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Ravenheart Reviews: Archived

Reviews C Cont (2)

CRASHDOLLZ...S/T CD

(Self Release) Reviewed 15th July 2013

In my heyday (did I ever have one?), I liked The Sex Pistols, The Ramones etc etc and I liked the no nonsense Punk attitude these bands portrayed. Now we have CrashDollz from Detroit, to grab us by the short and curlies and drag us screaming through the streets, letting us know that real Punk is still alive, well and kicking ass. There is no mercy shown here by the twelve tracks on this record, and with titles like 'Dumpster Punk', 'Novocaine', 'Bad Taste Barbie', the rather awesome 'US Punk Bombs' and 'Female Anarchy', that should give you a taster as to what to expect on this record. I would also imagine that their live shows offer a taste of female anarchy - there are two girls in this four piece combo by the way. CrashDollz being fronted by the awesome Nikki Darling with Rachel Rekkit who lets rip on guitars, and boy does she let rip too! If you think this music died years ago, then check out CrashDollz who will prove you totally wrong! Punk-Metal is alive and kicking so check them out here - www.crashdollz.bandcamp.com/ ...8/10 (Dave)

CRETURA…’FALL OF THE SEVENTH GOLDEN STAR’

(WormholeDeath) Reviewed 18th April 2016

Cretura formed in 2010 is a six-piece Symphonic Extreme Metal band from Bergen, Norway. The band consists of Markus Pettersen (guitars, vocals), Marius Toen (guitars), Jørgen Beijer (bass, vocals), Michael Sveri (drums), Kine-Lise Sæthre (keyboards) and Sárá Márjá Guttorm (vocals). Their music is symphonic with many horror elements such as the melodies, musical arrangements and lyrics. The music varies from the melodic parts with female vocals and the heavier parts with the rough growls of Markus. The album has a strong concept: both lyrically, musically and visually. There are 11 tracks which contain everything from beautiful vocals, extreme riffing, complex orchestration and screaming guitar solos. The album tells an epic tale about the end of humanity. A tale where both historical, philosophical and religious events are contorted in different ways to reflect the ongoing cycle of human behaviour, and what ultimately causes our moral and ethical way of thinking to become oppressed and thrown away while our souls slowly decay. And there you have it, eleven extreme and powerful numbers that certainly will appeal to those that like their metal at the heavier end of the musical spectrum, more akin to bands like Cradle of Filth and the like. There are melodic tracks however like ‘Funeral Roses’ and ’Northern Winds’, while tracks like ‘Reign of Terror', 'Grand Warfare Through Dark Ages', 'Voices of Hunger' and 'At The 11th Hour' will blow your mind. This album is bombastic and recommended to all you metalheads!!... 8.5/10 (Dave)

CRIMSON BLUE..'INNOCENCE'

(Destroy The Humanity) Reviewed 20th December 2011

From reading their own description of what they call 'Nu Art Metal' you may expect something rather weird from this Russian quintet, but although it is impossible to pigeon-hole their sound, not only does it make make perfect sense, it's also hugely commercial. If I had a stab, I'd put VersaEmerge, Evanescence, Reasoning, Touchstone, Porcupine Tree, Muse, Lacuna Coil and To Mera into a blender to create progressive gothic nu alt-metal. To put it simply it rocks like a hurricane, it seriously grooves, it's as catchy as hell, it's got more hooks than Velcro, and it sounds incredible. Out front is keytar wielding, stunning lead singer Dani Hellsrom with her highly versatile voice that encompasses the breathy to the laid back to the passionate to the full throttle, joined by guitarists Stanislav and Hans whose guitar work ranges from the delicate to the dynamite, Latex and his extraordinary elastic boinging bass work, and Andrew and his driving drumming. Some of the sonics on this album will blow your mind, 'Forest' for example has a section that totally felled me. You get eleven multifaceted songs, every one an absolute killer, from the awesome opener 'Iceland', to the more alt-rock 'Clouds', to the folk tinged 'Ave', to the epic 'H.U. Lab Experiment 1', to the hint of Porcupine Tree in 'Nagual', to the superb closing title track 'Innocence', all with top professional production sound by Anton Kondakov at Destroy the Humanity Studios. In Dani they have an absolute star, backed by a premier league band, this is a must for anyone who loves alternative, prog or gothic metal, their Facebook is here, a mind-blowing 9/10 (Phil)

CRIMSON BLUE...'THE ANGELIC PERFORMANCE'

(My Kingdom Music) Reviewed 3rd December 2014

Russia is emerging as a force to be reckoned with when it comes to Female fronted Rock & Metal. There are some pretty decent bands to be found and Crimson Blue is one such act. Fronted by the dynamic and very talented Dani Hellstrom who also deals with keyboards, Crimson Blue delivers close on an hours worth of Progressive/Gothic Metal and very well done it is too. 'Locust' gets things moving in a more than impressive way, the progressive tendancies bubbling under the surface, and the vocals of Dani well suited and equally as impressive - great start and the great work continues with next track 'Dolores'. '3rd Eyes Close' starts with an acoustic feel, and this song to my ears has that crossover potential - more laid back, commercial and a fave of mine from this disc.'Sacrifiction' and 'Mechanical Madonna' continue to show the great musical prowess of this band, while 'Road To Oblivion' slows things down featuring strings with just Dani and her piano. 'Lab II Yggdrasil' is a nine minute plus prog masterpiece, being followed by 'Dark Heart Of Mine', which as the title may suggest is a nice ballady type number. The subtle Middle Eastern vibes of 'Tonali' and the eleven minute plus 'Black Wings'close this rather good record, the latter having just about everything to throw at the listener. Crimson Blue are onto a winner here, now it is up to the music buying public to buy the album and propel this band into the premier league. Find out more here... 8.75/10 (Natalie Gold)

CRIMSON CHRYSALIS...'CRIMSON PASSION CRY'

(Sting Music) Reviewed 9th January 2013

This is, as far as I know, the first album to appear in these illustrious annuls from the country of South Africa. For those of you expecting Paul Simon, it will come as no surprise that René van den Berg started her career performing Afrikaans folk music, however over the last couple of years she embarked on creating something totally utterly different. What we have here is sumptuous symphonic rock, which sounds more like it is from France, as Rene has that unique French chanson tremor in her voice, and the music has a touch of the tempestuous torch song about it. I have written and rewritten this review countless times, because whatever I do, it does not do justice to this collection of classic, jaw dropping, dramatic, passionate, stirring 'ballads', and I use that word very reluctantly, as it conjures up images of soppy love songs that will send you to sleep, but nothing could be further from the truth. If you imagine the sort of songs from musical theatre shows like Les Misérables or a more rock/metal Sarah Brightman, it does remind me of 'Time to Say Goodbye' at times, mixed with epic soundtrack music with wonderful orchestrations, performed by a powerful band, and topped by Rene's warm rich voice, then perhaps we are somewhere roundabouts, but this is music without boundaries, it's strong enough to appeal to symphonic metal fans of bands like modern Nightwish, but familiar and accessible for classic rock listeners as well. Opener 'Angels and Demon's' featuring Adolph de Beer (video on Female Voices) really steams along and kicks the album off in great style before you settle back in your seat for the show, and midway through you get clarion call for all jilted lovers, 'F-Off and Die!”. There are so many terrific songs like 'Letters From the Edge' and the title track 'Crimson Passion Sky' (video on Female Voices) that my recommendation is, just sit back and enjoy the whole album experience. This really is an album that will sit comfortably in anybody’s and everybody’s record collection, a timeless and universal set of classic chanson symphonic rock/metal songs perfectly performed and produced. Their crimson chrysalis emerges at their website here, a passionate 9.5/10 (Phil)

CRIMSON CHRYSALIS…’ENRAPTURED’

(Musik and Film) Reviewed 21st July 2015

This has to be one of the best albums of this type of music (Symphonic Rock) that one will listen to this year, and any other year come to think of it. Crimson Chrysalis is led by the captivating and incredible vocals of South African lass Rene Van Den Berg. And this album it has to be said is near perfection in every sense of the word. Without further ado, let us cut to the chase - ‘Soul Stalker’ gets things going rather splendidly while the amazingly wonderful ‘Elegy’ is a collaboration with Rainover’s Andrea Casanova. ‘Sacred Vow’ is one of my fave tracks ever. I am basically lost for words here, so much emotion and passion being poured into one song - to me it screams “TOTAL CLASSIC”. And to be honest, that could be said for every one of the 12 numbers here. The Symphonic sounding and upbeat ‘Burning Fire with Fire’, features American vocalist Jessica Mercy from Anaria and is another favourite of mine, while further heartfelt emotion is poured into tracks like ‘Enlightenment’, the upbeat ‘Raven’ (a song about Africa), the classic ‘Virgin Death’ and the penultimate track 'Grace'. With closing track ‘Poison’, the Alice Cooper classic being given the Crimson Chrysalis treatment in such an awesome fashion it leaves me speechless, it has become blatantly obvious that the seeds were being sown with the band’s previous release ‘Crimson Passion Cry’. Those seeds have now broken the surface and produced an amazing and incredible piece of music in ‘Enraptured’. If you are a total metal head, this may not be your cuppa tea, but for anybody that appreciates good music featuring Rock mixed with the Classics and the Symphonics, this is the biz and an utter classic in the making. My mind is made up and this may be a strong statement, this has to be one of the best and most perfect releases of any genre this year, and one of the best albums I have ever listened to, enough said!.. 10/10 (Dave)

CRIMSON RIVERS..'SORROWFUL HELL'

(Self Release) Reviewed 27th July 2011

Crimson Rivers is a fairly new Greek Symphonic/Dark metal band, who were conceived at the end of March 2009 by Marios (Bass Guitar/Vocals), Thanos (Keyboards) and Fotis (Guitars). In September 2010, Stella (Vocals) and Makis (Drums) were welcomed aboard and at the end of November 2010 they released their demo titled 'In Life’s Silence'. At the end of December 2010, they entered the studio for the recordings of their first album which we now review here. So what about it then? Symphonic and dark sums it up quite nicely actually, with operatic vocals from Stella and occasional but not overdone growls from Marios. There are occasional subtle progressive tendancies, these shine though mainly on opener 'Cursed Riddle', that also offers great keys interplay from Thanos. Indeed, the keys do play an integral part of the band's sound throughout the album adding an occasional haunting atmosphere, together with some great guitar work from Fotis. The vocals of Stella tend to veer towards the operatic, although I do feel she struggles a little at times, more so on the track 'Moonlight Whispers' - this is not a criticism by the way, just an observation. Stella is only a tender 19 years young, and she will improve with experience. Overall though, her vocal performance is good on this release, and she has a very bright future for someone so young in this genre of music. There is some good music on this record, and I also see a rosy future for this band in and outside of their native Greece. Check them out at their facebook, while I would say that this is a band to watch out for now and in the future... 8.25/10 (Dave)

CRIMSON SUN…’TOWARDS THE LIGHT’

(Maple Metal Records) Reviewed 5th August 2015

I am not totally sure what the Finnish people put in their water, but Finland and indeed Scandinavia as a whole, seems to be very adept at producing some very good bands. Now we can add Crimson Sun to that list. Hailing from Kotka in Finland, female-fronted quintet CRIMSON SUN fronted by Sini Seppälä, play on this their debut full length album, modern melodic metal with an in your face attitude, and just subtle touches of electronica. Founded in 2001 by guitarist Joni Junnila, the band went through various member changes before settling down with the quintet that recorded their EP ‘The Border’ in 2013. Into 2015 now, and on this album, there are some awesome and catchy tracks to digest, listen to the title track as just one example, totally mind blowing. The music is all very melodic and mid to up tempo, no soppy ballads. The record was recorded last Fall at Deep Noise Studios, Kouvola, Fi with Saku Moilanen, and the mastering was done by Jacob Hansen (Epica, Volbeat, Amaranthe, Primal Fear) in Denmark, and is well recommended by us here at Ravenheart Music, especially if you like bands like ONE WITHOUT (one example) – was released Monday 3rd August... 8.75/10 (Dave)

CRIMSON TEARS..'THE DARK AWAKENING'

(Independent Release) Reviewed 26th December 2007

There are a few bands scattered around the planet called Crimson Tears. But the one we are talking about is British, being fronted by a very nice lass who goes by the name of Gina Oldham. And what's more, 'The Dark Awakening' is an awesome release of gothic symphonic melodic metal. And it has been produced at Thin Ice studios by Karl Groom and Richard West from the British progressive metal band Threshold (one of my fave bands by the way). And indeed, some of the tracks bear Threshold resemblances..Check out 'Frozen' and 'Emotion Denied' as two such examples. Other faves included in this feast of metal music are 'Eternity', 'Steal My Heart' and 'Strange' . There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this band are carrying the banner for British symphonic metal. If they remain unsigned, then there is certainly no justice in this world! In my book, Crimson Tears will be able to give their European Counterparts a run for their money if given the chance. Buy 'The Dark Awakening', it's great heavy music with rocking heavy hooks! You won't be disappointed! 8/10 (Reviewed by Dave).

C-ROM..'FLAMES OF KNOWLEDGE'

(Thundering Records) Reviewed 24th February 2010

The deuxieme CD from the French collective, fronted by the floating voice of Christelle, is a real tough one to categorise, they blur the boundaries between industrial, gothic, darkwave, new wave, alt rock, symphonic and metal, with songs based on the Greek legend of Prometheus and Pandora. Try to imagine a Pandora’s Box of Stream of Passion, Within Temptation, Lacuna Coil, Rage Against The Machine, L'ame Immortelle, Stone Roses, Muse and New Order, while taking Athrodite for a bop around the dance floor. The album is presented in two acts with an overture and finale, rather like a theatrical opera, or the good old days of vinyl (ask your granddad). The curtain rises with the symphonic gothic and Muse overture, ‘Anger of the Gods’, with Christelle in semi-operatic mode. Act 1 opens with the marching and galloping symphonic metal and electronica of ‘Temptation’, ‘Narthex’ is a rap metal dance floor filler, with keys player Francoise’s shouts juxtaposed with Christelle’s soft vocals, ‘Awake’ is a more conventional Lacuna Coil type gothic number, ‘The Forge’ is strutting, stomping metal and industrial (the start reminded me of ‘We Will Rock You!), with Christelle’s whispered voice, and finally ‘Prometheus’ is a gentler darkwave and alt rock tune with an ethereal choir, which then builds and soars. Time for a quick cup of tea in the interval while I turn the record over, and it’s onto Act 2. Off we go again with ‘Pandora’, a disco industrial and metal number with a touch of Stone Roses shoegazing about Christelle’s singing, mixed with Lady Gaga, we then tango into ‘Lord of Cinders’ in a Diablo Swing Orchestra sort of way before it turns symphonic, ‘Choices’ has a blend of metal riffage, darkwave and a hint of New Order, and finally ‘Hope’ is a brief, but lovely, piano and electronica ballad. The finale ‘Mercy of the Gods’ rounds things off with a flourish of symphonic metal before the curtain falls. This is no Greek tragedy, it may seem like an unlikely bunch of bedfellows, but in the hands of C-Rom it becomes most natural thing in the world. Great to listen to, great to dance to, great to headbang to, you can’t say that about many CD’s. Available from their Myspace site www.myspace.com/cromthewindingstar, this is highly recommended for, well, just about anyone and everyone! 9/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

CROWMORPH..'CHROMA' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 26th July 2011

CROWMORPH is a Thrash/Sludge Metal Group from France. The band has been going for a while, since 2003 in-fact, although under a different name, Chicken Destroy was the name then. 2011 sees the band now fronted by Amanda who takes care of all the vocals, the guttaral growls and the clean melodic vocals, which by the way are all sung in the band's native tongue. The EP is a five track aural assault of songs that would suit fans of Machine Head and Eyehategod. This may not be everybody's kind of music, but this band is attracting some attention I notice. With a line-up stronger than ever, CROWMORPH is ready to move forward and operate at maximum capacity in the ultimate goal of giving everything at each and every concert. They can be found at their Facebook... 7.75/10 (Rachel)

CRY FOR EDEN...'THE 11th Hour'

(Self Release) Reviewed 7th May 2012

It has taken keyboardist and composer James Borst from Portland four years to realise his dream, during that time no less than eight singers have passed through his band, until he finally found the perfect choice in singer Lisa Mann and her deep powerful voice. Lisa is a successful artist in her own right, 2009 recipient of the Cascade Blues Association's Muddy Waters Award for Vocalist of the Year, and she was elevated in 2010 to the CBA Hall of Fame with her third win in a row for Bass Player of the Year, her website is here. The message behind this symphonic melodic progressive rock/metal album, perhaps similar in style to Roswell Six and TSO, is of paramount importance to James, and indeed all of us, so I will cover it in some detail. The World and it's people are at the Eleventh Hour as we head for destruction through war, hatred and environmental catastrophe, the only way out is an awakening that leads into a New World of understanding, tolerance, and selfless service to others. Appropriately all proceeds from sales go to charitable causes that promote World Peace. 'The Prelude' opens with a child being sung to sleep with a lullaby by her mother, her mother then goes to watch the news report about the Highway of Death in the Iraq War, but soon after her daughter awakes with terrible nightmares about the end of the world, leading into a foreboding thunderous prog metal instrumental. The dramatic title track 'The 11th Hour' takes up this theme leading into the powerful emotive ballad 'One Last Hope', can mankind find the soul and truth to save themselves and awaken to a higher consciousness? The uplifting dynamic driving 'Echoes of Eternity' echoes the act of awakening, but there are always dark seeds of doubt as expressed by the stormy instrumental section. The gentle piano instrumental 'Eve of Revelation' reflects this moment of change, leading into the rocking rousing 'Truth Behind Reason', based on a Buddhist poem about the moment when truth is found, and then we can become, in the words of the final glorious ballad, 'Finally Free'. Everything is done to the highest standards, the production, the performances by the band, and the artwork by Chase Velarde. An enormously dedicated album of inspiring music that will appeal to anyone who enjoys symphonic melodic rock/metal and prog. The importance of their message contained in the wonderful booklet means that this is an album to buy as a CD rather than download. Their superb website is here, an inspirational 9/10 (Phil)

CRYOGENICA..'RE-ANIMATION'

(Resurrection Records) Reviewed 31st August 2010

Cryogenica fronted by Carina is a London-based, Anglo-Swedish electro-rock band formed in 2006, who started off their career as 'I Am No One', changing their name in 2008 to Cryogenica. Their first cd, 'I Have No Name' was released in 2007. This their latest release and with two 'bonus tracks' (mixed by Reza Udhin from Inertia/Killing Joke), would appeal to fans of Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, Rammstein, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Birthday Massacre and the like. They also kinda remind me of American Electro Rockers I:Scintilla. So if these aforementioned bands are your cuppa tea, then this cd will be for you. Some good Electro Rock stuff on here, with the opening salvo of 'Bruised and Broken' and 'Topaz' giving you a feel as to what one can expect. 'Dream', 'Ruby Red Skies', 'RIP' and the atmospheric 'Hope' are other good tracks to my ears, and I can see some of the music on this release going down well in the clubs. Would be interesting to hear some club remixes if that ever was to happen. This is good stuff from a band that should do well within this genre of music. Check them out at www.myspace.com/cryogenicamusic, buy this cd and listen thro headphones! 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

CRYOSHELL..'CREEPING IN MY SOUL' EP

(Independent Release) Reviewed 10th May 2010

Cryoshell hail from Denmark, and it just belies belief the quality of music coming from that part of Europe, including Holland and the rest of Scandinavia. This review will be brief. Firstly, check out http://thefemalevoices.blogspot.com/ to view the video to the single 'Creeping In My Soul'. That will give you an idea as to the music on offer. This 5 track platter is totally awesome. How can I describe this? If I was to say 5 tracks of totally awesome pop/metal with more hooks than a Japanese whaling fleet. That should sum it up. I understand that there may be a full length album due to be released on May 25th, although only in their native Denmark I believe. This EP has to be heard and it can be downloaded from iTunes. I thank Phil for introducing me to this band and my Aimee for purchasing it from iTunes for me. 9.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

CRYOSHELL...S/T

(The Leaders Records) Reviewed 18th July 2013

The debut S/T cd by Danish Band Cryoshell has been given a worldwide release by The Leaders Records (http://www.theleaders.eu/) with the addition of two bonus tracks. And I am sure that Phil will not mind if I use the bulk of his original review that he did a while back now. The band had an unusual genesis, gorgeous singer Christine Lorentzen, keys man Mikkel Maltha and guitarist Kasper Søderlund, and they originally came together to create the music for Lego’s Bionicle, before turning into a fully fledged group. But this could not be further from the normal kid’s TV fare, Cryoshell are a full on, bona fide, powerful symphonic gothic metal band, a mix of Within Temptation, Lacuna Coil and Evanescence. Christine has a magnificent voice that reminds me of a mix of Cristina Scabbia and a rocked up Shania Twain. The huge production is by Jacob Hansen who has a list of credits that would fill this page, including Delain, Pythia, and The Storm. They set their stall out with the ultra commercial, hook laden symphonic pop metal of ‘Creeping In My Soul’ featuring a smidgen of groovy rapping, before they show their other side with ‘Bye Bye Babylon’ built around a killer eastern flavoured guitar riff. ‘Trigger’ is an immense burner with wonderful acoustic and electric guitar, followed by the pounding ‘Feed’, with another superb chorus, and the colossal, soaring, gothic ‘Closer to the Truth’, it is very difficult to believe they did the music for Lego. Next up are a brace of melodic rock/metal songs, the chiming ‘Calling’ and the emotive ‘The Room’, before they ramp it up again for the stomping headbanger ‘Come To My Heaven’. The moody dramatic ‘Murky’ has yet more fabulous keyboard motifs, and the achingly beautiful ballad ‘No More Words’, with glorious rippling piano arpeggios and lush orchestration will leave you breathless. Then there are the two bonus numbers, 'Gravity Hurts' is an awesome slower brooding number with an almighty chorus, while the poppy and very catchy 'Break Out' finishes this album - both these tracks featuring a certain Tine Midtgaard on vocals, while Christine took maternity leave. Not quite sure what the band are doing now in 2013, but this is quite simply surely one of the best debuts for years - they have the songs, the sound and the look and could make the USA their own with this record alone. I heartily recommend a visit to their You Tube, their videos are outstanding. All I can say is this remains a staggering utterly jaw dropping release - 10/10 (Reviewed by Phil, June 2010 - additional later bits added by Dave).

CRYPTIC AGE..'HOMELAND' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 17th January 2012

Cryptic Age is a band from York here in the UK and class themselves as a Folk Metal Band with dynamic female vocals, heavy guitars and traditional Celtic tunes. And if you add a progressive twist into the mix, then we have an interesting release here. This in-fact is the second Folk Metal album I have reviewed today, and like the offering from Russian band Grai, this is good. The 'Homeland' EP is heavier than the album from Russia however, Cryptic Age tending to blend the Folk elements with a more powerful style of metal, with the vocals from Jenny Green leaning more towards soprano. Some good musicianship all round here, and I can imagine Alex Brandsen really hammering his drum kit in a live scenario (mind you, he hammers it anyway). This cd is good with the track 'No Folkin' Way' (great title) an in yer face Folk Metal instrumental. Their Facebook is here, while this is a release that this UK band should be rather proud of, and it is well worth checking out...8.25/10 (Dave)

CRYPTIC AGE...'SOUNDS OF INFINITY'

(Self Release) Reviewed 2nd April 2013

Cryptic Age were founded in the Viking city of Jorvik in 2010, and appropriately their music is inspired by the tales of yore and the hoards from the north. They describe themselves as folk metal which conjures up terrifying images of hairy berserkers screaming, brain numbing umpah umpah, and those infernal accordions parping away, the sort of cacophony that has me losing the will to live after 10 minutes, and longing for the Valkyries to take me to Valhalla. However, thank Odin, they are far closer to the folk and progressive tinged symphonic metal of bands like Whispering Wood, Whispering Tales, Materdea and Lyriel, with a touch of Horslips and Renaissance. Their sound rumbles and thunders like a marauding raiding party down the gangplank, with Jenny Green's truly remarkable high siren like voice, that reminds me of Annie Haslam, floating airily above the melee of Hallam's guitars, Jenny's keys, Tom's booming bass and Alex's drums that sound like the mass beating of shields, supported by their own Cryptic Choir and Orchestra, to create a suitably mighty onslaught with loads of terrific musical escapades. After the atmospheric scene setting intro 'Sheean Ny Fearnid', come a quartet of songs that would be perfect for a feast, with foaming jugs of ale and mean, and tall tales of heroic daring do, “Stoke the fires and raise the barrels high, Guests have arrived and they're here to stay! This is the tale of the horsemen of the vale, The last men alive and the land's brigade!” ( Norsemen of the Vale). The plaintive folk ballad 'Sea Invocation' based on an ancient Manx tune brings some calm to the proceedings before you gird your loins for the four part epic 'Sounds of Infinity' which gives the band plenty of room to brandish their brilliant musicianship. Crytic Age have produced an enormously impressive, adventurous and enjoyable romp with moments of beauty and brutality that provides the perfect soundtrack for some serious battleaxe wielding. Set sail, leave no man alive, and sack their web shop at their website here, a marauding 8.75/10 (Phil)

CRYSALYS..'THE AWAKENING OF GAIA'

(Wormholedeath-Dreamcell 11/Aural Music) Reviewed 18th August 2011

Surrounded by a magnificent modern metal scenery, a theatrical soprano goes back to the roots of Italian Opera Lirica, and leads us through this wonderful Post-Opera masterpiece. The Awakening has begun. Well it sure did when this five piece got picked up by Wormholedeath-Dreamcell 11/Aural Music, and as a consequence, the band are about to unleash upon the public this 10 track Metal Symphonic/Operatic epic. The emphasis here is on the vocals of Chiara Malvestiti. Her vocals are characterised by a great flexibility in high-lying velocity passages, yet with great sustaining power comparable to that of a full spinto or dramatic soprano, and by an expressive timbre combined (in metal music) with a sweet and brilliant modern voice. Every track on here displays musicianship of the highest calibre, with obvious comparisons being made to Tarja era Nightwish. I would go as far as to say that Chiara betters Tarja within this style of music. Opener, 'The Awakening of Gaia' (with lyrics based on Earth, Air, Water and Fire) gives us a pretty good indication as to what to expect, and gives us in an instant the kind of vocals Chiara has to offer the discerning listener. And when not in operatic mode, which is very rare on this record, she kinda reminds me a little of Floor Jansen. The whole package here is quite amazing, and I would suggest visiting the band's Facebook page. This comes highly recommended when it gets released on 23rd Sept..9/10 (Dave)

CRYSTAL VIPER ...'CRIMEN EXCEPTA'

(AFM Records) Reviewed 13th April 2012

Crystal Viper is a Female Fronted Traditional Heavy Metal act from Poland, founded in 2003 and led by the singer & guitarist Marta Gabriel. After doing 3 full length studio albums, several single and EP releases and appearing on a bunch of compilations, the band managed to establish their position on the underground music scene. Now we have their heaviest, most dark and aggressive album - a concept effort about holy inquisition, black magic and witches, where fiction is mixed with historical facts. Having just reviewed the debut Huntress record, I suppose there is a resemblance here between the two bands, but to be perfectly honest, I much prefer this recording, which I think has a little more commercial appeal, despite the aforementioned heavy and aggressive stance. On this cd, the band has also recorded a cover version of a classic Death Metal anthem, their version of the classic Vader song 'Tyrani Piekiel' (Tyrants Of Hell) - which will be available as the bonus track on the limited edition of this record. This track also features Vader mainman Piotr "Peter" Wiwczarek, so you can hear their amazing vocal duet of Marta and Peter. How to sum up this album? Well with classic metal tracks like opener 'Witch's Mark', 'Child of the Flame', the awesome title track and 'Medicus Animarium', and then throw in the catchy 'Hope Is Gone Here's New Law', we have a heavy and dark album, but still from the old school of classic Metal. Influences of bands such as Mercyful Fate are apparent, and are mixed here with riffs that could land on some classic Iron Maiden record - and let's not forget the amazing vocals of Marta Gabriel, who sounds like the younger sister of Chastain's Leather Leone. One more thing - the additional bonus track 'Ghosts of Sherwood', a very commercial number, great stuff! Welcome to the world of CRYSTAL VIPER: a world full of Flying Vs and tube amplifiers..released 27th April! 9/10 (Dave)

CRYSTAL VIPER...'POSSESSION'

(AFM Records) Reviewed 25th November 2013

CRYSTAL VIPER is a Female Fronted Traditional Heavy Metal act from Poland. After doing 4 full length studio albums, a bunch of singles and occasional compilation releases, Crystal Viper strike back with their latest effort 'Possession'. The album is in-fact a concept album about a young girl named Julia, where the movie-like story gets an unexpected twist, and surprises the listener with every single song. The band also managed to thank their most loyal supporters and their fans in a very special way, and as a consequence invited them to take part in the recording session of the album. This in turn resulted in having more than 50 different persons sending in their "screams". This album offers up 10 tracks of scorchingly hot and thundering Heavy Metal that even includes a cover of the Riot song 'Thundersteel' as a bonus track. Yep, this is good and really enjoyable with fave tracks a plenty including the rather cool to my ears 'You Will Die You Will Burn', and confirms that Crystal Viper are a force to be reckoned with within the genre...released Dec 13th and well recommended! 8/5/10 (Dave)

CUATRO GATOS..'EL SUENO DE LA RAZON'

(Avispa) Reviewed 5th January 2011

These Spaniards, Four Jacks in English, have been around for about 10 years so it's about time we caught up with them. They have just released a semi-acoustic album called 'Me Arriesgare', but here I'm dealing with their last fully fledged release, their third CD. Their music is around Sonata Arctica with a touch of Asia and Nightwish, massive melodic metal with added bombast, power, soaring anthems and flying synths and guitars. They are lead by Juanmi Rodríguez who sounds like John Payne on steroids, ably assisted by the gorgeous Covadonga Martínez, with all lyrics in Spanish. Their style is exemplified by the awesome 'Cruce de Caminos' (video on Female Voices Blog), a song that veers towards Nightwish and Delain, big, powerful and melodic. Other faves include the driving opener 'Mañana Quizá Sea Peor', the Sonata Arctica esque 'Entre el Cielo y el Mar', the majestic symphonic 'Quiero Morir', the classic power ballad 'Lo que Hay detrás', the catchy 'Adiós', the dreamy atmospheric 'Un Brillo en el Bosque', and the coup de gras, the epic title track 'El Sueño de la Razón'. Production and sound is top notch, but Juanmi tends to drown out Covadonga and it would have been nice for her to have been given a more prominent role rather than her normal backing vocal duties. An impressive album for power and melodic metal fans that's available for download from Amazon and iTunes etc., and the CD itself comes with a DVD with various videos, their casino is at http://www.cuatrogatos.info/, a high stakes 8.5/10 (Phil)

CULT OF WHORES AND DOGS..'BRASS KNUCKLE BONDAGE AND MORGUE RULES' (EP).

(Independent Release) Reviewed 14th August 2010

North East rockers Cult Of Whores And Dogs are new kids on the block being formed in July 2009. Guitarist and songwriter Keith Baird getting together with guitarist Michael Atherton (not the cricketer!) to begin work on the band's debut release. In January 2010, the guys hooked up in the studio with session drummer Paul Tallent before full-time drummer Chris McLeod joined the band in March, soon followed by Jessica Hardy on bass and main vocals, who joined the band in May. This EP was completed in June, and I must say this is not music for the faint hearted - the three tracks on this EP showcasing very well what this band is all about, being a kinda mix of Industrial and Punk. This band looks set to give the female fronted genre a kick up the backside. Check them out at www.myspace.com/thecultofwhoresanddogs. Rather cool me thinks...8.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

CULT OF WHORES AND DOGS..'MURDER LANE'

(HTT Single) Reviewed 5th April 2012

Cult of Whores and Dogs hail from the Newcastle area, and have over the past several months become very good mates of mine. Collectively, the band list their musical influences as Cobain, Hendrix, Hetfield, Dream Theatre, Opeth, Evanesence, Marilyn Manson and The Sex Pistols, amongst many others. A musical minefield so as to speak. There was an EP in the can, but it seems the band has decided not to release this. Instead, they will release a single 'Murder Lane', that would have been one track from this EP, but there will be a video to accompany this single in due course. To anybody who may be familiar with COWAD, 'Murder Lane' is a real commercial departure from the heavy crunching and aggressive sound of their earlier EP 'Brass Knuckle Bondage and Morgue Rules'. Indeed, Jessica adopts a near operatic apparoach to proceedings on this single, which in turn sees the band taking a more Gothy route, which I think would personally appeal most certainly to the European market. 'Murder Lane' really does show what this band is capable of, and on this showing, well who knows. I like this...difficult to give one song a mark, but this band is well worth keeping an eye on. Their Facebook is here.

CURVATURE..'SUFFER IN SILENCE' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 14th December 2011

Curvature fronted by Lisa Swatton hail from Aylesbury here in the UK, and I have to say is a typical example of hard working musicians, that are striving to get themselves noticed. Matt Jones who runs the show, and is also a good friend of mine, has suffered a few setbacks in his time, his previous band VRILLION disappeared from the radar some months go, but like a boomerang, he is back, this time with this his new venture. This EP that they have sent me offers up four tracks (inc one live number) of Electro infused Gothic Metal, including a cover of Lady Gaga's 'BAD ROMANCE' that I can say from personal experience goes down a storm live. I wouldn't say there are any tracks here that immediately hit you straight between the eyes (this is a grower), but what is here is consistent, and we should certainly be watching this band in the future. Check them out here and support unsigned music....8/10 (Dave)

CURVATURE...'Be{lie}ve'

(Ravenheart Music) Reviewed 14th June 2013

Reviewing a cd on the Ravenheart label is not easy, because it is on my label, and of course I may show bias towards the band concerned. But lets do it folks! UK band Curvature is well known on the scene, I have seen them live on more than one occasion, and I have known guitarist Matt Jones for some while now. As stated rather nicely on their Facebook page, the band play a kind of Symphonic/Gothic/Synth/Pop/Metal which has a sort of commercial appeal that should entice a wide range of listeners. This four track EP serves up a taster as to what the band offers, and it is not a bad little offering from this Buckinghamshire based combo. Rather good I hasten to add, and for anybody that has already seen the band live, this is a good addition to one's cd collection, plus for anybody that wants to hear some cool synth laced Pop/Metal, this is the biz. The vocals on this EP were recorded by ex singer Lisa Swatton, but there is a new singer waiting in the wings... 8.5/10 (Dave)