer brilliance of the closing title track, running in at over 16 minutes. This is in effect an awesome record with an awesome production, pristine Symphonic Power Metal to boot - a worthy addition to anyone's record collection and very difficult to fault... 9.5/10 (Dave)

AMBERIAN DAWN...'MAGIC FOREST'

(Napalm Records) Reviewed 10th June 2014

Finland's Amberian Dawn has released four studio albums since 2008, and during these productive years, they have already toured in Europe three times with bands like Epica, Van Canto, Tristania, done several festival shows and opened for bands like Kamelot and Dream Evil. Their last studio album proper Circus Black (2012), is widely appraised with excellent reviews by critics all over the world, while in 2013, they released a re-recorded compilation album Re-Evolution with their new singer, Capri. Now we are in 2014 and with Capri at the helm, the band release their new album on a new label. This record is 10 tracks of catchy Symphonic Metal with the occasional foray into Power Metal territory and bloomin' good it is too. And when we say "Catchy" that is exactly what we mean - just listen to the title track as one prime example of what we mean, with similarities to Finnish counterparts Nightwish too. The Symphonic elements are there to be heard on tracks like 'Agonizing Night' and 'Memorial' which also features a male opera singer, who I do not know, but a very good addition to the vocal department nonetheless. The epic closer, the power ballad 'Green Eyed' closes the album in awesome fashion. This is another sure fire winner from the Napalm stable and I am sure will propel the band into the Premier League... 9.25/10 (Dave)

ARCANE DIMENSION...'AVANTGARDEN'

(Ravenheart Music) Reviewed 10th June 2014

You know something? I like Arcane Dimension as they are a little different. They come from the San Francisco Bay area and their line up is mainly lead vocalist and belly dancer Teresa Camp and Polish-born multi-instrumentalist Jarek Tatarek, whose specialty is the GuitarViol, a unique stringed instrument fretted like a guitar but bowed like a cello. Their self-described style of “Tribal Fusion & Avantgarde Metal” falls somewhere between Finnish cello rockers Apocalyptica and neoclassical darkwave duo Dead Can Dance with touches of electronica, metal and Middle Eastern music. This is a very good release, kicking off with two catchy numbers, The Middle Eastern influenced 'Beyond The Horizon' and the similar but slightly more mainstream sounding and equally as catchy 'Love Hypnotique'. So far so good. 'Garden Of Arcane Delights' is an instrumental ditty - camp fire stuff - great! The remainder of the album gets better with each listen with 'Haunted By The Muse' being a fave of mine here at the towers together with the haunting 'The Poem' - a great vocal delivery from Teresa Camp. The record gets better as it goes along with 'Atlantis Rising' also striking a chord with me together with 'Music Of The Spheres' (video here) and the closing duo of 'The Becoming' and the ultra commercial 'Sea Of Consciousness' (which are bonus tracks on this Ravenheart release). I did find myself listening to this album through cans and to be honest, this seemed to enhance the listening experience. A well produced and put together cd - get around the camp fire, dance and let yourself be free.... 9/10 (Aimee)

JESSICA BUNDY...'CARELESS SMILE'

(Self Release) Reviewed 9th May 2014

Jessica Bundy's voice is arresting in its unaffected beauty and rich musicality. The daughter of a concert pianist, Jess has music in her bones. School and extra-curricular choirs nurtured her love of singing, while the gift of a second-hand guitar in her teens jump-started her on the songwriting path. But it wasn't until after the accidental death of Jessica's beloved younger sister that the deep reserve of musical creativity she'd always known was there began to surface. And a part of that creativity is this EP 'Careless Smile'. Don't expect five tracks of in yer face rock or metal, but anticipate five tracks of laid back acoustic folk inspired music from this Toronto lass, to soothe your senses with a glass of wine after a hard day at the office. Listen to this and lose yourself in a dream of sunny skies and a maze of open countryside. You can listen and purchase at www.jessicabundy.bandcamp.com/. I like this! 8/10 (Dave)

ALTERED SKY...'STOP AND LIVE'

(Native Records) Reviewed 2nd May 2014

Scottish Band Altered Sky feature Ana Nowosielska on lead vocals and also have a female drummer who also contributes to vocals - Amy Blair. With both girls backed up by a competent group of young musicians, the band give us 4 tracks of catchy Pop/Rock that should please fans of Paramore and the like. In the words of lyricist Ana, the songs are “painting stories in real life”. Recorded in Cardiff’s famous Longwave Studios with producer Romesh Dodangoda who has worked with the likes of Motorhead, Kids In Glass Houses, and Funeral For A Friend, this is rather good. The band's Facebook can be found here.... 8/10 (Dave)

ANILAH...'WARRIOR'

(Self Release) Reviewed 7th April 2014

Anilah is the solo project of vocalist and composer Dréa Drury, a musician based in the Selkirk Mountains of Western Canada. Her inspirations draw from traditional shamanic sound practices, sacred chant, dark tribal, and Indian Classical. She has studied the art of using the voice as a healing modality with sound healers and shamans from across North America. This has led to her own exploration of the esoteric application of sound, which she now weaves into the tapestry of her musical expression. As a consequence of all this, what the album offers are 4 tracks of haunting and relaxing music to literally soothe the senses and ease away the aches and pains of modern day living. The title track is totally awesome, which midway sees some awesome guitars kicking in to propel the track onto another plane. And the remainder of the album that runs in total at around 36 minutes is downright good. Okay, this is different, but that is what we here at Ravenheart is all about, variety is the spice of life. For fans of Lisa Gerrard, Dead Can Dance, Wardruna, and Tool. The website is here... 8.5/10 (Aimee)

BRIGHTSTORM...'PAST IN FLAMES' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 13th March 2014

Occasionally a band blows me away and it is now the turn of Brightstorm from Brazil. The band started in October 2012 as a cover project and already had most of its current members: vocalist Naimi Stephanie, guitarist Léo Milani, bassist Flávio Gonçalves and keyboardist Gabriel Bernardes. After their first show, drummer Odair Salles and additional guitarist Will Lopes joined the band. Noticing their potential to create original songs, the group decided to create a name and start composing and creating music within the Gothic Metal genre. And this their debut record, is rather good to say the least. They offer up five tracks on this EP, all being exceptionally good, and should please any fan of female fronted Gothic Rock & Metal music. Starting with the melodic and bombastic 'Taste Of Wine' the band set the bench mark with the opener, and upon repeated listens, this track is becoming a fave of mine.'Breathing in Death' slows it down just a touch particularly at the start, and I am hearing Amy Lee influences in the vocal department. Third number 'Losses And Fears' (another fave) is a gigantic power ballad, that initially has just piano and strings, and then soars into action when the rest of the band crank it up to eleven - awesome! The pounding 'Under The Moon' shows no let up while closer 'These Hands' ends a very good record. What the band offer the listener is around 25 minutes of pure heaven and I wholeheartedly recommend this. It does remind me vocally of Amy Lee at times which is not a bad thing at all - just imagine Evanescence gone heavy and metallic. The band's website is here.. 9/10 (Dave)

ANKOR...'LAST SONG FOR VENUS'

(Winner Horse Productions) Reviewed 7th March 2014

Ankor hail from Tarragona in Spain and is a band to me that has sure given the Spanish Metal scene a boot up the backside. And they are so young! We have clean angelic female vocals courtesy of Rosa de la Cruz, insane vocals (the band's words) from Fito Martínez, screams from bassist Julio and clean vocals from David Romeu. And then we must not forget the two remaining band members who contribute to this band's massive sound, Rubio on keys and Jordi on drums. There are 12 tracks here of melodic metal to destroy your senses, similar I suppose to In This Moment amongst others of that style. And damn good it is too. And they can even throw at us a couple of rather nice ballads, the title track being one such song and 'Moonlight' being the other. Indeed, the closer 'The Unreachable Cherry Tree Of Dreams', is a neat acoustic number. This overall is a good album and recommended by the Ravenheart team. The band's website is here... 8.5/10 (Dave)

ALEXA DE STRANGE - 'TITS OF DEATH'

(Paranoise Records) Reiewed 27th Feb 2014

A 5 track EP dropped into my office the other day from a band called Alexa De Strange, fronted by a lass that I know as Francesca. I admit that the title of the EP immediately gained my attention and indeed so did the music. What we have here is an impressive array of catchy rock music with very impressive and at times sexy vocals from Francesca. I have listened to this CD a few times and I am having trouble finding any fault. Phil Manzanero from Roxy Music has stated and I quote: "I love everything about this band". I think to be perfectly honest, that I can also echo those sentiments. We also have a totally awesome power ballad, 'If Only' running in at well over 6 minutes - absolutely mind blowing. This is frikin' good stuff and the band must be checked out pronto. Their Facebook is here - released 10th March.. 8.75/10 (Dave)

BEYOND VIOLET...'FROZEN WORDS' EP

(Ravenheart Music) Reviewed 13th Feb 2014

Beyond Violet is a new Ravenheart Music acquisition and they offer up here five tracks of rather good Rock & Metal. The band combines catchy melodies with an aggressive edge and a harmonically rich, theatrical sound, being strongly influenced by Melodic Rock and Metal bands such as Lacuna Coil, Evanescence, Rammstein, Unsun, Sirenia, Within Temptation and Muse, as well as early progressive rock and new wave. Fronted by the angelic and rather nice vocals of Roxanne, the five tracks here are quite simply good and hideosuly catchy. The opening salvo of 'Frozen Words' and 'Deep Defence' set the bench mark which continue with the awesome 'Bright Star', one of my faves from the cd. The closing duo of 'Deceit' and 'Survivors' maintain the tempo and quality and I must say, this will be a good purchase (Ravenheart label or not) if you are at least into the above mentioned bands, let alone many other female fronted acts that are too numerous to mention. This is good and well recommended, their Facebook is here... 9/10 (Dave)

BLUE DAWN...'CYCLE OF PAIN'

(Black Widow) Reviewed 11th Feb 2014

'Cycle Of Pain' is the long awaited follow up to the self titled Blue Dawn debut album. This latest effort from these Italians fronted by Monica Santo, was recorded after a successful UK tour, and it sees the band expanding their sound and delivering 12 new brilliant tracks (including bonus track), offering a style ranging from seventies Hard Rock through Doom Metal to Prog Rock. Plus, we have a stunning cover of Roxy Music's 'In Every Dream Home A Heartache'. What I like about the new album is the sexy sax that puts in an occasional appearance and gives this album the X-Factor, that sax provided by guest Jazz musician Roberto Nunzio Trabona. The record kicks off with the up tempo 'The Powers That Be', with next up, the retro sounding 'Emerald Eyes' and 'Naked Soul' providing the listener with an awesome start to the 12 track set. The title track is more of a doomy offering with touches of Prog and some great Hammond Organ. 'Clone' sees the sexy sax putting in an appearance while 'Dawn of Contempt' is a brief orchestral piece. That then takes us onto the second half of the record that sees The Gathering sounding 'Contempt' with great guitar work, the sax putting in a further appearance on the aforementioned 'In Every Dream Home A Heartache' - rather good me thinks! 'Last Cry' closes the album as a bonus track. Overall, this cd is a good effort - their Facebook is here - check it out... 8/10 (Dave)

ANYONE'S GUESS...'MARCH IN THE DARK ~ CHAPTER 1'

(Red Dragon Records) Reviewed 7th Feb 2014

Since the release of the single 'Apathy', female-fronted Orlando band Anyone's Guess has been flourishing and developing their music. This their newest EP, which has just been released offers up five tracks of powerful and melodic tunes in a smilar vein to those of Halestorm and Paramore amongst others. There are also resemblances to a band that I was involved with several months ago, Faces Of March, who also hail from Florida. Opener 'Intro' is just that, an instrumental opener that then leads us straight into the heavy, powerful and melodic 'March In The Dark' - a great tune! The single 'Apathy' is up next, another equally powerful number from the record, so far so good. 'Go As You Came' is a good quality rocker and is another great tune, while closer 'Hunter' is a slower song but still packing a punch! This is a very good EP from this band fronted by Sanja Jovanovic, and this is yet another band that I would well worth recommend checking out - their Facebook is here...8.5/10 (Dave)

AJENDA...'UNRECOGNIZABLE'

(Jenuine Records via Plastichead Distribution) Reviewed 4th Feb 2014

Ajenda is a female fronted rock act with 3 self released eps under their belts. Hailing from Belfast, they have released the CD Format of their fabulous & critically acclaimed debut album 'Unrecognizable' via Plastichead Distribution. Previously available only on Digital format, the band have had such an amazing response to the album from everyone who's listened to it, including magazines and radio stations alike, that it was then decided to release it on CD format as well. And this is well worth the money whether it is bought digitally or physically. The ten tracks here offer a wonderful blend of rock n roll liberally flecked with blues, delicate melodic touches and at times a darker undercurrent adding a twist to some utterly fantastic rock songs. To be perfectly frank, this release is awesome and the vocals of Jen have totally blown me away. Every track is a standout number although the song 'Hatred And Greed', which is also a promotional single from the album, may just shade it to my ears. The band's website is at http://www.ajendamusic.com..check it out... 8.5/10 ( Dave)

AEVERIUM...'THE HARVEST EP'

(Self Release) Reviewed 21st January 2014

Here we have an awesome band from Germany featuring the female vocals of Aeva Maurelle and the male vocals of Marcel "Chubby" Römer. Their music is difficult to pigeonhole in general. So it´s hard to say, that Aeverium are just a Gothic Metal or female fronted metal band. Their music is full of emotions, female and male vocals, epicness, powerful guitar-riffs, orchestral influences, electro sounds and, most important, songs that will affect and influence people. I can hear various influences here, but one band that does spring to mind is the now defunkt Beseech. There are just four tracks here, but this is good stuff, with 'Rest In Peace' featuring predominantly the vocals of Marcel being a great Melodic Metal number and a fave of mine from the EP - this track being the band's personal tribute to Peter of Type o´Negative. Fans of bands like Lacuna Coil, Within Temptation, Evanescence and even Korn, H.I.M., Disturbed and Rammstein should have a listen to this upcoming band and with Sander Gommans (After Forever, HDK) and Amanda Somerville (Trillium, Avantasia) involved in the recording process, need I say anymore. The bands Facebook is here...8.75/10 (Dave)

AUBURN...'NASHVILLE'

(Scarlet Records) Reviewed 9th December 2013

An interesting cd we have here from a band called Auburn. After almost a decade apart, they reformed in 2011 and the following year they delivered the album 'Indian Summer' (reviewed by us in April 2012). The acoustic 'Nashville' is their follow up to that cd with Liz Lenten remaining as their lynch pin singer/songwriter. For those that may be familiar with Liz, they will know that this is not a metal album, but if you want an album that delivers laid back music in a kinda pop, bluesy, country style, then this cd will be of interest. I rather like it to be honest, with the country feel of 'Hurting' and 'Maybe Tonight', the poppy bouncy feel of 'Crazy People', the laid back and rather nice 'Pride is a Thief' and the bluesy 'Full To The Brim'. Having toured with the likes of Jefferson Starship, the late Roy Orbison, Garth Brooks and even Dolly Parton, Auburn have cemented their place within the genre with this album. And they will even be touring the UK with Jefferson Starship once again in the new year to support this album, that gets released here on the 27th January. A relaxing and refined listen from a band fronted by a very talented lady... 8/10 (Dave)

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)

BENEDICTUM...'OBEY'

(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)

BRONZE HONEY...'FREE'

(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)

ANGELICA...'THRIVE'

(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)

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