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LINDSAY ULLMANN..'BLOODSUCKER' (3 Track Single)

(Self Released) Reviewed 6th Sept 2011

A mini opus here featuring three tracks of music that is going to inspire me to check out this lass from Surrey further. Basically, this is a single release, with lead off track 'Bloodsucker' setting the pace here rather nicely. However, Lindsay hardly looks the Vampire type as she cuts through this rather catchy blood sucking number. 'No Good Perfection' is a subtle slower but yet another great tune, but I much prefer closer 'Cry Alone' that in itself could be a single too. The tunes here I would put into the rock category but with pop sensibilities. It is difficult to score just three tracks, but if any future full length album by this lass has songs that are the quality of this little epic, it could prove to be an interesting release. Check her out here. (Dave)

ULTIMATE FATE..'BEYOND THE HORIZON'

(Self Release) Reviewed 13th July 2011

Ultimate Fate come from Sweden, a country not noted for symphonic metal compared with their neighbours Finland, a fact which I have always found most curious. They also feature a keyboard player Andreas Bergqvist which is again also unusual for a Swedish band. Fronted by enchanting Jennie Nord they present here a taster of what is to come with a diverse sample of their wares. 'Horizon' is a superb powerful anthemic symphonic metal song full of rippling piano. The hugely melodic 'Beyond Fear' sways and flows and glides reminding me of Winter in Eden and Hanging Doll before taking off towards a more powerful sound. Last track 'Retribution' heads over the border towards mighty Nightwish. You may expect this to be of demo quality but the production is exemplary. This 3 track sampler certainly wets the appetite for what is to come, available to download from various purveyors, their website holds more info http://www.ultimatefate.se/, a very exciting new band to look out for. (Phil)

UNCREATED LIGHT..'WHOM SHOULD I BLAME'

(MALS) Reviewed 24th August 2010

This Ukrainian band, founded by guitarist Artem Mokry, has existed in various forms since 2003 until eventually becoming Uncreated Light; this is the debut release under that name. They play an Edenbridge/Nightwish hybrid, symphonic gothic with an injection of power metal, veering towards modern Rhapsody at times. Layer upon layer of rich orchestral keyboards and rippling piano are laid upon a bed of guitar riffage. Floating above this assemblage is the enchanting Eldiva’s (great name) angelic pitch perfect operatic voice. You get 10 songs in Ukrainian plus the first four tracks repeated in English. The album has a really nice balance, after two up-tempo numbers you get a ballad, with an instrumental to round things off. All the tracks are immense, but faves include the title track ‘Whom Should I Blame’, ‘Burning Hearts’ (video on the Female Voices Blog) and ‘Sweet Capture’, together with the three delicious power ballads, ‘Searching for the Destiny’, ‘Legend’, and ‘The Mighty of this World’. The instrumental sounds like Rick Wakeman playing piano with Rhapsody, strangely the keys player isn’t credited, it could be Artem or the unknown guy on the video, whoever it is can really tickle those ivories. The sound is generally good, but perhaps a touch trebly, you may want to twiddle your tone knob. I would not blame any symphonic metal fan for liking this, their Myspace is www.myspace.com/uncreatedlightua and it is available from various stores such as http://www.musearecords.com/index.php, a most enlightening 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

UNDER HEAVEN..'WHAT LIES BETWEEN'

(Self Release) Reviewed 18th January 2010

Under Heaven are a Canadian duo comprising Matthew Binks, who takes care of all the music, and the delectable Tammy Everett, whose voice lies somewhere between Sarah Brightman and Enya. Listening to this CD it will be no surprise that Matthew normally writes and scores for films and TV with the music being a blend of Clannad and Tarja, rich in Celtic imagery and orchestral lushness, but with a metal foundation. It starts with the creeping thunder of ‘Cryptic’, and you would be forgiven for thinking that this album could be pretty heavy. ‘Behind the Shadows’ gives the first real hint of the diversity, combining soaring refrains with rumbling power. ‘The Line’ is Clannad with a touch of metal, followed by their version of Crispy Burger’s ‘Spanish Train’, which they turn into a spaghetti western epic, set in Galway. The powerful ballad ‘Die a Little More’ comes before ‘Home’, full of haunting Celtic beauty, complete with pipes, whistles and grumbling bodrans. ‘Pandora’ is dramatic and theatrical, while ‘My Crystalline’ is almost a cappella, sung over a backing of spooky, dreamy synths. ‘Inner Sun’ is another mighty ballad with superb violin solo, perhaps the best track on the CD, and then their version of Depeche Mode’s ‘Enjoy the Silence’, done in their own inimitable style, picks up the pace again. The album ends with the orchestral, Celtic, ‘We Go On’, which is truly moving. This is gothic music at its most beautiful, dramatic, theatrical, emotive, moving, haunting and atmospheric. If Mel Gibson ever fancies doing a film of Fionn mac Cumhaill, then this would be the perfect soundtrack. Easily available through their website, http://www.under-heaven.com/home.html. 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Phil Wooldridge)

UNDER HEAVEN...'NOCTURNES FOR THE DIVINE & THE DAMNED'

(Ravenheart Music) Reviewed 29th July 2013

Under Heaven from Toronto, Canada, were formed in the summer of 2006 by composer Matthew Binks, who performs all the music, and his search for the right voice that would capture all the elements he envisioned was fulfilled when he was introduced through a friend to gorgeous Tammy Everett, with their début album 'What Lies Between' released back in 2007. Now after a long gap this brand new album is at last released, was it worth the wait? Matt's musical vision encompasses European symphonic gothic metal, mixed with Celtic, classical and even some electronica influences, floating around Mother Earth/Silent Force era Within Temptation, Liv Moon, and modern Nightwish. Tammy has a delightful light operatic style, but she can also let loose some Akane Liv esque screams, Matt really has found the perfect voice. The whole album is a panoply of prime cuts that runs the full gamut of flavours from fragile to fearsome, packed with more hooks than a burlesque dancer's corset, tons of glorious choruses, laced with Matts guitar licks, featuring his outstanding orchestrations that sound extremely realistic, and all perfectly produced. Fast and furious numbers include the opener 'Let's Play', 'Don't Hold Back' (with its “come on, come on” hook), and the fun 'Day at the Races' (nothing to do with Queen) that's a real tongue twister for Tammy. Celtic and folky numbers include the jolly 'O' Sweet Claire' (no, not Gilbert O'Sullivan), the ballad 'The Tale' with its very authentic sounding bagpipes, the inspirational 'Realm', the gorgeous ballad 'The Ghost I Am' and the plaintive closer 'SpiritScape', plus there is even a superb Chopin style piano piece 'Nocturne in A Flat'. My two faves are the numbers that encapsulate their sound, 'Inner Demons' with its terrific refrain, and 'Sinergy' (note the I) with its electronica groove. This is an album of divine nocturnes, pure and perfect symphonic gothic metal, if you enjoy this genre, or just damn good music, then this will fill your nights with pleasure, just ascend to their heaven at www.under-heaven.com/ . This just about sums up everything I love about this type of music, romance, passion, drama, melody, sound, not too heavy, not too light, in fact just right, a faultless 10/10 (Phil)

UNITING THE ELEMENTS..'ARENALINE'

(Independent release) Reviewed 5th December 2006

Uniting The Elements, fronted by Dawn, must surely be one of the busiest bands on the UK circuit, gigging quite relentlessly month in and month out. This cd serves up 14 tracks of rock music that should be heard on the radio. From mid paced rockers to some healthy doses of power pop, it can all be found on 'Adrenaline'. A good cd. 7.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

UNLEASH THE ARCHERS...'TIME STANDS STILL'

(Napalm Records) Reviewed 12th June 2015

Canadian shooting stars UNLEASH THE ARCHERS have been on the road since their inception in 2007. Since then they have created an immensely loyal North American fan base. With a fresh sound, precise songwriting and the incredible feeling for heaviness and melodies, this power quintet with powerhouse singer Brittney Slayes at the helm, are now ready to take the rest of the world. After a cool intro, first track proper gets under way, 'Frozen Steel' being a sure fire Power Metal anthem to get you in the mood for what is to follow. Next up 'Hail Of The Tide' is sheer frikin' awesome with a chorus so fast paced, it will leave a turbo charged express train in its wake, as does next track 'Tonight We Ride'! And the faced paced metal mayhem continues with further cuts that will leave you breathless including tracks like 'Crypt'. And when they do slow it down a bit, they can still motor on tracks like 'Test Your Metal', the melodic 'No More Heroes' and the nine minute plus epic 'Dreamcrusher'. To summarise: 'Time Stands Still', is fast-paced and wildly entertaining, the combination of power vocals, death screams, tasty guitar licks and complex drumming provide a little something for everyone. Time Stands Still is kick ass heavy metal with fist-pumping anthemic melodies, that you simply can’t help but to get those air guitars out and sing along to - from the Napalm stable, it will be released 26th June... 8.5/10 (Dave)

UNRULY CHILD..'WORLDS COLLIDE'

(Frontiers Records) Reviewed 4th January 2011

The 1992 self titled debut from Unruly Child is quite rightly an AOR/Melodic Rock masterpiece, with the vocals of Mark Free spearheading an album of melodic but hard hitting rock. And I am proud to have that debut album in my collection. Mark Free left the band after that release, only to return in 2010 to complete the original line up for this, Unruly Childs's fifth offering. But there is one difference this time. After having gone through a helluva lot of personal problems, Mark Free has now returned as Marcie Michelle Free, and therefore, I now have the honour of reviewing this release for the Ravenheart Music site. And there is no doubt that Marcie's vocals are still as stong as ever, being backed up by a sterling performance from the remaining members of her band. 'Show Me The Money' is a powerful up tempo opener, while 'When We Were Young' is a great melodic and catchy song. 'Tell Another Lie' is an awesome power ballad, while the awesomely catchy 'Love is Blind' ups the tempo again. The second half of the album is as good as the first half, a mix of ballads ('Talk To Me' and 'You Don't Understand') and melodic rockers ('Neverland' and 'Very First Time'). To summarise, this is a very strong melodic rock/AOR release, and I myself have nothing full of admiration for Marcie and the band as a whole. As a consequence, I have to say that this is a strong record and well worthy of 8.75/10 (Reviewed by Dave).

UNSCARRED...'100 LASHES' EP

(Contorted Records & Artist Management) Reviewed 3rd March 2014

UNSCARRED is a powerful pounding-groove machine, Wild and crazy “Thrash metal” band formed in 2002 in France, Paris. Fronted by Nelly the mysterious Persian metal princess, this band power their way through five numbers on this EP, which in turn provide enough energy to light up most the cities of Europe. What we have here is breathtaking wall of sound offering up power, aggression and stax of energy. The twin guitar attack of Boris and Nico are complimented by the rhythm section of Brice on bass and Franck on drums, and of course, we must not forget the powerful vocals of Nelly. Unscarred is one of the best bands on the French metal scene right now, their Facebook is here... 8/10 (Dave)

UNSEELIE...'UNHOLY LIGHT' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 29th October 2012

UNSEELIE fronted by Anne-Emmanuelle Fournier was founded at the end of 2010 in Paris, and the band has kindly sent me this three track EP (their first). The music here is profound and intense being full of emotion, combining mysticism with modernity, darkness with a dreamlike atmosphere, powerful riffs with haunting melodies. The operatic vocals of Anne-Emmanuelle are totally awesome, and this becomes immediately apparent in the massive opener 'Ounen-Nefer', so powerful and yet so melancholic if that makes sense, and with a taste of the Orient - take a listen. Second track 'Le Printemps De Desdemone' is a slower rather more atmospheric number, almost sensual in it's feel. Closer 'The Age of Kali' ups the tempo again and in the process maintains the high quality of this little epic, and we even get gutteral vocals on this track compliments of Anne-Emmanuelle herself. This band is showing great promise and a full length album will be something to look forward to, so check them out here. This is damn good!! ..8.5/10 (Dave)

UNSEELIE...'URBAN FANTASY'

(Self Release) Reviewed 11th November 2014

Unseelie is a rather fine young band from Belgium/France. Founded at the end of 2010 in Paris, with a strong reference to the Gothic Metal aesthetics, their music is profound and intense and full of emotion. They have already released and EP, 'Unholy Light' and when I reviewed the EP back in 2012, I mentioned then that I was looking forward to a full length album from the band, and this is it! Fronted by the awesome vocals of Anne-Emmanuelle Fournier with her partner in crime, Marc Chevallereau taking care of the Guitars & Programming, this 10 track debut full length album is damn good - very good in-fact! Mixing Alternative Metal with Gothic Metal and adding a little bit of Progressive into the mix, it does all blend in rather well in-fact. The ten tracks all totally hit the spot with me - listen to opener 'Strangers', a haunting but equally heavy number with spoken intro, which is followed by 'Quantify Your Soul' - heavy and catchy. Oh, and that is just for starters! There is the bouncy and keyboard driven 'The City Feeds On You', the mid tempo 'Frontier', the atmospheric 'Of Water and Dreams', and the catchy Gothic Metal of both 'Prometheus Pain' and closing bonus track 'Closer To Apotheosis'. This release is worth checking out with first class musicianship, their Facebook is here... 9.25/10 (Dave)

UNSHINE..'THE ENIGMA OF IMMORTALS'

(Low Frequency Records) Reviewed 4th October 2008

This is pagan/druid metal at it's prime. Music that spiritually and carnally marries the world of primeval nature mysticism, with no-compromise stonehard melodic symphonic metal. Despite their short-time existence, Finnish druid metal quintette UNSHINE has hit the metal world like a clang from an iron-age hammer, with their originally blended receipt of metal. A great album featuring tracks that encompass beautiful melodies and well arranged synths. The vocals of Susanna Vesilahti are quite captivating, while the whole album is very addictive. This is an easy to listen too album, while heavy, atmospheric and catchy all at the same time. Just check out the tracks 'The Paradise Lost', 'Forget Me Not' and 'With The Silents Of The Earth' amongst a whole host of other little gems, and then start dancing with the fairies and elves. Awesome stuff 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

UNSHINE...'DARK HALF RISING'

(Massacre Records) Reviewed 31st July 2013

Unshine fronted by the elegantly voiced Susanna Vesilahti, was formed during 2001 in Helsinki. In the very beginning the band was invited to a European-wide pop-contest in Bilbao, Spain. Then in 2004, a Finnish company offered a record deal to the band. The self-recorded and self produced debut album 'Earth Magick', was released during 2005 both in Europe and in North America. During the following years, the band toured and prepared the second album, 'The Enigma Of Immortals'. That album gained official chart positions in Finland and the songs on the album received airplay on number of radio stations, including Bruce Dickinson's BBC Friday Rock Show here in the UK. Now we have their latest offering compliments of Massacre Records, and this is another good album from this Finnish Druid Metal band. 11 tracks of very catchy Folk and at times Gothic inspired Rock & Metal music that will have you dancing around the camp fire in no time at all. Awesome stuff here - listen to the wonderfully titled 'The Oath To Wilderness of Unredeemed Nature', the catchy 'Spellbinder' and the even more catchier 'Defender Of His Faith', very good indeed. But the icing on the cake on this very good album has to be the near 13 minute epic 'Ikuinen Taistelu' - wonderful! If you like your music melodic and folky with some amazing vocals from Susanna that to me make this album and band what it is, then you must buy this! 9/10 (Dave)

UNSUN..'THE END OF LIFE'

(Century Media) Reviewed 1st October 2008

Originally formed under the moniker Unseen, this dynamic four piece centred around Polish guitar maestro Mauser (who is also playing in Vader, one of Poland’s renowned metal bands), finally decided that something incorporating day and night, light and darkness would suit them best. A label for their music which is melancholic and a little dark, yet catchy at the same time. Something that would put a name to the bitter-sweet twist of Aya’s highly melodic vocals, topping the driving force of the underlying guitar riffs. This unique mix easily makes UnSun’s debut album 'The End Of Life' one of the most promising releases of the year. Featuring 11 catchy melodic metal tracks, there is not a filler in sight, with Aya's angelic vocals a dream. I am also of the opinion that if given airplay on UK radio (well I can dream!), one or two of the tracks on offer here could cross into the mainstream. Anyway, mainstream or not, I highly recommend checking this out, and being on the Century Media label, it will be easy to track down. Awesome stuff 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

UNSUN..'CLINIC FOR DOLLS'

(Mystic Production) Reviewed 29th October 2010

The Polish couple of delightful Aya on vocals and hubby Mauser on instruments are back with the follow up to 2008’s ‘The End of Life’. This is gothic metal a la Delain par excellence, heavy but as catchy as Velcro. Driven by walls of riffage, ornamented by subtle keys, the songs rattle along at a cracking pace. Production, sound, and mix are all major league and the album sees a real improvement in every department on their debut, they know where they are going, and how to get there. Every song is a humdinger, but picks include the opener ‘The Lost Way’, the title track ‘Clinic for Dolls’, the awesome 'Home' (video on the Female Voices Blog for your delectation) and the gorgeous and very moving ballad ‘The Last Tear’. This is an album that oozes class and confidence. If you are a gothic metal fan you will be battering down the door of their clinic and making off with this doll. The album is available from all the usual dispensers of musical medications, a most sunny 9/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

UNVEIL...'CODEX NOCTEM'

(Self Release) Reviewed 13th August 2013

Unveil is a Canadian Dark Rock band from Sherbrooke, Quebec. They formed in 2004 when good friends united with one goal in mind: play live shows. In 2010, they presented a daring event called “The Story of Sarah”; a multimedia production combining a short film within a rock concert. This got the band working with a small team of very creative individuals including a local folk-rock singer named Jow. The following year, she joined Unveil on stage for a fund-raising event and left the band speechless. Her unique voice and energy gave Unveil a new drive and she was asked to officially become the new lead singer. Onto this EP, and the six tracks that make up this CD are I must say rather good! Kicking off with 'Hide', the vocals of Jow remind me a little of Amy Lee, while the track itself is a thumping rocker with a progressive undercurrent - an awesome start! ''Camera' and 'Why' keep up the momentum, both being luscious Gothic Rockers with an element of crunch - great stuff! 'Empty' is a pounding rocker showcasing the sheer brilliance of the musicianship on offer. Closing the CD with 'The Fall' and 'Winter', Unveil prove that this band has got what it takes to compete with some of the European heavy weights within the genre! Their BandCamp site is here... 8.5/10 (Dave)