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Ravenheart Archives: Archived

Reviews D cont (3)

DOCKER’S GUILD…’THE HEISENBERG DIARIES - BOOK A: SOUNDS OF FUTURE PAST’

(Digital - Lion Music, physical - Rock Company/Black Swan Records) Reviewed 26th January 2016

Docker's Guild’s new album has just been released and is a part of a series of 4 transitional albums placed between the 5 main “seasons”, and which focus on an aspect of the storyline’s main character, Dr. Jack Heisenberg. This particular instalment focuses on Jack’s youth and love of science fiction, in fact the album contains exclusively vintage science fiction soundtracks reworked in the typical Docker’s Guild sound. “Book A” will be followed by “The Mystic Technocracy - Season II: The Age of Entropy”, already in development. Another unique feature of “BookA” is its all-female cast, which makes it as far as we know, the first all-female metal opera ever recorded. There are World-class performances as a consequence by an all-female cast comprising Elize Ryd (lead vocals), Amanda Somerville (lead and backing vox), Nita Strauss (guitars), Roxy Petrucci (drums), Anna Portalupi (bass), Mio Jäger (guitars), Yasi Hofer (guitars), Valentina Procopio (leading and backing vox) and Elisa Montin (drums). And then we have Mr Docker himself (Biloxi, Area 51) who takes care of the keys department, together with further lead and backing vocals and who produced the complete package to boot. This is an epic album with a strong emphasis on the instrumental elements, coupled with some familiar tunes that crop up, and highlights too numerous to mention. My suggestion is to immerse yourself in the music on offer while wearing headphones, and you will be well rewarded by this intense listening experience of this record and the beauty that it offers…. 9/10 (Dave)

DOL THEETA..'THE UNIVERSE EXPANDS'

(Electronic Art Metal Records) Reviewed 27th March 2009

Here is a very interesting release we have here. Dol Theeta is the second project of the "Electronica Art Metal" vision of composer Thanasis Lightbridge, and includes the lovely Kortessa on vocals. This is an innovative album, deep with emotions and meditative melodies. Thanasis focused on dreamy and improvisational performances for the recordings in order to capture a more instant and artful expression from the participants. Dol Theeta also feature a lot of ethnic elements and instrumentation, something new and exciting for Thanasis, who apart from the various sounds and synthesizers, also performed the drums on the album. This is what I call thinking persons rock and it is cool, being similar I suppose to Factory Of Dreams/Project Creation cds by Hugo Flores - may be also a nod towards Pink Floyd on occasion. No huge hooks here folks, just some real cool music from Greece. I am not overly sure how easy it will be to get this album, but anybody into this type of music will do no harm in checking it out. 8/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

DOLLS...'SECRET SULK'

(Self Released) Reviewed 7th May 2013

SECRET SULK, the hotly anticipated debut album from DOLLS (Aka Nikki Awesome) has hit Ravenheart Towers here in the SW of the English Midlands. Nikki (FaceBook) came to London from Toronto after splitting with Warner Music Canada, and the result of that is a self released album that seems to go down well with my ears as the sun shines very brightly outside. Haunting atmospheric Syntho Pop may be one way to describe the music of Dolls. Indeed, the album (written and produced by the self centred singer - songwriter) features recurring themes of money, sex and violence, aiming to deliver a darker, dirtier pop for an evolved listener; bubblegum bisected by industrial synthesizers bringing to mind the electro scene of the 80s. I love the sultry, sensual near hypnotic vocal style of Nikki too, that comes to the fore on tracks like 'Enemy Lines' and 'Tasty', while there are more upbeat floor filler tracks like 'Now Now' and 'Erase You'. A fave of mine however, is the catchy 'One On One'. Imagine the music of Dolls being the result of a threesome between Madonna, Depeche Mode and Joy Division, and that may give the prospective listener an idea as to where Dolls are at. Not for the metal heads I am sure, but a rather enjoyable listen nonetheless.. 8/10 Dave

THE DOLLYROTS...'MAMA'S GONNA KNOCK YOU OUT'

(Arrested Youth Records) Reviewed 26th January 2016

The DollyRots hail from LA and have been going for a while now - over 15 years in-fact, having produced 5 studio albums in that time. Until now, this band has been sneaking around under my radar, but oh well, they have now caught up with me. Fronted by Kelly Ogden this is a three track EP, offering some very catchy Punk/Rock, oh my Goth, only three tracks but this is good!! They have formally announced the release of their Pledge Music funded live CD/DVD - 'Family Vacation - Live In Los Angeles', which will be released this March. And on a footnote, their 2 year old son goes on tour with them, so it is a real family vacation. They tour the UK in February, this EP is released very shortly, well recommended... 8.75/10 (Dave)

THE DOLLYROTS…’FAMILY VACATION: LIVE IN LOS ANGELES’

(Self Release) Reviewed 15th March 2016

You know what, I like this band. I reviewed an EP of theirs in January which I rather enjoyed. Going back a little while and in 2013, pop punk sweethearts The Dollyrots (Kelly Ogden -Vox, Bass and Luis Cabezas - Guitar, Vox) reproduced. But their new baby didn't slow them down: they just took him on tour, well why not! Thus the title of this their new live CD/DVD. This release offers up 11 tracks of highly enjoyable Punk/Alternative Rock Music and flippin’ good it is too. I am not going to start naming any highlights as everything here is damn catchy and cool. If you like this upbeat carefree style of bouncy Punk Rock, then this has to be checked out. Indeed, the complete Family Vacation package is a concert film with a companion live album that captures The Dollyrots on their 2015 summer tour with long-time road mates Bowling For Soup. It's 40 minutes of pure rock frenzy, harnessed by filmmaker Ian MacLeod and delivered as both a video/audio download and deluxe double disc set. More info here… 9/10 (Dave)

DOMINA NOCTIS..'SECOND ROSE'

(Black Fading Records) Reviewed 26th March 2009

An outstanding record we have here from Italian rockers Domina Noctis fronted by the angelic sounding Edera. This I understand is their second release (their second rose), and if you was to look at the artwork, and check out the pictures of the band, you may be mistaken into thinking that this is a death/doom metal outfit. Wrong, completely!!! If you enjoy bands like Dark Princess from Russia, Forever Slave from Spain and the latest output from Norwegian rockers Sirenia, then this album will be right up your alleyway. We have songs on this record that are as catchy as the most virulent form of the flu. Great stuff from beginning to end, with awesome covers of 'Because The Night' (Patty Smith) and the bonus cut, 'Bang Bang' (written by Sonny Bono for Cher), making the purchase price worthwhile on these two covers alone. Indeed, all the tracks here are by and large up tempo and hideously catchy rockers...so pop to www.femmemetalstore.net/ and place your order. Awesome...9/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

DOMINA NOCTIS...'MIGRATION OF SOULS'

(Black Fading Records) Reviewed 23rd June 2015

Domina Noctis in Latin means "The lady/mistress of the night" (i.e. the Moon, not some night time slapper LOL). Fronted by Edera, they are a Rock/Metal band from Italy. This album has in-fact been out for a wee while and for some reason has escaped our radar. But we still felt a brief review was in order. There are nine tracks of catchy melodic metal here, standout cuts a plenty but just listen to the opening musical blast of 'Imitation Of Silence' and 'The Illusionist' the latter a fave of mine from the CD, and that will give you a good idea as to the path this band is traveling on regards this record. I personally feel having listened to their earlier stuff which is rather good, that this album is even better. So if for some reason, you have not already checked this out, do so, it is rather good... 8.75/10 (The Nugget)

DOMINIA...'THEOPHANIA'

(Self Released) Reviewed 22nd August 2014

Okay, Russian band Dominia fronted by Anton Rosa is technically not a female fronted band, but when the awesome Gaby Koss is involved, even in a subtle capacity, then it becomes one! The beauty of Rock and Metal Music comes to the fore on this release, and right at the start too in the intro to the opener 'Everyone Else'. And what becomes apparent with this album, is that although this would be classed as Gothic/Doom/Death Metal, the violin (compliments of Dmitry "Casper" Rishko) plays a very important role within the structure of the band - damn awesome if you ask me. I rather like the next track, the amazingly beautiful 8 minute 'Death Only', a mid paced dark Gothy number with again that lovely violin, and in its own way this track is rather catchy, and the dolcet tones of Gaby put in an appearance too. So far, so exquisitely good! 'The Shadow Of The Lost Prophet' has a slightly more upbeat approach coupled with Death vocals, and that violin gets better as the record wears on. Can Doom get any better than this, I do not think so! The up tempo 'Mother Plague' features clean and Death vox, while the rather nice and progressively orientated 'Unseen Artist Realm' features clean vocals with Gaby offering background vox. The band does what it says on the tin and the beauty and darkness continues with 'Your Senseless Hope' and the massive 'The Final Trip'. The closing duo of 'A Murderer' and the epic 10 minute 'In Solitude', concludes what is a rather nice and indeed rather emotional but very dark release. And to mention the violin again - awesome! The band's Facebook is here, overall well recommended... 9/10 (Dave)

DORIAN OPERA..'CRUSADE 1212'

(Soleminity Music) Reviewed 17th October 2011

This German progressive rock/metal band was founded by four full time musicians in 2007, releasing 'No Secrets' in 2008. Their second album is based on the Children's Crusade of 1212 in which thousands of children departed for Jerusalem, only for the mission to end in disaster. It is shrouded in myth and legend, there was a French 14 yr old shepherd called Stephen who, with a following of 30,000 people, went to St. Denis (just north of Paris) with a letter from Jesus for King Philip II (Augustus) in 1212, traditionally they then went on Crusade, but there is no contemporary record of them going. At about the same time there was also a German Crusade led by another young shepherd called Nicholas with about 7,000 people, but the fleet broke up and some were probably captured by pirates and sold into slavery. These two events have over the centuries become embroidered, entwined and embellished, so it is difficult to know what is fact and what is fiction. The tragic tale in this album is about the German knight Jan, sung by Sven the Axe, who rescues and falls in love with Constantine, performed by special guest Alexandra Goess. Constantine is enthralled by Stephen's sermon at St Denis and decides to follow his Crusade to Jerusalem, whereas Jan is sceptical about Stephen's visions and chooses to join Nicholas's Crusade as he believes it has a better chance of succeeding. What will befall them and will they meet again? Stylistically they recall Roswell Six, an epic historical tale (but based on real events) set against the backdrop of melodic progressive metal, with influences from symphonic/neo prog, melodic heavy rock and power metal, depending on the mood of the story. Sven and Alexandra both have powerful rock voices, and they share vocal duties almost equally, either solo or in partnership where their voices are often counterpointed to retain their individuality. Musicianship is outstanding with plenty of space for Oliver Weislogel's virtuoso fretwork and Andrew Roussak's flying synths, he does remind me at times of Clive Nolan, but they never over indulge, there's plenty of variety, and they always return to the song and story. A good example is 'Follow Your Heart' which is about the pivotal moment when the lovers decide to go their separate ways, it starts with a superb instrumental introduction, then turns into Alexandra's ballad, Sven takes over as it powers up, the lads then stretch their legs, before it returns to the refrain sung by Sven and Alexandra together. 'Sermon In Saint-Denis', 'Carthago', 'So Long' and 'Hope' are carefully crafted and constructed melodic prog metal songs. 'Soldier of Fortune' and 'Harbour Of Marseilles', belted out by Sven and Alexandra respectively, have appropriate bursts of epic power metal, and Alexandra stars in the power ballad 'Two Hearts'. Production by Oliver is top notch - clear, powerful but not too heavy. This is a highly professional album with an absorbing story, ideally suited for melodic prog partakers of both the metal and rock persuasion, so set sail to their promised land here, an engrossing 9/10 (Phil)

DORRN... 'UNPLUGGED RELOADED 2012'

(Deaf Dog Records) Reviewed 15th April 2013

I have just reviewed album 5 from this rather good German band (see below), and this is album number 6. Eleven of the numbers from Dorrn's previous releases are given the unplugged treatment with two tracks coming from the album 'I Don't Fit' that I reviewed below. A nicely done well produced laid back listen from this rather good band that until now has escaped my radar. As I say below, check them out! 8.25/10 (Dave)

DORRN...'I DON'T FIT'

(Deaf Dog Records) Reviewed 15th April 2013

Dorrn is a nu metal band from Hamburg Germany fronted by a young lass called Jackie. The music from this young band is heavy with clean and screamo female vocals, but maintains a sense of melody throughout. There are male vocals too (I am sure), but I am not sure which member of the band contributes those. After having given this album a couple of listens, I rather like it. The record rocks throughout the 13 tracks, and we even get Dorrn's rendition of 'Scarborough Fair'. Fave numbers include the aforementioned 'Scarborough Fair', the catchy 'Painkiller', the rocky and equally catchy 'Sexuality', the heavy and raptastic 'Gollum' and the superb pounding 'Noisy Neighbours'. The largely autobiographical lyrics ('Living A Lie', 'I Don't Fit' or 'In My Mirror') give the whole album a dark and earnest touch. So anybody who likes their music heavy with catchy melodies, melodic vocals and powerful shouts, should most certainly check this band out here. Play it and play it loud, this is rather good!... 8.25/10 (Dave)

DOTMA..'SLEEP PARALYSIS'

(Scarlet Records) Reviewed 14th April 2011

Finland's Dotma were formed by keyboarder Harri Koskela in 2005, who is also a member of Embassy of Silence. They specialise in sumptuous soaring sublime symphonic metal that is midway between fellow Fins Amberian Dawn and the fantastic Russians Narwhal Tusk. Delightful Johanna Lesonen has a truly beautiful soft operatic voice that also reminds me of Amberian's Heidi Parviainen and Narwhal's Valetina Yastremskaya. Joining her on a few tracks is Embassy's Ines Lukkanen and tenor Vladimir Lumi, which makes a nice change to the more usual beauty/beast, metal/opera combos. The superb rich production is suitably epic for this most epic of bands, I wish I could find another word for epic because I am in danger of using it a lot in this review. You will be more than impressed with the first six multifaceted medium sized epics that feature glorious melodies, rapturous choirs and ornate orchestrations, including the gorgeous ballad 'Indian Fall'. But then they climax with two highly ambitious, gargantuan epics , the 11 minute 'Kingdom of the Sky' which segues seamlessly into the 8 minute 'Memory Worth Dying For' and you will be very very impressed. The splendid sleeve art is by Imperia guitarist Yan Yrlund who also designed the cover of their latest CD as well as many other artists. This is beautiful dreamy paradisiacal music that is a total joy to listen to, their site is here, an epic 9/10 (Phil)

DOWNCAST ART..'DOWNLIGHT'

(Independent Release) Reviewed 20th July 2009

Downcast Art is a Croatian Symphonic Metal Band fronted by Iva Grdic, the band being formed in 2006. I have full admiration for independent musicians that work very hard in getting their product out to the masses, normally at great expense, bearing in mind there is a global economic downturn aswell (so the UK Government keep telling us!). So what about the music on offer here on this little 3 track EP. 'Whisper of a Dying Rose' kicks things off, and obvious comparisons are Tarja era Nightwish - and a catchy song this is too. Okay, this may have all been done before, but you will not hear me complain! 'Miris Proslosti' follows, presumably sung in their native tongue, and this is another song I enjoyed, and again a catchy little number that should appeal to the masses. 'Chants From The Deep' rounds things off. An instrumental, which although good, could do with the added benefit of the vocals. A good little effort here, and I would like to hear more from this band in due course. Check them out at www.myspace.com/downcastart 8/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

DOWNCAST ART...'FORBIDDEN MEMORIES'

(Self Release) Reviewed 16th August 2012

Croatian band Downcast Art blew me away with their three track demo that I reviewed back in July 2009, and to be honest, I have awaited with bated breath for their debut full length cd, and this is it! And does it live up to expectation? the resounding answer has to be yes!! Previously fronted by Iva Grdić and now with Jelena Mužar at the helm, I will be totally honest and say that on this showing, this band has the potential to hit the Premier league, and hit the Premier League big time too. This is mind blowing stuff with the operatic vocals of Jelena fitting in with the music so well, and aided by a choir on some numbers too. The listener is drawn in with the atmospheric instrumental opener 'Everlasting', that leads us into the pounding and symphonic 'Bloodred Ink', that sets the tone of the nine tracks that follow. Not a ballad in sight as the band and Jelena let rip on numbers like 'Moris Prosloti' (totally awesome), the melodic title track, which also features the vocals of guitarist Kristijan Radeka, the catchy and symphonic 'Face Without A Name' and the instrumental 'Chants From The Deep'. We even get treated to a piano version of the track 'Home Of Silence' which well and truly showcases Jelena's awesome vocal style and allows it to shine. With top notch production, the music on 'Forbidden Memories' is a reflection of complex themes and motives, a fusion of alternative and classical influences, heavy riffs and ornamental elements. I therefore highly recommend this release to all and sundry - the band's website is HERE, please check it out!... 9.25/10 (Dave)

DOXA..'ONCE … AND FOR ALL'

(Self Release) Reviewed 10th August 2010

Döxa is the brainchild of Spanish keys player Víctor Fernández. After leaving the band Darksun he embarked on this project, calling upon the services of many friends including the two other key members, guitarist Juan B. Rodríguez “Txendo” and vocalist Dina Nasser, together with producer/singer Daniel González (Darksun). They adopted an open book approach, if they liked it, it stayed. The outcome is thunderous, massive, epic, symphonic power metal, with more than a touch of gothic, à la Holyhell and Gwyllion, but with loads of attention-grabbing ingredients thrown into the mix, everything from classical to death. A perfect example is the awesome, groovy, romping ‘The Spirit of Mistletoe’ which includes folk, accordion and even a didgeridoo! Dina, Daniel, Víctor, with special guests Juanjo Abad and Ani M. Fojaco, all have excellent and very versatile voices, from opera to rock to ballad to occasional growls, reminding me of Ayreon. ‘Sins of Symmetry’ is like Jethro Tull gone metal, with Victor sounding just like Ian Anderson, jaw dropping! All the songs are highlights, but I must mention the rumbustious ‘One Evil Song for Mrs. Goodness’, great fun. Very impressive stuff, great melodies, loads of fascinating bits and pieces, a few surprises, thought provoking lyrics, and all well produced. If you like any sort of symphonic and melodic metal, you will find a lot of enjoyment here. They are already working on a sequel and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next. Available through their website, http://www.doxametal.com/, a heartily recommended 9/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

DRACONIAN..'TURNING SEASON WITHIN'

(Napalm Records) Reviewed 18th February 2008

Musically, 'Turning Season Within' sees DRACONIAN speed up the tempo and heaviness a bit, but without leaving their roots or the doomish aspect aside. It is both tragic and beautiful, being filled with songs of longing and drama. This is great doomy gothic metal, and this is where the term 'gothic' in my book certainly does apply. And yet, there is a melodic under current never too far away throughout the album. Featuring the angelic female arrangements of Lisa Johansson, the harsh and at times near violent vocals of lyricist Anders Jacobsson, and with tuned down walls of darkish riffs, these Swedes have certainly delivered with this release. 'Turning Season Within' is certainly not a release for you Avril fans out there (LOL), but any punters who would enjoy a heavy fusion of doomy gothic metal coupled with occasional dreamy melodies to die for...well all I can say is go and buy it! The European release will appear on the 3rd March. Great stuff! 8/10 (Reviewed by Dave).

DRACONIAN..'A ROSE FOR THE APOCALYPSE'

(Napalm Records) Reviewed 17th June 2011

With the summer release of Draconian's fourth album, 'A Rose for the Apocalypse', the agonizing wait for this record comes to an end. The formation revolving around top-notch vocalists Anders Jacobsson and Lisa Johansson, once again delivers first-class songs that continue to prove the band's supremacy within the darkly genre. Well if it ain't broken, why fix it? The album's epic opener is more than enough to forget the hold up, as it combines the band's strengths better than ever before. Massive guitars, heavy drums, awesome melancholic melodies, deep growls, and enchanting female vocals, being all part of this obscure symbiosis uniting gothic metal and doom. Draconian delivering a hypnotic soundtrack of apocalyptic proportions, while at the same time offering up such beauty. Further epics here being the sombre 'The Last Hour of Ancient Sunlight', the near 8 minute 'Elysian Night' and 'The Quiet Storm'. This is another worthy release from these maestros who seem to be able to combine Doom and Beauty so well. Most certainly recommended! ...9/10 (Dave)

DRACONIAN…'SOVRAN’

(Napalm Records) Reviewed 19th October 2015

Founded in 1994 in the Swedish Säffle, Draconian gradually refined their sound of melodic Death Metal with elements of Black Metal, becoming more ponderous and doomy over time. Draconian's sound has remained steadfast to its origins however, in particular, the powerful vocal growls of Anders Jakobsson, one of the band's defining and most unique features, along with newcomer female vocalist Heike Langhans sensitively interwoven melodies. This is Draconian's sixth studio album, set to be released on Napalm Records October 30th 2015, and immediately convinces the listener with its Beauty and the Beast-esque vocal contrasts, striking accents, and threatening moods. Bloomin’ awesome!! And an album like this confirms that Metal cannot only just be heavy, it can be 100% beautiful too - just listen to ‘Rivers Between Us’ for confirmation of that statement! If you like Draconian‘s music to date, you will like this, period! Superb! 9/10 (Dave)

DRAMA..'NEMESIS'

(Independent Release) Reviewed 2nd May 2008

Drama fronted by Bet Soler are from Barcelona, and started out back in 1999. Fast forward to 2008, and we are fortunate enough here to be given the chance to review their latest 5 track (30 minute) EP 'Nemesis', that the band have been so kind to send to us. I like it, and it is obvious this band are trying hard to make an impression in the Symphonic Metal Genre. 'Nemesis' has five tracks of Power Symphonic Metal, and it is a shame that a label will not get behind this outfit. A label one day will wake up no doubt. For fans of Nightwish and the like 7.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave).

DRAWZZNIKK..S/T DEMO

(Independent Release) Reviewed 14th August 2010

Drawzznikk is an Austrian band named after the bandleaders Martin and Nina Traussnigg. The band was formed in October 2009, and indeed, Martin's pedigree includes a song he wrote ('The Age Of Innocence') for the second Randy Rhodes CD Project. This mini album offers strong hints of 70's & 80's hard rock, and that is not surprising, as the band recorded the song, 'Victim Of Love' for the album..'Shredding Skin - A Tribute To Whitesnake'. This cd has five songs that feature the incredible raspy style of singer Nina. A good little offering throughout is this, including the ballads 'Our Ways' and 'Maybe' (great guitar solos too), and the instrumental, the aforementioned 'The Age Of Innocence'. Check them out at www.myspace.com/drawzznikk. Certainly a must for fans of late 70's early 80's hard rock! 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

DREAM ARIA..'FALLEN ANGEL'

(Self Release) Reviewed 31st January 2011

Dream Aria began with composer, keyboardist and producer Don Stagg. He had written some music, and was interested in adding drums. A friend suggested he got in touch with former associate Garry Flint. Garry had been a member of the Toronto band National Velvet, and the two had worked together in the past. They got together in 2004, and went to work. At first, it was supposed to be more of a classical project, but the addition of drums changed the direction and then in came vocalist Ann Burstyn, whose impressive cv included doing backing vocals for Shania Twain and Phil Collins. Fast forward to 2011, and 'Fallen Angel' is their third release, and is not your typical Gothy Female Fronted box of tricks. I have been told that the story follows an angel through the “Carnival Of Souls” in her quest to understand mankind. The cd certainly gets off to a quirky start with the title track setting your feet tapping...the start almost reminding me of one of those 70's TV Commercials before the music becomes a little more serious and progressive. 'Gypsy Heart' has an interesting vocal intro before guitars and keys kick in, while 'Abstract Relations' is another catchy number, and one of the heavier rather more energetic offerings too...awesome keys from Don Stagg. 'Tale of Two Wolves' is one of the more progressive songs on the record, with quirky tempo changes throughout, with 'The Illusionist' being one of my fave tracks together with the soft rock of 'Healer'. 'Carnival of Souls' is a fine rocker with a carnival atmosphere needless to say, while 'The Gift' is a song that drives along quite nicely. The epic Winter Storm is mainly an instrumental with limited vocals and there so happens to be a hidden track 10, this is basically a brief spoken outtro. This album will most certainly appeal to the Prog Rock fans out there, with Melodic Rock Fans I think showing an interest too. Check the band out at Their Myspace Site. A good release and worthy of an 8.5/10 (Dave)