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Ravenheart Archives: Archived

Reviews A Cont (5)

ANUBIS..'SIBUNA' (2007) / 'WAKING THE DEAD' (2010)

(Flying V Records) Reviewed 9th May 2010

It is no surprise that these folks from Wolverhampton want to escape to Egypt, Wolverhampton has just been voted by Lonely Planet the fifth worst city in the world! And just in case you’ve been fooled by the photo on the sleeve and started to plan a holiday, the city hasn’t got a genuine Egyptian obelisk; it’s an 18th folly on nearby Wychbury Hill – yes, it’s really that exciting in Wolverhampton. The first album fits the Egyptian imagery, there is a certain Middle Eastern flavour to the music, especially the instrumentals, but the songs and lyrics owe more to Europe than Egypt. The two main protagonists and singers are Sara ‘Isis’ Co’bern, who has a European gothic metal influence in her music, and Simon ‘The Pharaoh’ Lees, former guitarist with Budgie, with his British heavy metal style. There is eclectic mixture of songs and instrumentals, highlights include the Asia/Magnum like ‘Stalked by Shadows’, the rollicking rocker ‘Magic Carpet Ride’, both sung by Simon The Pharoah, together with three tunes sung by Isis Sarah, the exotic acoustic ‘Us’, the dramatic eastern influenced ‘Masquerade’ and the jazzy, flamenco flavoured ‘Your World Vampire Waltz’. The new album is far more song based and sees a sharper focus with Isis Sarah coming more to the fore, and those Egyptian tones are far more muted, both in the sleeve art and music. It almost equally divided between the two clearly discernable styles that alternate throughout the album, the gothic metal sung and written by Isis Sarah, and the more traditional heavy metal written by the lads in the band and sung by Simon The Pharaoh. Musically the fundamental difference is that British heavy metal is a distant descendant of the American blues, whereas the ancestors of gothic metal are European classical and folk music. Faves include the melodic metal of ‘Without Anaesthetic’, the anthem for all bored children on a long car journey, ‘Are We There Yet?’, and the lovely acoustic ballad ‘Hold Me Now’, all sung by Simon The Pharaoh, together with the atmospheric ‘Locked In’, the swing waltz ‘Above Water’ and the moody ‘Colourful’ sung by Isis Sarah. The group have obviously grown from an experimental project based on a fun idea to a fully fledged metal band. Simon shows that he has a strong rock voice as well as being a skilled axe wielder, while Sara gives the music a certain edge that lifts it out of the norm. If you enjoy either heavy metal and/or gothic metal you will love this, their Myspace is www.myspace.com/theanubisprojectuk. As the pharaoh to said to his mummy, that just about wraps it up, Sibuna 8/10, Waking the Dead 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

ANUBIZ..'MOMENTUM'

(Nicrothal) Reviewed 13th September 2010

This is the brand new fourth album from the German gothic metallers with a Z, not to be confused with the English band Anubis, with an S. They are little known outside Germany, perhaps because they use their native tongue. Cute Katrin has a sweet, light, almost operatic voice, which is unusual for their brand of Delain/L’ame Immortelle/Lacuna Coil/Lahannya gothic metal. She is assisted by Jörg who has what I would describe as a Germanic deep portentous gruff voice rather than a growl. The driving crunchy guitars and rhythm section are embellished with loads of keyboards by a different Jörg (must get confusing) which range from electronica to almost symphonic. The songs pack plenty of variety, switching back and forth from melodic to heavy, groovy and soaring. Highlights include the groovy ‘Der Feuermann’, the catchy ‘Semper Fi’, the gentler ‘Es Darf Nicht Brennen’, the unusual ‘Das Unendeckte Land’ and the dramatic penultimate number ‘An Deinem Letzten Tag’. The end of the album will almost certainly fool you, I won’t spoil it, but I thought my Hi-Fi had bust. Anubiz won’t win any awards for innovation, but this is a well produced and performed, good solid album that is sure to appeal to gothic metal fans. You can build up some momentum by ordering a copy from their Myspace www.myspace.com/anubizmusic, a forward moving 8.25/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

ANWYNN...'FORBIDDEN SONGS'

(M & O Music) Reviewed 29th June 2012

Anwynn hail from Belgium, and they tell me their music is Celtic influenced with the guys in the band wearing kilts on stage, having swords and a drinking horn. Seems interesting! The band have existed since 2007, they have played many gigs and have even been on the same line up as Pythia and Manic Movement amongst many others. The band also tell me that they will make official very soon, their participation in summer festivals during 2013 across Europe. Musically they combine female operatic vocals with male grunts, similar I suppose to Epica, perhaps to an extent Leaves' Eyes and maybe even a more upbeat Draconian. Although the Celtic influences are there, I detect more of a straight forward Symphonic Melodic Metal approach, throwing a few Progressive elements into the mix as well. The grunts courtesy of Bouc combine very well with the operatic vocals of Amandine to bring us 11 awesome, upbeat and rather catchy tracks. The guitars, keys and drums are all perfectly mixed, and to be perfectly honest, this is a pretty damn good effort from a band that until now, I didn't even know existed! I won't list any individual numbers although the Celtic Influenced and very catchy 'Across The Seven Seas' and the slower ballady 'Lost In Avalon' are becoming faves of mine upon repeated listens. Check the band out here, but the more I listen to all the tracks on this cd, the more I want to recommend it to you people out there. The bands website is www.anwynn-official.com/band.html - check them out and consider buying!! ...8.75/10 (Dave)

ANYONE'S GUESS...'MARCH IN THE DARK ~ CHAPTER 1'

(Red Dragon Records) Reviewed 7th Feb 2014

Since the release of the single 'Apathy', female-fronted Orlando band Anyone's Guess has been flourishing and developing their music. This their newest EP, which has just been released offers up five tracks of powerful and melodic tunes in a smilar vein to those of Halestorm and Paramore amongst others. There are also resemblances to a band that I was involved with several months ago, Faces Of March, who also hail from Florida. Opener 'Intro' is just that, an instrumental opener that then leads us straight into the heavy, powerful and melodic 'March In The Dark' - a great tune! The single 'Apathy' is up next, another equally powerful number from the record, so far so good. 'Go As You Came' is a good quality rocker and is another great tune, while closer 'Hunter' is a slower song but still packing a punch! This is a very good EP from this band fronted by Sanja Jovanovic, and this is yet another band that I would well worth recommend checking out - their Facebook is here...8.5/10 (Dave)

AONIA...'CITY OF SHADOWS' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 7th August 2012

"Aonia” is the place near Helicon mountain where the muses dwell. While this image sounds serene, the band’s sound is the polar opposite. Driving, almost thrashy riffs juxtaposed against melodic, almost operatic vocals, offering up a sound that is a blending of the very old and the very new, tempered steel in a velvet glove. In February 2011, I reviewed a 3 track demo from this Midlands based Metal band fronted by Melissa Adams. And at the Ravenheart Fest in July, she so kindly gave me the full 6 track EP and I am reviewing it here. The demo kinda reminded me of Tarja era Nightwish mixed in with a little Siouxsie Sioux at times. Anyway, the three tracks from the demo are the first three tracks represented on this EP, while track 4 'Liberate Mae' (not a spelling mistake) enters Iron Maidenish Power Metal territory, and pounds along rather nicely thank you. The vocals of Melissa still tend to vary between the operatic stylings of Tarja, to the occasional near Punky vibe of the aforementioned Siouxie Sioux. The wonderfully titled 'Down The Rabbit Hole' knocks on the door of Progressive Metal without totally being allowed in, while the final track simply entitled 'The Song' maintains the up tempo Power Metal style of previous numbers. The band mix Symphonic Metal with Power Metal and pull it off in style. So, if you like artists like Nightwish, Within Temptation, Epica or Tarja, then mix it with a little Iron Maiden, then perhaps you should take a look at Aonia here... 8/10 (Dave)

AONIA...'SUNCHASER' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 22nd July 2014

Aonia hail from Worksop in Nottinghamshire here in England and give the listener a feast of Melodic Metal, with a Symphonic undercurrent to satisfy the Female Fronted taste buds. And what is more, this seven piece offers us two female vocalists - Melissa Adams and Joanne Robinson. What we have here in-fact is rather good I must say - 5 tracks of the aforementioned Melodic Metal and I do like the twin vocal assault from the ladies in the band. Nothing much here to fault really, with the opening salvo of the title track and 'Echoes' setting the scene rather nicely thank you. 'Warrior's Path' and the catchy 'Reflections' are pounding numbers (great guitar solo in the latter too) while closer 'Nightmare' starts a little more serene before it kicks into gear in a bombastic Power Metal fashion. Their website (www.aonia.co.uk) states that “Aonia” is the place near Helicon mountain where the muses dwell. While this image sounds serene, the band’s sound is the polar opposite. Driving, almost thrashy riffs juxtapose against melodic, almost operatic vocals from ‘a soprano with balls’ for a sound that is a blending of the very old and the very new, tempered steel in a velvet glove. I agree so why not support yet more rather cool independent music and check them out... 8.5/10 (Dave)

APERION..'AN ACT OF HYBRIS'

(Self Release) Reviewed 12th September 2010

Aperion are a young symphonic metal band from Slovenia with a difference, they have viola player, cellist, and flautist in they ranks, plus even a chap on didgeridoo. The result is a sound somewhere around Regicide, early Epica, Delain and Diablo Swing Orchestra, with a touch of Nightwish and Within Temptation. The delectable Zala has an amazing voice with a remarkable range, she can do pop, rock, semi-operatic and operatic with equal aplomb, with all the lyrics in English apart from a couple of tunes. If I eulogised about every song, I’d still be here next year, so I will pick out a few of my faves from an album stuffed with 13 crackers, each with their own distinctive identity. ‘Light’ is very, very, catchy; the super duet on ‘Maya’ with Nejc Oberckal’s rich tenor voice (the album is a growl free zone); ‘Fairytale Mind’ is an awesome alt-country ballad; the fantastic didgeridoo powered groover ‘Black Flies’; ‘Dajte’ is a great fun folk tune that had me morris dancing around the room waving my bells; and the album ends with the dramatic ‘The Truth’. The production by Martin Bezjak is top class, crisp, clear and perfectly balanced. The strings and flute are a vital part of their sound, not just an ornament, and I’m going to start a campaign to replace growlers with didgeridoo players. This is a truly fabulous album, available for download from CD Baby, and their Myspace is www.myspace.com/aperionband, a remarkable 9.5/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

APPARITION..'GHOSTS OF THE PAST - THE STORY SO FAR'

(Ravenheart Music) Reviewed 22nd October 2009

Here is a first. The Ravenheart Music website reviewing an album on the Ravenheart Label. But it has to be done, so here goes! Apparition is a band from Staffordshire here in the UK and they have been going since around 1997. Since then, this band has released the very good 'Drowned In Questions' album featuring Annabelle Harris on lead vox. Since the early days, there has been various comings and goings within their ranks (including vocals), with bassist David Homer so far the only original member, with Apparition in-fact very much his little baby. Now, here in the latter part of 2009, we see the young and vibrant Samantha Smallwood as their front lady, with the band hopefully going places. 'Ghosts Of The Past - The Story So Far' is basically what it says on the 'tin'. A retrospective look at the band's career so far, inc some new material featuring Samantha. And there is some good stuff on offer here - including two of my faves, 'The Pain Lives On' and 'The Path To Eternity'. Here is another first...a mini gig review within an album review. I saw Apparition live in London on Oct 19th as support to Tarja. The Islington Academy was rammed full, and Apparition have not before played to so many people. The band however, was totally awesome, playing some songs that are featured on this cd, and winning lots of new fans. Samantha sure kicks ass on stage and I am certain that she will take Apparition to places anew. She was recovering from a cold on the night too, but despite struggling a little towards the end of their gig, she pulled it off like a real pro. I like this band - obviously! So check out their myspace site www.myspace.com/apparitionworld and track down this cd, which is not available in the shops as yet. If you wanna know more about Apparition, email me or contact them via myspace. 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

APPARITION...'FOR VENGEANCE AND FOR LOVE'

(Metal Compass) Reviewed 17th April 2012

Apparition is a Midlands based Gothic Metal Band that has been on the scene in one guise or another since 1997. This is only their second proper studio release in that time, only Boston and Def Leppard take longer in recording their albums :) Seriously, I am full of admiration for bassist and good friend, the likeable David Homer, the only remaining member from the original line up who is your typical hard working musician - he knows what he wants in his quest for fame. A lot of the material on this album will sound familiar to those punters that have seen Apparition live recently, 'Elysion' and 'Traitors Gate' being two such tracks and to be honest, although I was expecting a good album here, this cd perhaps even betters my expectations. It is obvious that new vocalist Mary Ella has settled into her role very well, her crystal clear vocals the main focal point of the band. Apparition confirms that the UK Gothic Metal scene is well and truly alive and screaming! The album was recorded at Priory recording studios at Sutton Coldfield in England and produced by Greg Chandler (Esoteric singer/guitarist). Mastering was done by Mika Jussila at the world reknown Finnvox studios in Finland. This is a very good recording by a band that is well known and very popular within the genre, and to my ears is well recommended and deserves to do well...9/10 (Dave)

APPELMAN…’ME’

(Emonirt Records, LLC) Reviewed 22nd December 2015

Appelman is the brainchild of Nick Appelman, guitarist and the main man behind the Appelman project. He has teamed up with Laurel Sanders who provides the amazing female vocals for this, his first album. I always feel that Symphonic Metal bands from the USA do not quite have what it takes to match their European counterparts, but I tell you what? This comes damn close with some pounding Symphonic Metal gems among the 13 tracks on offer to the listener. After a brief instrumental opener, ‘Crying Out’ and ‘Know Thyself’ give a good indication the route this band is taking with this album. Laurel’s occasional multi tracked vocals take the more operatic route, while I am pretty sure that this band after this showing must be one of the leaders of this style of music within the USA. Further cool tracks on this album include the massive sounding ‘Says Who?’ with its melodic chorus, the slow and brooding ‘Family Ties’, the up tempo and progressive sounding ‘1000 Pardons’, the bombastic ‘Sanity Waiting’ and the pen ultimate 7 minute plus epic ‘Broken Mirror’. This album is an autobiographical look into Nick Appelman’s life, past, present and future. Play loud and enjoy, worth every penny!… 8.75/10 (Dave)

ARANUT..'DEVIL WINGS'

(Self Release) Reviewed 27th November 2010

This new Ukrainian band has a slightly unusual gestation, it was formed by programmers from the games company 4A who have recently released the survival horror/first person shooter Metro 2003. They describe their music as “a fusion of melodic metal and hard rock, decorated with delicate orchestral arrangements”, this is a pretty fair description but doesn't tell the whole story, as we shall see. Aranrut features a dual vocal attack comprising keys player Tatiana Gamayunova and guitarist Dmitry Gamayunov who both have strong voices, with lyrics in their native language, I will use their English translations of the song titles so you don't have to mangle the review through Google to read it. They sound something like Nightwish jamming with Rainbow and Gary Moore (in rock mode), with loads of terrific keyboards and orchestral sounds. The four of them make a massive, dramatic and very impressive sound, aided by an excellent production. The rock element not only allows them to use a broad palette of sounds and textures, with a wide variety of nifty guitar work, fancy bass runs by Dmitri Kononchuk, and skilled drums fills by Vladimir Gutsalyuk, but it also gives them the licence to chuck in all sorts of stuff from jazz to blues to folk to prog to classical. They really throw some curve balls and unexpected changes of direction, no way can you call them predictable. With some bands once you've heard the first minute of a song, you've heard it all, this bunch zoom off all over the place, it's like being in a video game, where a different fate awaits you around every corner. I mentioned in the Violet Sun review about saxophone and metal being very unusual, this mob go one better, how about harmonica and metal? Highlights from a quick walk through include the mighty title track 'Devil Wings' and the fist pumping 'I'm Alive'; the more symphonic and highly unpredictable 'The Outer Times' and 'Shadows' (love the Gregorian chant sound); the folky metal 'Don't Be Silent, Choose!' (featuring blues mouth organ!); the more laid back bluesy/jazzy 'This Moment' and 'You Are' (both with super Gary Moore style guitar); and the catchy final number 'Wounded Animal' (live video on Female Voices Blog). Symphonic and melodic heavy rock/metal fans can fight their way through to http://aranrut.com/en/news (in English and Ukrainian) and be rewarded by downloading the album for free, a highly distinctive 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

ARAPACIS..'CONSEQUENCES OF DREAMS'

(Femme Metal Records) Reviewed 29th November 2009

A rather interesting album from Canadian band Arapacis, and to be frank, I am not quite sure what to make of it. Let's just say that this will not hit you right away and is going to take a few spins to get used too. 'Consequences of Dreams' also seems to fly off in various directions, and at times it all seems a little chaotic. Also, I am not one for criticising production, as only a handful of bands have a Bon Jovi style production budget, but I do find the production a little muddy at times on this release. Anyway, we have an album that is heavy, melodic and I do like the vocals and screams of leading lady Lizzie Fyre. Best track to my ears is the ballad 'Death of Loneliness'. What I would say about this is to approach with a little caution, but having said that, I would be keen to hear anything else this band pushes out. Not too keen on the drum solo on the last track though, just drags on a bit. 6.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

ARAPACIS..'NETHERWORLD'

(Ravenheart Music) Reviewed 7th December 2011

Arapacis was formed by guitarist Jerry Fielden in Montreal, Canada, in 2003 with the goal of fusing together 70's hard rock and prog with modern gothic, prog and doom metal to form a unique metal fusion, hence they cite their influences as Deep Purple to Rush to Leaves Eyes to Dream Theater to Candlemass, quite a portfolio. This is their third album, following on from 'So Many Leapers' in 2006 and 2009's 'Consequences of Dreams'. Out front is red hot flame haired Lizzie Fyre who can not only really belt it but also has a lovely French vibrato, rather like Belinda Carlisle but with extra oomph. First spin shows that compared to their previous efforts they don't bounce between their extremes as much, but generally opt for a more conventional hard rocking style. The production is also much improved, the murk has cleared and it sounds far more refined. Highlights are the awesome catchy driving rockers 'End of the Line', 'Horror Show' and 'Unbirth' that remind me of The Dictators. 'Lords of Clouds' and 'The Affliction', as befits their titles, have a more doom and Black Sabbath vibe, while 'Beautifully Blind' is a lovely Jethro Tull esque acoustic ballad with some super violin. The most singular and striking number is 'Crisis' which is far more prog metal and marks the welcome appearance of synths courtesy of Guy LeBlanc (Camel, Nathan Mahl), adding some much needed variety to the sound, it has some surprising changes of tempo, and as to what the syncopated key signature is, the mind boggles. On 'Beneath Me' they have an ill-advised bash at death/black metal, quite why Lizzie wants to risk her voice and hence her career by growling and screaming goodness only knows, this is the one song that should have been binned, it does not fit in at all. I'm baffled why the unrepresentative 'Crisis' is the lead single, it's a great song but people will think they're a prog metal band with keyboards, a radio edit of 'Unbirth' would be the more obvious choice. I say radio edit because this and the ballad have unnecessarily extended heavy endings, I'm a strong believer in the KISS method, no, not Gene Simmons and his painted pals, but keep it simple stupid, especially when the songs themselves are so good and stand on their own merits, less can be more. On the other hand the final instrumental 'Dark Days Ahead' sounds like a terrific intro to an unfinished epic, this really does need developing. Throughout the album Jerry provides lashing of expert shredding, and in Lizzie they have a unique, stunning and outstanding singer. Netherworld sees marked improvement in every department, and they have in the main curtailed their excesses to create a far more consistent and polished album with some excellent songs. Initiallly available digitally with the physical release expected early in 2012, this is more for fans of traditional heavy metal and classic heavy rock, their Netherworld lies here, a much improved 8.5/10 (Phil)

ARAPACIS...'A DISTURBING AWAKENING'

(Ravenheart Music/Code7) Reviewed 4th Feb 2015

Arapacis come from Canada and are stalwarts of the Rock and Metal scene. This release is distributed by Ravenheart Music/Code7 and I have the pleasure of reviewing this album for Dave and Ravenheart Music, of which it is my greatest pleasure to do. As I think I may have mentioned before, I might be the innocent looking 'girl next door' type and wear pink on occasion, but I do like my music heavy and with attitude. Arapacis offer up a retro 70's sound generally and drag it by the short and curlies into the 21st Century, offering nine rather good tracks in the process. Furthermore, within the gems on offer, the very good track and one of my faves 'Wanderlust' features Guy LeBlanc from Camel on keys, and the equally as good 'Tearing The Mist' has the awesome Don Airey tickling the ivories, and tickle them he sure does! Those two musicians alone would get my dad rather excited. Regardless of who the guest musicians are, this is a good recording and having listened to some other Arapacis stuff to familiarise myself with the band, this could be one of their best releases to date. The musicianship is awesome, some great guitar and keys, and let us not forget new vocalist Shelle Macpherson who does a grand job behind the mic stand. And I would like to add that the penultimate number 'Eyes of Malevolence' is an orgasmic instrumental. I would myself recommend this release no matter what label it is on, so if you like your music with a retro feel offering up a true organic sound, get it! Great stuff Jerry!! The band's Facebook is at www.facebook.com/AraPacis .. 9/10 (The Nugget)

ARCANE DIMENSION...'AVANTGARDEN'

(Ravenheart Music) Reviewed 10th June 2014

You know something? I like Arcane Dimension as they are a little different. They come from the San Francisco Bay area and their line up is mainly lead vocalist and belly dancer Teresa Camp and Polish-born multi-instrumentalist Jarek Tatarek, whose specialty is the GuitarViol, a unique stringed instrument fretted like a guitar but bowed like a cello. Their self-described style of “Tribal Fusion & Avantgarde Metal” falls somewhere between Finnish cello rockers Apocalyptica and neoclassical darkwave duo Dead Can Dance with touches of electronica, metal and Middle Eastern music. This is a very good release, kicking off with two catchy numbers, The Middle Eastern influenced 'Beyond The Horizon' and the similar but slightly more mainstream sounding and equally as catchy 'Love Hypnotique'. So far so good. 'Garden Of Arcane Delights' is an instrumental ditty - camp fire stuff - great! The remainder of the album gets better with each listen with 'Haunted By The Muse' being a fave of mine here at the towers together with the haunting 'The Poem' - a great vocal delivery from Teresa Camp. The record gets better as it goes along with 'Atlantis Rising' also striking a chord with me together with 'Music Of The Spheres' (video here) and the closing duo of 'The Becoming' and the ultra commercial 'Sea Of Consciousness' (which are bonus tracks on this Ravenheart release). I did find myself listening to this album through cans and to be honest, this seemed to enhance the listening experience. A well produced and put together cd - get around the camp fire, dance and let yourself be free.... 9/10 (Aimee)

ARCANE GRAIL..'ARYA MARGA: NINEFOLD PATH TO INNOCENCE'

(Musica Productions) Reviewed 18th January 2010

Arcane Grail hail from Russia and comprise of six members, that include the dual vocals of Natalie and Demether. The music they offer the listener could be described as Melodic Symphonic Black Death Metal, or something like that :) Opener 'Arcane Grail' is a brutal affair, that actually saw my cat hiding behind the sofa, and I kid you not. Next track in 'Of Snake and Raven' has beautiful piano combined with the soprano vocals of Natalie The Grail mixed with the brutal death metal vocal style of Demether. 'Autumn With Us Sinned and Lone' carries on the brutal vocal style coupled with the awesome operatics of Natalie, and this could be one of my fave tracks. Other cool tracks include the slower 'Sorrow of Forgotten Pride' and 'Die Sonnenhymne', the latter really showcasing very well the vocal style of Natalie. Okay folks, this release is not one for fans of Kelly Clarkson or Avril Lavigne, but I would imagine fans of Cradle of Filth and the like will lap this up. Cool....7.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

ARCANE SYMPHONY…’A NEW DAY BEGINS’

(Self Release) Reviewed 22nd December 2015

Arcane Symphony come from Russia, and this is another healthy dose of Melodic Metal with a Symphonic and at times an electro undercurrent to hit us here at Ravenheart Towers. Fronted by the awesome vocal style of Anna Volodina, whose vocals immediately become well showcased in the opening number ‘Ocean’, as well as the piano skills of their keyboards chappie Cyril Romaniuk (nice one Cyril!). And the menu continues to cough up some awesome tunes among the ten on offer, with second up, the tuneful title track that will have you bouncing around your lounge in no time - and again some great synths work that give the number a subtle electro feel. ‘Loneliness’ offers some great string work, my word, this band is coughing up everything.‘It’s a War’ takes a heavier bouncier feel, but those awesome synths appear again that really do drive the music along, great stuff! ‘Nostalgia’ sees Cyril at it again, he can sure bang those keys, while ‘Trust Yourself’ keeps the momentum going. This is rather good! ‘What Is Life For You’ is another synth driven number, while ‘To Love Is To Love’ slows it down in cool power ballad fashion, together with great guitar solo. The closing Salvo of ‘Something To Die For’ and ‘You Are Free’ end what to me is a magical album with great vocals, while Cyril can sure play that piano. I whole heartedly recommend this to lovers of the female fronted metal music scene. The band’s facebook is here - this band is knocking on the door of the big time, and no growls!.. 9/10 (Dave)

ARCH ENEMY...'WAR ETERNAL'

(Century Media) Reviewed 7th August 2014

Melodic Death Metal seems like a contradiction, but when you get a band like Arch Enemy, they sure know how to combine the aggressive with the melodic. And with new front lady Alissa White-Gluz (The Agonist) safely installed together with her rather awesome growls, Arch Enemy continue their rise up the Metal Music ladder with their latest release 'War Eternal'. This is prime time Melodic Death Metal, with the songs as catchy as ever, while maintaining the assault of an unstoppable steam train. 'Tempore Nihil Sanat (Prelude in F Minor)' kicks things off, a brief instrumental almost leading the listener into thinking that this could be a Nightwish album. That is until 'Never Forgive, Never Forget' kicks in with the ferocity of an assassin's bullet - an impressive way to start the album. The title track is melodic and catchy, but as equally as ferocious, and we must praise guitarists Nick Cordle (Arsis) who has just recently joined the band and fellow axeman Michael Amott, for their blistering assault on the senses throughout this record. There are further numbers that will leave you breathless, and these include the pounding 'As The Pages Burn' and 'No More Regrets', coupled with the catchy but heavy 'You Will Know My Name'. Other standouts that will leave you wanting more include the interesting 'Time Is Black' and 'Avalanche', both with their subtle orchestral elements. Having already mentioned the guitarists, we also have impressive perfomances from drummer Daniel Erlandsson and bassist Sharlee D'Angelo, and with Alissa proving her worth on this her debut with the band, this record is good! 8.5/10 (Dave)

ARCTIC VOID…’ENTANGLED’

(Power Prog Records) Reviewed 31st March 2016

Arctic Void (www.facebook.com/Arctic.Void) is a dual vocalist metal band from Gothenburg, fronted by Anna Samuelsson and the clean male vocals of Olof Lindgren. The band was formed in 2010 under the name Earthrise. In 2013, after several line up changes the band’s name was changed to Arctic Void. This album is typical of the Gothenburg sound that seems to be very popular at the moment, the record pounding along rather nicely, but a very melodic offering to boot. Indeed, the music is built mainly around heavy guitars combined with strong vocal melodies, and this being well set out within the eleven tracks on this album. If you like your music heavy, melodic and very up tempo and catchy, then check this Swedish bunch out. With no ballads, this is an all killer no filler album, you won’t be disappointed… 8.75/10 (Hannah Cooper)

AREA 51..'DAEMONICUS' (2008) / 'GODDESS' (2010)

(Aprights) Reviewed 15th May 2010

Japan has been welcoming Western metal for decades, but despite having loads of their own outstanding bands such as Minstrelix, very few have escaped the confines of their own country. Setting out to do just that is Area 51 with their own brand of neo classical melodic metal, with their new album 'Goddess' being mixed and mastered by Jens Bogren, famed for his work with such luminaries as Opeth, Paradise Lost and Symphony X. They are a duo comprising guitar virtuoso Yoichiro Ishino, and delightful fashion icon Kate, who has an angelic but powerful voice, not too dissimilar in style to a higher register Sabine Edelsbacher. Area 51 is the secret USA air base where the Americans keep all their UFOs, which came in very useful in the film Independence Day. However, all us Trekkies know that it is in fact the place where Quark, Rom and Nog found themselves after being captured by the United States military after an accident sent them back in time to 1947 (Deep Space 9, ‘Little Green Men’). Looking at 'Daemonicus' first, this is filled with light bright power metalish rockers, together with the lovely rippling piano ballad ‘Venus Croix Eternal’, the superb melodic, symphonic, ‘Crimson’, and the pièce de résistance, the 16 minute epic ‘Lord Knows’, worth the price of admission on it’s own, featuring special guest Rob Rock who combines his English words with Kate’s Japanese (both albums are in their native tongue). Turning now to 'Goddess', this is packed with goodies, three cracking rockers, ‘Nightmare’, ‘Regret et Larme’, and the awesome ‘Sincerity’; a couple of dramatic Nightwish esque symphonic metallers, ‘Vanitas’ and ‘U Ta Ka Ta’; a splendid orchestral power ballad, ‘Miss You’; the wonderfully melodic almost Ayreon like ‘Begins of Dissolution’; and the outstanding pop metal ‘Marionette’. The sound on Daemonicus is excellent (mastered at the top Finnish studio, Finnvox), but you will have to go a long way to beat the production job done by Yolchiro Ishino and Jens Bogren on Goddess, the drum sound which is so often a gauge is wonderfully full and powerful, and You Yamauchi makes full use of it with his skilled, groovy drumming. Yoichiro can really shred, but the songs always come first, there is no showing off for the sake of it, and he manages to combine melody, tone and technique to sublime effect. If you like your metal light, bright and melodic, rather than a brain battering racket, then you will love these albums. Transport down to CD Baby and beam up these beauties, they’re out of this world. Daemonicus 8.5/10, Goddess 9/10. (Reviewed Phil)