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Ravenheart Reviews: Archived

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YAWARHIEM..'THE REBIRTH OF THE EMPIRE'

(Self Release) Reviewed 4th August 2010

In his continuing quest to bring you best in symphonic power metal, your intrepid reporter set off for Peru. Using the ancient legends of the Incas as my guide, I fought my way through jungles, swamps, pain, starvation and disease until I can upon a clearing and there I found Yawarhiem, the legendary lost tribe of metallers! The band was formed in 2005 by vocalists J. Miguel Brendal and Aurora D'Nina and after years of effort they now unleash their debut telling the legendary story of Ayar Tawar and the creation of the Inca Empire, making a nice change from the normal evil wizards and brave knights. The obvious reference point is Rhapsody, before they slowed down, but with a unique difference, instead of the medieval folk interludes you get delightful Peruvian folk music with J. Miguel's flying pan pipes rather than Manuel Staropoli's flute. J. Migual has a powerful rock voice, Fabione Lione without the Italian accent, supported by Aurora semi operatic vocals and the sing-along choir. Production is excellent - clear, well balanced and tending towards the lighter end of the power metal spectrum, more Wildpath than Enslaved, bringing out the subtleties rather than bashing your brain in. Drummer Julio mixes things up, so the double peddling doesn't get tiresome, and the songs have plenty of variety with skilled instrumental performances, particularly those pan pipes. I have put their video on the Female Voices blog, nice to have some lovely scenery for a change rather than the normal derelict factories (why do bands do that, it baffles me). If you like Rhapsody, Wildpath and speedy symphonic metal, then macanas your way to www.myspace.com/yawarhiemoficial, you can message the band for a copy and join their fan club. 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

YIELDNG BRANCH...'FIGHT FOR A CHANGE'

(Self Release) Reviewed 8th August 2012

Yielding Branch is a duo of sisters Paola Gargano on vocals and Giovanna on keyboards, supported by a team of musicians, from Italy's beautiful Amalfi Coast. They released their first album ‘Pieces of Truth’ in 2006 and have been working on this follow up since then, and have already started on their next ‘Aequlibrium’. A yielding branch is a flexible branch of the tree that although exposed to the extremes of the weather still produces a rich crop of fruit, and this is a very appropriate for their own unique organic wind blown slant on classic Italian, Maledia esque, gothic metal, that is mixed with elements of symphonic metal, electronica, Celtic rock and dark wave. The songs swirl, spiral, sweep and sway, driven by crunchy guitars, lead by Giovann’s ornate keyboards, and topped by Paola’s emotional vocals, a merging of the powerful and the ethereal, almost at times like Enya gone metal, heightened by the multi-layered reverb drenched sound that only adds to the haunting atmosphere. This a collection of dramatic emotive songs that ebb and flow like the more rocking opener 'Cymber's Waterfall' and the the more melancholic 'The Sound of Tears', with some more electro numbers like 'Choices' with it's shuffling beat and the instrumental 'The Disclosure' that shows that Giovanna's multifarious keyboards are the real highlight throughout, it's nice that instead of being buried behind the guitars, they are to the fore. This labour of love is an absorbing, emotional, artistic album with an unearthly atmosphere and mysterious ambiance that will appeal to aficionados of ethereal gothic metal. Their Facebook is here, a fruitful 8.25/10 (Phil)

YOTANGOR..'KING OF THE UNIVERSE'

(Brennus Music) Reviewed 6th July 2009

I am continually blown away by the music on offer within our beloved genre, by and large from bands that are either unsigned or are on small indie labels. I have just got over the totally awesome debut by Italian band Lunacy Box, and now along come YOTANGOR. They are a metal band from Toulouse (south of France), proving that mainland Europe at the moment is a definite hotbed of femme fronted rock and metal. Yotangor, fronted by Yngrid is what I would best describe as a pompous, grandoise, melodic, symphonic metal act. And with two other ladies in the band, Vanessa J Wood and Corinne "Coxx" Fourment, who both share keyboard and backing vocal duties, this is a female fronted metal lover's wet dream. I cannot even begin to make comparisons here - I suppose if one could imagine a mix of Nightwish, Epica, Queen and British Pomp Rockers Magnum, mix it up and add limited doses of any female fronted symphonic metal act you can care to think of (minus the operatic warblings), then perhaps we are there or there abouts. I am not really sure to be honest!! Musically, this double cd (it's a double) is totally awesome. It is a concept album telling the tale of a dictator who is ignoring the consequences of his acts. Yep that's right! And there are highlights throughout the 26 tracks on offer to keep the metal fan, the symphonic metal fan and AOR fan totally happy. Production is spot on as is the musicianship throughout. Highlights are far too numerous to mention, but fave tracks of mine are the AOR sounding 'About Love', of which there is also a video, the catchy 'Our Land' and 'Power'. A couple of equally awesome tracks have clean male vocals, but I am not sure who in the band has that honour. Anyway, this band posted a comment on Ravenheart Music myspace that initially caught my attention, and boy am I glad they did. This is mind blowing, totally mind blowing. 100 minutes of music, lavishly packaged and presented. Go on, check them out at www.myspace.com/yotangor and then treat yourself! 9.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

YOTANGOR...'WE SPEAK'

(Brennus/UK & Ireland distro by Ravenheart Music)

Yotangor was formed in 2008 by Jean-Guy Pichoustre, author, composer and guitar player, together with luscious lead singer Yngrid Allieres. They created their first album, ‘King Of The Universe’, in 2009 with some old friends, Tony Marcos on drums, bassist Patrice Hernandez and the virtuoso guitarist Vincent Agar. This was a hugely ambitious double concept album with 26 epic tracks, and is widely regarded as an all time classic. Now joined by new keys man Damien Castex, they are back with a new symphonic rock opus, ‘We Speak’, although not a double, they have still packed 70 minutes of wonderful music into these grooves. This new one is not a concept album, but it does pick up on some of the themes from 'King of the Universe, including racism, the environment, deforestation and the problems afflicting the world today. Yotangor are like a supergroup comprising Ayreon, later Pink Floyd , Fleetwood Mac, Boston and the Bangles brought bang up to date to produce hook laded arena rock, with prog, pop and symphonic facets, starring Yngrid's sweet pop voice and the rip roaring rock guitar work of Vincent.They set out their stall with the opening duo of terrific tunes, the awesome arena anthem 'Anonymous' (video on Female Voices), and the infectious 'Hold Me Tight' which is tailor made for mainstream radio play. The next song 'Save Me' features the Nueva Alborada massed choir and a dramatic speech by Daniel Antoine before the rocking song kicks in. The other 10 tracks offer a similar mix of pop rockers like 'Come and Fly', arena rockers like 'Kings of the Day', mini rock operas like 'Eyes On', thought provoking dramatic songs like 'Racism' and 'Enslaved', classics like 'I Keep Running', and it's all summed up by the epic closer 'Love is Passion', all perfectly produced by Jean-Guy. Yotangor have the potential to be massive across the globe, they have the look, the songs, the musicianship and the sound that will have universal appeal to all discerning rock fans, successfully combining the accessible with the intelligent. You can find them here, this is so good, I'm speechless, 9.5/10 (Phil)

YOUR ARMY...'IGNITE'

(Intono Records/Rough Trade)

Here is a UK band from Brighton offering a set of 12 tight and aggressive songs. Produced by Ace of Skunk Anansie, 'Ignite' showcases the band's raw energy and passion with a tirade of punchy and exciting songs. It is representative of the years of writing and gigging as well as the blood, sweat and occasionally the tears, that the band have shed to get to the point that they are now at in their musical careers. Formed in Brighton in 2009, YOUR ARMY fronted by Lucy Caffrey has gained a strong following by playing killer headline shows throughout the UK as well as supporting some top bands; Feeder and We are Scientists to name a few. This album is a high energy asault on the senses, just listen to opener 'Without Regret', the debut single 'No Good', which picked up radio airplay here, the catchy and familiar sounding 'One Last Time' (I swear I have heard this tune on the radio here as well), 'Sleeping With Her' and the closer 'Chase The World' to name just five! Imagine a good old dose of Hard Rock coupled with some Pop sensibilities - kinda like Halestorm or The Pretty Reckless and that is the route Your Army is taking. This band is well worth checking out so visit their FaceBook and find out for yourselves... 8.5/10 (Dave)

YOUTH SOUNDS..''TOMORROW AND TOMORROW AND TOMORROW' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 25th October 2011

Hailing from the big easy New Orleans, sister and brother combo vocalist Erika and bassist Federico Mejia formed Youth Sounds in 2009. This is their second EP following on from last years 'The Bit Parts'. Their name sounds like a boy band, and is bound to strike terror into anyone who remembers Musical Youth. Thankfully their music is nothing like it, and is far more reminiscent of The Feeling's or The Killers indie rock sound mixed with some Shiny Toy Guns and Ting Tings, but there is also a yearning melancholic underbelly that sets them apart. Opener the guitar driven bright and breezy 'It's Hell' is as catchy as hell, 'Whatever Works' is more atmospheric with twinkling synths, 'Foolish Love' and 'You'll Be The Death of Me' shows their deeper more thoughtful side, and finally there's the dreamy profound 'We're No One'. They a highly promising band that combine the more intelligent with the more commercial, and I look forward to a full length début, their website is here, it's available from the usual download stores, a musically youthful 8.5/10 (Phil).