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Reviews B cont (2)

BLUE DAWN..S/T

(Black Widow) Reviewed 13th August 2011

Italian Band Blue Dawn was formed in 2009 by experienced Genova musicians Andrea Di Martino (drums) and Enrico Lanciaprima (bass @ clean male vox). They then quickly recruited vocalist Monica Santo and went through a series of auditions to find a guitarist after their original choice, ‘La Faci’ was forced to leave, due to heath issues. This their debut album, consists of 10 tracks of what I would call Classic Rock with a subtle Prog undercurrent, that occasionally rises to the surface in it's full glory. Opener ‘Crossing The Acheron’ is a semi pompous orchestral intro that leads us into 'The Hell I Am', that not only showcases front lady Monica's vocals to a tee, it gives the punter an idea of the path Blue Dawn is treading, a late 70's - 1980's mainly mid paced plodding metal. 'Inner Wounds' is a slower track, but still with the emphasis on an 80's sound, which to me is unusual for an Italian Band, as many bands from there tend to concentrate on the Gothic or Symphonic style of music. And I think it is the band's style, that makes them stand out from the rest of the Italian crowd. This release is a consistent one with some awesome musicianship, including some great guitar from their axeman Paolo Cruschelli. This guy can play. Other tracks worth a mention are 'Shattered Illusions' and 'In My Room', the latter for some reason reminds me a little of Toyah/Siouxsie vocally in the chorus! Closer 'Deconstructing People' with it's cool sax and accordion, is quite interesting too and worth the wait! You have to sit down and appreciate this album, but if Metal Music with late 70's or 1980's influences, plus some prog thrown into the blender for good measure, tickles your fancy, this band is worth checking out here. 8.5/10 (Dave)

BLUE DAWN...'CYCLE OF PAIN'

(Black Widow) Reviewed 11th Feb 2014

'Cycle Of Pain' is the long awaited follow up to the self titled Blue Dawn debut album. This latest effort from these Italians fronted by Monica Santo, was recorded after a successful UK tour, and it sees the band expanding their sound and delivering 12 new brilliant tracks (including bonus track), offering a style ranging from seventies Hard Rock through Doom Metal to Prog Rock. Plus, we have a stunning cover of Roxy Music's 'In Every Dream Home A Heartache'. What I like about the new album is the sexy sax that puts in an occasional appearance and gives this album the X-Factor, that sax provided by guest Jazz musician Roberto Nunzio Trabona. The record kicks off with the up tempo 'The Powers That Be', with next up, the retro sounding 'Emerald Eyes' and 'Naked Soul' providing the listener with an awesome start to the 12 track set. The title track is more of a doomy offering with touches of Prog and some great Hammond Organ. 'Clone' sees the sexy sax putting in an appearance while 'Dawn of Contempt' is a brief orchestral piece. That then takes us onto the second half of the record that sees The Gathering sounding 'Contempt' with great guitar work, the sax putting in a further appearance on the aforementioned 'In Every Dream Home A Heartache' - rather good me thinks! 'Last Cry' closes the album as a bonus track. Overall, this cd is a good effort - their Facebook is here - check it out... 8/10 (Dave)

THE BLUE DOLPHINS…’COME ON!’

(Tribe Alive Records) Reviewed 6th November 2015

Los Angeles based eclectic, melodic pop-rock duo The Blue Dolphins follow up this year's six-song 'Walking in the Sun' EP with their sophomore full-length, 'Come On!' A fourteen track collection of California-sun soaked roots songs that travel the landscape of memorable melodies, intricate guitar solos, luscious vocal harmonies, and uplifting lyrics, all wrapped up in fantastic production. Comprised of two-time Grammy Award winner engineer Alfonso Rodenas from Spain on guitar and English girl Victoria Scott on lead vocals, 'Come On!' is a major push forward for The Blue Dolphins, reaching towards a more complex and fully produced music scenario, this being fully showcased in the music that the band share with us here. This is certainly not Metal, I would call it Pop/Soft Rock, but certainly an album for those sun soaked summer days. Unfortunately 2015's sun soaked summer days (in the bulk of the northern hemisphere at least) have gone for a few months, but nonetheless, this is inoffensive radio friendly music for those easy listening moments in life, whether the sun shines or not! However, the pen ultimate and generally up tempo track ‘Sail Away’, does would you believe flirt with ‘punk’ territory. Check out their website here.. 8/10 (Katie McIntyre)

BOUDIKA…S/T

(Del Imaginario Discos) Reviewed 20th March 2016

Boudika come from Argentina and they are fronted by a young lady by the name of Eve, whose vocal style comes from the operatic school of vocal ability. South America seems to be a breeding ground for female fronted metal bands and Argentina is of no exception. However, it does seem that some of these bands pop up and then quickly disappear as quickly as they appear. Boudika are good on this their debut studio full length offering, but I would not say exceptional, although the vocals of Eve are possibly the “jewel in the crown”, if that is the phrase to use. Meanwhile, I would call the style of music Symphonic Metal, basically run of the mill stuff really, and although good, I would not say that there is a track that jumps out, grabs ya and says “play me again“! If anything nonetheless, I do rather like the number ‘The End Of Sorrow’, an acoustic driven ballad that is quite nice and laid back, until it ups the ante with about a minute and a bit to go. Do not get me wrong, I do not dislike this album, on the contrary, but it needs that little something extra to make me hit the repeat button. But for you female fronted anoraks out there, it is at least worth a listen. The band’s facebook is here.. 7.5/10 (Hannah Cooper)

Fallon BOWMAN..'HUMAN CONDITIONAL'

(Social Unrest Records) Reviewed 14th February 2011

Here is something totally new and different from this Canadian guitarist, born in South Africa of Indonesian and Dutch decent, who was a founding member of heavy metallers Kittie. After leaving in 2001 she went on to pursue involvements in the the industrial rock bands Pigface and Amphibious Assault. However, this new album signals a fresh direction, a blend of classic/alternative/new wave/pop rock, with influences from bands like Fleetwood Mac, The Cars, Ultravox, The Stranglers, Paramore and the Bangles. The result is a collection of incredibly infectious and intelligent rock songs featuring her superb expressive voice with a subtle quiver. A key ingredient are the marvellous Moog melodies that owe a nod to keyboardists like Greg Hawkes (The Cars), Dave Greenfield (The Stranglers), Billy Currie (Ultravox), and Phil Wooldridge (Eleventh Hour). They are all driven along by her backing band The Grace Dynasty featuring drummer Rhim from The Birthday Massacre, with top flight production. Every song hits the bullseye, from the more classic rock 'Force Me To Breathe Again' and 'Make Up Your Own Mind' to the darker more gothic 'In Your Room' and 'Mistakes – Retake'; from the poppy 'Love Affair' to the punky 'Disappearance'; from the stomping 'Rio De Janeiro' to the emotive 'Tales From The Fourth Floor'. Fallon proves she has many strings to her bow on this album that is perfectly targeted at all rock fans. Available at a range of download sites and you can shoot off to her website (click here) to order CD's, a sure fire 8.75/10 (Phil)

BRAVE..'LOST IN RETROSPECT'

(Femme Metal Records) Reviewed 5th February 2009

The roots of Washington DC based Brave began in 1997 (they was then called Arise From Thorns), when brother and sister duo Scott and Michelle Loose, began writing diverse, acoustic-based dark progressive music, with their childhood friend and drummer, Trevor Schrotz. Indeed, I have known about Brave for a while, but for some reason my radar has ignored them. This album is a compilation of Brave's material dating back to their roots in 1997. The record has come my way compliments of Femme Metal Records. And I am now seriously questioning whether I need a new radar system as some of the music on offer here is truly awesome. So much so that I think I am going to have to check out their back catalogue. The cd kicks off with material from their latest 'Monuments' album, and works backwards in time through to their earlier stuff, and some pretty good music on offer here too. The openers, 'Something To This' and 'Driven' could be classed as top drawer melodic rockers, while 'Hold On', I am sure I have heard before. 'Candle In The Dark' is a lovely piano led ballad, and 'To Dream Again' is a Pink Floyd style instrumental, while I must say there is lot more where those tracks come from - rockers and ballads, and featuring violins too. Check the album out as for many fans of the genre, it'll be worth it! 8/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

BREATHING SPACE..'UNDER THE RADAR'

(Self Release) Reviewed 18th October 2009

This is the second album (3rd if you include his solo effort) by the man who was one third of Mostly Autumn’s creative team, keyboarder Iain Jennings. It also features two of the band’s supporting cast who have a chance to step into the limelight, guitarist Liam Davidson, and singer Olivia Sparnenn, who is not only drop dead gorgeous, but also has a superb voice that reminds me of Andrea Corr. Why they don’t use her visual charms in the sleeve art is a mystery to me, if you’ve got it, flaunt it I say. The first album was quite experimental; Iain seemed to want to move as far away from Mostly Autumn as possible. This one sees them move into more conventional melodic rock territory. The album opens with a brace of catchy, ultra commercial, melodic rock songs. ‘Lantern for a Smile’ is the best song The Corrs have never recorded. ‘The Night Takes You’ home sounds like Sandie Shaw brought up to date. The 60’s vibe continues on the groovy ‘Run From Yourself’, complete with rollicking Hammond. The piano ballad ‘Dusk’ is the most Mostly Autumnish, then the Corrs like ‘Behind Closed Doors’. The album closes with two ballads, ‘Drowning’ is similar to a modern day Carpenters, and ‘Questioning Eyes’ is the closing epic, with special mention to Liam’s superb guitar work, and Barry Caswell’s drums. This CD is a must for fans of Fleetwood Mac, The Corrs, Mostly Autumn, Karnataka, and The Reasoning. Ken Bruce really should make this his album of the week. Available on their merchandise page, http://www.breathingspaceband.info/merchandise.htm, and other reputable dealers. Superb stuff, 9/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

DORIS BRENDEL..'THE LAST ADVENTURE'

(Sky Rocket Recordings) Reviewed 13th November 2010

Lovely Doris Brendel is the daughter of top classical ivory tickler Alfred Brendel, she sang on The Violet Hour’s classic 1991 album The Fire Sermon released on Sony, and she is a member of the party band The Bet Lynch Experience AKA Treacle who have just played a mind boggling 1200 dates in the last six years, so she has quite a pedigree. Her last album in 2003 was issued under the moniker DB, so this is technically her debut album under her own name. The album is like a compendium of classic rock all written by Doris which perfectly suits her glorious smoky Joni Mitchell meets Joss Stone meets Matthew Bellamy voice. I had better give you a quick run through to show what’s on offer within these grooves. Opener ‘What Are You Saying’ with its almost yodelled hook is like Muse crossed with Mostly Autumn, then the title track ‘The Last Adventure’ has a more Beatles flavour with an injection of Queen (live video on Female Voices Blog), followed by the Stevie Wonder/Jools Holland esque funky R’n’B of ‘I’m Not Old, I’m Experienced’ (I couldn’t agree more!) complete with vamping clavinet and a touch of Katie Tunstall. ‘Latest Fantasy’ moves into Corrs/Karnataka territory, but with her drummer Steve Clark doing a burst of John Bonham giving it some real oomph, and it features Doris’s signature flageolet, but before you get over excited, it’s actually a musical instrument and member of the flute family. A mix of Sunny Afternoon and Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy merge for ‘What Have I Done’, ‘Work in Progress’ is Muse inspired dramatic wackiness, and then the Undertones turn up for ‘Get a Life’. ‘Your Almost Perfect’ reminds me of Wings, before Jamiroquai joins Lenny Kravitz for ‘Be My Guitar’, time to get down and shake your booty. ‘Why Are You Still Here’ sounds like Muse jamming with Focus, Camel and The Stranglers, ‘My Town’ has a touch of Joss Stone and Jools Holland R’n’B, and lastly she rounds things off with the Beatles like ‘Memory’, if I remember right. It is all lovingly produced by head henchman and guitarist Dave Beeson with a subtle retro feel, i.e. real musicians playing real instruments instead of a computer generated confection. If you love any type of classic rock, then you will adore this collection of classic songs available from her website http://www.dorisbrendel.com/. I certainly hope that this is not her last adventure, a most enjoyable 8.75/10 (reviewed by Phil)

DORIS BRENDEL and LEE DUNHAM...'NOT UTOPIA'

(Sky Rocket Records) Reviewed 20th June 2012

Doris Brendel, one of the most unique female rock singers of the last decade is set to release this little opus on July 1st. The daughter of famed classical pianist Alfred Brendel, her rather distinctive vocals so happened to be the driving force behind 1990s alt-rockers The Violet Hour, who were in-fact signed to Sony. After her highly acclaimed 'The Last Adventure' that was released in 2010, Doris forges ahead with the next chapter of her recording career. Already being described as a collection of Progressive Pop Songs, the commercial sounding 'Not Utopia' spans pop, rock, prog and acoustic, confronting happy and sad topics with a humorous angst ridden style, while the album itself was recorded and produced by Lee Dunham, guitarist with Rock/Metal band Primary Slave. Opener 'No Lonely Girl' is the heaviest number on the album, kinda mixing Evanescence with Garbage if that makes sense. 'Ebay' is rather quirky, while 'Drawing The Line' sees Doris and Lee in full flow - quite a catchy number. I can actually imagine Avril Lavigne singing this one. 'Going Out' ups the tempo, adding an electronic feel to proceedings, kinda like Blondie, with the title track also adding an electronic pop feel! There are also the aforementioned acoustic elements - listen to the numbers 'Beyond Words' (that cries hit single) and 'Kind To Be Cruel', while the awesome 'Passionate Weekend' and 'Conflicted' take the more progressive although still very commercial route. This is a good album, and the smokey bar room vocal style of Doris nails it perfectly. Connect with her on Facebook...8.75/10 (Dave)

DORIS BRENDEL...'UPSIDE DOWN WORLD'

(Sky Rocket Records) Reviewed 26th March 2015

Doris Brendel, one of the most unique female rock-singers of the last decade, is releasing this her 8th album on Sky-Rocket Recordings in April 2015. The daughter of famed classical pianist Alfred Brendel, her distinctive vocals were the driving force behind 1990s alt-rockers The Violet Hour, who were signed to Sony when they released their now revered, classic album ‘The Fire Sermon’ in 1991.With a little help from her partner in crime Lee Dunhem (Primary Slave), she is now enjoying a solo career to keep her fans happy. Onto the new album itself and opening with the raunchy, rockin' 'The Devil Closed The Door On Me', this opener reminded me initially of AC/DC, although other influences creep in upon repeated listens, the husky voice of Doris a joy to behold. Things slow down on the next track 'Adored', but what I do really like about this record is there is something for everybody here. The rockers will sure love the aforementioned opener, those who like utterly melodic rock tunes will go for the lovely titled 'Slap Me And You Die', while 'Accessorise' blends Pop & Rock with touches of electronica. There are other awesome numbers like the radio friendly 'Tumbling Away', the piano led proggy tune 'A Little Act Of Defiance' and the lovely ballad 'Still Running', which concerns itself with Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and has a military theme. This album that is released in April is available on CD, and for the first time on a limited edition vinyl as well. CD and vinyl feature beautiful and atmospheric link tracks not available in download format, as well as showing off the stunning artwork, with the cover designed by surrealist Igor Morski. Doris Brendel's website is here, recommended!... 9/10 (Dave)

SARAH BRIGHTMAN..'SYMPHONY'

(EMI/Manhattan) Reviewed 17th August 2008

Please do not skip this review!! Anyway, "what" I hear you cry. "Has Dave gone totally barmy by reviewing a Sarah Brightman record on his rock and metal website". Okay, let me explain..I admit to not knowing much about this 48 year old lass, except she is a classical singer who was once a dancer and musical theatre performer, who was married (now divorced) to Andrew Lloyd Webber, the highly successful British composer of musical theatre. No doubt that is how the two first met. Sarah even released some disco singles in the 70's! I was attracted to this cd by the gothy cover, which I find very cool. Anyway, what about the music inside the gothy cover, and why am I reviewing this? Because this album is good. Okay, it is NOT rock and it is NOT metal, but as I have just said, it is good and will appeal to the more open minded music fan that visits this site. Just check out the opening salvo of 'Gothica' and 'Fleurs Du Mal', and you would be forgiven into thinking that this is actually a gothic metal record. Comparisons to Within Temptation spring to mind. Totally awesome stuff! Title track 'Symphony' brings us back down to earth, with it's orchestral arrangements, although with a definite pop crossover appeal. I am beginning to like this already! I have an admission - I like Andrea Bocelli, the Italian operatic tenor, and 'Canto Della Terra' is a duet with this awesome singer. This guy can sing, and I mean sing! If I was to detail every track on 'Symphony', this review would go on for ever, but other highlights on this cd include the AOR sounding 'I will Be With You (Where The Lost Ones Go)', a duet with Mr Paul Stanley, that's right, the Kiss man himself, plus the track 'Let It Rain', that screams hit single at me. And furthermore, listen to 'Running'...yep, it may sound a little familiar at the start, but what a corker of a tune! 'Symphony' no doubt has been targeted at the classical music audience, but there is huge crossover potential here. This is a surprisingly good record. Not one to headbang too by any stretch of the imagination, but if you wanna chill and relax with a bottle of something with your loved one during a romantic night in, take my advice..buy it! 8/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

BRIGHTSTORM...'PAST IN FLAMES' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 13th March 2014

Occasionally a band blows me away and it is now the turn of Brightstorm from Brazil. The band started in October 2012 as a cover project and already had most of its current members: vocalist Naimi Stephanie, guitarist Léo Milani, bassist Flávio Gonçalves and keyboardist Gabriel Bernardes. After their first show, drummer Odair Salles and additional guitarist Will Lopes joined the band. Noticing their potential to create original songs, the group decided to create a name and start composing and creating music within the Gothic Metal genre. And this their debut record, is rather good to say the least. They offer up five tracks on this EP, all being exceptionally good, and should please any fan of female fronted Gothic Rock & Metal music. Starting with the melodic and bombastic 'Taste Of Wine' the band set the bench mark with the opener, and upon repeated listens, this track is becoming a fave of mine.'Breathing in Death' slows it down just a touch particularly at the start, and I am hearing Amy Lee influences in the vocal department. Third number 'Losses And Fears' (another fave) is a gigantic power ballad, that initially has just piano and strings, and then soars into action when the rest of the band crank it up to eleven - awesome! The pounding 'Under The Moon' shows no let up while closer 'These Hands' ends a very good record. What the band offer the listener is around 25 minutes of pure heaven and I wholeheartedly recommend this. It does remind me vocally of Amy Lee at times which is not a bad thing at all - just imagine Evanescence gone heavy and metallic. The band's website is here.. 9/10 (Dave)

BRING ME ETERNITY...'DRAW THE ECHO'

(Self Released) Reviewed 15th October 2013

Grenoble is a city in southeastern France, at the foot of the French Alps. It is also home to the band BRING ME ETERNITY. 'Draw The Echo' is their very recently released debut EP, which mixes epic melodies with heavy rhythmics, with a healthy dose of metalcore to boot. The five tracks here showcase the totally awesome and angelic vocals of Lyriel Bena coupled with the occasional guttural vocals of Florian Gatta, these mainly in the opening track. Indeed, opener 'Road of Dreams' will hit you backwards as it roars out of the speakers, while 'Deception' featuring solely the vocals of Lyriel is a great thundering melodic number. Third up 'Vanity' is another heavy track, but to be perfectly honest, this band certainly knows the meaning of the word "melody". This album has stack of it - great stuff! 'Silent Memory' as the title may suggest is an epic string/piano led ballad with choir, while closer 'Pride Of A World' is a damn fine way to end a damn fine album. There is a tremendous amount of unsigned talent around at the moment, and this is another band that deserves one's attention. Check out their Bandcamp and hear for yourselves. A full length album of this quality would be a joy to hear.... 8.75/10 (Dave)

BROCELIAN…’LIFELINES’

(Self Release) Reviewed 16th July 2015

Brocelian come from Germany and they released this their debut album last year (2014). What the band offer is 12 rather cool tracks of catchy melodic Metal injected with a little folk here and there to mix it up a bit, as we find in the opener ‘Fields of Sadness’ and tracks like the quirky ‘The Hunt’. And to be honest, this is rather good from this band. The awesome vocals of Susan fit the music so well, while the violin (compliments of Elli) plays an important role within the music the band throws at the listener. There are some further good numbers here including tracks like the pounding and melodic ‘Heartstrings’, the hard rocking vibe of ‘Lost Memories', the rocking ‘Theatre Moments’ and the bouncy 'Unbreakable', and I do love that violin, adding a different slant to the music across all tracks – cool!!. This album is good and I do rather like it. The band’s website is here although you may need Google translate… 8.5/10 (Dave)

BRONZE HONEY...'FREE'

(Self Release) Reviewed 8th November 2013

Bronze Honey is a rather good Israeli (Tel-Aviv) alternative rock band, playing a blend of Rock, Metal, Industrial & electro, all this being fronted by the Pop/Rock vocal style of Polly Gutman, and she has the ability to incomparably combine dark gothic mystery and precise rock/pop, which is essentially the visiting card of the band. And like just about everything I am reviewing at the moment, this is good! 'Free' offers up 13 tracks of mainly up tempo Rock and Metal spiced up with the aforementioned Industrial & Electro influences, which to be frank puts this album right up my alleyway. The record is ooozing throughout with awesome tracks, including the powerful opening duo of 'Lies' and 'Convicted', the slower and commercial 'Promise', the heavy and bouncy 'Bee', the massive sounding power ballad 'As Free As The Wind' and the Pop/Rock sounding 'So What'. This is a powerful, grandoise and melodic release from this Israeli band and to my ears is well worth checking out, so check them out at www.soundcloud.com/bronze-honey. Also, one can download the album for free via the band's Facebook page, "FREE" for FREE here. To me it is great to hear music from countries that you do not immediately associate with this style of music, and long may it continue.. 9/10 (Dave)

JESSICA BUNDY...'CARELESS SMILE'

(Self Release) Reviewed 9th May 2014

Jessica Bundy's voice is arresting in its unaffected beauty and rich musicality. The daughter of a concert pianist, Jess has music in her bones. School and extra-curricular choirs nurtured her love of singing, while the gift of a second-hand guitar in her teens jump-started her on the songwriting path. But it wasn't until after the accidental death of Jessica's beloved younger sister that the deep reserve of musical creativity she'd always known was there began to surface. And a part of that creativity is this EP 'Careless Smile'. Don't expect five tracks of in yer face rock or metal, but anticipate five tracks of laid back acoustic folk inspired music from this Toronto lass, to soothe your senses with a glass of wine after a hard day at the office. Listen to this and lose yourself in a dream of sunny skies and a maze of open countryside. You can listen and purchase at www.jessicabundy.bandcamp.com/. I like this! 8/10 (Dave)

BURNING POINT...'BURNING POINT'

(AFM Records) Reviewed 25th May 2015

Finnish power metallers BURNING POINT have been and still are an active part of the European Metal scene since the late 90’s. Led by mastermind Pete Ahonen, the band has released five studio albums since then, all to critical acclaim. In 2014, Ahonen (who was responsible for vocals and guitars) asked former Battle Beast singer Nitte Valo to join the band as new vocalist. As Nitte loved Burning Point’s music, she agreed and is now a steady member of the band. Now the first album with Nitte has been recorded, the CD includes five brand new songs and six BURNING POINT classics in re-recorded versions. It’s inevitable to realize that Nitte’s presence and unmistakable voice adds the special something to the already established band. Opener 'In The Shadows' is one of the newies and is a belter of a song while second up, the mid paced and melodic 'All The Madness' is one of the re recorded numbers - totally awesome. There are further Burning Point reworked classics here with Nitte at the helm, including 'Signs Of Danger' and 'Heart Of Gold' , while the new ones such as the dynamic and powerful 'Find Your Soul', 'My Darkest Times' and 'Queen of Fire' sure do hit the spot. The album also includes the KISS cover which is the closing number, 'I've Had Enough (Into The Fire)'. To summarise, sonically 'Burning Point' is the best sounding album the band has released so far while in addition, AFM will re-issue the first four BURNING POINT albums 'Salvation By Fire' (2001), 'Feeding The Flames' (2013), 'Burned Down The Enemy' (2007) and 'Empyre' (2009), all scheduled for a July 17th release and about to include numerous bonus tracks. Recommended... 8.5/10 (The Nugget)

BURNING TEARS..'TALES FROM A DISTURBED SOUL'

(Self Release) Reviewed 14th January 2011

Here we have a new band all the way from Chile with their Epica esque symphonic metal, but with a USP (unique selling proposition), the classical flute of pretty Karen Echavarria. Lovely singer Alicia "Lichi" Plaza has two voices, one higher, semi operatic and folkish, the other a lower more expressive gothic tone, and she is joined here and there by guitarist Diego Galleguillos's low devilish growls (lyrics are in English). After the creepy intro comes a brace of multi-part symphonic metal tracks, 'Black Sun' and 'My Curse', followed by the swaying waltz 'Snow Tears'. The part thrashing/part dramatic 'The Whisper' and chilling interlude 'Suffering' serve as a prelude for the multidimensional manic frantic 'Faithful to My Dreams' and 'From My Blood', the latter featuring drummer Nicolas Pichara's Keith Moon/Animal freak-out. The album calms for multi-faceted mini opera 'The Flight of the Crow', 'The Bride of Death' (video on Female Voice blog) which encompasses their range from soft to pulverising, and the part swaggering/part folkish 'Until I Die'. They then take it down for the gentle Spanish guitar and voice 'No Return' and the gradually building ballad 'Eternal Bird', before ending with the alternatively battering/melodic 'Born Again'. Unusually, Karen's flying flute is an integral part of their music rather than just an occasional ornamentation, even on the heavier songs, giving them a distinctive sound and style. Production is very good and clear, with a nice deep guitar sound, and it is nice to hear Nocolas's extensive collection of crash, splash and ride cymbals, so often then are drowned out it the melee. The album is like a roller coaster, sweeping you up to terrifying heights, before bringing you gently back to earth, with a sudden jolt as you come to a halt. Their Myspace is www.myspace.com/burningtearschile, all I can say is an eye watering 8.5/10 (Phil)

BY BLOOD ALONE..'SEAS OF BLOOD'

(Jericho Hill Records) Reviewed 10th February 2009

By Blood Alone hail from Portland with vocal duties handled by none other than the awesomely named Cruella. They play a brand of progressive symphonic metal, despite the name of the band implying some kinda death/doom act. Okay, this record isn't bad, although on their next release (and going by this one, there should be a next one), I would like to see the production beefed up a bit. That alone should then carry the band into the premier league, as By Blood Alone has real potential. Kicking off with the 7+ minute 'Serpentarius', this song gives us a pretty good idea what alleyway By Blood Alone are going down. Next track in 'Wants Me Dead' continues the good work of the opener, with the keys carrying the song along quite nicely. Listening to this album, I get a sorta 70's vibe on some tracks, and that is not a bad thing. There is a lot happening on this cd, with other favourite tracks including 'Nidhogg', 'Lovely Lies', the slower 'Seas of Blood' and the quirky 'Little Lady Lillit. Overall, the record is not a bad offering, and I especially love the keyboard work by Jenny Williamson giving that aforementioned 70s feel. There is a lot of promise here, and there is no reason why this band should not be up there with the big guns in the future! Worth checking out! 7.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

BY BLOOD ALONE..'THUNDERBIRDS'

(Jericho Hill Records) Reviewed 12th April 2011

By Blood Alone is a Progressive Metal Band hailing from Portland in Maine, and the time has now arrived for the release of their third album, 'Thunderbirds'. Having survived a battle with breast cancer, right after the release of their previous album 'Seas of Blood', vocalist Cruella has brought forth her most personal writing yet, with listeners revelling in the expressive and emotive language used in each of the seven tracks. We have the 9 minute opener 'Drive All Night', offering a mix of galloping metal coupled with a solitary piano & strings interlude midway. Then there is the catchy 7 minute 'Night Terrors', and the 10 minute + 'I Bleed', a song whose lyrics kinda give you an idea what Cruella may have been going through at the height of her illness. 'Having Tea' is a quirky progressive number and the shortest song on the record at around 5 and half minutes, while 'Stalking' is a number that stalks you, more so with it's lyrical content. The near 18 minutes of closing duo 'Thunderbirds' and 'Misfit' end an album that offers a sultry mix of bitter loss, inglorious defeat and a bit of gallows humour thrown in for good measure. Never under estimate this Portland Band, because I was impressed with their previous release, and I am even more impressed with this. The musicianship as a whole is awesome, like the last release, the keys from Jenny play a prominant role throughout, and going by this record, Thunderbirds are most certainly go...8.25/10 (Dave)