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Ravenheart Reviews: Current Reviews

Guy Band Reviews

MIDNIGHT SIN...'ONE LAST RIDE'

(Scarlet Records) Reviewed 20th October 2017

Midnight Sin fronted by Albert Fish bring back the sound of Street Rock with powerful and catchy songs, shocking lyrics, mind blowing choruses and a sexy attitude that brings back the energy and hedonism of what was called Hair Metal. The band released their debut album 'Sex First' back in 2014, followed by the EP 'Never Say Never' in 2016, and they have now released their new album 'One Last Ride', which has been described as the perfect combination of 80's Sleaze Rock, modern Hard Rock and AOR. And 10 tracks of it too. This is a good album by this band and it is well worth checking out, having been released on 13th October....8/10 (Natalie)

PHANTOM 5…’PLAY TO WIN’

(Frontiers Records) Reviewed 4th October 2017

Phantom 5 is BACK! After the success of their self-titled debut album, the brainchild of producer/guitarist (and for this record, bassist) Michael Voss and vocalist Claus Lessmann have returned with yet another incredible outing of impeccable German Melodic Hard Rock! Once again joined by Robert Boebel on guitars and keyboards and Axel Kruse on drums, these fist pumping anthems will tickle the eardrums of any connoisseur of melodic hard rock. From the opener 'The Change In You' to closing cut 'Reach Out', this album hammers along in true Melodic Rock fashion. This is a really good record and well worth checking when it comes out on 13th October…. 8.75/10 (Natalie)

NIGHT LEGION...S/T

(Massacre Records) Reviewed 30th September 2017

Forged in the fires of internationally acclaimed acts ranging from Death Dealer and Darker Half to Aussie metal royalty Dungeon, NIGHT LEGION unleashes razor-sharp power metal to make your ears bleed - in the best possible way! In NIGHT LEGION, Stu Marshall - active member of Blasted To Static and Death Dealer - reunites with bassist Glenn Williams, a crowd favourite on Dungeon’s large-scale tours, and Clay T, also of Blasted To Static fame. Joining them is screaming lead vocalist Vo Simpson who also plays in Sydney's thrashers Darker Half. The album represents a fresh and powerful resurrection of European style power metal. The songs are aggressive but still have classic hallmarks of what makes heavy metal. The album is diverse in style, with the strong opening power metal anthem 'Into The Light' and mid-tempo head-banging songs like 'The Eye Of Hydra' and 'This Time'. This is Power Metal from the top drawer and it powers its way into the stores on October 20th... 8.5/10 (Hannah Cooper)

NOCTURNAL RITES…’PHOENIX’

(AFM) Reviewed 23rd September 2017

Nocturnal Rites fronted by Jonny Lindqvist, is a Melodic Metal band from Sweden and this is their 9th full length album, their first, ‘In A Time Of Blood and Fire’ being released in 1995. There are 11 tracks here of prime time mid to up tempo Melodic Metal which will please fans of anything that is melodic coupled with a bit of a crunch. Everything on this record is sure damn cool and well worth checking out…. 9/10 (Natalie)

VOICE…’THE STORM’

(Massacre Records) Reviewed 22nd September 2017

'The Storm' from the German band VOICE is a journey through various metal genres, with unforeseen twists and turns as well as surprises along the way. Gentle melodies, fast riffs, technically versatile drums and a touch of bombast are the main ingredients of this album, which will surely please every metal head! Established in 1995, this is the bands 5th record and the first since 2003's 'Soulhunter'. It hammers along rather nicely from the opening title track to closing cut 'Out in the Cold' offering a feast of melodic power metal along the way. And powerful vocals too from front man Oliver Glas. This is powerful melodic stuff and well worth checking out for fans of this style of music. Released 27th October…… 8.5/10 (Dave)

POWER QUEST…’SIXTH DIMENSION’

(Inner Wound) Reviewed 9th September 2017

Power Quest fronted by Ashley Edison is a Melodic Power Metal band from the UK. I have had the pleasure of seeing this band twice. Once at a packed Islington Academy in London supporting Tarja and a few weeks later in Kidderminster, in front of around 40 people at the local pub (no kidding) – free entry too. This band has been going since 2001 so they have a strong pedigree. There have been line up changes along the way, but they still soldier on thanks mainly to founder member and keyboardist Steve Williams. ‘Sixth Dimension’ is the band’s first album since ‘Blood Alliance’ in 2011 and a rather good record it is too. The record contains 9 tracks and the main lyrical theme running through the album is that no matter how bad things seem today, tomorrow is a new day and an opportunity for us all to step out of the shadows and be who we want to be. Everything here from one of my fave bands ticks all the right boxes and Power Quest is back! Great stuff and well recommended to all and sundry when released 13th October…9/10 (Dave)

DEAD END SCENE...S/T EP

(self Release) Reviewed 25th August 2017

Dead End Scene is a fresh metal act from Helsinki, Finland and it was put together in the summer of 2014. Dead End Scene has released two EP:s so far, Sickness-EP in early 2015 and Dance On Broken Glass-ep in the fall 2015, gaining praising reviews from both. Due on 1st Sept, this is the band's latest S/T effort - modern metal with an anthemic and melodic twist. Opener 'Order In Chaos' is a belter with a fist pumping chorus as is second track 'In Disguise'. 'Dance In The Rain' is another goodie and a fave of mine, a quiet start building into a crescendo of melodic sensibility - another pounding track to get your ears around. 'This Is The End' is real belter while the closing duo of 'Bite Of The Underdog' and 'Dawn' finishes a little album that should please fans of Modern/Alternative Metal, and at the same time be deserving of airplay on some the Modern Rock/Metal radio stations. The band's Facebook is here. Having got more into the Modern Metal scene just lately myself, this is worth checking out... 8/10 (Dave)

KRYPTONITE...S/T

(Frontiers) Reviewed 13th August 2017

Sometimes musicians are put together who only know each other from afar via their respective recordings, but something clicks and triggers a magical moment. That's exactly what happened when Jake Samuels from The Poodles met up with producer Alessandro Del Vecchio. Together, they set off to work on a new band that could offer lyrical concepts that are deep and intelligent with music that operates within the genres they excel in and most importantly, has a great energy and impact.Together with executive producer Serafino Perugino, they handpicked each musician to be part of their vision for a strong lineup of young and hungry Swedish musicians that would be ready to go out there and kick some ass. Pontus Egberg, formerly of The Poodles and now the bass player for Treat, was the first one to enter the picture, followed shortly thereafter by Robban Back of Mustasch (and ex-Eclipse). The choice of guitar player fell to the young and immensely gifted Mike Palace. And the result, an awesome album offering eleven tracks of melodic rock heaven. Everything here ticks all the right boxes and if you are into melodic rock that has been dragged into the 21st century by the short and curlies, check this album out. Well recommended by us at Ravenheart Music... 9/10 (Natalie Gold)

NICUMO...'STORMS ARISE'

(Inverse Records) Reviewed 15th July 2017

Finnish Metal Merchants Nicumo was formed in 2007 and after two EPs: 'Close Our Eyes For Good' (2010) and 'Scars & Glassy Eyes' (2011), the band released their debut album 'The End Of Silence' (2013, Inverse Records). Now in 2017, 'Storms Arise', the bands latest offering has its roots in Melodic Metal and this is well showcased in this record, coupled with a Gothic and at times a slight Progressive undercurrent. There are 11 tracks here and bloomin good it all is too, mainly mid tempo with clean vocals but there is the odd flirtation with growls. This is a consistent release and worth checking out... 8.25/10 (Dave)

DEMISED...'A WARM PLACE TO STAY'

(WormholeDeath) Reviewed 25th June 2017

Demised is a Spanish Metal band that wanders among melancholy and strength, trying to pass on the connection with nature, hope, life and death. Formed by vocalist/guitarist Andrés Pestana and drummer Adrián Hidalgo in 1996, the band was a Death Metal outfit; an extreme sound that related the human being’s decay. Nowadays, the band's music has turned into a more atmospheric, gloomy and Gothic Metal style with clean voices, this being well showcased within the tracks on this album, that also shows the more melodic side of the band too. There are 10 cuts here and this is rather good from the opener 'Fractures & Ashes' (that follows a brief intro) to the closer 'The Mournful Fight'. If you like melodic Gothic Metal, this is well worth checking out... 8.5/10 (Dave)

MOLLY AND THE KRELLS...'RELATIONSHIT' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 16th June 2017

Molly and the KRELLS is a Punk Rock Band from Sydney, Australia, featuring Blake Cateris - Lead Vocals/Bass | Hayden McGoogan - Guitar/Backing Vocals | Blinky Sullivan - Drums. This little EP offers up three catchy little blighters, some typical sounding Punk Rock in-fact as if it had never gone away, which in-fact I do not suppose it has really. A whole album of music from this band would be most welcome if they was to record one. Meanwhile, their Facebook is here for more info should you need it...8/10 (Dave)

FREIGHT TRAIN..'|'

(Rockshots Records) Reviewed 10th June 2017

Freight Train is a young and rising AOR/Melodic Hard Rock band from Italy, having been formed in 2015. After some years touring the north and center of Italy, at the beginning of 2017 the band started to record this their debut album. The ten tracks throw at the listener a bouncy classic AOR sound revisited in a fresh and modern way, thanks to the massive use of choirs, celestial keyboards, stunning guitars and bass works, solid drums and multi-versatile vocals. This release is very good and well recommended to fans of this style of music and indeed beyond too. Stand out cuts include 'You Won't Fall', the catchy 'Another Chance', the power ballad 'Somewhere, Someday' and the journey cover 'Anyway You Want It'. The band's website can be found at www.freighttrainrock.com, the album due 14th July. This is a good un...9/10 (Natalie)

TEN...'GOTHICA'

(Frontiers) Reviewed 6th June 2017

This highly anticipated new TEN album, promises to offer one of their strongest collections of songs to date. Full of all the trademark textures and flavours we have come to expect from the band, arguably one of the best and most consistent Melodic Hard Rock Bands in the genre. GOTHICA is an album that renews TEN’s longstanding association with Frontiers, proudly displays all the hallmarks of classic TEN and is sure to continue to build upon the rich legacy that the Great British rockers have forged in a career spanning 22 years and counting. GOTHICA emerges as their darkest album to date, Gary Hughes remaining on fine form vocally and with his song writing too. The whole shebang kicks off with the epic 8 minute ‘The Grail’ followed by the typical Ten sounding ‘Jeckyll and Hyde’. ‘Travellers’ is sheer awesome flirting with power ballad territory while ‘A Man For All Seasons’ that runs in at 7 minutes shows some orchestral Folk elements at the start before it all kicks up a gear, another magical cut and is again typical Ten. ‘In My Dreams’ hints at ballad territory from the title, but it is in-fact a rather good catchy melodic rocker, one of my faves from the record. ‘The Wild King Of Winter’ is a heavy belter with a catchy chorus and is another fave of mine, with following number ‘Paragon’ being a great ballad. ‘Welcome To the Freak Show’ maintains the awesome tsunami of great tunes, while ‘La Luna Dra-Cu-La’ and ‘Into Darkness’ close this little opus. On the downside, I myself do sometimes find Ten albums a little samey, but minor criticism aside, the album is cinematic in every sense of the word, offering a web of musically elaborate spells, evoking embers that spark the imagination. It was produced by Gary Hughes and was mixed and mastered once again by Dennis Ward. Released 7th July and well recommended… 8.75/10 (Dave)

RADIATION ROMEOS...S/T

(Frontiers Records) Reviewed 4th June 2017

Radiation Romeos is a new band formed by the amazing singer Parramore McCarty, best known for being the frontman of such legendary US metal acts Warrior and famed Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens' solo project, Atomic Playboys (in fact, the inspiration for the name Radiation Romeos came from a line in the song "Atomic Playboys"). Musically, the band moves in a melodic hard rock direction with solid metallic edges thanks to the production of Michael Voss (Phantom 5, Casanova, Michael Schenker), who also contributed to the songwriting. Some belters here proving that Radiation Romeos will take no prisoners with their eleven tracks of exciting muscular hard rock anthems and killer melodic songs! Another great album from the Frontiers stable and well worth checking out... 8.25/10 (Dave)

JORN...'LIFE ON DEATH ROAD'

(Frontiers Records) Reviewed 4th June 2017

Easily one of the greatest rock singers of the 21st century, Norway's very own giant Viking warrior Jorn Lande's vocals are resoundingly strong once again on his ninth original studio album, 'Life on Death Road'! This absolutely brilliant new album sees Lande attacking the microphone with rejuvenated vigor, accompanied by a new band and a bigger and stronger sound. There are 12 tracks of powerful anthemic songs, with the title track opening proceedings and hammering out of the speakers. This is followed by equally good cuts like the up tempo 'Love Is The Remedy', the ballads 'Dreamwalker' and 'The Optimist' and the catchy 'Man Of The 80s' among many others. Claimed to be the biggest selling Norwegian musical export since the pop band A-Ha, Jorn with his awesome vocal chords continues his rock crusade, there are no signs of him slowing down and this album is a magnificent testament to his abilities!... 8.5/10 (Dave)

SECRET SPHERE...'THE NATURE OF TIME'

(Frontiers Records) Reviewed 2nd June 2017

'The Nature Of Time' is Secret Sphere's ninth studio album and celebrates 20 years of hard work that started back in 1997 with the release of their widely praised debut album, 'Mistress Of The Shadowlight'. The new album, proves to be the ultimate showcase of the band's skill in composing highly orchestrated songs and introducing their foray into a new age of heavy rock and metal music, the album exploring the "back to life" concept, an inward looking search of the self that can positively impact everyone's everyday life. We have 11 tracks here of awesome metal offering high class songs with amazing choruses, big vocals, majestic orchestral arrangements, and amazing, mind-blowing, guitar heroics being the order of the day. There are faves galore in this record including tracks like the ballads 'Love' and 'Kindness', the power metal of 'Courage', the progressive feel of the instrumental track 'Commitment' and the epic 'The Awakening'. The addition of extraordinary singer Michele Luppi (also currently serving as keyboardist and background vocalist for the legendary hard rock act, Whitesnake) in 2012 brought the band to the next level, which was evidenced by his first release with the band, 'Portrait Of A Dying Heart', receiving wide fan and critical acclaim and landing on many metal journalists best releases of 2012 lists. And this album could well be up there at the end of 2017. I like this and well recommended as a consequence.. 8.5/10 (Dave)

THE FERRYMEN...S/T

(Frontiers Records) Reviewed 1st June 2017

The Ferrymen is a melodic metal project featuring Ronnie Romero – Vocals (Lords Of Black, Rainbow), Magnus Karlsson – Guitars, Bass, Keyboards (Magnus Karlsson’s Free Fall, Primal Fear) and Mike Terrana – Drums (Tarja, Rage, Axel Rudi Pell, Vision Divine). There are 12 tracks of awesome melodic metal on this album which will please all fans of this genre of music. It all kicks off with the pounding 'End Of The Road' that is followed by the equally awesome & catchy 'Ferrymen' and next up 'Fool You All' - magical! The vocals of Ronnie Romero shine through on everything on this album with further awesome cuts including the oh so melodic 'Cry Wolf', the lighter waving power ballads 'One Heart' and 'Eternal Night', and 'Darkest Hour' with its melodic chorus. This is a great album from start to finish, the Japanese edition featuring an acoustic version of 'One Heart'. A must buy.... 9/10 (Dave)

NARNIA...S/T

(Massacre Records) Reviewed 30th May 2017

The Swedish melodic metal masters NARNIA are back with this their new and 7th studio album! Their first album 'Awakening' appeared in 1997 so they are experienced on the music scene. This self titled album from these masters is a good one. I know little about Narnia to be honest, but there seems to be a religious theme running through some of the lyrics. There are some corkers here nonetheless and the band also pull off the awesome power ballad or two as well - 'Thank You' being one such track. The record will appear July 21st and well worth looking into for all your melodic metal enthusiasts out there... 8.5/10 (Dave)

EXCALION...'DREAM ALIVE'

(Scarlet Records) Reviewed 28th May 2017

Excalion featuring the powerful vocals of Marcus Lång, truly shows what shedding skin means. With a vibrant, aggressive, fast yet melodic new album, Excalion steers to the forefront of Finnish Melodic Metal bands. The 11 track album builds on the storyline that was established with the 'Centenarian' single (available through Spotify and iTunes), telling about a modern escapist who lives both the past and present, crafting his own realities. 'Dream Alive' takes you through this journey, welcoming you through the pathways of the new century with stories that will not escape your mind. This is a truly melodic album from these melodic metal merchants - check out cuts like the bouncy 'Marching Masquerade', the power ballads 'Deadwater Bay' and 'The Firmament', the awesome 'Living Daylights' and the epic 11 minute plus closing track 'Portrait On The Wall' as proof of the pudding. Every track real corkers in their own right, making this record well worth checking out when the album gets released (7th July I am told)... 8.75/10 (Natalie 'The Nugget' Gold)

HAREM SCAREM...'UNITED'

(Frontiers Records) Reviewed 14th May 2017

With sales well over a million in 43 countries and 12 top 40 hits around the globe, 2017 will see Harem Scarem return and ready to dominate! These Canadians sure make it clear they still have something to say right from the start with the title track, 'United', a chunky slice of guitar-driven melodic rock nirvana that kicks off Harem Scarem's strongest studio outing since the early 00's. From there, the album lifts off with well-crafted songs featuring big choruses coupled with simple and addictive hook-laden themes. Each track carries a power-rock-packed punch, swaggering riffs, and hooks to die for. This band has been one of my faves since their debut outing over 20 years ago and they continue to bring a tsunami of well crafted music to their fans. Another well recommended album from fortress Frontiers. Buy this excellent record!... 9/10 (Dave)

SNAKECHARMER...'SECOND SKIN'

(Frontiers) Reviewed 14th May 2017

“Second Skin” is the hotly anticipated second effort from UK rockers SNAKECHARMER, and brings the listener straight back to the good old days of real Rock n’ Roll played with heart and soul. Slightly harder edged compared to the debut, but with roots still firmly planted in the classic Hard Rock vibe with a hint of late ’70s AOR, this new record sounds fresh and crisp. Fronted by Chris Ousey of Heartland fame, this is a corker of an album from the Frontiers stable. Eleven tracks of hard rock with a retro vibe. Frontiers rarely release a dud un, and this is another good un from that label... 8.5/10 (Natalie 'The Nugget' Gold)

ALESTORM...'NO GRAVE BUT THE SEA'

(Napalm Records) Reviewed 14th May 2017

The one and only heavy metal pirates of ALESTORM are back, and they've brought with them, this their 5th full length album. So put on your eyepatch and let the rum flow freely for the unstoppable international party machine. No other band in the galaxy creates such epic modern symphonic folk metal anthems with endless hooks that will be stuck in your head until the end of the universe. Or in Alestorm's own words..."Stupid songs about getting drunk and stealing treasure". Twisted together with blistering harmonized guitar & keyboard solos, thunderous power metal majesty, and unrelenting modern metal riffing, the 10 tracks here are blisteringly good, and with lyrics that will have the best of any pirate raising their tankard in support. The one track that did catch my attention and I was smiling all the way through it, that is the number 'Fucked With An Anchor'. This new album from the band is nothing less than the perfect soundtrack to the most epic battle of your life. "A pirate's life is simple; we drink and steal and kill!" This album is good, is lyrically amusing, so drink up me hearties - well recommended - released May 26th...9.25/10 (Dave)

LARS ERIC MATTSSON'S VISION...'VISION 1'

(Lion Music) Reviewed 28th April 2017

In 1991 Lars Eric Mattsson wanted to find a better singer than the guy he had been working with previously and also had the urge to put a real band together. He recorded a few songs with Bjorn Lodin but at that time could not find a way to work together so Larscontinued to search until a friend intoduced him to another Swede, Conny Lind.They met, had a few beers and recorded some rough demos and everything seemed to click instantly. Conny came up with the band name "Vision" and soon they were recording their debut album. Lars already had a few albums released in Japan (and Europe) and several Japanese labels were interested in Vision. After a bidding war they signed with Apollon Inc/FEMS for Japan and Roadrunner for Europe. The album did quite well and they did 3 videos for the Japanese market. The Japanese label had them change the name from just Vision to Lars Eric's Mattsson's VISION. The album was very successful in Japan and the band would have has a glorious future ahead if it was not for the looming bankrupcy of their record label. In 2017, 25 years after the original release the album was remastered in Lion Music's Lion's Cage II studio. Basically, this is a 13 track melodic rock/AOR record offering rather good and catchy tracks mixed in with some ballads, some great guitar work from Lars too. This album released May 4th, is the first in a series of at least five VISION reissues/releases, being dedicated to the band's bassist Micke Ahlskog R.I.P.- March 31 1963 - April 3 2017... 8.25/10 (Dave)

PLACE VENDOME...'CLOSE TO THE SUN'

(Frontiers Records) Reviewed 24th April 2017

Place Vendôme (French pronunciation: [plas vɑ̃dom]) is a square in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, France, located to the north of the Tuileries. It also happens to be a Melodic hard Rock band with lead vocals from Michael Kiske. There are 13 tracks on this release I have here (thanks Dave). Prime time Melodic Rock can best describe the music on this racord and good it is too. A brief review but another darn good album from the Frontiers stable... 8.75/10 (Rachel Louise Smith)

OVERSENSE...'THE STORYTELLER'

(Dr Music/Soulfood) Reviewed 13th April 2017

An extraordinary mix of catchy melodies, fat guitar riffs, driving drums, orchestral moments and the powerful voice of front man Danny Meyer, that’s OVERSENSE. The music on this their debut full length album , which will be released on 12th May 2017 through Dr. Music Records, is brought to life by its variety of song writing ranging between different Metal and Rock styles. This combination of heavy head banger riffs, bombastic orchestras and choirs from this German band, creates a unique sound in a variety from fast Heavy Metal tracks to melodic Power Rock. The album offers up 12 tracks including a bonus track and is a rather awesome record. The faster heavy metal tracks include the interestingly titled ‘Mr Mackies Chase’ with even a bluesy interlude, the pounding ‘Purgatory’ and the pacey ‘Last Goodbye’, with the more melodic tracks including ‘Wild Hunt’ with its catchy chorus, the ultra melodic ‘Sally’ and the riff tastic ‘Phobia’. This is a good release from this band with awesome tracks a plenty, and is well worth checking out when released as a consequence…. 9/10 (Dave)

CRYONIC TEMPLE...'INTO THE GLORIOUS BATTLE'

(Scarlet Records) Reviewed 30th March 2017

Power/Melodic Metal band Cryonic Temple was founded in 1996 in Dalarna, Sweden. Together with Orphan Gypsy and Sabaton they are considered the originators of the new Power Metal wave in the early 2000s. After 9 years of silence the band is finally going to release this their 5th album on Scarlet Records. 'Into The Glorious Battle' is Cryonic Temple's first concept album, an exciting story comprising of 14 tracks, taking place in the future, composing of the most dynamic songs the band has ever composed, although still deeply rooted in the Power Metal genre. The band has also introduced new influences and sounds, including mind-blowing ballads. After a cinematic intro, it all kicks off good and proper with the Melodic Power Metal of 'Man Of A Thousand Faces' a real belter with a catchy chorus to boot. 'All The Kingsmen' is another goodie with another belter of a chorus. Further awesome numbers include the tuneful, well orchestrated and awesome 'Prepare For War', the power ballads 'Heroes Of The Day' and 'The War Is Useless', the bombastic and ultra melodic 'Can't Stop The Heat', closing with the atmospheric near 8 minute epic fist pumping power ballad 'Freedom'. With this album Cryonic Temple find themselves at the top of their game - Melodic Power Metal with a subtle Symphonic undercurrent. To be honest, every track on this release is a winner, well recommended when released on 21st April... 9.5/10 (Dave)

PYRAMAZE…’CONTINGENT’

(Inner Wound Recordings) Reviewed 27th March 2017

With their milestone fifth album, Pyramaze have grown and matured into a band that is capable of satisfying their fans, while simultaneously continuing to break new ground. The incorporation of modern cinematic film score elements mixed with progressive metal riffs and melodies, will leave the listener breathless! Huge, sweeping, hard-hitting, and poignant, 'Contingent' is an epic post-apocalyptic conceptual piece inspired by current events, the human spirit to overcome struggle and diversity, and the brotherhood that lies there in. There are 13 tracks of prime time melodic metal on this release and very good this cd is too. With female vocals on 'The Tides That Won't Change' by Kristen Foss, this record was produced, mixed and mastered by Jacob Hansen [Volbeat, Amaranthe, Epica, Evergrey]. It will hit the shops on 28th April… 8.5/10 (Natalie ‘The Nugget’ Gold)

BONFIRE...'BYTE THE BULLET'

(UDR/Warner) Reviewed 26th March 2017

Bonfire (originally Cacumen) is a German heavy metal band, founded in Ingolstadt, Germany in 1972 by Hans Ziller. In 1986, based on the advice of the record company and the management, the band changed its name to Bonfire. The original founder Hans Ziller is still in the band and is the only one who has the rights to the Bonfire name. This CD is Bonfire's latest offering and is a Melodic Hard Rocker's wet dream - 14 tracks of Melodic Hard Rock with the odd ballad thrown in for good measure. This is good rocking stuff and for those that like their rock heavy but melodic, this is the biz. As one can imagine, this band sure has a pedigree and this album released 24th March is well worth checking out. So go along to your local record store and buy... 9/10 (Natalie 'The Nugget' Gold)

ONE DESIRE...S/T

(Frontiers) Reviewed 17th March 2017

Frontiers Music is excited to announce the release of the self-titled debut album from Finnish rockers ONE DESIRE on March 24th. Fronted by André Linman, this is another release of prime time melodic rock. Formed in 2012, they are another band that looks set to hit it big on the melodic rock front. 10 tracks of awesome mid to uptemp tunes and well recommended as a consequence. May I suggest this is another one to be added to the must buy list...8.75/10 (Natalie 'The Nugget' Gold)

HOUSE OF LORDS...'SAINT OF THE LOST SOULS'

(Frontiers Records) Reviewed 17th March 2017

House of Lords was formed in 1987 by former Angel member and keyboardist Gregg Giuffria after his solo project Giuffria. After listening to demos – originally intended for Giuffria's third record – a record deal with Gene Simmons' company Simmons Records was agreed upon, on two conditions that the band's name be changed to House of Lords and a new lead singer recruited (firing David Glen Eisley in the process). James Christian thus replaced Eisley, after Christian was suggested by ex-Giuffria and Quiet Riot bassist Chuck Wright. Eleven albums in (eight of those on the Frontiers label), and 2017 still sees the band alive and kicking, although vocalist James Christian is the only one there from those early days. Musically and as can be expected from the band, 'Saint Of The Lost Souls' offers up an array of pulsating melodic hard rock tracks from the opening salvo of 'Harlequin' and 'Oceans Divide' to the closer 'The Other Option'. Awesome cuts in between including the catchy 'Hit The Wall', the ballad 'The Sun Will Never Set Again', the so so melodic 'New Day Breakin' and the anthemic 'Grains Of Sand'. This is another goodie from James Christian and the band, and is well worth checking out in the process...9/10 (Dave)

ECLIPSE...'MONUMENTUM'

(Frontiers Records) Reviewed 16th March 2017

Eclipse come from Sweden and are an awesome Melodic Rock band. 'Monumentum' is a twelve tracker offering killer tunes with totally massive hooks. Fronted by Eril Martensson this is a cool melodic rock album and fans of this style of music will not be disappointed, so why not check them out. Available on Frontiers Records so it should be fairly easy to get your grubby mits on. Every cut here is a winner so well recommended as a consequence... 9/10 (Natalie 'The Nugget' Gold)

ATLAS PAIN...'WHAT THE OAK LEFT'

(Scarlet Records) Reviewed 13th March 2017

Atlas Pain is an Italian Epic-Folk Metal band that combine the epicness of cinematic music with the speed and power of sacred Pagan Metal. And the word "epic" is a major player with this release, and it will send the hairs on the back of your neck on end!. I suppose if you throw in extreme style male growls, chuck in heavily orchestrated and awesome choral parts, add heaps of melody, and you have this album in a nutshell. And to be honest, it is damn awesome! Frontman Samuele Faulisi who also deals with Guitar, Keyboards, FX etc is obviously a very talented individual. This album is an interesting and rather bombastic release, with one track that really caught my attention being the heavy and occasionally beautiful 'Till The Dawn Comes' - awesome! There are others like the catchy 'Annwn's Gate' and the epic 11+ minute instrumental closer 'White Overcast Line'. The record as a consequence is well worth checking out, totally majestic... 8.5/10 (Dave)

MONO INC...'TOGETHER TIL THE END'

(NoCut Entertainment/SPV) Reviewed 23rd January 2017

This band fronted by Martin Engler, including backing vocals from female drummer Katha Mia is damn kool. Indeed, I can't actually think up the words for a band that releases music that is so damn catchy from start to finish. I have 140 tracks from this German Band on my iPod, and every cut is so so catchy. This record is their latest, offering up 20 cuts of alternative and hideously catchy rock, including a cover of 'Out In The Fields'! And just take a listen to the track 'Boatman' that features Ronan Harris from VNV Nation as just another example. There are 2 cds in-fact, with cd2 being an 8 track album of remixes and the like, but still damn good. I am not sure where to start, but perhaps I should just say that if you like inoffensive music that is so melodic with choruses as catchy as the plague, then check this latest album from Mono Inc out. Yep, it is a good un.... 9.5/10 (Dave)

SJOBLOM ...'6'

(Manic Depression Records) Reviewed 19th January 2017

This is a rather nice dose of mid to up tempo Pop/Rock from the Swedish maestro Johan Sjoblom. There are 8 tracks here of catchy synth infused Pop/Rock, every track a winner in its own right. I do rather like this album, my fave track however, being the mid paced lyrically emotional 'The Choice'. For any body that likes Dark catchy Indie Pop, this is well worth a purchase. Great stuff Mr Sjoblom :) Facebook is here... 8.5/10 (Dave)

GOTTHARD…’SILVER’

(G Records Switzerland) Reviewed 19th January 2017

Quarter of a century ago, GOTTHARD (one of my fave bands) set out from the Swiss canton Tessin to conquer the world with pure, straight forward rock and gigantic ballads. In 2016, we can undoubtedly certify that they’ve pulled off the trick: With 15 No.1 albums and various multi-platinum awards, GOTTHARD are not only the most successful Swiss band but are also a staple in the global spotlight. After the untimely death in 2010 of original vocalist Steve Lee in a road accident in the USA, Nic Maeder was eventually recruited to the mic stand. I had seen Gotthard live at the Northwick Theatre here in Worcester UK in their early days supporting Magnum, and they impressed. It is no wonder that they eventually hit the big time. Fast forward to 2017 and the stage is now set for the band's 25th anniversary, and this new album is appropriately titled 'Silver'. And like their other records, this is a melodic hard rockers wet dream. There are 15 tracks on my copy (inc 2 bonus cuts) and the band has pulled off yet another winner with this awesome album. From the well-greased Hammond engine of the opener ‘SILVER RIVER’ to sequencers and lush backings on the awesome track ‘BEAUTIFUL’, Rammstein staccato in ‘EVERYTHING INSIDE’, and the monumentally arranged ‘ONLY LOVE IS REAL’, the band delivers an album that convinces, surprises, and brims with great love for detail. This is a finely conceived album well worth the purchase money…. 9/10 (Dave)

DEVILMENT...'II - THE MEPHISTO WALTZES'

(Nuclear Blast Entertainment) Reviewed 3rd December 2016

I must admit to not being an avid fan of Cradle Of Filth, not quite my cuppa tea. What is this to do with Ipswich (UK) based Devilment?. Well awesome Suffolk throat warbler Dani Filth fronts Devilment, but there is a female vocalist too, and she goes by the name of Lauren Francis, who also takes care of the keyboards/synths department. And you know something, this album is rather good. I suppose you would place the style of music into the Melodic Gothic Metal/Black Metal category. There are eleven tracks and by and large this is rather catchy stuff. Dani Filth's unique voice controls the vocal department, but he is ably assisted by Lauren, whose poppy vocal style contrasts greatly with Dani's style, and I do like the vocal contrast offered on this record. The opener 'Judasstein' is a catchy belter that pounds along rather nicely, with the curiously titled track 'Hitchcock Blonde' maintaining the heaviness and catchiness all at the same time. Dani is the star of the show so far, but Lauren pops up on third track 'Under The Thunder', another melodic thumper. The mid paced 'Full Dark, No Stars' is an awesome track with Lauren ably assisting Dani at the mic stand. There are further outstanding cuts including my fave from the record 'Entangled In Our Pride', a melodic thumper with a catchy chorus featuring Lauren's awesome vocals! In summary, this is a good record, it is a Gothic/Black Metal release but with a stellar supply of melodies and keys. Well worth checking out! 9.25/10 (Dave)

ALTER BRIDGE...'THE LAST HERO'

(Napalm Records) Reviewed 2nd December 2016

Alter Bridge is a fave band of mine and Myles Kennedy is one helluva singer. This is their fifth effort and a memorable record it is too. There are massive riffs, memorable choruses and an album sure worth spending your hard earned money on, or at least getting someone to buy it for you for Christmas. The album has been out for a few weeks now, but is well recommended and lasting well over the hour, will give you your monies worth in listening pleasure. A short review.... 9/10 (Dave)

SIXX:AM...'PRAYERS FOR THE BLESSED'

(Eleven Seven Music) Reviewed 25th November 2016

Lyrically, this is a very powerful album. It follows on from 'Prayers For The Damned, Vol 1' that was released earlier this year. This is in-fact Volume 2 and is equally as good as the previous release. Everything here ticks all the right boxes, anthemic fist pumping rock with strong, powerful and intense lyrics, no doubt Nikki Sixx looking back at his drug and booze addiction years. And couple that with an awesome cover of 'Without You' originally recorded by Harry Nilsson in 1971 and this release becomes one helluva record. If you have 'Prayers For The Damned Vol 1' then this album is a must buy, and if you have not get either buy them both now. Awesome.....9.5/10 (Dave)

FM...'INDISCREET 30'

(Frontiers Records) Reviewed 22nd November 2016

30 years on from its original release, British Melodic Rockers FM decided to record a modern-day version of their classic debut album INDISCREET. Using today's modern technology and recording techniques, the songs have been given a new dynamic and power that could not be achieved in the '80s. Being an FM fan from day one, this to me is an essential purchase for the FM fan and indeed new fans alike. The record also features seven bonus tracks including a brand new song 'Running On Empty' and a new recording of 'Let Love Be The Leader'. This is the band's modern day interpretation of their iconic first album, played by FM as they are today. Get it! A must buy!...9.5/10 (Dave)

MAJESTY OF REVIVAL...'DUALISM'

(More Hate Productions/Massive Sound Recordings) Reviewed 19th November 2016

This is the third full-length album by the famous Ukrainian band MAJESTY OF REVIVAL that were conceived in 2009. Here one can find on this long player, various influences from pop-rock to progressive occasional thrash metal, from gothic influences to symphonic power metal and folk coupled with catchy choruses. There is a mighty rhythm section, masterful guitar and keyboard lines, elegant arrangements and powerful vocals being melted into 14 cross-genre songs full of groovy riffs coupled with fresh and catchy melodies. I admit to being wary when I first put this cd on, but to be perfectly frank, it is rather good. Opener, the near 7 minute ‘Deadlock’ is possibly one of the heavier more progressive cuts on the album, thumping guitar riffs and awesome synths that drive the track along. A complex start and a rather good start too. Next track ‘Awaken’ possesses prog metal influences, while ‘Alive’ is a more straight forward rocker with a melodic chorus and a great guitar solo to boot. So far so good and it continues with numbers like the progressive ‘Inner Dimension’, the bouncy ‘Failure’, the totally awesome and melodic rocking ’Wolfheart’ (a live favourite surely), the power ballad ‘When The Night Embrace’ and the symphonic sounding 'Serenity'. This cd has been out for a few weeks now and I do rather like it, the band’s facebook is here, well recommended… 9/10 (Dave)

PRETTY MAIDS...'KINGMAKER'

(Frontiers Records) Reviewed 18th November 2016

I love this band and have been into their music since their early days (mid 80s). Founded in 1981 by friends, guitarist Ken Hammer and vocalist Ronnie Atkins, their pedigree within the scene is massive, this album is their latest and an awesome album it is from a band that is like a good wine, gets better with age :) The band's music can be classed as Melodic Hard Rock, and I can also say that there are not many bands that do ballads any better either. There are eleven tracks on this long player (their 15th btw), every one a winner to my ears. Rockers like the opening salvo 'When God Took A Day Off' and the hideously melodic title track, through to the catchy 'Bulls Eye', the heavy 'Civilized Monsters' with its catchy chorus, to the metal monster 'Was That What You Wanted', to power ballads like 'Last Beauty On Earth'. In-fact every track on this album is awesome, this is a great album and well recommended to fans of catchy, melodic hard rock... 9.75/10 (Dave)

ENBOUND...'THE BLACKENED HEART'

(Ulterium Records) Reviewed 18th November 2016

Enbound was formed in 2006 by Mike Cameron Force, who previously had played with bands like Zonata and Poem. Some years were spent working on material, finding the right direction for Enbound, and also the right members. The experienced bass player Swede "Machine gun fingers" Odén was added to the line-up, as well as the extremely talented guitar virtuoso Marvin Flowberg. And finally in 2009 the band found their singer in Lee Hunter [Lars Säfsund]. The debut album 'And She Says Gold' was released in 2011 and was received very well by fans and the media alike, and songs like 'Combined The Souls' and 'Under A Spell' are by many considered classics. Now Enbound, following the praised album debut 'And She Says Gold' finally present this their second album to the music buying public, which so happens to be an awesome album for you Melodic Power Metal fans out there. Some thundering tracks like 'Crossroad', the melodic and catchy 'Get Ready For', the bombastic 'Twelve' and the pen ultimate track, the ballad 'They Dont Even Know'. To summarise: 'The Blackened Heart' has a nice mix of heavy and up tempo songs, all with their own strong and grasping melodies and is as a consequence, an album well worth checking out... 8.5/10 (The Nugget)

THEOCRACY...'GHOST SHIP'

(Ulterium Records) Reviewed 17th November 2016

Fronted by the awesome vocals of Matt Smith, Theocracy is finally back with this their new album, featuring 10 powerful new songs that showcase the epic, heavy and melodic sound the band is known for. 'Ghost Ship' is the follow up to 2011's 'As the World Bleeds' and 2013's self-titled debut remix. With this long player, Theocracy deliver ten muscular and streamlined tracks that never lose focus and combine for one memorable journey. Each song on Ghost Ship stands alone and has a unique signature, but every moment sounds unmistakably like Theocracy. Faves include the catchy title track, the symphonic and melodious 'Wishing Well', the tuneful 'Around The World and Back' with its catchy chorus, the rocking 'Currency In A Bankrupt World' and the epic closing track 'Easter'. This awesome album was produced and engineered by Matt Smith at his studio in Athens, and at a farmhouse that the band converted into a recording space. This is a well produced album and is well worth checking out... 8.5/10 (Dave)

SERIOUS BLACK...'MIRRORWORLD'

(AFM Records) Reviewed 23rd October 2016

The new album ‘Mirrorworld’ from metal merchants Serious Black is the epitome of melodic power metal in perfection, an out-and-out consistent album, its qualities flawlessly presented by its protagonists. First and foremost vocalist Urban breed (ex-Tad Morose, ex-Bloodbound), who has left his mark on the new songs with his versatile and powerful voice. Bob Katsionis (Firewind) and Dominik Sebastian (Edenbridge) have supplied the riffs and tasteful solos, drummer Alex Holzwarth (Rhapsody Of Fire) and bassist Mario Lochert (ex-Visions Of Atlantis) providing the rhythm foundation, complemented by keyboardist Jan Vacik, who also took care of mixing and mastering the recordings. The ‘Mirrorworld’ standard CD consists of nine songs, the Digipak features seven additional bonus tracks which keep up the high standard and fit in seamlessly, both in terms of their quality as well as their style. This album will certainly go down well with the metal fraternity out there, especially if you like your metal full of power and melody. Yep, this is a goodie so buy! 8.5/10 (Hannah Cooper)

OCEANS OF TIME...'TRUST'

(Melodic Revolution) Reviewed 23rd October 2016

This is the long awaited second album from Norway's finest epic melodic power progressive band Oceans Of Time. Fronted by Ken Lyngfoss, there are 12 tracks on this release that include special vocal guest appearances by Jorn Lande (JORN, Beyond Twilight, Allen/Lande) and Nils K. Rue (Pagan's Mind). This is rather good catchy melodic metal with progressive influences - I myself do rather like the track 'Show Me The Way'. Mixed and mastered at Jailhouse Studios by Tommy Hansen this is a recommended release for you melodic metalheads out there... 8/10 (Hannah Cooper)

VANEXA...TOO HEAVY TO FLY'

(Punishment 18 - Black Widow) Reviewed 22nd October 2016

Here’s the most prominent Italian Heavy Metal band out of the Metal Rock wave born in late 70s and early 80s. The band was formed in Savona in 1979 with a typical British sound in the wake of the NWOBHM, and their debut album "Vanexa" was deemed by the national press, back in '83, as the first Heavy Metal album ever released in Italy, and even rocketed to the top of the Heavy Metal charts in the Netherlands. Several releases later and in the year 2016, the band throw at us their new release called 'Too Heavy To Fly'. There are 10 tracks on this record of good old metal that throws us back to the heady days of the 70's and 80's. So if metal from that era is your cuppa tea, then check this little goodie out, or buy it for your Metaltastic Dad for Christmas :)... 7.75/10 (Hannah Cooper)

EDEN'S CURSE...'CARDINAL'

(AFM Records) Reviewed 19th October 2016

This is the fifth album from Glasgow based Melodic Metal band Eden's Curse, and it is a feast of Melodic Metal to wrap your ears around. With Nikola Mijic on vocals, the album features all of the usual EDEN'S CURSE trademark melodies, hooks and riffs. Written mainly by the band's long established writing team of bassist and founding member Paul Logue, guitarist Thorsten Koehne and former drummer Pete Newdeck (Tainted Nation), what is immediately apparent about 'Cardinal' is that it showcases some of the group's heaviest and most progressive moments to date. Opener 'Prophets Of Doom' hurtles out of the speakers with its double bass attack and strong riffing, wrapped around some huge vocal hooks and multi-layered keyboards, while lead single 'Sell Your Soul' follows and is a catchy melodic belter. 'The Great Pretender' is another great track, while 'Find My Way' is an epic near 7 minute ballad together with anthemic chorus. The track 'Unconditional' is a duet with the lovely Liv Kristine and has radio airplay written all over it. Closing this awesome album is the second epic track from the record, the near 8 minute 'Jericho', based on the biblical tale of the Battle of Jericho. A real story both lyrically and musically, it is quintessential EDEN'S CURSE and destined to become a live fan favourite. This 12 track album is superbly mixed by the band’s long time engineer Dennis Ward (Unisonic, Pink Cream 69, Krokus, Angra), this long player is going to become a classic and is essential listening as a consequence... 9/10 (Dave)

EWIGHEIM…’SCHLAFLIEDER’

(Massacre Records) Reviewed 5th September 2016

This is the new album from the electro/rock gloomsters EWIGHEIM who hail from Thuringia, Germany. EWIGHEIM… what is it exactly? Ewigheim is a peaceful place, where you can rest your head on a pillow and where you can twist your eyes. A place, where Yantit (Eisregen), Allen (The Vision Bleak) and Schwadorf (The Vision Bleak, Empyrium) sing you a lullaby while you feel completely safe and comfy. You fall asleep… What follows is a dream that lasts 46:05 minutes. A dream about the moon, which hangs himself after he no longer sees a point in glowing. A dream about a human being, obsessed with life, who learns what it means to miss your own soul. A dream about a humble human being, who learns to appreciate the devil while he is on a journey, and who recognizes the evil in his own existence. It’s a weird dream, but what the heck! The dream consisting of 11 cuts (inc two digipak bonus tracks that I have) offers some rather cool music sung in the band’s native tongue. The record consists mainly of mid tempo and up tempo tracks, and rather melodic they are too, but not being one who knows much German, I am unable to understand what is being sung. However, I guess the songs follow a pattern as mentioned in the ‘dream’ above, with one or two slower doomier numbers thrown in for good measure. The Germans certainly seem to be at the top of their game with regards Gothic and Electro Rock and the band Ewigheim is of no exception. Album is due 21st October.. 8.5/10 (Dave)

LORDI…'Monstereophonic (Theaterror vs. Demonarchy)'

(AFM Records) Reviewed 5th September 2016

Lordi Lordi, what have we got here then? Well Lordi is a Finnish hard rock and melodic heavy metal band, originally formed in 1992 by the band's lead singer, songwriter, visual art designer and costume maker, Mr Lordi. The band is known for their monstrous look and the horror elements in the stage performance and music videos. With catchy songs and screaming riffs, the horrific lyrics will stick in your mind whether you like it or not. And upon listening to this, their 8th album I believe, the tracks are indeed hideously catchy, but if you are a person that loves the lyrical side of music, then maybe the lyrical content of the music on offer here may leave a little to be desired. Titles of tracks like 'Let's Go Slaughter He-Man (I Wanna Be The Beast-Man In The Masters Of The Universe)', ‘Mary Is Dead’ and ‘The Night The Monsters Died’ will give you an idea as to the musical content, but if you know Lordi anyway, then you will come to expect it :) But let’s not take anything away from this well established band, not forgetting 2006 when Lordi took part in the Eurovision song contest and won the whole competition as the first and only winner from Finland, with all-time record breaking points at the time in Eurovision history. Anyway, this record throws at us 14 tracks of Hard Rock/Melodic Metal, with some hideously catchy choruses that you just cannot help but tap your feet and head bang too. Out on September 16th (EU)/September 30th (USA), this could be an album to check out if catchy melodic metal is your cuppa tea!... 8.5/10 (Dave)

SKILLET…’UNLEASHED’

(Atlantic Records) Reviewed 14th August 2016

This is Christian Rockers Skillet’s ninth studio release and the phrase “if it ain’t broken why fix it?” comes to the fore with this album. The band so happens to be an awesome outfit, and this album is a damn fine offering as are their others I hasten to add. From the opener ‘Feel Invincible’, through the commercial sounding ‘Stars’ to the massive ‘I Want To Live’ (one of my faves from this cd) and the power ballad ‘Lions’, this album is a very strong effort indeed, chock full of potential hit singles from start to finish. Featuring main vocal contributions from John Cooper and ably backed up by the band’s drummer Jen Ledger, this is a near faultless offering of Alternative/Modern Hard Rock and I would whole heartedly recommend this record to all and sundry... 9/10 (Dave)

EVERGREY…’THE STORM WITHIN’

(AFM Records) Reviewed 8th August 2016

Summing up the Swedish quintet EVERGREY's new album ‘The Storm Within’ quick and to the point, the band is celebrating their 20th Anniversary with the strongest album of their career. The band's trademark progressive, dark and melancholic elements are as strong as ever, the album ranks as one of the most progressive record they've created in terms of performance, but the band has managed to put it in a package that is more accessible and direct compared to any of their nine previous outings. And indeed, the addition of Nightwish vocalist Floor Jansen on the track 'In Orbit' is the icing on an already filling cake and if that is not all, frontman/founder Tom S.Englund's wife Carina features on the number 'The Paradox Of The Flame'. Overall, the album to be honest is awesome, the tracks are accessible with thundering riffs and catchy choruses. Lyrically Tom considers the storyline to be one of the biggest concepts Evergrey has ever tackled, based on something that everyone can relate to; having someone, losing them, and having to pick yourself up and move on thereafter. This is an album well worth checking out when it appears in the shops from Sept 9th. Every track a sure fire winner making the album a worthy purchase! Melodic Metal at its best!!... 9/10 (The Nugget)

HEAVENWOOD…’THE TAROT OF THE BOHEMIANS-Part 1’

(Massacre Records) Reviewed 5th August 2016

Formed in 1992 under the name Disgorged, HEAVENWOOD quickly established themselves as one of the most important Portuguese metal bands, alongside Moonspell. This is their 5th album (not including the re-release of Redemption). The band is fronted by the twin vocal attack of Ernesto Guerra and Ricardo Dias, and they offer up a mix of hard rock, gothic and doom metal, together with choral and orchestral interludes, all to great effect. This well showcased in the intro to the opening bombastic cut ‘The Juggler’. The album itself offers clean singing, grunts and growls, and this all works very well. There is a female vocalist too, Sandra Oliveira (from the band BLAME ZEUS), she takes the reign on the awesome track ‘The Hangman’, as well as backing vocals on ‘The High Priestess’ and the catchy ‘The Lovers’. Although I must admit to not having heard much of Heavenwood’s music in the past, this album I must say is rather good, indeed being the band's most ambitious work to date. It is inspired and dedicated to the French occultist Papus (Gérard Analect Vincent Encausse) and his studies regarding the Tarot. I would go as far as to say there is not a filler to be found on this album, while the closing track on the album is a re-recording of the song "Frithiof's Saga", originally taken from the debut album "Diva", which was released 20 years ago, thus celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2016. Ricardo Dias composed and recorded the music and the orchestral parts of the album at the Raising Legends Studio, where producer André Matos (who recorded the bass session for this new album), also recorded the vocals of Ernesto Guerra as well as the lead guitars of Vítor Carvalho. This is a well recommended piece of musical genius and I am highly impressed, but one needs to listen to the album in full to get a picture in your mind of the story… 9/10 (Dave)

NARNIA...S/T

(Narnia Songs) Reviewed July 31st 2016

Christian Metal Band Narnia was formed in 1996 in Jönköping, Sweden by Christian Liljegren [vocals] and CJ Grimmark [guitars]. Between 1997 and 2009 they released six studio albums, one live album/DVD [recorded in Germany] and one “best of” album through the respected German labels Nuclear Blast and Massacre Records. They have sold over 100,000 albums and have received praise from leading magazines as Rock Hard, Burrn!, Sweden Rock Magazine and many others. A decision was made however, to put the band to rest in 2010, but it is now 2016. And on this their new self-titled album, Narnia has been well and truly kick started as they re-visit their melodic roots, but with an updated sound. If you like your metal truly melodic, then there are some corkers here and they will be right up your alleyway. This full length 9 track album will be released worldwide on CD, vinyl and on digital formats on September 16th, 2016. And the plan for Narnia is to reach as many countries as possible during the coming years. The Lion sure is roaring again – well recommended… 8.75/10 (Dave)

LACRIMAS PROFUNDERE...'HOPE IS HERE'

(Oblivion/SPV) Reviewed 27th July 2016

So, what do you do when you’ve already toured 29 countries, sold more than 100,000 records and played not just Berlin and Moscow, but also have Tokyo and Beijing under your belt? That’s right, you carry right on with a single goal: to keep on getting better, rather than resting on your laurels. No wonder German band Lacrimas Profundere (founded in 1993) count among the hardest touring bands of the genre, standing more than ever before for sweat-inducing and emotionally charged, unique rock shows. By all accounts this is the 11th full length release, their first '...And the Wings Embraced Us' appearing in 1995. It’s now 2016 and major changes are on the cards. With their new partner SPV behind them, the band’s first concept album is about to be released. “We’ve never done a concept before and it was quite a challenge, but once vocalist Rob started writing the story and got totally buried in it, there was simply no going back,” explains guitarist Oliver Nikolas. “When you’ve got a concept you have to arrange it like a film, you have to follow certain moods and really think about where to put the faster, harder pieces and where the slower and sadder moments best fit in,” continues the band’s founder. Indeed: with 'Hope Is Here' the guys drag you out of your comfortable world, deep into a forest – to a boy named Aramis drifting through the dark trees, alone, forsaken, outcast, because he’s not like other people. Alienated at home for years. The dangers, the emotions, the sudden twists. Feel his freedom. Taste his dirt in the deep dark woods that our parents warned us from in all those good night stories. That’s a summary of the concept – but there’s plenty more to come..just listen to the album. The songs are melodic mixing Gothic with the more metallic side of the band, the songs carrying emotion within the lyrics as well. Released on 12th August, I would truly recommend this album.... 8.5/10 (The Nugget)

DARE...'SACRED GROUND'

(Legend Records) Reviewed 17th July 2016

Manchester band Dare fronted by ex Thin Lizzy keys player Darren Wharton is one of my fave bands and after a tsunami of releases, they continue to produce the goods. The band released their debut 'Out Of The Silence' on A&M Records (remember them?) in 1988 which was an AOR masterpiece, and that was followed by another masterpiece, 'Blood From Stone' that saw the light of day in 1991, that being a more hard rockin' affair. Anyway, thereafter despite the appearance of Grunge, further releases from Dare were damn good but followed a more softer AOR/Celtic Rock approach. However, now in 2016, we have the album their 7th proper release 'SACRED GROUND'. And if you look at the album artwork, you will see the number '7' discreetly positioned on the front cover. Vinny Burns on guitar is back in the studio with the band, his first studio appearance since the 'Blood From Stone' days, although he has been back as a'live' member since 2010. Nothing to fault here, this album is the biz offering classy AOR/Melodic Rock from a band that continues to deliver. I would go as far as to say that this is one of their best, certainly since their first two albums. But do not get me wrong, everything they have done has been good! And just a footnote, anybody that has seen Dr. Brian Cox on TV here in the UK, he used to be in the early incarnation of Dare - now you know if you didn't already :) Album recommended.. 9/10 (Dave)