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A.D.D..'ELEMENTS OF EMPTINESS'

(Femme Metal Records) Reviewed 4th February 2009

On the 27th Sept 2006, I reviewed an EP by this band. The EP was called 'Elements Of Emptiness', and Margaret Young's vocals blew me away! That release from 2006 has kinda been re released with four new cuts making it a full blown album. And the music on offer remains totally awesome, and those vocals! I said in my review from 2006 that this band deserved to be signed. Well it seems someone may have been listening, as the new Femme Metal Record label here in the UK has done just that. As a consequence, the record will hit the stores on the 10th Feb. Every cut on this release including the unreleased tracks, 'Vacant', 'Too Late', 'Don't Say' and 'Letting Go' have what it takes to make a good record. Heaviness, melody and awesome vocals. This is a good record so take a trip to www.femmemetalstore.net and BUY! 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

A D D..'ELEMENTS OF EMPTINESS'

(Independent release) Reviewed 27th Sept 2006

Another bunch of musicians which should be signed but ain't!! This is a seven track MCD from this American band (their second recording), and it rocks BIG time. Kicking off with 'The Path', and being followed by the hard rocking anthem 'Maybe'. The cd doesn't let up as it steamrollers it's way through nearly half an hour of melodic hard rock mayhem. I love Margaret Young's vocal style, reminds me a bit of the Guano Apes. Fine effort..get it from cdbaby.com...8/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

A.D.D....'CORE'

(Pavement Entertainment) reviewed 5th August 2015

A.D.D. started 2015 out with a bang, releasing their 2nd full-length hard hitting album 'CORE'. Having just got around to planting a review on this website, this we here must say is a very good Rock/Metal record. Margaret Young (vocals), Dave Adams (guitar), Jeremy Sparta (guitar/vocals), and Jason Delismon (drums) make up this four piece, and these Chicago based metal merchants sure know how to rock! Nine of the cuts here are originals, but there is one cover, the track from Sevendust called 'Black'. Margaret's husky vocals are top notch, while guitarist Jeremy does a frikin' good job on the rather cool songs 'Was My Life' and 'So Much (So Little)'. The album was mixed by Tadpole (previously worked with Disturbed, 3 Doors Down, Staind) and mastered by Grammy Award winner Trevor Sadler. Drummer Jason Delismon on what the album means to the band: "The album shows the diversity of influences we all have. The title 'Core' comes from our singer, myself, Jeremy, and Dave being the core four of the band. [It] shows our tight bond of brotherhood and sisterhood. Stay true to what you believe in and follow your dreams.” Ride on man!! - website here.... 9/10 (The Nugget)

ADASTREIA..'THAT WHICH LIES WITHIN'

(Independent Release) Reviewed 4th December 2007

I have seen Adastreia live on a few occasions, the last being at The Underworld in London, which was also keyboard player Hilary Towsey's last gig with the band. 'That Which Lies Within' is not the sort of album to chill out too with your wife or girlfriend, while enjoying a romantic evening in with a bottle of wine! However, this cd is a metallic feast that has left me totally bewildered as to why this band is NOT signed. Adastreia with the right backing could very easily challenge their European mainland counterparts. After a short instrumental intro, 'In Stillness' explodes from the speakers like a turbo charged express train. And the album does not let up until the very end, when the train decides to stop. Then you wanna take the journey again! And by the way, what a track it is to end the album.'A New Light' kicks in with a techno style intro that would not be out of place in a dance club. Then the heavy guitars arrive, and away we go. In-fact the track 'A New Light' is one of the best 7+ minutes of music committed to cd this year, and I defy anybody to disagree with me on that. Alexandra Martin's vocals may well be compared to the awesome Tarja (ex Nightwish), but when the music is this good, to be perfectly honest, I don't give a toss! This is great stuff, very heavy and melodic..enough said!! 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

ADRANA...'FORESHADOW'

(Brennus Music) Reviewed 30th July 2015

Adrana is a French female fronted Progressive Symphonic Metal band, formed in 2004 by Max and Ludo. They are soon joined by the mezzo-soprano singer Anaé, with Grhyll and Mric soon joining the band as keyboard and bass players. Adrana's lyrics are based around the Fantasy/Story of a certain Princess Adrana. There are 12 rather bombastic tracks on this, their 3rd full length album release, featuring clean male vocals and growls, as well as the awesome operatic vocals of Anaé, who I am sure has been listening to Tarja at some time during her musical career. This album is an intense listening experience and is well worth checking out for fans of the female fronted Metal scene. The band's Facebook can be found here... 8.5/10 (Dave)

ADYTA..'ROSE OF MELACHOLY'

(Independent Release) Reviewed 3rd June 2009

I interviewed Joakim from Adyta a while back. A very hard working musician so it seems, and I have full admiration for guys and gals like him that work really hard, in a business that sometimes must seem cruel. Anyway, here is an EP that the guy has recorded, and the female vocalist for this EP is none other than Melissa Ferlaak, former Visions of Atlantis and Aesma Daeva singer. Kicking off with the impressive short instrumental 'Ab Exilio (Prologue)', the cd moves swiftly onto 'The Ophidian's Tongue', which is an untempo, symphonic and heavy song featuring the awesome vocals of Melissa, together Joakim's brutal growls, that by the way compliment the music well. Next one up is 'Rose of Melancholy' starting rather serenely with a piano and guitar solo, before Melissa's vox get the song going, again accompanied with Joakim's growls. The quieter and more sedate 'Gjennom Tiden' moves this little opus along quite nicely, while the cd closes with 'Of A Captive Mind', which again features the dual vocal attack. This is an awesome offering, and deserves your support. Check out www.myspace.com/adyta 7.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

AESMA DAEVA..'DAWN OF THE NEW ATHENS'

(Independent Release) Reviewed 12th November 2008

After enlisting the help of Grammy award-winning producer Neil Kernon, (Hall and Oats, Queensryche, Nevermore), Aesma Daeva (a symphonic metal band from Minnesota, United States) have released their fourth album, titled 'Dawn of the New Athens'. From the opening salvo of 'Tisza's Child' and 'The Bluish Shade' to closing track 'The Loon', this album is so so captivating, using world instruments such as the bawu (a Chinese flute-like instrument), blending this with a symphonic rock backdrop, bringing a wealth of musical cultures together. Couple this with the amazing operatic vocals of Lori Lewis and the intricate harmonies by members of Rose Ensemble and Vocal Essence, both professional choral groups from Minneapolis, and boy, does this record sound good. Okay, do not expect a wealth of hooks here, but what we have is a lyrically sophisticated album. Aesma Daeva have toured with Therion amongst others, and it belies belief that they are unsigned. But do take a trip to www.myspace.com/aesmadaeva and check them out. If I was asked for a fave track, maybe I would go for 'Since The Machine'. However, all the tracks here are good, and my favourite track will no doubt change on subsequent listens. This is a very good release and I must recommend our readers to check it out! 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave) - I just want to add a footnote here: Their EP, 'The Thalassa Mixes' is a haunting release featuring three re mixed tracks from 'Dawn of the New Athens', and well worth checking out too!

AEVERIUM...'THE HARVEST EP'

(Self Release) Reviewed 21st January 2014

Here we have an awesome band from Germany featuring the female vocals of Aeva Maurelle and the male vocals of Marcel "Chubby" Römer. Their music is difficult to pigeonhole in general. So it´s hard to say, that Aeverium are just a Gothic Metal or female fronted metal band. Their music is full of emotions, female and male vocals, epicness, powerful guitar-riffs, orchestral influences, electro sounds and, most important, songs that will affect and influence people. I can hear various influences here, but one band that does spring to mind is the now defunkt Beseech. There are just four tracks here, but this is good stuff, with 'Rest In Peace' featuring predominantly the vocals of Marcel being a great Melodic Metal number and a fave of mine from the EP - this track being the band's personal tribute to Peter of Type o´Negative. Fans of bands like Lacuna Coil, Within Temptation, Evanescence and even Korn, H.I.M., Disturbed and Rammstein should have a listen to this upcoming band and with Sander Gommans (After Forever, HDK) and Amanda Somerville (Trillium, Avantasia) involved in the recording process, need I say anymore. The bands Facebook is here...8.75/10 (Dave)

AEVERIUM...'BREAK OUT (Deluxe Edition)'

(Out Of Line Music) Reviewed 18th June 2015

Here is another great cd to grace our grubby palms. Aeverium is a band that is very familiar to myself. I reviewed their very good EP in January 2014 and I stated then that there were various influences within the music featured upon that EP, and those "various influences" continue to surface on this, their debut full length offering. Continuing to feature the female vocals of Aeva Maurelle and the male vocals of Marcel "Chubby" Römer, this combination is totally awesome, and this vocal duo alone has driven this band into the Premier League. And that is before we include the awesome musicianship from the remaining members of the band. There are some tremendous tracks here including the thumping opener 'Break Out' (video here), the emotional power ballads 'Departed' & 'The Ground Beneath Your Feet' (featured on the EP), the Lacuna Coil sounding 'Heaven's Burning (Harvest Time)' that was also featured on the aforementioned EP, as was the pounding 'Do You Remember' and 'Rest In Peace'. The quality so far on this CD is awesome and it continues with further magical numbers like 'The Other Side' with its rappy bits, the number 'What Are You Waiting For' with it's catchy chorus (also featuring Amanda Somerville) and the closing track 'To Live Forever', although the special edition of this album has three additional elegant acoustic bonus cuts. To summarise, I just need to use a very well used word -"awesome", and Lacuna Coil had better start looking over their shoulders - Aeverium is well and truly on the rise and will also give many other bands out there a run for their money!...9.75/10 (Dave)

AEVUM...'IMPRESSIONS'

(Fuel Records) Reviewed 4th September 2014

The meaning of music, of the tireless research and of the band’s continuous evolution is summarized in the name AEVUM. Their music is in perpetual inclination towards the union between the human being and the divine, between opposites, male and female, positive and negative, in a genre that is a bond between the Neo-Classical and Gothic metal worlds. The singer Evelyn Moon and the pianist Richard met sometime between the end of 2007 and the beginning of 2008, and as a result the project started taking shape. Throughout the years the formation varied, with the interchange of new singers, electric guitarists and drummers, but for the last two years line-up has been complete and composed of seven young musicians. These musicians also include, Hydra who does main male voice, opera voice, scream and growl, and the LORD OF DESTRUCTION who is the rhythmic/solo guitarist. Anyway, some of the band members may possess interesting names, but what about the music? Well it is possibly a hybrid of Symphonic-Gothic-Neoclassic-Theatrical Metal with some Death Metal influences. To be perfectly frank, this is rather well done. The opener is a brief intro which then takes us into the 9 minute plus 'Blade's Kiss' that has everything including the kitchen sink. Heavy guitars, clean female vocals, male vocals, male growls, strong synths and indeed, plenty of melody too for those that like some melody thrown into the melting pot. Rather good! 'Intermezzo' is a brief piece before the album throws at us the 13 minute epic 'The Battle'. This is another rather complex and compelling piece of music with a lovely string and piano intro, before the whole shebang kicks into gear and this is so well done, with all the elements of the above mentioned genres thrown into the mix. 'Il Lamento della Ninfa' follows which is a rather nice melodic number featuring the operatic vocals of Evelyn and the clean vocals of Hydra. 'Impressioni' is another brief piano instrumental leading us into the bombastic 'Lost Soul' together with bagpipes intro - this album has it all :) Then we have the melodic and accessible 9 minute 'To Be Or...To Be' with it's bluesy mid section, Evelyn reminding me on the more operatic parts vocally of Tarja. This then leads us into the brief 48 second 'Aevum' taking us to the closing duo of 'Monsters' complete with accordion and the lullaby 'Adieu à la scène', that brings the curtain down on the show. This is an interesting, complex and elaborate release, but very good and certainly enjoyable nonetheless, with the listener not quite sure what to expect next! The band's Facebook is here and the album gets released October 21st 2014 - I rather like it, well recommended ... 9/10 (Dave)

AFTER APOCALYPSE…S/T

(logic(il)logic Records - distributed by Andromeda Distribuzioni)

After Apocalypse is a Symphonic Metal band from Brescia (Italy) fronted by a young lady called Elena with male grunts courtesy I believe from a guy called Varghar, who also plays the clarinet on certain tracks on this record, and plays it very well too (’White Page‘ is one example). This is prime time and rather bombastic Symphonic Metal that will blow your mind! Awesome female vocals taking on an operatic stance with some rather cool grunts from Varghar thrown into the mix as well. This album sure thunders along at a pace that will leave Usain Bolt breathless although they can slow it down a touch - the mainly instrumental track ‘Crying Moon’ being one number that starts at a slow pace before it finds another gear and ups the ante. This is a consistent release with progressive touches as well, and I will say that it is a grower so it will not grab you right away. But it is the growers that offer longevity!! Check the band out - facebook is here.. 8.5/10 (Dave)

AFTER CLAY…’KHARYBDIS’

(Self Released) Reviewed 24th July 2015

After Clay is an alternative rock band formed in Naples, Italy, in 2005 by Marialberta Lamberti (voice), Vincenzo Padovani (guitar), Alessio Russo (bass) and Giuseppe De Felice (drums). On this, their new album, there are 13 tracks and to be honest, this is rather good. After an atmospheric intro..’Rise’, first track proper ‘The Donor’ kicks in and it is a rather catchy track to get things going. Next up ‘Firestone’ to my ears has a near retro feel coupled with a catchy chorus, while ‘Shores’ is a rather nice ballad. The tempo gets going again with ‘Lovergirl’, while the interestingly titled ‘Hot Man With Ambiguous Shoes’, is a sexy song about a sexy man wearing interesting shoes :) - a quirky number I hasten to add. Further highlights include the acoustic driven folky ballad ‘Sterling Bridge’, the mid tempo ‘Prometheus’, the bluesy but catchy ‘Dia De Los Muertos’, the retro sounding ‘Black Needle’, and one of my faves from the CD, ‘Winter Sea’. This album was recorded, mixed and mastered at home by the band themselves, which proves what can be done when one puts their mind to it! The lyrics to some of the tracks may not be suitable to young ears, and may be the record could have done with perhaps a slightly better production, but not every band has a Bon Jovi production budget! Kudos to the band nonetheless for getting this album together - a good effort and you can get an idea for yourselves here.. 7.75/10 (Dave)

AFTER FOREVER..'AFTER FOREVER'

(Nuclear Blast) Reviewed 16th March 2007

If you are an After Forever fan, this cd will leave you wanting more. If you are not an After Forever fan, but are reading this review, may we suggest you become one. This self titled opus rocks from start to finish in that familiar After Forever fasion, with FloorJansen's recognisable vocals, and the harsh male vocals of Sander Gommans. Kicking off with 'Discord', the album starts the way it means to go on.The cd is hard, it's heavy, mixing metal, progressive, operatics, orchestral and touches of Industrial too. 'Energize Me' is a catchy poppy 3 min + ditty (the shortest track on the cd), a possible hit single if ever I heard one. 'Equally Destructive' follows, a heavier track but still a foot tapper. 'Cry With A Smile' and album closer and rather excellent 'Empty Memories' are the album's ballads, while track 11 provides us with the 11 minute + 'Dreamflight'. To summarise, the cd is heavy and gothy, well what more do you want. Theband have been 10 years in the business, they have a new label and new producation team, but it's typical After Forever. Go and buy on April 23rd. You will not be disappointed! 8/10 (Reviewed by Aimee)

AFTERMOON…’PHASE ONE’

(WormholeDeath) Reviewed 30th May 2016

AFTERMOON is a modern metal band from Kiev, Ukraine. The band started on their musical way in 2012 and since their formation, AFTERMOON has played more than 35 shows in the biggest Ukrainian cities. They explore different genres in their music, such as modern metal, alternative rock and the like, combining melodic vocals and piano with hard guitar riffs. There is an intense rhythm section, and they use classical techniques and the variety of modern sound to create a unique mix that exists on the border of various musical genres. This is well reflected in the music on the album - 12 tracks (including bonus cut) of catchy, melodic Alternative Metal with a strong electro undercurrent, coupled with the vocals of leading lady Valeri. I can already hear potential live faves here like the very catchy 'DeadBorn Revolution', and then we have the awesome ballads, the orchestrated and piano led 'Losing Me' and the rather cool closer ‘To You’ (bonus track). Other appealing tracks to these ears anyway include the riff-tastic ‘Somewhere’, the Industrial Metal sounding ‘Daemons’ and the catchy ‘Time Crisis’. The album is now available on the digital platform while Aftermoon's website is here - check them out as it is a fine release! ... 8.5/10 (Dave)

AFTERTIME…’THE FALL OF LIGHT’ EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 18th May 2016

Formed in the last days of 2011 by Chris Radke (Guitars) and Brad Sturgis (Guitars, Keyboards), AfterTime is a Symphonic Metal band hailing from Minnesota, USA. In September 2012, the band was joined AJ Blakesley (Drums), and development on the first songs began. These songs would serve as early version of the songs that would appear on this, the band's debut six track EP. Over the next 2 years the band went through some line up changes, until late 2014, when they were joined by Sarah Wolf (Vocals) and Malachi Arndt (Bass). I have always thought that Symphonic Metal bands from the USA tend to use more emphasis on guitars and not so much on keys/synths/orchestration like their European counterparts do. AfterTime I think mix the two together offering pounding metal with a Symphonic undercurrent. There is indeed quite a lot going on within some of the numbers here, some tracks rather complex without being overly progressive (does that make sense?). Track three ‘The Final Act’ is one such number, while ‘All The Ruins Remain’ as the title may suggest is a power ballad, but again a number that shows some complexity. Meanwhile, one of my faves from the album is the melodic and catchy ‘The Passage’. As a consequence of the complexity of this album, I would call this thinking person’s Symphonic Metal, indeed you may need a few listens to take in all that is going on. The album is worth checking out however, the band’s website here… 8/10 (Dave)

AGAINST MYSELF..'SKY ASHES'

(Self Release) Reviewed 5th July 2011

From Spain comes this young formation led by their lovely singer Irene Villegas who is just 18 years old. Their modus operandi is the sort of light symphonic gothic metal/rock I normally associate with British bands like Apparition and Winter in Eden. They present a wide variety of hugely attractive and melodic songs on their well produced and excellently sounding début album. Grand symphonic opener Desert's Legend conjures up images of Laurence of Arabia riding over the sand dunes on his camel (I don't like riding camels, they always give me the hump), and several songs feature nicely done authentic sounding orchestral segments. Title track 'Sky Ashes' continues the symphonic metal theme, then comes the catchy lively 'The Dream' followed by the melodic rock 'Remember'. 'My Life is Yours' takes us back into grand symphonic metal, before we are calmed by the gentle piano and voice ballad 'After the Storm'. The galloping 'Lilith (Mother of Vampires)' flies towards power metal, but the pièce de résistance is the gorgeous 'My Own Fate', a song the Moody Blues would be proud of. The album ends in fine style with the heaviest and most epic number 'Diary of Tears' complete with keyboardist Agustín Moya growling ferociously and guitarist Carlos Carretón taking the opportunity to have a good shred. Irene has a pure semi-operatic voice that sounds most delightful when she uses vibrato, not surprisingly given her tender years she can be a little uncertain at times, but she will grow with confidence and experience. This is the sort of music I personally can listen to until it comes out my ears, a most enjoyable album for fans of light symphonic rock/metal, their website is here, an attractive 8.5/10 (Phil).

AGAINST MYSELF...'ODYSSEY TO REFLEXION’

(Santo Grial Records) Reviewed 8th July 2015

Against Myself come from Spain and this is their recently released 2nd full length album. Needless to say this is another blast of good old Melodic Symphonic Metal. I do tend to ask myself if the genre (if you can call it that) is becoming rather too crowded for its own good. I don’t know but I will let the boss man decide that. I am only reviewing what he has given me and to be honest, this is a rather good album. Fronted by the attractive looking and the ‘poppy’ vocal style of Irene Villegas, there are eleven tracks here of prime time Symphonic Metal to blow your ear drums out, and those of your neighbours if you play it loud enough :). All the ingredients are here on the menu, the Symphonics in tracks like ‘Beyond The Chains’, ‘Through The End Of Times’, 'God Of Deads' and the catchy 'Shadows In My Head'. There are also two epic tunes, ‘When Words Kill’, a 14+ minute Progressive Metal masterpiece and the near 10 minute closing track ‘Critical Situation’. Let us not also forget the ballad, the rather lovely acoustic driven 'Cross Eternity'. There is enough energy and variety on this release to keep the listener glued to the stereo (do stereos still exist? LOL), so why not check it out! The band’s website is here… 8.75/10 (The Nugget)

AGAINST THE CURRENT…’IN OUR BONES’

(Fueled By Ramen ) Reviewed 22nd July 2016

Against The Current is a three piece band from Poughkeepsie in New York State. They are fronted by the oh so young looking Chrissy Costanza, and the band plays catchy Pop/Rock on this, their debut album. The music becoming very addictive with additional listens. Against The Current actually today starts a World tour and on this showing, they could well conquer the world of Pop/Rock. This is an inoffensive and radio friendly release with electro influences thrown into the melting pot. And a world tour as I just mentioned including Europe (and UK) and Asia. Only a brief review but a very good CD for people that like their music a little more poppy in nature. Uplifting, impressive and well recommended – every track a potential hit single!... 8.5/10 (The Nugget)

AGATE..'BLACK SOUL'

(Agate Music) Reviewed 25th February 2010

Norwegian band Agate was formed in 2004 by Mira Birkelid (vocals/keyboard) and Rune Torgersen (vocals/bass), as a pop-rock project. The band has continually been developing their music in order not to fall into a certain genre. As Agate has worked on their sound, they have been mixing up different musical genres, like classic, folk and oriental music, prog, gothic, hard rock and metal. In doing so, they have managed to create a unique piece of work, 'Black Soul' that they can truly call their own. There are some great songs on this six track cd, that runs at around 42 minutes. Despite the lengthy tracks, my interest was maintained until the very end by the sheer variation of music on offer. An orcestral/synth/guitar intro kicks off the great opener 'Gone', Mira offering a kinda pop/rock vocal style, with none of the operatics that can be associated with some female fronted bands. Great keys and guitars throughout, with the lass proving that she is not just an able singer, she can tickle those ivories too. Next up 'Losing My Faith' features vocal interplay (as other tracks do) between Mira and Rune and continues a very melodic and slightly progressive theme - a superb and touching song in-fact. 'Angel Of Mercy' keeps up the good work featuring Rune this time on vocals, but again we see awesome keyboard work from Mira on this quirky tune! 'Is It Right' is a slower number, while 'Time' maintains the rather cool musicianship that is apparent throughout 'Black Soul' - great guitar and synths on 'Time' as well. The final track, and the title track at that kicks off with chiming bells, keys, synths and crunching guitars, I am in heaven! This track powers along, and when the cd ends, you wanna play it again - well I did! Go to www.myspace.com/agatetheband 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

AGE OF DUST…’MESSENGER IN A SOULLESS WORLD’

(Self Release) Reviewed 21st October 2015

Age of Dust’s first release,’ Messenger in a Soulless World’, is inspired by the different aspects of the sensations of the soul, from its creation to its acceptance of death and the presence in life of everything that implies a human being, from its darkest side from the one that projects more light. They are fronted by the very talented Mexican lass Maria Rugo providing female operatics, and Sergio Ainoza who supplies the male grunts, they come from Barcelona, and they are a Symphonic Metal band of so it seems quite a high quality. Although this band has so far escaped our radar, the aforementioned quality shines through on this record. This is most certainly confirmed on the opening salvo of ‘If I Die Is To Sleep’ and ‘Genesis’. And OMG, it continues with further massive symphonic numbers such as ‘Desires’, ‘Moon For A Poet’, the lovely orchestrated ballad ‘Someday’, the catchy 8 minute plus ‘No Shade Of Grey’ and the bombastic symphonic closer ‘Slaughter of Insane (The Fall)'. Indeed, everything here is good, oh and there are clean male vocals as well coupled with great choral backdrops on many of the tracks. This has to be another record as a consequence that is well worth checking out, further damaging our bank accounts. Check them out here…9/10 (Dave)

AGGELOS…’SILENTIUM’

(Rottweiller Records) Reviewed 10th June 2016

Aggelos (meaning Messenger) is a Colombian Christian metal band. The band originated in Medellín, Colombia, where they formed in 2002, with their current members being vocalist and guitarist, Natalia Soto, vocalist and bassist, Carolina Giraldo Sánchez, vocalist, Juan Esteban Londoño, guitarist & keyboardist, Jonathan Rueda, and drummer Duvan Lopez Posada. They ply their trade by way of doom metal, gothic metal, death metal, symphonic metal, black metal and neoclassical metal music. I do not come across many Colombian bands let alone Colombian Christian Metal bands, but what they do here they do rather well. If you dislike extreme vocals, one may be advised to steer clear, but there are also some awesome operatic vocals, and combined with the symphonics, I have grown to like this album very much. It is all sung in Spanish (I assume) and as a consequence, I do not really know what they are singing about, but I believe from a reliable source that the main theme of the lyrics is Christianity. Beauty & the Beast vocals when done well make for a good album, and this is a good Symphonic Gothic Metal album encompassing the aforementioned vocal style. I recommend this record, the band’s Facebook is here….8.25/10 (Dave)

AGHARTI...'CHANGE'

(Wormholedeath/Dreamcell11) Reviewed 5th June 2013

Agharti hail from Croatia and what can I say about this their debut release? This is a record that offers up 13 tracks of awesome Melodic Metal spanning 43 minutes, that has simply blown me away. Fronted by the Pop/Rock vocal style of Tina with male vocals from guitarist Alen (I think), I can find very little to fault with this record. From the moment the cd kicks off with the one minute intro 'The Voice of Freedom', to the closing orchestral style of 'The Voice of Change', we are treated to a formidable array of songs that do not let up from start to finish, and we do not have a filler in sight. It is difficult to make comparisons, but I suppose Lacuna Coil may spring to mind on certain tracks perhaps mixed in with a host of other Melodic Gothic Metal Bands, that simply give us Agharti. Iva, the keys girl with the band tells me that the album has kinda two themes running through it; one is more personal and covers their own experiences through life, and the other one is turned outwards and is a sort of critique of modern society - therefore the album name 'Change'. To be honest, although the record may not offer anything that much different to other female fronted metal acts playing this type of music, you will never here me complain as this is simply stunning! I can only suggest that you punters out there check this out when it gets released...this is very good, very good indeed!!! Here is their website www.agharti.eu, so go take a peek! Just to add, a release date for the record is still to be confirmed, but watch this website for news!!.... 9.5/10 (Dave)

AGHAST AFTERGLOW...'IMAGING'

(Revalve Records) Reviewed 18th May 2015

The Aghast Afterglow project consisting of core members Lisa Lee on vocals and Denny Di Motta on guitar, started in October 2010. The following year, was then dedicated to recording the first album which will be released May 26th and is reviewed here. The album combines a wide range of influences which results in a great mix of Symphonic Metal and Gothic Rock elements, consisting of stunning melodies coupled with epic feelings that pervades each one of the eleven tracks. There are some stunning numbers here from this Italian Band, including the bombastic 'You're Killing Me From Inside', and there are some catchy ones too, including 'When Winter Will Come Back' and 'There's No Time'. Then we have the rather nice and orchestrated 'Stream Of Awareness'. Mark Basile from metal band DGM is the special guest on third track in 'Angels Can't Love', while closing number, the Donna Summer cover 'Hot Stuff ends what is a rather good record from the band. The band's Facebook is here, and check the video to the track 'There's No Time' here. Recommended... 8.75/10 (Dave)

AGHONYA..'OXYGEN'

(Independent Release) Reviewed 4th July 2008

AghonyA fronted by Cati Victoria Torrealba hail from Chile, and 'Oxygen' is an amazingly strong release considering there is no real label support here. Melodic Gothic Metal with subtle touches of Electronica is how I would describe this record, and anybody that likes After Forever, Evanescence or Within Temptation will do no wrong here when it comes to parting with your hard earnt cash. I mentioned After Forever, and I must say I find stunning similarities between 'Lead Me Into You' from 'Oxygen' and 'Energize Me' from After Forever's self titled album from 2007. However, by and large, 'Oxygen' is an awesome album that has some very catchy songs including 'How Can I', a ballad 'One Last Lullaby' and crunching rockers including 'Finding Eternity'. Choruses here that you find will be swimming around inside your head for ages. Occasionally a release comes along that not only surprises me, it takes the wind out of my sails aswell. This is one such record - excellent production too. Take a trip to www.myspace.com/aghonya and find out for yourselves. Then get it! 9/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

AGNES..'WHEN THE NIGHT FALLS'

(Sony/BMG) Reviewed 25th January 2007

Agnes is another product from Finland. What is it they put in their water?. This cd is prime time modern melodic rock/aor, which includes amongst others, songwriting contributions from Joey Tempest (Europe) and Luke Morley (Thunder). 'When The Night Falls' consists of 11 catchy tracks, with a couple of ballads thrown in for good measure. Sony/BMG seem to be signing some good bands from Scandinavia at the moment, with the awesome Finnish all male band Carmen Gray also on their rosta. Actually combined, Carmen Gray and Agnes make the UK music scene seem very average indeed I am afraid to say, even rather pathetic. Anyway, go order 'When The Night Falls' from ST Records in Dudley (see links page). 8/10 (Reviewed by Laura)

AGNES Pihlava..'REDEMPTION'

(Scandal Music Company) Reviewed 1st November 2009

Finnish rock sensation Agnes released the awesome 'When The Night Falls' in 2007, and I believe that this was one of the years best sellers within the melodic rock genre. Now towards the end of 2009, Agnes Pihlava delivers us her new opus 'Redemption'. And this I must say carries on exactly where the previous release left off, and is a totally awesome slab of melodic hard rock that has brightened up a typically English November day. The opening salvo of 'Own Two Feet' and 'For Your Redemption' will give you an idea the direction this album is going. And all the tracks on 'Redemption' offer up some real cool tunes with great anthemic choruses, and I love the variety here too. Check out 'Wasn't It Enough' with it's awesome chorus, that is then followed by 'Maybe I was Wrong (Our Sweet Placebo)' which offers some real heavy riffs but still with a typically catchy chorus. 'In My Dreams' is a ballad with cool lyrics, and I am sure if it picked up airplay on UK radio, it would be a smash hit. 'You Believe Her' follows 'In My Dreams' and gets proceedings rocking again with yet another totally catchy chorus. 'Ready To Fall' is another catchy rocker that makes me aware what got me into this genre in the first place. I love it! Agnes is a Melodic Hard Rock Princess that demands your attention, and what she and her band have given us here is top drawer stuff. Another top seller? - it has to be, surely! Great stuff so BUY it!! 9.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave).

AILAFAR…’NO LIMITS’

(AOR Blvd) Reviewed 25th June 2016

Ailafar is a Greek band, the brain child of guitarist and song writer John Tzortzis. Anybody into AOR with a strong 80s flavour should very easily fall in love with this album. Furthermore for you fans of female fronted rock, there are three female vocalists, Tatiana Oikonomou, Alexandra McKay and Olga Katsenidou who between them handle most of the vocals. But if three female vocalists are not enough, there are guest appearances from Stephen Kammerer (Frontline), Paul Jackson (Roadhouse) and David A Saylor (Push UK). So one is not short changed when it comes to variation in the vocal department, and it is this variation that pushes this album onto the next level. I must say that all thirteen tracks on this recording offer up an enjoyable hook laden listen, there are upbeat numbers like ‘Flood Of Love‘, ‘Two Roses’( feat Stephen Kammerer), the catchy ’Tell Me Why’, the rather kool ‘A Way To Your Heart’ (feat Paul Jackson) and ‘Greatest Treasure’. And we must also mention the ballads like ‘Faith In Love’, 'Doors We Walk Alone’ and ‘More Than One‘. This album is an enjoyable listen from start to finish, and is well worth checking out for fans of Melodic Rock/AOR. My late Father would have loved it, well recommended!!… 8.5/10 (The Nugget)

AJANA...'Home In Decay'

(Self Released) Reviewed 24th October 2012

In summer 2003 Ajana as a musician was brought into existence, and in March 2010 she recorded her first EP called 'Ruins'. It was released in October 2010. Now in 2012, this debut full length album I have here was professionally recorded, mixed and mastered in the Iguana Studios near Freiburg/Germany by Christoph Brandes during February and March 2012. Cornelius Heck on the drums and Simon Schillinger on the bass and guitars appear as guest musicians, and Ajana took over the vocals and keyboards herself. There are 11 tracks here that could be best described as Metal with various influences, especially from the Doom genre offering up a rather dark tone. Interestingly enough, the clean vocal style kinda reminds me of Molly Sirenne ex of USA band Rott. Opener 'Air' has that doom feel about it, while second up, the Rott sounding 'Nightfears' has a more upbeat metallic feel, pounding along rather nicely. 'Carrion' is a rather more atmospheric song, while the church organ intro on the doomy 'Grey' sent shivers down my spine. 'Not To Be' is an upbeat melodic and catchy number, I can hear this being played on the radio - great keys and great guitar. 'While' gets you thinking that it is a piano led ballad until the remainder of the band kick in together with orchestration and subtle choral backing, and this is another fave track of mine together with the aforementioned 'Not To Be'. 'Rituals' and 'Recreate' are further upbeat melodic numbers that I rather like, whilst 'Hollow Bliss' gives us another shot of Doom. The closing duo of the more laid back sounding 'A Mine's End' and the atmospheric doomy 'Homeless' end what is a rather cool album, although there is a hidden track 12 - I only have eleven listed :) In summary, this is an interesting release from this artist and is a little different for the run of the mill female fronted stuff that normally comes my way. If you like the doomier side of the music spectrum, but still with plenty of metal and melody, may I suggest you check this artist out here. This is a grower and I like it... 8.75/10 (Dave)

AJANA…’DUALISMUS’

(Self Release) Reviewed 22nd July 2015

Ajana was founded as a solo project formed in 2003 by Luise Markert alias Ajana, who is responsible for song writing, lyrics, vocals and other instruments. I reviewed the debut full length Ajana release ‘Home In Decay’ back in October 2012 and now in 2015, I have a newie to review, this epic album gets released via Bandcamp on 24th July. Once again Christoph Brandes has mixed and mastered the album at Iguana Studios and yet again doing a great job! Besides that, Cornelius Heck on drums & bass and Simon Schillinger (all guitars) have also been involved with the recording process as they did on the debut. So what have we got music wise? This is certainly a little different to what I am normally used to listening too – the intro ‘et non descendit’ sounds like something from a Boston album (great guitars) and this leads perfectly into the first track proper, the mid to up tempo and pounding ‘Outside’ featuring the vocals of Ajana – this is cool and heavy stuff! With other fantastically epic tracks like ‘In The Past I Thrive’, ‘Nonexistence’, the heavy and progressive ‘Profanation’ and ‘Descending’, I suppose like the debut, there are many influences shining through these nine epic metal tracks. And talking “epic”, apart from the intro, there is not a track shorter than six and a half minutes, with the closing number ‘Procession’ exceeding 13 minutes! Whether these lengthy tracks are a good or bad thing, I am not too sure, but one is sure getting their monies worth here! Overall, at times imagine epic Doom Metal with clean female vocals – this album may be an acquired taste but I would call it thinking person’s metal! So do not expect glorious hooks and catchy choruses. Check out the website here - stick with it as it is a grower!…. 8.5/10 (Dave)

AJENDA...'UNRECOGNIZABLE'

(Jenuine Records via Plastichead Distribution) Reviewed 4th Feb 2014

Ajenda is a female fronted rock act with 3 self released eps under their belts. Hailing from Belfast, they have released the CD Format of their fabulous & critically acclaimed debut album 'Unrecognizable' via Plastichead Distribution. Previously available only on Digital format, the band have had such an amazing response to the album from everyone who's listened to it, including magazines and radio stations alike, that it was then decided to release it on CD format as well. And this is well worth the money whether it is bought digitally or physically. The ten tracks here offer a wonderful blend of rock n roll liberally flecked with blues, delicate melodic touches and at times a darker undercurrent adding a twist to some utterly fantastic rock songs. To be perfectly frank, this release is awesome and the vocals of Jen have totally blown me away. Every track is a standout number although the song 'Hatred And Greed', which is also a promotional single from the album, may just shade it to my ears. The band's website is at http://www.ajendamusic.com.. check it out... 8.5/10 ( Dave)

AKENTRA..'IV IV IV'

(Independent Release) Reviewed 31st May 2009

This EP is another slice of femme fronted rock/metal that has taken me by surprise. I am not even sure how I come across French band Akentra (www.myspace.com/akentra), fronted by the lovely and conventional sounding Lucia Ferreira, although I assume it was via myspace. Onto the music itself, and there are five gems on this release that spans 27 mins or so. By the way, there is a hidden accoustic track at the end, effectively giving us six tracks for our money. Kicking of with 'Do My Best', this song is as catchy as hell, and will appeal to the more melodic minded people amongst our throng, as will the whole EP in-fact. 'Daddy' follows, and although the title may suggest some soft ballad, this tune rocks, again with a catchy chorus and a crunch in the guitars dept. This cd has it all, songs with commercial appeal, cool musicianship particularly in the previously mentioned guitar department, with my fave song being 'Gimme Your Gun'. This EP is a taster for a full album due next year...I myself cannot wait. An excellent record worthy of 9/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

AKENTRA..'ASLEEP'

(Independent Release) Reviewed 14th October 2010

There is no reason why 2011 (if not the end of this year) will see French Band Akentra making their mark in the genre of female fronted rock and metal. Last year, they released an EP that was a taster for this, their debut full length release. And all I am going to say is that 'Asleep' is one helluva release, and one of the best debuts I have heard in a while. The band are driven by the bass of Stephane Rayot and drummer Steve Tilmant, while fronted by the haunting and impressive vocals of Lucia Ferreira. And we must not forget the twin guitar assault of Habib Mas and Thomas Boileux. 'Opener 'Alive' hammers it's way into your head, while 'Do My Best' keeps the momentum going. One of my fave tracks 'Gimme Your Gun' follows, with it's powerhouse of a chorus, while I must say that the pace throughout the record never slips, with 'Just Close Your Eyes' being one of several melodic masterpieces on this record. This is a must buy and by a band that I am sure is going to make it's mark on the female fronted Metal scene. You read it here first...great stuff, while they can be checked out at www.myspace.com/akentra. 9.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

AKENTRA...'ALIVE'

(Self Release) Reviewed 23rd June 2014

This French band fronted by Lucia Ferreira is rather good! Formed in 2006, this is their 2nd full length release following 2010's 'Asleep'. So after 'Asleep' we are now 'Alive'. There are 13 tracks of ALternative Rock/Metal with an occasional subtle progressive feel flowing just underneath the surface. Some catchy foot tapping stuff throughout the album too, including tracks like 'Self Esteem' and 'My Son'. Then there are the rather nice acoustic based ballads like 'The One' and the piano led 'Final Dance Pt 1', which leads rather nicely into the more upbeat closing track 'Final Dance Pt 2'. And they can ramp it up too on tracks like 'Magic Trick', 'Resurrection' and 'Kick Ass' that does just that!. Although released last year, once again, we feel that this is an album that deserves a review on this website. The band's website is here. Let us hope that this is not the Final Dance!.. 8.75/10 (The Nugget)

AKIN..'THE WAY THINGS END'

(Self Release) Reviewed 19th May 2011

This French band were formed in 1998 and were for a time serious contenders in the gothic metal firmament with the likes of Within Temptation, The Gathering and Epica, releasing the highly acclaimed album Verse in 2001, but then after the EP Forecast in 2003 they vanished except for singer Adeline Gurtner who sang with the black metal outfit Akroma for a while. Now they are back with a new album, a new style and a string quartet. They have taken their love of nu prog and augmented it with their original gothic metal sound and then added some 70's classic prog and 80's new prog to create something totally original, a mix of Renaissance, Camel, Kansas, The Reasoning and The Gathering is the closest I can get without over complicating the matter, I could come up with a list a mile long and still not hit the nail on the head, they are akin to so many but totally distinctive. The result is a work of harmonious contrasts, after all they say that opposites attract, a jazzy liveliness but with a melancholy gothic underbelly; delicate subtlety and driving power; catchy and melodic but with technical musicianship; adventurous, fascinating and absorbing but oh so easy to listen to; acoustic and electronic instrumentation; simplicity and sophistication; light and dark. Adaline with her pure clear voice does an incredible job giving them a touch of the Corrs, she deals perfectly with diminished, augmented and 7ths that would destroy a lesser singer, and the performances from the lads are exemplary, especially Matt Baker's fluid guitar leads, Luc Babut's Jon Camp esque bass work and Romain Fayet's's skilled drumming, all with impeccable production and sound. The string quartet and Philippe Chauvire's flute are an integral part of the sound and not just bolted on as an afterthought. There is a lot of imagination gone into the songs, for example some lovely poetry readings by Tom O'Bedlam (whose readings have had nearly four million hits on Youtube) and the use of some unusual instruments like Indian percussion. Although made up of 15 individual songs, this is an album that is best listened to as a complete homogeneous whole which allows all their facets to shine through, so I'm not going to pick out songs, just enjoy the complete experience. They have obviously spend the intervening years honing their craft. This is an album than will appeal to lovers of prog and gothic rock and metal alike, or anyone that enjoys high quality music. Their Facebook is here, and it can be bought from their Bandcamp. I certainly hope that is not the way things end and this album sees them enjoying the success they deserve, a highly recommended 9/10 (Phil)

AKOMA..'THE OTHER SIDE' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 5th April 2012

Akoma is a female fronted Symphonic Metal Band from Denmark formed in the Autumn of 2004. The band is fronted by Tanya Bell, and I must admit that anything that comes out of Scandinavia or anywhere near Scandinavia will catch my attention. This EP offers up 6 tracks of prime time Symphonic Metal, with Tanya's spherical voice the centre of attention here. Another attention grabber are the keys of co founder Morten Harboe, these the main driving force of opening and the rather corking track 'Bittersweet Memories'. 'Your Sacrifice' is a mid pace number with hints of Nighwish. Upon listening to this cd, it becomes increasingly apparent to me how much Tanya sounds like Kate Bush or early Sharon Den Adel in many respects. 'Without You' is another track featuring the awesome and haunting keys of Morten, while 'Guardian Angel (Keep Me Safe)' is an acoustic led ballad, this number is a remake, which was previously released on their debut EP in 2006, 'Angels of Revenge'. To sum up, this is a very good release, and as I have already mentioned, if you imagine Kate Bush fronting a Symphonic Metal band, that may sum it up. Akoma is working on a full length album due in 2013, a band well worth watching - this is their Facebook ...8.75/10 (Dave)

AKPHAEZYA...'ANTHOLOGY IV, THE TRAGEDY OF NERAK'

(Code666/Aural Music) Reviewed 2nd July 2012

French band Akphaezya was born in 2002 as a project of guitarist Stephan H, later joined by vocalist and keyboardist Nehl Aëlin, drummer Loic Moussaoui and bassist Stephane Beguier, releasing their début album 'Anthology II, Links for the Dead Trinity' in 2008. The albums are based on another world called Akphaezya, each album covering a part of its story as Stephan finds out more about it in his research which is currently incomplete, so at the moment there is no Anthology I or III. This one is about a complete play in the style of an Ancient Greek tragedy he has recently discovered about a town called Nerak, the city of elements, and the tragic love story of an Ayzeahpka girl Nimim Ninnom and the human boy Sor-Dna, with a prelude, four acts of two songs each, an interval and epilogue. They are described as an avant garde band, if this conjures up images of mass weirdness, don't worry, although slightly similar to the likes of Stolen Babies and Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, they are far more akin to a mix of Therion, Stream of Passion, Gathering and Diablo Swing Orchestra, I would it 'Eccentric Metal'. On the occasions when they do hop around is is very well constructed so it's a natural progression, not thrown together, and the music is very accessible and enjoyable with Nehl's superb Anneke Van Giersburgen type voice, although she does other styles as well as contributing wonderful rippling piano. Act 1 Spring is more gothic metal, the terrific rocking 'A Slow Vertigo' and 'Sophrosyne' which contains some touches of death metal. Act 2 Summer heads towards DSO, the catchy wacky 'Utopia' which sounds a bit like a Wilson, Keppel and Betty sand dance featuring Betty Boop, and 'Húbris' that starts out dramatic before an injection of swing jazz. During the interlude 'Transe H.L.' instead of popping out to the rest room and getting an ouzo I would recommend staying and listening to Nehl's beautiful classical piano. Act 3 Autumn heads towards prog with 'Genesis' sounding like Muse propelled by massive riffage and the sublime mellow acoustic 'Dystopia'. Finally Act 4 has 'Nemesis' which sounds like modern metal version of a 1920's silent movie ccompaniment, appropriately they have used it for their animated video (on Female Voices), and the powerful dramatic 'The Harsh Verdict'. These are all approximate descriptions as they love to put into the songs all sorts of musical escapades from Spanish acoustic to American jazz. A most fascinating, creative, artistic and entertaining collection of music is on offer here, and like with DSO, as long as you are fairly open minded then you find it extremely enjoyable. Their legendary land is www.akphaezya.com/, an animated 8.75/10 (Phil)

ALARION…’WAVES OF DESTRUCTION’

(Freia Music) Reviewed 28th June 2016

Alarion (formerly known as Alerion) is a spectacular new musical project from The Netherlands by awesome guitarist Bas Willemsen. In June of 2016, their debut album ‘Waves of Destruction’ was released, being an album to be reckoned with - a good hour of melodic, symphonic and intense music. ‘Waves of Destruction’ displays the diversity of Alarion’s music and the musical prowess of Bas and all those involved. For each listener, there will be a different part of the album that stands out: be it heavy and fast, or acoustic and mellow, a short track or a 10+ minutes long epic, male or female vocals. Throughout all the tracks on the album, the listener will discover the scope of the sound that is Alarion. This is an epic absolute belter of an album featuring an all star cast of musicians including among many others, Damien Wilson (Threshold among others), and for you lovers of female fronted Rock & Metal (after all, that is possibly why you are here reading this) we have Irene Jansen (Ayreon, The Theater Equation, Star One, Gary Hughes among others) who provides lead & backing vocals on ‘Turn of Fate’ and ‘Turn of Fate (acoustic)’. And then there is Tineke Roseboom (Blaze Bayley, Thomas Zwijsen, Hollywood Scoring among others) giving us lead & backing vocals on ‘Clash with Eternity’, backing vocals on ‘The Whistleblower - I – Devastation’, backing vocals on ‘The Whistleblower - II – Vindication’, backing vocals, soprano & alto choir vocals on ‘Colourblind’ and soprano & alto choir vocals on ‘Chains of the Collective’. Being a fan of Threshold, Damien Wilson’s vocals are immediately apparent on the bombastic opener ‘Chains of the Collective’, a Progressive Metal masterpiece, this being followed by ‘Waves of Destruction – I – Rising Tide’, a short spoken piece by Damien taking the listener into the standout ‘Waves of Destruction – II – Struggle For Survival’. An atmospheric instrumental ‘Estrangement’ takes us onto the number ‘Turn Of Fate’ with the awesome vocals of Irene taking over the mic stand, this being another totally mind blowing epic track with a great melodic chorus to boot. ‘Colourblind’ rocks hard with Damien back at the helm, while the beautiful ‘Clash With Eternity’ starring the angelic vocals of Tineke slows things down a touch, to enable us to catch our breath. ‘A Life Less Ordinary’ sees a certain Paul Glandorf taking over vocal duties, this being an awesome Prog workout taking us onto ‘The Whistleblower - I – Devastation’ and ‘The Whistleblower - II – Vindication’. Yet another epic Prog Metal master stroke, the song I am told being based on the story of a UN Police Officer who attempted to blow the whistle on sex trafficking in Bosnia, and being the subject of the 2010 film of the same name. This magical grandiose album closes with the acoustic version of ‘Turn Of Fate’. Further information on this awesome release and purchase details can be found here, but this album will reveal more layers of musical enrichment upon further listens and is one of the best debuts you will hear this year. Enough said… 10/10 (Dave)

ALLEGRO FOR MY REQUIEM...'CHAPTER 1'

(Self Release) Reviewed 30th January 2013

Spanish band Allegro From My Requiem were founded by guitarist Tony Master, he gradually built the line-up until they started recording this début album last year. Tony has distilled the essence of European power metal, bands like Rhapsody, Visions of Atlantis, Ancient Bards, and brought in two premier league rock singers to front the band, the mighty lungs of Javier Vega Moyano who reminds me of Damian Wilson, and Ekate who reminds me of Maree from Awaken Solace. The result is mighty sword waving anthems that do not break the mould but do absolutely everything right. The songs have plenty of variation from more subtle moments to majestic to dramatic to putting the double pedal to the metal, the twin voices giving them tremendous flexibility, with lots of recurring themed and motifs to tie the whole album together. It's packed with terrific numbers from the key song 'Look At Me' to 'Lost in Paradise' to the epic signature song 'Allegro from My Requiem' to the theatrical 'Requiem', but the stand out track is the jazzy ballad 'Dark Temptation' where Tony manages to make his guitar sound like a blues saxophone. The top draw production is by José Garrido and Daniel Melian and mastering by Jens Bogren, who has worked with the likes of Opeth and Symphony-X. If a Martian lands in your back garden and asks what symphonic power metal sounds like, just play them this ultra professional, top quality, classic sounding album, you really cannot go wrong, and I hope that this is the first of many more chapters in their story, and certainly not their requiem. Allegro fortissimo to their website here, a top draw 8.75/10 (Phil).

ALERION..'THE FLEDGLING'

(Independent Release) Reviewed 20th Sept 2007

Dave has given me this mini cd to review (my first for Ravenheart Music), as I was in a band (keyboards in FUKIT) who musically were similar to this lot! Alerion are a female fronted progressive/metal band (fronted by Romy Muste) from the Netherlands. They have been going for a little over two years. This is a 5 track album called 'The Fledgling'. There are quite a few influences on this cd, but it is certainly an album for fans who prefer their metal at the heavier end of the spectrum. I have heard the term gothic linked to this band. Female vocals yep, but gothic, no! Interestingly titled 'Hindsight 1976' gets the album away, which certainly sets the scene as to what is to follow. Great guitar riffs and bass work. OKay vocals too. 'Estrangement' though is a likeable and quiet instrumental, which then leads us into the awesome Ruins' which is a decent metal track. 'Dragnipur' is a storming favourite of mine (and Dave's too I believe). I just love the vocals on this track. The Megadeth cover of 'She Wolf' ends this decent independent effort! This band deserves your attention. As I say, perhaps not one for fans of AOR, but if you like Megadeth, Trivium or Dream Theatre (with the female vox obviously), then please check them out at www.myspace.com/alerion This cd so happens to be a grower, so live with it and you will reap the rewards! 7.5/10 (Reviewed by Rachel).

ALERION..'TURN OF FATE'

(Independent Release) Reviewed 7th March 2009

A two track promo from our Dutch Friends Alerion. Rachel reviewed their debut effort in Sept 2007, and this little cd is not bad actually. Alerion combine Female Fronted (or Gothic) vocals, with a guitar-oriented, heavy and melodic sound, and I quite like Maaike's angelic vocal style. Track one, 'Turn of Fate' is a slow to mid pace song with progressive elements and a cool guitar solo mid song. The second track 'Clash With Eternity' is a slower quieter song that showcases Maaike's vocal style very nicely. Indeed, the musicianship on offer here is of a high quality, while Alerion typify a hard working band, and for this they receive my full admiration. I would like to hear more from this Dutch outfit in due course. This little gem is only a promo, but 7.5/10 seems fair! (Reviewed by Dave)

ALEV..S/T

(Fastball/Sony/BMG) Reviewed 25th November 2008

ALEV is translated as "flame" in the Turkish language- and accordingly so, as the band's live show and studio recordings are quite literally, "on fire" with sonic flames that turn the common conventional styles of other bands into nothing more than smoke. Fronted by Alexandra Janzen, Alev's music is a tightrope walk, switching from raging heavy guitar riffs, to softer tones while lyrically aiming right for the heart. At the same time, they provide the listener with a mix of modern rock and alternative metal, with emotionally intelligent music and hooks, that quite simply captures the listeners attention. And from the outset on this, their second release, this is the case as 'Where Are You', 'Crawling Under' and 'My Cover' proves my point. The album continues in a similar style throughout, with some impressive stuff on offer here. Just listen to the awesome 'Unique', the superb 'On My Own' and 'Disconnected' for further proof. This record is a winner, it is on a major label, so go and buy! 8/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

ALEXA DE STRANGE - 'TITS OF DEATH'

(Paranoise Records) Reiewed 27th Feb 2014

A 5 track EP dropped into my office the other day from a band called Alexa De Strange, fronted by a lass that I know as Francesca. I admit that the title of the EP immediately gained my attention and indeed so did the music. What we have here is an impressive array of catchy rock music with very impressive and at times sexy vocals from Francesca. I have listened to this CD a few times and I am having trouble finding any fault. Phil Manzanero from Roxy Music has stated and I quote: "I love everything about this band". I think to be perfectly honest, that I can also echo those sentiments. We also have a totally awesome power ballad, 'If Only' running in at well over 6 minutes - absolutely mind blowing. This is frikin' good stuff and the band must be checked out pronto. Their Facebook is here - released 10th March.. 8.75/10 (Dave)