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COFFEE POT DRIVE...'EDGE OF TOWN'

(Self Released) Reviewed 22nd August 2015

Having toured with the likes of Status Quo, Uriah Heep, Goo Goo Dolls and even REO Speedwagon, Blues/Rock band Coffee Pot Drive are proving that they are a force to be reckoned with. Guitarist Boanecker and front woman Lady Oracle make it perfectly clear, that “all this was perfect preparation for Coffeepot”, and it cannot be denied that the band are ready to hit the big time. And after having listened to the first track on the album after the brief intro, singer Lady Oracle has one helluva bluesy style voice, well showcased in this first track proper 'Fallback'. Further highlights among the 12 infectious tunes include the gospel sounding 'Bayou', the foot tapping 'Hey Suzy' (also a single), the reggae feel of 'Change', the catchy ballad 'I Love You' and the quirky 'Glass In My Mellow'. With over 5 different countries being represented in the band's line up, there is an eclectic mix of different genres and styles that help craft the Coffee Pot Drive sound. The album was produced by Andy Brook (triple nomination by Music Producers Guild for UK Producer of the Year, Breakthrough Producer & Breakthrough Engineer of 2013) and recorded at the legendary ARSIS Studios, owned and lent to the band by Status Quo front man Francis Rossi. This is not metal, it has in fact been labelled "dirty soul", but whatever, this is rather kool! Listen to the single 'Hey Suzy' here.. 8/10 (Dave)

COLD EMBRACE...'THE FALL OF SILENCE'

(Demo Recording) Reviewed 2nd October 2013

In 2011, vocalist Sascha and Keyboards player Jasper met on a site where you can find other musicians. They both wanted to form a band and as a consequence, Cold Embrace was formed. Fast forward to 2013, and it seems the band has the line up it wants and has actively started writing and practising music and dreaming of performances, gigs, tours, debut releases etc. They have even recorded this 9 track demo that turned up in my mail box a few days ago. The nine numbers give the listener a rough idea of the musical route the band wishes to take, which is mainly a Gothic Symphonic Rock/Metal path, with subtle Folk and Progressive tendancies. There are male vocals/grunts provided by guitarist Iwan which are not overly done and compliments the vocals of Sascha rather nicely. I must say that even though this is a demo, this band is showing some potential and I am quite taken by what I hear on the album. Okay, there is nothing here that hasn't been done before, but let us not take anything away from the band. And another plus, they are from Holland, and a fair number of bands from that part of the world have a habit of doing rather well. Fave numbers include the opener 'Silence Of My Heart', the catchy 'Speed Of Life' and the mid tempo 'Circling Shade'. This a reasonable effort from this band - their Facebook is here ... 8/10 (Dave)

COLD SIGHT...'A/H1N1'

(Self Release/Ravenheart Music) Reviewed 24th September 2013

Russia is sure becoming a country to look out for when it comes to some decent female fronted music. And we can add to that list the band Cold Sight who hail from St.Petersburg. Fronted by the awesome voice of 18 year old Natalia Zolotova and singing in her native tongue, this release is damn good stuff. There are very occasional male vocals too, some clean some harsh, but this further compliments the striking music offered up by the band. There is a lot of variety within the nine tracks and I love every moment of it, the album primarily dealing with social and political problems. The title track is an instrumental affair, but a very good one to boot and even though it runs in at almost 11 minutes, it maintains the listener's interest throughout. I am desperately trying to pick highlights from the record but damn it, I can't, the whole thing is Symphonic Rock/Metal brilliance! So brilliant in-fact, that I have shelled out some of my hard earned cash to import some copies of this album from Russia. Some of our political leaders seem to want to cold shoulder the Russians, but I want to embrace them! So dip your hands into your pockets and treat yourselves from our store, you will not be disappointed for the 10 GB pounds spent! Here is the band's website nonetheless - www.coldsight.net/.. 9.75/10 (Dave)

COLLIDE..'THESE EYES BEFORE'

(Noiseplus Music) Reviewed 1st May 2010.

Collide is a music duo founded in 1992 in Los Angeles, that has incorporated elements of trip hop, darkwave, techno and music from the Middle East into their sound. 'These Eyes Before' is an album of cover versions, given the Collide treatment, and it is damn good too. I have always found KaRIN's vocals rather seductive to say the least, and this release is no exception. With songs like 'Nights in White Satin' (Moody Blues), 'Creep' (Radiohead), 'Space Oddity' (David Bowie) and 'Comfortably Numb' (Pink Floyd) being featured, Collide could be on a hiding to nothing by covering these classics. But KaRIN and Statik quite simply pull it off with ease. The 10 tracks are all faves of mine in their own right, and I have to be honest and say that before I listened to this album, I was a little wary. Not anymore...excellent stuff. 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave).

COLLIDE..'COUNTING TO ZERO'

(Noiseplus) Reviewed 4th November 2011

This duo comprising vocalist kaRIN and musician Static hail from the the City of Angels. In 1992 they began their exploration into electronic rock, electronic body music, Eastern mysticism and synth pop, and this is their fifth studio album, following on from 2008's 'Two Headed Monster' (discounting the 2009 covers album 'These Eyes Before'). Their music is seductive, sensuous, slinking, stalking and seriously groovy, like a slow rhythmic rumba of love with a sultry femme fatal. Lying somewhere between Goldfrapp and Muse at their most moody, it is packed with amazing sounds, hip grinding guitars, and swaying beats that make you want to get down and dirty and flirty. Captivating kaRin's delicious delectable whisper blows sexily into your ear, breaking what's left of you resistance, you have to surrender to the orgasmic ecstasy. This is the perfect soundtrack for putting your parter into the mood for love, or simply want to chill out and unwind, as kaRIN breaths softly “concentrate, gather your defences, slow down” ('Slow Down'). It appropriately starts with 'Bending and Floating' with sounds like the music to a James Bond love scene. After that you are taken on a slow burning, spell binding journey into the sublime, particular highlights being the 'Lucky 13' waltz, the catchy string laced title track 'Counting to Zero' and it climaxes with the suitably titled eastern infused 'Letting Go'. The only song that breaks the mood is the more urgent 'Further From Anything', which erupts out of the speakers after the atmospheric 'Tears Like Rain', catching you unawares. Everything is self financed and released on their own label Noiseplus, and you can sashay your way to www.collide.net/news/ for more low down. A mesmeric record that is perfect for late night relaxation and recreation, dim the lights and feel the rapture, a seductive 8.75/10 (Phil)

CONSORTIUM PROJECT V..'SPECIES'

(Lion Music) Reviewed 16th June 2011

A short while ago when I reviewed the wonderful Ani Lo Projekt album I mentioned that producer Ian Parry (Elegy, Crystal Tears) was also creating his new Consortium album in conjunction, well, voilà. In this fifth instalment, Earth is under attack from aliens and it is up to the women to save the world, so it is fitting that it features Ani Lozanova as well as Lene Petersen who was a member of Infinity Overture with Ian for a short while, so bringing it into the sphere of female fronted. Joining them are a veritable who's who of European prog and power metal talent, those that will be familiar to readers of these illustrious pages include including Jens Faber and Veith Offenbaecher from Dawn of Destiny, Niels Vejylt from Infinity Overture, and Kalin Jechev from Ani Lo. The outcome not surprisingly, especially as Ian has been a guest of Arjen Lucassen, is a more melodic power metal version of Ayreon. The immense colossal songs are fuelled by Stephan Lill's (Vanden Plas) turbo charged guitar and enriched with Kalin's orchestral keyboards. Ian's mighty leather lungs naturally dominate the show, with Ani and Lene providing admirable support. Everything is cranked up to 11 and rarely turned down so it can get a bit relentless, lacking the diversity of Ayreon and Ani Lo, a couple of quieter songs with one of the ladies would have given your ears a rest and given the heavier ones more impact. This also means it is difficult to single out particular tracks, they're all big, brash, bombastic, battering and brilliant but rather similar,so an Armageddon of a 8.75/10 (Phil)

CONSPIRACY OF SEVEN...'THE LEGACY' EP

(Self Released) Reviewed 2nd July 2014

Conspiracy of Seven hail from...you've guessed it, Holland! The band play extremely accessible Melodic Power Metal, being fronted by a male (clean) and female vocals...James alias "The Dragonslayer" and Wilma sharing vocal duties. Inspired by a story called "De Zevensprong", the band has created their first project "The Legacy" which is being reviewed here. Five tracks of rather cool music I must say. There to be honest is not a lot to fault on this 5 track EP, with the band showing loadsa promise. And with tracks like 'Dragonslayer' and 'Madman's Riddle' the titles alone will give you an idea the path Conspiracy of Seven are travelling. Worth checking out, their dragon slaying Facebook site can be found here...8.25/10 (Aimee)

CONSUELA…’BREAK ME DOWN’

(Self Release) Reviewed 2nd January 2016

Consuela is fronted by Sara Grundström and they come from a place called Örnsköldsvik in central Sweden. The band give the listener a tsunami of synth driven melodic metal featuring the vocals of Sara together with the mostly clean male vocals of Jocke Grundström. Comparisons to Amaranthe spring to mind across the nine tracks on offer on the cd, and as a result, this is rather good. Without going into any explicit detail, every track here hit’s the spot so my advice…buy! Check their Facebook out first if you so wish, find that here…8.75/10 (The Nugget)

CONTROL THE STORM...'BEAST INSIDE'

(Self Release) Reviewed 5th Feb 2015

Control The Storm fronted by new vocalist Kate Norris, are Bristol's finest and to be totally honest, this band has already got what it takes to bounce straight into the Premier League of Melodic Metal with this their debut. There are ten melodic and powerful tracks here including three tracks from their original demo disk, that they have re recorded with Kate at the helm. This is hideously bouncy stuff and this is proven with the opening salvo of 'Days Of Days' and Hysteric Silence', what a way to kick off an album! And there is more! 'Believe' has an atmospheric and haunting intro before it steamrollers its way out of the speakers and pummels you against the wall. 'No Chance At All' is magical, while both 'Falling' and 'Stronger' are lovely power ballads. 'False Eternity' is a pounding melodic number. The whole album I must say is awesome, every track is a jewel to cherish. What I like about this release is the use of keys and synths that liberally appear throughout, something the band (and other European acts) does really well within the heaviness of the music. The album was recorded and produced at the home of keyboardist Raedon Mac in Swindon and mixed by Chuck Creese of CC Productions in Bristol and is due March 2nd. This is damn good and is well worth checking out. Signed copes of the album can be pre ordered at www.controlthestorm.bigcartel.com/, go on, unleash the beast inside and be a devil!.. 9.5/10 (Dave)

CORNERSTONE..'HEAD OVER HEELS'

(Atom Records) Reviewed 31st October 2008

Cornerstone hail from Austria, and 'Head Over Heels' is basically a re issue of 'Whatever', that was released by Renaissance Records in the early part of the summer. And if you already own 'Whatever', there is very little to tempt you to part with your hard earnt cash, in buying this! Apart from the album title, that is obviously different, the track listing is basically the same as the debut, although 'Breathing For You' from the first cd has been left of this release, while there are two extra radio edits included instead. It seems there has been issues with Renaissance Records that Cornserstone had/have which I know about, but I will not go into here. But like I said when I reviewed the Renaissance Release, this record serves up a good dose of pop/rock, which I find quite catchy and addictive. Some good tracks here, and I feel that given the right backing, that it seems their new label are doing, Cornerstone may well be going places. Check it out and buy it! 7.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

CORNERSTONE..'SOMEWHERE IN AMERICA'

(Atom Records) Reviewed 25th September 2011

Austria's Cornerstone, well what can I say? A band that I have been following for some while, and a band that recently performed at the very first Ravenheart Music Festival in July 2011. And a band that would appeal to Fleetwood Mac and Journey fans amongst many others of that genre of music. They even add subtle hints of new country as well, listen to 'Follow You, Follow Me' as an example. Cornerstone has seen changes in the vocalist department in the past, but now seem to have settled with the awesome Patricia Hillinger at the helm. This album offers 10 tracks of easy listening rock music in a style that would make many a Melodic Rock Fan very happy indeed. Chocked full of catchy numbers, with hit single potential to boot, this album has got to be a must buy for fans of the genre, and the type of album zines like Fireworks here in the UK would just love to get their grubby little paws on. The fave track for me however, has to be the lighter waving ballad 'Right Or Wrong', but there again, I am a sucker for the odd ballad, but there is no harm in that, surely :) This is a very good record and our friends in the USA in particular will just love it (and interestingly it is on an American label). Certainly a worthy 9/10 (Dave)

CORONATUS..'LUX NOCTIS'

(Massacre Records) Reviewed 6th November 2007

Female fronted metal, but the lucky lads in this band have not one, but two female lasses fronting the band (Carmen R Schafer and Ada Flechtner). And if that isn't enough, they sing in three languages too - English, German and Latin. This offering is similar to Nightwish, Epica and even After Forever, with the two girls offering us a mix of operatic and pop/gothic vocals. 'Lux Noctis' is a fine melodic and at times bombastic release, and it is mixed at Finnvox studios too. And at the moment, it seems that everything coming from Finnvox, seems to be able to hit the spot one way or another! My particular faves on this cd are 'Hot and Cold' and 'Volles Leben'. This is a strong release, and being on one of the bigger indie metal labels, should be fairly easy to pick up. 8/10 (Reviewed by Dave).

CORONATUS..'PORTA OBSCURA'

(Massacre Records) Reviewed 11th November 2008

Here is a good un for fans of the old Nightwish, and with two female vocalists to boot. Can't be bad eh, and it aint!! This is the somophore release from Germany's Coronatus (which in Latin means Crowned). Following a similar pattern to their debut 2007 release (Lux Noctis), 'Porta Obscura' is what I would class as a good dose of catchy symphonic power metal metal, and as I say, this is one for fans of Tarja era Nightwish if nothing else. Carmen R. Schafer gives us the operatics, while co vocalist Ada Flechtner gives us a less operatic feel to proceedings - more melodic rock I would say. Like they did with their debut, the band use three languages, German, Latin and English, so you get variety for your money too. Favourite tracks to my ears are 'Fallen', the catchy 'In Silence', the equally catcy 'Cast My Spell', 'Mein Herz' and 'Strahlendster Erster'. The cd gets released on November 28th here in Europe, so check it out. This is an enjoyable record with good all round musicianship and production! 8/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

CORONATUS..'FABULA MAGNA'

(Massacre Records) Reviewed 17th December 2009

German band Coronatus seem to be moving along in leaps and bounds, and now provide us with their 3rd release of dual female fronted Gothic Metal, only a little over 12 months after their past release 'Porta Obscura'. Lisa Lasch, 19 years young, is now in the fold having replaced Ada Flechtner, and she now forms the singing partership beside the operatic Carmen R. Lorch (formerly Schäfer). Like their past two releases, 'Fabula Magna' moves along at a steady pace, speeding things up on occasion, and this should not disappoint fans of the genre. Coronatus to me seem a band that plod along, and I suppose you could say that the formula does not vary much from release to release. This is nonetheless, cool, bombastic, catchy Gothic Metal with keys, crunching guitars, and with vocals sung in both English and German (I think). No doubt certain reviewers will slag this off claiming it is yet just another female fronted release. However, good luck to the band with this, their latest. It gets released in Europe tomorrow (18th Dec). 8/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

CORONATUS..'TERRA INCOGNITA'

(Massacre Records) Reviewed 20th October 2011

I was just a little confused when I received the files for this album, as they downloaded in a different order to how they are going to appear on the cd when it gets released. Therefore, I have programmed the tracks before listening, to how they should appear when the album does get released (18th November). I have twelve tracks here although there will be limited edition digipack with 14 tracks (2 additional live numbers). This double female fronted band offers up a good old dose of rather catchy Gothic Metal on this, sung in German and English. Rock-brat Mareike Makosch and soprano lady Ada Flechtner share the job being the new front-ladies of the coronauts since early 2011. However, I do believe that Ada has been in the band before, although she was replaced for the previous album ('Fabula Magna') by Lisa Lasch. With this their new album, a new phase of the band's history has been started and it takes the willing listener along a unique musical journey! On this their 4th longplayer, 12 awesome new songs are exibited, symphonic, epic and sensitive. We have complex compositions with choirs, folk elements and orchestral arrangements alternating with catchy melodies, straight forward guitar riffing and a lot of drumming! 2nd track 'Fernes Land' is one of the catchier and more commercial numbers on offer, while 'Das zweite Gesicht' is one of the folkier numbers, although still exibiting some strong guitar riffs and powerful drumming. This is good and I would say one of their better efforts. A recommended release...8.5/10 (Dave)

CORONATUS...'RECREATIO CARMINIS'

(Massacre Records) Reviewed 4th October 2013

CORONATUS is a double or indeed now a triple female fronted symphonic metal combo from Germany. The girls are original vocalist Carmen Lorch (who was the Soprano voice on the first three albums having returned for this release), with Ada Flechtner and Mareike Makosch. The unusual combination of three very talented singers with different singing styles on this their 5th album, has added new dimensions to the Gothic Metal genre. The genius of interplay between the girls is the basis for hard, but catchy melodies, duets, and compositions. Vocals are sung both in english and German, with additional latin elements, and when you add in the choral parts too, this makes for a very good release. Needless to say, they do not stray too far from their chosen formula of catchy Gothic Metal and why not when it is this good. There are 13 tracks on offer here including the numbers 'Fernes Land' and 'Sie Stehen am Weg', both featuring Carmen in this instant, these tracks in their original format appearing on their last album 'Terra Incognita'. No faves or highlights here as the album is consistently good throughout - released 25th October and well recommended...8.75/10 (Dave)

CORONATUS...'CANTUS LUCIDUS'

(Massacre Records) Reviewed 4th December 2014

Coronatus need no introduction to fans of the female fronted rock & metal scene. They hail from Germany and I believe this is their 6th release, which all started back in 2007 with the release of 'Lux Noctis'. Fronted by two female singers, Carmen R.Lorch (2004–2010, 2013–present) and new kid on the block Anny Maleyes, this record offers up some pretty decent Rock & Metal, with a dash of Folk thrown into the pot. After the rather impressive opener 'Schnee & Rosen' (translated to Snow & Roses), next up 'Deborah' and 'No Holy Wars' are pounding melodic numbers, the latter having a quirky violin melody and an interesting lyrical theme. The flute pops up in the catchy 'The Elvenwell (I Can Give You...)', while the progressive tinged 'Freundschaft' and 'Cathy's Floor' pound along rather nicely, again with our friend the flute popping up on the former, to add substance to the melody. 'Unsterblich' is another quirky and quite heavy tune, and although obviously rather good, is possibly one of the weaker songs on the album - too much going on for my tender ears LOL! 'Autumn Child (In My Dreams)' puts the album back on track and is one of the better songs, while final track 'Ihr Habt Die Schuld' is a Powerful, Progressively Syphonically tinged number. To sum up: I must be honest and say that Coronatus is a good band, but they have never quite hit the spot with me for some reason that I am unable to explain (sorry Dave!), but this nine track release does, a good effort! - 8.5/10 (Natalie Gold)

CORONATUS…’RABEN IM HERZ’

(Massacre Records) Reviewed 12th November 2015

Formed as a project in 1999 by Mats Kurth and Georgios G., CORONATUS released its single 'Von Engeln Nur' in 2001 and debuted in 2003 as a complete band. First gigs as a double female-fronted band followed in 2004. The band started recording its debut in 2006, signed with Massacre Records in 2007 and released the debut 'Lux Noctis' in the same year. The albums 'Porta Obscura' (2008), 'Fabula Magna' (2009), 'Terra Incognita' (2011), 'Recreatio Carminis' (2013) and 'Cantus Lucidus' (2014) followed. Well, that project is still going strong and in 2015, less than a year after their previous album, ‘Raben Im Herz’ (roughly translated means "ravens in my heart") is about to hit the shelves. The compositions feature a lot of instrumental parts, which not only intensifies the joy of playing for all musicians, but also benefits the listening pleasure due to even more musical variety. The varied vocals are once again delivered by the female duo of Carmen Lorch (soprano) and Anny Maleyes (rock voice). Both singers once again show their exceptional talent in an even broader context than before - from operatic passages to dark growls! ‘Lady Of The Wall’ opens proceedings and is a mid tempo catchy number showcasing the vocal talent of both ladies - awesome! Next up, the quirky up tempo ‘König Der Nebel’ introduces Folk elements into the mix. The title track is a Symphonic masterpiece, wth pipes coming into play on the bouncy and addictive ‘Carpe Noctem’, while there is a brass sounding backing on the Symphonic bombastic ‘Hoffnung Stirbt Niemals’. The awesome momentum is continued through to the closing laid back acoustic based track ‘Frozen Swan‘, with a sniff of extreme vocals at the commencement of the track ‘Anderswelt’, one of my fave numbers from the CD as is the slow to mid tempo Folk infused ‘Canan Nan Gaidhael’. Overall, this album is a good un, with Coronatus continuing to produce the goods and consistently too. Recommended when released 4th Dec… 8.75/10 (Dave)

COTOS...'За тобой'

(Self Release) Reviewed 8th July 2015

The strange thing about this release is we have forgotten who the hell sent this to us for review. We seem to have lost the email, but what I can say is that this band is from Russia featuring female/mainly clean male vocals, and the album was released on May 24th. The eight tracks here sung in the band's native tongue, consist primarily of Symphonic Rock/Metal with a little bit of Folk thrown in, something the Russians currently seem to be rather good at, and this cd as a consequence is rather good. I have been trying to do some digging around, but my source of information to be honest is very limited regards this album, but if you enjoy Symphonic Metal no matter what language it is sung in, then try and track this down. Not bad, not bad at all...8.25/10 (The Nugget)

CRASHDOLLZ...S/T CD

(Self Release) Reviewed 15th July 2013

In my heyday (did I ever have one?), I liked The Sex Pistols, The Ramones etc etc and I liked the no nonsense Punk attitude these bands portrayed. Now we have CrashDollz from Detroit, to grab us by the short and curlies and drag us screaming through the streets, letting us know that real Punk is still alive, well and kicking ass. There is no mercy shown here by the twelve tracks on this record, and with titles like 'Dumpster Punk', 'Novocaine', 'Bad Taste Barbie', the rather awesome 'US Punk Bombs' and 'Female Anarchy', that should give you a taster as to what to expect on this record. I would also imagine that their live shows offer a taste of female anarchy - there are two girls in this four piece combo by the way. CrashDollz being fronted by the awesome Nikki Darling with Rachel Rekkit who lets rip on guitars, and boy does she let rip too! If you think this music died years ago, then check out CrashDollz who will prove you totally wrong! Punk-Metal is alive and kicking so check them out here - www.crashdollz.bandcamp.com/ ...8/10 (Dave)

CRIMSON BLUE..'INNOCENCE'

(Destroy The Humanity) Reviewed 20th December 2011

From reading their own description of what they call 'Nu Art Metal' you may expect something rather weird from this Russian quintet, but although it is impossible to pigeon-hole their sound, not only does it make make perfect sense, it's also hugely commercial. If I had a stab, I'd put VersaEmerge, Evanescence, Reasoning, Touchstone, Porcupine Tree, Muse, Lacuna Coil and To Mera into a blender to create progressive gothic nu alt-metal. To put it simply it rocks like a hurricane, it seriously grooves, it's as catchy as hell, it's got more hooks than Velcro, and it sounds incredible. Out front is keytar wielding, stunning lead singer Dani Hellsrom with her highly versatile voice that encompasses the breathy to the laid back to the passionate to the full throttle, joined by guitarists Stanislav and Hans whose guitar work ranges from the delicate to the dynamite, Latex and his extraordinary elastic boinging bass work, and Andrew and his driving drumming. Some of the sonics on this album will blow your mind, 'Forest' for example has a section that totally felled me. You get eleven multifaceted songs, every one an absolute killer, from the awesome opener 'Iceland', to the more alt-rock 'Clouds', to the folk tinged 'Ave', to the epic 'H.U. Lab Experiment 1', to the hint of Porcupine Tree in 'Nagual', to the superb closing title track 'Innocence', all with top professional production sound by Anton Kondakov at Destroy the Humanity Studios. In Dani they have an absolute star, backed by a premier league band, this is a must for anyone who loves alternative, prog or gothic metal, their Facebook is here, a mind-blowing 9/10 (Phil)

CRIMSON BLUE...'THE ANGELIC PERFORMANCE'

(My Kingdom Music) Reviewed 3rd December 2014

Russia is emerging as a force to be reckoned with when it comes to Female fronted Rock & Metal. There are some pretty decent bands to be found and Crimson Blue is one such act. Fronted by the dynamic and very talented Dani Hellstrom who also deals with keyboards, Crimson Blue delivers close on an hours worth of Progressive/Gothic Metal and very well done it is too. 'Locust' gets things moving in a more than impressive way, the progressive tendancies bubbling under the surface, and the vocals of Dani well suited and equally as impressive - great start and the great work continues with next track 'Dolores'. '3rd Eyes Close' starts with an acoustic feel, and this song to my ears has that crossover potential - more laid back, commercial and a fave of mine from this disc.'Sacrifiction' and 'Mechanical Madonna' continue to show the great musical prowess of this band, while 'Road To Oblivion' slows things down featuring strings with just Dani and her piano. 'Lab II Yggdrasil' is a nine minute plus prog masterpiece, being followed by 'Dark Heart Of Mine', which as the title may suggest is a nice ballady type number. The subtle Middle Eastern vibes of 'Tonali' and the eleven minute plus 'Black Wings'close this rather good record, the latter having just about everything to throw at the listener. Crimson Blue are onto a winner here, now it is up to the music buying public to buy the album and propel this band into the premier league. Find out more here... 8.75/10 (Natalie Gold)

CRIMSON CHRYSALIS...'CRIMSON PASSION CRY'

(Sting Music) Reviewed 9th January 2013

This is, as far as I know, the first album to appear in these illustrious annuls from the country of South Africa. For those of you expecting Paul Simon, it will come as no surprise that René van den Berg started her career performing Afrikaans folk music, however over the last couple of years she embarked on creating something totally utterly different. What we have here is sumptuous symphonic rock, which sounds more like it is from France, as Rene has that unique French chanson tremor in her voice, and the music has a touch of the tempestuous torch song about it. I have written and rewritten this review countless times, because whatever I do, it does not do justice to this collection of classic, jaw dropping, dramatic, passionate, stirring 'ballads', and I use that word very reluctantly, as it conjures up images of soppy love songs that will send you to sleep, but nothing could be further from the truth. If you imagine the sort of songs from musical theatre shows like Les Misérables or a more rock/metal Sarah Brightman, it does remind me of 'Time to Say Goodbye' at times, mixed with epic soundtrack music with wonderful orchestrations, performed by a powerful band, and topped by Rene's warm rich voice, then perhaps we are somewhere roundabouts, but this is music without boundaries, it's strong enough to appeal to symphonic metal fans of bands like modern Nightwish, but familiar and accessible for classic rock listeners as well. Opener 'Angels and Demon's' featuring Adolph de Beer (video on Female Voices) really steams along and kicks the album off in great style before you settle back in your seat for the show, and midway through you get clarion call for all jilted lovers, 'F-Off and Die!”. There are so many terrific songs like 'Letters From the Edge' and the title track 'Crimson Passion Sky' (video on Female Voices) that my recommendation is, just sit back and enjoy the whole album experience. This really is an album that will sit comfortably in anybody’s and everybody’s record collection, a timeless and universal set of classic chanson symphonic rock/metal songs perfectly performed and produced. Their crimson chrysalis emerges at their website here, a passionate 9.5/10 (Phil)

CRIMSON CHRYSALIS…’ENRAPTURED’

(Musik and Film) Reviewed 21st July 2015

This has to be one of the best albums of this type of music (Symphonic Rock) that one will listen to this year, and any other year come to think of it. Crimson Chrysalis is led by the captivating and incredible vocals of South African lass Rene Van Den Berg. And this album it has to be said is near perfection in every sense of the word. Without further ado, let us cut to the chase - ‘Soul Stalker’ gets things going rather splendidly while the amazingly wonderful ‘Elegy’ is a collaboration with Rainover’s Andrea Casanova. ‘Sacred Vow’ is one of my fave tracks ever. I am basically lost for words here, so much emotion and passion being poured into one song - to me it screams “TOTAL CLASSIC”. And to be honest, that could be said for every one of the 12 numbers here. The Symphonic sounding and upbeat ‘Burning Fire with Fire’, features American vocalist Jessica Mercy from Anaria and is another favourite of mine, while further heartfelt emotion is poured into tracks like ‘Enlightenment’, the upbeat ‘Raven’ (a song about Africa), the classic ‘Virgin Death’ and the penultimate track 'Grace'. With closing track ‘Poison’, the Alice Cooper classic being given the Crimson Chrysalis treatment in such an awesome fashion it leaves me speechless, it has become blatantly obvious that the seeds were being sown with the band’s previous release ‘Crimson Passion Cry’. Those seeds have now broken the surface and produced an amazing and incredible piece of music in ‘Enraptured’. If you are a total metal head, this may not be your cuppa tea, but for anybody that appreciates good music featuring Rock mixed with the Classics and the Symphonics, this is the biz and an utter classic in the making. My mind is made up and this may be a strong statement, this has to be one of the best and most perfect releases of any genre this year, and one of the best albums I have ever listened to, enough said!.. 10/10 (Dave)

CRIMSON RIVERS..'SORROWFUL HELL'

(Self Release) Reviewed 27th July 2011

Crimson Rivers is a fairly new Greek Symphonic/Dark metal band, who were conceived at the end of March 2009 by Marios (Bass Guitar/Vocals), Thanos (Keyboards) and Fotis (Guitars). In September 2010, Stella (Vocals) and Makis (Drums) were welcomed aboard and at the end of November 2010 they released their demo titled 'In Life’s Silence'. At the end of December 2010, they entered the studio for the recordings of their first album which we now review here. So what about it then? Symphonic and dark sums it up quite nicely actually, with operatic vocals from Stella and occasional but not overdone growls from Marios. There are occasional subtle progressive tendancies, these shine though mainly on opener 'Cursed Riddle', that also offers great keys interplay from Thanos. Indeed, the keys do play an integral part of the band's sound throughout the album adding an occasional haunting atmosphere, together with some great guitar work from Fotis. The vocals of Stella tend to veer towards the operatic, although I do feel she struggles a little at times, more so on the track 'Moonlight Whispers' - this is not a criticism by the way, just an observation. Stella is only a tender 19 years young, and she will improve with experience. Overall though, her vocal performance is good on this release, and she has a very bright future for someone so young in this genre of music. There is some good music on this record, and I also see a rosy future for this band in and outside of their native Greece. Check them out at their facebook, while I would say that this is a band to watch out for now and in the future... 8.25/10 (Dave)

CRIMSON SUN…’TOWARDS THE LIGHT’

(Maple Metal Records) Reviewed 5th August 2015

I am not totally sure what the Finnish people put in their water, but Finland and indeed Scandinavia as a whole, seems to be very adept at producing some very good bands. Now we can add Crimson Sun to that list. Hailing from Kotka in Finland, female-fronted quintet CRIMSON SUN fronted by Sini Seppälä, play on this their debut full length album, modern melodic metal with an in your face attitude, and just subtle touches of electronica. Founded in 2001 by guitarist Joni Junnila, the band went through various member changes before settling down with the quintet that recorded their EP ‘The Border’ in 2013. Into 2015 now, and on this album, there are some awesome and catchy tracks to digest, listen to the title track as just one example, totally mind blowing. The music is all very melodic and mid to up tempo, no soppy ballads. The record was recorded last Fall at Deep Noise Studios, Kouvola, Fi with Saku Moilanen, and the mastering was done by Jacob Hansen (Epica, Volbeat, Amaranthe, Primal Fear) in Denmark, and is well recommended by us here at Ravenheart Music, especially if you like bands like ONE WITHOUT (one example) – was released Monday 3rd August... 8.75/10 (Dave)

CRIMSON TEARS..'THE DARK AWAKENING'

(Independent Release) Reviewed 26th December 2007

There are a few bands scattered around the planet called Crimson Tears. But the one we are talking about is British, being fronted by a very nice lass who goes by the name of Gina Oldham. And what's more, 'The Dark Awakening' is an awesome release of gothic symphonic melodic metal. And it has been produced at Thin Ice studios by Karl Groom and Richard West from the British progressive metal band Threshold (one of my fave bands by the way). And indeed, some of the tracks bear Threshold resemblances..Check out 'Frozen' and 'Emotion Denied' as two such examples. Other faves included in this feast of metal music are 'Eternity', 'Steal My Heart' and 'Strange' . There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this band are carrying the banner for British symphonic metal. If they remain unsigned, then there is certainly no justice in this world! In my book, Crimson Tears will be able to give their European Counterparts a run for their money if given the chance. Buy 'The Dark Awakening', it's great heavy music with rocking heavy hooks! You won't be disappointed! 8/10 (Reviewed by Dave).

C-ROM..'FLAMES OF KNOWLEDGE'

(Thundering Records) Reviewed 24th February 2010

The deuxieme CD from the French collective, fronted by the floating voice of Christelle, is a real tough one to categorise, they blur the boundaries between industrial, gothic, darkwave, new wave, alt rock, symphonic and metal, with songs based on the Greek legend of Prometheus and Pandora. Try to imagine a Pandora’s Box of Stream of Passion, Within Temptation, Lacuna Coil, Rage Against The Machine, L'ame Immortelle, Stone Roses, Muse and New Order, while taking Athrodite for a bop around the dance floor. The album is presented in two acts with an overture and finale, rather like a theatrical opera, or the good old days of vinyl (ask your granddad). The curtain rises with the symphonic gothic and Muse overture, ‘Anger of the Gods’, with Christelle in semi-operatic mode. Act 1 opens with the marching and galloping symphonic metal and electronica of ‘Temptation’, ‘Narthex’ is a rap metal dance floor filler, with keys player Francoise’s shouts juxtaposed with Christelle’s soft vocals, ‘Awake’ is a more conventional Lacuna Coil type gothic number, ‘The Forge’ is strutting, stomping metal and industrial (the start reminded me of ‘We Will Rock You!), with Christelle’s whispered voice, and finally ‘Prometheus’ is a gentler darkwave and alt rock tune with an ethereal choir, which then builds and soars. Time for a quick cup of tea in the interval while I turn the record over, and it’s onto Act 2. Off we go again with ‘Pandora’, a disco industrial and metal number with a touch of Stone Roses shoegazing about Christelle’s singing, mixed with Lady Gaga, we then tango into ‘Lord of Cinders’ in a Diablo Swing Orchestra sort of way before it turns symphonic, ‘Choices’ has a blend of metal riffage, darkwave and a hint of New Order, and finally ‘Hope’ is a brief, but lovely, piano and electronica ballad. The finale ‘Mercy of the Gods’ rounds things off with a flourish of symphonic metal before the curtain falls. This is no Greek tragedy, it may seem like an unlikely bunch of bedfellows, but in the hands of C-Rom it becomes most natural thing in the world. Great to listen to, great to dance to, great to headbang to, you can’t say that about many CD’s. Available from their Myspace site www.myspace.com/cromthewindingstar, this is highly recommended for, well, just about anyone and everyone! 9/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

CROWMORPH..'CHROMA' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 26th July 2011

CROWMORPH is a Thrash/Sludge Metal Group from France. The band has been going for a while, since 2003 in-fact, although under a different name, Chicken Destroy was the name then. 2011 sees the band now fronted by Amanda who takes care of all the vocals, the guttaral growls and the clean melodic vocals, which by the way are all sung in the band's native tongue. The EP is a five track aural assault of songs that would suit fans of Machine Head and Eyehategod. This may not be everybody's kind of music, but this band is attracting some attention I notice. With a line-up stronger than ever, CROWMORPH is ready to move forward and operate at maximum capacity in the ultimate goal of giving everything at each and every concert. They can be found at their Facebook... 7.75/10 (Rachel)

CRY FOR EDEN...'THE 11th Hour'

(Self Release) Reviewed 7th May 2012

It has taken keyboardist and composer James Borst from Portland four years to realise his dream, during that time no less than eight singers have passed through his band, until he finally found the perfect choice in singer Lisa Mann and her deep powerful voice. Lisa is a successful artist in her own right, 2009 recipient of the Cascade Blues Association's Muddy Waters Award for Vocalist of the Year, and she was elevated in 2010 to the CBA Hall of Fame with her third win in a row for Bass Player of the Year, her website is here. The message behind this symphonic melodic progressive rock/metal album, perhaps similar in style to Roswell Six and TSO, is of paramount importance to James, and indeed all of us, so I will cover it in some detail. The World and it's people are at the Eleventh Hour as we head for destruction through war, hatred and environmental catastrophe, the only way out is an awakening that leads into a New World of understanding, tolerance, and selfless service to others. Appropriately all proceeds from sales go to charitable causes that promote World Peace. 'The Prelude' opens with a child being sung to sleep with a lullaby by her mother, her mother then goes to watch the news report about the Highway of Death in the Iraq War, but soon after her daughter awakes with terrible nightmares about the end of the world, leading into a foreboding thunderous prog metal instrumental. The dramatic title track 'The 11th Hour' takes up this theme leading into the powerful emotive ballad 'One Last Hope', can mankind find the soul and truth to save themselves and awaken to a higher consciousness? The uplifting dynamic driving 'Echoes of Eternity' echoes the act of awakening, but there are always dark seeds of doubt as expressed by the stormy instrumental section. The gentle piano instrumental 'Eve of Revelation' reflects this moment of change, leading into the rocking rousing 'Truth Behind Reason', based on a Buddhist poem about the moment when truth is found, and then we can become, in the words of the final glorious ballad, 'Finally Free'. Everything is done to the highest standards, the production, the performances by the band, and the artwork by Chase Velarde. An enormously dedicated album of inspiring music that will appeal to anyone who enjoys symphonic melodic rock/metal and prog. The importance of their message contained in the wonderful booklet means that this is an album to buy as a CD rather than download. Their superb website is here, an inspirational 9/10 (Phil)

CRYOGENICA..'RE-ANIMATION'

(Resurrection Records) Reviewed 31st August 2010

Cryogenica fronted by Carina is a London-based, Anglo-Swedish electro-rock band formed in 2006, who started off their career as 'I Am No One', changing their name in 2008 to Cryogenica. Their first cd, 'I Have No Name' was released in 2007. This their latest release and with two 'bonus tracks' (mixed by Reza Udhin from Inertia/Killing Joke), would appeal to fans of Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, Rammstein, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Birthday Massacre and the like. They also kinda remind me of American Electro Rockers I:Scintilla. So if these aforementioned bands are your cuppa tea, then this cd will be for you. Some good Electro Rock stuff on here, with the opening salvo of 'Bruised and Broken' and 'Topaz' giving you a feel as to what one can expect. 'Dream', 'Ruby Red Skies', 'RIP' and the atmospheric 'Hope' are other good tracks to my ears, and I can see some of the music on this release going down well in the clubs. Would be interesting to hear some club remixes if that ever was to happen. This is good stuff from a band that should do well within this genre of music. Check them out at www.myspace.com/cryogenicamusic, buy this cd and listen thro headphones! 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

CRYOSHELL..'CREEPING IN MY SOUL' EP

(Independent Release) Reviewed 10th May 2010

Cryoshell hail from Denmark, and it just belies belief the quality of music coming from that part of Europe, including Holland and the rest of Scandinavia. This review will be brief. Firstly, check out http://thefemalevoices.blogspot.com/ to view the video to the single 'Creeping In My Soul'. That will give you an idea as to the music on offer. This 5 track platter is totally awesome. How can I describe this? If I was to say 5 tracks of totally awesome pop/metal with more hooks than a Japanese whaling fleet. That should sum it up. I understand that there may be a full length album due to be released on May 25th, although only in their native Denmark I believe. This EP has to be heard and it can be downloaded from iTunes. I thank Phil for introducing me to this band and my Aimee for purchasing it from iTunes for me. 9.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

CRYOSHELL...S/T

(The Leaders Records) Reviewed 18th July 2013

The debut S/T cd by Danish Band Cryoshell has been given a worldwide release by The Leaders Records (http://www.theleaders.eu/) with the addition of two bonus tracks. And I am sure that Phil will not mind if I use the bulk of his original review that he did a while back now. The band had an unusual genesis, gorgeous singer Christine Lorentzen, keys man Mikkel Maltha and guitarist Kasper Søderlund, and they originally came together to create the music for Lego’s Bionicle, before turning into a fully fledged group. But this could not be further from the normal kid’s TV fare, Cryoshell are a full on, bona fide, powerful symphonic gothic metal band, a mix of Within Temptation, Lacuna Coil and Evanescence. Christine has a magnificent voice that reminds me of a mix of Cristina Scabbia and a rocked up Shania Twain. The huge production is by Jacob Hansen who has a list of credits that would fill this page, including Delain, Pythia, and The Storm. They set their stall out with the ultra commercial, hook laden symphonic pop metal of ‘Creeping In My Soul’ featuring a smidgen of groovy rapping, before they show their other side with ‘Bye Bye Babylon’ built around a killer eastern flavoured guitar riff. ‘Trigger’ is an immense burner with wonderful acoustic and electric guitar, followed by the pounding ‘Feed’, with another superb chorus, and the colossal, soaring, gothic ‘Closer to the Truth’, it is very difficult to believe they did the music for Lego. Next up are a brace of melodic rock/metal songs, the chiming ‘Calling’ and the emotive ‘The Room’, before they ramp it up again for the stomping headbanger ‘Come To My Heaven’. The moody dramatic ‘Murky’ has yet more fabulous keyboard motifs, and the achingly beautiful ballad ‘No More Words’, with glorious rippling piano arpeggios and lush orchestration will leave you breathless. Then there are the two bonus numbers, 'Gravity Hurts' is an awesome slower brooding number with an almighty chorus, while the poppy and very catchy 'Break Out' finishes this album - both these tracks featuring a certain Tine Midtgaard on vocals, while Christine took maternity leave. Not quite sure what the band are doing now in 2013, but this is quite simply surely one of the best debuts for years - they have the songs, the sound and the look and could make the USA their own with this record alone. I heartily recommend a visit to their You Tube, their videos are outstanding. All I can say is this remains a staggering utterly jaw dropping release - 10/10 (Reviewed by Phil, June 2010 - additional later bits added by Dave).

CRYPTIC AGE..'HOMELAND' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 17th January 2012

Cryptic Age is a band from York here in the UK and class themselves as a Folk Metal Band with dynamic female vocals, heavy guitars and traditional Celtic tunes. And if you add a progressive twist into the mix, then we have an interesting release here. This in-fact is the second Folk Metal album I have reviewed today, and like the offering from Russian band Grai, this is good. The 'Homeland' EP is heavier than the album from Russia however, Cryptic Age tending to blend the Folk elements with a more powerful style of metal, with the vocals from Jenny Green leaning more towards soprano. Some good musicianship all round here, and I can imagine Alex Brandsen really hammering his drum kit in a live scenario (mind you, he hammers it anyway). This cd is good with the track 'No Folkin' Way' (great title) an in yer face Folk Metal instrumental. Their Facebook is here, while this is a release that this UK band should be rather proud of, and it is well worth checking out...8.25/10 (Dave)

CRYPTIC AGE...'SOUNDS OF INFINITY'

(Self Release) Reviewed 2nd April 2013

Cryptic Age were founded in the Viking city of Jorvik in 2010, and appropriately their music is inspired by the tales of yore and the hoards from the north. They describe themselves as folk metal which conjures up terrifying images of hairy berserkers screaming, brain numbing umpah umpah, and those infernal accordions parping away, the sort of cacophony that has me losing the will to live after 10 minutes, and longing for the Valkyries to take me to Valhalla. However, thank Odin, they are far closer to the folk and progressive tinged symphonic metal of bands like Whispering Wood, Whispering Tales, Materdea and Lyriel, with a touch of Horslips and Renaissance. Their sound rumbles and thunders like a marauding raiding party down the gangplank, with Jenny Green's truly remarkable high siren like voice, that reminds me of Annie Haslam, floating airily above the melee of Hallam's guitars, Jenny's keys, Tom's booming bass and Alex's drums that sound like the mass beating of shields, supported by their own Cryptic Choir and Orchestra, to create a suitably mighty onslaught with loads of terrific musical escapades. After the atmospheric scene setting intro 'Sheean Ny Fearnid', come a quartet of songs that would be perfect for a feast, with foaming jugs of ale and mean, and tall tales of heroic daring do, “Stoke the fires and raise the barrels high, Guests have arrived and they're here to stay! This is the tale of the horsemen of the vale, The last men alive and the land's brigade!” ( Norsemen of the Vale). The plaintive folk ballad 'Sea Invocation' based on an ancient Manx tune brings some calm to the proceedings before you gird your loins for the four part epic 'Sounds of Infinity' which gives the band plenty of room to brandish their brilliant musicianship. Crytic Age have produced an enormously impressive, adventurous and enjoyable romp with moments of beauty and brutality that provides the perfect soundtrack for some serious battleaxe wielding. Set sail, leave no man alive, and sack their web shop at their website here, a marauding 8.75/10 (Phil)

CRYSALYS..'THE AWAKENING OF GAIA'

(Wormholedeath-Dreamcell 11/Aural Music) Reviewed 18th August 2011

Surrounded by a magnificent modern metal scenery, a theatrical soprano goes back to the roots of Italian Opera Lirica, and leads us through this wonderful Post-Opera masterpiece. The Awakening has begun. Well it sure did when this five piece got picked up by Wormholedeath-Dreamcell 11/Aural Music, and as a consequence, the band are about to unleash upon the public this 10 track Metal Symphonic/Operatic epic. The emphasis here is on the vocals of Chiara Malvestiti. Her vocals are characterised by a great flexibility in high-lying velocity passages, yet with great sustaining power comparable to that of a full spinto or dramatic soprano, and by an expressive timbre combined (in metal music) with a sweet and brilliant modern voice. Every track on here displays musicianship of the highest calibre, with obvious comparisons being made to Tarja era Nightwish. I would go as far as to say that Chiara betters Tarja within this style of music. Opener, 'The Awakening of Gaia' (with lyrics based on Earth, Air, Water and Fire) gives us a pretty good indication as to what to expect, and gives us in an instant the kind of vocals Chiara has to offer the discerning listener. And when not in operatic mode, which is very rare on this record, she kinda reminds me a little of Floor Jansen. The whole package here is quite amazing, and I would suggest visiting the band's Facebook page. This comes highly recommended when it gets released on 23rd Sept..9/10 (Dave)

CRYSTAL VIPER ...'CRIMEN EXCEPTA'

(AFM Records) Reviewed 13th April 2012

Crystal Viper is a Female Fronted Traditional Heavy Metal act from Poland, founded in 2003 and led by the singer & guitarist Marta Gabriel. After doing 3 full length studio albums, several single and EP releases and appearing on a bunch of compilations, the band managed to establish their position on the underground music scene. Now we have their heaviest, most dark and aggressive album - a concept effort about holy inquisition, black magic and witches, where fiction is mixed with historical facts. Having just reviewed the debut Huntress record, I suppose there is a resemblance here between the two bands, but to be perfectly honest, I much prefer this recording, which I think has a little more commercial appeal, despite the aforementioned heavy and aggressive stance. On this cd, the band has also recorded a cover version of a classic Death Metal anthem, their version of the classic Vader song 'Tyrani Piekiel' (Tyrants Of Hell) - which will be available as the bonus track on the limited edition of this record. This track also features Vader mainman Piotr "Peter" Wiwczarek, so you can hear their amazing vocal duet of Marta and Peter. How to sum up this album? Well with classic metal tracks like opener 'Witch's Mark', 'Child of the Flame', the awesome title track and 'Medicus Animarium', and then throw in the catchy 'Hope Is Gone Here's New Law', we have a heavy and dark album, but still from the old school of classic Metal. Influences of bands such as Mercyful Fate are apparent, and are mixed here with riffs that could land on some classic Iron Maiden record - and let's not forget the amazing vocals of Marta Gabriel, who sounds like the younger sister of Chastain's Leather Leone. One more thing - the additional bonus track 'Ghosts of Sherwood', a very commercial number, great stuff! Welcome to the world of CRYSTAL VIPER: a world full of Flying Vs and tube amplifiers..released 27th April! 9/10 (Dave)

CRYSTAL VIPER...'POSSESSION'

(AFM Records) Reviewed 25th November 2013

CRYSTAL VIPER is a Female Fronted Traditional Heavy Metal act from Poland. After doing 4 full length studio albums, a bunch of singles and occasional compilation releases, Crystal Viper strike back with their latest effort 'Possession'. The album is in-fact a concept album about a young girl named Julia, where the movie-like story gets an unexpected twist, and surprises the listener with every single song. The band also managed to thank their most loyal supporters and their fans in a very special way, and as a consequence invited them to take part in the recording session of the album. This in turn resulted in having more than 50 different persons sending in their "screams". This album offers up 10 tracks of scorchingly hot and thundering Heavy Metal that even includes a cover of the Riot song 'Thundersteel' as a bonus track. Yep, this is good and really enjoyable with fave tracks a plenty including the rather cool to my ears 'You Will Die You Will Burn', and confirms that Crystal Viper are a force to be reckoned with within the genre...released Dec 13th and well recommended! 8/5/10 (Dave)

CUATRO GATOS..'EL SUENO DE LA RAZON'

(Avispa) Reviewed 5th January 2011

These Spaniards, Four Jacks in English, have been around for about 10 years so it's about time we caught up with them. They have just released a semi-acoustic album called 'Me Arriesgare', but here I'm dealing with their last fully fledged release, their third CD. Their music is around Sonata Arctica with a touch of Asia and Nightwish, massive melodic metal with added bombast, power, soaring anthems and flying synths and guitars. They are lead by Juanmi Rodríguez who sounds like John Payne on steroids, ably assisted by the gorgeous Covadonga Martínez, with all lyrics in Spanish. Their style is exemplified by the awesome 'Cruce de Caminos' (video on Female Voices Blog), a song that veers towards Nightwish and Delain, big, powerful and melodic. Other faves include the driving opener 'Mañana Quizá Sea Peor', the Sonata Arctica esque 'Entre el Cielo y el Mar', the majestic symphonic 'Quiero Morir', the classic power ballad 'Lo que Hay detrás', the catchy 'Adiós', the dreamy atmospheric 'Un Brillo en el Bosque', and the coup de gras, the epic title track 'El Sueño de la Razón'. Production and sound is top notch, but Juanmi tends to drown out Covadonga and it would have been nice for her to have been given a more prominent role rather than her normal backing vocal duties. An impressive album for power and melodic metal fans that's available for download from Amazon and iTunes etc., and the CD itself comes with a DVD with various videos, their casino is at http://www.cuatrogatos.info/, a high stakes 8.5/10 (Phil)

CULT OF WHORES AND DOGS..'BRASS KNUCKLE BONDAGE AND MORGUE RULES' (EP).

(Independent Release) Reviewed 14th August 2010

North East rockers Cult Of Whores And Dogs are new kids on the block being formed in July 2009. Guitarist and songwriter Keith Baird getting together with guitarist Michael Atherton (not the cricketer!) to begin work on the band's debut release. In January 2010, the guys hooked up in the studio with session drummer Paul Tallent before full-time drummer Chris McLeod joined the band in March, soon followed by Jessica Hardy on bass and main vocals, who joined the band in May. This EP was completed in June, and I must say this is not music for the faint hearted - the three tracks on this EP showcasing very well what this band is all about, being a kinda mix of Industrial and Punk. This band looks set to give the female fronted genre a kick up the backside. Check them out at www.myspace.com/thecultofwhoresanddogs. Rather cool me thinks...8.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

CULT OF WHORES AND DOGS..'MURDER LANE'

(HTT Single) Reviewed 5th April 2012

Cult of Whores and Dogs hail from the Newcastle area, and have over the past several months become very good mates of mine. Collectively, the band list their musical influences as Cobain, Hendrix, Hetfield, Dream Theatre, Opeth, Evanesence, Marilyn Manson and The Sex Pistols, amongst many others. A musical minefield so as to speak. There was an EP in the can, but it seems the band has decided not to release this. Instead, they will release a single 'Murder Lane', that would have been one track from this EP, but there will be a video to accompany this single in due course. To anybody who may be familiar with COWAD, 'Murder Lane' is a real commercial departure from the heavy crunching and aggressive sound of their earlier EP 'Brass Knuckle Bondage and Morgue Rules'. Indeed, Jessica adopts a near operatic apparoach to proceedings on this single, which in turn sees the band taking a more Gothy route, which I think would personally appeal most certainly to the European market. 'Murder Lane' really does show what this band is capable of, and on this showing, well who knows. I like this...difficult to give one song a mark, but this band is well worth keeping an eye on. Their Facebook is here.

CURVATURE..'SUFFER IN SILENCE' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 14th December 2011

Curvature fronted by Lisa Swatton hail from Aylesbury here in the UK, and I have to say is a typical example of hard working musicians, that are striving to get themselves noticed. Matt Jones who runs the show, and is also a good friend of mine, has suffered a few setbacks in his time, his previous band VRILLION disappeared from the radar some months go, but like a boomerang, he is back, this time with this his new venture. This EP that they have sent me offers up four tracks (inc one live number) of Electro infused Gothic Metal, including a cover of Lady Gaga's 'BAD ROMANCE' that I can say from personal experience goes down a storm live. I wouldn't say there are any tracks here that immediately hit you straight between the eyes (this is a grower), but what is here is consistent, and we should certainly be watching this band in the future. Check them out here and support unsigned music....8/10 (Dave)

CURVATURE...'Be{lie}ve'

(Ravenheart Music) Reviewed 14th June 2013

Reviewing a cd on the Ravenheart label is not easy, because it is on my label, and of course I may show bias towards the band concerned. But lets do it folks! UK band Curvature is well known on the scene, I have seen them live on more than one occasion, and I have known guitarist Matt Jones for some while now. As stated rather nicely on their Facebook page, the band play a kind of Symphonic/Gothic/Synth/Pop/Metal which has a sort of commercial appeal that should entice a wide range of listeners. This four track EP serves up a taster as to what the band offers, and it is not a bad little offering from this Buckinghamshire based combo. Rather good I hasten to add, and for anybody that has already seen the band live, this is a good addition to one's cd collection, plus for anybody that wants to hear some cool synth laced Pop/Metal, this is the biz. The vocals on this EP were recorded by ex singer Lisa Swatton, but there is a new singer waiting in the wings. The band's Facebook is here ... 8.5/10 (Dave)