Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Ravenheart Archives: Archived

Reviews D cont (2)


(Candlelight Records) Reviewed 13th Oct 2007

Here is something a little unusual! The Diablo Swing Orchestra are a six piece from Sweden, with main vocal duties delegated to Annlouice Loeglund, and occasional male vocal duties by Daniel Hakansson. Not perhaps your conventional metal, but this release sure is original. Just listen to opener 'Balrog Boogie' for confirmation. And if that wetted your appetite, then 'Heroines' continues the excellent start. And with track titles like 'Poetic Pitbull Revelations', 'Ragdoll Psychics', 'Gunpowder Chant' and 'Wedding March For A Bullet', 'The Butcher's Ballroom' should hold your interest throughout. I was a Sparks fan in their 70's heyday, and I tell you what, some of the music on offer here reminds me of the sort of thing Sparks may have released. The Diablo Swing Orchestra sure are original, no doubting that, with styles ranging from Swing and Jazz through to Mexican Mariachi-style, and taking in about everything in between, including Middle Eastern and classical elements. They effortlessly meld these influences, with a hard biting melodic metal sensibility. Oh, I like the operatic vocals too. Perhaps for the more open minded of you out there, but variety is the spice of life I say, so I highly recommend it. 8/10 (Reviewed by Dave).


(Ascendance Records) Reviewed 21st August 2009

The Diablo Swing Orchestra dates back to 1501 (it's true - a few line up changes along the way I hasten to add!!) where Swedish history tells the tale of an orchestra that played like no other. And I reviewed their debut cd, 'The Butcher's Ballroom' back in October 2007, and I was very pleasantly surprised by the music on offer on that record, like a band that played like no other I had heard before:) Now we fast forward nearly two years, and yay, here is their second release, with the zany title 'Sing Along Songs for the Damned and Delirious'. Again, vocal duties are shared between Annlouice Wolgers and Daniel Håkansson. And like their previous release, this is not a record for the all out metal fan, but some of the tracks here do rock - 'Lucy Fears The Morning Star' and 'New World Widows' as great examples. I just love the way this band combine rock/metal/opera/swing and jazz (to name just five genres!!) to create some awesome and hideously catchy music. I stated in my review of 'The Butcher's Ballroom', that certain parts of their music reminded me of the pop/rock band Sparks. This applies to this release aswell. Totally and absolutely zany, and I love it. Other tracks that I adore and that made me smile at the same time include 'Bedlam Sticks' and 'Siberian Love Affairs'. I would also just add that final track 'Stratosphere Serenade' is possibly one of my faves on the album - great stuff. Buy this cd when it gets released on the 21st September, tap your feet and enjoy. It is refreshingly different and I love it!...9/10 (Reviewed by Dave).


(Candlelight Records) Reviewed 9th May 2012

Put on your dancing shoes and don your tux as the zany Swedes invite you to sashay your way onto the dance floor for their third outing of Balrog Boogie. They have now expanded to include a brass section with added strings as well, to create a true rock / metal / swing / mariachi big band that is like nothing on earth, a sort of James Last / Herb Albert / George Melly / Ennio Morricone / Muse / Nightwish mash up. Annlouice has toned down her voice for this new one, more 40's screen siren than opera diva, although she does enjoy a couple of full Brunhilda moments, and Daniel does sounds rather like Matthew Bellamy. Their Pandora's Piñata of devilish delights opens with the quickstep 'Voodoo Mon Amour', if it doesn't get you cutting a rug, then you must be 6ft under, or as the Mask would say, it's “ssssssssmokin'!”. 'Guerilla Laments' sees them in full carnival mariachi mode, followed by the super swing waltz 'Kevlar Sweethearts'. A brief moment of Johannes's mournful cello in 'How to Organize a Lynch Mob' (where do they get these titles?) segues into the surf boogie of 'Black Box Messiah' with some Pinky and Perky / Chipmunks wacky vocals. The next song 'Exit Strategy of a Wrecking Ball' is incredible, something like a souped-up mix-up of 'Supermassive Black Hole' and 'Always On My Mind'. 'Aurora' showcases Annlouice in a operatic symphonic classical ballad that's amazingly inventive, then they are off to Bollywood with 'Mass Rapture' complete with sitar, followed by the almost Jamiroquai esque swinging jazz funk 'Honey Trap Aftermath'. 'Of Kali Ma Calibre' is like something out of Carmen as done by Tim Burton, and the final orchestral epic 'Justice for Saint Mary' is probably the finest and most adventurous song they're ever recorded. These guys don't fool about when it comes to recording and performing to the highest professional standards, including drumming by former Therion stick man Petter Karlsson. This is certainly their most consistently well executed and ingenious album so far, putting everything they do well into one easy to open Pandora's Piñata, so waltz you way to their ballroom, a ssssssssmokin' 9.5/10 (Phil)


(Metal Blade) Reviewed 6th June 2010

This debut album from Diabulus has had a long two year gestation, it was originally recorded by top studio guru Inaki Llarena back in 2008, but they felt that the sound was too heavy, with the top classical talent they had enlisted buried in the mix. So they asked Epica’s former guitarist Ad Sluijter for his help, and he duly volunteered to remix the CD himself, and a jolly good job he has done I must say. Ad had jumped the Epica ship as it headed into extreme waters, so it is perhaps no surprise that the closest parallel here is early Epica. This is a game of two halves (it is the World Cup after all). After a brief intro comes the five best tunes – catchy, commercial, melodic and groovy, but with heavier passages and a bit of growling to remind you that they are a metal band. Key features are the wonderful choir and Zuberoa Aznarez’s glorious semi operatic voice, a softer version of Simone Simons. Epica had Tony Blair, Diabulus have trumped this with an appearance by Barack Obama on ‘New Era’, I didn’t know that one of the most powerful men on the planet is a metalhead. The half time entertainment is provided by the beautiful piano and voice ballad ‘Lonely Soul’ and the brief plaintive violin instrumental ‘The Seventh Gate’, it is lovely to have these interludes to stop you ears getting metal fatigue, an example other bands should follow. The second half is a different beast, or should I say beauty and the beast as it has a couple of growlers. The songs are darker and heavier, the notable exception being the melodic ‘Under the Shadow of a Butterfly’, and it ends with the everything including the kitchen sink ‘St. Michael’s Nightmare’. The first half is a worthy follow up to Epica’s ‘Consign to Oblivion’, however some songs in the second half will divide opinion, for heavy fans these will be their favourite tunes, while light fans will be reaching for the skip button on a couple of occasions. Their Myspace is and the secret is out at all good stockists. Ignoring the three heavier, more controversial numbers, there are still 8 cracking tunes, so it’s well worth 9/10 (Reviewed by Phil)


(Napalm Records) Reviewed 15th February 2012

With their latest 12 track album, the Spanish quintet proves that impressive gothic metal need not hail from Scandinavia. The musicians revolving around vocalist Zuberoa Aznárez, have refined the trademark sound first heard on their debut album 'Secrets', and brought their latest work to a whole new level. Diabulus in Musica unite heavy riffs with sensual melodies and appealing refrains. The backbone of the band is its powerful rhythm section, and most importantly a drummer who knows how to properly embellish songs with the finest of details. The guitars and keyboards build upon this sturdy foundation to reveal the band's strength: uniting musical prowess with irrefutable appeal. This desirable concoction becomes most apparent on tracks such as 'Blazing a Trail', 'Hidden Reality', and 'Sentenced to Life'. 'Ex Nihilo' is one of the more catchy numbers that springs to mind, while the album offers occasional harsh vocals from Adrian M. Vallejo and Gorka Elso, and some great choral backing that reminds me to an extent of Sirenia. Indeed the album at times reminds me of latter day Sirenia with catchy and melodic numbers coming to the fore. Even the heavy 'Shadow of the Throne' that fully utilises the extreme vocal formula, comes across really well with it's choral backing, while 'Sentenced To Life' is a particulary good and rather atmospheric ballad. This latest offering from this band is not a mere collection of songs, but rather a passionate and sweeping gothic metal album that will mesmerize the listener from beginning to end. On this showing, these Spaniards are proving to the world that they are wanting to be up there with the top guns. Whether they can do it with this release remains to be seen, but I am convinced that great things will beckon for them if not now, certainly in the future, especially with the Napalm stable now backing them. Highly recommended! 9/10 (Dave)


(Napalm) Reviewed 1st April 2014

Get ready for Symphonic Metal filled with emotion and magic! This Spanish Metal crew throw at us their third release, and like a good wine, they get better with age. Let's cut to the chase shall we, and I firstly should say that bands like Epica and maybe Sirenia had better watch out! After an atmospheric opener 'Et Resurrexit (Libera Me)', the band hurl at us 'From The Embers' which not only features the angelic vocals of founding member Zuberoa Aznárez, we have the grunts of Gorka Elso. But if you thought that the whole album was going to offer a beauty & beast style, that is not the case as any grunts and growls are kept to a minimum on this album. So early in the record, one of my faves comes to the fore, the track 'Inner Force', a catchy commercial number making good use of choir and keys, the keys giving the track a near electro feel. Next we have the splendid Symphonic arrangements of 'Furia de Libertad' featuring Ailyn from Sirenia. The awesome music continues with tracks like the Folk like 'Maitagarri' with further awesome choral arrangements, the thumping 'Spoilt Vampire' featuring the grunts of Gorka, the rather nice ballad 'Eternal Breeze' and 'Encounter At Chronos' Maze' featuring Thomas Vikstrom, best known for his work with Candlemass and Stormwind. 'Argia' is a testament to DIABULUS IN MUSICA‘s extraordinary ability to merge metallic heaviness with symphonic catchiness - well recommended!.... 9.25/10 (Dave)


(Self released Single) Reviewed 14th October 2011

A fresh innocent number we have here from this 15 year old lass from Hollywood, who delivers a sound that is being described as a cross between a modern day Pat Benetar and Alanis Morissette, perhaps I think with a little touch of Avril Lavigne thrown into the mix. 'Impossible' is a catchy 3+ minute song that will bang around in your head well after the song has finished. This is edgy Pop/Rock and I like it from a lass that is currently taking LA by storm. I can't really score one track, but I pride myself here at Ravenheart Music by enjoying a broad range of music, and this is cool! (Dave)


(Self Release) Reviewed 2nd February 2011

Diary of Destruction is a melodic metal band from Lille in France, formed at the end of 2007 with the meeting of 4 friends coming from different musical horizons. Fronted by Audrey Ebrotie, the rather haunting intro, the title track 'Outside The Shade' gets the cd underway, being followed by 'Without Beauty'. An awesome Gothic Metal track showcasing Audrey's angelic but not overly operatic vocal style. 'Men Blunder' was featured on a demo that was released in January 2009. The track here is a new edit, and is quite a catchy offering subtle grunts in the process, as do some of the other numbers here. 'Storm' is a heavy offering with a progressive undercurrent, but still with the band's distinctive catchy style, that I am finding rather infectious. 'Unbreakable' is next up, possibly one of the least commercial sounding tracks on the EP but damn good nonetheless. Closer, the pulsating 'The Other Side' finishes this rather impressive record. The EP allies powerful and intoxicating singing to incisive riffs sublimated by gothic tones, and from what I understand, has been well received in their native country. Check the band out at Diary of Destruction and I would not hesitate in recommending this to fans of the genre...8.5/10 (Dave)


(Parole Records/Renaissance Records) Reviewed 22nd June 2008

Die So Fluid are British and if I had my way will domimate the world! 'Not Everybody Gets A Happy Ending' is their second release and it fuses together pop sensibilities, hard hitting metal, mixed up with a real punk attitude, which in turn creates an awesome commercial sound. 'Gang Of One' and 'Test Confessional' kick the cd off, being heavy, melodic and showing loadsa attitude. 'Existential Baby' has a real rocking vibe, with Grogs vocals top notch for this style of music, while 'The Kiss And The Kick' carries on the high standard of musicianship on this cd. I have listened to the album a few times now, and I am having trouble finding anything to fault. Production is top notch, while further fave tracks have to be 'Vorvolaka' - a great catchy song, the punk/metal track 'Something To Say', 'Throw You Away' and the title track.! 'Not Everybody Gets A Happy Ending' is a great metal record with a punk attitude. Buy it! 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)


(DR2 Records) Reviewed 2nd July 2010

Die So Fluid, a threesome fronted by the deliciously named Grog (she is also the bassist by the way) is from London, and can best be described as an alternative rock band, offering a mix of goth, mainstream rock and grunge, all added with a kinda punk attitude. This I understand is their third release, and is another good offering from this band. 'Figurine' opens this record and is blaster of a track. 'Mercury' is another powerful offering with a catchy chorus to boot. However, the album I fear does lose it's way on the odd occasion, but having said that, it seems to get better on subsequent listens - always the sign of a good album I think. Other tracks worth checking out are 'Storm', the awesome title track, 'Raven' and 'What a Heart Is For'. This record should be fairly easy to obtain from the normal retail outlets or the internet. Cool!! 8/10 (Reviewed by Dave)


(Napalm Records) Reviewed 3rd November 2006

I will hold my hands up and say that I have not heard of this band and I had no idea what to expect. Aimee had heard of this band, knew what to expect and got me to review it, not letting on what sort of sounds would grace my ears. If you want to listen to a cd with crunching guitars and soaring keyboards, then this won't be for you. However 'Dusk and Void Became Alive' is a cd for chilling out with your partner with a bottle of wine or six, while forgetting about life's problems. The promo blurb with this cd invites one to dream, while enjoying intelligent, romantic and touching darkwave. How true, and when in the mood, I indeed do like this type of relaxing and atmospheric music..orchestral arrangements, and keyboard passages will grace your ears. All this coupled with the excellent and at times operatic vocals of Christina Kroustali. Great stuff. 8/10 (Reviewed by Dave)


(Emotion Art Music) Reviewed 23rd August 2010

Greek band Dimansion (note the ‘a’ rather than an ‘e’) started life in 2006 doing covers of Nightwish and other symphonic metal bands, so you know where we are going musically with this one. However, they have developed a highly distinctive style that is certainly not as heavy and bombastic as Nightwish. The charming Chrissa Sidiropoulou has a delightful and very versatile clear voice that changes from pop to folk to semi operatic. Drummer Alex Makatselos is obviously a fan of Carl Palmer, giving the songs a proggy, jazzy nuance. The album originally came out in Greece at the end of 2008, gaining an international release by Twilight Distribution a year later. You certainly get plenty of variety for your money; ‘Precious Image’, the outstanding groovy ‘Alive’ (video on Female Voices Blog) and ‘Inner Hopes’ are romping Nightwish esque numbers; ‘Room One’ and ‘Ghost Story’ have most unusual musical changes; ‘Beautiful Heavens Whisper’ is a lovely ballad; while ‘Far From Home’ and the most excellent ‘Wolf’s Eyes’ with it’s urgent riff are folkish, proggish, with a hint of Fleetwood Mac. The final number ‘Wholesome Arrival’ finds us in the kasbah, there’s even time for a quick puff of the hubble-bubble while Alex Makatselos does his stuff (sadly he has left the band). The production is generally good, perhaps the guitars could do with some more oomph, but that is a minor quibble and it might destroy their sound. This album is a real grower, it takes a few spins to get used to their eclectic approach and unusual sound and style. If you like symphonic metal then you can certainly find room for one in your collection, their Myspace is and it is available at various stores, e.g. the Twilight mail order shop, A most intriguing and surprising listen, 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Phil)


(Emotion Art) Reviewed 2nd June 2010

Let me shed some light on this debut from the Greek symphonic gothic metallers Dimlight and their art of darkness. After the terrifying intro that sent me scurrying behind the couch, there follows gripping, atmospheric, theatrical soundtracks to an aural vampire thriller (Obtenebration is a vampire supernatural power), with Darien’s dramatic keyboard motifs, Invoker’s spiralling guitar solos, and Sanna’s innocent voice juxtaposed with Invoker’s occasional evil growls, blood curdling screams and menacing whispers to terrific effect. Musically a mix of Hanging Doll (Sanna’s vocals remind me of Sally), early Epica, and a touch of Within Temptation/modern Nightwish mixed with gothic era Damned, I love the way that this has been constructed as a total listening experience with each track leading onto the next, the music, lyrics and artwork combining to create a complete package that will defy iPod downloaders. Highlights include their signature tune ‘Dimlight’, the mystical ‘Absence of Light’, the melodramatic ‘RID’ (you can see the video on the blog and the epic ‘Death Premonition’. The way this has been put together, with excellent production and sound, demonstrates remarkable ambition and imagination. To paraphrase the lustrous Sanna, in the absence of light only darkness prevails, follow me through this now to (available at Metal Fighters, Nuclear Blast and other beacons of light), and never suffer again, a highly illuminating 9/10 (Reviewed by Phil)


(Five Starr Records) Reviewed 26th August 2015

Dimlight’s music can be characterized as Symphonic Death Metal. Although the Band was formed in 2006 it was almost three years before they released their first full length album called 'Obtenebration'. Around mid-2010, the band started working on new material and in 2012 released their second studio album called ‘Psychosynthesis'. In December 2014 Dimlight finished the production of this their third studio album, and this is another awesome album for us to review. There is a concept running through this cd telling the story of a bloodthirsty evil Egyptian Goddess and the destruction she causes in her path. Nasty growly vocals and angelic female vocals compliments of new vocalist Eva Fourlanou, are wrapped within a tasty blend of orchestral dark metal mixed with various musical elements, making this a release to devour your taste buds (or more appropriately your ear drums!). The album features special guest appearances from the Story Teller Jean Baptiste (Randomwalk), Maya (Meden Agan), Maria-Melissanthi Routi (Kinetic) and Alfred Shtuni and is well recommended to all and sundry. This is premier league stuff from a band that has toured extensively in Europe having shared the stage with Arch Enemy, Lacuna Coil, Epica, Delain, Xandria, Vision of Atlantis, Leaves Eyes and many more to boot. Get the record asap, well worth it!...9.5/10 (The Nugget)


(Dirty Records) Reviewed 21st December 2011

Habitants of Manchester, dynamic duo sexy Scarlette Sin, vocals and bass, and guitarist Daniel Mucs deal in no holds barred, full throttle, kick ass, nice 'n' sleazy heavy power rock, sort of Suzie Quatro meets Motorhead, but with a funky groovy undercurrent. This baby doesn't hang around, opener 'Hell' hits you straight between the eyes and they don't let up during the course of the next 10 driving rockers, this ain't for shrinking violets. Choice cuts like 'Alcohol', 'Car Wreck', 'Gold Digger' and on 'Dirty Little Habits' Scarlette sings, “I do it good, I do it well, but I'm not ashamed of what I do …. I've got a dirty little habit”, I don't know what dirty habits Scarlette has, but I'd sure like to find out. The deep down and dirty production suits them mighty fine, although it''s a little dense at times. It's loaded with what they eloquently describe as Daniel's prodigiac guitaristry, pounding drums that turn out to be programmed, you'd be hard pushed to tell, Scarlette's rumbling bass, and her attitude filled vocals, I bet they really rip the place up live with their new drummer Toby. Perhaps a slower or acoustic number would have been good in the middle, just to give the old ears a rest while you went to the bar for a shot of Bourbon, before heading back to the fray. Curiously, when they have such a great image, the cover artwork looks like schoolboy doodle, makes it look like a wimpy indie record, not a mighty slab of rock. If no frills dirty rock 'n' roll is your tipple of choice, then mosey on down to their Facebook, but beware, this may be habit forming, a nice 'n' sleazy 8/10 (Phil)


(Independent Release) Reviewed 4th November 2010

Disdained fronted by Therése Thomsson is one of the hottest fresh bands on the Swedish female fronted melodic metal genre, and 'Longing For Serenity' offers 5 tracks of pumping Melodic Gothic Metal in the vein of Nightwish, Within Temptation, Delain and the like. Heavy it is, melodic it is, and right up my alleyway it is too. Every track on this little gem is a winner, and based on this EP, I cannot wait for a full album. This is damn good and can be downloaded from iTunes amongst others. 9/10 (Reviewed by Dave)


(Disdained Entertainment/Rambo Music) Reviewed 5th September 2011

Founded in 2005, this Swedish band have gradually built up their following appearing on many prestigious stages, including winning the 2010 Stockholm finals of the World's largest new music contest, the Emergenza Festival. This début album reminds me of that all time masterpiece of symphonic gothic metal, Angtoria's 'God Has A Plan for Us All', the 2006 album that Sarah Jezebel Deva (using her rock voice) did with the Rehn brothers, who are also from Sweden, we have been waiting a long time for a follow up but only had two disappointing Sarah solo albums, well, Disdained have taken her crown, the Queen is dead, love live the Queen, metaphorically speaking of course. It has that unique fusion of deep thundering riffage, dramatic keyboard/orchestral flourishes that owe something to horror films, and those gorgeous glorious vocal melodies courtesy of strikingly beautiful flame haired Therese Thomsson's magnificent rich voice, a sort of cross between The Deva (in rock mode, not Cradle of Filth/Therion operatic) and Ian Perry. They also throw some melodic and prog metal into mix, liberally seasoned with extra searing power and there is a real sense of urgency as they rampage through their cataclysmic catalogue of almighty anthems. Production by Peter Norlinder and Dan Norman at Studio Precision is outstanding, Johan Persson 's drums sound like Thor's hammer, you can hear Therese's every breath, guitarists Niklas Dahlin and Johan Hartman envelop your ears in a sonic maelstrom, while Tomas Stolt's bass rumbles through your derrière. Even the very occasional growls are brilliantly done, accentuating the drama and atmosphere. By the way, Peter and Dan also play in a band called Slaughter of the Bluegrass that does bluegrass versions of death metal songs, the mind boggles, what next, Alison Krauss making an album with Dani Filth? Returning to the fray, the piano adorned 'Longing For Serenity' has a touch of Sirenia, the Hammond laced title track 'Kill My Only Enemy' is almost prog metal before it launches into one of their signature towering refrains, 'Numb' and 'Two Pages' are theatrical and symphonic, 'I Live For Your Pain' belts along menacingly, and 'Trust' is a colossal ballad. The whole album is well put together with a suitably grand intro, 'Prelude to a Dream', and a poignant piano coda, fittingly called 'The End'. Any self respecting gothic metal fan would be unwise to disdain this opus, this is a band with a premier league singer and sound, their web portal is here, an esteemed 9/10 (Phil)


(Self Release) Reviewed 30th June 2011

Created in 2006 in Memphis TN, Disembrace has existed through many members and many styles, but it wasn't until November of 2009 that its sound was truly defined. In need of a new vocalist, the hard rock group was introduced to singer/songwriter Carmen LaFevers, whose creativa target=_blanke melodies and sound lyrics easily won her the position of lead singer. This is a classy Modern Alternative Rock Band, playing the sort of stuff that the Americans seem to do so well at the moment. A lot of the music here would sit very nicely on the radio alongside bands like Damsel Fly, Faces Of March, Flyleaf, Paramore and Suhgarim to name just a few. Twelve cracking tracks including the opener 'Hero', 'Dysphoria' and the catchy 'The Everafter'. This release is pretty good, so check them out at their Facebook. 8.5/10 (Dave)


(Self Release) Reviewed 27th August 2014

Diskelion is a Symphonic Metal project fronted by none other than Gaby Koss, with a little help from a rather talented English guy called Tom Harris. The project also involves other artists from the scene including such names as Kerstin Bischof (Ex-Xandria), Zuberoa (Diabulus in Musica), Ida Elena (Cantus Lunaris & Bare Infinity), Julie Deletoile (Kosmik Vortex) and Hannah Wagner (Saeldes Sanc). The project is completed by Daniel - Viola (Nota Profana), Albert Dannenman - Flute (Cantus Lunaris, Blackmores Night), Sebastian - bass (Symbolic) and Manuel di Camillo - drums (Ex-Equilibrium). And as one would expect, this is rather good. The album opens with the number 'Forgotten' and features Zuberoa Aznárez (Diabulus in Musica), and this is a very good start to the record with the two vocalists tending to gel rather well. Next up 'Far Away' is a duet with Hannah Wagner, a rather nice pounding Nightwish sounding track, with keys and string accompanying the two vocalists. Great guitar solo from Tom too! 'Call My Name' is another Symphonic masterpiece with a nice chorus and another one of these rather good but not overdone guitar solos from Tom - excellent. There is no let up as the album progresses with highlights galore, including 'the Power Metal sounding 'Cry For Me' featuring Ida Elena as Gaby's partner, the string led and rather comforting 'Silent Voice', the lovely ballad, the title track 'Remember Sorrow', together with a great viola from Daniel and album closer 'Broken Dream', feat Kerstin Bischof. The band's website is here:, but what I want to say is that every track of the nine here are total gems, so if you are into the Symphonic Metal scene, then get it as a very good addition to your music collection! Furthermore, I must also thank Gaby for the album and further band information... 9/10 (Dave)


(Dreamcell11) Reviewed 23rd October 2013

Dismal is an Italian gothic/alternative band formed in 1997. This will in-fact be their 5th release and the sound offered up by the band can be best described as a fusion of Classical and Symphonic music, where electronic sounds are mixed with waltz and tango. Indeed, a very original diversion from the standard gothic music architecture. Fronted by Rossana Landi who also plays double bass, as you have possibly established from the description above, this is a little different from your normal Gothic fare. Tentatively putting this on my cd player, the record starts off with 'The Four Vibrations' this being a haunting piano led piece of music that I am rather impressed with, before it builds into a crescendo after 3 minutes or so with the female vocals of Rossana kicking in. This then siegues beautifully into 'Giostra di Vapore' the title track, with a kinda strong hip hop beat and another massive tune full of totally awesome haunting atmospherics. Despite my initial hesitations, I am really liking this. Third one up 'll ballo degli Obesi' maintains the haunting laidback theme of the opening two tracks, Rossana's vocals I would like to add are simply stunning, and great choral backdrop too - this is good! The 8 minute plus 'Microcosm&Macrocosm' follows and is again simply wonderful as is 'Eden', which is soley an instrumental being quirky at times. 'Vimana' has an occasional Middle Eastern feel about it, but is another beautiful number with violin, chorus and more or less everything else. The closing duo of 'Mélisse (part.2)' and 'One Step In The Dark' are equally as good, bringing to an end a rather good recording. Not to be confused with the Italian neo-classical band of the same name, the dark sound of Dismal brings the listener to a limbo which seems like a bizarre “mental carnival” where rationality and madness are grazed constantly. This is likeable, unsusual, stunning, laidback and remarkably beautiful - released 9th December and well recommended. Great artwork too.. 8.5/10 (Dave)


(Self Release) Reviewed 26th February 2010

I haven’t come across a prog band from Ireland since the mighty Horslips (Book of Invasions is a great fave of mine), doubtless some of you are screaming names at me, and no, you can’t count U2, I’m talking about bands with bass players who can actually play their instruments, not go dum dum dum dum for 3 minutes (I can hear you bassists shouting, ‘go Phil go!’). I digress, back to Distributor, a band that combines Dream Theatre loving musicians with fans of Lacuna Coil on vocals, courtesy of Peter Brooke-Tyrell and Caroline Flanagan. Ferocious riffage is counterpointed with gothic melodies, mixed with thrash and classic prog such as IQ, a combination that takes a few spins to get you ears around before it clicks into place. The guitarist, the aptly named Ian Rockett, can really shred that fretboard, I just wish he would give his mate David Halpin on keys more of a look in, on his showcase ‘Solace’ he shows he can really tickle those ivories. The stand out track is ‘Aesthetics’, where the entire band can stretch their legs with a variety of soft/loud sections and their finest melodies. Whilst on the subject of aesthetics, all I will say is that they have a lady singer who is a darn sight more attractive than an empty warehouse, nuff said. This is a highly promising debut from the young Irishmen, made all the more remarkable since it was done on a shoestring budget, and I dearly hope that this gets them the interest from the big companies that their talent deserves. If you like your metal prog, then thrash your way to And before I go, James Dunne knocks Adam Clayton into a cocked hat. 8/10 (Reviewed by Phil)


(Lasers Edge) Reviewed 18th January 2011

Led by drummer and mastermind Jonathan Schang, District 97 are a young prog band from the windy city Chicago (District 97 is the City's Oak Park area) that features an American Idol finalist and a cellist from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Strangely finalists of the X Factor, the British equivalent of American Idol (both run by oily Simon Cowell), have all the musical credibility of Britney Spears, no self respecting rock or metal band would touch them with a barge pole, unless they want to become a laughing stock, but in America it is the total opposite, We Are The Fallen being a perfect example, and of course Spanish X Factor contestant Ailyn is singer with the mighty Sirenia, so no problem there, it must be the standard of contestants in Britain. Gorgeous Leslie Hunt doesn't wail and scream like most American Idol/X Factor singers, in fact she reminds me variously of Lily Allen, Heather Findlay and Ann Wilson. She has her own solo pop career as well, releasing a couple of albums. The first four multifaceted tracks set out their sound, a hybrid of Yes, Rush, Julian Lloyd Webber and Mostly Autumn; powerful, melodic, and ornate, with a touch of pop, classical, jazz and metal. Opener 'I Don't Want to Wait Another Day' and the catchy 'I Can't Take You With Me' (on the Female Voices Blog) are more accessible, while 'The Man Who Knows Your Name' and 'Termites' are heavier and proggier, the latter even has a death metal scream which comes as quite a shock. Then we get to the real meat and 2 veg, the 10 part 'Mindscan'. This runs through a veritable gamut of styles, flowing smoothly from ambient to reflective piano to jazz prog to Jon Anderson (Welcome) to avant-garde to gentle ballad (title track Hybrid Child) to prog metal to grand rock (When I Awake) and ending with a prog conclusion. The standard of musicianship is outstanding, they are all virtuosos on their chosen instrument, and the production is also top class. This is classic prog of the highest order that's available from all the usual districts, their website is, a top notch 8.75/10 (Phil)


(Battered Vinyl Records) Reviewed 24th April 2010

Imagine Madonna, grab her by the short and curlies if you will, turn her into a metal maiden, and then you have Diva Suicide. Yep that's right, but also add adequate doses of electro rock and industrial metal into the mix. This London based outfit fronted by a lass who simply calls herself XS, are sure causing a stir with this, their 7 track debut cd. And I have not stopped playing it since it turned up at Ravenheart Towers. Their sound being inspired by The Birthday Massacre, HIM and 30 Seconds to Mars amongst others, and I must say this record has totally blown me away. This little release is so hideously catchy and is laden with hooks galore. Check them out at I am very impressed indeed! 9/10 (Reviewed by Dave)


(Digital - SoundCloud) Reviewed 11th February 2013

Divided We Fall is a female fronted Symphonic Metal band based in Stafford (UK), and they have made this three track EP available via their SoundCloud. I must thank my mate Les Barclay for bringing this band to my attention. Fronted by the pop/rock vocals of Philippa Ricketts, there are three rather cool tracks here of Melodic Symphonic Metal that should strictly speaking propel this band to bigger things. If they was to release a full length album of the quality of the three on offer here, then it would I am sure be an awesome release. It is difficult to score a three track ep, but a full length album (and one is due later this year!) based on what is here would deserve at least an 8.75/10 (Dave)


(Self Release) Reviewed 18th September 2014

Divided We Fall come from the Midlands here in the UK. I have known about this band for a while, I have had this 10 track cd for several weeks too, but for some reason even unknown to myself, it never received a review (thanks Aimee for the reminder). So better late than never I suppose. Fronted by the awesome, energetic and near angelic poppy vocals of Philippa Ricketts, this band coupled with their vocalist has knocked me over right from the start, with the opener and title track 'Dreamcrusher', a great start to a great record. The catchy 'Revenge' follows and this is another massive track and like the album as a whole, we do not have overly complex song structures - I love the keys on 'Revenge' too. There are highlights galore on this up tempo record, these include 'Dream My Life Away', the Symphonic sounding 'Until I Win' - great vocals here as Mel from Aonia joins Philippa to provide the operatics, and the bombastic 'Escaping Wonderland'. This cd is awesome and the future of British Symphonic Metal is looking good with it too. Onwards and upwards for Divided We Fall (, no question about it!.... 8.75/10 (Dave)


(Self Release) Reviewed 27th August 2015

Leaving Alaska and settling in Portland in Oregon in 2013, Divides are setting out to set the world on fire! The release of this their debut album, will show the industry that seems full of female rock & metal acts at the moment, that they are not just making up the numbers. Fronted by CJ Marie (CJ Brunke) who also takes care of the keys department, they mean business! With similarities to Fireflight and bands of that ilk, Divides throw at us a cacophony of music to shatter the eardrums, particularly in tracks like ‘Sirenium Scopuli (Sirens)’ and ‘Drag The River’, but maintaining a complete melodic sensibility throughout the golden nuggets that they throw at us. The first single off the album, the gutsy 'Echoes Fade' features Chris James from the band Defeat of the Low, and he joins CJ Marie on vocals, and this is just one good track among a pile of them. If you feel that this may be your cuppa tea, then check out their Facebook that can be found here, and may be consider a purchase… 8.25/10 (The Nugget)


(Nightmare Records) Reviewed 8th October 2011

Thundering in from the land down under comes this new Antipodean metal outfit founded four years ago in Melbourne. They take Avantasia melodic metal and fuse in elements of Nightwish powerful symphonic, Delain gothic and Kamelot progressive, then forge them in the red hot crucible of Hermin Hamidovic's premier league production job that's mighty enough to disintegrate granite, and finally burnish with the irresistible Jennifer Borg's powerhouse Ian Parry/Michael Kiske type voice, to produce highly combustible and commercial sonic missiles that hit you straight between the eyes. And there's no men in schoolboy shorts to be seen anywhere. If you have any questions about their intentions then the opening 'Answers' (video on Female Voices blog) will settle any doubts – massive, melodic, catchy, rocking, and featuring a guest appearance by Silvio Massaro (Vanishing Point), this is more like divine retribution than ascension. Once they have you by the short and curlies they don't let go as they unleash a volley of monster tracks. You are assaulted by towering triumphs like the epic 'Vision Divine', the Arabian flavoured 'Guided by Osiris', and the explosive 'Another Battlefield'. They are packed with Karl Szulik and Robert Inglis's rip-snorting guitar work, Simon Mahoney and Luke Wenczel's thunder from down under rhythm section and David Van Pelt's keyboard flourishes, on 'One Last Caress' he puts in a trill that frightened the life out of me! The only failing is the lack of a ballad in the middle to give you a rest from the onslaught, the only song that comes close is the penultimate track 'Civilisation', and even that is titanic. Divine Ascension with their mighty mainstream melodic metal have all the weapons to take on the European and American metal markets, and thanks to their musical muscle and outstanding singer they can target both male and female fronted factions in equal measure, their Facebook is here, a divinely powerful 9/10 (Phil)


(Vicisolum Productions) Reviewed 5th January 2015

Here we have a grand dose of bombastic metal from this Australian Band. It is Symphonic, Progressive and Powerful to boot, and is rather good to these ears. Offering up 11 tracks, all of which run in at over 5 minutes with three breaking the 6 minute barrier, one sure gets their monies worth. 'Dawn Brings No Mercy' is the opener and this sets the bench mark for the rest of the album. A masterpiece of an album in-fact with great vocals from Jennifer Borg (a Rock approach rather than an Operatic style), who is ably supported by a great bunch of musicians. This album will please anybody into the female fronted metal scene, and indeed many others too I would think. There are standout cuts a plenty on this record, so just buy, sit back and enjoy! Difficult to fault - Facebook is here and the video to the awesome track 'Machine' that is track 7 from the album, can be found at .. 9/10 (Rachel Louise Smith)


(Art Gates Records) Reviewed 21st Feb 2014

Yay- Classically influenced metal from Spain and what a scorcher this is. Bassist Matias started composing the music to this album in 2010 and after a hard time getting musicians together, Divino Disturbo was eventually born. Fronted by Raquel, the album kicks off with an orchestral intro, and you could be forgiven for thinking you have put a classical cd onto the player. That leads perfectly into the thumping 'Lux Aeterna', that combines Power Metal with a wonderful choral arrangement. A wonderful harpsichord arrangement greets 'Nirmia' and the start to this record would leave a Japanese bullet training standing in the blocks - awesome! 'Morrigan' is a cool intrumental while the pace refuses to let up with further powerful classically influenced numbers like 'Eternal Spring', the six minute plus 'The Wolf Song', the acoustic version of 'Morrigan' (with lyrics) and the closer 'Oniria (Prelude to Op II)'. Various influences spring to mind and are listed by the band including Nightwish - Rhapsody - Dimmu Borgir - Symphony X - WA Mozart - LV Beethoven - JS Bach amongst others. Divino Disturbo use metal as a way to reach music itself. They are not able to choose just one style among all sub-genres in which they fit. Of course their music has elements from others sub-genres such as Symphonic Metal, Neoclassical Metal, Power Metal... but their main influence is classical music. Okay, this release may take a few plays to get into but it is well recommended by the Ravenheart team - their Facebook is here... 8.5/10 (Dave)


(Self Released) Reviewed 19th Sept 2014

Dixon Did It! They are a heavy alternative rock band from the Northeast of England, who draw their musical abilities and sound from bands like The White Stripes, Blink 182 and Paramore. We have a 4 track EP here that would indeed appeal to fans of the above mentioned bands. Featuring the vocals of Alex 'Joycie' Joyce, who also plays Rhythm/Lead Guitar and bassist Anna Jones on female vox, the catchy 'Dolphins' starts proceedings, this is a bouncy number, great live I would imagine. The following track 'Tattoo' is another catchy but slightly heavier tune, I assume the tattoo refers to one Joycie has on his arm, aptly named Dixon Fire. Actually, that is where the name of the band derived from when Anna Jones gave out a mighty cry one day - "Dixon Did It!". Whether he or she did or didn't, now you know. 'Breaking Out' and the closer 'Hometime' close what is a rather good little EP. Dixon has done it with this EP - the band's Facebook is here.. 7.75/10 (Natalie Gold)