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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)

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)

A MILLION MILES..'LEFT' EP

(Independent Release) Reviewed 27th November 2010

A Million Miles is a Hamburg based Rock/Metal Band fronted by Mona, who so kindly sent me this, their debut EP. And this band are no new kids on the block either, being formed in 2005 and whose CV includes supporting Biohazard in 2009. The album is heavy, with Mona's vocals suiting this style of music very well indeed. What you don't get is the operatic style that seems to be the feature of many female fronted acts these days. 'What's Left Behind' kicks this EP off and I can imagine this song kick starting their live shows too, maybe it does, but it steamrollers it's way out of the speakers like a turbo charged express train. 'Chameleon' features awesome gutiar solo, while 'My Voice' keeps the momentum going, as does closing duo of 'The Mask That Heals' and 'Walk All Night' (with another awesome guitar solo). To summarise, this is melodic, it is agressive and it features cool musicianship all round, and I bet they sound good live. Check them out at http://www.amillionmiles.de - 8.25/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

A NEW DAWN..'FALLING FROM GRACE'

(Independent Release) Reviewed 19th April 2009

Once started as a side-project in 2005, nowadays A New Dawn is solid band with their own view on how to make metal. Gothic is just a fragment of the music A New Dawn makes. They add a lot of heavy metal, some prog, a bit of thrash and a few drops of soul. The result is called: "Double Female Fronted Metal". Fronted by Sanne Kluiters and Jamila Ifzaren, the band combine classical with pop singing and there’s also deep grunts to add to the mix. And the band has shared the stage with bands like Delain, Battlelore, Autumn, After Forever, Epica, Headhunter and Holy Moses. So what about the music on 'Falling From Grace'?. It is a little gem and I continually remain gobsmacked at the quality of music that the Scandinavians and the Dutch throw at us. The CD was actually released in May 2008 but has only just entered Ravenheart Towers. This is what I call a good dose of metal, but never short of a spoonful of melody. Check out 'Darkness Falls' as an example. Other faves of mine are 'Kissed Goodbye' - heavy, melodic and awesome, and 'Victimless Tragedy'! Good stuff on offer here and it has to be said that the quality of music from the femme metal genre remains high, despite what some critical reviewers in one or two quarters may be saying. From my point of view, 'Falling From Grace' is well worth checking out...8/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

A NEW DAWN..'FINALLY'

(Independent Release) Reviewed 31st August 2010

The Netherlands has this habit of producing good bands and A New Dawn (www.myspace.com/anewdawnband) is one of those bands. With one full length release under their belt, the 2008 'Falling From Grace', the band finally returns with this three track EP. And good it is too. Fronted by two lovely ladies, Jamila Ifzaren and Alysia van Horik, with male grunts from Mike van den Heuvel, this release offers up a melodic feast of music coupled with some monstrous riffs. 'Desire' gets this little opus going and by the end of the track, I desire more. And it comes in the form of 'Masque of the Red Death' featuring Mike's growls as does closer 'Final Verdict'. 'Falling From Grace' was a good release and if this is a taster of what is to follow, bring it on :) 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

A NEW DAWN..'SEVEN FACES OF TRUTH'

(Self Released) Reviewed 7th July 2011

Dutch Rockers A New Dawn are on a roll with this their 2nd full length release. And what a corker it is. I always maintain that this band do not deliver the instant fix, but give their music a few listens, and the fix will come. And 'Seven Faces Of Truth' is no exception. A cracking album that kicks off with the brief intro 'My Name Is Dawn', before the slightly Iron Maidenesque riff sounding 'Contradiction' fires it's way out of the speakers, with the grunts of Mike Van Den Heuvel a perfect compliment to the vocals of both Jamila Ifzaren and Alysia Van Horik. Indeed, this vocal interplay is an important part of A New Dawn's sound throughout the album, and without Mike, it would not be A New Dawn! There are also three numbers here from the EP 'Finally' that was released last year that have in-fact been re-recorded. Those songs being 'Desire', 'Masque of the Red Death' and 'Final Verdict', the re-recording giving these songs added depth. The band also has the habit of slowing it down wonderfully well, just listen to 'Prelude To A Farewell (Part II)'. Faves? I have listened to the album a few times and the awesome and complex 'Theatre Of Fears' seems to be the winner in that respect. This album is damn good and it will receive distribution via Ravenheart Music at a date to be confirmed. And one more thing, having seen them live in the UK last Autumn, they are well worth the money. This album is not the instant fix, it's a grower but well worthy of a 9/10 (Dave)

ABACAY.. 'VICTIMS OF CIRCUMSTANCES'

(Whiterock Records) Reviewed 30th January 2010

Abacay are a duo from Germany comprising keys maestro Miles D. Torrance and the angelic Melany Morganstern, with her delectable soft whispering voice that caresses your ears like a gentle kiss. In case you’re wondering, Abacay is a made up word, but I was in a band called Aborom, which secretly stood for ‘Another Bunch of Randy Old Men’, so who knows! This is ten slices of delightful, danceable, pop/electro/rock, the missing link between Natalie Imbruglia and the Pet Shop Boys, full of lovely keyboard and guitar flourishes, and a subtle undertone of electronica. It is hard to pick out favourites, all the songs would make excellent single choices, but to give you an idea, ‘Dry’ builds into a real dance floor filler, lead single ‘Guitar Girl’ is wonderfully singalong, and ‘Nothing’ is a moody rocker. If you love top class pop/rock, or a metalhead who fancies a change, then I cannot recommend this highly enough. Available from their Myspace site, www.myspace.com/abacay. 9/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

ABIGAIL'S MERCY..'SALVATION'

(Crooked House Productions) Reviewed 11th November 2007

Hailing from Staffordshire here in the UK, Abigail's Mercy seem to mix old gothy standards, almost with a 70's vibe, together with modern trends. I suppose you could call their style of music Dark Melodic Metal. Melodic most certainly as there is enough here to keep your feet tapping. They mix male (clean) and female vocals courtesy of Steve and Lindsey, coupled with a twin guitar attack. If one could imagine I suppose The Sisters Of Mercy mixed with perhaps Lacuna Coil...well that sums it up quite nicely. Some good stuff here notably the attention grabbing opener 'To Hell With Angels', 'Meaningless', 'Cloud Dancer' and 'The Truth'. Live with this cd as it may not grab you first listen, but after successive plays, it will! This may be a late review, the cd first appeared in September 2005, but my original copy was loaned to someone who is now in Australia and the cd was not given back. So the band sent me a new copy CD/DVD combo (Thanks Terry). The DVD features 'To Hell With Angels' and 'Cloud Dancer', and is pretty cool in it's own right. A good overall effort 7.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave).

ABOVE THE SKYLINE..'OCEAN POETRY' EP

(Record Union) Reviewed 18th February 2011

Headbangers and Metal Merchants, run for cover, because if you are expecting Angela Gossow to come screaming out of your speakers, then think again, as this will not be for you :) Above The Skyline is the Side-Project of Bruno Duarte, also from his Ghost Ambient Project music known as "Immundus", although Bruno has also had his feet dipped into the Black Metal Scene in the past. Above The Skyline also has the haunting vocals of Kris Tilbury, a now fundamental and very important member of the equation. Kris adding beautiful choirs and additional instruments such as Harp and other acoustic elements to the music. This is music that encompasses New Age, Darkwave, Gothic, Ethereal and Electronic, being for fans of Enigma, Enya, Delerium, Amethystium, Brian Eno, Era, Conjure One among many others. The kinda music to chill out too after a hard day at the office. The haunting choir like vocals of Kris appear throughout the album, and I must take my hat off to Kris and Bruno for what they have produced here, which is far away from your normal Gothic Metal Fayre. The last album I reviewed that fell into this kind of musical category was 'Dusk And Void Became Alive' by Die Verbannten Kinder Evas back in November 2006 and this is equally as good! I pride myself on the fact that I am very open minded to the music I listen too - I can listen and appreciate a lot of styles. Again I must stress, this is not for the headbangers, but if you like to snuggle up to your partner on the couch while listening to some ambient chill out music at times, then this will suit the occasion. Chill along to Above The Skyline to find out more... 8.25/10 (Dave)

ABOVE THE SKYLINE..'DREAMCATCHER' EP

I like a bit of relaxtion music, and this 2 track EP by Above The Skyline fronted by Kris Tilbury does just that. This CD that Kris has recorded with her partner in crime Bruno Duarte, is not metal, but it certainly should be targeted at a New Age audience, and would be the type of music purchasable from such shops. First track 'Dreamcatcher' is a piano led number and is a tune that in-fact tends to stick in your head long after the cd has finished. Second track 'Out Of Reach' is more electro with the synths leading the way on this one, but just as relaxing. If you have had a hard day at the office, stick this on with a bottle of wine and immerse yourself in the music. I won't score this as the CD is just the two tracks, but this is damn good! Their Facebook page is here.

ABRASANTIA…’FORGOTTEN RITUALS’

(Abrasantia/Mtm Prod.Records) Reviewed 16th May 2016

Abrasantia come from Argentina and ply their trade by way of Symphonic Metal with operatic vocals, and occasional but not overly done male grunts. They were formed in 2011 and this album is their first full length effort, having released an EP in 2012 and three singles since. They are fronted by Mariana Brunel who has been with the band since 2014, although Carolina Schall is a session member of the band, appearing live and is indeed a founder member too. There are some good bands coming out of Sth America so let us now add Abrasantia to that list. This is one of those albums that tends to grow on you with each listen, and to me, it is those records that have lasting appeal. Running in at just over the hour, there are 14 tracks here, sung either in the band’s native tongue or in English. Mariana’s singing as previously mentioned come from the operatic school of vocals, and suit the music rather well – I do rather like the lovely tune 'Conjuro de amor' but there are others, like ‘Winter’ which is quite nice and has a subtle retro feel to it, while ‘Orpheus Song’ possesses quite a catchy chorus. Overall, this is a fairly strong release from this Argentinian band, with a mix of mid to up tempo numbers and slower ballady string led tracks like ‘Until The End Of Time’. The record is well worth tracking down, CDBaby (www.cdbaby.com/cd/abrasantia5) being one such source for a purchase… 8/10 (Dave)

ABSCIDO...'ALPHA THOUGHT'

(Dawson Productions) Reviewed 3rd July 2016

Abscido and 'Alpha Thought' are concepts of a certain Paul Dawson that he has laboured toward during the past 5 years. Paul has spent most of his life recording and producing music for other artists, and he has always wanted to complete an album project on his own. Having a small recording studio and media production facility helped him to create his life's dream of recording his own album. And this is it! All the writing, production and recording was done by Paul, but he needed a singer to complete the project, so he turned to a very talented young friend of his from a small town in Iowa USA, that had sung in his studio previously, a certain Lindsay Golliet. There are nine numbers here, akin to Melodic Metal with a Progressive/Symphonic undercurrent, and before I contacted Paul regards this release, I was given the impression that it may have been a ‘one man show’ with a female singer, and I was right. The album to my ears is very similar in style to England/Argentinian project GABRIEL that is also a two person show. And after a brief instrumental intro of filmscore proportions, this similarity with Gabriel becomes more apparent in the first number proper, the progressive tinged title track. Vocally though, Lindsay obviously not having the ‘English twang’ that Sally, the vocalist in Gabriel has. The melodic ‘All I Am’ is an awesome number and to be honest, I would love to hear these tunes performed by a full band, Lindsay sure being a fine singer too! The track ‘The Doorstep’ seems at times to have a lot going on for my ears to absorb all at once, but there are plenty of highlights on this record that include the beautiful ballad ‘How Many Times’, the catchy ‘Creepin Around’, the orchestral and appropriately titled ‘Overture’, and the epic final instrumental track simply titled ‘Abscido’. Give this album two or three spins and it will hit you. Not a bad effort from this USA based project. Support independent musicians and buy this from iTunes and the like, it can also be streamed on Spotify too – well worth checking out… 8/10 (Dave)

ABSINTHE.. 'CHAPTER ONE: URBAN FAIRYTALES'

(Alkemist Fanatix, UK Division, Code 7) Reviewed 13th October 2009

Absinthe (great name) are a young new wave/indie/alt rock band from Milan, Italy very much in the mould of Paramore and Hey Monday. They are fronted by Sara Frusciante who has a strong pop voice. Sadly, she has just left the band, so if anyone fancies a job? This is a collection of 13 very commercial power pop/rock songs. Favourites include ‘Something’, ‘Blind the Sun’, both of which are very catchy and feature cheesy Farfisa organ, and the ballad ‘Say’. The bonus track, the semi acoustic ‘Limpido’, has an atmospheric vibe, and I would love to see the band explore this side more. All in all a really good listen for power pop fans. Signed copies are available on their Myspace site, www.myspace.com/absinthemilan 8/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

ABSYNTHE AURA..'UNBREAKABLE'

(Street Symphonies -Logic(Il)Logic) Reviewed 19th December 2011

Italians Absynth Aura first came together in 2007 to record the single 'Will Is Power' for the 'Virus Free Generation' campaign, which aimed to raise awareness of HIV/Aids. Finding they had a unique chemistry, they recorded a promo EP which received a lot of critical acclaim so they began to meticulously record this début album. They are all enormously talented musicians in their own right, captivating Claudia "Klod" Saponi on vocals, guitarist Michele "Dr.Viossy" Vioni , Giorgio "JT" Terenziani on bass, and drummer Marco "Mark" Renzi. Superficially I would put them somewhere between Lacuna Coil and Evanescence, but there are other facets to their sound, including elements of prog, gothic, classic rock, blues, soul and jazz. In perfect partnership, Klod can do rock, blues, soul and country with equal ease, moving from effortlessly from Amy Lee to Cristina Scabbia to Joss Stone in style, with a characteristic sexy rasp when she applies the power. This means that there is real diversity on this album within a consistent sound and style. They open with a brace of powerful Lacuna Coil esque groovers, 'Believe Me' and 'Desert Flower', the swaying waltzing 'That's Why You Die' heads towards Within Temptation, and then a real highlight, the jazzy Latin infused 'Smile' with it's gorgeous melody that certainly brought a grin to my face, it would make a great single. In total contrast 'Understand My Fight' is a balls out bluesy rocker, followed by a classic piano ballad, 'Looking For The One', and then 'Life', a powerful ballad duet with Fabio Dessi from the band Arthemis. They return to their signature prog, soul and blues tinged gothic alt-metal for the final three numbers, 'The Fire in My Eyes', the afore mentioned 'Will is Power' and the epic title track 'Unbreakable'. The bonus track is a terrific cover of The Cranberries 'Zombie', where they really let their hair down and let rip, and it's a measure of the quality of the song-writing on the album that it does not sound out of place and fits seamlessly, it certainly murders Sarah Jezebel Deva's version. Musicianship throughout is exemplary, lots of fluid leads and a diverse array of styles by Dr. Voissy, brilliant virtuoso bass playing by JT including a couple of amazing solos, and rock solid highly skilled drumming by Mark, all beautifully produced by the band and Roberto Priori. This is a highly commercial, melodic and catchy album that has all the ingredients, including a stunning singer, skilled musicians, top production and a superb selection of songs, to go down a storm in America as well as Europe. In fact, unless you had told me, thanks to that hint of blues I would have thought they were American. Take a break and visit their website here, a soulful 9/10 (Phil)

ACELDAMA..'SEDUCE, DECEIVE AND LEAD ASTRAY'

(Independent Release) Reviewed 6th March 2009

Wow...this band is from Birmingham here in the UK, just a stones throw from Ravenheart Towers. Fronted by the cool sounding Leanne, Aceldama simply rock and they set out from the start to create songs that incorporate atmospheric harmonies and infectious hooks. Opener 'Dinosaurs' bludgeons it's way into your head like a heard of Dinosaurs, while 'Do It Again' keeps up the tempo! Other faves to my ears on this record include, 'Fable' , the slower paced 'Forgotten' the atmospheric 'Weak' and the catchy 'The Last Time' which starts off with a nice accoustic intro. This record is hard rocking, so don't expect gothic operatics here. Anyway, Aceldama have set their sights on the whole of the UK, and introduce the nation to their infectious grooves! At this rate, I think that perhaps the world should sit up and take notice of these infectious grooves. Check out www.myspace.com/aceldamabham and make a purchase! 8/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

ACELDAMA..S/T

(Self Release) Reviewed 26th March 2012

Formed in the West Midlands (UK) circa 2005, Aceldama fronted by Leanne Dawes, released their first album, 'Seduce, Deceive & Lead Astray' in 2009, followed by a single in 2010 called 'Metal and Beer'. Over the course of those previous CDs, Aceldama has evolved and after numerous setbacks, 2012 finally sees the release of their eponymously titled 7 track EP, which aims to capture the power of a band who has built up a reputation for having an explosive and high energy live show. The band on this album has set out to create songs with crushing riffs, harmonious vocals and infectious choruses, the opener 'I Am' being a good example of this. Third track in, the catchy 'Faith in Me' is scheduled to be the first single from the album, and talks are underway to produce their first ever video for it. The Melodic Hard Rock sounding 'What Has Gone Before' is a fave of mine, and I think that if this band had been around during the hair metal heyday of the 80s, this song would have been a smash! The album closes with a bonus track, a piano version of fan favourite 'Breakdown', which can be found in it's original form on the 'Metal and Beer' single. This cd is good, it rocks, it's melodic and it comes highly recommended from Team Ravenheart. It gets released in May, meanwhile, check the band out at their website here... 8.75/10 (Dave)

ACELSIA..'QUIETUDE' EP

(Self Released) Reviewed 10th February 2011

This four track EP arrived at Ravenheart Towers at the start of the week, and observing a Norwegian postmark, I instantly became rather curious, as Scandinavia is the breeding ground for some pretty decent bands. And we have a band here that look set to contribute some awesome music to our fine genre in the future - and this EP offers a good start. Acelsia basically deliver a brand of Melodic Metal focusing on strong and memorable melodies, and featuring Malene Markussen on vocals who has a kind of unique pop/rock style, this style indeed suits the music very well. Opener 'All These Years' pounds along with progressive tendencies , while 'Happiness Prevails' is a more straight forward Melodic Metal song that bangs around in your head well after the song has finished. 'Unbroken' slows things down, an almost doom feel actually but maintaining Malene's pop vocal style. Closer 'Still Undone' is a Melodic Monster that leaves me wanting more. Check the band out at Acelsia ....8.25/10 (Dave)

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)

ACHILLA..3 Track cd feat the single 'Arashi'

(Independent Release) Reviewed 21st August 2010

How the hell are Achilla unsigned. I think there are one or two labels that should stop signing X Factor style rubbish and start signing real music. The band comprises members from various European nations, and is fronted by Martamaria, whose amazing vocal range has got her a place in the Guinness Book of Records. The three tracks here including the catchy single 'Arashi' are heavy and very melodic, and this offers a perfect taster as to what is to come on their forthcoming album 'Timeless'. Check this awesome band out at www.myspace.com/achillamusic. This cd single gets released digitally on the 1st Sept and in cd format on the 16th Sept....8.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

ACID EMPIRE..' ACID EMPIRE'

(Hammerhead Records) Reviewed 5th March 2012

When British symphonic metal band Season's End did a one off concert with an orchestra, it inspired bass player Mike Bridge to write and create an orchestral metal album. Mike spent two years painstakingly building the orchestral arrangements using some modern software called the 'East West Quantum Leap Symphonic Orchestra' to create the very realistic sounding and very sophisticated full orchestra. Joining him are Season's End bandmate David Stanton on guitar, the English melodic rock singer-songwriter Jack Lipinski, and Mike's wife Hannah with her warm soulful voice. Musically, their symphonic metal recalls Edenbridge, with nods towards progressive/ melodic metal and epic film scores, but thanks to Jack's voice and the sweeping song arrangements that ebb and flow from classical to rock to metal, there are also elements of Al Stewart / Genesis / Renaissance symphonic rock. Jack sings the first terrific trio of epics, all of them outstanding songs, 'Only the Weak', 'Denial' and my particular favourite 'Would You Do It Again'. Hannah makes her first appearance in the reprise of this song, almost doing a Clare Torry ('Great Gig in the Sky', Pink Floyd), and then she stars in the classic building symphonic ballad '1000 Days'. Hannah duets with the mighty lungs of special guest Damian Wilson (Landmarq / Threshold / Ayreon / Star One etc. etc.) on the massive 'Into The Void', and finally with Jack on the moving 'The Return'. I am really surprised that Hannah has no track record, she really has a wonderful voice and more than holds her own with the more experienced lads. It's all linked together with various instrumental and classical interludes, both between and within the songs, to form a complete listening experience that carries you away, it's like being at a concert at the Albert or Carnegie Halls. David is given free reign to perform a tour de force on his various guitars, and production and sound by Mike and Eliot Vaughan is faultless. A brilliantly and lovingly crafted album with superb songs and thought provoking lyrics that will be irresistible to anyone who enjoys symphonic or progressive or melodic metal and rock. Their empire is here, a classical 9/10 (Phil)

ACTION REPLAY..'BURNING IN ICE'

(Self Release) Reviewed 11th May 2011

Action Replay is a female fronted Melodic Hard Rock Band based in Birmingham (UK), fronted by the powerful and pleasing vocals of Aimee (who also plays rhythm guitar). The four tracks on offer on this EP are intricately written, accessible and very melodic, and would please the hard rock/melodic rock fan out there. The title track kicks thing off, and is a bouncy little number with great guitar work from Matt Draycott. 'Dark Days' is another catchy tune, and it becomes apparent the hard work that this band is putting in. 'Caught Between Us' is a slower but powerful number, and it is equally as awesome as the opening duo, with Aimee and the band putting in a great performance as they do throughout the whole of the record - beautiful guitar solos, pounding drum beats and articulated bass parts. Closer 'Cut You Down' maintains the momentum, and leaves you wanting more. I would suggest that one cuts through the ice to their facebook site and check them out. This is pretty good stuff! 8.5/10 (Dave)

ACT III..'PRINCESS TRAGEDY'

(Independent Release) Reviewed 18th March 2009

What a great little release we have here. ACT 3 are from Sweden, which still begs the question..."what do the Scandinavians put in their water?" This is a super little gothic metal release by a band that has taken us here at Ravenheart Towers by storm. Even my partner in crime Aimee is gobsmacked! We absolutely love the five tracks on offer here on this EP, from the opener 'Princess Tragedy' (love the brief string intro) to the closing track 'Memories', which is a bonus track so it says on the sleeve. The music is heavy, catchy and totally awesome and it plods along at a decent pace. Also, the vocals of Lina are really cool - no operatic warblings here I hasten to add? All I want to say really is take a trip to www.myspace.com/act3sweden and BUY IT! It is not expensive and you will be helping a band that we at Ravenheart Music totally support! Great stuff - totally, and we cannot wait for a full release as and when!! ...9/10 (Reviewed by Dave and Aimee)

ACT III..'JUST ANOTHER TRAGEDY'

(Self Release) Reviewed 21st December 2011

Way back in the depths of time, 18th March 2009 to be precise, I reviewed an EP by this Swedish Combo entitled 'Princess Tragedy', and I found the release totally awesome and worthy of a 9/10. That EP still finds it's way onto my cd deck from time to time, as I never get fed up with listening to it. Now here at the end of 2011, Act III (or Act 3) give me this their new offering, and this is as good if not better than their previous little platter. Okay, there have been a few changes within the band personel, and all credit to band founder Michael Andersson for not giving up in the face of adversity. With Louise Steffensen now at the helm replacing previous vocalist Lina, 'Just Another Tragedy' contines where 'Princess Tragedy' left off. Four tracks of awesome melodic metal, driven along by the totally cool drumming of Mattias Flintberg, who was actually drummer on the previous incarnation of this band. The vocals of Louise nail it perfectly, a kinda sultry melancholic pop/rock vibe to her vocal performance. I just challenge anybody to sit still while listening to the four tracks here as I find it near damn impossible. The title suggests 'Just Another Tragedy' but simply, this is just another awesome record from this band. Check out their Facebook Band Page and get it!! Recommended. 9/10 (Dave)