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(Costa Verde Records) Reviewed 10th September 2013

Gabriel is a messenger, the spirit of truth and the archangel of death. In-fact the band Gabriel is Sally Elsey who lives in the UK (not too far from where I used to live in Essex) and Albert Vinasco from the USA who now lives in Argentina. They decided to collaborate on a couple of songs four years or so ago after meeting on a musician's website called 'Broadjam', and here they are four albums later still doing what they so love - making rather cool music. And there will soon be a fifth one too. This current cd however, is an awesome collection of melodic songs, that to an extent musically remind me at times of Portuguese maestros Factory of Dreams. I also hear subtle resemblances to Queen or Boston at times in the guitar dept, but that may just be me! Albert provides all of the guitars, bass guitars and programming of the drums, and Sally provides all the piano, and most of the synths, strings, organ etc. Albert also providing occasional synth parts too. They also share the writing, which is about 50/50. Sally' vocals offers a softer approach to the music which in turn offers up an often heavy and mid to uptempo sound from Albert coupled with those lush and angelic vocals from Sally. One of my fave songs is the piano led and hideously catchy 'Delusions Of Conspiracy', being a rather enjoyable listen. But having said that, all ten tracks are consistently good with some epic numbers too - 'Into The Flame' being one such monumental tune and at times a haunting track weighing in at over 8 minutes. And let us not forget 'Soldier's Heart' that has been released as a single, all proceeds going to the 'Help For Heroes' charity. Ravenheart Music will always support hard working musicians and it is obvious that the duo involved in Gabriel are just that. And it also proves what can now be done musically via the internet. Take a trip to, while the album is well worth checking out for you lovers of female fronted music! 8.5/10 (Dave)


(Ravenheart Music/Code7) Reviewed 12th September 2014

Gabriel is the angelic sounding name of an international, 100% virtual and internet-based collaboration between singer/songwriter Sally Elsey from England, and guitarist/producer Albert Vinasco, an American musician now living in Argentina. Formed in April of 2009, Sally and Albert met via their online participation in the musician community site, Broadjam. Although separated by thousands of miles and the vast Atlantic Ocean, both musicians had common musical roots and influences. To me Gabriel has a totally unique sound, this mainly due I feel to vocalist Sally, while I also do hear subtle Queen influences in the vocal harmonies and guitar dept at times during the cd. To be honest this, their 5th record is rather good and the title track opener cements that opinion of mine. A heavy but rather catchy opener, that is followed by the beautiful and at times progressive sounding 'Within The Circle', and when the song kicks into top gear, I do love that guitar sound. The opening salvo is followed by the heavy and up tempo 'Two Worlds Collide' and to be honest, I am blown away. The album continues with further such goodies as the pleasing to the ear 'Shelter From The Rain', the epic 11 minute plus 'Time Train', the very cool 'House of Shadows' and the closing track 'Meant To Be'. I must confess that I do like this record very much, and onwards and upwards for Gabriel is what I will say. More information can be taken from their Facebook site which is here. In summary of that little lot, Gabriel combines hard and soft approaches to melody and rhythm to create sonic images that are both moving and full of energy, so check them out and support good independent music.... 8.75/10 (Rachel Louise Smith)


(Self Release) Reviewed 31st December 2009

The second album from the young alt rock duo from San Diego comprising Saher, on vocals and piano, and Susan on guitar and vocals. Imagine a mixture of Muse, Green Day, My Chemical Romance, Take That and Chopin, and you will have some idea of their wonderful music. Saher is very much the lead singer, his voice a mixture of Billie Joe and Gerard Way, with a touch of Will Young and Jeff Buckley. Susan with her pure voice provides backing vocals and occasional leads. A brief overture leads into 9 symphonic rock opuses, full of drama, passion and emotion, which swing from the tender to the thunderous. Highlights are too many to mention, but ‘Our Own Versailles’ and ‘Eight’ have glorious refrains, ‘Before the Fall’ gives Susan a chance to shine with some delicious piano from Saher before building into an epic, and the album ends with the roar of ‘Conquerors’, with a brief piano coda. This is breathtakingly brilliant; they really deserve to break into the big league, so rush to CD Baby and snap up a copy, 9.5/10 (Reviewed by Philip Wooldridge).


(Sonorium) Reviewed 4th June 2011

These German gothic rock metallers fronted by Matthias and Martina cite the great British gothic bands like Paradise Lost, Sisters of Mercy and Depeche Mode as their influences, but I believe this does them a disservice. On this their third album they remind me of fellow Germans Regicide who also featured a dual vocal attack and a violinist (they were a great band, well worth checking out), as well as 80's electronic heavy rock Jethro Tull, Matthias does sound like a gothic Ian Anderson, Ayreon space prog, modern industrial metal Gary Numan, and Theatres des Vampires, especially as Martina has one of those terrific dark, deep, dulcet, deadpan, dismissive gothic voices that chills and thrills you to the bone. It's a joy to have two superb perfectly matched clean singers instead of a guy yelling his head off like so many similar bands, especially from Germany, such as one of their other influences Adversus whose male vocalist's shouting really gets on my nerves, and the English lyrics are most intriguing. Production is tremendous, suitably deep rich and powerful but crystal clear, with lots of super synth sounds. You get an amazing 16 songs weighing in at a whopping 72 minutes for your hard earned bucks, and not only is every one a cracker they are all diverse and distinctive, there is no rehashing the same formulae. The tracks often segue into each other carrying you smoothly from the catchy to the rocking to the anthemic to the darker to to the lighter to the atmospheric, so it never drags or tires, the time will fly by. They range from the soaring symphonic Crystalline', to the awesome rousing 'For You' (video on Female Voices blog), to the subtly funky title tack 'Lucid Dreaming' with its bed of boinging bass synths and Arabic violin courtesy of Tina, to the moody, tribal, rumbling 'Nobody Returns', to the strutting sexy 'Neolovers', and not surprisingly 'Treasures of Satan' brings to mind Therion. The instrumental sections show off the virtuosity and versatility of the band and are totally fascinating, there's no noodling here, plus although nothing to do with Pipers, there is also a touch of Floyd'ish' psychedelia here and there. This is a band that will appeal to a diverse cross-section of rock, metal and prog fans in addition to their traditional gothic audience. You can enter their gates at their Facebook, a most impressive 9/10 (Phil)


(Echozone/BobMedia Distribution) Reviewed 26th October 2012

This band from Germany has released an album here that has certainly made me sit up and listen, being right up my alleyway. Their third record I believe, the band on this cd has released some high quality Gothic Metal/Dark Rock tracks, which kinda remind me of Theatre of Tragedy and even to a slight extent Marilyn Manson at times. The rock/pop vocals of Martina and the gothic generally clean vocal style of Matthias, blend and harmonise together perfectly on the 12 tracks. Opener 'Serpent' changes from an epic orchestral intro passage into a boom of atmospheric guitar riffs, while second up 'Ferocity' has that catchy Theatre of Tragedy feel - great synths and great crunching guitars, overall an awesome start to this record. The upbeat 'The Silence Makes You Scream' maintains the high standard while the ballad 'Isolated' shows us the more tender side of the band. 'Hypothermia' bangs along in a dark rock way with it's rhythmic electronic lines, while the rather catchy 'Naked' keeps the momentum going. The second half of the album in my opinion seems to slacken off slightly, but nonetheless, there are still some corking tunes to be found! just listen to 'Titan (Lovers of Saturn)', the emotional and atmospheric 'The City Sleeps', the synth driven 'The City Awakes' and the beautiful closer ' whom it may concern'. This is a very good release from this band and there is hardly a chance for a Gothic Metal/Dark Rock album to become more eclectic than this one. You as the listener will be able to make your own opinion as the album is released today! Great stuff! 9/10 (Dave)


(Open Media) Reviewed 14th November 2009

This debut album from the Czech symphonic metallers is the culmination of years of gradual evolution. They started as a death/thrash metal band called Gate back in 1997, founded by guitarist/vocalist Roman Turacek. Gradually they added a guest female opera singer and keyboards to their albums, as they became increasingly melodic. In 2005 they decided to demonstrate this by changing their name to Gate of Sorrow and recruiting a full time operatic singer, Milada Miltakova, who also looks after all the deeply emotive lyrics, and keys player Ludvik Cihanek. The final piece of the jigsaw was when guitarist Libor Miklas joined the band in 2008. A suitably mournful intro leads into eight songs packed with melodic orchestrations, soaring operatics, and deep melodic growls, with elements of thrash, Epica and Nightwish. This is so much crammed into each song, it is difficult to pick out favourites, but I was particularly taken with ‘Tears in the Ashes’ and ‘Follow Me to the Other Side’. The album ends the solemn and achingly beautiful piano ballad Sirius. The producer has created an almighty, powerful, and thunderous sound, but everything is perfectly balanced and crystal clear. The interplay between melodic growls and operatics is something that Epica has lost, but Gate of Sorrow show how it should be done, mainly by keeping the male voice deep in the mix and in the bass register, so that it does not become dominant. Easily available for only 5 Euros plus postage from their website, Even anti growlers like me will find an enormous amount to enjoy in this awesome CD, full of atmosphere, drama, emotion and soaring melodies. 9/10 (Reviewed by Phil)


(Psychonaut Records) Reviewed 25th May 2009

The West Pole is the ninth studio album by The Gathering, who themselves have been around 20 years or so. It is the first album however, since the departure of lead singer Anneke van Giersbergen with the inclusion of new vocalist Silje Wergeland, previous front woman of Norwegian band Octavia Sperati. So what about the music? Well this album is a slow burner, and it may take two or three spins to sink in, but it ain't bad. Kicking off with the instrumental 'When Trust Becomes Sound', this track is a little repetitive, but has a sorta 70s feel. Next track in 'Treasure' is one of the strongest songs from the record, and is a good showcase for Silje's vocals, who I think has adapted to her new role very well. The slower title track is another strong offering, with the album as a whole offering up plenty of atmosphere and awesome musicianship. Some of the slower paced songs come across as quite sombre however, so perhaps not a cd to listen too if feeling down, but to summarise, The Gathering are back, and a great choice of singer too! 7.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)


(Independent Release) Reviewed 18th January 2009

Singer/songwriter/Subway&Street;Performer Natalie Gelman, is quickly gaining acclaim and recognition for her music. Her passionate songs and voice have brought comparisons to Sheryl Crow, Joni Mitchell and Jewel. And this album so happens to be a Jewel. I pride myself that I like all types of music. It doesn't have to rock out. Kicking off with 'Rest Of The Way', this track showcases the sort of path this record takes. Following with 'Sweet July', and this catchy little offering so happens to be one of my faves on this record. Other little favourites are 'Leave', 'Half Dead', 'Never Had You' and the rockier 'Forgive Me'. Get out there, light up your camp fires and get your accoustic guitars out. Listening to this in-fact brought back a memory of a certain lass I know playing her accoustic guitar at the top of Glastonbury Tor last Summer. This cd is cool stuff with cool lyrics by a cool lass who has been featured on the front page of the NY Times and in Billboard Magazine. Check her out at 8/10 (Reviewed by Dave)


(Fono) Reviewed 13th August 2010

Ghosthill are a hugely talented young band from Kaliningrad in western Russia. Their style is super speedy, mega mighty, symphonic power metal, a mix of Holyhell, DragonForce and Fairyland. Guitarists Val and Nick thrashing like a Tasmanian devil, drummer John peddling faster than Chris Hoy and Ilia’s keyboard solos sounding like Rick Wakeman at 78rpm (ask your granddad). However they vary the tempo and dynamics enormously, so you get a burst of speed and then they ease on down, which gives the rather lovely Mira space to operate. She has an outstanding and very powerful voice packed with attitude, for some strange reason she reminds me of a young Shirley Bassey, Mira would certainly make mincemeat out of a James Bond theme. I sent Ravenheart Dave a speedy metal track to listen to, he said there was too much going on, which made me realise just how much I’ve got used to the speed, 10 minutes worth of music rammed into 3 minutes, it can be very disorientating for the uninitiated. Production by the appropriately named Val Metal is excellent, the sound rumbling rather than pounding, which, with the variations in pace, avoids the drums getting tiresome, a major problem with some power metal. Standouts include ‘The Last Dimension’ (live video on Female Voices Blog), the title track ‘Embrace of a Chasm’, the brace of slightly more mid tempo numbers ‘The Mist’ and ‘Silent Night’, and the closing epic ‘Vigilant Forest’. This will fill the chasm in any power metal fans collection, and you can embrace a copy at their Myspace , but hurry, they’re going fast, 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Phil)


(Self Release) Reviewed 24th October 2012

Ghosthill were born in 2009 in the western Russian coastal city of Kalingrad, on the cold and forbidding Baltic Sea, and they wasted no time in recording their début album, 'Embrace of a Chasm', released in 2010. Their music hovers around bands like Amberian Dawn and Wildpath, gliding from powerful rocking riffage to fast and furious flurries, with loads of imaginative musical bits and pieces and changes of tempo. During those flurries, drummer John shows that he has got to be one of the quickest on the planet, at times he's peddling faster than Bradley Wiggings with his pants on fire, creating an extraordinary skipping rhythmic blur. But they are never hurried or frantic, there's always a great song with loads of melody at the heart of their music, where sensuous new singer Margo can display her powerful rock voice with a distinctive sexy snarl which reminds me of Wereworld's Ana Rochas. Guitarist Val Metal provides an awesome sound, with those drums sounding particularly impressive. The stunning ballad 'Sometimes in my Heart' features a duet with Ivan Efimov from the band The Sloe as well as saxophone, it is very strange that since its heyday in the 80's when almost every song had a sax solo, this versatile and expressive instrument, perhaps the closest to the human voice, has almost totally vanished, to the point where it's now a novelty. Other great songs include the terrific opener 'My Garden of Seasons' (video on Female Voices), the dynamic 'In Cage' featuring Chucky, a lady who sings with Kropot and Boyanoz Gimn, the electro infused 'It Can't Rain All The Time' with it's phenomenal storming drumming, and the closing title epic, 'Flying Through Imagination'. Ghosthill have achieved an alliance between terrific tunes and thrilling flights of vivacious velocity. Fly to their website for the latest info here, and it's easily available on Bandcamp, a flurrying 8.75/10 (Phil).


(Self Release/MetalPunxRex) Reviewed 4th March 2014

Ghost Tower is a now defunct underground horror-themed traditional heavy metal band with thrash and doom metal influences from Bellevue, Nebraska, US. The band started in 2007 with founding members Ameven (Amy Hunley) on vocals and Matt Preston on guitar. After a couple of demos and some line-up changes, after adding drummer Mike Biggs to the line-up and Matt also taking on bass and keyboard roles, in February 2012 the 'Head of Night' album was self-released. In summer 2013, when the original CD pressing was no longer available, the album was released on cassette (yep, cassette) by Germany's MetalPunxRex label. What we have here is 9 heavy metal tracks with a raw 70s type production, harking back to the days of Ozzy, Black Sabbath, early Iron Maiden and the like. If you like the aforementioned acts and similar and have a liking for 70/80s sounding old school metal, check this lot out, including the atmospheric closer 'Elegy Of Dreamtime'. The album can be heard here: (Dave)