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DAEMON LOST...'WHEN VIOLENCE IS YOUR GUIDE'

(Self Released) Reviewed 5th June 2015

Using the band's own words, Daemon Lost is a Symphonic Metalcore band from Buenos Aires, Argentina. They are fronted by the operatic vocals of Ludmila Disa, and Ludmila and her band throw at us 11 tracks of prime time Symphonic Metal, although I am a little unsure about the aforementioned "metalcore" bit. Needless to say that some people will say that all this has already been done before, but when it is this good, I do not particularly care! Some good stuff on this record, being heavy, melodic and of course bombastic & symphonic. After a thumping start, fourth track in, the 5+ minute 'Beyond Torture' exhibits a middle eastern flavour also with the introduction of growly vocals, while tracks like 'Shadows of Reality', 'Consequence', the title track (great guitar solo) and 'The Final Struggle' (great synths at the end), will act as a timely reminder as to why you got into this type of music in the first place. This is well recommended, their bandcamp is here, so take a listen... 9.25/10 (Dave)

KIMBERLEY DAHME..'CAN'T A GIRL CHANGE HER MIND'

(Escape Music) Reviewed 29th November 2009

Here we have an artist that I am particularly interested in. I am a big fan of the US Rock Band Boston, and Kimberley Dahme was featured on their 2002 'Corporate America' album. She even had a song she wrote featured on that very album, 'With You', and that song re appears on this solo record. 'Can't a Girl Change Her Mind' is one for fans of Country/Rock/AOR and is a very safe and inoffensive recording that I have particularly enjoyed. So sit back, chill out and enjoy the country sounding title track, the beautiful, 'Rock You Like A Baby', the Gospel sounding 'No Question', the rockier 'Love Don't Leave Me Now' or the bluesy 'It Takes Two To Fall'. Yep, this is good and I have enjoyed it....8./10 (Reviewed by Dave)

DAKESIS..'TRIAL BY FIRE'

(Self Released) Reviewed 22nd November 2011

Birmingham in the UK is the home of British Heavy Metal. Well, just mention Black Sabbath and I will rest my case. And there are many other bands asscociated with this fine city too. However, we can now add one more band to that list and it is Dakesis. They mix Progressive and Power Metal to a fine art, using both male (Wayne Dorman) and female lead vocals (Keys Gal Gemma Lawler) and to be perfectly frank, this recording is pretty damn awesome! The album artwork is good too, but we are here to review the music, are we not? :) TRIAL BY FIRE is an epic sounding recording, with fine use of guitar solos and keys throughout, and I am sure this band could make the big time on mainland Europe (if nowhere else!) with this release. Opener 'Shield of Achilles 1' kicks things off, a great instrumental intro that leads us into the huge sounding and rather majestic title track, giving a very good indication as to the direction the band is taking on this record. Further epic power metal numbers follow like 'Liar', the awesome keyboard infused and one of my faves 'After The Storm', the cool 'Into The Light' and the commercial sounding 'Valhalla'. We also have a ballad 'Broken', and like other numbers here, feature both Gemma's and Wayne's vocals, that add substance to this slow and brooding number - great guitar solo too. Mind you, solos are in abundance, and Gemma sure does hammer her keyboard! I have seen this band live some months ago in a small venue in Birmingham, but to be perfectly frank, with this release, they are now stadium venue fodder - awesome! Iron Maiden, move aside, Dakesis have arrived. The quality of this release makes it hard for me to believe this is their debut album, but it is and they have nailed it first time. Check their website out here and I must say that I expected this record to be good, but not this good :) I highly recommend this! 9/10 (Dave)

DAKESIS...'THE NEW DAWN'

(CapsAArx) Reviewed 17th March 2016

Dakesis fronted by Gemma Lawler is a four piece Progressive Power Metal band from Birmingham, UK. Their latest release is a thirteen track concept album which marks a dramatic change in direction and sound from the band’s debut album. With more progressive influences and the addition of powerful orchestral back drop alongside new session pianist Jacob Underwood, Dakesis have sculpted a vast instrumental soundscape to compliment their heavier metal influences. This is a thirteen track metal masterpiece from the top drawer that has driven the band into the Premier League. Won't name any highlights as such, as there is a tsunami of highlights on this album, but there are three numbers worth a mention: the last three tracks in-fact, the massively epic near 18 minute long 'The Seventh Sky', the bouncy, melodic pen ultimate 'Call To Freedom' and the eleven minute awesome closer, 'By The Fading Light'. ‘The New Dawn’ was recorded at Carbon Studios in Birmingham, mixed by Nino Laurenne at Sonic Pump Studios in Finland (Ensiferum, Stratovarious and Firewind) and mastered by Svante Forsback of Chartmakers in Finland (Rammstein, Dragonforce, Apocalyptica). To summarise very briefly, this album is dynamic, need I say anymore?... 9.5/10 (Dave)

DAKRYA..'MONUMENTO'

(Another Sphere Records) Reviewed 30th August 2010

This album almost escaped the Ravenradar™ mounted on the south tower, but with a new CD imminent, it’s about time we caught up with these Greek theatrical atmospheric gothic symphonic metallers. The band features not one but three luscious luvlies for your delectation, Christina on semi operatic lead vocals, Thomais who does the more operatic vocals, and Sophia X on keys. Sophia is very much the leading lady music wise, their sound is like a more theatrical early Epica/lighter Therion, packed full of superb keyboards, with the rest of the lads also doing an excellent job. Joining the ladies is guest growler Dagwyn (Nethescerial) and judging on the evidence of this album and Dimlight, the Greeks seem to do growls better than anyone else, keeping them deep, menacing, clear and tuneful, adding to the drama, rather than detracting from the music. All the songs swirl back and forth between light and dark passages, with the three singers intertwining to mesmeric effect. Spoken passages also add to the theatrical drama of each track, and most of them segue into each other, creating an absorbing listening experience. To sum up, this album has top quality vocals, enthralling music, good production, great image and a special atmosphere. You should be able to get a copy from various retailers and EBay, and their Myspace is http://www.myspace.com/dakrya. Their new CD promises to be even more theatrical, with a hint of Diablo Swing Orchestra, I can’t wait! Returning to Monumento for a moment, this merits a momentous 9/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

DAKRYA..'CRIME SCENE'

(Sensory Records) Reviewed 2nd December 2010)

A few months ago I caught up with these Greek lovelies' (and gentlemen's) début album Monumento which proved to be top quality gothic symphonic metal. This time they have pushed their theatrical side even further and it is fitting that the album is mixed by Pelle Saether who has worked with Diablo Swing Orchestra, although they are not as crazy as the Swedes, there is more than a touch of DSO on display here. Once again you get the dual vocal attack of Christina Kalantzi and Thomais Chatzigianni, this time more stage-musical/comic-opera, with main-woman, composer and keys player SophiaX conducting proceedings. There are some occasional clean male vocals, but none of the growling that featured on their last album. Although now labelled as avant-garde, it is because they are unusual and unique, not an unholy racket like most bands with that tag. The only way I can describe it is imagine if DSO and Delain were commissioned to create the music for a Cirque du Soleil metal production. Yes, it's metal Jim, but not as we know it. You get 8 proper gothic metal songs (plus an outro) but with a recurring circus theme and bursts of boogie, barminess, Barnum, Batman, and Broadway, all great fun (there's even some yakety sax!) without getting too silly. They even have a track called 'Phantasmagoria' which shares its name with the Damned's classic gothic rock album, one of my all-time top 10. The vocal performances are outstanding with fantastic vocal interplay, Sophia X's production is top notch, and it's all packed in striking themed artwork. If something whimsical and wacky, but not wild and weird, tickles your fancy, then this is just the ticket, and ringside seats are available at most decent box offices. Personally, I'm tickled pink! Their big-top is pitched at www.myspace.com/dakrya, a death defying high flying 9/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

DALRIADA..'IGERET'

(AFM Records) Reviewed 24th February 2012

Dalriada is a folk metal band from Sopron, Hungary that was formed in 1998 as Echo of Dalriada, but shortened their name to Dalriada in late 2006. Their third studio album Kikelet and all subsequent albums were successful in the official Mahasz music charts, with 'Szelek' (Hammer Music/Nail Records) peaking at the second position in 2008. The band has taken it's name from Dalriada (also Dál Riata), which was a Gaelic overkingdom on the western seaboard of Scotland with some territory on the northern coasts of Ireland. In the late 6th and early 7th century it encompassed roughly what is now Argyll and Bute and Lochaber in Scotland and also County Antrim in N Ireland. Okay, history lesson over with, the band is fronted by Laura Binder, with help in the vocal dept from guitarist András Ficzek, with some harsh vocals into the mix from keyboardist Barnabás Ungár and drummer Tadeusz Rieckmann. They offer basically 11 tracks of Folk Metal sung in their native tongue on this, their seventh studio album (released last year in-fact), and a unique listening experience this is aswell. Some corking catchy tracks on here that would have the Folk Metal fan in wonderland, and yet one of my fave tracks is possibly more conventional metal, that track being the bouncy 'Leszek a Csillag' (meaning 'I’ll be the Star'). Indeed, Ígéret (which means 'Promise'), with it's mix of guitars, violin, violas, double bass and tambourines amongst other Folk/Rock paraphernalia, offers up a mixture of Epic melodies and power coupled with passionate vocals, and sure is worth a listen. And with another album 'Napisten hava' due this year, this band seem to be a rather busy outfit in the studio. A good listen, and thanks to Aimee by the way for the translation! 8.5/10 (Dave)

DALRIADA...'Áldás'

(Nail Records) Reviewed 11th September 2015

Dalriada fronted by the female voice of Laura Binder is a prolific Folk Metal band from Hungary and this is their eigth release, their first album appearing 11 years ago. And the limited edition of this album is a double album of which CD2 is a complilation featuring 15 tracks from the band. Overall and across the two cds lasting more than 2 hours, this is a very good package of catchy Folk Metal sung in the band's native tongue, featuring both female and by & large clean male vox. Bloomin' awesome stuff, just listen to 'Hamu es Gyasz', so catchy! Then get your dancing shoes out for 'Futobetyar', a foot tapper if ever there was one. The band combines so well the use of heavy guitars and drums together with flute, violin and bagpipes! If Folk Metal is the type of music that floats your boat, then check this package out and then order here... 9/10 (Dave)

DAMA..'EIRWEN'

(Ravenheart Music) Reviewed 24th June 2011

Dama were founded by beautiful singer, lyricist and composer Barbara Schera Vanoli and drummer/arranger Pierfrancesco Tarantino around Milan in Italy. The name Dama, or Lady in English, was inspired by Barbara's love of the great gothic cathedrals such as Notre Dame (Our Lady), and the album title Eirwen is the name of the fantasy land created by Barbara's imagination. Their style is lavish romantic symphonic gothic metal, similar to Silent Force Within Temptation, Stream of Passion and Rawkfist, but with a unique Latin flavour. Perfectly enhancing the music is Barbara's pure warm semi operatic voice with a touch of Marcela Bovio and the superb production by sound engineer/keyboardist Danilo Di Lorenzo that is crystal clear but rich, with a lovely ringing thump to the tom toms. Showing great ambition, they have insisted on releasing this début as a double album, the first CD 'Immaginario' has eight songs in Italian, while the second CD 'Imaginary' has four of those songs redone in English with totally different titles, not direct translations, together with three other tunes. Therefore to avoid confusion I will discuss the first Italian CD (with the English version in brackets) and then mention the three different songs on the second. 'Alba' (Breaking Dawn), 'Scatola di Vetro', 'Aprile' and 'Ombre' (Rainy Roads) are dramatic songs that swirl and sweep from tinkling piano to soaring symphonic crescendos. 'Regina d'Inverno' (Your Winter) has a strutting, swinging swagger about it, while 'Seta' (Lost) is a terrific almost Nightwish esque rocker. 'Lei' is a gorgeous ballad that reminds me of Rick Wakeman and Jon Anderson, and last track 'Oltre Eclisse' glides, swoons and sways in a very romantic Latin way, with seductive male whispers (for the ladies I hasten to add) by Barbara’s partner Jacopo Festa appropriately enough that are almost Enrique Iglesias like (or his dad Julio if you're of a certain age). Turning to the second English CD, it starts with a real highlight 'Eliot', a fantastic Domina Noctis type rocker that had me dancing around the room (not a pretty sight). Their remarkable symphonic version of Madonna's cover 'Live to Tell' is not only better than the original (I'm loving the synth sound) but also totally unrecognisable, if they didn't tell you, you would never know. The final track is the moving voice and piano enigmatically titled 'Scarlet Thoughts in Room'. My only criticism is that I would have preferred it to have been condensed into one CD with one version of each song to avoid all the confusion and the feeling of déjà vu. To sum up this is a supreme quality release that will have all lovers of symphonic metal in absolute heaven, their website is here and its available from CD Baby, a lavish romantic 9.25/10 (Phil)

DAMAGE DONE..'STORIES NEVER TOLD'

(Pan-Vox) Reviewed 30th March 2010

This debut from the pen of Theodisis Chatzistergos and his band has had a long history, during the course of which they went from male to female fronted, so although most of the songs have the deep voice of Nick Rizikianos, it also has Georgia Konstantinou contributing lead and backing vocals, and if you saw the band today, L. Angel would be the front lady. The album has the feel of a ‘best of’ collection, cherry picking songs from a bands career representing different periods of their development. The first three songs see the band in gothic rock mode, influenced by The Mission, Fields of Nephilim, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Paradise Lost. After the instrumental ‘Grief’, they enter an alt rock phase for the next three tunes, inspired by bands like Kings of Leon and Nickelback, with Nick using a totally different higher voice, and Georgia coming to the fore. Iggy Pop then gets some Swiftcover, jumps into his car and smashes his way through the studio wall for the one off garage punk ‘Who Am I’ (it’s not really Mr. Osterberg, but you know what I mean). We then head into a Leonard Cohen style introspective period for the final two numbers with the gentle piano piece ‘All I Need is a Peace of Mind’ and the ‘All I Need is Some Time’ ballad. The unifying force is the superb production job, the whole album sounds like it was recorded in a cavernous concert hall, full of reverb, with a massive drum sound. This album is an outstanding collection of commercial rock songs, the sort of stuff that would go down a storm at Glastonbury, and with a settled line-up they really should go far. The digi-pak comes with three videos, and is available for just 12 euros from the band, check out their Myspace www.myspace.com/damagedonegr for more info. 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

DAMSEL FLY...'WHAT LIES BENEATH'

(Independent release) Reviewed 15th September 2006

This album I would class as modern alternative rock. And this album does just that.. it rocks! In musical terms, if you mention Canada, the names Bryan Adams, Nickelback and Avril Lavigne would perhaps spring to mind. Now add Damsel Fly to the list. And I will challenge anyone not to tap their feet while listening to this cd. The album kicks off with the triple onslaught of 'I Stay', 'Nowhere' and ' Let You Go'. Catchy rock songs that will be banging around in your head long after the cd has left the player. That's if you can get it of the player! The awesome 'Buried Alive' slows thing down, a heavy but rather more atmospheric song, while 'Anyway' restores the momentum, which the following tracks continue til the end. The cd actually finishes with what I think must be a bonus track (track 11..not listed), being an accoustic version of one of my favourite songs on the cd, 'Let You Go'. This album by Lisa and her band is a very fine effort indeed. I did read a review on a Scandinavian site, questioning the production here. Let us at Ravenheart Music state, that if you don't have a Bon Jovi production budget, which most rock/metal bands (independent or otherwise) don't have, then those sometimes too ultra critical reviewers cannot and must not expect a Bon Jovi style production! The production on this cd by Tim Neuhaus is I think top notch, bearing in mind this is an independent release. Great stuff - get it from cdbaby.com 8/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

DARK LETTER...'PSYCHOMACHIA' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 2nd December 2015

Dark Letter is a Symphonic Gothic Metal band from Poland and they are fronted by Beata Golińska. This EP is a five track offering and I hasten to add is rather good. 'Toy' is a pounding Symphonic opener with some half decent vocals as well, not operatic, more from the pop/rock university of vocals. Next up 'Romasanta', is not about an Italian Santa Claus, but is a slower number sung in the band's native tongue (I assume), well slower initially until 2/3rds into the track it goes up a gear to end in bombastic fashion! 'Sleepy Hollow' is a dramatic up tempo melodic track while the pen ultimate 7 minute plus 'Anneliese' is a slower rather more haunting atmospheric number. Closing cut 'Toy' is another version of the opening track, this time also featuring Tomasz Wisniewski from the band Afterlife. Take a listen here, not bad, not bad at all... 8.5/10 (Dave)

DARK PRINCESS..'STOP MY HEART'/WITHOUT YOU'

(MachXX/SPV) Reviewed 10th February 2008

A cd that has come at me out of nowhere. Dark Princess hail from Russia, and are centred around front lass Olga Romanova. And if this is the sort of music Russia is producing (and I am not talking TATU here), then I want more. There are 12 tracks on 'Stop My Heart' that can best be described as Melodic Gothic Pop/Rock/Metal, not too disimilar I suppose to Evanescence and Within Temptation. Every track here is a good 'un, just listen to 'One Last Goodbye' as an example on an album chockful of singalong anthems. Even the last two tracks that are sung in Russian are superb, even though I cannot understand what Olga is singing about - obviously! . And furthermore, there is also a limited edition double cd (which I have here) that in addition, features their debut album 'Without You'. Indeed, the English versions of the aforementioned Russian tracks are featured on 'Without You', which in itself is a bloomin' good album too. The double cd package is an awesome 23 track effort, and double cd or single cd, I know will appeal to fans of the genre, that like their music heavy, but not too heavy, and very catchy. This cd has to be bought. Great stuff!! 9/10 (Reviewed by Dave).

DARK PRINCESS/OLGA ROMANOVA..'ZHESTOKYA IGRA'

(Metal Agen/Soyuz Music) Reviewed 20th August 2008

Some months ago (10th Feb 2008), I reviewed a double cd by the Russian band Dark Princess, fronted by Olga Romanova. The cd was a double whammy of their albums 'Stop My Heart' and 'Without You'. And to my ears, these recordings are awesome. I have now just stumbled across the Russian equivalent of some of the music featured on that earlier review. Why review the Russian version with Russian lyrics? Because on this Russian record, there are actually two English songs that do not appear elsewhere on any Dark Princess album. Those tracks are 'The Key' and 'Not Of This World'. Totally mind blowing and awesome mid paced catchy tunes, that makes it worthwhile having 'Zhestokya Igra' in your collection, just for those two tracks alone. And it seems this album is very very difficult to find. But, it is not what you know, it is who you know - say no more :) I like Dark Princess (the band sure have the image) and I also like the lass Olga a lot. I understand that the Dark Princess herself is now with a band called t.h.e. Sacrament. From what I have heard, they sound ok too. Watch this space! 9/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

DARK PRINCESS...'THE WORLD I'VE LOST'

(Out Of Line) Reviewed 6th April 2012

Dark Princess from Russia is a fave band of mine. Earlier recordings have received favourable reviews on this website, with their catchy Evanescence style of Gothic Metal. Previous vocalist Olga Romanova has been replaced with Natalia, whose vocal style is similar. And with regards Dark Princess, "if it ain't broken why fix it" certainly applies, as this new release follows a similar pattern to their previous works. There is some very good material here with every song offering a mix of catchy melodies and charismatic vocals. 'We Cannot Fly So High' is already being previewed on YouTube (here) and offers a good example as to what to expect on this album. 'Fields Of Use' takes a slightly heavier route, but still very commercial and catchy, with Evanescence style male backing 'rap' vox. 'The Key' is a track that appeared on the 'Cruel Game' cd from 2007, that album was sung in Russian apart from two English Language tracks that included 'The Key', while the number 'Paradise Land' has a Russian Folk vibe. Every number on this record is a standout. Great stuff and well recommended for lovers of lightweight, catchy and commercial Gothic Rock and Metal...9/10 (Dave)

DARK SARAH...'BEHIND THE BLACK VEIL'

(Inner Wound Recordings) Reviewed 20th March 2015

Dark Sarah is a new Symphonic Metal music project by Finnish metal band Amberian Dawn´s former vocalist Heidi Parviainen. Her debut album called 'Behind the Black Veil' is split into three episodes, and leads you through the psychological adventure of Sarah, who is hovering between her two personalities. Sarah´s thoughts are at best depicted in the dialogues (duets) with the guests - 'Memories Fall' features Manuela Kraller (ex Xandria), 'Evil Roots' features Inga Scharf (Van Canto) and 'Light In Light' is a duet with Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica). Sarah is a nice young woman, who faces one of the biggest crises in her life when her husband leaves her at the altar and leaves with another woman straight from church. Sarah thinks she's going to die and after spending some time at home alone, watching the rain outside, she collapses on the floor. After a while there is only silence, only darkness, until she rises, trembling. Scattered mascara has formed the character of Horus around her eye. Because of the trauma she has faced, another side of her personality wakes up inside her mind. She changes into Dark Sarah, the complete opposite of everything she represented before. She declares a war against her former husband and swears revenge. Furthermore she looms in between her two personalities.'SAVE ME' is the intro song and tells the story of how a confused Sarah, still wearing her wedding dress, wanders in the woods and at the end meets her husband tied up in a dark forest - in reality or in a dream? 'POISON APPLE' is a premonition of the future, dream-like illusion, where she plans her revenge. 'HIDE AND SEEK' is Sarah's saddest song, in which she says that she cannot be found, because she is no longer here here - Dark Sarah has taken her. In the end, still in grief, she meets her fate (Manuela Kraller ex Xandria), who tells her that only after entering into the darkness, she can be born again, and for the first time Dark Sarah appears as real in the 'MEMORIES FALL' duet. Sarah offers herself to the darkness, and here begins EPISODE II. At the beginning, Sarah meets the Queen of snakes, the dark tree - "the Queen of No Good" (Inga Scharf - Van Canto), in a duet called 'EVIL ROOTS'. The Queen lures Sarah to go deeper into the darkness. After this, Sarah´s last sane moment is in the beginning of the song 'VIOLENT ROSES'. She enters into her symbolic garden, where she gardens her roses. She realizes something terrible! Someone has destroyed her roses! Evil flowers are singing in the background. Sarah thinks it is her husband who has destroyed her beloved rose garden- that little snake! (but actually it had been the evil flowers’ plan). Now Dark Sarah wakes up, murderous and fierce and replaces her roses with poisonous plants, which will help her with her vengeance. She comes up with an evil plan, she will make an apple pie of poison apples to her husband! This is Dark Sarah´s prime time! In her recital 'HUNTING THE DREAMER' she tells how she is going to destroy all of her man's dreams as he had destroyed Sarah's dreams. EPISODE II ends in a scene where Sarah comes to her senses again and is shocked by the traces of blood on the floor. She is terrified; what has she done?! She requires Dark Sarah to let her go free, because she can´t recognize herself in the mirror any more. This is the song called 'FORTRESS'. These are the events of the EPISODE III. After realizing what horrible event she had encountered, Sarah is fully awake from the nightmare. In the song called 'SILVER TREE', things start to clear up in her mind, she remembers the tree that she used to go to with her beloved - they even carved their names and hearts on its bark. She used to love that silver tree, the most beautiful tree in the forest, she used to play hide and seek there as a child. Then she gets it! Everything is connected to that tree- the tree is evil! She decides to put an end to all the madness and runs into the wintery forest and hides herself from Dark Sarah. Sarah finds the silver tree in the woods and stabs a dagger in the middle of the carved heart. Sarah hears a terrible scream from the tree and the heart starts to bleed on the white snow. The tree shivers and it's silvery bark cracks and falls down like pieces of a mirror. In the song called 'SUN, MOON AND STARS', Sarah starts running, she runs and runs into the heart of the forest. Then she stops - she feels numb, even the moonlight has turned his light away from her, it is her destiny to carry the burden alone. She wants to be forgotten, left alone with her confused mind. What is real and what is not? She remembers the beautiful things she used to love when she watches the night sky. The last song of the story (track 11) is a duet called 'LIGHT IN YOU'. Suddenly Sarah sees a light, she falls down in awe of the silvery light in the sky. The moon has come (Tony Kakko- Sonata Arctica)! He tells Sarah that he has come to guide her to a new path in her life and he still sees the light in her. In the white wilderness they fall in love. However there is a shadow upon them - the moon fades away when the day comes. They can only wait for the sunrise. I have tried to detail the story of the album that is very relevant to the music on offer. All the tracks here are awesome, Heidi and her band is on top form, this is totally magical and a MUST BUY for fans of Cinematic/Symphonic Metal when released 8th May. I must also add that although the story encompasses 11 tracks, there are actually 14 on the cd - website is at www.darksarah.com/.. 10/10 (Dave with help from The Nugget)

DARK SYMPHONICA…’IMMERSION’

(Self Release) Reviewed 17th December 2015

There are some good acts coming out of Australia at the moment, and in the case of Dark Symphonica (www.facebook.com/darksymphonica), Brisbane to be precise. Fronted by Sam Wolstenholme, the opening 6 minute plus cut and lead single 'Chains of Misfortune' is a bombastic and rather impressive symphonic masterpiece, that belts along at quite a pace, with Sam offering up quite a cool vocal performance to boot. Second up, the epic 'Farewell' starts with a nice piano intro before the rest of the band kicks in with another fine symphonic performance, coupled with slower more intimate moments, almost like a soundtrack from a movie.'Envy' is heavy and fast flirting with Power Metal, but with a slower and rather catchy chorus, while 'Apophis' is a smilar sounding number to 'Envy'. 'Estrella' is simply a 10 minute epic, again with that piano putting in another fine performance together with occasional strings - an awesome number, again in places fitting of a film soundtrack. The album closes with the more commercial sounding ‘Set Me Free’ and the monster 14 minute ‘Goliath (Tyranny Part I)’ which is a goliath of a track that throws everything at the listener. This I must say is an impressive recording that proves that Symphonic Metal is not entirely the domain of European Bands. Great stuff! 8.75/10 (Dave)

DARKEN THE NIGHT...S/T

(Self Release) Reviewed 13th June 2012

Darken the Night is a two person team of composer Ryan Spann on all instruments and cute Kelly Miller with her superb professionally trained light operatic voice. Despite their very European sounding light symphonic metal and the impression given by the European city scene on the cover (the location is unknown, even to the band, answers on a postcard please), they actually hail from the wonderfully and very appropriately named town of Rockaway in New Jersey. They have an unusual style based on classical piano motifs, arpeggios and chords, I was surprised to learn that the piano is mostly programmed rather than played, and there is also an element of musical theatre, baroque classical and ecclesiastical choral music, perhaps similar to bands like Keys of the Light, Astray Path, Inner Shrine, and Edenbridge's piano ballads. This is a restful collection of hugely melodic dusky darkly moody numbers that is more for late night relaxation and reflection, as befits their name, exemplified by the opening dramatic epic 'Before the Light Arrives', the almost folk tinged lead single 'Looking Through the Past', and the very attractive 'Stand Alone', together with the delightful ballads ‘Samantha’ and ‘Loyal’. Kelly has a lovely and most pleasing voice and the choral arrangements by Ryan are excellent, but the production is a bit mixed, the vocals and keys are as clear as a bell, but the other instruments are a touch muffled, adding to that misty air of approaching darkness. A most distinctive and striking début album that’s perfect for candlelit evenings and it promises much for the future. The dusk approaches at their Facebook which is here, a reflective 8.25/10 (Phil)

DARKSKY..'WHERE ANGELS HIDE'

(Self Release) Reviewed 8th April 2010

It has taken 13 long years and many changes of style and line-up for Francesco and Max Diblasio (guitar and keyboards) to finally realise their dream and release this, their debut album. Loosely you can call this gothic metal, but you have to add prog, blues and soul into the mix. Imagine, if you will, Dream Theatre deciding make an album of Lacuna Coil songs, with Joss Stone on vocals and guest appearances by Eric Clapton and Gary Numan, then you might be somewhere close, but they are hard to pin down, this is one album you cannot say ‘it sounds like such and such’. The delectable Alis Bos has got an awesome set of tonsils, I just mentioned Joss Stone, but thankfully without all that wailing. It’s gets off to a powerful symphonic start with ‘Memento’, featuring some Numanesque fat synths and prog flavoured diminutive chords, then the delicacy and power blend of ‘The Door’, a very commercial song with an excellent guitar solo. ‘The Colour of Dreams’ starts off like Eric Clapton (in rock mode) jamming with Pink Floyd, a really clever vocoder part then leads into a more powerful rocked up passage, with Alis showing just how passionate and emotional she can be. ‘A Way Out For The Sinner’ begins with portentous minor chords leading into another soulful and mighty song, with guest male vocals (clean) by Andea ‘Vidar’ Stefanelli, who also does an excellent job of mixing the album. ‘Lightstorm’ is moodier and heavier, counterpoised with the gentle Spanish guitar instrumental, ‘Peaceful Place’, I love these interludes that give your ears a rest, and it also gives Francesco a chance to show off his lightning skills on the guitar. ‘Lex Aeterna’ starts off like a ‘house’ number before the prog metal cuts in, it’s then a battle between the two before they unite and blow the cones off me speakers. Relative calm is restored with the outstanding and highly touching power ballad ‘The Last Rose’, with emotive lyrics and gorgeous synths. The album ends with the prog metal workout ‘Fatal Frame’. Those 13 years have obviously been well spent, creating a band that is unique, highly skilled and fully formed. The voice of Alis takes the band onto another level where they can really compete with the big boys. I can see this doing very well in the USA, indeed, unless I had been told, I would have guessed that they are American, not Italian. If you like your music powerful, soulful and skilful then they await your pleasure at their Myspace site, www.myspace.com/darkskyitaly, and copies can be purchased by messaging the band. A highly recommended 9/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

DARKYRA BLACK…’FOOL’

(Cargo Distribution) Reviewed 2nd September 2015

Darkyra Black fronted by Gina Bafile, is a Metal band from Australia that is fast making their mark within the Symphonic Rock & Metal music scene. This is their second album, and is a three part concept about the people seen coming and going at the fountain of wishes, the fountain built for kings and queens of the past. The songs are a behind the scenes look into their lives and their foolish obsessions. There is a strong cinematic feel to this record blending Symphonic Prog with Epic Metal. And as a consequence, this cd is flippin' awesome! The album begins with the first section 'Fools of the Past', which is centred around the indiscretions of royalty. Kicking this section off with 'Pt2 Behind Closed Doors', and I do love the Middle Eastern feel to this track, before it blasts out of the speakers in epic and the aforementioned cinematic fashion. ‘Who Are They To Judge’ and ‘Truth Or Dare’ (the latter featuring the bass work of 'demolition man', Tony Dolan (M-Pire of Evil, x Venom)) are pounding melodic numbers, I hear a Hammond organ too on the former, and Gina’s powerful and intimidating voice powers these awesome songs along. Indeed, Gina’s vocal prowess continues to keep this album well and truly on the tracks, together I must add with fine musicianship from her band. ‘Of Fools and Gold’ closes the first section (‘Fools of the Past’), this is more of a mid-tempo number with progressive influences. ‘Where Will I Be’ and the catchy ‘Bleed’ constitutes the middle section of the concept, the former almost flirting with Folk Metal territory, while ‘Bleed’ features George Boussounis from Greece doing his finest Elderich impersonation :) The songs in the closing section titled 'Faces by the Fountain', are from the observations made of the different individuals seen at the fountain, and the last couple of songs, 'Fountain of Frozen Dreams' and closing number 'Pt1. Behind Closed Doors' are a summary that ties everything together. This album is a work of art from Gina and her band, a near faultless piece of musical magic! Check out the website: www.darkyra.com/ - top drawer stuff and well recommended..9.5/10 (Dave).

DARKYRA BLACK...'DRAGON TEARS'

(Self Released) Reviewed 6th February 2014

'Dragon Tears' is the first and rather amazing Darkyra album being an 11 track concept album based on a Gothic interpretation of a Geisha tale that ends in tragedy - love, loss, lust, betrayal and revenge. The music is a fine blend of Symphonic Metal, Gothic Metal, Epic Metal and Progressive Rock offering up an overall cinematic feel together with influences from Japanese Petatonic Music. But what about Darkyra herself? She is from Fremantle, a city in Western Australia, and her music should grace the music collection of any music fan into any of the above mentioned styles. Vocally, to my ears she has her own musical style, although she will no doubt be comapared to other female fronted Gothic acts, but to be honest, this is slightly different, fairly unique and highly original. All eleven numbers here are different but are very fluent and offer up musical highlights galore, too numerous to mention. However, if Dakyra Black was based in Europe, she would be creating tidal waves of Tsunami proportions, believe you me. The numbers that do hit me upon numerous listens nonetheless are 'Lullaby of Death', the awesome 'Tears By Candlelight' and the metallic 'Kiss Of The Dragon', but overall, everything here is damn good! And ensure you keep the cd in the player to the VERY end. To summarise, Darkyra's music is Dark, Passionate and Edgy and demonstrating fine vocal prowess too. Find out more about Darkyra and the 'Dragon Tears' story on her website: www.darkyra.com/. The album was co-produced by Garry King, Darkyra Black and George Boussounis, through Online Recording Masters in Athens and La Foret Groupe in France. This is a well crafted release and is well recommended by us here at Ravenheart Music.. 9/10 (Dave)

DAWN OF DESTINY..'HUMAN FRAGILITY'

(Shark Records) Reviewed 6th December 2010

With no less that 3 albums under their belt since 2007, it is about time we caught up with the latest release from these German power metallers which weighs in at a whopping 66 minutes, they are most certainly productive. Their style hovers around early Nightwish, Lunatica, Sonata Arctica and Power Quest, performed with plenty of gusto, verging on the speedy at times. The keyboards incline towards the atmospheric rather than the bombastic, which together with the excellent production gives them a direct, straight for the jugular metal sound. Tanja Maul has a superb powerful semi-operatic voice that suits the music perfectly, ably assisted by a wide variety of excellent male voices (she has recently left, the mike taken over by Jeanette Scherff). They certainly have the knack for writing catchy songs with outstanding rousing choruses and super melodies, with plenty of subtle variation from full throttle double peddling to strutting to marching to bouncing to swaying. Remarkably, quality is maintained throughout the album, with particular faves including the more Sonata Arctica esque 'From a Heartless World' and title track 'Human Fragility'; the more Nightwish'ish 'Learning to Fly' and 'A Better Time to Come To Come'; the Therion like, suitably Middle Eastern flavoured, 'Ten Plagues of Egypt, and the groovy 'End of Pain'. There are two peculiarities, firstly many songs fade out, unusual for an European metal album, and secondly, despite having no gentler numbers, interest is maintained right to the end through the rich variety of music and sheer quality of song-writing. This is a band who will not win any awards for innovation, but this is an highly enjoyable and professional album that does exactly what it says on the tin. You want over an hours worth of top quality, subtly symphonic, power metal without any soppy ballads, you've got it, nuff said. Your destiny lies at http://www.dawnofdestiny.de/, a highly productive 8.75/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

DAWN OF DESTINY...F.E.A.R

(Phonotraxx) Reviewed 10th July 2014

All the music we review here is good or excellent, but occasionally, an album will come along that is so good it will totally and absolutely blow your mind, and in turn will leave you wanting more! So why are German Power Metallers Dawn Of Destiny not on a major label?, as from this showing this band is premier league. And when I say that, to me they are on a par with bands like Nightwish! This I understand is the band's 5th album and what an offering we have here! F.E.A.R. stands for Forgotten, Enslaved, Admired, Released, and is a concept album telling the fate of a girl in a wheelchair, put there in a car accident caused by her own mother, and not only is the girl wheelchair bound, she also leads a tragic life. The band tell the story both musically and of course lyrically, with the album being divided into four sections, these sections vary in mood and offer what is a highly emotional piece of work. This record is massive with catchy punchy songs and featuring guest contributions too from the likes of Mats Leven (Therion, Candlemass, Yngwie Malmsteen) and Jon Olivia (Savatage). I cannot fault this record at all from the heavy opener 'And With The Silence Comes The Fear' with its catchy chorus, to the power ballad closer 'To Live Is To Suffer'. Just looking at the song titles like 'End This Nightmare', 'Prayers' (song of the year?) and 'Dying In Your Arms' themselves tell the story. The song writing is top drawer, the musicianship from all concerned is faultless and the production is perfect. Sometimes an album comes along that pulls at the heart strings musically and lyrically, this does just that - a total must buy and I cannot fault it!! Here is their website: www.dawnofdestiny.de/...10/10 (Dave)

DAWN OF DESTINY…’TO HELL’

(Phonotraxx Publishing) Reviewed 1st December 2015

Dawn of Destiny is a German outfit that has been around for over ten years. Their previous album 'F.E.A.R.' was rather good, so can the band better that? Well 'F.E.A.R.' was a concept album about a young girl in a wheelchair, and their sixth album 'To Hell' continues the concept theme, this time telling the story of Mary and Tim. The two are faced in mysterious ways with the past of the bride on a cruise ship during their honeymoon. It is all linked to a strange tattoo. Anyway, all becomes unravelled during the course of the album. There are differing vocal styles here, melodic female vox, clean male vocals and of course occasional growls, and it all links together rather nicely. This is rather intense fist pumping anthemic Melodic Power Metal, in a way that Dawn of Destiny seem to do so well, but with some truly melodic parts as well - 'Hateful Heart' one such track and a fave of mine from the record together with the epic seven minute plus ‘Only The Ocean Knows’ and the power ballad 'Destroy My World'. Dawn of Destiny has been knocking on the door of the top league for a while now, this epic album has opened that door and as a consequence, is well recommended…9/10 (Dave)

DAWN OF ETERNITY...'GUILTY'

(NRT-Records) Reviewed 8th January 2015

Where the voice of an angel meets the music of the devil. This might be an accurate description of the sound of this band, and that description is not precisely overblown. Founded by the very talented Singer Sara Seubert and guitar player Johannes Kittel, Dawn of Eternity rose from the ashes of their former project 'Buried Alive'. Their sound could be described as a mix of melodic death metal and goth, a combination of a clear beautiful voice and harsh death metal, with the instruments provided by Johannes Kittel, Sebastian Küpfer and Torsten Ossowicki. The singer Sara meanwhile, is just the icing on the cake. Opener 'Ego' sets the benchmark for this record, bombastically heavy and totally melodic as are other numbers like 'Cut Me Loose' with it's wow factor, the thumping 'Amorticure', the catchy title track and, well f**k, they are all good! They can even slow it down a bit with the acoustic based 'Fire'. The album that I am reviewing here for Ravenheart is the deluxe version, featuring extra tracks that originally appeared on their 'Catastrome' EP - to find out more, their website is here. We here at Ravenheart whole heartedly recommend this, every track a grandoise winner!.. 9/10 (Natalie Gold)

DAY AFTER RULES...'WHATEVER HAPPENS NO REGRETS'

(Self Release) Reviewed 27th March 2013

Get your pogo sticks out folks and lets welcome the band Day After Rules from Italy. They play Melodic Punk Rock that will get your feet tapping and have you bouncing around the room as if Punk Rock had never gone away (has it really gone away?). The album offers up 9 tracks of music that I am sure will go down very well in a live scenario. Fans of The Ramones et al will lap this up. Singer Giulia is one not to be messed with as she sings and screams through the numbers on offer. And in typical Punk fashion, they are all up tempo, short and sweet, and hideously catchy in the process - no ballads here. And 'Stone' has hit single written all over it! The nine numbers run in at around 27 minutes, their FaceBook is here, so go on, check them out...8/10 (Dave)

DEAD END AMELIA..'THE POINT OF NO RETURN' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 14th May 2011

Here is a dose of Americana to wake up your soul by a band who hail from California. Fronted by Krista Lee, I admit to having a soft spot for this type of music. I believe it used to be called 'Modern Rock', but it is certainly modern with bucket loads of melody. I suppose we could call it 'Alternative Hard Rock' or indeed 'Art-Rock', but whatever, it is good. The trippy mid paced 'Satellite' kicks the cd off, and I suppose this track follows the 'Art-Rock' path. Bloomin' good actually! Next up 'Let Me Know' treads Paramore territory, while 'Beautiful Thing' slows it down slightly and to my ears is a sure single, screaming radio airplay in the process. 'Defmetiria' almost has an In This Moment feel to it, while 'Behold The Liar' is a catchy number. 'Fly' adopts the quiet verse/loud chorus formula, with closer 'Change (In The House Of Flies)' being an awesome Deftones cover. DEA (click here) is worth checking out for the Alternative Rock fan amongst us. Recommended..8.5/10 (Dave)

DEAD END AMELIA...'THE SOUND OF AWAKENING'

(Clinger Music Management) Reviewed 11th June 2012

Dead End Amelia had an EP reviewed by us last May, and I was highly impressed with what I heard. Now we have their debut full length album, and this is highly impressive stuff from this California band fronted by Krista Lee. I was rather eager to hear this, and opener 'Impossible' has tons of crossover potential, and confirmed to me upon listening to this one track, how this band has come of age. A fairly laid back way to start the record actually, but it works amazingly well and this track alone deserves to be a smash hit - radio stations take note! 'Wasted Light' ups the tempo and takes on more of a Paramore type vibe, while 'So We' slows the pace again, another dynamic number, great vocals from Krista and indeed, it is this type of Pop/Rock path that the band adopts on this release - totally awesome! 'Better Of This Way' is a killer tune that also screams radio station airplay while the track 'You're Not Alone' offers up 6+ minutes of laid back rock music - Krista's vocals nail this type of music, seductive and sexy if I may say so! There are plenty of other numbers here that scream one's attention like 'Slowly', which adopts a near metal vibe towards the end of the tune, the title track, another 6+ minute epic and closer 'Simple Boy', a heavy number and again the 'seductive' vocals come to the fore. This is a very professional recording of commerical and at times laid back Pop/Rock from this band, it screams attention from a major label, the production is spot on, and the all round musicianship is of the highest calibre. Although perhaps not appealing to the all out metalheads out there, this cd is well worth looking into from my point of view, and I am very honoured to know of this band, and so should all the readers of this website. Check out their facebook here and then buy this album....9/10 (Dave)

DEAD END TRACK..'S/T'

(Vision Metal Records) Reviewed 20th November 2007

An interesting release here by Italians Dead End Track, that will appeal to fans of Lacuna Coil, Evanescence and The Gathering to name just three! Fronted by the vocally gifted Luisa Quaglia, I can even hear The Cure influences on a couple of the tracks. No surprise as they actually do a re-make of 'Love Song' on this album! This self titled release is a mix of gothic metal/rock/dark pop, with even touches of progressive rock in places. So you get your money's worth crammed into the 40+ minutes. No real individual highlights here, although I do like last track 'Orchid', which is an awesome ballad. It is all pretty decent stuff however, and yet another good release from an indie label. Get it at Sonic Cathedral or cdbaby.com. I like it! 7.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

DEAD LIGHT SHINES...'FALL TO RISE'

(Self Release) Reviewed 31st December 2014

Arizona based Dead Light Shines is the result of a decade long musical journey conducted by Norm Wall and Kelly Morales. Janette Martyn provides the voice of the band, fusing her diverse background in theater, dance and art to create a larger than life persona onstage. Norm is the mad scientist guitarist who carefully writes and arranges the material, blending influences from all generations and sub-genres of rock and metal. Kelly uses his skillful bass playing to create agile depth and nuanced passages, melding his articulate tone with the punchy technical wizardry of drummer Stephen Mallicoat. And to be honest, this album from these guys is a delight, merging awesome vocals with powerful hook laden guitars and choruses. After a brief intro, 'Where I Belong' kicks things off and what a start, a great song, heavy, tuneful with the great vocals of Janette powering her way to the forefront. Other songs that pound your ear drums include the bombastic and Progressive 'Lost In You', the equally heavy 'Better On My Own', the melodic 'Even If I Die' and when they slow it down a bit in songs like 'My Final Fight', the band still kick ass. And closer 'Too Deep' which is equally as cool, features Greg Norris on vocals. Indeed there is something for every listener within the music on this release - Rock, Metal and Progressive Metal is there for the listener, each song carefully crafted to deliver maximum sonic effect. Dead Light Shines is an amazing band poised to shake the foundation of the Arizona music scene and who knows, maybe the world! Check them out at www.reverbnation.com/deadlightshines - well recommended.. 9/10 (Rachel Louise Smith)

DEAD LIGHT SHINES...'FACE YOUR FEARS'

(Self Release) Reviewed 11th June 2015

In December 2014, we reviewed the full length release from this Arizona Band titled 'Fall To Rise'. Now I have the pleasure of reviewing this their brilliant 5 track EP. Whereas 'Fall To Rise' had a Progressive undercurrent bubbling under the surface, this EP takes on a more commercial radio friendly route, although still maintaining subtle Progressive elements found in the debut. This by and large is a healthy dose of upbeat catchy Rock music with great vocals from Janette Martyn, coupled with great musicianship from her band mates. I do rather like this and to my ears this is well worth checking out. For starters, check out their Facebook here.. 8.5/10 (Dave)

DEADMANSWAKE..'IT COMES TO THIS'

(Independent Release) Reviewed 28th March 2010

Lock away your children and let's rock, to an awesome hard rock band from Chicago fronted by Kryssie Ridolfi. And this lass has such an awesome voice that is suited to this style of music, that I know we are onto a winner from track 1, that steamrollers it's way outta my speakers like a high speed train. This track 'Amy' is one of my faves, and we have barely got going, and this particular song being very personal to Kryssie. 'Back To Blood', keeps the pace up, this opening salvo being hard, heavy and they rock. Things slow down slightly for 'Far Be It From Me', a melodic number with a catchy chorus. 'Murder' picks it up again, and I am impressed with what I have heard so far. The album continues in a similar style, mainly hard rockers, with Kryssie's vocal performance awesome throughout. For further highlights check out 'Selfish' and the thundering 'Save Me'. This is Deadman's Wake's debut full length release, and I am very impressed. Worth checking out for anybody that likes their music hard, heavy and melodic. And I also wish to note that the band has also had a support slot with In This Moment ( a Ravenheart Music fave). I will now make a suggestion - surf your way to www.myspace.com/deadmanswakechicago and check out this offering of female fronted metal with balls. A good little release this....8/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

DEAD OF NIGHT...'THE DEAD SHALL RISE'

(Self Released) Reviewed 17th June 2015

Due to recent health issues and one or two other issues too, I have been a little bit out of touch regards many things Femme Metal, but Dead of Night is a British symphonic metal band comprising of Carl Eden (keys) Hadian Gates (guitars) and Courtney Cecere (vocals). The band formed in 2013 as a vehicle for Carl's symphonic metal compositions and this, the resulting album. And I will say that this band has literally blown me away! We have 11 dazzling tracks of exciting Symphonic Metal, Courtneys's vocals are amazing and the arrangements of composer and keyboards maestro man Carl surpass anything I am currently listening too. Everything here is from the top drawer and there are fave tracks a plenty. Just try 'As I Am Now So Shall You Be' as just one prime example, so cool and so catchy!! And then there are the ballads, and I am a sucker for a good ballad - the tracks 'Never Liked It' and the closing 7+ minute 'Ghost Stories' should be smash hits on mainstream radio! Enough said!! 'Will You Go' is a poppy tune and again another magical cut from this dynamic band, while they can up the ante with tracks like 'Riding Into Hell'. The musicianship is absolutely outstanding, and this band is knocking on the door of the Premier League, indeed they may already be there. Well recommended to all and sundry, cos I am gobsmaked - the band's website is here where the album can be purchased, and it can also be purchased from all good online music stores and some ropey ones as well.... 10/10 (Dave)