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Ravenheart Reviews: Current Reviews

Reviews S-T

THE DARK ELEMENT... S/T

(Frontiers Records) Reviewed 20th October 2017

The DARK ELEMENT is a new musical project fronted by the former Nightwish vocalist Anette Olzon together with Finnish guitarist and songwriter Jani Liimatainen. The combination of these two talents has delivered a debut album that looks set to make a huge statement within the European metal scene. The title track kicks the album off in bombastic fashion - four and half minutes of total awesomeness! 'My Sweet Mystery' follows and is a track that would fit very well into the Nightwish catalogue, another thumping offering as is next up ‘Last Good Day’! And there is no let up as further cuts like the awesome and melodic ‘Here’s To You’, the belter ‘Dead To Me’, the damn good ‘Halo’, well in-fact everything here is good, bouncy and so melodic. And the band can slow it down too like the power ballads ‘Someone You Used To Know’ and ‘Heaven Of Your Heart’. With production by Jani Liimatainen and mixing by Jacob Hansen, this record is damn good -the songs being extremely melodic (that word again), bombastic and to the point…. A winner and well recommended…10/10 (Dave)

SECRET RULE...'THE KEY TO THE WORLD'

(Pride & Joy Music) Reviewed 14th October 2017

SECRET RULE was formed in the beginning of 2014 with the intention to create a special sound with powerful rhythms and catchy melodies. The band is fronted by the powerful vocal pipes of Angela Di Vincenzo, together with Henrik Klingenberg (Sonata Arctica) and two new guests appearing on this new CD, Henning Basse (Firewind and MaYan) and Ailyn Giménez (ex Sirenia). There are some absolute melodic belters on this 13 track album, and it all kicks off as it means to go on with “The Key/The Song Of The Universe”, suitably followed by “Empty World”. The momentum rumbles on with further awesome tracks like “Are You Gone”, the catchy “My Realm”, the equally catchy “Lost Child”, the ballad “No More” and the pen ultimate track “I’m You”. This is another winner from Secret Rule, maintaining the consistency of their previous two releases. The band’s website is here - the record due 10th November… 9/10 (Dave)

SUNWALTER...'ALIEN HAZARD'

(Cosmos Studio) Reviewed 5th October 2017

Sci-Fi Metal from Russia is what Sunwalter throw at the listener. 10 tracks of awesome metal with strong electro influences. Fronted by Alexio (extreme vocals) and Sol (clean female vox), this is actually rather enjoyable stuff. It is heavy and so hideously catchy all at the same time. This is cool mixing the harsh male vocals with the angelic female vocals, and throwing in the previously metioned electro influences as well. Their Facebook is here...8.5/10 (Natalie)

THE LONGING...'TALES OF TORMENT'

(Filthy Princess Records) Reviewed 28th September 2017

Founded by LA based musician/singer/composer Laura Bradley, The Longing is a 5 piece band who are currently taking the music scene by storm. Laura's vocals are such that they will have you transfixed to the spot. Fuse all this with her poetic lyrics and you then begin to realise what Laura and her awesome band are all about. This is the band's second record following their debut 'Bleed'. I liked that album very much and I like this one equally as much. Laura's vocals actually hypnotize me, and she has this unique vocal style that just kinda gets me in a damn good way. This album is a slice of angst ridden hybrid classic Prog/Rock, a realisation of life, a battle with our inner demons. The album being a storybook of alternative tales, the type of narratives told from the perspective of the wicked witch and the twisted villain. This cd is nothing short of awesome. Okay, it may take a listen or two to get in to, but it's shear awesomeness and emotion makes it well worth the purchase money alone.I said in my review of 'Bleed' that we could be looking at the next big thing on the Rock Music scene. Seems I am right, the band picking up countless airplay worldwide plus numerous TV slots, including MTV and a score for William Shakespear's The Tempest. This album is released 29th Sept and I would certainly put it on your shopping list.The band's website is here ....9.5/10 (Dave)

SNOVONNE...'THE CHILD AND THE BITCH'

(SORE MEdia/Rogue Records America) Reviewed 18th September 2017

Snovonne's third official full-length album has been in production since 2015 and was released earlier this year. With all artistic gears spinning to a maximum, it’s believed to be a big leap forward - not only its heavily emotional and expressive content, but also in its audio and visual presentation. Heavy-hitting, stompy riffs are supported by epic, aggressive orchestral arrangements and cut through with razor-sharp melancholy. The concept carries a strong psycho-analytic undertone. And it all kicks of spectacularly with the ear splitting title track and second up 'Bullshit', and I sense already that we have an awesome release here, and that comment sure ain't bullshit. Everything here is magical including cuts like ‘Breakdown’, and it is all totally bombastic and theatrical. All I can say is that Snovonne is an awesome musician and this release sure hits the spot, offering a brave mix of temper and heavy riffs coupled with fragile and heart-breaking melodies. Well recommended to all and sundry!! 9.25/10 (Dave)

SIN.SIN...'NOBODY'S HEROIN'

(Alpha Matrix) Reviewed 16th September 2017

Known for her work as the lead singer of the goth rock/industrial metal band LOVELORN DOLLS, and although she has already collaborated as guest singer with some electronic musicians in the past (PSY'AVIAH, AIBOFORCEN, JUNKSISTA...), Kristell L., literally opens herself up on this new SIN.SIN project through which she spreads her butterfly wings and reveals a more colorful side of her personality. And her winning teamwork on SIN.SIN with the Italian genius producer Maxx of HELALYN FLOWERS for both mixing and production gives an absolute twist and spiritual dimension to the project. There are 12 tracks here including a bonus track 'Moving Sands (The Breath of Life folk remix)' , the musical style encompassing that mainly of mid tempo Electro Pop/Rock with a subtle gothy undercurrent. Faves include the bouncy ‘Wildwood’ and the catchy ‘Happy 30’. SIN.SIN is not only words and music, it's a full look & feel approach rendered by Kristell L's own visuals and design work, creating her own magic universe for her very own "heroine" (herself?) through an eclectic mix of mystical iconic figures, vintage family pictures, darkish tapestry, red roses and some more "voyeur" moments. A good record that gets released October 27th… 8/10 (Dave)

THE RINN...'STORIES OF THE GREEN FAIRY'

(Sliptrick Records) Reviewed 9th September 2017

The Rinn fronted by Veronica Barbutskaya and occasional male vocals from Nikolay Barbutskiy is a Melodic Power Metal band from Saint Petersburg, Russia. The band ply their trade by way of a fusion of metal, electronic, symphonic and folk genres, utilizing the dual approach of energetic male and alluring female vocals, which will take you on a mesmerizing journey through the worlds of dreams and imagination. This album is flippin' awesome, the tunes are catchy and totally melodic and this is an album that is well worth checking out. The band’s Facebook can be found at www.facebook.com/therinn... recommended...9/10(Natalie)

TEMPERANCE...'MASCHERE - A NIGHT AT THE THEATRE'

(Scarlet Records) Reviewed 8th Sept 2017

Melodic metallers Temperance are going to release their first live DVD 'Maschere - A Night At The Theater' on September 9th. Temperance captured on DVD an outstanding performance in the picturesque setting of Teatro Sociale in Alba in Italy, a theatre show which marks an important milestone in their fast rising career, following the release of the critically acclaimed third album 'The Earth Embraces Us All', a European tour with Luca Turilli's Rhapsody and shows with the likes of Nightwish, Epica and many others, for over a total of 100 concerts in 3 years. This CD/DVD is epic by all stretches of the imagination with much of the music showcased coming from their 'The Earth Embraces All' record. The fact that Temperance I believe to be now one of the best bands within this style of music, this package offers over 100 minutes of music recorded with the help of a string quartet and a choir. This is Temperance's orchestral power at its best and is well worth the purchase money.... 10/10 (Dave)

SCARDUST…’SANDS OF TIME’

(Self Released) Reviewed 28th August 2017

Scardust began under the name “Somnia”, in 2013 as a duo project, when the musicians Orr Didi and Noa Gruman wrote a rock opera called Gates of Dawn. The opera was arranged for a full symphony orchestra, choir, and metal ensemble. A demo was fully recorded at a home studio, but due to technical reasons was not yet recorded professionally and officially released. The single from the opera, 'Betrayal', can be found at the Somnia's channel on YouTube. Fast forward to 2017, and we now see the arrival of Scardust's first album titled 'Sands Of Time'. The album taking the Symphonic Progressive trail with choir, offers up a feast of Progressive Rock/Metal. Fronted by Noa Gruman, the record will appeal to many fans of the aforementioned style of music, I myself call this thinking person’s music, being complex, deep and damn cool to these ears. There are fave tracks but ‘Arrowhead’ is one that hits the spot with me. For you Progressive Rock/Metal fans out there, this album is sure worth investigating. The band’s facebook can be found here….8.5/10 (Dave)

SINNERS MOON...'FAR BEYOND THE STARS' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 24th August 2017

Sinners Moon is a Symphonic Metal band from Slovakia. I reviewed their awesome full length album 'Atlantis' in June 2015, and now we have this little belter of an EP that the band has so kindly sent me. With female vocals from Simona and growls from Derick, this is another goodie. This album pounds along giving the listener prime time Symphonic Metal, the final two tracks being a piano version of the title track (original version is track number 2 on this EP) and the closing number being a 2011 demo of a track titled 'Dawn Of War'. Another enjoyable listen from this band and worth checking out here... 8.5/10 (Dave)

SEVEN SPIRES...'SOLVEIG'

(Self Released) Reviewed 18th August 2017

Seven Spires fronted by Adrienne Cowan come from Boston MA and offer up a stunning array of Theatrical Symphonic Metal. There are 15 bombastic tracks here that would sure give their European counterparts a run for their money. Some belters on this album including 'Encounter', the catchy and thumping 'The Cabaret Of Dreams', the awesome pouding 'Choices', the beautiful '100 Days', the heavy 'The Paradox' and the melodic and catchy 'Ashes'. The band's facebook page is here - this band is damn awesome and is well worth of one's attention... 9/10 (Dave)

THE WAY OF PURITY...'THE MAJESTY OF YOUR BECOMING'

(Epictronic) Reviewed 17th August 2017

The Way Of Purity is inspired by a blind and extremely dark dimension where Christ and Satan, evil and good, are the same. This ultraviolent dimension takes shape in the music. I know very little about this band and I think that is their intention. Indeed, looking at the album's artwork, I was actually expecting a Death Metal assault here, but in-fact it is eleven tracks of what the band would call Electrocore, with a strong sense of melody coupled with clean female vocals. And rather cool it is too. This is a good record and I like it. The band's website is here, album is well recommended... 8.75/10 (Dave)

TANTAL...RUIN

(Sleaszyrider Records) Reviewed 10th August 2017

Formed in 2005, I am very familiar with this Metal band TANTAL from Russia, and this album is the latest offering from this rather good band. There are some real corkers here, the music heavy but always melodic, with the vocals of Sofia Raykova shining through. Opening with the thumping 'Constant Failure', it is obvious that this band is not a constant failure. An awesome opener is followed by one of my faves from the album, 'Denial' and the melodic but heavy theme continues. Other awesome cuts include 'Torpid', the catchy title track and the closing ballads 'Tears Of Yesterday' and 'The Awakening'. This is a good record and well worth purchasing when released 22nd September.... 9/10 (Dave)

SIX FEET DEEPER...S/T EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 8th Aug 2017

Six Feet Deeper come from Stockholm and they are fronted by Sara Lindberg. Listing their influences from such bands as Led Zeppelin, Audioslave and The Hellacopters to Freak Kitchen, King Crimson and The Winery Dogs, the influences shine through on this EP. And as with everything that comes out of Scandinavia, this a well produced album with some real belters. Sara's awesome vocals shine through here on tracks like the opening duo of 'In March The Clowns' and the bluesy 'Make It Right'. It continues with a hard rock/bluesy vibe, closing with a cover of the Led Zep classic 'Immigrant Song'. This is a thunderingly good little release and well produced. The band's Facebook page is here...8/10 (Dave)

TRISTN...'JANUARY'

(Self Released) Reviewed 5th August 2017

NY-based, eclectic pop/rock songstress/music producer, TRISTN, releases her album, 'January' on September 8, 2017. After experimenting with band dynamics for a few years and jet-setting to and from Los Angeles, TRISTN returned to New York in 2016 to focus on performing and writing as a solo artist. Her musical influences range from Yellowcard, Coldplay to Skylar Gray. Every song on this album narrates true events in TRISTN’s life and although not sure how I would take to this record, I indeed do like it. It is a solid album of pop tunes kicking off with the uptempo duo of 'All Of You' and the very catchy 'Sky Wide Open'. Thereafter, there are a mix of slower to mid tempo songs and rather good they are, with lyrics full of emotion like 'Now You Know', 'Suddenly' and 'Shattered Hearts'. Despite its poppy nature, I found this record a rather good listen. TRISTN's website can be found here... 8/10 (Dave)

SHADOWSIDE...'SHADES OF HUMANITY'

(Inner Wound Recordings) Reviewed 3rd August

Shadowside from Brazil - heavy and angry guitar riffs and powerful female vocals! A band with power, melody, energy and intensity. These four words define Shadowside’s career path very well. This being the band's latest and fourth offering, is a powerhouse recording offering powerful riffs, strong vocals from Dani Nolden and great musicianship from the rest of the band. It all kicks off in fine fashion with with 'The Fall' and the tempo is upped with next cut 'Beast Inside' with its catchy chorus. Further thumping songs include the Progressive influenced 'What If', the pounding 'Insidious Me', the damn awesome 'Drifter' and the closing catchy number 'Alive'. This is another fine record from Dani Nolden and Shadowside, and if you like their previous output, you will like this, and if you have not checked them out yet - why not?.... 8.5/10 (Dave)

THE 01EXPERIENCE…’THE CODE’ EP

(Self Released) Reviewed 1st August 2017

The Code is a concept album based on the inner science of alchemy and is linked to a larger platform that includes multimedia theatre, and transformational ritual. The 01EXPERIENCE features former members of metal bands Vile (Colin Davis), Death Under Fire (Melissa Mari) and Orchid (Carter Kennedy), as well as electronic music producer EO. The band’s shadow tinted sound is diverse, incorporating different forms of rock, metal and classical influences. Song structures are catchy but unconventional and dynamic. Front woman Melissa Mari acts as the central star of energy around which the music orbits. Fans of Opeth and The Gathering may find resonance within their sound, this resonance being found within the six tracks on this release. This is a cool album of slow to mid tempo and intelligent rock music with a heavier edge in places, like on the title track as one example, while the atmospheric ‘(Not An) Ordinary Life’ is one of my faves from the record. The band’s Facebook site is here. The 01EXPERIENCE is more than just a band, it's a multi dimensional event. It's a concert, an art show and a live alchemical ritual. The project is unfolding in stages, and Stage 1, the release of the debut EP is complete. Check it out!…8.25/10 (Dave)

SLEEPCRIME...'ISSUED LIKE A THREAT'

(Self Released) Reviewed 30th July 2017

SleepCrime fuses potent melodies with riffs inspired by classic heavy metal and the ramshackle spirit of grungy, hard-driving rock. They issued their debut 'Everything Secret Degenerates' in 2010. In 2017, Michele (vocals) and Lauren (drums/vocals) dusted off some partially-finished tracks and wrote some new ones to create this album — a 7 song album recorded in basements, bedrooms, and studios across Queens, Brooklyn, Long Island, and Upstate New York. And grungy hard-driving rock sums it all up rather nicely. Melody is always bubbling under the surface however, and to be perfectly honest, this is all consistently rather good. The band's facebook can be found here - another rather cool self financed release...8/10 (Dave)

TIGERSCLAW...'PRINCESS OF THE DARK'

(7hard) Reviewed 26th July 2017

Tigersclaw fronted by the awesome vocals of Elena Minina, is a melodic Symphonic Power Metal band from Germany, incorporating classical elements coupled with occasional ballads. This album through its 13 tracks I must say is rather good from a band I have never heard of until now. There are some absolute belters from a whole package of them including the opening cut ‘World Of The Dead’, the pounding ‘Storm Of Steel’, the mainly mid paced ‘Like An Angel’ with its progressive influences, the power ballads ‘Eternity’ and ‘Screams’, the bouncy ‘Revelation’ and the closing epic and flippin' awesome 7 minute plus 'Divine'. This is a jolly good release and should please fans of our beloved female fronted scene, with vocalist Elena at times reminding me of Liv Kristine. Every track on here is a corker - the band’s Facebook is here…great stuff…9.5/10 (Dave)

STAR ETERNAL...'LIFE 2.0'

(Self Released) Reviewed 22nd July 2017

Star Eternal is a Melodic Metal band from Australia with vocals performed by T Bainbridge & L Filice. The band offers up an hour of fresh and classic Power/Progressive/Symphonic Metal and jolly good it is too. This is a ten track epic of an album running in at around the hour mark, kicking off with the awesome ballady title track with vocals from T Bainbridge. ‘Persona Non Grata’ follows and ups the tempo with the vocals of Lidia Filice leading the way on this one together with a choral backdrop to boot. ‘Reach The Skies’ is another up tempo cut and do I hear the flute at the start? Male and awesome vocals from Lidia feature on this track, and so far what I am hearing on this record so far sounds damn good. ‘Not That Way Anymore’ exhibits progressive traits and with the male and female vocals combining well with each other, I am beginning to like this album big time! ‘Rediscovery’ hits the Power Metal button, while ‘Starting Over’ is an awesome bouncy symphonic number with further progressive influences. ‘Terminal Zero’ and ‘Intraspecies Predator’ keeps the album momentum going while the 6 minute plus epic cuts ‘Destiny’ and the instrumental ‘Astral Machines’ end what is an album of massive proportions. This is damn good and should be investigated further by fans of all Symphonic/Progressive/Melodic Metal. Check the band out here.. 9/10 (Dave)

SATCCONNIA...'TREE OF WISHES'

(Self Release) Reviewed 15th July 2017

Satcconnia is a Spanish Symphonic Metal band fronted by Cristina Mendoza. I feel that with the standard of female fronted Rock & Metal music being fairly high these days, it takes something special to propel a band into the 'Premier League' of that style of music. This band has a little way to go before they hit Premier Leage standard.This is run of the mill Symphonic Metal, it is not bad, it just has not really ignited me in any way. There are 10 cuts here, it all being fairly average stuff. Nothing here jumps out and grabs me, but kudos where kudos are due as being a musician these days and pumping out music is not easy, and neither does it come cheap either. The bands facebook is here - one for the more inquisitive among us perhaps.. 7.75/10 (Hannah Cooper)

SYTERIA...'RANT O BOT'

(Self Released) Reviewed 14th July 2017

Syteria is a girl band (drummer excepted) from Leeds here in the UK. Fronted by Julia and also featuring Jax Chambers (Girlschool- guitar), they ply their trade by way of rock music with a kinda melodic punk attitide. All the twelve numbers here run in at under 4 minutes so all the cuts get straight to the point and do not hang around, dealing by and large with life's experiences. This is a good little release, all the tracks are catchy and scream radio airplay, so open up the windows and turn up the volume! The band's Facebook page is here - check them out.. 8/10 (Dave)

THE SOAP GIRLS...'SOCIETYS REJECTS'

(Self Released) Reviewed 29th June 2017

Cape Town based The SoapGirls write outsider anthems that are androgynous, audacious and straight from the heart, with each song born from a real experience, either with themselves or someone close, ensuring every song is very honest. Mie on guitar and vocals sets the pace beautifully as she powers through each song with a certain style and grace that captivates every audience. Armed with unforgettable melodies and catchy choruses, The SoapGirls energy, rawness and authenticity live, has earned these road warriors a formidable reputation. Although not quite my cuppa tea, the tracks here are straight to the point, honest and well worth a listen if these fearless French born sisters Ca (Millie) and Noe(MIE) Debray tickle your fancy. Their website is here... 7.5/10 (Natalie)

THE EDEN HOUSE...'SONGS FOR THE BROKEN ONES'

(Jungle Records) Reviewed 23rd June 2017

Cambridge (UK) based The Eden House comprises of core members Stephen Carey and Tony Pettitt (Bassist and founding member of the influential Fields of The Nephilim). They along with various accomplished musicians and vocalists, together bring in their own unique trademark sounds to produce the gothic and atmospheric songs that has and will continue to evolve as the project moves forward. With The Eden House's third album release, the band show no signs of slowing down as well represented by the 12 awesome tracks here, from the opener 'Verdades (I Have Chosen You)' to the epic 8+ minute closing cut 'The Ardent Tide'. My faves within this little package include the aforementioned opening cut, the ballad 'Misery' and the atmospheric 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang'. This a good release and is well worth checking out...8.25/10 (Dave)

SOULSPELL...'THE SECOND BIG BANG'

(Inner Wound Recordings) Reviewed 8th June 2017

SOULSPELL is the vision of Heleno Vale, a Brazilian that along with his several musician friends portrays memorable metal opera. Now, the band returns with this their fourth album. Featuring the voices of metal personalities such as Tim "Ripper" Owens (ex-Iced Earth, ex-Judas Priest) or Blaze Bayley (ex-Iron Maiden), each singer represents a character in SOULSPELL's fantasy world which they must play out throughout each individual track. 'Time To Set You Free' is a gentle opener that takes us into the bombastic speed metal of the powerful title track - wow, what a start and also featuring Blaze Bayley as one of the singers! ‘The Sound Of Rain’ sees Tim “Ripper” Owens joining the fray together with Arjen Anthony Lucassen, while the awesomely titled and melodic ‘The End You’ll Only Know At The End’, slows things down a bit, but by and large maintains the momentum. This is powerful stuff. The record throws at us more blistering tunes including ‘Horus Eye’ feat Ralf Scheepers and Dani Nolden (latter from Shadowside), the AOR and radio friendly feel of ‘Father and Son’, the Progressive feel of one of my faves, ‘White Lion of Goldah’, the pounding ‘Game of Hours’ and the majestic ‘Super Black Hole’. This release with Daisa Munhoz as the main female singer is a powerful and enthusiastic adventure from start to finish and is well worth checking out… 8.75/10 (Dave)

SERAPHIC…’JOURNEY TO ILLUMINATION’

(Self Release) Reviewed 4th June 2017

After her short but memorable tenure as front woman in symphonic metal band Alpine Fault came to an end, Sam Wolstenholme decided she would not stop there. Instead, in early 2014, she began forming an entirely new symphonic metal-inspired band - Seraphic. In early 2015, Brisbane based Seraphic made their bold debut with two professional demo tracks, and audiences took notice of their energetic performances and memorable melodies at their first few live gigs. Stemming from those demos, this is the band's debut album and a humdinger it is too. It is basically a mix of Symphonic and Progressive metal and Sam's vocal chords are awesome, coupled with some cool musicianship from members of the band. This is a consistently good release from track one to track nine, it is a grower and is a worthy purchase. Seraphic’s Facebook page can be illuminated here…. 8.75/10 (Dave)

THE LETTER BLACK...'PAIN'

(Self Released) Reviewed 29th May 2017

My oh my, what a record this is.. Christian Metal band The Letter Black fronted by the awesome voice of Sarah Anthony has released one helluva record here. And if anybody is put off by the word 'Christian', you are a sad person as this album rocks and rocks hard. The band list their influences as Metallica, Megadeth, Pantera, Korn, Rage Against the Machine, Nine Inch Nails, Sevendust, and Rob Zombie so now you have an idea. There are 12 absolute belters on this cd, including the piano led ballad 'Alive' together with the epic 7+ minute closer 'Holding On' and I cannot fault it. There are no symphonic shenanigans, this album is hard hitting and it rocks, it rocks hard and I would go as far as to say that this is a must buy. Great stuff from these US rockers - their website is at www.theletterblack.com/.... 9/10 (Dave)

SCARLET CANARY...'PERSPECTIVE' EP

(Self Released) Reviewed 19th May 2017

Fronted by Hannah Maddox, this band from Denver sure do rock and Hannah can sing like an angel one moment and scream like a demented honey monster the next moment. Six corkers here of Alternative Rock from this band that consistently produce the goods if their previous output is anything to go by. The Sioux City Journal says: “The band members in Scarlet Canary strive to put every ounce of passion and energy they can muster into the group’s live performances.” I can second that and it is all shown within this little epic of a record. The tracks here are consistent and this is well worth checking out. The EP gets released 27th May (my Birthday) and the band's facebook is here. The Canary is in full flight and I like it!.. 8.5/10 (Dave)

SELENE...'THE RAVAGES OF TIME'

(Self Release) Reviewed 18th May 2017

Selene is a fresh new Symphonic Metal band quickly becoming a rising name in the UK metal scene. Comprised of members from across Northern Ireland they bring together a mix of soaring Operatic vocals, infectious hooks and hard hitting metal creating a signature Symphonic Metal sound without losing the Metal Edge. Since forming in 2013, Selene has previously released two EPs and debut album 'The Forgotten', followed by a series of shows across Ireland to support the release, including a main stage appearance at Ireland’s biggest metal festival The Siege of Limerick.This new release from the band continues to develop the sound that was established on that debut full length release, showcasing the angelic soprano voice of Shonagh Lyons along with epic orchestration and heavy riffs, while also taking a more mature direction that is sure to satisfy fans of bands such as Nightwish, Sonata Arctica, Kamelot and Serenity. We have eleven tracks to feast our ears upon, every one a belter in it's own right, with closing number 'The End Of Time' a 10 minute plus epic of symphonic beauty. I had to give this album a few listens to actually get into it, but with every listen new layers are peeled away to reveal hidden gems underneath. The album is due 23rd June and is another album that will be well worth checking out. The band's Facebook is here... 8.5/10 (Dave)

SOLITUDE WITHIN...'DISAPPEAR'

(BoxFish Records) Reviewed 14th May 2017

Fronted by Emmelie Arents, Solitude Within is a Belgian band that combines classical music with hard rock and heavy metal and gives it a modern touch. And to be honest, this is a rather good release from this band. Mind you that should not surprise me considering the standard of material coming out of the Benelux countries at the moment. Almost everything on this release ticks all the right boxes - innocent vocals, great musicianship and some mainly mid tempo catchy songs to boot. Faves a plenty but I am sure 'Eternal Flame' will be a smash live. Well worth checking out... 8.75/10 (Dave)

SEVEN KINGDOMS...'DECENNIUM'

(Napalm Records) Reviewed 27th April 2017

"A fire must burn!" That's the spirit of power metal's finest SEVEN KINGDOMS while blazing a wild passion through every millisecond of their monstrous music. Welcome DECENNIUM! Their furious 10th band anniversary. Be sure: This fast'n'heavy thrash and power metal is always uptempo, fierce and epic. Songstress Sabrina Valentine sings with full force and her charismatic voice flirts insanely with heavy twin guitars. 'Stargazer' gets things going, an absolute belter of a tune and from then on, it just gets better. 'Undying' thunders along like a demented out of control rhino together with its catchy chorus as does the remainder of this awesome record. Check out 'In The Walls', 'Castles In The Snow', the awesome 'Hollow' among many others on this cd. This Florida band financed DECENNIUM via kickstarter and doubled their original target! And it was totally worth it. Every song together with occasional choral arrangements on their fourth opus is a blast, not a ballad in sight and well recommended - released 5th May...8.75/10 (Dave)

THE SHIVER...'ADELINE'

(Self Release) Reviewed 24th April 2017

THE SHIVER, a female alt rock quartet formed in 2005, play a unique blend of dark, beat-heavy rock with spikes of Electro/Ambient. With their first two albums 'A New Horizon' and and 'The Darkest Hour', the band started building up their profile as a strong live act touring all over Europe as support band for Papa Roach, God Is an Astronaut, Dead Letter Circus, Tarja and many others. The band has just released this, their brand new album, where Faith's stellar voice is enough to make The Shiver attractive and a must listen. The immersive layers of synth and guitar create some impressive soundscapes within the songs on this album. And a good record it is too with not a filler in sight as every track is a corker inc 'Miron-Aku' where Faith gets possessed by the Honey Monster. The Shiver and their awesome singer are like a good wine, gets better with age. Well recommended... 9/10 (Dave)

SONG OF ANUBIS...'REVENGE AS REDEMPTION'

(La casita del grind records) Reviewed 9th April 2017

Song Of Anubis come from northern Spain and they are a Gothic/Symphonic Metal outfit that basically do what they say on the tin. There are 10 tracks of music running in at almost 50 mins. This is generally a consistent release, although I would say that nothing on the cd actually jumped out and said "grab me". Female fronted Metal fans will do no harm in checking this album out however, more of a grower I would say. The band's Facebook is here...8/10 (Rachel Louise Smith)

SILVIS VETUS...'WONDERLAND PIT'

(Self Release) Reviewed 3rd April 2017

Silvis Vetus is a Symphonic Metal band from Spain influenced by classics such as Nightwish and Epica, coupled with various metal styles like Power, Black and Gothic. Fronted by a lass called Nessie with guy vocals from Marc, this is a powerful release - 9 tracks of heavy Symph Metal with occasional Black Metal influences. With rhythms going from speed to breakdowns, and riffs striking from power to doom metal sound, together with lyrics talking about a dark fantasy, mythologic legends and stories from epic novels, they show a new imaginarium of tales combining story-telling with despair, and age evolving feelings that surround the human mind while growing up. Got it, now buy it! The band's facebook is here...8.25/10 (Hannah Cooper)

SCARS OF TEARS…’JUST DUST’

(Sliptrick Records) Reviewed 2nd April 2017

Scars of Tears is what I would call a Melodic Metal band with subtle Death Metal influences on some of the tracks. I have heard this band’s music being put into the Death/Black Metal category, but by and large, this album from this Greek band is a feast of Melodic Metal. The opening title track thunders out of the speakers with both clean female vocals from Charitini Anastasiadou and growls compliments of guitarist Babis Stefanidis. Next up ‘Darkest Hour’ slows it down a tad but is equally as awesome featuring clean male vox, and I am actually beginning to like what I hear on this record. ‘Infeasible’ is a hideously catchy tune and I am sure will become a live fave! There are further standout cuts on this cd and I am rather pleased that this album dropped into my mailbox – those tracks include nearly everything that is here to be honest, including the super power ballad ‘Love and Soul’ sung presumably solely by Babis Stefanidis – a great track. This record overall is a massive album of great Melodic Metal, so if you like your Metal heavy but hideously catchy, do check this band out! Their Facebook is here.. 9.25/10 (Dave)

SANCTORIUM...'TESSELLATION OF THE UNIVERSE'

(Gravitator Records) Reviewed 31st March 2017

Sanctorium give us Sympho Metal from St-Petersburg, Russia. Fronted by the mainly operatic vocals of Daria Zhukova (Eirene) and Sergey Muraviev who provides the growls, this is a Symphonic Metal extravaganza with a dosage of the aforementioned growls. Fans of dark music will appreciate the contrast of memorable female vocals added with colourful male growls, a classic mix of heavy guitar riffs coupled with delicate keyboard arrangements added to cool Sympho arrangements. After a blistering start with the number 'Chronos' (that follows a brief intro), the catchy number 'Sons Of Heaven, Maids of Earth' follows and a catchy one it is too. The up tempo 'Choronzon' hammers its way out of the speakers, while the mid tempo ballad ‘The Threads of Fate’ features Thomas Vikstrom on clean vocals. ‘Name Of Rose’ is another awesome Symphonic cut and ‘Nuclear Song’ hammers along with clean vocals and growls with cool orchestration, the latter in-fact a fave of mine from this record. The album continues in a similar fashion with further faves that include the tuneful ‘The Rain’. All in all this is a good release from this Russian band through all of the 13 tracks. It is heavy and melodic but that is fine by me. Check out their Facebook here… 8.75/10 (Dave)

STEFANIE…S/T

(Escape Music UK) Reviewed 10th March 2017

Stefanie was born and raised in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley, once home to some of the country's largest steel manufacturing and the subject of Billy Joel's 1982 hit 'Allentown'. The towering Steel Stacks have become the backdrop for a flourishing music scene, the home of Musikfest, and the beginning of Stefanie's songwriting journey. In 2015, she began to recording this, her debut album. And on this record, she captivates fans of all ages with her love torn lyrics and catchy hooks. Some great cuts here including the catchy numbers ‘Master Of Disguise’ , ‘Stranger’ and ‘One Life’, the anthemic ‘Word Man’ and the ballady closing duo of ‘The Song I Was Meant To Write’ and the gospel sounding ‘We Will Fight’. This overall is a good Pop/Rock record and is yet another album to add to the ever growing shopping list…8.5/10 (Dave)

TALVIENKELI…’HYBRIS’

(WormholeDeath) Reviewed 10th March 2017

Talvienkeli is a Metal band from Lyon in France and this record is their debut offering, being released by WormholeDeath Records. The band is a five piece fronted by the awesome operatic vocals of Camille Borrelly and they ply their trade by way of Symphonic/Progressive Metal. This being well showcased in the opening number, the awesomely titled ‘Hybris Part II: Degenerescence’, coupled with number two track ‘Burning Flesh’. The Symphonic/Progressive theme continues throughout this awesome album, although there are slower numbers like ‘Raining Moon’, coupled with epic tracks like the 9 minute plus ‘Quill Of Dust’ and the closing 8 minute plus number ‘Hybris Part I: Bienveillance’. ‘Atlas’ meanwhile, is a bouncy track with a catchy chorus. Each member of the band has their own faves: Nightwish, Epica, Behemoth, Porcupine Tree, Scorpions and Five Finger Death Punch among others, and this shines through within the cuts on the album. The record which shares original songs filled with orchestrations, rythmical technicity and troubled stories told in the language of Shakespeare by a classical/rock voice, will be released on April 14th in Europe, on June 9th in the U.S.A with a release date to be announced for Japan. Well worth checking out…. 8.5/10 (Dave)

SinHeresy...'DOMINO'

(Scarlet Records) Reviewed 21st February 2017

SinHeresY is a Symphonic Metal band conceived in 2009 in Trieste (Italy) from an idea of the bass player Davide Sportiello and the guitar player Lorenzo Pasutto. In the following months the vocalist Cecilia Petrini, the drummer Alex Vescovi and the male vocalist Stefano Sain joined the band. With this line-up, SinHeresY started in 2010 their live activity in Italy and Slovenia, and released a home-made demo containing two original songs with power metal influences. Fast forward to 2017 and the band are about to throw at the listener their 2nd album. Their first, 'Paint The World' was a goody full of musical gems and 'Domino' follows in the same path - awesome up tempo Symphonic Metal strongly driven by the keyboards presence. There are highlights galore from this Italian band on this record and I like very much what I hear, including the slower ballady 'The Island of Salt and Grass' and the atmospheric closer '...Another Life'. This is a very good album and is well recommended when it gets released on 7th April - complex at times and elegantly simple at others, 'Domino' is a strong well executed and evolutionary step that blends new elements with old, enhancing rather than changing the band's traditional sound... 9/10 (Dave)

THE LUST...'BLACK DAHLIA POEM'

(Self Released) Reviewed 14th February 2017

The Lust gives the listener an emotional and very creative Metal/Rock experience with a sensual voice from leading lady Anna Dust. This Russian band has released an interesting record here, an eleven track belter of the aforementioned Rock & Metal with subtle AOR and Gothic influences. We have the rockier numbers like 'Haunting' and 'Quest Of A Sign', the melodic and AOR sounding 'You Got Me', the bouncy 'My Pieces' and the excellent and equally as catchy 'In Death Embrace'. I would suggest checking this album out, it is melodic, inoffensive and very listenable. The Lust's Facebook can be found here... 8.75/10 (Dave)

SPIRITALE...'LIFE FOR A DREAM'

(Self Release) Reviewed 11th Feb 2017

Another band from Russia that ply their trade by way of Catchy Melodic Rock/Metal, with the prominent use of the flute. Sung in English (apart from the closing number) by their leading lady Camilla Dyachenko, this is a nice little effort. I know little about the band, but if you like your music inoffensive and catchy, then this little offering is worth checking out if you can get a hold of it. A rather short review due to lack of relevant info, but worthy of a mention on this website... 8.5/10 (Rachel Louise Smith)

THE MURDER OF MY SWEET...'ECHOES OF THE AFTERMATH'

(Frontiers Records) Reviewed 9th Feb 2017

The Murder of My Sweet was founded in Stockholm in 2006 by drummer and producer Daniel Flores. Fronted by the lush vocals of Angelica Rylin, this is their 4th album and offers another dose of rather awesome Symphonic Cinematic Metal and like their previous releases, this ticks all the right boxes. Some bouncy bombastic cuts on the album such as the opening salvo of 'Sleeping Giant' and 'Personal Hell'. Further standout tracks include the very catchy title track, the awesome, upbeat and commercial sounding 'Shining After Dark', the bouncy 'In Risk Of Rain', the ballad 'Inside, Outside' and the closing cut 'Racing Heart'. This album is already in the shops, and for anybody into this style of music, this is yet another must buy!..... 9.25/10 (Dave)

THE FALL OF EVE...'IF ANGELS FALL VOL 1' EP

(Self Released) Reviewed 17th January 2017

The Fall Of Eve come from Scotland and this is another UK band destined for big things from our small island. This EP fires at the listener 5 tracks of prime time Symphonic Metal which in turn is propelling this band into the Premier League of this style of music. These are five melodic symphonic belters and I can find little to fault here, but I do have a fave, and that is the number 'My Heart Holds The Light', an awesome atmospheric power ballad that closes this EP. Have a look at their Facebook page here - this record is well recommended, damn awesome in-fact... 9.5/10 (Dave)

SPIRITALE...'LIFE FOR A DREAM'

(Self Release) Reviewed 16th January 2017

Spiritale fronted by Camilla Dyachenko, is a Melo/Sympho Metal band who hail from the Russian Federation. There are eight cuts on this release (the last track is sung in Russian) that offer catchiness and melody all wrapped up in this cosy little package. To be honest, it is rather good and despite the fact I know little about Spiritale, this little album is sure worth trying to get one's grubby little mits on. I thank Rachel for sending this one my way. Recommended if you can get it, I like it!... 8.5/10 (Dave)

SOLARUS...'REUNION'

(Self Release) Reviwed 13th January 2017

What started as lowly guitar player from London Ontario on wanting to immortalise his songs, and an unknown drummer gravitating towards his music quickly turned into an unforgettable experience of musical chemistry and ambition. Drawing heavily from the Symphonic elements of European Metal and influences from the Popular genres of North America, Solarus' vision is to bridge the gap between music lovers of multiple genres. Based in London (Ontario) and fronted by the Pop/Rock vocal style of Sarah Dee, this recording is an awesome slab of Symphonic/Melodic Metal to wrap your ears around. Kicking off with 'One Final Moment' this track alone sets the scene for what is to follow, 8 further cuts of bombastic Melodic Metal that will blow your mind, and confirm that Canada is becoming a power force within this sub genre of Metal. We also have the customary ballad, the awesome string orientated power ballad 'Surrender The Universe' - totally mind blowing! In-fact the whole album is mind blowing from track 1 to track 9 and I can safely say not a duff track in sight! Get this, you will not be disappointed, facebook is here... 9.25/10 (Dave)

THE DARK SIDE OF VENUS…’POWER TO VICTIMS’

(Self Release) Reviewed 15th December 2016

The Dark Side of Venus is a rock/alternative project founded by pianist composer Licia Missori - that is to say, by her dark side - in 2010. At the time, she felt the need to express a part of herself that had always been in the dark. That’s how she chose the name of the project, referring to the hidden side of a planet whose name is anciently associated with beauty, love and femininity. Until 2014, the voice of the band was Ida Elena (now singer of Bare Infinity). In 2015 she was replaced by Francesca Elayne Naccarelli, known as singer of Symphonic Metal band Dunwich. The rest of the band is composed of Alessandro Lopane (guitars), Yuri Colafigli (bass) and Daniele Saulle (drums). The album concept deals with a consciousness raising process: it is possible to turn frustrating power relations upside down, both in the individual’s psychic world and in the world of society. The main idea underlying this concept is that what happens “outside” - also in a political sense - is a reflection of what happens inside our mind. No wonder the album starts with 'Distance', a one and a half minute overture beginning with a painful conversation with internalized parental figures (“Mother, forgive me”, “Father, believe me”...) and ending with a quote by Pier Paolo Pasolini about “State massacres” (“I know the names”...). This is a quirky 16 track album offering a huge variety of influences: ‘90s alternative rock, ‘80s synth pop music, not to mention the classical music influences within the composing abilities of the awesome Licia Missori, and some good stuff there is too. Tracks that hit the spot with me include the organic sounding ‘I Don’t Give A Damn’, the awesome and rather bouncy ‘Sadistic Pervert’, the gentle ballad ‘Heal Me’, the damn catchy tracks ‘He Walks Around’ and ‘I Adore Your Blood’ (I always knew I had Vampire tendencies) and the adorable ‘Oh Claire’. This record is damn good, sexy with it (if I may say so) and I love it! Facebook is here... 9/10 (Dave)

STONELIGHT…’INTO THE UNKNOWN’

(Self Release) Reviewed 13th December 2016

Stonelight is a Romanian Melodic Heavy Metal band fronted by Vanda Restye. They offer within their menu of half decent melodic tunes, subtle Progressive influences, more so in the opening track proper, ‘Sound of the Unknown’ and closer ‘Universe’. Sandwiched in between, there are highlights but apart from the catchy 'In My Dream', nothing really jumps out and grabs me that in turn, makes me want to hit the repeat button and play the album again. Let us not however, take anything away from Stonelight, they are an independent band and presumably self-funded this release, so kudos to them. The band’s Facebook is here… 7.75/10 (The Nugget)

THE WORLD OVER...'MOUNTAINS' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 12th December 2016

The World Over is a Rock Band from LA led by Tiaday Ball, granddaughter of Ernie Ball (world renowned creator of Music Man guitars and Slinky Strings). With post-hardcore roots from their first record, 'Rampart District', T.W.O. recorded a new album with Siegfried Meier (Kitty, DMX) that will break the boundaries of the Rock world, reaching a much broader spectrum of listeners. This EP is basically a 5 track offering of Alternative Rock with smatterings of Hard Core. The Hard Core puts me off just a tad but overall, not a bad offering. 'MOUNTAINS' is out now via all music streaming services (iTunes, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Google Play, etc). The band's website is here, check it out!... 8/10 (The Nugget)

SAIDETH...S/T EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 29th November 2016

This is the second EP from Mexican band SAIDETH, and like their first EP ('Dream: Reaching The Ashes of a Burnt Distant Star') that was reviewed here January 2015, this is rather good. Again combining a mix of Electrocore/Industrial/Synthpop/Electropop with a very strong melodic sensibility, the five tracks here tick all the right boxes.'Numb' is a melodic belter, a guitar, synth driven track, this one being a fave from an EP full of good ones, while closer 'Crocodile Tears' is a strong sounding power ballad with progressive influences. The band now fronted by Luvia Ovando with Said Camarillo providing male vocals (also guitar), I recommend this release. The EP can be purchased here...9/10 (Dave)

SEDE VACANTE...'SKIES INFERNAL'

(Pride & Joy Music) Reviewed 22nd November 2016

Sede Vacante is a Greek Gothic Rock/Metal duet with Michael Tiko on guitars & clean male vocals and Constantine Alex taking on female vocal duties. And this is a corker of an album to be perfectly honest with the vocalists alternating on various tracks. The opener is a brief instrumental that leads into first track proper 'Hate Eternal'. This number being a hideously melodic track with a catchy chorus that would also please many an AOR fan too I am sure. The tempo continues with 'Against My Tear' that is equally as catchy as the previous number, featuring just the vocals of Michael. ‘Dark Refrain’ and ‘Shepherd and Lamb’ (no, not the name of my local pub!) are heavier tracks although still very melodic, the latter again featuring Michael on vocal duties. ‘Cruelty In Disguise’ is a heavy guitar driven number, while ‘Faithless Art’ is a piano/synth driven power ballad, with next up ‘Lips Yet Denied’ maintaining the ballady feel. The closing duo of ‘The Other Side’ and ‘A Thousand Shades Of Moon’ end this rather awesome album. This is a good well produced and a very catchy album that not only should appeal to the Gothic Metal fan out there, but should hit the spot with the AOR/Melodic Rock fraternity as well. The band’s facebook is here… 9/10 (Dave)

SLANIA...'PROOF OF EXISTENCE'

(Self Release) Reviewed 16th November 2016

Slania with Florencia Sategna at the mic stand, coupled with occasional growls from bassist Walter González, come from Buenos Aires in Argentina, and so happen to be another Symphonic Metal band to grace our ears. They was formed in 2010 and after many line-up changes, this is their first album. Onto the record itself, 'Between Birth and Death' is a short instrumental that takes us into the first number proper 'Losing Everything'. This opening track was a kinda "oh dear, I am not sure about this" (not sure why) and that was at the start of the listening experience, although it does grow on you. Thankfully, the rest of the album does show occasional signs of excellence, with tracks like the catchy up beat ‘Self Sabotage’, the brooding ‘Silence’, the symphonic ‘Bleeding Diamonds’, the ballad ‘Wake Up The World’ and the closing melodic symphonic sounding 'All Over Again'. Despite my initial reservations, this is a grower and is an album worth having a little listen to. The band’s facebook is at www.facebook.com/Slaniametal.. 8/10 (The Nugget)