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Ravenheart Reviews: Archived

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CADAVERIA...'HORROR METAL - UNDEAD EDITION'

(Bakerteam Records) Reviewed

After five years of absence from the Metal scene, Gothic/Black Metal band Cadaveria released their new album 'Horror Metal' in 2012, collecting tons of enthusiastic reviews worldwide and touring relentlessly in support of it. Bakerteam Records and Cadaveria will celebrate the success of the album with this Special Edition of 'Horror Metal'. 'Horror Metal - Undead Edition' which I am reviewing here, features two unreleased bonus tracks, 'Whispers Of Sin (Ancestral Remix)' and 'Hypnotic Psychosis (Chaotic Remix)'. Being somewhat unfamiliar with the previous output from the band, I was interested to give this cd a spin to hear what I have been missing in the past. From what I hear, it is plainly obvious that the leading lady with whom the band takes their name has the ability to growl like a demented monster one moment, and then sing in a classically trained style the next. I do not have any of their previous releases to make comparisons, but this record I suppose will appeal to many metal fans, those that like their music rather more extreme, to those that like their music a little more commercial with melody, many of the songs on the album include both of these attributes. On the down side, I did begin to find my attention wandering at times as some of the songs can begin to sound a little samey. Three of my fave numbers however are the melodic 'The Night's Theatre', the bouncy 'The Days of the After and Behind' (great title) and the pounding 'Hypnotic Psychosis'. And the two bonus tracks aren't bad either :) This record may not be quite my cuppa tea, but to be honest, I do think this is rather good, and I feel that they could give both Arch Enemy and Cradle of Filth a run for their money with what Cadaveria has released here. Well worth checking out if you are into the above bands coupled with a good dose of Horror Metal to boot... 8/10 (Dave)

CADAVERIA...'SILENCE'

(Scarlet Records) Reviewed 13th November 2014

Ravenheart Dave has thrown another awesome album my way for review, and it is my pleasure this time to give the new Cadaveria record the once over. Fronted by the awesome lady who the band take their name from, this is the bands fifth full length record following the critically acclaimed ‘Horror Metal’, released in 2012. ‘Silence’ was mainly composed in 2013 and recorded between May and July 2014 in three different recording studios owned by the band themselves. It features eleven brand new tracks for a total running time of about 47 minutes, described as the perfect soundtrack for a contemporary horror movie, set in dark cellars, smelling of incense and seeping pain, rage and melancholy. Oh errr! Incorporating female growls together with clear singing, Cadaveria certainly know how to destroy your ear drums with their style of Dark, Death and Gothic Metal. Opener 'Velo (The Other Side of Hate)' immediately shows the more aggressive darker side of the band, while 'Free Spirit' maintains the heavy nature, but delivers it all within a sandwich of melodic creativity. 'The Soul That Doesn't Sleep' is another thumper and there is no let up on this aural assault of horror, with the closing duo of 'Loneliness' with it's great mid tempo chorus and 'Strangled Idols', being current faves of mine. Using the bands own words: "Our new album 'Silence’ is an immense and supreme ‘sound-folly’ that celebrates the capriciousness of destiny, the fugacity of life and the eternal presence of darkness in light. An instinctive impetus made of pure emotions, calibrated by awareness and experience." And I do love a bit of sound-folly within the gothy darkness, so let's do it - album released 17th Nov! 8.75/10 (Natalie Gold)

JASMINE CAIN...'WHITE NOISE'

(Self Release) Reviewed 19th August 2015

Jasmine Cain's music is raw and real. She is a modern day performer in an old school package. Raised on classic rock and metal, she is all attitude with a gypsy soul. Her songs are written from personal experience as well as stories heard from the road, like a true Highway Prophet. Sounding like Halestorm, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Soundgarden, Flyleaf and the like, you should now have got the drift. 11 tracks on this her 5th release, of hard rockin' music that overflows with melody. There are some stonking moments here, just check out the melodic belter 'Break Even' and the power ballad 'Hole' as a couple of examples from several examples. With special guest appearances by Jeff LaBar of Cinderella and Ralph Saenz (Michael Starr) of Steel Panther among many others, this is worth looking into further. A rather cool album I have to say from a down to earth gal - Facebook here.. 8.5/10 (The Nugget)

CALATHEA.. 'HOTEL LONELINESS'

(Self Release) Reviewed 6th November 2009

I must admit I belong to the Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree) anti iPod club. I like to sit down with a cup of tea, the booklet on my lap, and listen to a CD on a decent system from start to finish. I don’t even own a MP3 player, and the band had to kindly send me a CD. However for the iPod savvy, this must be the bargain of the century, this wonderful up-tempo ultra melodic gothic rock album is available for free download from their website http://www.calathea.cz/. The delectable Marketa has a superb pure, emotive, powerful voice, and the properly rhyming lyrics are excellent. It starts with the piano driven ‘Over Real Days’, ‘Don’t’ has a haunting intro before building to a powerful chorus, ‘House of Glass’ gallops along like Amy Macdonald, and ‘Morning Star’ has a delicate acoustic guitar intro before turning into a rocker. ‘Pictures’ is heavier and riffier, ‘Sad Lines of Nowhere’ combines moody verses with a chorus that rattles along nicely, ‘Sin Number 7’ is a bit punkier, ‘and ‘One Last Night’ has a charming piano intro and super catchy chorus. The last two numbers are the wonderfully named ‘Chocolate, Blood and Tears’, which is an infectious rocker, and the lovely ballad ‘Wish I Could Fly’. This is a most enjoyable listening experience, so press that download button, give yourselves a treat, and buy a T shirt to support this highly promising young band from the Czech Republic. 9/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

ANA CALVI..S/T

(Domino Records) Reviewed 31st March 2011

Stunning Anna Calvi is hot news here in Britain, and was short-listed in the BBC's Sound of 2011 which highlights all the top new talent. If you're thinking Gaga Spears, you'd be very wrong, very very wrong, Anna is a Fender Telecaster toting femme fatale who is making waves in the quality press, not the tabloids. From the Ennio Morricone esque intro 'Rider to the Sea' featuring her signature Spanish flavoured Telecaster we are dealing with something different, very very different. Imagine if you will a super group featuring Ian McCulloch, Siouxsie Sioux, Hank Marvin, Frankie Laine, Madeleine Peyroux and Matthew Bellamy called 'The Banshee Bunnymen', who have been brought up on a diet of spaghetti westerns and chilli beans. Shifting from sparse Telecaster and tom toms to rousing soaring melodrama, Anna twangs, clangs and bangs her way through the most extraordinary music you will hear this year, or any year come to that. In tandem, her voice ranges from a Madeleine Peyroux jazzy lilt to a Sandie Shaw hush to a Siouxsie Sioux roar to an almost Frankie Laine'ish' tenor, indeed her first single was a version of his 'Jezebel'. Time for a quick ride on this ghost-train through Tombstone. 'No More Words' has a cool jazzy 60's groove, the terrific rousing 'Desire' is The Bunnymen meets Johnny Cash, and 'Suzanne and I' is Siouxsie Sioux backed by The Shadows and The Cure. 'First We Kiss' starts with a Madeleine Peyroux jazzy vibe before heading towards Muse, 'The Devil' takes it down to just Telecaster and voice before erupting into The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, and lead single 'Blackout' (video on Female Voices blog) features the Banshee Bunnymen in all their glory. The cool 60's vibe returns for the seductive 'I'll Be Your Man', then the haunting gospel tinged Jeff Buckley esque 'Morning Light' and finally the building, soaring, widescreen High Noon epic 'Love Won't Be Leaving', you can almost smell Gary Cooper's sweat as he waits for the clock to strike 12. This a totally original album by a totally unique artist, her homestead lies a days ride due west across the high plains at annacalvi.com, an extraordinary 8.75/10 (Phil)

CANDICE NIGHT…’STARLIGHT STARBRIGHT’

(Self Release) Reviewed 5th December 2015

A brief review - this is music to dream by. Thirteen tracks of laid back folk music from Mrs Blackmore, otherwise known as Candice Night. Seems after reviewing Enya, the laid back feel continues with this album. This lass has a lovely voice and long may it continue. There is nothing much to fault on this record, just sheer beauty in a world full of troubles from the voice of an angel, who is living her dream. Relax and enjoy… 8.5/10 (Dave)

CANTERRA…’FIRST ESCAPE’

(Kick The Flame) Reviewed 23rd February 2016

The origins of Canterra go back to 2006 when guitarist Harry and vocalist Korinna started making music together and formed their first band OLEUM. Many trials and tribulations ensured things were never going to be easy (are they ever), so after having re-formed a band with the name AVATAR, things seemed rosy. But unfortunately things did not quite go to plan (again), so after another re think, CANTERRA was born in 2011. And in now in Feb 2016, we have the pleasure of reviewing what is Canterra's 12 track debut album. This German Gothic-Metal band juxtapose hard and soft musical elements in a unique mix of Metal, Gothic and Rock. And all this with the stunning vocals of Korinna at the helm. There are some great numbers here, tuneful rockers like the opening cut ‘Child of Destiny’, the pulsating 7 minute plus ‘Broken’, the thumping metallic sound of ‘The Hunt’, the bouncy up tempo ‘Escape’ and that of another epic, the 8 minute ‘Footprints’. And then we have rather nice power driven ballads like ‘My Heart’ and ‘My Agony’, plus the closing acoustic based number ‘Der einzige Erbe’ sung in the band’s native tongue. This is a rather cool and impressive debut release, with every track sure ticking all the right boxes. The band’s website is here, album was released 19th Feb… 9/10 (Dave)

CAPITAL X..'POWER PACK' EP

(Independent Release) Reviewed 28th November 2010

Capital X who has recently been a support act to Gary Numan, is a new one on me, but a short while ago, a very well put together and glossy promo pack arrived at Ravenheart Towers. I am not totally sure where this band is from, but Capital X is an all girl electro band fronted by Julz who also does all the synths and programming. The EP consists of 5 tracks of energetic electro rock n roll, encompassing mainly synth/drum machine compositions with the cool vocals of Julz. This is not metal and I doubt it will appeal to the metal crowd, but there is some great foot tapping stuff on offer here, with 'Showtime' being one of my faves. Indeed, I have seen a quote on their myspace site (www.myspace.com/capitalxuk).. "If Sid Vicious had a synth, this is what it would sound like". I agree and I quite like it..7.75/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

CAPRICIA..'FOOLED BY THE HEART'

(Melodic Revolution Records) Reviewed 14th March 2012

This Israeli formation were founded back in 2002 by guitarist Arnold Nesis, but various problems and events halted their progress and led to many changes in line-up. The name comes from 'the caprice', described in Wikipedia as “a piece of music, usually fairly free form in nature and of a lively character. The typical caprice is one that is fast, intense, and often virtuosic in nature”. This perfectly sums up their very theatrical and dramatic music, mixing together elements of symphonic, gothic and prog metal and rock which at times owes something to musical theatre, I am sometimes reminded of something like Equilibrio by Xystus. The album comes on two CD's with different artwork, the first CD is called 'Fooled by the Hush' with 5 songs, the second is titled '24' with a 24 minute self contained rock/metal opera. A variety of singers are used, including ladies Naama Waisel and Vidi Doleve, gentleman Aviv Hadar who uses a variety of voices, and current member Shelly Seaffer who is also a singer-songwriter in her own right, you can find her here. They begin with the symphonic gothic 'Recline in the Fire' with its superb choir which reminds me of Weeping Silence, then 'Before the Storm Arrives' which is more prog with a real swagger, and the multifaceted ballad 'Melodic Scream'. The next two meld various different parts together in a most fascinating way, the more gothic 'Chaotic', which even has some brief growls, and the theatrical dramatic 'Something's Wrong', preparing you for their masterpiece. '24' is the story of a day in the life of a person who has a painful past, when they awake they have the choice to face the pain of reality, or live in a dream, the five passages reflecting their state of mind, whether real or fantasy. Each minute of the song equates to an hour of the day, as they run through a whole gamut of musical styles from Renaissance to Therion in this quite extraordinary piece of work that has taken five years to create. A highly distinctive and imaginative album that has been years in the making, with a broad spectrum of music that will appeal to anyone who enjoys a diverse pallet of rock, prog and metal. Spend the day at their website here, a theatrical 8.75/10 (Phil)

CARDAMON..'THE PRIMROSE PATH'

(Femme Metal Records) Reviewed 19th August 2009

The debut full length album from Dutch rockers Cardamon 'The Primrose Path' has been recorded, mixed and mastered at Excess studios, Rotterdam. And although I reviewed this little opus back in August 2008, this has now picked up a release on Femme Metal Records here in the UK. And with an added bonus track too. As I said in my previous review, the album is chock full of awesome songs, with beautiful melodies, heavy riffs and powerful drumming, coupled with the enchanting and powerful voice of vocalist Floortje. I would put the music here into the alternative rock and metal genre, the songs grow on you and will not let go! And I like the additional track, an accoustic/electric offering - 'Bliss of Loneliness'. I said in last year's review that record labels had better start forming an organised queue here. Well they did and well done to Femme Metal Records for picking up on this. Lovely stuff!! 9/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

CARDAMON..'SUN AS NEVER'

(Digital Release Only) Reviewed 3rd January 2012

Cardamon is yet another band to come out of Holland, which to me is now becoming the mecca of all things relating to female fronted rock and metal. But they are not another Within Temptation, tending to follow a similar path that is being trodden by fellow countrymen Only Fate Remains and to an extent Autumn, Kingfisher Sky and The Gathering. 'Sun As Never' is the band's second offering, and is more guitar orientated than their debut 'The Primrose Path'. What I like about this type of music however, is although it has a certain heaviness, you can find yourself playing the cd when you have friends visiting, and it can play in the background and remain inoffensive. Some good stuff here, 'Spanning The Distance' has a certain crunch as has 'All You Were Meant To Be'. Floortje Donia's vocals are crystal clear, whilst Kevin Storm creates a storm (excuse the pun) on guitar together with Koen Romeijn, but they sure do give this album the aforementioned crunch in the guitar dept, coupled of course with some beautiful melodies I hasten to add - just check out 'Walk On By' as one example. This so happens to be a very good album, and is worth checking out, and furthermore, it so happens to be available as a FREE download from HERE. Get it! 9/10 (Dave)

CARL GROCUTT-CLARKE...'THE VIEW' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 19th May 2015

Carl is an awesome singer songwriter who I have known for some while now. He has performed all over the UK and in Europe, fronting NWBHMB Cloven Hoof, rock band Undue and hard rock band RIP TYDE. Carl has many years experience performing live and enjoys writing music. Carl's Solo work however, differs greatly from the hard hitting Rock Bands he has been part of over the past years. This new and rather nice 6 track EP has overall a more atmospheric feel, more in keeping perhaps with acts like REM and James Blunt. I do like this, being radio friendly, catchy and something you could place onto the CD player when you have your Grandmother around for a cuppa! :) The album will be available early June 2015 on all good online stores worldwide, so well worth checking out! His soundcloud site is here, so have a listen and get a taster of the guy's music - recommended... 8.5/10 (Dave)

CARMILLA MORTE..'MORTE DI VAMPIRIA'

(Area 51) Reviewed 20th September 2010

This is the second album by the Colombian outfit whose progressive gothic metal is almost totally unclassifiable, the closest I can get is early Epica with attention deficiency syndrome, with everything from jazz to Latin to folk to rock to classical to ecclesiastical to prog thrown into the mix. The mainman appears to be virtuoso drummer Juan Sebatián Tamayo as he has the biggest picture on their Myspace, proudly standing behind a kit the size of South America. The singer isn’t Carmilla, but the sultry Juliett Ocampo who has a light sweet pitch perfect classical voice, accompanied by Juan’s low melodic growls, which are more like a bass singer with a rough voice. The lyrics in Spanish and Latin tell the classic Victorian vampire story ‘Carmilla’ written by Joseph Sheridan le Fanu, in which the female vampire Carmilla is slain, hence the title of the album and where the band get their name. They throw more ideas into one song than many bands have in their entire careers. The centrepiece is the epic 22 minute, yes, you did read that right, 22 minute ‘Carmilla’ which contains not just the kitchen sink, but the whole kitchen. You name it, this album has it, Moog, piano, harpsichord, church organ, accordion, harp, choirs, strings, woodwind, brass, violin, bells, xylophone, percussion, a drumming tour de force, skilled bass playing, guitar solos, etc. etc. etc. Faves include ‘Millarca’ which starts out light and jazzy before becoming progressively heavier and more complex, and the slightly bonkers ‘Morte’. This is one for you more adventurous symphonic/prog metal fans who like their eclectic music to roam all over the place with never a dull moment. The album is available for download from iTunes and other sites, or through their Myspace www.myspace.com/mortecarmilla - a mind boggling 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Phil).

CASSANDRA SYNDROME..'OF PATRIOTS AND TYRANTS'

(Figmental Records) Reviewed 27th August 2010

Formed in 2005, Cassandra Syndrome is a USA based Operatic Metal Band, and although the USA are not really challenging the Scandinavia's and mainland Europe's in the world of Female Fronted Operatic Metal, Cassandra Syndrome is having a good old crack of the whip. Fronted by Irene Jericho this lass sure has cool vocals, that are perfectly done, but are not overdone :) I would also consider this album as a grower, and it is normally the albums that grow that stick around the longest. 'Phoenix' gets things going, and is a mid tempo track with a chorus that after two or three plays, gets stuck in your head. Next in 'None But Shadows' ups the ante, and this is a good track too. Some further good songs on this release, including 'What We Sow', 'Mirror Mirror', 'PTSD', 'Cassandra' and the rather organic sounding 'Wild'. This is a record that until now has passed me by, it is what I call thinking person's music, it is a good effort and it deserves an 8/10. (Reviewed by Dave)

CASSANDRA SYNDROME..'SATIRE X'

(Figmental Records) Reviewed 18th June 2011

The USA has a winner here. I was suitably impressed with Cassandra Syndrome's debut release, reviewed elsewhere within the Ravenheart empire of websites, and this follow up release takes the band to a higher level through and through. A reference to the 'bread and circuses' of first century Satirist Juvenal, 'Satire X' combines poignant, socially concious lyrics, exquisite vocal melodies and masterful riffs into a metal based call to action. Eschewing the synthesizer-laden stereotypes of symphonic metal, the band formed in 2005, revolutionises the genre with a unique blend of axe-heavy melodic metal. And above this cacophony of metal, rises the resplendent operatic vocals of Irene Jericho. The action on this exquisite release begins with 'No More Peace Forever', and already the title has made me sit up and take note. In a world full of conflict, that is a title that rings true me thinks, a great metal song. 'Hell on Earth' is the next up and another title that kinda has a true meaning, and I am sure there is a message coming through to me here, as has the song 'Poison Rain'. 'The Fool' (a tarot card - "The beginning of a journey, a leap into the unknown"), is an awesome number, while another song that has a title associated with Tarot, well almost anyway, The pounding 'The Priestess' (The High Priestess - "Inituitive awareness") sends further messages to us via the lyrics of Ms Jericho, and this could be one of the heavier tracks on the record togther with the Middle Eastern vibe of 'The Iron Cross'. I was looking up the phrase 'Cassandra Syndrome' on the web. It means "The condition of speaking the truth and having no one believe you". Well I am speaking the truth when I say this album is awesome and you had better believe me :) Look them up here. Highly recommended when it appears on 1st August. 9/10 (Dave)

CELLESTE..'READY TO FLY'

(Mighty Music) Reviewed 14th March 2011

Celleste is a hot new Canadian singer songwriter whose music is so classic rock you can almost smell the patchouli oil, wet Afghan coats and fresh vinyl, right down to the retro styling and vintage microphones. A blend of rock, blues, country and gospel, tipping her hat to Led Zep, Bachman Turner Overdrive, Plant/Krauss, The Beatles, early Heart, Sheryl Crow, etc. etc. Vocally she is the product of an illicit liaison between Robert Plant and Janice Joplin in some sleazy sweaty blues club dressing room, good grief this girl can sing as well as look gorgeous, and judging from her video for 'Real Love' on (Female Voices blog), she can also really throw those shapes. This is a collection of the most familiar songs you have never heard, they are all Celleste originals but they all sound like cherished classics. Deep down and dirty blues rockers like 'Real Live' and 'Yer Goin' Down', the more rootsy numbers 'Best I Can' and 'Drive', the Beatles esque piano ballads 'Falling' and 'Beyond Words', and the simply superb title track 'Ready to Fly' are just some of the highlights. The album is like a breath of fresh air, blowing away the stench of Ga Ga Britney synthetic pop pap. This is an album that deserves a trip to the record store, those Aladdin caves of musical treasures, but sadly they've nearly all gone, so instead put on your freshly ironed flares and tie die shirt and mosey on down to her Facebook, a classic 8.75/10 (Phil)

CELESTIAL RUIN...'THE AWAKENING'

(Self Released) Reviewed 29th April 2013

Celestial Ruin come to us from Vancouver in Canada, and provide the listener with a good dosage of epic hard rockin' Melodic Metal with lyrical themes drawn from fantasy and horror, sometimes implying deeper meanings, sometimes just celebrating the subject matter. As their bio states, their music is styled along European Symphonic Metal ideas, but with a decidedly North American feel, and very good it is too I hasten to add. Featuring members from 3 different countries, Celestial Ruin's sound combines heavy rock rhythms and riffs with catchy, singable melodies and rich symphonic textures. And the lady that fronts this awesome band is Larissa Dawn, who has a fine set of lungs within her, her vocal style more rock than operatic, although she does occasionally flirt with the operatic vocal style, the awesome 'Asylum' being one such track. In-fact the word "awesome" could be used several times here as there are some humdinger tracks like the rocking 'Apocalypse', the superb 'Goddess', the rather nice keyboard orientated 'The Hunted' and the atmospheric piano and string led ballad 'Underground', that closes the album rather nicely. Having listened to this album a few times, I found it to be a grower and indeed is a very good release overall. Hear for yourself HERE ....8.5/10 (Dave)

CELESTIAL WISH...'OUR CREATION' EP

(Self Released) Reviewed 30th July 2014

It is nice to see an influx of British Bands making their mark within the Female Fronted music scene, and this latest to catch my ear is Symphonic Metal Band Celestial Wish from the Midlands here in the UK. Currently consisting of the angelic vocals of front woman Saneeta Ram, and guitarist & orchestral composer Daniel Carpenter, this is another album that is rather good. If you are going to kick a record off with a track that will catch the listener's attention, then start with a track like 'Our Creation'. The title track being a catchy bouncy number that will be bouncing around in your head like a demented kangaroo long after it has finished. 'His Kingdom Come' adds a more Symphonic feel to proceedings, while 'Your Song' is a beautiful piano led ballad. 'Dear Beloved' is a mid tempo number and I am beginning very much to rather like this band - a great number!'The Highwayman' is another bouncy tune taking on more of a Power Metal theme, while the closer 'Crossing The River' ends the mini cd in bombastic fashion. Being heavily influenced by bands such as Nightwish, Kamelot, Avantasia, Rhapsody Of Fire and Sonata Arctica, their list of influences however goes far beyond the Metal genre, among their list of influences being Nobuo Uematsu, of Final Fantasy fame and Danny Elfman. Okay, this alum by Celestial Wish may be nothing new or original, but when it is this good, who cares. Well worth checking out if you ask me. Their Facebook is here.. 8.75/10 (Dave)

CELL DIVISION..'CHYMEIA'

(Thunderdome Records) Reviewed 5th August 2008

Cell Division are from Swizerland. There are not too many female fronted bands coming out of Switzerland. I am a lover of Swiss band Gotthard, and the vocals of Steve Lee are awesome. But Gotthard is not female fronted. Unless Steve knows something that he isn't telling me. Seriously, Cell Division on this, their latest album dish up a guitar-dominated sound, with the music that stays and floats around in your head for ages. All this topped off with outstanding female vocals courtesy of Gelgia C. Listen to 'White Pain', the Siouxsie and the Banshees sounding 'Waste Land' (interesting lyrics), 'Dirge For The Doomed' and 'Shut Up' for confirmation of all this. I quite like the track 'Shut Up'..the lyrics "Shut up, shut up, shut up right now". A great catchy track! This album is worth checking out and it can be purchased from cdbaby.com. A good effort.. 7.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

CENTRAL PARK..'REFLECTED'

(Rockville) Reviewed 27th December 2010

They were founded back in 1981 and split in 1989, but reformed in 2006 inspired by a Yes concert and at long last released their début album. The singer bailed out and so they recruited Jannine Pusch who has an incredibly versatile voice, it's like listening to a compendium of famous singers. The band is therefore reborn for this brand new release. Opener 'Guns R Us' with it's groovy Mars like motif is like a heavier cross between ELP and Marillion with Jannine sounding like a female Fish. The funky 'Free Fall' is like Grace Jones gone prog, then onto the lovely 'White Princess' where Jannine turns into Kate Bush backed by Marillion with ELP making an appearance. On the next one, 'Another Part' with it's delightful piano, she sounds like Carly Simon, with a touch of The Carpenters and Pink Floyd. By this time I'm thoroughly impressed and really enjoying the music, but then things take a turn for the weird with the 3 part 'Vision of Cassandra', fair enough they are a prog band after all, but it stays weird for the full 12 minutes of 'Vision' and for the following couple of numbers, it's like Barbara Streisand and Bette Midler being lost in a surreal nightmare, it's so far out it's sideways. I'm really scratching my head, what's going on? 'Path of Mercy' is far more like it, a Marillion/Pink Floyd/ELP type dramatic number that could have come off The Wall. 'The Last Tear' start like a gentle torch song with Jannine as a whispering Marlene Dietrich over gentle piano and Pink Floyd, the song then blows up, and it ends up in the West End. The other baffling thing is the cover art which must be one of the most boring covers of all time, what were they thinking? If you enjoy top quality classic melodic prog then this is a real treat, but unless you like the avant garde you might want to skip the Cassandra tracks. Should be readily available from most decent stores from the 28th of January, on reflection I will give it 8.25/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

CEPHEE LYRA..'A SINNER'S LONELINESS'

(Self Release) Reviewed 7th June 2011

From out of the depths of space between the constellations of Cepheus and Lyra comes this brand new starship captained by captivating Maud Hernequet. They are fuelled by a highly combustible French mixture of Whyzdom esque thundering symphonic power metal, prog and thrash producing enough energy to create a supernova. Maud has two vocal styles, a deeper rock mode and a pitch perfect full operatic allowing her to compete with the furious riffage and then soar into the heavens during the refrains. Prepare yourself for a cosmic voyage into highly ambitious, multi-part, excellently orchestrated, choir filled epics. After introducing you into their 'Days of Wrath' in fine orchestral style they take you into 'Burning Paradise', then on a frenetic frantic gallop with 'The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse' before taking you down down 'Deeper into the Rage'. A brief interlude amongst the 'Dusks of Pride' does not prepare you for the attack of thrashing madness as you 'Get Lost in a Controversial Mind', and there's no letup as you fight for your life to earn 'A Destructive Victory', leaving you battered, bruised and bloodied. The 'Myth' is no fairytale, more a raging nightmare, and finally 'The Sons of Sorrow' carry you away imperiously to the final epilogue in 'The Nights of Envy'. If you like your symphonic metal fast, furious, thrashing, thrilling, dynamic and dramatic then lay in a course at Warp 13 for their myspace and engage, a stellar 8.75/10 (Phil)

CHASER EIGHT...'CHASER EIGHT'

(Self Release) Reviewed 16th Feb 2015

New Haven is the second-largest city in Connecticut and from this fine city comes the band Chaser Eight. The band writes moody songs led by the powerful female vocals of Audra (www.imjustaudra.com), these vocals inspired by Joan Jett and Alanis Morissette and their easily accessible songs, have gotten them air play on many radio stations. 'Lead Me Down' is the lead song from this, their debut full length album, a catchy ditty while next up 8 AM is gorgeously good, a slower number showcasing the bluesy and richly expressive vocals of Audra. There are a host of little goodies here including the poppy 'Major and Minor', the commercial sounding (as are most of the tunes here) 'To Find Him', the anthemic '3 Day Bender', the atmospheric and magical 'Go Home' and the awesome closer, the 5 minute plus 'I Wanna Die' with its great guitar solo. Okay peeps, this is not metal, more along the Pop/Rock of Fleetwood Mac and the like, but this certainly is recommended if you like your music a little on the 'lighter side'. Check out their website at www.chasereight.com. I do rather like this - rather infectious and addictive! 8.75/10 (The Nugget)

CHALICE OF FEMME METAL..'CHALICE OF OBSIDIAN'

(Download only) Reviewed 10th June 2011

There are quite a few organisations springing up and supporting our much loved genre, while proving to the sceptics that ladies in rock can and do rock. Chalice of Femme Metal has just release a 10 track compilation cd, featuring tracks by bands that most if not all of us have heard of. I think with compilation cds, you either love them or hate them, but I have on many occasion bought an album (or two!) on the strength of a track I have heard on a compilation cd. So I for one do not mind them, even though my bank balance may. Ten tracks on offer here, all showcasing very well what our genre has to offer. Tracks from Apparition, Pythia, Tainted Grace, Mask of Judas and Rhode Island Red to name just the British contingent. Plus, there is a live track, 'World of Glass' by Tristania (live Stuttgart 2005). The music on this cd will be very familiar to fans of the genre, while at the same time will be an an ideal starting point for anybody who is unfamiliar with any of the artists and is just curious. A nice effort from Chalice of Femme Metal ..8/10 (Dave)

CHAOS IN PARADISE..'LET THE BLISS REMAIN'

(Self Release) Reviewed 15th June 2011

In the Autumn of 2008, Portuguese Melodic Metalcore band CHAOS IN PARADISE started taking their first steps in a small garage in Oporto suburbs, where Alex and Quik began to outline the identity of the band. After a few days, they started searching for other musicians to complete CHAOS IN PARADISE, and after a while they found Pedro for guitar, 19 for bass and Sara for the vocal parts. Fast forward to 2011 and the band present us with this EP. To my ears, this is one for fans of In This Moment, with Sara giving us clean and screamo vocals. The album tends to lead us into a false sense of security, with opener 'Inertia', being a quiet intro before 'Sign of Deliverance' fires it's way out of the speakers with all guns blazing. 'Awareness' offers no let up with pounding drums and Sara's awesome clean/screamo vocal style, together with a cool melodic chorus. 'The Hunter' (one of my faves on this EP) offers no let up and has another cool chorus showcasing the more melodic style of Sara's voice, plus a quieter dreamier interlude mid song. 'Beyond The Horizon' and 'Sanzu River' close this little opus, the latter being a very melodic number. To summarise, okay, this has been done before, but if you like music in the style of In This Moment, this is worth checking out (their facebook is here), 8.25/10 (Dave)

CHAOS MAGIC...S/T

(Frontiers) Reviewed 9th July 2015

CHAOS MAGIC is the new alliance between one of my fave Finnish songwriter/producers, Timo Tolkki (formerly of STRATOVARIUS) and Chilean singer Caterina Nix. Caterina's career started by singing lead vocals for the Chilean metal band AGHONYA, with whom she opened shows for such bands as AFTER FOREVER, EDGUY and WITHIN TEMPTATION. I have also had the honour of having spoken with Caterina on the phone in the past (who needs Skype). This album to be honest is totally awesome and to my ears is a total must buy. There are 11 tracks here of some of the best melodic Symphonic Metal you will hear this year, and any other year come to think of it. Bombastically awesome and if you do not believe me, just listen to the outrageously catchy opener 'I'm Alive' (video), that being followed by the equally amazing and catchy 'Dangerous Game'. Two tracks in and I am breathless at what I am hearing. 'One Drop Of Blood' is next and what can I say?, three songs and I am hooked! And it just gets better with tracks like 'Serephim', the power ballad 'From The Stars' (great chorus with choral backing) and the bouncy Delain sounding 'A Little Too Late'. Well so far that is every track on this album, the remaining five are equally as good, with not a filler to be found, although the second half of the record has a couple of slower more atmospheric tracks. The 'Chaos Magic' album was written, performed and produced by Tolkki to develop the vocal talent of the awesome Caterina, showing a diverse side of Timo's musical talents. And he sure has created a winner! This is good, very good, every song having more hooks than a Scottish fishing fleet, and is a must buy as a consequence...9.75/10 (Dave)

CHAPTER II FEATURING NATALIE CHANDRA..'ANGELFACE'

(Self Release) Reviewed 25th November 2009

Don’t panic, this is not a hip hop act, but a new rock band from Switzerland, Natalie Chandra is also an artiste in her own right. Founders guitarist James Ender and drummer Fred Wiederkehr met in a rock covers band called ‘Time Bandits’, and the music they produce is a big melting pot of classic rock, bits of Purple, Metallica, Queen, G&R, Lizzy, The Runaways, Lacuna, Nightwish, Paramore, Banshees, and goodness knows what else, all brought bang up to date. The songs career along like a runaway train, and are catchier than the bout of flu I’ve just had, but a damn site more fun. If this doesn’t get you dancing, then check your pulse. They also put lots of fun and interesting bits in the songs, folk singing, new age, bagpipes, guitar solos, electronica, orchestra, all sorts, which really bring a smile to your face, there’s always a surprise around the corner. There’s also plenty of variety, the hip beat of ‘Scorned’ , the strut of ‘Stupefy Myself’, and the Purplish boogie of ‘Synchronicity’ complete with a rollicking ‘Jon Lord’ organ solo. Two songs really stand out, the truly epic symphonic stomping metal of ‘Sukhmet’s Summoning’, and the jaw dropping final cut, ‘Slumber With the Bogeyman’ which I am struggling to describe, I’ll have a bash at symphonic, hip hop, rock, metal. In Natalie they have a major talent, she could sing the telephone directory and make it sound good. Her passion, power, lyrics and sheer presence leap out of the speakers, forget the X Factor, this lady has it by the bucket load. This is a truly outstanding debut, available at CD Baby (just search for Angelface), and well worthy of 9.5/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

CHASING DRAGONS...'FACTION:PROLOGUE' EP

(Self Released) Reviewed 28th March 2016

Wow! this is a rather good record. Female fronted Chasing Dragons come from Leeds (UK), and this little EP provides us with three tracks of pounding melodic alternative metal to get your day going. This is as good as anything I have heard from a band plying their trade within this style of music. Fronted by the impressive sounding Tank, may I suggest that you check this band out at www.chasingdragons.co.uk/home where you can also view the video to the opening track 'Devil In Her Eyes'. Certainly recommended if you feel that this may float your boat... 8.25/10 (Dave)

CHASTAIN...'WE BLEED METAL'

(Leviathan Records) Reviewed January 6th 2016

Chastain is a heavy metal project formed in 1984 by guitarist David T. Chastain and signed by Shrapnel Records. The band was put together by Mike Varney, president of Shrapnel for a David T. Chastain solo album. Varney had noticed the shred guitar ability of Chastain, member of the Cincinnati-based band CJSS and at the same time, he wanted to create an output for the talent of young singer Leather Leone, formerly with the San Francisco band Rude Girl. That he did and now fast forward to 2016 and here we have their latest effort, that was indeed released in 2015. This is blistering commercial heavy metal featuring the awesome powerhouse vocals of Leather Leone, who although was part of the original formation of the band, was indeed absent from 1992 making her return on the band's previous record 'Surrender To No One' (2013). And let us also not forget the melodic fret board mastery of David T Chastain, who knows how to shred a chord or two. With an album title like 'We Bleed Metal' you know that this is not a record chock full of ballads, but every number here is a head banging battle cry to all metal fans out there. A consistent and bloomin' good release.. 9/10 (Rachel Louise Smith)

CHERRY WHITE...'STARING AT THE SUN' EP

(Self Released) Reviewed 16th June 2015

On a balmy summer night at a central London blues jam, four individuals who never met were about to ignite an ambition and start something very special. "The Spice of Life" blues jam is a night and a venue, that has gone down in the history of music in the UK with everyone from Bob Dylan to the Sex Pistols having played the venue (under whatever name it held), at one time or another. Fast forward to June 2015 and those four individuals who now go by the name Cherry White (fronted by Donata Sounds), offer up the listener with their new EP 'Staring At The Sun', the elegant sound of contemporary classic rock, steeped in a barrel of blues. Some good tracks here including the epic 'Angel', a fave of mine from this EP. So if you like your music infused with a decent helping of blues, Cherry White could be just the tonic, further info here... 8/10 (Dave)

CHIASMA…’SYNTHESIS’

(Self Release) Reviewed 8th November 2015

Chiasma fronted by a young lass Katie Thompson, hail from Indianapolis and play a brand of what I would call melodic/atmospheric Prog Metal. And right from the start, I would like to say that this is one helluva release from this USA band. Okay, it was released a year ago, but this review is better late than never. Some types of Prog Metal can get a little widdly diddly and dare I say it, a little boring, but what I am finding regards ‘Synthesis’ is that it is never boring. The standard of musicianship is top class, and the vocals of Katie are so angelic and unique. The ten tracks that constitute this masterpiece keep you glued to the cd player/iPod or whatever listening device you use, with some middle eastern influences popping up at times, the track ‘Phajaan’ one example. This is a consistent release with every track a gem in its own right, but I do have faves, and that is the closing salvo of ’Wind Up’ and ‘Impetus Lost’, both great catchy numbers with the latter having one helluva chorus. To summarise, this is rather good Prog Metal fare, having the potential to appeal to a broad range of Rock/Metal fans. I know this was released last year but this is well worth checking out if one has not already done so - take a look at their bandcamp at www.chiasmatheband.bandcamp.com/album/synthesis… 8.75/10 (Dave)

CHRISTOPHER LEE..'CHARLEMAGNE'

(Cadiz Music) Reviewed 19th March 2010

We all know Sir Christopher for his work with Rhapsody, and the older ones amongst us will remember The King of Elflands Daughter, so this is the logical next step, to make a full blown rock opera with him in the starring role as Charlemagne, the King of the Franks, a part he can really sink his teeth into with his big rich baritone. By coincidence, Sir Christopher is a real descendent of the great king, making this doubly appropriate. Charlemagne was born around 742, and went on to create an empire that covered most of Western Europe. This massive project, with 100 piece orchestra, choir and metal band, is the brainchild of Marco Sabiu, who has worked with Kylie Minogue, Take That, and one of my great heroes, Ennio Morricone (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly?). This is grandiose orchestral rock on a massive scale, a soundtrack to an aural film of epic proportions. It is divided up into 5 acts in two parts; the first part of each is an orated introduction, narrated by Sir Christopher’s daughter Christina, so you skip it and move onto the music if you so wish. We start with Charlemagne on his deathbed at the age of 72, an incredible age for those days, surrounded by the great and the good, as he begins to recount the story of his life. ‘King of the Franks’ tells of his rise to power, with his father, Pippin (or Pepin) the Short (his great grandfather was Pepin the Middle, honestly!), played by Phil S.P. We then move on to the wars fought on behalf of Pope Hadrian, portrayed by Mauro Conti, against ‘The Iron Crown of Lombardy’, with Christi Ebenhock as the singing storyteller. Charlemagne then meets his younger self, performed by Vincent Ricciardo, in the attempt to reconcile his actions in the long wars against the Saxons, in particular the most notorious episode in his long reign, ‘The Bloody Verdict of Verden’, when Charlemagne ordered the decapitation of 4000 Saxons who refused to give up their culture (world first headbangers?). ‘The Age of Oneness out of Diversity’ covers the growth of his empire, and finally we meet his wife in ‘Starlight’, the nubile Swabian Princess Hildegard, starring Lydia Salnikova. There is a bonus track about the wars in ‘Iberia’, but strangely we are left just as his army is about to be attacked by the treacherous Gascons, but no outcome. In case you’re wondering, the baggage train was raided, and Roland, the famous chivalric knight, was killed. Although not as metal as Rhapsody, this is mighty powerful, stirring stuff, and will appeal to all lovers of symphonic rock and metal, as well as musical theatre. A project of this scale and ambition does not come along very often, making it a rare and precious treasure, yet it is available for less than a king’s ransom from most merry merchants of musical merchandise. 9/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

CICCADA..'A CHILD IN THE MIRROR'

(Fading Records) Reviewed 31st October 2010

These Greek prog folksters have come highly recommended by regular Ravenheart reader Glen, so I was more than eager to give it them a whirl. Opening instrumental ‘Ciccada’ (with 3 C’s) reveals a band inspired by the likes of Gentle Giant, Jethro Tull, Gryphon, Caravan, Steelye Span, and Focus. Lovely Evangelia Kozoni and her Annie Haslam esque voice adds an element of Renaissance to their mix of melodic prog, rock, folk, jazz and baroque classical, with loads of flute, woodwinds, analogue synths, piano, Fender Rhodes, Hammond B3, Mellotron, electric and acoustic guitars and all sorts of other vintage tranklements. In the grand tradition of Gentle Giant and Jethro Tull, they playfully hop, on one leg of course, from one theme to another so you never know where they are going. Gentle passages are counterpointed by rockier moments, giving a delightfully varied listening experience. If you are a fan of early 70’ folky prog rock then this beautifully recorded and lovingly crafted album is a must buy, but if you have never experienced this branch of music that has been almost extinct for over 30 years, then I heartily recommend you give it a listen at their Myspace www.myspace.com/ciccada, where you can also find info on how to purchase the CD. Today everything, including music, seems to be getting louder and louder, faster and faster, heavier and heavier, and more and more intense, it is rather nice to return for a while to a simpler, pleasanter, and gentler time. This is a little piece of sepia tinged old England all the way from Greece, an idyllic, bucolic 8.75/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

CILVER…’NOT THE END OF THE WORLD’

(Entertainment One Music) Reviewed 21st March 2016

CILVER is a Rock band that hail from New York and they serve up a plate full of tuneful alternative rock music that to these ears is rather good. Fronted by Uliana who is of Romanian origin and indeed Vietnamese, Cuban, and Russian are among the multiple ethnicities within CILVER, which in turn gives them a strong connection with fans worldwide. The tracks here are all hard hitting and melodic, with the opening threesome of ‘Break Free‘, the catchy ‘I’m America’ and ‘Headstone’ setting the bench mark for what is to follow. Other awesome numbers include ‘Afterlife’, which is melodic, so catchy and screams mainstream radio airplay, the powerful ’It’s My Life’ and the high powered closer ‘Not Afraid’. Indeed, mentioning radio airplay, everything here should be heard on mainstream radio as it is so damn cool! America will love this. Produced by the bands very own, Leon Lyazidi, with help from executive producer Johnny K (Disturbed, 3 Doors Down, Megadeth), this album is mega awesome and is well worth checking out when released 29th April. Cilver’s website is here.. 9/10 (Dave)

CINEMUERTE..'AURORA CORE'

(Raging Planet Records) Reviewed 20th July 2009

What a little gem we have here. CineMuerte (formed in 2002) is a band based in Lisbon, and I would say that this act is one of the most promising hard rock acts on the Portugese Rock/Metal Scene. This is backed up by the fact that they have opened for HIM and My Chemical Romance amongst others. 'Aurora Core' is the follow up to their 2006 album 'Born from Ashes', and I must say now that 'Aurora Core' is a totally awesome release, with mixing and mastering by Waldemar Sorychta (Lacuna Coil, The Gathering, Moonspell etc). The music is totally riveting throughout. Getting underway with 'A Tapper Light', the band then up the ante with 'Up For A Fight', a hideously catchy tune that I am sure sounds awesome live, and showcases the excellent vocals of Sophia Vieira. No operatics here, just plain good old female fronted melodic hard rock, that has been brought dragging and screaming into the 21st century. 'Air' keeps up the thundering pace, while the excellent 'I Am A Fool But I Love You' (great title) carries on the high standard of musicianship. Highlights are a plenty on this record, to numerous to mention, but I would go as far as to say that every track here is a thundering winner. There is even a cool track called 'Dave', while final track 'The Call' I just love - great vocals too! On that note...This is a good un so BUY, BUY, BUY!!! 9/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

CINNAMUN BELOVED...'THE WEIRD MOMENT'

(Crysella Records) Reviewed 13th May 2015

The idea of CINNAMUN BELOVED, Buenos Aires based band, surfaced in the beginning of 2011 by the singer and keyboardist SABRINA FILIPCIC HOLM. After she left her previous band, which had her as a founding member and main composer, she decided to explore new music styles without compromising on her songwriting ability. The early materials were recorded featuring renowned musicians from the local scene such as: Marcelo Bracalente (Jeriko) bass, Juan Pablo Kilberg (ex Renacer, Magika) guitar and Jorge Perini (ex Jeriko, Barilari) drums, who became a permanent part of the band's live shows. The sound of Cinnamun Beloved is a mix of different Metal styles combined with electronic elements, which resulted in a new modern and powerful sounds, in combination with the lyrical characters of Sabrina Filipcic Holm's voice. The band can also state on their CV that they have opened for EPICA and TARJA TURUNEN (ex Nightwish) amongst others. There are 11 tracks here of awesome melodic Gothic Metal with those aforementioned electro subtleties, together with a Symphonic feel, and although this album I believe was released 3 years or so ago by the band, it still sounds grandiose and fresh today on the Crysella label. It should be officially released in July, so if you have not got the album already, buy it! There are some corking tracks here!! ... 9/10 (Dave)

CIRCSENA...'DRYAD TALE'

(Self Release) Reviewed 15th May 2015

Circsena formed by Daniel Kirchhoff and Jens Wallace hail from Germany, and primarily sees itself as a storyteller and only in the second instance as a band. The 15 compositions are used for interpretation of the scenes and therefore do not limit themselves to any stringent genre expectations, but depending on the scene, include some major differences in terms of heaviness and instrumentation. Even within the mostly metal-orientated setting of the album, also some Folk and Pop elements can be found. And I must say that this is a little different and is damn good too, mixing 'Post Dryad' Black Metal with harsh male vox, with more Pop orientated Metal featuring occasional clean female vocals. I am finding it difficult to fault this disc, just obtain the album and get immersed within its harmonious glories for yourselves. The CD is the first part of a three part story, which will be completed with the following records: 'The Chronicles of the Vixen Princess' and 'Iyashikei', although at his current moment in time, with aforementioned founding member and drummer Jens Wallis leaving the band, it is impossible to say when these albums will follow. More info at www.circsena.bandcamp.com where you can also buy the album for just ONE EURO! (or more if you so wish). Another good and indeed rather infectious album (great artwork by the way) - well recommended.. 9.25/10 (The Nugget)

CIRCUS OF LAMIA..'WELCOME MADNESS' EP

(Self Released) Reviewed 13th December 2011

With Christmas fast approaching, I expected to see things quietening down, but far from it as review requests are coming in thick and fast. This latest offering is from Swedish Band Circus of Lamia. Recorded at the Helter Skelter Studio, Stockholm in the Summer, this EP offers up three kick ass metal songs with killer riffs and catchy tunes, featuring Jade on clean vocals and Matt offering up a gruff alternative. What we have here is morbid, gothic-influenced metal - fight the endless hordes of dead, float in nightmarish dreamscapes and embrace the madness! Yep, that sums it up really. Worth checking out if you are into the Swedish Metal Scene, the cd can be downloaded from www.cdbaby.com. I also like their image and I am very much into bands that take the time to give themselves an image. Great image and great music. Well done guys and gal...8/10 (Dave)

CITIZEN CHARLIE..'UP YOURS'

(Rock Sector/Drugstore Records) Reviewed 12th January 2011

This CD landed at Ravenheart Music a couple of days ago, and it makes a change to be served something different to your normal Gothic Metal Fare, that appears on the menu quite regularly these days. In-fact, I have known about Citizen Charlie for a while, but until now, they have kinda avoided my radar screens. Then a young lass from Rock Sector Records contacted me, and now here is a review of the band's second album. Fronted by Charlie Forsberg, here is a woman who is heavily influenced by Joan Jett and Courtney Love, and these influences appear regularly on this recording. The opening salvo of 'Until The Day' and 'All in All' set the scene, and a hard rocking start to the record it is too. 'So What To Do' lowers the pace a bit, but what is beginning to shine through is that Charlie has some serious rock n roll attitude, and I love it. This shines through on several of the compositions, including 'Watch You Die' - "Now I am going to watch you die and it won't mean a thing". I wouldn 't upset this lass if I were you! Other faves include the near bluesy vibe of 'Out Of This World' with it's catchy chorus, the pounding title track, the AC/DC 'ish 'Don't Tell Me' and the catchy 'So You Think'. Indeed, there is some serious rock n roll on this record, and it is well worth checking out for fans of the genre. Recommended, 8.5/10 (Dave)

CLAIRVOYANCE..'BLACK SUN' (Demos)

(Equalize) Reviewed 26th Sept 2011

The mixture of two friends with different styles and a unique voice resulted in an authentic alternative work. Clairvoyance as a result was formed in late 2009 by Alex Romanov and João Cruz. From Brazil, 'Immature Mind' was the band's first single to be produced in early 2010. 'Fallen Angel' and 'Black Sun' were recorded immediately after the entry of Jessica Populim in April 2010. Assuming the vocals on the songs, she added a special, delicate and pure touch to the band. The above metioned songs are featured amongst the six demo tracks that I am reviewing here. The music offers up an Alternative Rock vibe, and with the dual male/female vocals, reminds me a little of fellow Brazilians Ravenland. There are six tracks here that include two covers...'Enjoy The Silence' and 'Wake Me Up When September Ends'. This band has potential and I understand there is a full album due soon. Check their YouTube. 8/10 (Dave)

CLANDESTINE..'THE INVALID'

(Independent Label Release) Reviewed 6th January 2011

The debut album by this Los Angeles progressive metal band was originally reviewed by us here on the 25th Oct 2009, but will now get a proper label release on the 15th Feb 2011. Mixed by Sylvia Massy, famous for her production work with such luminaries as Tool, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Belladonna, we know we are onto a winner here. The lovely June was born in South Korea, but moved to the USA to further her musical career. The songs alternate between thunderous, technical riffage, and mellower synth passages. Silent Sin, Pretend and Phantom Pain start out more chilled before growing in power, giving the album a nice balance. The last song is outstanding, the funky, syncopated Comatose. The musicianship is superb, thankfully the noodling is limited, the powerful vocals of June given priority. The drumming by Sammy J Watson (ex Apex Theory) is sensational; the guy must need an oxygen tent at the end of a gig. This is a challenging and highly absorbing listen, perfect for fans of Dream Theatre and Tool, but with a melodic sensibility that will appeal to a wide range of metal fans. Available from www.myspace.com/clandestineband 9/10 (Reviewed by Phil/re-posted by Dave)

KELLY CLARKSON..'MY DECEMBER'

(RCA) Reviewed 26th June 2007

Kelly Clarkson has done what Avril Lavigne failed to do with her latest effort. And that is go forward. Whereas our Avril decided to take a backwards step (in my opinion anyway) with 'The Best Damn Thing', Kelly has taken a giant stride foreward, and has turned it up a notch too. Ok, Kelly Clarkson's latest effort may not appeal to the metalheads amongst you, but anybody who is into female fronted modern rock, or the rockier end of the pop spectrum, should check 'My December' out. Mixed by Andy Wallace, with Ms Clarkson involved in the songwriting process throughout, the album is chock full of catchy little numbers that swim around in your head for ages afterwards. And when it comes to ballads, does this girl pull it off. Check out 'Sober' for confirmation of that! And what a voice. Kelly Clarkson is not selling out, she has not gone pop or R&B, she rocks, and when she does slow it down, it is a real pleasure! A certain supermarket chain in the UK has this cd for £7. At this price, it cannot be ignored. So you know what to do...BUY IT!! 8/10 (Reviewed by Dave).

KELLY CLARKSON..'STRONGER' Deluxe Edition

(Sony Music) Reviewed 31st October 2011

I have always had a soft spot for a certain Ms Kelly Clarkson. She is a lass that just remains well out of the limelight and just concentrates on the job at hand. Which is more than can be said about a certain Ms Lohan. Not picking on Lindsay by the way, she just sprang to mind! Back to Kelly, and I have just discovered that the young lass is nearly 30! Anyway, Kelly offers up here a typical selection of catchy pop-rock fare coupled with the occasional ballad, but to be frank if it ain't broken, why the hell fix it?! Her voice is so powerful and this is highlighted on several tracks, more so the power ballad 'Honestly', which is one of the stand out numbers on this album. I must be honest and say that I am not sure about the choice of lead single, as to me 'Mr Know It All' is not one of the standout tracks. This has nonetheless picked up a lot of airplay on mainstream radio, it is not a bad track, it is just that there are a lot better on offer here. This is a very good album (the deluxe version carries 17 tracks) that offers up an impressive mix of up tempo Pop, a good dosage of catchy Rock and the occasional ballad. Stand out tracks a plenty but one of the bonus tracks, 'Don't You Wanna Stay', a duet with Jason Aldean makes purchasing the deluxe version well worth while. The lovely Ms Clarkson keeps churning out some good music and long may it continue. Lovely stuff!..8.75/10 (Dave)

CLEOPATRA ID..'DESOLATE'

(Self Release) Reviewed 25th February 2011

Cleopatra ID are a very unusual Indonesian band for three reasons. Firstly their name, they started as an all female group, but eventually composer, singer and keys player Ryzha Cleopatra (who first joined the band as the drummer) was the only one left, and so she united with the band ID, short for imodium as in medium, not the tummy tablets. Secondly American poet Tc McKinney found the band in 2010, was intrigued by their sound, and sent them some poetry which Ryzha turned into music. This started a partnership with Tc as lyricist, manager, producer and graphic designer, including the cover art for this début album. The third reason is that sound, Ryzha has experimented with many types of metal over the years, the result is that this album is a mix of just about every form of metal and singing style you can think of producing what they describe as nu metal gothic, you can certainly see why Tc was interested. If you start with Lacuna Coil and add in some Delain, Sirenia, Stream of Passion and Evanescence, with brief bursts of anything from death to black to prog to screamo to hardcore, making each song action packed. This is an album that repays repeat listens with fresh nuances bubbling up to the surface. Ryzha certainly has a belting voice, moving from pop to rock to semi operatic to screams, ranging from deep down to siren esque. Highlights include 'Illusion' (on Female Voices blog) with it's tubular bells motif (the instrument not Mike Oldfield), one of two songs in their native language, the soaring anthemic 'Terricolous', 'Who Am I' which starts as a gentle emotional piano ballad before really taking off and the final track, the powerful dynamic 'Rekindled Fire'. It's all well produced with a terrific drum sound allowing Shendy to thrash those skins to within a inch of their lives. At 31 minutes it's a bit on the short size, but it would be churlish to complain. So set sail to the Queen of the Nile by clicking here, whilst I am beguiled to endow her an 8.25/10 (Phil)