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DEAREST PINKY...'BLOOD & SCARS'

(Self Release) Reviewed 11th December 2012

Do not be misled by the name thinking Dave has gone all poppy, because this rather attractive American girl Dearest Pinky (Lindsay Gardner) together with her pink hair, fronts a band that delivers guitar driven melodic, progressive rock that actually pushes the borders of several genres (AOR and the like). And not only does this Boston lass offer us lead vocals, she also takes care of the rhythm and acoustic guitar, plus all the words and music with the exception of the final track (that being the work of band member Mark Dailey). The album kicks of with an atmospheric intro 'Blood Over Time', that leads into the heavier 'Slip Your Lie' that has more of a Symphonic feel to it. 'Behind The Lines Of Reason' also features vocals from her guitar teacher Mark Cherone and is a more laid back track (although it still rocks) that could filter into the mainstream if given the chance, as could next up 'Last Stop', which is a hideously catchy pop rock number. The previously mentioned Mark Cherone pops up on other numbers too, including 'Shed Your Skin', which is another tune that should be deserving of radio airplay. This is amazingly good stuff from an artist that has totally slipped my radar screens. Other cool numbers from this LP include the mid tempo rockin' 'Bleed Like Mine' (great guitar solo), the guitar orientated and progressive 'Everything Short Of Nothing', and the slower 'Smile Upon Me'. I rather like this album, and you get your monies worth as Dearest Pinky throws at us 16 songs of music citing influences as diverse as Guano Apes, Paramore, Dream Theater, The Police, Evanescence and Within Temptation. Get your teeth around that little lot. Anyway, anybody who likes their music not too heavy but still with a little ooommmph, and is into any of the above mentioned acts, this just may be for you. Dearest Pinky's Facebook is here .... 8.25/10 (Dave)

DEATHLIKE SILENCE..'SATURDAY NIGHT EVIL'

(Spinefarm) Reviewed 7th April 2010

I’ve unearthed a treat for you that is no trick, gravedigger metal from the land of the long sleep, Finland. If you think that this is going to be death metal, then you are howling up the wrong tomb, this is Nightwish meets NWOBHM (Maiden, Priest, Witchfinder, Diamond Head, Saxon, et al). The highlights of this particular monument to metal are the deep golden voice of the radiant Ms Maya and the keys of the surprisingly lively Mr. Lethargy. They even have a hearse they drive around in, when they turn up at a gig, they must give people quite a shock! You can bury yourself in eleven bone rattling melodic rock-metal tales of death and decay. There’s only space here to give you a skeleton outline, but the picks of the crypt are the Magnum like ‘Trapped in the Night’, the Keith Emerson organ fuelled ‘And You Cry’, the chugging ‘Who’s Gonna Bury Me’ and ‘The Headsman’, the anthemic ‘Dagon’ and ‘Till Death Tears Us Apart’, and the haunting ‘They’ll Eat Us’. The fright in the night is that they have dug up Mike Oldfield’s ‘Moonlight Shadow’ and reincarnated it as a rollicking rocker, a real rave from the grave. It’s on Spinefarm so there is no need to dig around for a copy, you should be able to spirit it away from the normal bodies. To be deadly serious, this is a killer album that you will be dying to get your bony hands on. 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

DEATHTINY...'IN CREEPS CLOTHING'

(STF Records) Reviewed 2nd Feb 2015

Formed in 2001, Deathtiny comes from South Germany and is fronted by Julia Mann, with male vocals compliments of guitarist Dennis Buffing. The band has a somewhat varied musical style ranging from Symphonic Metal to more extreme Death/Black Metal styles, but offering up at the same time a basketful of melody. Plenty here on this their latest release to sink your teeth into, with second track, the melodically charged 'Fly' so catchy, the tune will refuse to leave your head long after it has finished. 'Emptiness in Perfection' has an awesome synths intro before it kicks in good and proper knocking you back against your living room wall in the process. For a band that I and others here at Ravenheart have not really heard much about, this release is rather good. Julia is backed up by a fine compliment of musicians, with some awesome guitar work from Dennis. And at times, Julia reminds me of Nell (Theater of Tragedy and The Crest) in the vocal department. Not much to fault to be honest with closer 'Pain' an epic 11 + minute blockbuster. Deathtiny (www.deathtiny.com) offers up strong riff-oriented songs with pounding catchy melodies, coupled with occasional aggressive shouts. Well recommended so check them out, released last November.. 9.25/10 (The Nugget)

DECADENCE..'THE 3rd STAGE OF DECAY'

(Massacre Records) Reviewed 25th November 2008

Decadence was founded in Stockholm, Sweden in 2003. Fronted by their founder member, Kitty (Metallic Kitty) Saric, their music has evolved into what can be called Melodic Thrash Metal. And Decadence don’t just follow the known paths of the big names in the genre, but impress with melodic, old-school hooks and riffs, combined with bonechrushing growls from their front lady. And in my more aggressive moments, I like it! Absolutely worth checking out, this band is agressive and all I can say is, Angela Gossow (Arch Enemy) had better be looking over her shoulder, as Decadence are looking for world domination, and listening to this, they could well get it. Get those beers in, get those air guitars out, turn up the volume, and p**s off the neighbours! Lovely!! 7.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

DECEMBERS FALL..'AWAKENING'

(Independent Release) Reviewed January 9th 2009

December's Fall fronted by Francesca Scivetti, hail from New York and they seek to reanimate the supposed MTV generation, with lush cinematic melody, classical and ambient electronica, and edgy female driven vocals. And to an extent they suceed with this release. Kicking off with the title track, this will instantly give the listener the sort of direction they are a heading. '62606' follows, which is a short piano intro leading us into the heavy and catchy 'Falling Away'. Further catchy and mid paced/up tempo songs follow, including 'In Giving In' and the dance floor sounding 'Absence Of Yourself'. I also like the slower accoustic based stuff including 'Solitude'. The album is available from cdbaby.com so get it. 7.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

DELAIN..'LUCIDITY'

(Roadrunner Records-Netherlands) Reviewed 24th November 2006

This gothic metal opus is a project involving what can best be described as a who's who of Gothic metal! The project centres around former Within Temptation keyboard player Martjin Westerholt and relatively unknown vocalist Charlotte Wessells (pictured above right). There are also guest appearances (amongst others) by Liv Kristine (Leaves' Eyes), Sharon Den Adel (Within Temptation), Marco (Nightwish) and Ad of Epica. 'Lucidity' is an awesome slice of Gothic Metal, with keyboards a vital part of this band's structure. A very pompous album too, with 12 stunning tracks (including a bonus). Track 7, 'The Gathering' is ultra catchy, and is possibly the most accessible track on an album that is sure gonna be a winner with you gothic metalheads out there. Unfortunately, 'Lucidity' at present is only available in Holland and Belgium, and I must thank Steve at ST Records for getting this for me. 8/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

DELAIN..'APRIL RAIN'

(Roadrunner NL) Reviewed 27th April 2009

Delain’s second album, and the first to a proper band effort, the first being more of a solo project of ex Within Temptation keyboarder Martijn Westerholt. Vocalist Charlotte Wessels has really gained confidence as a singer and performer, and Nightwish bassplayer/singer Marco Heitala returns as guest vocalist on a couple of songs. The album kicks off with the title song, and this is premier league, gothic symphonic metal. After that, there is less light and shade than on the first album, the sound is a lot heavier and guitar led (the band themselves said they wanted to create a more metal album than the commercial sound of Lucidity). For me, the other stand out track is the very catchy ‘On the Other Side’, which was written by by Guus Eikens (ex Orphanage) who also wrote the superb ‘The Gathering’ on the first album. Strangely, one of the best songs, ‘Come Closer’, is only available as a bonus track on the digi-pack (normally bonus tracks are rather dodgy!). This is a quality album, and anyone who enjoys gothic metal bands like Sirenia and Epica should like this. Make sure you get the Digi-Pack for the bonus track! 9/10 (Reviewed by Phil Wooldridge)

DELAIN...'WE ARE THE OTHERS'

(Roadrunner/CNR Entertainment) Reviewed 3rd June 2012

We finally get to see Delain's 3rd album that will send fans of Female Fronted Metal all a flutter! On this little platter, the band serves up 12 tracks of awesome that I would call Pop/Metal, plus four bonus cuts of live tracks featuring the 100% live fave 'The Gathering'. Obviously me calling it 'Pop/Metal' may have some people asking as to what I am talking about. But I wouldn't call it Gothic Metal, and I honestly feel that it is Charlotte's totally wonderful and goose bumping vocal style, that adds the Pop into Metal. Some people may disagree, but what I am sure we all will agree on is that this record is mind blowingly awesome, and I beg anybody to come to me and say anything different! The cd kicks off with the riff-tastic and mighty 'Mother Machine', what a start and Charlotte's voice is as strong as ever. The Within Temptation' ish 'Electricity' follows and is a melodic number with a such a catchy chorus that it will bang around in your head long after the album has finished. The title track is another song that will refuse to leave your head - the lyrics are about the tragic and very sad case of English girl Sophie Lancaster, who was murdered in 2007 just for the way she looked. I could rattle on all day and night about the songs on this record. But what I will say is that they are catcy, heavy and intense, with every cut a standout, with 'Hit Me With Your Best Shot' being one of my faves amongst and album of faves - this particulary track being one example of the crunch of metal mixing very nicely with Charlotte's Pop vocal style, and with such a radio friendly chorus, it belies belief! 'I Want You' is a heavier number despite the piano led intro, and 'Where Is The Blood' offers up a duet - a great track with Charlotte's vocals contrasting so well with those of Fear Factory's Burton C Bell. The second half of the album continues as strongly as the first half with no let up - 'Generation Me' is an uptempo melodic masterpiece, the dynamic 'Are You Done With Me' leaves me totally speechless and 'Get The Devil Out Of Me' has been released as a single. As I said earlier, I could talk about this album for ages, but it is simply dynamite, Delain has come of age, and I am not sure how they are going to better this - mindblowing!! 10/10 (Dave)

DELAIN...'INTERLUDE'

(Napalm Records) Reviewed 15th April 2013

Dutch Symphonic Metallers DELAIN thank their loyal supporters by presenting them with a special release. 'Interlude' released 3rd May is a fantastic blend of brand-new songs, special versions & mixes of popular DELAIN tracks, covers (e.g. 'Smalltown Boy' or 'Such A Shame') and the beautiful single 'Are You Done With Me'. Thanks to the new mix, this well-known anthem shines with a new-found splendor. The new songs 'Breathe On Me' and 'Collars and Suits' are great catchy numbers that typify what Charlotte and Delain do so well, and if these songs are an example as to what the band will be releasing in the future, then I cannot wait! The covers are ace, the ballad version of 'We Are The Others' hits the spot, and the six live numbers are totally enjoyable. The album includes a special bonus DVD featuring exclusive live footage and all clips from the band’s career. 'Interlude' is not only a must for loyal DELAIN fans, but also for those who have not so far experienced the music by Charlotte Wessels and her band members. It is the perfect introduction to the world of DELAIN and the starting point to an emotional and bombastic journey! Lovely! 9/10 (Dave)

DELAIN...'THE HUMAN CONTRADICTION'

(Napalm Records) Reviewed 23rd March 2014

I have followed Delain since their conception and to be honest, since that day, I knew that there was something about this band that had the 'X Factor'. Since the day that their debut 'Lucidity' was released back in September 2006, I have followed them with utmost interest, and to be honest, not only are they a fave of mine, they are one of the rare bands that I have seen live on more than three occasions, money well spent! Here we are in 2014, and this is the band's fourth studio release (not including 'Interlude'), so how do we feel here at Ravenheart Music about this latest offering? In a nutshell - "awesome". 'Here Comes The Vultures' kicks the 9 track album off, and this is a glorious Symphonic Metal track, with 'Your Body Is A Battleground' maintaining the awesome momentum of the opener, and featuring the dolcet and recognisable tones of none other than Marco Hietala (NIGHTWISH) on guest male vocals - superb! 'Stardust' raises the hairs on the back of your neck with a massive catchy chorus, while 'My Masquerade' is another catchy number reminding me a little of Beseech! 'Tell Me, Machinist' features another guest appearance, this time from grunter George Oosthoek from ORPHANAGE, and this is one of the heavier numbers from the album, but still hideously catchy. Faves of mine (although to be frank, they are all faves) follow, 'Sing To Me' and 'Army Of Dolls', the former again sees Marco from Nightwish popping up, I just love this guy!! 'Lullaby' is another melodic pounding number, while closer 'The Tragedy Of The Commons' did make me wonder whether Guy Fawkes had finally put us out of our misery here in the UK - seriously a number featuring the guest vocals of Alissa White-Gluz (THE AGONIST and now ARCH ENEMY) and a fine way to close the LP. Charlotte Wessels is an awesome singer, although her vocal style is limited to a kinda poppy range if that makes sense. But overall, this record is a very good anthemic Symphonic Metal album with massive hooks and catchy choruses, and shows how this band has matured over the years. Great stuff from all involved including keyboardist Martijn Westerholt who drives this album along with his awesome use of keys and synths. Needless to say, this album is a must buy, period, so get it!.. 9.75/10 (Dave)

DELAIN…’LUNAR PRELUDE’

(Napalm Records) Reviewed 5th February 2016

DELAIN seem to be restless spirits: Their latest album 'The Human Contradiction' was released in 2014 and gained high praise from both fans and the press alike. The band followed up this release by touring the world with acts such as Sabaton, Within Temptation, and Nightwish, followed by a European headline tour that saw them conquering stages in sold out venues all over! Yet instead of resting on their laurels, DELAIN has hit the studio again to present a brand new epic endeavor: this exciting EP set to be released February 19th. Mastered by Grammy Award winning Ted Jensen, this EP offers two brand new songs in the shape of the ultra catchy ‘Suckerpunch‘ and the melancholic ‘Turn The Lights Out‘. ‘Don`t Let Go‘ (taken from 2014`s The Human Contradiction) comes in a brand new version and this EP also contains four incredible live cuts, as well as an orchestral reprise of ‘Suckerpunch‘, all of which proves once again how awesome DELAIN are. A near faultless release so go out and get it - Feb 19th is the date... 9/10 (Dave)

DELIA..'SPOGAD (RECOLLECTION)

(ЯОК Music) Reviewed 10th April 2010

1. Lumen (Sub ala angeli) 2. I Will Always Wait 3. Forgotten Land 4. Otrada 5. New Time 6. Dead City 7. Find Me 8. Ghost 9. Tired 10. Autumn Melody 11. Limit 12. Your Name 13. Memories 14. Illusion (Bonus Track) 15. Melodia Otonala (Bonus Track)
Delia were formed in Kiev in 2005 and are proud to use their own native Ukrainian language and Cyrillic alphabet, so I had to put the song titles through Google translate so that I could read them. I hope it’s done a good job, I apologise in advance if I’ve got something slightly wrong. This album is packed with colossal, Within Temptationesque, symphonic metal songs, full of their very own choir, orchestral keys and soaring melodies, all with a huge production sound that still manages to give everything space to breathe. The adorable Anastasia has a staggeringly massive, deep rich voice, and when it’s mixed with their dramatic language, it makes each song a truly awesome experience. Every song is a humdinger, after the impressive choral intro comes the swaying ‘I Will Always Wait’ with lovely choir, the Eastern European flavoured ‘Forgotten Land’ which made me jump out of my seat, the orchestral and dramatic ‘Otrada’, ‘New Time’ with it’s spine tingling vocals, the gorgeous and emotionally charged power ballad ‘Find Me’, the rip roaring duo ‘Ghost’ and ‘Tired’, the spellbinding, syncopated ‘Autumn Melody’, the rampaging, synth laced ‘Limit’, the delicate ballad ‘Your Name’ with gentle piano arpeggios and plaintive violin, and finally the mighty ‘Memories’. There are a couple of bonus tracks, the thumping ‘Illusion’, and ‘Melodia Otonala’ which is an alternative version of ‘Autumn Melody’. ‘Dead City’ is dedicated to the memory of the city of Pripyat, its ex-citizens, and all people who suffered as a result of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986; you can see an English language video on their Myspace site, www.myspace.com/265243721. It begins with the sound of children playing, broken by the chilling sound of sirens wailing, it really brought back the terror of that time. I found this whole album incredibly moving, one of the most beautiful listening experiences I have enjoyed since Silent Force. This is a must buy for all fans of the genre, and is available by contacting the band on delia@delia.kiev.ua , details are on their website, http://www.delia.com.ua/en/news.html 9.5/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

DELIA..'FIRE' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 13th December 2011

Ukrainian band Delia has been in existence since September 2005. Fronted by Anastasia Sverkunova, their style of music is melodic and bombastic with Anastasia's vocals offering a rich full sound, that fits the music on offer here absolutely perfectly. Three tracks on this little EP that remind me at times musically of Within Temptation. But to be honest, this is a Gothic Metal fan's wet dream...totally awe-inspiring from start to finish. It is available as a FREE download, so check out their facebook here for more info. Come on, you know you should, so what are you waiting for? ...9/10 (Dave)

DELIGHT..'BREAKING GROUND'

(Roadrunner Import/Metal Mind) Reviewed 8th Sept 2007

DELIGHT are a fave band of mine, and I have all their English language releases. They are a well establised Polish melodic metal band fronted by Paula Maslanka. 'Breaking Ground' is their 5th English language release produced by Rhys Fulber (famous for his work with FEAR FACTORY, PARADISE LOST and FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY). This cd by Delight is their first to be released solely in English. Previous cds being released in Polish aswell. Now, what about the music. 'Breaking Ground' is a very very good melodic metal release with subtle touches of electronica, offering both ballads and heavier material. There are also re workings of tracks that appeared on 'ANEW', a previous and somewhat awesome Delight album release from 2004 (worth tracking down if you can). Every track on 'Breaking Ground' is a highlight - I quite like the re working of 'EMOTUNE', this first appeared on the aforementioned 'ANEW' album. This cd is a very strong effort indeed from a band that always comes up with the goods on a consistent basis. It is just a shame that it cannot be picked up in the UK very easily. I must thank Steve at ST Records for his efforts at getting this for me. 9/10 (Reviewed by Dave).

DELUSION SQUARED..S/T

(Self Release) Reviewed 8th September 2010

This is at concept piece by this awesome band, fronted by a lass called Lorraine Young, and feat Steve Francis on guitars, drums & keys, and Emmanuel de Saint Meen on bass & keys. Briefly, in the distant future, after the great wars, most of mankind is shut up in biospheres where everything is controlled by artificial intelligences, the AI’s. The rest of the people survive outside in the polluted and desolate wastelands. Inside these ‘hives’ everything is created artificially, so when a young girl decides to have a child, she is charged and found guilty of breaking the strict genetic laws, and left beaten, drugged and abandoned on a lake shore. She is rescued by the outsiders who look after her, and over time she becomes a mother to all these disparate groups, bringing them together and forging a new future. This is very Porcupine Tree, with a hint of Ayreon (especially the concept), the band settling into a steady groove with subtle variations of tones, textures & colours, and flourishes & embellishments rather than soloing. Lorraine's unique slightly deadpan vocals melt into the music, at times they appear to be subtly treated to obtain an unusual tone, or it could be the singer’s natural voice, it is difficult to tell. Nothing is allowed to disturb the smooth, almost hypnotic, flow of the music. Although divided up into easily digested bite sized songs, it is best treated as a continuous piece of music, all beautifully recorded and performed. Puzzlingly, ‘What We Will Be’ starts with the Bakuba creationist theory done in the voice and style of Prof Stephen Hawking. I found this a mesmerising listening experience, aural hypnotherapy, the trance only broken when the last track finished. The album is easily available from their website, http://www.delusionsquared.com/ and CD Baby. This has the makings of a prog classic, 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Phil, and edited by Aimee).

DELUSION SQUARED..'II'

(Self Release) Reviewed 29th February 2012

This French trio of vocalist Lorraine Young, guitarist, keyboardist and drummer Steven Francis and bassist/keyboardist Emmanuel de Saint Meen are proud to present the eagerly awaited sequel to their début. In the first instalment we heard how The Mother was a woman who had broken free of the virtual reality life created by the AI's (Artificial Intelligences) and had re-established human civilisation on the planet. In this second we discover how over the centuries a religion had grown up based on her, but it was a faith that had distorted her message, twisted her legend, and contained many misconceptions, including the false belief that she had forced the AI's to go, when in fact they had simply left to explore the universe. By mistake someone triggers one of the machines left behind by the AI's which recreates an army that is intent on destroying the humans and re-establishing AI rule. This army includes a clone of the original Mother who at first has no memory of her later life, but she slowly begins to get flashbacks. The people call her The Usurper and she is caught and put on trial, but what will be the consequences? Their music is as engrossing as the story, although in nine easily digested songs, it is best heard as a complete listening experience. There are comparisons with modern prog bands like Porcupine Tree and Ayreon, but I can also hear the likes of Patrick Moraz, Vangelis, Yes, Camel and Absolute Elsewhere in the mix. They have matured as a band and this is a more rounded and diverse album with a lovely balance of songs, like the driving rocking 'Double Visions', the syncopated 'Recipe For Disaster, the ballad 'Veridical Paradox', and the dramatic bluesy 'Revelation'. Lorraine has a calm effortless angelic voice, the very embodiment of the purity, gentleness and kindness of The Mother. Musicianship is exemplary, they are more concerned with mood and melody than flash showing off, and the synth sounds are awesome with lots of very distinctive atmospheric effects and faultless production. Although their music and lyrics are artistic, intelligent, thought provoking and adventurous, this is a highly accessible, easy to listen to and very melodic album with no weirdness, just great atmosphere. They await your listening pleasure at their website here, an engrossing 9/10 (Phil)

DELUSION SQUARED...'THE FINAL DELUSION'

(Self Release) Reviewed 6th June 2014

Delusion Squared is a French Progressive Rock Band formed in 2009. After an eponymic debut album released in 2010, followed by the well received sequel simply titled 'II', the band has released a stunning album to complete the trilogy. Titled 'The Final Delusion', this 70+ minute concept album is set in the recent 20th century past, offering music ranging from ambient atmospheres to metal-prog rage with sweet and at times a dark vocal vibe. From what I understand, we are in a post-apocalyptical world where our heroine (who speaks to us through the lyrics) has defied the artificial intelligence agents who run the Inner World by giving birth to a natural child. This results in the child being killed and her being banished to the outside world where she is adopted by the outsiders and eventually becomes their spiritual guide. Influenced by such bands as Pink Floyd, Anathema and Porcupine tree, this release is rather good. The record is split into four sections - 'Ordeal', 'Awareness', 'Deliverance' and 'Surrender', offering up thirteen tracks in total. The album starts with the rather commercial sounding instrumental 'The Same River Thrice' which segues into 'Diaspora', which immediately showcases the very nice style of vocalist Lorraine Young. There are further awesome offerings on this very consistent release like 'Devil Inside', the atmospheric and magical sounding 'Last Day Of Sun', 'Prisoner's Dilemma' and the closer 'Deuce In Machina'. I find throughout the record the vocals of Lorraine rather innocent sounding and I like that style. Having lived with this album for a while, my enjoyment comes from listening to the music here via headphones, and that seemed to compliment my listening experience. Delusion Squared wrote all the lyrics helped by a Steve Hill, who is a great guy by helping to correct a bit of English and advising on pronunciation. Despite the title and the comment on their Facebook page (www.facebook.com/pages/Delusion-Squared/128476157279) that "everything must come to an end", this I assume is not the end of the band, just the end of the album trilogy. Indeed, it should be the start of something big! Well recommended by Team Ravenheart.... 9/10 (Dave)

DEMIST...'GUILT and PLEASURES'

(Self Release) Reviewed 14th July 2015

There are Symphonic Metal recordings that are damn good, and there are some that are damn excellent. Let us just say that this record slips into the latter category. Demist is a Gothic Symphonic Metal band from Belgrade, fronted by Dragica Maletic (and with a bassist that looks like a wrestler). They throw at the discerning listener 10 tracks of awesome Symphonic Metal. There is little to fault on the album as it all pounds along rather nicely thank you, and will sure appeal to fans of this style of music, no doubt about that. There are some great songs on this album and they are too numerous to mention. So let me just cut to the chase - check out their website at www.demistband.com/news/ and track the album down. Rather cool and well recommended... 9/10 (The Nugget)

DENIA..'NO LIFE AFTER LOVE'

(Hardleywood Records) Reviewed 22nd August 2010

Denia is a side project to the band No Life After Love (not to be confused with the album title) formed by Spanish multi-instrumentalist Joey Denia, with Maria Jose Erena and Mario Infantes on vocals. You get 18 songs and 80 minutes of music shoehorned into this album, so it’s time for a run through …….. only joking, I’d still be here at Xmas. Suffice to say, most of it is highly melodic, rather catchy, gothic rock, a sort of lighter, more poppy, Delain/Sirenia/Lacuna Coil with a keyboard virtuoso, a touch of prog, and Bananarama on vocals. However, a few tracks are marred by dreadful, tuneless, inappropriate and painful growls by Mario; it is totally out of place, like having Dani Filth bellowing on a Spice Girls record. The drum machine snare sound used throughout is also an acquired taste. This is something of a flawed gem, without Mario (or with a decent growler) and with a skilled drummer, this could be something very special indeed. Even as it is, there is so much to enjoy, there are lots of great tunes on here, and Joey is a highly talented songwriter and musician, especially on keyboards. It is available for download from their Myspace, www.myspace.com/denianolifeafterlove, which means you can cherry pick your favourite dozen or so tracks, giving 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

DESDEMON..'THE AWAKENING' Five track EP

(Independent Release) Reviewed 13th January 2011

Hailing from the seemingly dormant NYC metal scene is the female fronted symphonic metal band DesDemon, featuring Mistress Tina on Vocals and the mysteriously named Lord Metadox on Guitar. The group is based upon a dark and twisted tale of a woman’s fall from grace, and her evolution to a darker side of life. Musically these tales are expressed through a darkly splendid array of metal elements. Indeed, you’ll hear elements of traditional metal with a modern approach on this 35 minute plus EP, with the blend of the band's collective influences creating a beautifully devious sound, that is heavier than most of the female fronted acts out there today. The opener 'The Aquiescence of Illusion' for example is a great Melodic Power Metal track showcasing Mistress Tina's vocal style very well. 'A Soul In Exile' slows things down a touch being a track that starts slow and builds into an awesome crescendo. 'Lago' ups the tempo again whilst the epic 11 minute plus and very powerful 'In The Absence Of Light', closes what to me is a totally excellent slab of symphonic melodic metal, with great musicianship and great vocals that range from classic opera soprano, to a more mid ranged rock vocal style! Meanwhile, the band are preparing for their first full length release this year, which will include guest musicians Sander Gommans (After Forever, HDK), Amanda Somerville (Kiske/ Somerville, Epica, Kamelot), Mike Vescera (Loudness, Obsession, Yngwie Malmsteen), Joe Stump (Holy Hell, Reign of Terror, MVP). This EP is sure worth checking out and after having had a sneak preview of some of their forthcoming album tracks (pre production), they suggest to me that there is something pretty awesome in the pipeline. Check out www.myspace.com/desdemon, while this is a worthy 8.75/10 (Dave)

DESDEMONA...'ENDORPHINS'

(Danse Macabre/Alive) Reviewed 6th July 2012

DESDEMONA is considered one of most popular dark alternative acts in Poland. The band has recorded 3 albums and in 2008, started work on this, their 4th. However, in October of that year the band announced their split up with the lead singer Agata Pawłowicz. The band seeked a change in musical direction and it seemed that Agata was not fond of those changes. So in stepped AGNIESZKA LEŚNA, and she is the current front voice of the band. The band on this release give us 10 tracks of Electro infused Rock and Metal, kinda like a female fronted Apoptygma Berzerk or VNV Nation. Indeed, the band has already opened for VNV Nation in December 2009 in Warsaw. The opening salvo of 'Bring In All' and 'Desdream' show the direction this band is taking musically, and myself being a fan of the above mentioned acts, I do admit that although not to everybody's liking, I myself do like this style of music. 'Poison' is a slower number, with Agnieszka's vocals taking on a rather more seductive tone! The pounding 'Jealous Sky' ups the tempo yet again, and a lot of these numbers would go down well in clubland. The pace does not really let up through numbers like 'Devil's Game', the slower 'Sorrow' and one of my album faves, the foot stomping 'Let's Play Love'. I can see remixes of most if not all of these tracks coming along through the months that follow - the lead single 'Bring In All' has already seen various remixes. For anybody into the Electro/Darkwave scene, this album is well worth checking out. Impressive stuff... 8.5/10 (Dave)

DESIDERIA..'END THE CURSE'

(Self Release) Reviewed 26th July 2011

Desideria hail from France, and their style of music falls into the Black Metal/Death Metal category and possible Gothic Metal too. They began in 2010 and the main vocal duties are shared between the extreme vocals of Pascal A and the angelic vocals of Mylene A. Okay, let's get something straight, this is heavy, this is dark, and it will not be to everybody's liking. But the music on the album is well done and deserves recognition from fans of the genre. 'Dragon Bravest Blizzard' kicks things off and as the title suggests, captures the feel of dragons and the like. And this song showcases very well the dual vocals of Pascal A and Mylene A. And if that number hasn't got you running behind the sofa to hide, then 'Another Dimension' will come roaring out of the speakers to deliver a punch like you have never had before. After a brief quiet synths intro on this track, we have the brutality of Pascal's singing coupled with the angelic tone of Mylene's. Lovely stuff. The album continues in a similar vein with further highlights being the headbanging but equally melodic 'Island of Death', the catchy 8+ minute 'Hellcorrespondence.com' and another 8 minute plus epic that is'Excalibur'. The band with this rehereleherease has created melodic riffs connected to rhythms that are sometimes sharp and sometimes violent, a sensitive and sensual woman's voice, united with a raging male voice, emotional lyrics combined with somewhat cruel words. If Melodic but rather Dark Death Metal is up your alleyway, this is sure worth checking out, their facebook is here and the record is worthy of 8.5/10 (Dave)

DESTINY POTATO...'LUN'

(Self Released) Reviewed 17th June 2014

The name Destiny Potato had me intrigued. I picked up on the band when I saw mention of them on Facebook (social networking can work), and I felt I needed to find out more and have a listen. The name of this Belgrade based band suggests a Prog Rock Fest of music, but to be honest, although the Prog influences are there throughout the 12 tracks on this release, there is also a fair dose of what I would call Pop/Metal with potential crossover mainstream appeal. This is possibly helped along by the Poppy vocal style of the awesome Alexandra Djelmasm, but she can scream when she wants too as well. Kicking things off with 'The Build Up', this in turn builds up rather nicely into the track 'Indifferent' - a great mid tempo chorus. 'Take A Picture' is a heavy Metallic number although throughout, Alexandra maintains her innocent poppy style. 'Machine' is a low key rather short track reminisent to my ears of Pink Floyd, while 'Love Song' has a Middle Eastern feel at the start, turning into a kick ass tune with a Progressive feel and a poppy chorus. 'Lunatic' is a quirky track with another catchy chorus while 'Walls Of Thought' is a slower number (initially anyway) with again that kinda crossover appeal coupled with yet another foot tapping chorus. Little here to fault so far and the great music continues - further awesome tracks including numbers like 'Blue Sun', one of my faves 'U.Y.M' and another fave of mine, the slower brooding 'House Of Lies', closing with the epic 7+ minute 'Addict'. From what I understand, Destiny Potato has attracted attention from Century Media (the sound of the band at times similar to Century Media stalwarts In This Moment) but chose to go indie with this album. Label support or not, this is good! Their Facebook is here...8.75/10 (Dave)

DEVA.. 'BETWEEN LIFE AND DREAMS'

(RNC Music / Orion’s Belt Records ) Reviewed 8th May 2010

Beautiful Beatrice Palumbo, a bona fide, classically trained opera diva, and guitarist/composer Federico Salerno created the concept behind Deva, to forge a unique union between classical music and progressive metal, which would appeal to fans of artists as diverse as Nightwish (metal), Dream Theatre (prog), and Katherine Jenkins (female opera). The multifaceted songs swirl between soft and heavy, light and shade, with their influences coming from other bands that also have a classical element in their music. At their most gentle, Renaissance springs to mind, especially with the lovely Myriam Stallone’s John Camp like grunting bass, together with a touch of Kate Bush, while at their heaviest bands like Therion and Epica are reference points, but with more emphasis on the four musicians rather than orchestral bombast. Their more prog moments recall a heavier Yes, Focus and Genesis, with excellent soloing from Federico and synthesist Marco Castiglione, but thankfully no noodling. They also remind me at times of Streams of Passion, Edenbridge and in particular Diablo Swing Orchestra, but without the craziness and Beatrice’s voice is a lot softer and easier on the ear than Annlouice’s, who can get a bit shrill. They are not as heavy and technical as Dream Theatre, but that is the beauty of female fronted metal, the triumph of melody over muscle. It is unfair to pick out faves, all the songs have so much to commend them, but I will mention the sublime chorus of ‘Your Voice’, the Renaissance-esque opening and awesome climax of ‘Out in Fog’, the dreamy delicate ‘Fading From Here’ that gradually grows in power, I love it when a band gets into a groove and takes flight, and the incredible four part ‘Karma’ suite that is simply breathtaking. That the musicianship is top drawer is a given, I must also mention Thomas D’Alba’s skilled drumming, and the production by the band is equally impressive, everything superbly recorded and mixed with crystal clarity. There is so much packed into each song that this is a real grower, every listen revealing a fresh nuance. Recommended.. 9/10 (Reviewed by Phil).

SARAH JEZEBEL DEVA..'THE CORRUPTION OF MERCY'

(Listenable Records) Reviewed 24th June 2011

Angtoria's 2006 album 'God Has A Plan For Us All' is quite simply one of the greatest symphonic gothic albums of all time, and fans have been waiting a long time for a follow up. Sarah's début solo album, last years 'Sign of Sublime', was a massive disappointment, which she has admitted, however she says “in our eyes, this album should have been the first CD released under the Sarah Jezebel Deva name and we feel it's totally on par with Angtoria”. So it is with some trepidation and anticipation with which I approach this album. Her day job is backing singer with those merchants of murder Cradle of Filth, although she's never been a full member, where she uses an operatic voice, however here as in Angtoria she uses her full rich deep powerful rock voice. The biggest difference from her début are the colossal orchestrations by Pzy Clone, from the band Kovenant, which turn the songs into a more thrashing and bombastic but less catchy and melodic version of Angtoria, you could say Angtoria as played by an extreme metal band. Opener 'No Paragon of Virtue' throws the kitchen sink at you plus the washing machine and the dishwasher, songs like 'World Won't Hold You Hand' almost head towards Nightwish territory, while 'A Matter of Convenience' and title track 'The Corruption of Mercy' are perhaps more like Angtoria. Stand-out track is the piano and voice 'Pretty With Effects' which could easily take its place on 'God Has A Plan For Us All'. There are two major problems however. Sometimes there is a messy clash between Sara's gothic songs and the thrashing band with some dreadful over drumming that gets rather wearisome caused by a hyper-active death metal drummer attempting something outside his genre and abilities, quite why he's double peddling during the atmospheric beginning of 'The Eyes That Lie' goodness only knows. Secondly, it has one of the most appalling and deplorable album covers of all time outside extreme metal, which intends to shock, it's so bad it comes in a slipcase to cover it up, I suggest you keep it on. Although not nearly as good as Angtoria it is a massive improvement on her solo début, and if you fancy something midway between Angtoria and a more symphonic gothic Cradle of Filth with the Dani Filth taken out then you will enjoy this. For her website, click here, and as for the score I have to take something off for the cover making me feel sick and the drummer getting on my nerves, so a mixed 7.5/10 (Phil)

DEVILS GIFT..S/T

(Tiefdruck-Musik Hamburg) Reviewed 29th August 2009

The European version of this cd was in-fact reviewed in October last year, but I have posted the review again, as I understand it is to become readily available on October 6th in the USA. Anyway, I have been a fan of New York born Lennon Murphy from the very start (her debut '5.30 Saturday Morning' being released in 2001 on Arista), and I have most if not all of her releases. So I was rather keen to get my grubby paws on this release by Devil's Gift, a band project fronted by this talented young lass. And indeed, if you are looking for aggressive guitars and one rather hot femme vocalist, then look no further. Devil's Gift quite simply kick ass, so if your expecting Evanescence, then you are reading the wrong review and I suggest you move on. This album is awesome metal of the highest calibre, with some totally mind blowing tunes on offer..check out the intense and catchy 'Shadow Never Ending', the melodic 'Damned Angels', 'Sacrifice', 'All That Is Left' and 'Nobody'. Lennon Murphy even giving Angela Gossow a run for her money on the odd occasion - check out 'Final Words' for such proof. This album is intense, it's hard and it's melodic, with a powerful production by Jason Suecof (Trivium, Daath, Black Dahlia Murder etc.- he also plays many of the instruments on this cd). Totally mind blowing stuff! 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

DHARMA...'DHARMAGEDDON'

(Hammer-Nail Records) Reviewed 27th September 2012

Dharma was founded in January 2007 in Budapest and to be perfectly honest, they have produced a rather good album in the interestingly titled 'Dharmageddon'. This is indeed their 2nd full length album with 2 EPs also in the can. Their music is a mix of Gothic Metal and Hard Rock with an electro undercurrent running through the music, and rather good it is too. There are ten tracks on this offering, all very uptempo and melodic with some terrific foot stomping stuff to boot. Vocally, the band's leading lady Ani Ritzel's poppy style (this is her first album with the band by the way) reminds me of someone but I just cannot think who, while musically the band do strike up resemblances to Theatre of Tragedy when TOT went through their Electro/Rock faze, and possibly Asrai too. The album runs in at 38 minutes, and perhaps could have done with a couple more numbers, but what we have here are all killer with no filler. Listening to the album, you would not get the impression they are Hungarian, but no matter where they are from, I must highly recommend this record too all and sundry. Check the band out here, while I am inspired to award a 8.75/10 (Dave)

DHYAMARA..'GOVANATH'

(Independent Release) Reviewed 20th January 2010

I love it when something shows up in the mail, knowing that the music on offer is going to be...shall we say rather awesome. Dhyamara hail from Italy, which is proving to be a hotbed of rock and metal music at the moment. 'Govanath' I would put into the gothic/electronica/ambient mold, and a damn fine effort it is too. Ninfa provides the vocals, a kinda laid back and at times operatic style, while Luca deals with synths, samples and programming. All four tracks on this little ep strike a chord with me, with the title track being a fave - a rather awesome and very atmospheric offering. The band are planning a full length 10 track album in due course, and I am sure the album will be well worth looking out for in the future. Check Dhyamara out at www.myspace.com/dhyamara and then buy the EP! 8/10 (Reviewed by Dave)