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Ravenheart Archives: Archived

Guy Band Archived Reviews Cont (2)

RAGE OF ANGELS…’THE DEVIL’S NEW TRICKS’

(Escape Music) Reviewed 25th February 2016

This is the second album from Rage Of Angels. Produced By Ged Rylands and mixed by Martin Kronlund, this is another total stunner from the band, featuring musicians from the likes of TEN, TYKETTO, SAGA and COLSPELL. Fronted by the vocals of Rob Moratti (Saga), this album is a feast of Melodic Hard Rock from the epic 7+ minute opener R.O.A, through to closing number ‘Long Days Without You’. Highlights a plenty in between, but for starters, lets try the title track and follow that up with numbers like ‘One Step Closer’ with its sing along chorus, the mid paced TEN sounding ‘Love Will Never Die’, the melodic ‘I Feel It In My Heart‘ and the pen-ultimate tune 'Long Days Without You'. For lovers of Melodic Hard Rock most certainly, this is a must buy, no question - available from 26th Feb.. 9/10 (The Nugget)

RAVEN SKY…’ONCE ABOVE THE OLD SKIES’

(Self Released) Reviewed 9th November 2015

Raven Sky is a metal band of five childhood friends, who draw a musical landscape from powerful and symphonic melodies as well as heavy and rhythmic elements of modern metal music. The band was born in 1996 in Hausjärvi, Southern Finland – was deceased in 2005 and reanimated for a weekend in 2011 and has remained undead ever since. The heaviness of the band’s music is mostly based on the oppressiveness of the guitar riffs, various rhythmic elements and metallic singing (mainly of the more deathy variety) – as well as powerful and voluminous orchestrated melodies coupled at times with a choral back drop. And this is well showcased within the eleven tracks here, that offer up some powerful, melodic and bombastic music. You won’t find any soppy ballads here with favourite tracks including ’Reroll’ and ‘6 Years of Silence’. Raven Sky is comprised of Tomi Aaltonen (bass), Oskari Kettinen (vocals, keyboards), Esa Mäkinen (guitar), Atte Tahvanainen (drums), Ville Virtanen (guitar), and you will find the band's face book here. The only downside, is I do find the vocals across the whole album a little shall we say overpowering (that could just be me), but well worth checking out if you feel this may be your cuppa tea..7/10 (The Nugget)

RED ELEVEN…’COLLECT YOUR SCARS’

(Lifeforce Records) Reviewed 29th January 2016

Let there be R-O-C-K! When the Finns got together in 2009 this was everything they were thinking of. Since then, RED ELEVEN quickly developed a vital and accessible style of their own, while following their deep-rooted preference for sanguine alternative sounds, full of catchy choruses and compelling hooklines. Sure, listening to this album you will be most likely reminded of FAITH NO MORE – but this is mostly due to the timbre of Tony Kaikkonen’s voice. And who wouldn’t like to be compared to that great rock act?! Eleven tracks here of compelling modern anthemic hard rock to blow away the winter blues. This is damn good stuff, heavy, tuneful and you can play it nice and loud, well why not? But the band do have a tender side, check out the pen ultimate acoustic based ‘Too Much To Ask’. And let us not forget to mention the epic 6 minute plus ‘And So I Took His Life’, what a corker! With 'Collect Your Scars', the quintet fulfils its heartfelt wish to play epic R-O-C-K hymns with self-assurance and a courageous approach. Released March 18th and well worth checking out – well they are from the land of Rock & Metal - Finland!...9/10 (Dave)

REAL:DEAD: LOVE...'VENICE FALLING'

(Self Release) Reviewed 18th Jun 2015

Tell you something: Finnish band HIM has a lot to answer for, with all these 'Goth Jovi' type bands springing up all over the place. But do not get me wrong, this type of music is the kind of stuff I really like. REAL: DEAD: LOVE come from Germany and ply their trade to the listener by way of 11 tracks of catchy, melodic Gothy Metal. Fronted by the vocals of Mr Blacksleaze (great name btw :)) the music here is rather cool. And I do love their very gothy and dark version of 'Nights In White Satin'. And for anybody who has been living under a stone for centuries, that was a hit by the Moody Blues way back in time, long before I was born. I must recommend this album if you love catchy Gothic Metal - check them out here...8.75/10 (The Nugget)

REIGN OF SIRIUS...'MIRROR FIGURES'

(Self Release) Reviewed 20th June 2014

The Symphonic Metal genre seems to be dominated to a large degree by female fronted acts, so to be honest, it comes as a refreshing change to find a band from the UK fronted by a guy. Manchester based Reign Of Sirius is fronted by Alex Blaikie but with guest vocals from Jennifer Douglas as listed in the credits. This basically is a huge 8 track slice of Melodic Symphonic Metal with choruses to die for, and after the brief spoken intro, this is proven with second track in, the 8 minute plus 'Dice of Fate' - damn awesome! The momentum continues with the pulsating 'Rook and the Feather', and the vocals at times kinda remind me of Geddy Lee (Rush). An amazing start to the record together with a massive production. And it continues with the thumping 'Clockwork Creation' and the Symphonic, very melodic and quirky 7 minute plus title track, both with their catchy trademark choruses and both totally rip roaring stuff. 'Theatre of Masks' is a slower number also featuring female operatic backing vocals, while the the ante is upped again with 'Devil In The Maze'. 'The Last Lullaby' is the number that closes what is to my ears a very good album, and I am very glad that I have come across this amazing Manchester band. Their Facebook is here, check them out... 9/10 (Dave)

RIP TYDE...'NEW HORIZON'

(Self Release) Reviewed 15th July 2013

Dave knows Midlands based UK band Rip Tyde, more especially Carl Grocutt who fronts the band, Carl having once fronted a band called Undue. For fear of being a little bias towards the four tracks that make up this little EP, Dave asked me to review it, as I have some time on my hands before I start my new job in two weeks time. I must graciously say that if Dave comes across this type of music on a regular basis, female fronted or not, then I want more of it. This is good with the songs reminding me of The Foo Fighters and Velvet Revolver amongst many others that I can fail to think of at the moment. All four numbers are corking and to be honest, the band has to be looking at bigger things if a label of any significance picked up on this. To summarise, if Rip Tyde recorded a long player with songs of this quality, then the UK has a force to be reckoned with. Get down and dirty and check out Rip Tyde here, then go get the EP from iTunes - 8/10 (Rachel)

SAHONA…S/T

(Self Released) Released 22nd February 2016

Sahona was created in the south of France, by guitar player and singer Charly Sahona (the boss man of female fronted melodic progressive metal band VENTURIA) who was about to release a solo album. The first member he asked to join him was his friend, drummer Stéphane Cavanez. Both musicians have collaborated on diverse creative projects and have been bandmates in a cover band for a long time. Guitar player Fabien Paraillac, who already produced some songs for the duo, joined them and later, bass player Cédric Artaxet, rounded out the team. SAHONA’s melodic rock music is characterized by its blend of metal, progressive and electro, where two guitar virtuosos are exchanging awesome solos and uniting on heavy riffs over a very efficient bass and drums section. And needless to say, once we get down to talking about the music on this record, we are talking about some impressively serious upbeat and highly melodic stuff, with some awesome musicianship thrown into the mix. Every track here is a highlight, dealing with lyrics about introspective themes, such as spirituality, psychology, frustrations and turbulences of love. The music is complex and melodic with catchy choruses, and we must state that this is well recommended. I would also go as far as to say, that this could well be one of the best releases from this genre this year. Released today 22nd Feb, this is a pleasant surprise!!… 9/10 (Dave)

SCREAMING EAGLES...'STAND UP AND BE COUNTED'

(Off Yer Rocka Recordings) Reviewed 15th October 2015

The Screaming Eagles come from Northern Ireland, and this is a ten track album of hard rock as if the 80s had not gone away. Fronted by the powerful voice of Chris Fry and backed by a totally awesome bunch of musicians, including guitarist Adrian McAleenan who sure knows how to shred it, this album is monumental and certainly will give the UK rock scene a good old kick up the proverbial ass. There are some pulsating rock numbers here on this the band’s debut, and if this record is anything to go by, we here cannot wait for the next one. The title track has an AC/DC swagger to it, then there is the pumping sound of ‘Bow Down To The Blues’, the rampant closing track ’27 Club’. Overall, this is good and if you listen to this LP and you are able to keep still, then you have a serious medical issue! By and large, the tracks on this record will bulldoze their way into your head with the power of a Russian missile and will not go away. Screaming Eagles has a Facebook page here - recommended.. 8.75/10 (Dave)

SERGEANT STEEL...'RIDERS OF THE WORM'

(Boyz Tyme Records) Reviewed 16th November 2015

Sergeant Steel fronted by Phil Vanderkill, is Austria's no. 1 hard rock band! 'Riders Of The Worm' is their third release and features guest appearances from Mark Slaughter (Slaughter, Vinnie Vincent Invasion) and Kane Roberts (Alice Cooper). The band offers up catchy arena rock hymns, where powerful hooks meet blasting melodies in the vein of Aerosmith, Ratt and early Bon Jovi! The kinda music that the USA would fall in love with. There are 14 tracks here (track 14 being a cd only hidden track) of bouncy melodic hard rock, like the Alice Cooper sounding 'Silver Spoon' (feat Kane Roberts), the hard rocking and catchy 'Only Good Girls (Love A Rock n Roll Boy)' and the awesome fist pumping 'Hot Widow' - these are just three from a handful of gems. And let us not forget the ballads like 'Where My Heart Is' and the acoustic ‘Promised Land‘, and I do honestly believe that no one can do ballads better than bands from this genre. Mixed and mastered by producer & legend Michael Wagener (Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, Skid Row, etc.), this is well worth checking out. So why don't you ride the worm to the band's website which is at www.sergeant-steel.com - released Nov 27th.. 8.5/10 (Dave)

DAVE SHADOW...'ME MYSELF AND I'

(JL Records) Reviewed 12th March 2016

This is the first solo album from Dave Shadow, the singer of My Sixth Shadow, This Void Inside and Black Deep White. Written and Produced by the man himself, this album consists of eleven numbers of consistently and rather catchy melodic rock with a poppy element, a kinda cross between a lighter HIM and a certain Bon Jovi. Rather impressive stuff I must admit if you do not mind your music at the less heavy end of the musical spectrum. I do feel inclined to recommend this as it is rather good… 8.5/10 (The Nugget)

SHADOW HUNTERS...'AVATAR'

(Renegade Records) Reviewed 15th June 2016

Shadow Hunters from Norway merge prog-styles and goth rock instrumentation within the 10 tracks on this album. The songs are powerful and anthemic coupled with fast-paced guitars - a sound which led to their last two songs premiering exclusively on Kerrang! The album’s soaring, symphonic sound brings to mind the elevating feel of bands like 30 Seconds To Mars, but with a driving, metal-infused twist. This album is good, runs in at around the half hour mark, but is basically an all killer no filler record. And their lead single ‘Fire Will Be Free’, recently entered the US rock charts. The lyric video to that can be viewed here. Scandinavian bands by and large always seem to be able to deliver the goods, and this band is no exception... 8.5/10 (Dave)

SHAKRA…’HIGH NOON’

(AFM Records) Reviewed 7th January 2015

Finally there’s official news from the SHAKRA camp: The fox is on the run again - singer Mark Fox is back together with SHAKRA! Mark has had his share of controversy - the video to the song 'Chain of Temptation' from the album 'Fall' showed singer Fox giving himself a heroin injection (oh dear!!!!). Anyway, Chris von Rohr (Swiss rock musician, record producer, author, columnist, radio and television presenter) said the following after former singer John Prakesh left the band in early 2014: “Let’s bring back together what belongs together”. That being said, it took a while till the early disputes had been put aside, but in late summer of 2014 it was clear to everyone that it’s time to do it again! Since that point of time, the whole band shed blood, sweat and tears to finish this their new album, which will be out on January 29th 2016. This is an album chock full of melodic metal songs, with more hooks than a well stocked fishing tackle shop, and choruses that are hideously catchy. No standouts as the tracks are all standout cuts. If you like your metal catchy and melodic, this album from this Swiss band is well worth checking out, proving that the Swiss are not just good at making watches... 9.5/10 (Dave)

SHIVERED…’BEREAVED AND GONE INSANE' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 18th April 2016

To be released on 25th May, this is an interesting release from Iranian band SHIVERED. The band is centred around Mohammad Maki, who is the singer, songwriter, guitarist and the founder member. This EP I would put into the Gothic/Alternative Metal category with subtle flirtations with Doom! There are seven tracks and they are all rather good up tempo guitar orientated Gothic Metal. No real stand out cuts as such, but having said that, they are all very consistent and the numbers did maintain my interest throughout the 25 minutes or so. Iran may not be a country one associates with decent Gothic Metal, but this is well worth checking out when it gets released. Shivered’s facebook is here - please support decent independent metal music!… 8/10 (Dave)

SHOTGUN RODEO…’WORLD WIDE GENOCIDE’

(Self Release) Reviewed 3rd December 2015

Shotgun Rodeo hail from Norway and they are fronted by Nino Escopeta, and if you want to listen to an album that represents what Metal should sound like today in the 21st century, then check these guys and this record out. There are some great metal anthems here on this 13 track album, like the addictive and pounding ‘The Silver Tongued Devils’ with its great chorus, the Power Metal sounding ‘Saving Myself’ that drives along like a Japanese bullet train, the fist pumping ‘Scavenger of Death’ and 'Skin Crawl' with its Death Metalish vocals. They can also slow it down too, the two tracks that provide an oasis of calm within a cacophony of Metal being the power ballad ‘Rust’ and the acoustic 'Dying Inside'. The band describe their style as notorious Heavy Metal, but whatever you wanna call it, this is by and large a relentless Metal assault and as a consequence, a solid and consistent release. Shotgun Rodeo has been known to promote heavy drinking, mosh pits and ass kicking, so keep away from old people (oh dear, does that include me?) and children at all costs! Anyway, if this may be your cuppa tea (or pint of beer), well worth checking out if I may say so! Meanwhile, the lyric video to the track 'Scavenger of Death' can be seen here, while the number 'Withered Earth' can be listened too here... 8/10 (Dave)

SIXX:AM...'PRAYERS FOR THE DAMNED, VOL 1'

(Eleven Seven Music) Reviewed 3rd June 2016

Nikki Sixx is an American musician, songwriter, radio host, and photographer, best known as the co-founder, bassist, and primary songwriter of the band Mötley Crüe. Nikki Sixx formed the group Sixx:A.M. in 2006, initially to record an audio accompaniment to his autobiography 'The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star'. Anyway, we fast forward to 2016 and the 29th April saw the release of this album and damned good it is too. There are eleven pounding melodic numbers, all this apparent from opening cut 'Rise' to closing number, the six minute plus epic 'Rise Of The Melancholy Empire'. Indeed SIX:AM actually have a knack of writing and recording infectious anthemic tunes, and this album is of no exception, with the vocals of James Michael totally befitting of the music the band throws at the listener. This is in-fact the first half of a double album, with the second half expected later this year. On this showing, I cannot wait! This is a great rock album, 11 melodic and infectious tracks, every one a potential hit single and very powerful lyrics to boot... 9/10 (Dave)

SLEEP OF MONSTERS…’II: POISON GARDEN’

(Svart Records) Reviewed 17th May 2016

Recorded at an old hilltop villa in Álora, Spain, Sleep of Monsters II: Poison Garden sees this unique Finnish band venture into even richer, more dramatic and hauntingly beautiful soundscapes, complete with strings and horns…and hooves. The band released their debut album, 'Produces Reason', in Finland in November 2013, entering the national Top 50. In November 2014 Svart Records licensed the album for the international underground. Sleep of Monsters marks the return of vocalist and lyricist Ike Vil, the morose mastermind behind the lauded death rockers and occult rock pioneers Babylon Whores. Vil teamed up with guitarist and main songwriter Sami Hassinen, formerly the guitarist of Blake; drummer Pätkä Rantala, who played on HIM’s million-selling debut; and keyboardist Janne Immonen, who has toured extensively with Waltari and Ajattara. The sound of Sleep of Monsters is completed by the trippy guitar of Uula Korhonen and the thumping bass of Mäihä, who also handles backing vocals, and last but not least, the witchy voices of their own "Furies": Hanna Wendelin, Nelli Saarikoski, and Tarja Leskinen. And as is everything that seems to come out of Finland, this 10 track album ticks all the right boxes – in this case, think of Lee Hazlewood getting drunk with the Abba girls in a metal bar, slurring some of the most spine-chilling (mostly) true tales of human tragedy and the occult ever heard in rock 'n' roll, and you’ll arrive at the moss-covered gates of the Poison Garden. It is certainly not Nightwish, but it is great catchy rock music, and just a little different to what we may listen too here. Fave tracks a plenty but ‘Beyond The Fields We Know’, ‘As It Is So Be It’ and the catchy ‘Our Dark Mother’ are three such favourites, and at the start of the track ‘Golden Bough’ I thought the now 74 year old Hank Marvin was in the band LOL! This highly anticipated second album by the band is set for international release on June 3rd, awesome stuff and well worth checking out as a consequence… 8.75/10 (Dave)

SPEARFISH...'IN THE MEANTIME'

(Lion Music) Reviewed 8th June 2015

Sweden's classic rock underground heroes Spearfish fronted by bassist Thomas Thulin return with a hot new album ...'In the MeanTime'. SpearFish is also the backing band of 80-ies melodic rock legend Jon English, with who they have preformed several times at major festivals such as Sweden Rock. Spearfish have also toured as support act for Uriah Heep. This twelve track album is a real stunner, try to imagine Geddy Lee (Rush) fronting an AOR/Melodic Rock band! First track in 'Quicksilver Lining' reminds me a little of Asia in the intro, while 'South' is the album's first ballad - great guitar sound! There are some cool goodies amongst other goodies here including another ballad 'Gazing At The Moon', the intense 'Hawks Of War', the bluesy 'Gangsta City Blues' and 'Time Will Come' (listen to the lyrics - how true) . The cd overall is sound release and a very enjoyable listen for you music bods out there. Check the band out here - album released 19th June... 8.5/10 (The Nugget)

STAR SCREAM...'SEXPLOITATION'

(Roseblood Recordings) Reviewed 16th September 2014

Star Scream is a collective bunch of human beings from the South East of England, who use guitars, drums, white noise, strings, feedback, shouting and pianos to conjure up melodies to mesmerise you peeps in the 21st century. The band's sole purpose is to sound unlike anything else you’ve ever heard, whilst sounding exactly like everything else you’d ever want to hear. Offering a mix of contemporary rock sounds with huge choruses and jagged guitars, underpinned with elements of electronica, this band is going to be huge. Songwriter, vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist Adam Lightspeed, is joined by Sky London on drums, percussion and electronic bits & pieces, and Aoife who we can blame for bass duties and backing vocals. If you enjoy bands like Marilyn Manson, Muse and the like, you will enjoy Star Scream. We have 13 tracks of rather catchy upbeat punky funky stuff, with touches of 80's electro pop/rock and glam, and these numbers will bounce around in your head long after the music has finished. Just listen to the tracks 'Break The Night', 'Die On The Floor' (like a modern day T Rex), 'Frightmare', 'As The Earth Dies Screaming' the ballad 'Heart Of Ice (Falling Out Of Love)' and the synth driven 'Obsession (I, Alone)' as great examples of music from a great up and coming band. To my musical ears, this is a really enjoyable piece of circular plastic - the band's website can be discovered at www.starscream.co.uk/... 8.75/10 (Rachel Louise Smith)

SUNSHADOWS...'RED HERRING'

(Fromtape Records) Reviewed 17th August 2015

Sunshadows come from France and they remind me of music from the early 90s (still remember the grunge era?). They also throw into the mix an element of electronics that go well with the metallic sounding guitars. The music is rather dark, but the songs are totally melodic which is absolutely fine to my ears. There are 11 numbers here with some powerful nuggets too. I myself do rather like the track 'Lied To Myself' throwing in a bit of subtle rap - yay! This is a band with promise and well recommended to anyone into this style of music, Deftones and Limp Bizkit being two bands that spring to mind as a comparison - website is at www.sunshadows.fr.. 8.5/10 (The Nugget)

SYNAXARIA…’SADNESS OF MEMORIES’

(Self Release) Reviewed 3rd December 2015

Formed in 2010, Synaxaria is using their own words a romantic Rock/Metal band. They come from Belarus and is fronted by the mainly clean vocals of Dzmitry and the backing vocals of Natallia. There so happens to be some rather good bands filtering out of eastern Europe at the moment, and Synaxaria is no exception to that rule, offering the listener 10 tracks of catchy Rock/Metal music. As previously mentioned, it seems that main vocal duties are the domain of Dzmitry, Natallia offering backing vox, but this is a consistent release across the 10 numbers, with stand out cuts being the catchy and quirky 6 minute plus E.M.I.D.A.Y., the rather cool ‘Love Gives Eternity’, the ballad ‘Ghosts Of Our Past’ and the bouncy ultra catchy tune ‘Our Summer Is Gone’. Furthermore, the final gem ‘Angel’ is sung by Natallia in her native tongue - lovely. This is a very good album with a strong melodic sensibility, well worth looking into further and totally enjoyable. The band’s Facebook is here… 8.75/10 (The Nugget)

TANZWUT...’SCHRIEB ES MIT BLUT’

(AFM) Reviewed 15th June 2016

17 years after the release of their debut album, Tanzwut will put out this release, their 10th studio album on July 8th in Europe and August 19th in the US. This is German medieval rock/metal at its very best – catchy melodies, bagpipes, hard guitar riffs and of course the German lyrics within the 14 tracks. And we even have a bonus track on the digipak version that features Liv Kristine, more on that further down this review. This album is basically a feast of catchy rock and metal from beginning to end, with those aforementioned medieval influences well and truly to the fore, and I just love the bagpipes! The digipak has 15 tracks, the final number on that version featuring Liv Kristine, this being another version of the track ‘Stille Wasser’, that features in its original version earlier on the CD (track 7). If you like this style of music and I certainly do, with the pipes to my ears being the icing on the cake, then buy this album when it gets released. Well recommended… 9.25/10 (Dave)

TEN...'ALBION'

(Rocktopia) Reviewed 18th February 2015

Up until 2012, British band Ten had released ten studio albums, two compilation albums, four EPs, a double live album and five music videos, so they are what you could call major players on the British Melodic Rock scene. The band released this, their 11th studio album on the 21st of November 2014 and they are currently in the recording stages of its follow up. This is typical Ten fare, 10 tracks of awesome and epic Melodic Hard Rock featuring Gary's purely magical vocals. I am not sure whether this is me, but at times he sounds like HIM's Ville Valo to my ears. This album is enjoyable and I do rather like it, so well worth a purchase if this is your music scene. Even your Grandmother may like it :) Produced by Gary Hughes and mixed and mastered by Pink Cream 69's Denis Ward... 9/10 (Dave)

TEN...'ISLA DE MUERTA'

(Rocktopia) Reviewed 17th July 2015

I like Ten, I have always liked Ten, I have seen them live more than once, the first time way back in 1993 in Manchester. They have released an array of albums since then, this one being the band's latest to hit the shelves. Fronted by Gary Hughes, Ten is basically a UK based Melodic Hard Rock band, their music rather inoffensive, you could even play it to your Granny and she may even like it :) (as I mentioned in a previous review). Isla de Muerta is the fabled “island of the dead” in pirate folklore, and Gary Hughes and his bunch of pirates deliver ten tracks on this recording that I have and it is all rather good. Indeed, while writing this and coincidentally, Natalie 'The Nugget' emailed me to say "what a voice Gary Hughes has". How true! I shall not delve into the tracks individually, but if you like melodic rock from one of the UK's best bands within that field, coupled with the customary ballad or two, then check this album out. 'Isla De Muerta' is good old inoffensive melodic rock, although perhaps not as good as some of Ten's previous efforts, still however well recommended... 8.75/10 (Dave)

THE DEAD BETAS...'SIREN' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 8th April 2015

The Dead Betas hail from Great Torrington from the lovely county of Devon here in the UK, and they will be supporting The Birthday Massacre on their UK tour later in April. This is the band's latest EP, which they describe on their Facebook page as Messy Electro-Punk! If you can relate to the punk sound of the 70's and add a 21st century electro sound, that just about sums it up. It is all synthed up, intense and with loadsa profound attitude, and I am sure that many of us have been able to relate at sometime or another to the lyrics within the songs the band throw at us! Listen, have a smile and think, "yep, that was me"! There are eight tracks here of which three are synthed up remixes. This is clearly an up and coming band to look out for, with the track '15' being a fave from the EP! Their Facebook is here for you to find out more... 7.75/10 (Dave)

THE DREAMING...'RISE AGAIN'

(Metropolis Records) Reviewed 6th August 2015

The Dreaming is an American rock band founded in the Hollywood area in 2002 by Johnny Haro and Christopher Hall, who is the former lead singer of the band Stabbing Westward. This I understand is their 3rd full length album and this is a corking release from this US band, and right up my alleyway as well, that being the reason why I bought it :) Basically, there are 10 tracks of Modern Alternative Rock with powerful electronics that drive this record along - songs that get stuck in your head and refuse to go away. Just check out tracks like 'Painkillers', the pounding and very catchy 'Empty Promises', the anthemic 'Blink Of An Eye' and the melodic 'Still Believe' as classic examples of what I am ratting on about. Then we have the ballad 'Throw It Away' - magical! In summary: If you are a fan of The Dreaming’s previous albums or Stabbing Westward, this album I am confidently sure will grab your attention and will not disappoint... 8.75/10 (The Nugget)

THORNBRIDGE…’WHAT WILL PREVAIL’

(Massacre Records) Reviewed 18th January 2016

Jörg "Mo" Naneder and Patrick "Pat" Rogalski formed the German band Thornbridge in 2008, and completed the line-up with the addition of Maximilian "Lucky" Glück and Patrick "Burghi" Burghard in 2012. They developed a first live set, which was presented while playing shows with bands like Orden Ogan, Sinbreed and MessengeR. This live set was also the foundation of this their debut album, and with the might of Massacre Records behind them, they want to take on the world. And with this bombastic release, that possibility looks increasingly likely. Armed with fast and epic songs, THORNBRIDGE stride through the magic world of the Dark Ages. We have hymn-like choirs and polyphonic guitar melodies captivating the listener, bringing Power Metal of the "good old days" back on stage. And in keeping with what we by and large like here, there is a glorious helping of melody within the music the band throws at the listener. This record is certainly one for the metalheads out in metal land, with epic tunes like ’Blow Up The Gates Of Hell’, ’Coachman’s Curse’, ‘Neverwinter Nights’ and the ultra catchy ‘Tower Of Lies‘. The album will hit the stores on Feb 19th and is well worth checking out…. 8.75/10 (Dave)

TO/DIE/FOR...'CULT'

(Massacre Records) Reviewed 14th July 2015

To/Die/For (often abbreviated TDF) fronted by Jape Perätalo is a Gothic Metal band from the town of Kouvola in southeast of Finland, assembled in 1993 as a hard rock band under the name Mary-Ann. In 1999, they decided to change their musical style to Gothic Metal, changing their band name as well. To be frank, they are a fave band of mine, hence me having the task of reviewing this their latest opus. If guy fronted melodic Gothic Metal is up your alleyway, then you are more than likely already aware of To/Die/For. And of course, they are from Finland and that wins brownie points before we even start :) Does anything musically that comes out of that country hit the button that says 'Crap'?. Needless to say, this is good. Opener 'In Black' gets things underway, a catchy opener and that catchy feel continues throughout the 8 tracks and 38 minutes of music. This is a 'safe & inoffensive' record that has commercial appeal, and even female backing vocals pop up on the recognisable Paula Abdul cover (yep, Paula Abdul!) 'Straight Up'. Released via Massacre, this album should be easy to get your grubby paws on...8.5/10 (The Nugget)

TRISTANA...'VIRTUAL CRIME'

(Bakerteam Records) Reviewed 6th Feb 2015

Cult Slovak band Tristana (www.tristana.sk/index.php) was founded in the late nineties and draws its inspiration from the chilling atmosphere, snowy peaks, wild ferocious rivers and endless forests of the Carpathian mountains. Virtual Crime is a follow up to 2010's 'Zircon Street', and as the light alternates with darkness, Tristana mixes ultra-melodic parts with hard passages and clean/screaming vocals, all within a Gothic Metal/Death Metal package. Eleven tracks here of Melodic and at times catchy Gothic Metal with vocals courtesy of Peter Wilsen. After having signed a deal with Bakerteam Records, the band is now ready to unleash this, their third long-waited new album, definitely their most ambitious to date, musically and lyrically. A very worthy purchase due 31st March, just check out tracks like the bouncy 'Bloody Snow' and the ultra catchy 'Jannie's Dying' (the latter also featuring the female vocals of Chiara Tricarico from Temperance) - a cool release .. 8.75/10 (The Nugget)

UNDUE..'BADTOWN' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 6th Sept 2011

Sometimes, a cd comes along and blows you away. This EP by West Midlands (UK) based Undue fronted by Carl Grocutt is one such record. The band was formed in late 2009 and offers up a kinda Melodic Hard Rock style, with a modern twist and a slight bluesy vibe. This 5 track EP showcases their style of music very well, and I know for a fact the disc is now picking up internet radio airplay Stateside. All the tracks here are masterful, but the highlight for me is the power ballad 'A Million Ways', with one of those guitar solos that send shivers down the spine. This track by the way dedicated to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation. I would certainly suggest checking this band out here. A recommended album and I would also like to add, that this band kick ass live! 8.75/10 (Dave)

UNIVERSAL THEORY…’THE MOST ATTRACTIVE FORCE’

(Metal Hell Records/Self-Production) Reviewed 3rd September 2015

Universal Theory come from Spain and feature Jesus Pinilla; Guitars, Programming, clean Male Vocals and Majo Martos; Female Vocals. They class their music as Atmospheric-Gothic-Rock & Metal, Doom, Ambient, Dark, Romantic etc etc, so there is quite a bit thrown into the pot of musical delights. There are nine tracks on this release that starts with a punch, the short and bouncy ‘Before Sunrise’, a time of day that is not very well known to myself I must admit :) The pace continues with ‘Somewhere Else’ a slightly doomier song admittedly, featuring just the vocals of Mr Pinilla (as many of the tracks here do), while the slow to mid tempo ‘Unfinished Desire’ ups the tempo in the chorus. The title track is one of my favourites from the cd, a brooding, atmospheric but pounding tune, with further faves from the record being ‘Romance Pt 1’ and ‘Romance Pt 2’. This is good, it is doomy, it is heavy, it possesses a fair dosage of melody and we like it… 8.5/10 (The Nugget)

ROBBY VALENTINE...'BIZARRO WORLD'

(Valentine Music) Reviewed 5th November 2014

Multi Instrumentalist Robby Valentine to my ears is a total icon. He was born Robert Kempe on December 4, 1968, in Leusden, Netherlands. He has released a tsunami of albums and is a musical hero in Japan amongst other parts of the world. I have most of his albums including Japanese imports, and to have been given the opportunity to review this album is to me an honour. Robby's music is totally bombastic and pompous, and if you like Queen and Muse amongst others, you will like this music. Indeed, upon hearing 1993's 'The Magic Infinity', Brian May invited Robby Valentine and his band to join him on his European tour, which they duly did. Moving onto 2014 and if you like Robby's previous works, you will lap this up, if you are unfamiliar with him, then check this little epic out as it will blow your mind. After a typical Robby intro, the title track and 'Rockstar' are epic songs, while 'You're Tearing Me Down' takes more of a pop route and should be played on mainstream radio everywhere - awesome!! 'Deadbeat Boy' could be a catchy Queen ditty from 'A Night At The Opera' era, 'Schitzopnonicated' and the catchy Pop/Rock tune 'Trip To The Moon' rock in typical Robby Valentine fasion while 'Close The Door' is the album's power ballad. 'From Dusk till Dawn' is a synth influenced dance floor filler, 'Save Our Souls' is a mid paced rocker with some metallic riffs, 'Black Rain' is another song screaming radio airplay, with the closer 'The Mistake' a nice ballad. The album is written, arranged, performed and produced by the amazingly talented man himself, with additional harmony vocals on just three songs. Totally awesome confirming this guy's icon status, and I wish to thank the Dutch band ANIDAY for sending us this album! 9.5/10 (Dave & Rachel)

VEGA..'KISS OF LIFE'

(Frontiers Records) Reviewed 3rd February 2011

Our first guy band review :) We will do the occasional few and this is the first. Vega features vocalist Nick Workman (ex UK Rockers Kick), together with the successful and respected song writing partnership of Tom and James Martin (guitar and keys) and drummer Dan Chantrey. And this Band has produced an album chock full of rather infectious tunes with more hooks than a Japanese Whaling Fleet. Some cool melodic rockers that occasionally remind me of Swiss Rockers Gotthard (Steve Lee RIP), 'One of a Kind' is one such track, and some rather tasty power ballads too,'Too Young For Wings' as an example. Bon Jovi influences shine through, listen to 'Headlights', while one of my fave tracks has to be the title track, but to be frank, this is an awesome release throughout. This kinda music may not be the stuff Kerrang FM would fall over backwards to air, but nonetheless, if you are a lover of Gotthard, Def Leppard and Bon Jovi, you will love this. And with production by John Greatwood (engineer for Tom Lord Alge of QUEEN fame) and mastered by the one and only Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69), on this showing, Vega may well spark a Melodic Rock revival...9.5/10 (Dave)

VEGA...'STEREO MESSIAH'

(Frontiers) Reviewed 18th February 2015

Vega is a Melodic Hard Rock act from the UK and this is their third album and rather good it is too. This is the kind of music I enjoyed in my youth, and Vega bring the pre grunge period back to life with this release! Fronted by Nick Workman whose wife I believe works or used to work in Kidderminster, not far from the Towers, there are 12 tracks here of bouncy inoffensive Melodic Rock and long may this type of music continue. The opener and the title track sets things going and the album continues in the same vein. Totally exceptional and well worth the purchase. If this is your style of music and you have not already got it, then buy! 9.75/10 (Dave)

VEGA…’WHO WE ARE’

(Frontiers Records) Reviewed 20th May 2016

UK Band VEGA was formed following a meeting between fairly local lad Nick Workman, Dan Chantrey and twins James and Tom Martin at the Z Rock Festival at JBs in Dudley, May 29/30th 2009. The Martin brothers had been in a number of bands and had written songs for a selection of artists and bands including Kyhmera, Danny Vaughn, Joe Lynn Turner, House of Lords, Ted Poley and Tommy Funderburk, many of these for the Frontiers label. They had discussed forming a band with Frontiers management, proposing Nick Workman as lead vocalist. Following the meeting at Z Rock Festival, songs were penned for a debut album (with no one song taking longer than 24 hrs to write), these recorded between the summer and November 2009. Debut album 'Kiss Of Life' was released by Frontiers Records on 6 December 2010, and to be perfectly frank, the band has never looked back. After a brief relationship with Spinefarm Records (2nd album ‘What The Hell‘), Frontiers now releases ‘Who We Are’, the band’s 4th record, this being an awesome collection of Melodic Rock tunes. Everything here is brill, we have catchy tunes, great choruses, cool vocals, more hooks than my Granddad’s fishing tackle box, what more can the avid Melodic Rock/AOR fan want? Vega wear their love of 80's rock music on their sleeve, but they have also injected their love of modern rock music into it. This is well recommended, easily obtainable via your local indie record store or Amazon etc…. 9/10 (Rachel Louise Smith)

VOLYMIAN…’MAZE OF MADNESS’

(Maple Metal Records) Reviewed 19th April 2016

Finnish modern metallers VOLYMIAN was founded in 2008, and the band went through various member changes before settling down with the sextet that has recorded this their debut album (released 15th April). Most recently, vocalist Markku Kuikka (Status Minor, The Ragged Saints, Kenziner) joined the band in 2015 for the new album. Previously the band had recorded 3 EPs with a different vocalist. This new opus is a very commercial release, with many if not all of the songs on the album instantly accessible and offering up hit potential as a consequence. And being a sucker for the odd power ballad, the track ‘Empty Room’, is from the top drawer of power ballads, one of my tracks of the year so far! 'Maze of Madness' was recorded at Artlab Studio, Helsinki, and produced by the band themselves. The album was mastered by Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Primal Fear, Epica, Amaranthe) in Denmark and is well recommended ... 9.25/10 (Dave)

VOODOMA...'SECRET CIRCLE'

(Echozone) Reviewed 12th June 2015

Voodoma hail from Germany and they so happen to be a rather good Melodic Gothic/Dark Rock band. Fronted by a guy called Micha, this album is good! There are 10 tracks of Melodic Metal with some Gothic goodness from the darkside thrown into the mix. This is apparently obvious in opener 'Sanctus Domine', a great thumping opener with a Vatican like chorus :) And next up which so happens to be the title track is a tuneful Gothy blockbuster, rather good so I must say! The people that send us this music must know our taste buds like oudles of melody, and this album has just that. 'Abyss' is another pounding corker of a number and is one of my favourite tracks from this recording. There are other goodies including numbers like 'Faded Memory', 'Blood For Blood' and the nice power ballad 'One Last Goodbye', featuring the vocals of a lass called Amy Faye, and to be honest, throughout the 10 tracks there is not a filler to be found! This to my ears as a consequence is a very good cd and is highly recommended by myself and the team.. 9/10 (The Nugget)

W.A.S.P….’GOLGOTHA’

(Napalm Records) Reviewed 17th September 2015

On ‘Golgotha‘, W.A.S.P. are staying true to the biblical horror stories they employed on ‘Babylon’ (2009): the name-giving place of skulls is the hill Jesus Christ was crucified upon. Faithful Blackie Lawless fans had to wait for new material for six years – and this 9 track album is damn well worth the wait! ‘Golgotha’ follows the path that was established with ‘Babylon’ and ‘Dominator’ and is soaring to new heights with highly melodic and pounding metal anthems like opener ‘Scream’, third track in ’Shotgun’, the catchy ’Fallen Under’ and the mammoth ‘Slaves of the New World‘. We also have balladesque moments like the epic tunes ’Miss You’ and the closing title track, real corkers in their own right, and both running in at over 7 minutes. Overall, this is a timeless slab of music that proves once more how important W.A.S.P. are to our music scene! Released 2nd Oct (9th USA), this is epic and a must buy for any half decent Rock and Metal fan - well recommended…. 9.25/10 (The Nugget)

WEAK...'DARK DESIRES'

(Woodhouse Records) Reviewed 4th September 2015

While German band WEAK fronted by Quim has published several EPs in the recent years and played lots of concerts and festivals, WOODHOUSE Records is now finally releasing their debut full-length album, 'Dark Desires'. Basically this is a very good album revealing many facets of the band's musical personalities, the Goth Rock, the heavier and the melodic, the atmospheric, the industrial and the glamorous. Great attitude coupled with up-tempo songs and catchy choruses, will take hold of you from beginning to the very last second. Favourite numbers include the melodic opener 'Wolfmoon', the pounding 'Jede Nacht' featuring a female operatic voice, 'The Safety Dance' (Men Without Hats cover), 'The Art Is Mine' and closing track 'My World'. Due digitally on Sept 11th and physically October 9th, WEAK stands for cutting guitar riffs, atmospheric keys, grooving beats, and expressive and emotional vocals, and therefore we well recommended this. View the first video from the album here..9.25/10 (The Nugget)