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Ravenheart Reviews: Archived

Reviews S cont


(Independent Release) Reviewed 10th May 2007

I had not heard of Lynn Carey Saylor until I heard this release. One may be mistaken for thinking that this could be a country album. But that could not be further from the truth. This album is actually a melodic pop/rocker's wet dream. And it features none other than Brian May on a couple of the tracks. The cd kicks off with 'Million Miles' and it is obvious from the word go what path this awesome slab of plastic is going to tread. Second in 'This Is Your Life' is already a fave of mine, and you will be humming it for ages after too. Third track, 'I Wasn't A Friend', well it is personal. Just listen to the lyrics. And take on board what you hear. The Pat Benatar re working of 'We Belong' has Lynn's own authority stamped all over it. And this is the first track featuring Brian May. The second being 'If We Believe'. This 11 track album finishes with the awesome 'Blink Of An Eye'. This album is very very good. Please support this independent artist by purchasing this cd from or Lynn's website, the link can be obtained from her myspace site..web addy on our opening page. I myself cannot stop playing it!! 9/10 (Reviewed by Dave).


(Self Released Demo) Reviewed 14th July 2010

I don't normally review demos, but this Spanish band of symphonic metallers, formed by keys player Jorge, has really intrigued me. After an introductory waltz comes 'Curse of Thousand Souls', early Epica like, floating, soaring symphonic metal over a rather groovy synth bass riff. Then comes the melodramatic 'My Bitter Death', with lighter, more powerful and heavier growly passages, a really well put together song. 'My Doom' sways dreamily over a bed of chugging guitars, and finally 'A Dead Rose on Your Grave' pounds and throbs along with yet more interesting musical variations. Jorge shows himself to be a highly talented and very skilful keys planer, creating a rich orchestral backing, while the lovely singer Sonia has an excellent, pitch perfect, soft mezzo soprano voice. They are currently recording a full length debut, and I for one will be one of the first in the queue to grab a copy. Their Myspace to find out more is A very promising and impressive demo, 8/10 (Reviewed by Phil)


(Self Release) Reviewed 30th December 2011

The Canary Islands does not really portray itself as the mecca of all things rock and metal, but there is one band who hail from these islands, that looks set to cause a stir within the rock and metal fraternity. Scandelion is not the name of a big cat that roams the snowy wastelands of Sweden, but so happens to be a band from Gran Canaria. The band name actually relates to the ruins of a Greek fortress on Jerusalem's coast, while the music on offer is typical Beauty and the Beast fare, and bloomin' good it is too. The vocal duties being handled by Sonia Hernández who manages the soprano parts and Jorge Afonso, who handles both keyboards and male vocals. The record itself is a couple of minutes short of the 40 minute mark, but there are no fillers within the keyboard driven nine tracks we have here, with Sonia's vocals making their mark from the off. There is one track that grabbed my attention. I am familiar with the Italian language although I cannot speak it, and the rather beautiful number 'Angelo Nero' so happens to be sung in Italian, great stuff from this Spanish Band, with clean male vocals popping up on this one too. 'Butterfly Agony' is another number that can be put onto the awesome pile, a song of beauty, with the b&b vocals complimenting each other really well. 'Swan's Lament' rocks out a little more, and carries on the momentum that the earlier numbers have set up. The title track with it's progressive leanings, offers a fitting end to this very good record, and I am sure we will be hearing more from this band in due course. Check them out at their Facebook. This is a grower and is well recommended..9/10 (Dave)


(Self Released - download) Reviewed 22nd January 2014

Scandelion is the name of the ruins of a Greek fortress at Jerusalem's coast. The band was created in 2002 in Canary Islands (Spain) by Jorge Afonso (keys & vocals) and is now based in London. The band I understand is by and large Jorge together with a group of guest musicians, with a large proportion of the vocals done by Jorge. What we have here is a good old dose of Gothic Doom Metal with occasional clean male and a large portion of death male vocals, with occasional powerful and rather awesome female vocals from Natalia Falcón. This record which I must say is rather good, at times reminds me of Cradle of Filth in the vocal department, while at same time, offering up a fair dose of melody and ooommmppphhh! The rather cool spoken voice opener (words originally by Edgar Allan Poe) leads us into the thumping and Symphonic 'My Darkest Thoughts' with harsh and clean male vocals and this sets the scene for the record. 'Dusk In Your Dreams' sees the female vocals of Natalia entering the fray, while 'My Tears Drown Your Heart' is a soaring ballad showcasing the really powerful vocals of Natalia coupled with those of Jorge. 'Asleep In The Embrace Of Death' is a great Doom Metal song and the momentum continues with 'Die....Or Die (Your Choice)'. All good stuff up to and including the closer and tenth track 'Pain Of A Dying Soul'. This is rather good and is available for download from their website here... 8.25/10 (Dave)


(Pure Rock Records) Reviewed 19th September 2016

SCARLET AURA is one of the hottest favourites for the throne of Melodic Metal! In 2014 they won the Metal challenge "The Black Sea Battle of the Bands" in Kavarna Rock Fest and went on stage with PRETTY MAIDS, SABATON, GOTTHARD, HELLOWEEN, ACCEPT, MANOWAR and many more huge artists. Meanwhile they reached headliner status on festivals in Eastern Europe. Now SCARLET AURA with their fantastic female vocalist Aura Danciulescu, will go on tour with Tarja Turunen and present this, their new album to the whole world. Songs like the singles, the opening number ‘Immortal In Your Eyes’ and the awesome ‘My Own Nightmare’ cry for a big audience and need to be played on Radio and TV. Other cuts that made an impression are ‘You’re Not Alone’ with its catchy chorus, the bouncy ‘Fortune Teller’ and the rocking ‘Ride Like The Wind’. Made in the best studios and produced by the living legend Roy Z, you can expect the sound to be over the top – release due 7th October. Well recommended… 9/10 (Dave)


(Self Release) Reviewed 9th October 2011

Female fronted Hard Rock is what Colarado band Scarlet Canary offer us. Starting as a Three Days Grace Cover Band, the band has now set their heights on making it big with their own material, and on this showing why not? 'Noise Complaint' and 'Metrognome' are tracks that make you sit up and listen. The natural crystal clear and inoffensive vocals of Hannah Haze reminding me a little of the vocals of Christina from the Charlottesville band In Tenebris, who disbanded in 2007. Seven hard rockers that I have here on this little platter and not a ballad in sight. This is a cool release and there is no reason why Scarlet Canary should not use this record as a launch pad to bigger things. Check them out at their Facebook...8/10 (Dave)


(Self Release) Reviewed 10th January 2013

Back in October 2011, I reviewed an album by this Colarado based band and I admit I was impressed. Now a four track EP has come my way, and I am as equally impressed by what is on offer here. Fronted by Hannah Haze, this band sure hit the spot with this EP. Hard Rock that kicks ass, but with a good dose of melody to boot. 'Distorted Reality' is the curtain raiser and this track is becoming a fave of mine. 'Mark of The Beast' roars out of the speakers like the beast it is - totally awesome. 'Breathe' with it's awesome chorus maintains the tempo while closer 'Nightmare' closes the curtain on this little opus. The band list their influences as Skillet, Halestorm, 3 Days Grace, In this Moment and Bullet for my Valentine, and these bands should give a fair indication as to the path they are taking. Their Facebook is here. Great stuff... 8.5/10 (Dave)


(Copro Records) Reviewed 19th January 2012

This Ukrainian band completed this album back in 2010 and then spent a year searching for record company, but unlike many bands who give up and give their album away, Scarleth persevered and their determination was rewarded by a contract with British label Copro Records. Meanwhile, artist Vyacheslav Smishko spent 16 months creating the glorious booklet art, so an enormous amount of time, effort and dedication has gone into the release of this CD. Their music has loads of influences from power and gothic metal together with heavy and melodic rock, but it falls into two loose camps. Openers 'Broken World' and 'Child of the Forest' head towards French light galloping slightly speedy metal, à la Fairyland/Wildpath/Kerion, less symphonic but still with loads of great keyboards by Sergey Kovtun. They then take the tempo down a touch for the four central multifaceted but cohesive epics that are more gothic and Therion esque in nature, mixed with some heavy and melodic rock, the menacing 'Crazy Fever', the superb 'Shadows Fade Away' that sways between beautiful lighter verses and more powerful choruses, the gorgeous 'Black Tears' and the mighty 'The Abyss' that builds and builds. These leave plenty of room for some wonderful instrumental passages featuring Sergey's rhapsodic rippling piano and spooky pipe organ, Victor Morozov's terrific and highly varied metal and rock guitar work, and Alexey Belikov's fluid skilled bass playing that is a real feature throughout the album. It's all powered along by Sergey Frolov's drums and supported by a most professional production job by Victor Morozov. They return to the more speedy sound with the catchy 'World Depends on You', the shortest track on the album, then comes the exotic eastern flavoured 'Flaming Angel', before ending with another epic 'You'll Never Die' that brings the two strands together. Sultry singer Julia Elyashova puts in a sterling performance with her strong expressive clear voice, the mike has since been taken over by Olga Marenich, and I must make special mention of the most excellent and very poetic lyrics that are very thought provoking, “Desperate Days that linger so slowly, One day without end I'll find my way to life, Keen scorching anguish is the fate of the lonely, Doomed to live on the edge of a knife” (Black Tears). A most enjoyable and easy to listen to album with loads of hummable tunes for anyone who likes power and gothic metal or heavy and melodic rock. Their website is, it's available at Copro's store Copro's store and other top shops, a well deserved, hard earned 8.75/10 (Phil)


(The Leaders Records) Reviewed 27th November 2015

Scarleth come from Ukraine and on this album, they are fronted by two young ladies: Irina Makukha – vocals and Oksana Element – extreme vocals. However, I am a little unsure as to whether Irina Makukha is still in the band, as she is not listed within their current line up according to their website and indeed their Facebook page as well. Anyway, no matter who is in or not in the band, ‘The Silver Lining’, the band’s second album offers the listener 9 tracks of pure in yer face Melodic Metal. It all kicks off in manic fashion with the track ‘Night Of Lies’, this number laying the foundation for what is to come. And if they are Oksana’s growls, well she can growl like the best of them! But for those of you out there that are not fans of growls, then they are not overly done on this release. The momentum continues with second track ‘Double Memory’, another up tempo blast of Melodic Metal, while ‘The Gates of Dark Sun’ drops the tempo a little, but is a massive epic song nonetheless, with a kinda Middle Eastern feel! ‘Voices’ with its melodic chorus blasts out of the speakers, while the awesome ‘Dying Alone’ is the album’s power ballad. ‘One Short Life’ will have you dancing around the camp fire, with the closing trio of ‘Before The Night Falls’, ‘Pure Desire’ and ‘Last Hope’ failing to disappoint, so overall, a very good album from this Ukrainian band…. 8.5/10 (Dave)


(Independent Release) Reviewed 5th January 2010

After years of working in film and television, including 3 seasons on Star Trek: Voyager and six seasons on the hit sitcom REBA, Scarlett Pomers ( has grown into a stunning young lady that has become a Rock powerhouse, and has given us the 5 track EP 'Insane' as a consequence. And I like what I hear on this release. Five tracks of catchy rock spanning close on 20 minutes. Kicking off with the foot tapping salvo of 'Sweet Lunacy' and 'Garden', this little cd is a good un. 'War' is another catchy song with cool guitar solo, while in style, I would compare Scarlett to Ravenheart faves the Saints of Ruin. And that cannot be a bad thing to my ears! I like this cd and all the five tracks on it, and I look forward to a full album if there is one on the cards in the future. I wish Scarlett all the very best meanwhile - she deserves it. This EP is out on January 7th, so get it from 8/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

SCARLLETTA..'SINFUL' debut EP plus 2

(Self Release) Reviewed 5th April 2011

Scarlletta is a London based electro-rock band fronted by female singer Scarlletta. Their influences are diverse but here I am reviewing two tracks from the EP plus two extra tracks that have been sent me. Four tracks of Electro Pop/Rock. The EP tracks 'Sinful' and 'Be My Bitch' are awesome slices of Pop attitude, while non EP tracks 'Not A Man You're A Mess' and the piano led number 'You Made Me' are equally as cool. Indeed, my fave here is the former, and this together with the two EP tracks can be heard on the Scarlletta website. I am willing to review most genres of music, and this ain't bad, not bad at all! 8/10 (Dave)


(Self Release) Reviewed 31st July 2015

Samantha Scarlette is an Alternative Rock singer/song writer & film music supervisor, originally from Saddle River, NJ, and she released a 7 track EP last November. Five of the tracks on the EP were produced by Hiili Hiilesmaa (HIM, The 69 Eyes, Amorphis, Apocolyptica) and we are reviewing that very EP here. I have known about this artist for a wee while now, and she is rather good. The album kicks off with the catchy and bouncy 'These Violent Delights', possibly one of the best tracks from the CD. Next up 'Forgive Sins (From Dusk Til Dawn)' is another catchy number, showcasing Samantha's poppy vocal style. Thereafter, the listener is treated to 5 further foot tapping radio friendly numbers. My copy however, has a digital only bonus track, that being the number 'Fallen Star', released as a free download single in February 2014, accompanied by a music video. For more info, Samantha's website is here.. 8.5/10 (Dave)


(Arcane Records) Reviewed 2nd December 2011

Well known for her voice in the band Mary and The Black Lamb, Lindz Riot is taking the reins yet again in her first ever solo effort 'Schoolcraft'. Native to Canada, the classically trained vocalist and pianist draws new inspiration from nature, fantasy, trip hop beats and symphonic orchestration. All this while keeping the simplicity of piano driven pop ballads. I have a two track single (digital only release) that I am reviewing here. The single itself' 'Your Mind', is an awesome and beautiful piano led ballad, while 'Where You Go' develops a little bit of electronica in to the mix, in what is another cool and exquisite number. It is rather difficult to score just two tracks, but let's just say this release is simply divine and stunning! (Dave)


(Arcane Records) Reviewed 16th October 2012

With the release of her first EP 'Rushing Through The Sky', Lindsay Schoolcraft (singer with Mary and the Black Lamb and herself musically known as Schoolcraft) describes it as “dark, beautiful, elegant, humble, and smart”. Thanks to contributing musicians such as Daedalus (Daedalean Complex) for orchestral collaboration and Kitty Thompson (Johnny Hollow) on cello, she was able to achieve her vision. Schoolcraft’s sound was honed from her years at The Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto), where she received classical training in voice and piano. Albums such as Evanescence’s 'The Open Door', We Are The Fallen’s 'Tear The World Down', Bjork’s 'Vespertine', and Within Temptation’s 'The Silent Force' also were huge influences during the writing and recording process. Don't expect huge choruses, massive drums or crunching guitars on this album, but what you do get are 7 charming tracks of Gothic/Symphonic/Ambient music, with Schoolcraft's voice totally magnificent, and this compliments the music so well. Opener 'Into The Night' is a stunner, which is followed by the recently released single 'Your Mind' with it's stunning piano and orchestration elements, literally bringing tears to my eyes. The beauty continues with 'December Rain', another piano led number, while the cello plays it's part in 'You Forever'. The quirky 'Masquerade' is rather cool, while 'Darkness Falls' just maintains the beauty that this little epic cd has to offer. The album closes with the instrumental version of 'December Rain', and if there was a word or two to describe this music, let us just say "stunning and delightful". This cd which lyrically is very personal to Lindsay has pulled at my heart strings..enough said, so check her out here, 9/10 (Dave).


(Revalve Records) Reviewed 30th Dec 2014

Italian band SCHYSMA fronted by Riccardo Minicucci, is the creation of keyboardist Martina Bellini; with the bassist Giorgio Di Paola, they are both original members of Schysma since 2010. By mid-2012 drummer Lucas Solina, the guitar hero Valdimiro Sala and singer Riccardo Minicucci joined Schysma, and the band line up was completed. They released the critically acclaimed debut Ep 'Imperfect Dichotomy' in 2012, and this latest record we have here offers up ten tracks which are gathered in a perfect mix of heavy and progressive metal, telling stories of suffering, anger and misery set to the tune of swirling symphonic melodies and emotionally charged vocal backflips. With comparisons to bands like Edguy, Savatage and Queensryche, this album is rather good. The songs throughout are rock solid and shows a band that is moving towards the top tier of Rock and Metal. Fave tracks are 'Migdal' (great synths mid way) and the commercial sounding 'Time Man' (great chorus), amongst many others that make up this amazing record. Indeed, the link to their video 'Time Man' can be viewed here, this track being the closing track from this rather awesome album. To be perfectly honest, this is well worth checking out, great musicianship and great vocals!.. 8.75/10 (Rachel Louise Smith)


(Self Release) Reviewed 4th November 2016

Fronted by the powerful vocals of Tina Papadimitriou, Scorching Winter (formed in 2012) is a hard rock band based down under in Melbourne, Australia. In contrast to other female-fronted rock bands, the band has a stronger emphasis on instrumentation and composition. They like catchy guitar riffs with unexpected style changes. The band delves into a unique dark artistry, inspired to take listeners on a musically satisfying, metal-edged journey, as is well showcased on this rather good album. Indeed, ‘Victim’ is an 8-track concept album driven by technical instrumentation, soaring vocals and dark themes. The story is about a girl who is raped and beaten by a group of men, and saved by a demon who offers her powers to seek revenge. The only way she can obtain those powers however, is in exchange for her soul. The band shows Progressive and Symphonic Metal subtleties here, but maintains a strong melodic undercurrent. Every track on this album to my ears is a sure fire winner, with the melodic ‘Hiding In The Shadows’ one of my faves, encompassing a nice bouncy tempo change mid-way. Closer, the rockin’ 8 minute plus ‘My Gift, My Curse’ another good un. Check the album out here, but this is well recommended by us here…8.75/10 (Dave)


(Independent Release) Reviewed 7th September 2009

Scythe of Orion hail from Finland, the mecca of symphonic metal, and this little self produced opus came to me via Nicky at Fireworks zine. Fronted by Anu Kaunisto, we have an interesting little release here. Basically, this little bit of plastic comprises of 5 tracks, kicking off with 'The Open Space of Imagination'. Okay, one can argue that this has been done before, but so what. Anything that wanders into my domain that I like, is most welcome. Next track in 'Shadowland', slows things down just a little. More atmosphere with a piano solo mid track, but a decent number! Like the opener, 'Journey' musically reminds me of Nightwish, although Anu's vocals are quite distinctive. 'Behind The Cloud' leads you into believing this is a piano led ballad, until the guitars kick in - almost a progressive metal feel to this track with violins too! The title track then rounds things off quite nicely. To summarise - I would like to hear more from this band as and when - an interesting listen and recommended to fans of the genre! 7.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)


(Self Release) Reviewed 28th March 2010

Come my friend, sit with me by the warming fire, fill my cup with foaming ale, and I will tell you tales of war. Scythia are a Canadian sextet who take their name from the late Iron Age kingdom that occupied parts of what is now southern Russia and the Ukraine. They play a blend of metal, classical and folk, featuring two maidens fair for your delectation, all the way from Costa Rica comes violinist Marisol with her angel's harp, and drummer Samantha with her mighty mallets of destruction. Joining guitarist Dave on vocals is guest Celine Derval, while bassist Terry contributes the doom hammer voices. The land is racked with war, and so our six heroes must set out to find the wise Red Wizard (any relation to the evil wizard?) whose skills of diplomacy can hopefully restore peace to Scythia (an ancient Henry Kissinger?). Fans of bands ranging from Rhapsody to Alestorm, their hearts set and their minds made, will be charging at full speed through the deepest of snow and the fiercest of weathers to CD Baby, pity those who get in their way. See their Myspace for more tales .... of war. 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Phil)


(Coroner Records) Reviewed 5th January 2015

Season of Ghosts is a groundbreaking music project, dedicated to the love of the unseen and film soundtracks. Conceived by Greek singer-songwriter Sophia Aslanidou, the project came to life in October of 2013. This highly anticipated debut concept album was released on the 8th of December 2014, receiving enthusiastic reviews and critical acclaim from across the music spectrum. Sophia is not only the singer, she is the song-writer and producer for SEASON OF GHOSTS, and this release is totally awesome, bringing together Metal and Rock sounds, harsh electronics and powerful compelling vocals, through the eerie spectrum of a Sci-Fi, horror movie. There are thirteen tracks that are very good and totally magical. The music here will appeal to the Rock and Metal fan as well as those that like their music with a fair amount of electronica thrown into the pot. It kinda reminds me a little of Enter Shikari, offering up some magical and ultra commercial tracks - check out the catchy '[NE]: Mesis The Kiss Of Justice' as one example of a track with total crossover appeal! And she can slow it down too with numbers like 'The Road To Archeron' and 'Reincarnation'. I do like this record with its crossover potential and it deserves to do well. And just one further observation, ALL vocals on this album are done by Sophia. Do check out the website here - well recommended.. 9.25/10 (Rachel Louise Smith)


(Self Release) Reviewed 28th May 2014

Second Empire hail from Pittsburg Pennsylvania, and they have sent me their second self titled EP. You wanna know what?, this is damn good. Fronted by Alex Lindsay Roth who I hasten to add is just 16 years old, the band give us five tracks of European sounding Symphonic Metal. I say European, as there is a liberal use of keys throughout the sound on offer. The opening salvo of 'Everlasting' and 'Hold Me (Til We're Both Dead)' shows the direction the band is taking, the latter being a catchy number that tends to stick around in your head - love it. The remaining three tracks maintain the awesome momentum, and being a sucker for the odd power ballad, I do like 'Sorrow My Saviour'. It is of no surprise that Second Empire has been compared to Delain, Lacuna Coil and We Are The Fallen amongst many others. This is worth a punt - check out their Facebook here - great stuff…8.75/10 (Dave)


(Espanta Espiritos Records) Reviewed 5th June 2015

Born in 2011, Portugal's Secret Lie is fronted by the dolcet tones of an amazing 20 year old talent who goes by the name of Sara Madeira (she is 21 in November). And although this awesome band has been together for a relatively short period of time, this is in-fact their second album. And I must say that although this would not be called all out metal, there are some damn fine tunes here, some of which scream mainstream radio airplay. I do in-fact love this style of music, that also has an AOR feel about it at times. 'Filling Spaces' starts the 11 track record, being a slow to mid paced catchy rock tune, with a chorus that refuses to leave your head. Next up 'Until Death Do Us Part', is another bouncy commercial rock tune, and certainly this album has started of with a rather cool "wow factor". There are the slower passionate numbers to sink your teeth into including 'Black Butterflies' the subtle bluesy vibe of 'That Place', the atmospheric Power Ballad 'Trying To Reach' and closing track 'His Star' (with a hidden track tacked on the end - an acoustic version of 'Trying To Reach). There are further upbeat bouncy tracks too including 'Spinning Around' with its melodic chorus and the up tempo 'Another Chance'. To summarise: if you are an all out metal head, this may not appeal, but by and large, this is a very good rock record with lots of mainstream appeal. I think the USA would go mad over this, which is interesting as Silent Lie has already picked up a FOX MUSIC USA award for the Best Rock band! They are well worth checking out, no matter where you are and what music you are into (website here). And just one more thing, founder member Pedro Teixeira Silva is a damn good violinist, and an extremely talented musician to boot, who has also studied here in England!... 9.75/10 (Dave)


(Rocksector Records) Reviewed 22nd January 2015

Resonating with the dramatic and poetic backdrop of their home city of Rome, Secret Rule have created a fitting masterpiece of progressive rock, with inspirations taken from the worlds of Power Metal, Goth and Pop, with acoustic and electronic inserts, plus catchy and totally awesome memorable melodies. Formed at the beginning of 2014, the band is fronted by the powerful and crystal clear vocals of Angela Di Vincenzo (Kyla Moyl, and most recently a guest with Kaledon), masterminded by lead guitarist Andy Menario (Martiria) who has worked with a host of luminaries including Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath, Dio), Jeff Pilson (Dokken, Foreigner), and Carlos Cavazo (Quiet Riot). The line-up is completed most excellently by bassist Michele Raspanti (Graal) and drummer Ruben Ramirez (Myr). This record is damn good it has to be said with hardly a filler to be found. Opener 'The Journey' is so catchy with a progressive undercurrent and this insanely catchy music continues throughout the album. I cannot begin to comprehend what I am listening too here as it is so so good! Listen to tracks such as the hideously melodic 'True Friend', the pounding 'Sensation' and the memorable 'Sleep Forever', these being just three from a melting pot of potential blockbusters. And I should also give a mention to the ballad 'Vision', this number possessing the wow factor! 'Transposed Emotions' was recorded in 2014, produced, mixed and mastered at Antfarm Studios (Denmark) by Tue Madsen (Halford, The Haunted, Mnemic, Hatesphere, Ektomorf) and is available from 16th February 2015. The single and aforementioned track 'True Friend' can be downloaded for free here, and the video can be viewed at, so check it all out! This captivating release is well recommended and we simply love it!... 9.5/10 (The Nugget)


(Scarlet Records) Reviewed 14th May 2016

Italian band Secret Rule was formed in 2014 with the intention to create a powerful, melodic and rhythmically challenging sound. They released their first album ‘Transposed Emotions’ the following year and toured Europe extensively in support of it, building a solid fan base in countries such as Belgium and the UK especially. The band is fronted by powerhouse singer Angela Di Vincenzo and includes notable musicians such as keyboardist Henrik Klingenberg (Sonata Arctica) and drummer Sander Zoer (ex Delain). ‘Machination’ will be released this summer (June 26th) on Scarlet Records, featuring special guest appearances by Stefan Helleblad (Within Temptation), Timo Somers (Delain), Fabio D’Amore (Serenity) and more, and with such a line up, you would expect something a little special, and that is truly the case with this release. With a powerful and melodic rock-metal sound coupled with industrial structures and electronic influences, this album should be on everyone's shopping list. The opener 'Ex-Machina' confirms that statement, a belter of an opener as is the quirky and bouncy follow up track 'The Saviour'. Two tracks in = a frikin’ good start. Next up, the metallic and Middle Eastern sounding ‘I Have The Sun’ follows and is another quality track with such a catchy chorus. ‘Dolls’ flirts with Power Metal territory, while ‘I Will’ is a melodic belter! The obligatory power ballad comes with the awesome track ‘The Image’ which is from the top drawer, as is basically everything on this record to be perfectly frank. ‘You’re The Player’ is a melodic blockbuster running in at just over three minutes with another catchy chorus, with next up ‘Your Trap’ having an electro feel together with great guitar solo. The final three numbers maintain the ‘awesome factor’ - ‘Foolish Daisy’ brings in briefly some harsh vocals with a progressive undercurrent, ‘Short Stories’ again flirts with Power Metal while the ballad ‘A Mother’ closes this fine album. The band’s website is - here, this is well and truly recommended and to be honest it deserves a 10/10 (Dave)


(Casket/Copro Records) Reviewed 11th July 2012

Secret Signs were originally formed in 2005 by keyboardist Sergio López and guitarist Jose Manuel Torres, and although it has not taken a lifetime, it must have felt like that for the members of this Spanish band to produce their début album which they started recording back in 2008, rerecording the vocals with new singer May Lucas in 2011, and at last released in July 2012. Although inspired by symphonic metal's usual suspects, Epica, Nightwish, After Forever et al, their style is in fact far close to Italian gothic metal, and they remind me a lot of Maledia, with some Silent Opera and Domina Noctis. Likewise, Sergio López's keyboards veer towards synths away from orchestral sounds, also adding to that Italian gothic vibe. Although May is just twenty years old and it takes many years for an operatic voice to mature, she has that vibrato, tone and pitch that is so often missing in young singers, as well as an occasional sexy rasp and deeper register as well. The startling intro has the Cookie Monster shouting 'Welcome' which frightened the life out of me and sent me scurrying behind the couch, but thankfully he only reappears sporadically and it's kept low and deep so it's safe for us anti-growlers to out of hiding, phew. The first four songs are lengthy up-tempo gothic metal tunes that have some inclinations towards power metal, especially the excellent 'Through the Stars', with loads of excellent instrumental excursions by Sergio and guitarist Jose Manuel Torres, and I particularly like May's performance on 'Voices From The Afterlife'. 'Battle For Darkness' starts out as a ballad duet before building into a sword waving epic, and this is followed by couple of rocking shorter tunes. 'Searching For Angels' is another building epic, and the album ends with the shortest and perhaps most catchy number, 'Black Stone Fire', which has a hint of early Nightwish about it. It’s all been well produced with a dark sound by notable engineer Sonia Robles. You will find a lot to enjoy on this traditional gothic metal album with symphonic and power metal leanings that has been well worth all the time and effort shown by the band. The secret is out that their Facebook lies here, a dedicated 8.5/10 (Phil)


(Self Release) Reviewed 14th January 2016

Secret Signs hail from Spain and yep, you’ve guessed it, they so happen to be a Symphonic/Gothic Metal band. Fronted by the operatic vocals of May Lucas, this is their 2nd full length release, their first ‘For A Lifetime’ appearing in 2012. ’Under Dark Skies’ is standard fare run of the mill keyboard driven Metal and although a good album, having listened to the cd a few times, nothing here really stands out and grabs you. A band that has to do a little bit more to promote themselves into the Premier league. However, having said that, this album is a good listen for fans of this style of music, but I feel more has to be done for them to gain a wider fan base. Unfortunately, I do not own their debut album, so I am unable to make a comparison, but I have been told reliably that the debut may well be a better release with a better production. Anyway, let us not be too critical of music from a scene we so love, but if you want a taste of Secret Signs, it may be an idea to check their debut out first. A band though that shows promise, their Facebook is here…. 7.75/10 (Dave)


(Self Release) Reviewed 31st December 2012

SEDUCE THE HEAVEN from Greece was formed in mid 2009 by guitarist Alex Flouros and soon joined by the awesome lyrical soprano Elina Laivera on vocals. In the following months, a full album consisting of 10 tracks had already been prepared for the recording process. The band combines powerful elements of Melodic/Death, Metal-Core, Power and Symphonic elements in a unique, technical and brutal, yet very melodic way, with male growls courtesy Marios Mizo. And I must emphasise the word "melodic"! So what we have here is an explosive mix of metal music spread across the ten tracks, with the five minute plus 'Reflection' getting things started in a mad frenzied fashion but with a melodic chorus to boot, and a great guitar solo - ooohhh, this is so good! And with barely enough time to recover your breath, along comes 'Walls of Oblivion' and 'Leave Me Alone' that steamroller out of your speakers like a Japanese Bullet Train! There is no let up either throughout the remainder of the album with enough energy to light up the streets of London. Picking out any highlights from this record is a difficult task, but I do quite like the mid tempo 'Field of Dreams', the number 'Falling' featuring just the vocals of Elina and the closer 'In Close Distance', a very good piano led ballad that closes the album on a softer more tranquil note. 'Field of Dreams' is released January 15th, the band's Facebook is here and I would suggest checking this band out. This record is damn good and should be a good New Year's purchase! 9/10 (Dave)


(Self Released) Reviewed 10h June 2013

Selene is an exciting new Metal band from Northern Ireland, mixing powerful operatic vocals with heavy atmospheric music. As a consequence, they create their own brand of hard hitting Symphonic Metal with this, their very first EP consisting of six tracks. Fronted by Shonagh Lyons, with vocals, guitars and keys by John Connor, there are six tracks here featuring the Symphonic sounds of 'Peace of Mind' including operatic choir, the melodic 'Til The Shadows' and the single, the rather good 'End Of It All'. We also get treated to a piano led ballad 'Ghost' which showcases the beauty of Shonagh's vocals, plus the instrumental 'The Codex' that shows what a fine musician John is. They list their influences as Nightwish, Evanescence and Sonata Arctica and that may be just about right. Okay, this kind of music is not original, but this is certainly a band that we have to keep a close eye on and like a good wine, will get even better with age. Their FaceBook is here, with the EP being released in July.. 8/10 (Dave)


(Self Release) Reviewed 15th September 2014

N.Ireland is not that well known for it's Symphonic Rock/Metal bands, but the awesome Selene from Londonderry, fronted by Shonagh Lyons is a band from those shores. Founded in 2013, Selene has already released one EP - 'Among The Frozen', and now we have yet another offering from the band, 'Paradise Over'. And I must say that like their previous EP, this is rather good and similar to what I have already said in my review of their debut, this is certainly a band that has to be watched very closely. Anyway, opener 'Facing The Mirror' is a pounding Melodic Symphonic Rocker, a great opener to be honest while second up 'Not Enough' continues where the opener left off, although maybe not quite as heavy as the opening tune. The pace gathers again on 'Still Dreaming' and the title track, while the closing duo of 'Fade Away' and the atmospheric ballad 'Hourglass Fading' ends a rather good record. With the band listing their influences as Nightwish, Evanescence, Sonata Arctica, Kamelot, Epica and Avantasia, 'Paradise Over' follows the trend Selene set on their debut EP while also creating a new heavier bombastic sound, thanks in part to the new members Cameron Ashlund-Glass (Darkest Era) and Thomas Alford (Sandstone). I also feel that the band is maturing with this latest release too, and can only get even better. Their Facebook is here, and the EP is released 17th October... 8.5/10 (Dave)


(Self Release) Reviewed 2nd October 2015

Here we have a very talented band from Northern Ireland, a small country that with the utmost respect, does not really have a place on the Symphonic Metal map. However Selene aim to change that scenario, as they are about to burst onto the Symphonic Metal scene with this 11 track opus. Fronted by the cool vocals of leading lady Shonagh Lyons, the band has already released two EPs, ‘Paradise Over’ and ‘Among The Frozen‘. Indeed three tracks from the latter feature on this debut full length, which to be perfectly honest is totally awesome from beginning to end. Highlights are in abundance, we have the catchy and melodic ’Neverending Silence’ (lyric video here) , the bombastic ’Fade Away’ (featured on the ’Among The Frozen’ EP), the ballad ’Sweetest Dreams’ and the epic 9+ minute closing epic track ’Piano Black’, to name just four, with the closing number showcasing very well the direction this band is taking. Overall, the album offers a bombastic and melodic sound, being well worth the purchase price when released on November 19th. The band’s FaceBook is here… 9/10 (Dave)


(Renaissance Records) Reviewed 30th June 2008

Sellisternium come from Poland, and I would classify 'Fury' under a progressive gothic rock/metal category, with a definte nod towards Pink Floyd and Dream Theatre on occasion. I think the Pink Floyd influences are there from the start - just listen to opener 'Depression And Me'. This release produces some quite decent instrumental passages throughout, while the melodic vocals of Anna Pietrzak are quite palatable. However, do not expect a release full of catchy hooks and melodic choruses, because if you are, you will be rather disappointed. I like to call this type of music, "thinking persons music". As a consequence, 'Fury' will not appeal to everyone. But if you are open minded towards your music, live with it, and it does become a little gem. Another goodie from the Renaissance Stable. 7.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)


(Freemind) Reviewed 10th February 2011

Semblant are a brand new Brazilian symphonic metal force that are fronted by the twin vocal attack of gorgeous Mizuho Lin with her superb powerful semi-operatic voice and Sergio Mazul. I say twin, but Sergio's vocals range from rich classical baritone to rock alto to deep demonic growl, so it's more like a quadruple vocal attack, and he can go from growl to baritone in a single breath, I'm amazed it does not rip his voice to shreds. Their music sounds like it's been dredged up from the pits of Hades, a satanic Epica/Therion, terrifying but thrilling, with immense orchestrations, thrashing rhythm section, blood curdling screams, howling shredding, melodic anthems and soaring refrains, swirling from lighter to darker passages, from catchy to brutal, making every song a thrill ride into the depths of hell. The dramatic narrated intro will chill you to the bone, and then your off, careering through a twilight world between symphonic gothic, death and back metal, headlong into their nightmare, assaulted by monsters like 'Sleepless', 'Legacy of Blood' and 'End of Dusk'. Production is major league, they would not look out of place on Napalm, that doyen of depravity. So gird your loins and hurtle to Semblant Myspace, the album is available to buy here, a thrilling 8.75/10 (Phil)


(Self Release) Reviewed 14th November 2012

Sense of Creation is a Gothic Symphonic Metal band from London, founded by Lukasz Lowkis in 2009. Composer and multi-instrumentalist Lukasz began his professional music training at the age of seven, first mastering piano, and then clarinet, guitar, bass and drums. After his studies at the National Music School in Biesko Biala (Poland), he decided to move to the UK in order to create his own project. And Sense of Creation is it! Fronted by Elisa Tomaselli, this three track EP is an awesome introduction to this band, and to be perfectly honest, on this showing, they could quite easily compete with what mainland Europe has to throw at us. Opener 'Doesn't Matter' is a Gothic Symphonic number, hideously catchy but a little on the short side at just a shade over 3 minutes. 'Sorrow' is a slower number, while 'Hidden By The Light' is to me the highlight on this little EP - an upbeat rockin' Gothic Metal number. I would like to hear more as and when it becomes available, but for now, this little offering is a worthy workout and introduction to this band. See them here - 8/10 (Dave)


(Self Release) Reviewed 15th June 2015

Sensorium fronted by the operatic vocals of Kesenia Glonty, is a Power Metal band from Israel founded in 2012 by Michael Timoshko (lead guitar) and Alexander Piavsky (keyboards). This band by the way is not to be confused with another band of the same name from Italy. 'The Art Of Living' is the band's Debut Album and it resides deep within the Power Metal and Operatic Metal styles, with emphatic keyboard elements. There are thirteen tracks here on this album that spans around 68 minutes, so one gets their monies worth. The album pounds along at quite a rate, offering up some thundering numbers like 'Surreal Nightmare' (awesome vocals), 'Winter Death' and 'Leviathan'. Plus we have the customary ballads like the awesome 'Thousands Of Stars' and the closing title track. When I was at school, okay, I was a rock and metal lover, but our music lessons were based on the classical stuff - Bach, Beethoven and the like. And dare I say it, I was good at music at school, so when I listen to music like this from this band (and many others too), combining Metal with the symphonics, it is right up my alleyway. The band's Facebook is here - well recommended.. 8.75/10 (Dave)


(Repo Records) Reviewed 6th April 2012

I am sitting here and an email drops in from Repo Records, asking me if I would like to review an album by a band called September Mourning, a totally new band to my ears. However, the accompanying blurb looked rather interesting so I gave the album a listen. Let me just say, that this band are gonna be HUGE!!! American Band September Mourning has sure given us an album of epic proportions here, and this is totally awesome stuff! Fronted by September (M Lazar), the guitar driven force of hard rock and metal marries the sweep and grandeur of dramatic lyricism and melodic vocals. Produced by the band itself, 'Melancholia' is a musical journey though the emotions of the central character in the story of September Mourning. September is a girl trapped between the worlds of the living and the dead. She is a reaper, with the power to harness death and use it to make things right. Each song on the album represents the emotions and memories she absorbs when she takes a soul. The album opens with the powerful roar of guitars in 'Go For the Throat', a metal driven song encompassing revenge and a thirst for death. The epic 'A Place to Call Your Own' with its catchy guitar riffs and melodic chorus beckons its listener to believe that they are being watched over. 'Always' is a personal glimpse of September’s own story in which heavy guitars mimic the dramatic lyrical content, while 'Fallen' pleads to the ones who have lost their way and their hope, and is a totally awesome melodic track with a great chorus. Then we have 'Love is War' with its taste of dubstep, that powers a candid look at the dark side of love, while the hideously catchy 'Lost Angels' reminds us of the beauty that lies within us all. The power ballad 'Crimson Skies', speaks of the passing of a loved one through the impressive crescendos of strings and wailing guitars, and I challenege anyone to say that they will hear a better ballad this year - fantastic!! 'Seal Your Fate' is a percussive and bass driven song, with 'Beyond the Grave' having an unmistakable groove that is the driving force behind its message: sometimes the motivation behind following our dreams is an unrequited love. The album ends with 'Last Embrace'- a melodic track fuelled by lyrical programming and open guitar chords, which climax with the roar of the words, “ I won’t let go”. September Mourning is the creation of a universe. It is not a band, it is a story... a fantasy with a musical element intertwined within its world. Created by M Lazar and Marc Silvestri (Top Cow Comics), the project was previewed on stages with the legendary Marilyn Manson, only months after its inception. Performances with The Birthday Massacre, I Am Ghost, Hanzel Und Gretyl, and Dommin followed as well as radio play across the country. This year at Comic Con in San Diego, SM announced a partnership with MTV that will further the development of the character and the world in which she dwells. In the overpopulated music scene of today, September Mourning sure stands alone in its originality. Come, join the world of September and the Children of Fate, this is damn frikin awesome. Their Facebook is here, the album gets released 18th May, and this has to be one for the shopping list! Highly recommended..9.5/10 (Dave)


(Self Released) Reviewed 22nd October 2015

September is a female vigilante grim reaper, and a trouble-maker in the eyes of the Reaper-ruler, Fate. She does what she thinks will "make things right" but in doing so, she often screws up the fabric of space-time. September is unique because she is part human, part reaper. So she has the ability to fight against the orders of Fate, swap souls, and other rogue reaper behaviour. For this reason, she is hunted by Fate. The Skullfly – like a moth with skulls on its wings - appears as a tattoo on September’s neck that comes to life to collect the souls. And now, she's coming for yours...So a word of advice, buy this EP because it is awesome and I will say that as September is knocking on my frikin’ door. Six tracks of awesome music on this EP, not a filler, it rocks, kinda imagine In This Moment crossed with Evanescence on speed! Got it? Good… website here…well worth it and rather sexy too! 9/10 (The Nugget)


(Sumerian Records) Reviewed 30th July 2016

The brainchild of Emily Lazar and acclaimed American comic book artist and publisher Marc Silvestri (X-Men, Witchblade, The Darkness), September Mourning's Volume II picks up where 2015's self-released EP Volume I left off. And like its predecessor, Volume II will be accompanied by the second issue of September Mourning's comic book series. Explains Emily, "Volume II is a continuation of the first step in our journey which began with our self-released EP, Volume I and ‘A Murder of Reapers’, the first issue of our comic book. Volume II follows our hero, September Mourning's tale throughout the second issue of the comic book entitled, ‘The Hand of Fate’. Both forms of media intertwine to create a musical and visual story mosaic for your eyes and ears. Although September's character is fictional, both the emotional landscape of the music and the message behind her lyrics come from a very vulnerable place inside of me. In this album, I intertwined these supernatural characters with my own very real, relatable thoughts and feelings. There are pieces of myself magnified in every dynamic shift and bombastic hook in this album and you feel that when you listen. The world that's created promises you an epic ride." The band itself will tour consistently worldwide throughout 2016 and into 2017 in support of this new album and we can tell you that the album hits the awesome category. The six tracks from the ‘Volume l EP’ feature on this LP albeit in a very slightly different style, to enable them to fit in with the concept of this full length. Emily’s vocals are awesome, every track is a winner, she and her band do not disappoint. And like its predecessor and as previously mentioned, this album will be accompanied by the aforementioned second issue of September Mourning's comic book series on The band also recently unveiled an animated lyric video for the track 'Skin and Bones', the first single from this record. The track features Jinxx of Black Veil Brides on violin and can be seen here. I whole heartedly recommend this 12 track release, even without the comic book to hand, this is a damn fine album…. 9.75/10 (Dave)

SEPTEMBER RAIN..2 track promo

(Self Released) Reviewed 20th April 2011

Here we have a Female Fronted Rock Group from Ipswich in Suffolk featuring Olivia Packard on vocals and to be honest, this is the sort of fodder Kerrang or Radio 1 should be falling over backwards to play. Two tracks on this little platter combine hard rock with an indie vibe, and with great musicianship all round. They are young, enthusiastic, and with a new lineup, the future looks rosy. As the band say, "we are like Paramore with more bollocks and more smiles", and I agree with that wholeheartedly. Check them and the two tracks out here and monitor this band's progress, because on this showing, they will make progress! Great stuff! 8/10 (Dave)


(Self Release) Reviewed 5th October 2011

Back in April, I reviewed a two track promo by this band from Ipswich. They now have sent me their latest offering, and it is interesting to see how this band has progressed over the last few months. This is just one track, so this will be just a mini review. 'Stare' is a good Alternative Rocker, and compared to the promo I reviewed in April, I find this specific track has perhaps a little more commercial appeal than their earlier stuff. This band has potential, and I am sure if they were based in the USA with their possible Paramore comparisons, there would be a lot of interest in this music. In the UK, yep, given the right promotion, this band will get noticed, although I think gigging and gigging hard, and selling merchandise will be the way forward for this band over here. Watch this space!


(Revalve Records) Reviewed 29th May 2012

The launch of Serenade came when guitarist Andrea Bazzon met lovely light lyrical soprano Claudia Durinio, at first they did covers by the top bands, Epica, WT etc. before creating their own music. This is full blown operatic dramatic symphonic metal that bridges the gap between the gothic and power varieties, in the same general concert hall as bands like Silent Opera, Nostra Morte, Lumus and Mother Earth era WT, in fact sometimes Claudia's phrasing does remind me of Sharon Den Adel's early more operatic moments. This is such an obvious and most appropriate band name I'm surprised nobody, to my knowledge, has used it before. After the grand orchestral intro comes a series of six multifaceted epics with massive orchestrations and a bright vibrant sound with everything clearly audible, both done with the assistance of Bob Cuforo from Revalve Records, the dynamic 'Cruel Angels' and 'The Fruit of the Poisoned Tree' with its striking string motif being particularly notable. A gentle tinkle signals the start of the marching 'War of Feelings' as they launch into the five part 'Victims of Love' suite, which includes the building ballad 'Love is a Slayer' featuring Alessandro's piano and super solos by Andrea and fellow guitarist Filioppo, and the superb 'Tears of Blood' that sounds like it would be perfect for a Hollywood medieval blockbuster, even the title would be great. I wish bands like Epica and Diabulus in Musica used growls like Serenade employ those of bassist Daria, deep, low in the mix, used very sparingly and judiciously to add a gothic accent here and there, pleasing both the anti and pro growl brigade. Serenade serve up top quality symphonic metal that will definitely not have you wandering through sorrow, instead you will be marching with joy straight to the record store, a serenading 8.75/10 (Phil)


(Self Release) Reviewed 10th October 2016

The number of awesome bands that come my way that have up until now escaped my radar always amazes me. The latest band to join those ranks is London based Serpentyne. The band was created in London in 2010 by founder members Maggie-Beth Sand and Mark Powell, being inspired by a combination of early music, folk, Celtic, world and rock. They recorded their first album, 'Stella Splendens' that year, basing it on traditional mediaeval texts and tunes from England, Spain and France, arranged in their own style and blending instruments such as cittole, hurdy-gurdy, harmonium, portative organ, medieval drums, crumhorns, recorders, and of course Maggie's voice. Serpentyne released their second album, 'Myths & Muses' which is based on mediaeval, traditional and mythic themes, this album has a stronger rock element. 'The Serpents Kiss' is their third album which follows the same mythic & medieval themes, but heading into a heavier rock sound. Mediaeval instruments remain at the forefront but with a more symphonic sound coupled with heavier guitars. It all works rather well, this being showcased in the opening salvo, 'Spirits of the Desert' and 'The Dark Queen'. 'Helen of Troy' is a melodic belter, whilst I just love pipes, with ‘Jeanne D’Arc’ featuring said pipes, this track bouncing along rather nicely – one of my faves from the record in-fact. The pipes appear again on the awesome ‘Lammas Night’ together with the didgeridoo would you believe, another catchy up lifting track, surely it is about time for me to go out and light that camp fire :). The mid-tempo title track has a kinda Middle Eastern vibe which is of no surprise, as the number is inspired by the story of Anthony and Cleopatra. The remaining five tracks maintain the bouncy up tempo folky feel with a couple of instrumentals thrown into the pot for good measure. I am however, interested in the number ‘Viking Blood’ as it does sound familiar to me. This album is awesome stuff and well worth a punt of anyone’s well earnt dosh! The band’s facebook is here - a great effort!… 8.75/10 (Dave)


(Self Release) Reviewed 15th May 2016

Sevi is a Bulgarian rock band from Sofia that was conceived in 2010. The current members are Svetlana "Sevi" Bliznakova (lead vocals), Temelko Temelkov (lead guitar), Rally Velinov (bass guitar), Pavlin Ivanov (drums, percussion) and Dessy Markova (keyboards, backing vocals). The band describe their music as heart rock because of the emotional content of their songs. This is their 2nd studio album and in turn is a rather cool slice of melodic hard rock featuring 11 belting numbers, all rather pleasing to these ears with Svetlana singing with very little detectable accent. Indeed her powerhouse vocals are well suited to the style of music. There are a number of fave tracks here, but the catchy and awesomely titled ‘Screw You, Honey’ and the AOR sounding ‘Destiny’ being highlights to my ears. Sevi‘s website is here… rather cool… 8.5/10 (Dave)