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WICKED FAITH...'UNDER NO ILLUSION'

(Self Released) Reviewed 10th October 2013

Wicked Faith come from Norwich (Norfolk) here in the UK. Norfolk is rather well known for it's Broadland and associated wild life, but now perhaps we should add Wicked Faith to that 'list'. I have known about this band for some months now, eagerly awaiting this their debut album in anticipation, and now it is here in my grubby paws. Was it worth the wait?, well yes it was! Fronted by the awesome vocals of Jade Murray, Wicked Faith throw at us 10 massive hard rocking melodic numbers, offering elements of classic rock coupled with huge riffs and some massive guitar solos to boot from Tom Jordan. And on top of that, not a filler in sight. Effectively, the band has taken classic rock music, grabbed it by the balls, added a modern sound and are dragging it through the first quarter of the 21st century as if there is no tomorrow. By and large a hard rockin' masterpiece! On this showing, they are surely going to be a band to keep one's beady eye on, I am under no illusion of that (excuse pun!). Their Facebook is here and you can also hear the track 'Just This Once' by clicking - www.reverbnation.com/wickedfaithofficial - check 'em out! 8.5/10 (Dave)

WICKED LITTLE DOLLS...'DOLLCRAFT'

(Demon Doll Records LA) Reviewed 20th May 2015

“Somewhere behind a dumpster in a dark alley in New York City, an evil little dolly is summoning demons from hell using the blood of a freshly slain derelict to produce the horrid glyphs needed to succeed. In a high pitched unearthly rasp it calls out to its malevolent masters inviting them back to our reality to unleash violence and mayhem upon the world.” Oh yay! this is the Wicked Little Dolls (Facebook here) fronted by the sexy vocals of Wicked Little Doll ScAreifiNa, who offer up 15 tracks of bouncy, catchy Metal/Rock/Punk/Goth on this their new release, and boy this is good. I am not going to highlight any tracks here, except that if you are able to sit still through any of this, then you have a severe medical problem. The Wicked Little Dolls are alive, they are kicking and they are going to get you if you don't buy this album, so let's do it!... 8.5/10 (Dave)

WILDE STARR.. 'ARRIVAL'

(Furnace Maximus Records) Reviewed 26th February 2010

Do you want to rock? I didn’t hear ya, I said, DO YOU WANT SOME METAAAAAAL!!!!!! This will kick you round the mosh pit and leave you in a bloodied, battered and bruised heap, but with a delirious grin on your face! Here you have the debut from the American duo comprising the jaw dropping London Wilde on mega mighty voice and keys, and Dave Starr on guitar and bass. Dave was the bass player for Vicious Rumors (the American power metal group), but after 12 years he grew tired of being stuck at the back with the drummer’s hi-hat in is ear, so he grabbed a guitar, headed out front and decided to create his own music, and this is the almighty result. 10 prime cuts of melodic power metal that are hotter than hell. Dave’s guitar playing is extraordinary, he has a singing, ringing tone to his sound, and London can really belt it, her range is astronomical, on ‘Rise’ she goes supersonic. Picks include the soaring ‘Arrival’, the dramatic ‘Touching God’, the dark ‘Down of the Sun’, and the epic ‘Nevermore’ If you like your Priest, Maiden, Queensryche, this will blow you away, tell the medics to cart you to www.myspace.com/wildestarr and grab a copy before you pass out. 9/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

WILDE STARR...'A TELL TALE HEART'

(Scarlet Records) Reviewed 28th January 2013

Californians Wildestarr fronted by the awesome and powerful vocal prowess of London Wilde, is the brainchild of ex Vicious Rumors bassist Dave Starr, and is their second release, their first seeing the light of day in 2009, subsequently being reviewed on this very website. The first thing to notice about this release, as with their previous ('Arrival'), is the stunning vocals of London. She is up there amongst the best of them, in the style of say Rob Halford or Geoff Tate. This album falls into the Melodic Power Metal category, and this is confirmed by the opening threesome of 'Immortal', 'Transformis Ligeia' and 'A Perfect Storm'. 'Valkyrie Cry' slows it down a touch, but the first real breather comes with 'Last Holy King'. Even so, this number still exhibits power, and maintains the awesome quality that this release is beginning to show. 'In Staccata' blew my mind, the vocals are massive, while 'Not Sane' has a slightly more progressive edge. 'Seven Shades Of Winter' is a powerful but slower melodic number, with the tracks 'The Pit or the Pendulum' and 'Usher In The Twilight' closing things down. This is a well recorded and well executed release, with Dave showing that not only was he a good bassist in his previous job, he can shred it with the guitar on this release, as well as covering bass duties, with Josh Foster covering drums. For you Melodic Power Metal Heads out there, this is well worth checking out... 8.75/10 (Dave)

WILDPATH..'NON OMNIS MORIAR'

(Brennus Music) Reviewed 23rd January 2010

France seems to have cornered the market in Speedy Metal, with bands such as Kerion, Fairyland and Auspex, and is currently leading the world in the production of metal bands of all types. Wildpath were founded in 2001 by Olivier Caron, guitar, and Alexis Garsault keys, who are to this day their main composers and producers. Non Omnis Moriar, roughly translated as ‘not all of me will die’ (you don’t get Latin translations in the NME), is their second album, a concept piece about ‘an awe inspiring mansion, built on the far reaches of a never ending road’, and the secrets it holds. The divine Marjolaine Bernard has a crystal clear, effortless, semi operatic voice, backed up by excellent choir arrangements, and the contributions from all members of the band are first class. The album is made up of symphonic speedy metal epics that lie on the lighter side of the genre, this is highly melodic and full of changes of pace and mood; I also like their use of glockenspiels and subtle folk elements. They rattle along nicely at a reasonable up-tempo pace, nothing like Dragonforce who appear to be at 78rpm (ask your grandad), and when they do use double bass drumming, it’s well buried in the mix to create a nice rumble, not the awful, irritating, monotonous pounding you get in a lot of speed/power metal. Interspersed between the songs are orchestral interludes that fit seamlessly into the overall album, the band seem to have a love of composers of popular light classics such as Copland and Ketelby, who wrote lovely descriptive music such as ‘Appalachian Spring’ and ‘In a Monastery Garden’. This has really brought a smile to my face, it is a truly delightful listen, and a must for Rhapsody, Sonata Arctica, and Fairyland fans, but lovers of Nightwish and Within Temptation will also really enjoy this. Available from the Brennus Shop www.brennus-music.com/ and other outlets, including Stay Gold in Japan where they have been very successful. It is well worth 9.5/10. (Reviewed by Phil)

WILDPATH..'UNDERNEATH'

(Brennus Music) Reviewed 24th July 2011

I was totally enchanted by their last album Non Omnis Moriar (review in the Ravenheart Archives) so I am very excited about this new release, the third from this French band founded in 2001 by school friends Alexis Garsault (keyboards) and Olivier Caron (guitar). Wildpath are the epitome of the unique French brand of symphonic speedy power metal that is no way as frantic as Dragonforce or as physical as Helloween or as bombastic as Nightwish, their music is lighter, more playful, more diverse and more romantic.'Seeds of a Dream' introduces the wonderful orchestral and choral arrangements used throughout the album, and you also get a second bonus CD of orchestral versions of all the songs that takes you into the realms of a Danny Elfman soundtrack. There is a vitality, vibrancy, enthusiasm and sheer sense of fun about their music that is so infectious, if it doesn't get you moving, call an undertaker, this is music to bring a smile to your face and a spring into your step. Songs like 'Unearthed' and 'Dive' are mighty multidimensional mini epics with deep thoughtful lyrics and ebullient refrains. 'Reviver' is an almost Diablo Swing Orchestra like boogie, 'Anchored' would get Jack Sparrow slicing his mainbrace, 'X' is invaded by the Tasmanian Devil, the ballad 'Dreaming Doll' is simply sublime, and 'The Craft' gets seriously groovy, time to shake a leg. The songs are packed with magical musical moments and loads of delightful surprises, during the absolutely awesome 'Crystallized' even Deep Purple burst through door (featuring bassist Nicolas Lopes's excellent voice). Adding to the richness is the diversity of the instrumentation used by Alexis, for example the clever use of xylophone, which takes them far beyond the standard string dominated symphonic sound. Belle Marjolaine Bernard does a splendid job with her lovely semi operatic voice, at times she has to cope with some real tongue twisters, the performances from all the lads are totally professional, I'm surprised guitarists Olivier and Matthias Bouyssou don't tie their fingers in knots, and it's all been superbly recorded by Alexis and Oliver in their own studio. Pierre Mahier is a phenomenal drummer who shows real versatility, and his double peddling is kept to fleeting flutters that are so quick it's a wonder he doesn't vanish in a puff of smoke. This is an album of incredible imagination and joie de vivre that anyone who loves symphonic metal will adore, from Within Temptation to Rhapsody, there's something for everyone. Tread the path that is wild to their portal here, a magnifique 9.5/10 (Phil)

WILDPATH...'DISCLOSURE'

(Brennus Music/StayGold Records) Reviewed 18th March 2015

Wildpath have kinda strayed onto a different path with this their latest offering to hit the music store shelves. Their symphonic sound has dissipated into a more industrial orientated style of music. Okay, the symphonic elements are still there, but in not so much abundance. Whether this is good or bad I suppose depends on one's style of music and what the listener prefers. Indeed, the reviews I have already seen regards this new album from the band are not good, but we here try to keep an open mind and to be honest, I myself do like the mix of industrial and symphonic! The opening salvo of 'Concealed' and 'Outcast' kick things off, the former being an instrumental and there sure are symphonic and choral elements to be heard, and rather good it is too. The vocals of Marjolaine Bernard kick in on second track 'Outcast', and at the moment, I am not quite sure what all the fuss is about. Okay, it is not as symphonic as their previous works so far, but I do like the choral bits that have been chucked into the pot within the opening two numbers. Pushing on and third track 'Ignited' is an okay sort of track, perhaps however not quite hitting the spot with me, but that does not mean to say it is not good, just not quite my cuppa tea. The industrial and indeed some techno elements are there in the belting tune 'Ex Cinere', while 'Petrichor' picks up the pace and is a symphonic blockbuster. 'Confined' has power metal elements wrapped up in the mix, but has now become a guaranteed foot tapper:). So far, so good and as we enter the second phase of the album, little changes really - 'Delusion' however, sees the introduction of clean male vocals courtesy of Nicolas Lopes (Bass), while the pounding 'Unborn' is a favored track of mine from the CD. 'Hollow' is a cute ballad with Nicolas taking lead vocal duties, with the closing duo of 'Absentia' and the title track closing the album in fine fettle. In summary: to fans of the band and to those expecting music similar to their earlier output, this release may take a little getting used too, but do stick with it peeps... 8.25/10 (The Nugget)

WINDFALL..'CRUSH' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 22nd March 2011

Italy seems to be bubbling under with female fronted metal talent at the moment, and now we have Melodic Metal Band Windfall fronted by Francesca Tedeschi, to wet our appetites. Kicking off with 'Dad Show', this is an intense and powerful number that will knock you backwards, before 'Life is a Challenge' hits you while you are still recovering from the opener. 'Revenge' starts with an 80's AOR keys type sound, before the band kick in to produce yet another powerful number, with the EP finishing with the dynamic title track. The vocals of Francesca Tedeschi are damn cool on this release, with the other band members throwing in good performances too. This is worth checking out - their myspace is here...8.25/10 (Dave)

WINDFALL...'TALES OF AN ORDINARY LIFE'

(Self Release) Reviewed 26th July 2013

Windfall come from Italy and they play Melodic Metal with a Symphonic and Progressive undercurrent, featuring the rock style vocals of Francesca Tedeschi. I was first introduced to this band back in 2011 when I reviewed their EP 'Crush'. The four numbers from that EP are all featured here, and the other five all gel well to give us a rather good 9 track album to sink our teeth into. 'Crush', being the title track to their earlier EP kicks this record off, and well and truly sets the scene for what lies in wait. Great vocals and great keys on this track compliments Tommaso Buzzegoli. And we even hear an accordion! The keys continue to be a dominate force throughout the album with lots of keys/guitar interplay, but let us not forget the workmanship of guitarist Lorenzo Nardi, bassist Marco Patracchini and drummer Matteo Bresci. The pace refuses to let up through the early numbers such as 'Rage, Love & Sex' and the melodic 'Dad Show', with it's guitar solo ), guitar solos till exist - yay! A symphonic and at times Power Metal style also appear on some of the tracks here such as 'The Hunter' and 'Life Forever'. Closer 'Windfall' has an awesome laid back intro before the band kicks in and the track takes off in awesome Power Metal fasion! This album took more than one listen to get into, but if they keep going like this, they could soon be up there with the top guns. Their Facebook is here and not a ballad in sight!...8.5/10 (Dave)

WINGS OF THE FALLEN... EP

(Self Released) Reviewed 10th January 2013

Here we have a band from Belgium that give us a dose of metal that will awaken your senses and kick your butts into gear. Fronted by Dana Del Favero, the band steamroller 5 tracks at us. Opener 'Shadow of Sorrow' has the word "metal" stamped all over it and by the time you pick yourself up off the floor, 'Vengeance Burns' will put you back down there again, great stuff! Music that is meant to be played and played loud! 'Godless Resurgence' is another up tempo number but with an element of quirkyness added to it. 'Fall From Grace' is more Power Metal while the interestingly titled and laid back 'First Class Musician' ends this little platter. To summarise, this is metal with melody offered to us by a band that has recorded this record themselves and they even manage themselves, therefore keeping it all in the 'family'. Their Facebook is here.. 8/10 (Dave)

WINTER..'A MATTER OF TIME'

(East Central One) Reviewed 20th May 2010

Winter is a Swedish Band who released their self titled debut album in 1999 and who have now built up a healthy following in the UK. Fast forward to 2010 and this release (their third) features eleven new songs from the pen of vocalist and main lady Anna-Lena Winter. What we have here is a selection of laid back rockers all on the theme of love, the good, the bad along with a healthy dose of lust and longing. No fillers on this release and I really do find this album a good listen, particularly after a hard day at the office. Check out 'Face On The Wall' which is one of my favourites on this release, while there is also a country vibe aswell, this vibe being found on tracks that include the ultra catchy 'Cccc'mon', the slower 'Book of Love', the superb 'Crazy' and the awesome 'Run'. If you are a metal head, this may not appeal, but to anybody that enjoys a good listen to some catchy laid back rock music with an organic and accoustic feel, this may well be for you. Sure worth checking out at www.myspace.com/winternet. Gets released 24th May....good stuff so sit back and enjoy this cool and refreshing album. 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

WINTERGARDEN...'THE NEW VICTORIAN'

(Mighty Music/Target) Reviewed 31st July 2014

Anything that gets released from Scandinavia, Denmark or Holland seems for some reason to gather my immediate attention, and Wintergarden from Denmark is no exception. This band is one of those that has escaped my radar, until I saw a review of this album in a UK Rock magazine. They are fronted by English/Danish lass Miriam Gardner, and are musically inspired by the likes of Breaking Benjamin, Sevendust and Evanescence. There are 12 tracks here of inspired Modern Metal/Dark Pop and should be the type of music that will go down a storm in the States. To my ears, it is nice to receive an album that does not follow the Symphonic Metal path, and 'The New Victorian' is one such album. For anybody that likes their music without the Symphonic elements, and following a more traditional Modern Metal path, tracks like 'Iconoclast', The Release' and the Pop/Metal of 'Scarlet Letter' should be up your alleyway. I myself also like the catchy 'Cinderella' from the record. Check the band out on Reverbnation: www.reverbnation.com/wintergarden - recommended.. 8.75/10 (Dave)

WINTER'S EDGE...'THE FERRYMAN'S EYES'

(Self Released) Reviewed 8th April 2015

Winter’s Edge is a Self Funded Metal Project created by Guitarist Jeremy Ross Lawler in 2010. He is known to of been in over 10 UK unsigned metal bands including Distopia, Aggrothesis, Signed By None and Dreadnought in his time so far as a musician. “I created Winter’s Edge because I wanted to form like a metal family, to support the musicians I worked with, make new friends but to finally not only work with known signed musicians but also to work with unsigned musicians to help them get more recognition for their brilliant talents which so many have to offer”. Those are Jeremy’s words in an Interview on Radio2Rock (Holland). There is a tsunami of musicians on this album including Daisy Robinson - (Vocalist from Seventh Seeker) and Charlotte Jones - (Vocalist from Sensoria). And within this little package is ten tracks (inc 2 bonus cuts) of kick ass, awesome and bombastic Melodic Metal, offering up great musicianship and awesome vocals from all concerned. Not wanting to really pick out any specific track as they are all damn good, but the mid tempo 'Fallen' feat Daisy Robinson, and the melodic 'You'll Find Your Way Out Of This Darkness' feat Charlotte Jones, are two such tracks that do hit the spot with me. The album was edited, mixed and mastered by Marc Wustenhagen at Dailyhero Recordings, being recorded at Airtight Studios by Peter Lancaster, and has indeed been out now for a few months now, but is available on Bandcamp at www.wintersedgeoffical.bandcamp.com/, or you can buy a physical digital copy of the album on eBay posting worldwide. Worth checking out... 8.5/10 (Dave)

WINTER'S EVE..'SHARDS'

(Independent Release) Reviewed 27th July 2010

Winter’s Eve is a brand new British band who are not afraid to declare their influences, Within Temptation, Nightwish and Evanescence. Their music explores these avenues creating a diverse but coherent collection of songs. They take the essence of Evanescence, particularly with Lena’s passionate and emotional vocal style and the use of rich string sounds and atmospheric passages, but their signature sound is far meatier, with walls of warm fuzzy guitars courtesy of James (Axeman Jim), Storm’s throbbing bass, Klepsy’s skilful drum patterns, and spiralling guitar solos, also from James. ‘Winter’s Eve’, ‘Angel’, ‘Shadow’ and ‘Spellbound’ are mighty songs that show influences from powerful gothic bands like Therion with a ‘Kashmir’ Middle Eastern flavour. The two epic, swaying, ¾ gothic songs ‘As I Fall’, featuring a delightful interlude with Lena's voice accompanied by Storm’s bass arpeggios, and ‘Dust to Dust’, which starts out with a lovely keyboard motif before really taking off, remind me of fellow Brits, Hanging Doll. ‘Midnight’, with its twinkling piano figure, ‘Image’, built around a wonderful clean guitar chordal riff and featuring a superb electric violin solo, and ‘Fade’, a truly dramatic song with Pranay really letting rip, lean towards the more Evanescence end of the spectrum with their melodic verses and powerful choruses. The title track ‘Shards’ is a moody symphonic rocker that rumbles along at a cracking pace. The production sound is thunderous and cavernous, with exemplary instrumental and vocal performances by the entire band. Their website http://www.winterseve.co.uk has some samples, and their Myspace is www.myspace.com/thewinterseve. This is a mightily impressive opening gambit that is sure to appeal to all symphonic metal fans, and is available for download from iTunes and CD Baby (no news as yet of a physical release), a Ravenheart recommended 9/10 (Reviewed by Phil).

WINTER HAZE..'THE STORM WITHIN'

(Alkemist Fanatix, Andromeda) Reviewed 13th October 2009

The two albums by Winter Haze and Elegy of Madness show the incredible diversity in symphonic metal. Both are Italian, both are female fronted symphonic metal, but they could not be more different. Bridge of Sighs is for quiet reflective listening, this is for dancing around the room like a loon. They are fronted by the gorgeous Giorgia who has a rich powerful rock voice, which somehow reminds me of Cher. She also sometimes uses pure semi operatic voice as well. The first four tracks rattle along at a cracking pace, with head banging riffs, anthemic vocals, melodic keyboards by Stefano, and excellent guitar work by Raffo. On ‘From Here to Eternity’ they take the pedal off the metal for a soaring power ballad (special mention for the superb guitar solo), before the instrumental shred fest ‘Event Horizon’ picks up the pace again for the final four numbers. All the songs are first class, so it is unfair to single one out, but White Witch deserves an extra mention. The album is also very produced, with a clear, rich sound. This band deserves a good promotional push and is highly recommended for fans of Sonata Arctica, Nightwish Rhapsody, and Holyhell. Available at http://andromedarocks.com/Product-WINTER-HAZE_11366.aspx and will soon be released by New Music Germany. 9/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

WINTER HAZE...'SILENT DECEPTION' EP

(Self Released) Reviewed 22nd April 2012

Wow! What can I say about this awesome Italian Band fronted by the rather good looking Giorgia, and not only can this lass sing, she graduated in a Conservatory of Music in Saxophone. She plays sax, piano, bass guitar, guitar and flute, so she is not just a pretty face! And her saxophone playing can be heard in the rather catchy opener 'Cross The Sea'. The sexy smooth sounding sax intro sets the scene before drums, guitars and synths come blasting out of the speakers in a wall of sound, that will knock the senses out of you. And I will say that this is one of the coolest openers one will hear this year in this style of music - damn cool! 'Vacuum' provides a ferocious growl from keyboards player Stefano, this track offering a powerful Beauty & Beast sound. The title track commences with an operatic vocal intro, and this track is another B&B special, also showing the versatility of Giogia's voice that can swing from an operatic to a rock style at will. Closer 'The Watchmaker', is a classic with Symphonic elements, and like the other tracks here, showcases Giorgia's awesome vocals. 'Silent Deception' is a gratifying release from this band, offering up a successful melting-pot between symphonic, gothic and power metal coupled with a progressive accent. And I would love to hear more from Winter Haze as and when more numbers become available. This band released their debut album 'The Storm Within' in 2009, and this EP should cement their place within the genre. They should do well, so check them out at their website here ...9/10 (Dave)

WINTER IN EDEN..'AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD'

(Independent Release) Reviewed 29th July 2009

Winter in Eden are a young symphonic rock band from the North East of England, this is their debut EP, which really shows off their range. The great Within Temptation would give their right arms for the first track ‘Fate Will Oblige’, a dramatic, highly melodic piece of premier league symphonic rock/metal. The second track shows their more rocky side and is based around a great guitar riff, with a rousing chorus sure to appeal to all rock fans. The third track is a slowly building ballad, which really shows off Vicky Johnson’s deep, powerful voice. After witnessing the band live, they have plenty more great material in the tank, and I can’t wait for a full release. The tracks are available to buy at "OurStage.com". for only $0.99. Please see their Myspace for details of upcoming gigs and more band info, www.myspace.com/winterineden. Better get along to one of their shows and buy a copy, you’ll be more than impressed! 9.5/10 (Reviewed by Phil Wooldridge)

WINTER IN EDEN..'AWAKENING'

(Independent Release) Reviewed 8th May 2010

Winter In Eden...what can I say? This band can be summed up as being a totally awesome gothic act from NE England, and should, no I shall rephrase that - WILL take on the world and win! I know for a fact they are causing a stir in some parts of Europe, at a certain website in the USA and here in their homeland, and it is about time the bigger labels woke up to this band. Fronted by the vivacious Vicky Johnson (who is surrounded by some extremely competent musicians who make up WIE), 'Awakening' is their debut full length offering, and there is simply no justice in this world, if this band does not crack the big time. The album gets going with 'Oblivion', a cool intro before the songs chugs out of the speakers. A great start, with almost a progressive slant at times during this track. 'Inside', the next song, ups the tempo a little more, while the excellent 'Fate Will Oblige' will be familiar to those who own the band's EP. 'Stolen Fairytale' is so catchy that it just bangs around in your head ages after hearing it. I am in seventh heaven! 'Aragon' is an instrumental that leads us into the uptempo 'Ruled By Fear', before 'Frustrated Dreamer' confirms to me what an awesome band the UK has here. Great track! 'At The Edge of The World' and the tear jerking ballad 'Cry' are up next, these are two of my fave tracks btw, that featured on the EP, while the interestingly titled instrumental 'Windelfell' is next. I wanted to do an Irish Jig when I saw this live. The slightly prog metal feel of 'Alighieri' is next up and when I googled Alighieri, it came up with an Italian poet. The closing duo - 'The Awakening Chapter One' and the lovely 'The Awakening Chapter Two' closes what to me is an extremely inspiring album, that should grace everybody's cd collection. Vicky has a distinctive and captivating vocal style, and it is this style that gives Winter In Eden a sound of their own. With production by Fred Purser (Tygers of Pan Tang), this is a very good record which can be purchased at http://www.winterineden.com/. Please support this band, and a note to record labels - start forming an orderly queue here. 9.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

WINTER IN EDEN...'ECHOES OF BETRAYAL'

(LycanMediaGroup) Reviewed 24th April 2012

Formed in 2009, and from the UK with two releases already under their belt, the awesome Winter In Eden continue to fully impress with this, their latest opus of Symphonic Metal, that will continue to take the genre by storm. Okay, I admit that the band and myself, particularly Vicky and Steve are pretty close in a business and friendship sense, but close or not, 'Echoes of Betrayal' is one helluva release that surely will propel the band into the Premier League, that is assuming they are not already there. Vicky's relaxed vocal style is soft, natural and confident, while the band in general confidently mold together so well, that you would have thought they had been going for years. Stylistically, very different from their female fronted contemporaries, Winter In Eden has a musical grace here on this album which is totally compelling! 'For The Few' lays down the gauntlet with Samuel Cull proving too that he can shred it on the guitar. 'Possession' highlights Steve's keyboard style, totally awesome I might add! Indeed, this is one of my fave numbers on this record. 'The Awakening Chapters III, IV and V' continue from Chapters I and II from their previous release, Chapter V being a totally cool piano led instrumental full of emotion. 'Trapped' sees Vicky back in action, and with another cool guitar solo to boot - "You won't find the real me, I've been lost in a fantasy". Damn sure some of us have been there, while 'Lies' is a heavier sounding number with Vicky stamping her authority, with the lyrics "I just can't stand your lies, lies, lies". Yep, I think I and others can relate to that in the past. 'Suffer In Silence' is a complex and heavy number, while the track 'Eyes of a Child'. Well just read the lyrics to this one as I am sure some families can relate - a family break up. Daddy has left home, but he has a new family and HIS child does not fit into his/her Dad's new family anymore! Sad but true!! 'What We Leave Behind' is another moving emotional song, while 'Stone Cold' has a progressive feel. Closer 'The Secret Room' rounds off what is going to be one of my albums of the year. Regards the music here (some tracks of which have already been showcased at some of their live gigs), well it is a lyrical roller coaster ride of emotions for any listener, many of these emotions we can relate to including myself. A purchase is a must for the music fan out there. This is a mighty release from a mighty band, and the only way for them from now is UP!!! Vicky's day job is a Solicitor, so on this your honour, I rest my case! 10/10 (Dave)

WINTER IN EDEN...'COURT OF CONSCIENCE'

(Cherry Red Records) Reviewed 1st September 2014

This is a difficult review to do as I know Winter In Eden very well indeed, and I want to try and be impartial while doing this review. So here goes! Fronted by Vicky Johnson, this is the band's third full length album and this time the band has gone for it big time - 'Court Of Conscience' being produced by Ruud Jolie and mixed by Stefan Helleblad (both from Within Temptation), and featuring guest vocals from Damian Wilson (Threshold, Headspace, Maiden uniteD) and Jermain van der Bogt (For All We Know, Ayreon). The record kicks off with the track 'Knife Edge', and a corker it is too - Symphonic heaven. Next up 'With Intent' is a catchy rocker and is the first single from the album, while 'Critical Mass Pt 1' is another masterpiece and has hints of Within Temptation of old. 'Toxicate' showcases perfectly Vicky's vocals, the track having a strong Progressive Rock/Metal undercurrent. 'Order Of Your Faith' takes us close to the half way mark and is an addictive powerful rocker, again with a subtle progressive flavour, with the following track 'It's Not Enough' showing us that Vicky Johnson's other 'arf Steve is a dab hand at taking care of the keys and synths. And this is one of my fave tracks from the album too. With very little to fault so far, the remaining five tracks all offer the listener loads more highlights than a high octane Newcastle v Sunderland soccer game! Some awesome stuff from tracks like the very catchy and accessible 'Before It Began', the ballad 'The Script' and the awesome 'Constant Tomorrow'. This band from NE England has matured over the years like a really good wine and there is very little if anything to fault across the eleven tracks here. Check out their website at www.winterineden.com.....10/10 (Dave)

WINTER STORM..'SERENITY IN DARKNESS'

(Independent Release) Reviewed 2nd December 2010

Winter Storm is a local Dark Melodic Metal Band, based in-fact just a few miles from Ravenheart Music HQ in Kidderminster. The band fronted by Hannah Fieldhouse work hard and gig endlessly, and now they have their very first cd to be proud of. Having seen this band live more than once, I was rather curious as to what they sound like on cd. To be honest, I was not disappointed, and this is another band that seriously could and should challenge the bigger bands on mainland Europe. As mentioned above, the music falls into the Dark Melodic Metal Category, with Hannah's vocals being clear and at times near operatic, without overdoing it, and overall musicianship from the band is damn cool. Although lyrically dark, the music itself is at times quite upbeat, while maintaining an element of heaviness and darkness, with one of my faves being the catchy 'The Embrace', this song in-fact stays in your head for ages! 'Internal Storm' thunders along, while 'Inner Demons' starts slow and atmospheric, before the chorus thunders out of the speakers and hits you between the eyes. There are other good tracks on this release including the heavy 'Dark Wings', while I feel that Winter Storm by and large would be the right type of act to be supporting a band like Draconian, without the male growly vocals. Check the band out at their website, whilst I must say that this release is good with awesome musicianship throughout from all concerned! 8.75/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

WINTER STORM...'WITHIN THE FROZEN DESIGN'

(Self Release) Reviewed 23rd September 2013

Winter Storm (Facebook) is a band very local to Ravenheart Music and 'Within The Frozen Design' is their second album. I will admit and say that I was pleasantly surprised and impressed by the band's first record 'Serenity In Darkness', and I must say that this pretty much follows on from their debut. However, I do feel after repeated listens that this release is an improvement on the debut, though having said that, the debut is still a very good release! The album sets it's bench mark with the opening trio of 'Cold Creation', 'Wasted Feelings' and 'Shadow Weaver' - a great start!! 'Symmetric Flow' and 'Afraid To Speak' have perhaps a little more commercial appeal in their make up, with great melodic guitar solos to boot, and these are becoming my fave tracks on the album. 'Beneath The Mystery' returns to a more darker theme, while 'Broken World' is an instrumental that breaks the proceedings up rather nicely. 'Universal Design' regains the momentum with other highlights to my ears being the Gothy and melodic 'Gatekeeper' and the closer 'The Frozen Siren'. This is another very good effort from a band that is on the rise, offering up catchy and melodic songs with a Gothy and Symphonic undercurrent, and is another release that is well worth checking out...9/10 (Dave)

WIPE AWAY..'PUNISH and REWARD'

(Self Release) Reviewed 26th October 2010

From Macedonia, the small former Yugoslavian country who managed to make the supposedly mighty England look like a bunch of chumps, comes this duo comprising Zarko Atanasov on all instruments and Marina Atanasova on folky vocals. Zarko also has also released a couple of albums with his other project My Darkest Time. Although described as gothic doom, I find their music more relaxing and moody rather than dark and depressing with a variety of tempos employed, if Within Temptation had persevered with their ‘Enter’ sound, then they may have made an album similar to this. There are loads of keys and subtle symphonic sounds, lots of changes of pace, tone and direction within each song, and it is quite proggish at times. Marina often duets with herself providing some unusual and sometimes atonal harmonies, and while Zarko contributes some occasional background whispers, this is not a growl fest unlike many Enter type albums. Everything is well recorded and mixed and all the songs are full of intrigue and unusual twists and turns, faves include the title track ‘Punish and Reward’ and ‘The Seven Trumpets’. For those of you in the northern hemisphere suffering the onset of a punishing winter this is the perfect soundtrack, while those basking in the sun can reward themselves with this ideal chillout. Available for your listening pleasure at www.wipeaway.bigcartel.com and for digital download at http://store.undark.net/, their Myspace is www.myspace.com/wipeaway, a rewarding rather than punishing 8.25/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

WISE GIRL...S/T EP

(Self Released) Reviewed 6th May 2013

Wise Girl is a melodic power pop/ rock outfit crafted and fronted by songwriter Abby Weitz, hailing from the heart of Manhattan, New York. A native New Yorker, Weitz earlier led the adrenaline-fueled punk group, the Lookaways, which became known for playing notorious clubs around the city such as Sin-E, Lit Lounge, Don Hill’s, including the legendary CBGB’s, as well as playing the Van’s Warped Tour. Here, Abby and the band present us with a three track EP of Quirky Power Pop - 'Set In Stone' being the opening number and the single which in itself is receiving rave reviews, and just shows the awesome musical direction Abby is taking this band. Next up 'Wishful Thinking' is in-fact one of my faves from the EP, a great mid tempo melodic plodder, while closer 'Roles Are Reversed' is a quirky song that sticks around in your head begging to be played again. Indeed, all three songs here have this uncanny ability to stick to you like glue. Their FaceBook is here and the EP can be purchased from iTunes. Good stuff... 8.5./10 (Dave)

WISE GIRL...'YOU'LL JUST HAVE TO WAIT'

(Self Release) Reviewed 16th September 2013

I reviewed a three track EP by New York PowerPop/Rock outfit Wise Girl back in May and I did rather like what I heard. So now we have a full length cd that has now come my way, following hot on the heels of the EP. Fronted by the rather quirky 6 foot tall Abby Weitz who also plays guitars and writes the tunes, this cd consists of 10 tracks of hideously infectious tunes that will have you tapping your feet and bouncing around your living room in no time at all. 'You'll Just Have To Wait' is a fine way to kick the album off, but second track 'I'm A Freak' is a catchy and memorable tune that caught my attention right away. Another fave track from the album is 'Leave Me Out Of It' which to me shows mass cross over appeal and screams radio airplay. Indeed, with further cool tunes like 'Little White Lies' and lead single 'Stuck In This', the band has set the bench mark for the future, while the closing duo of 'Wishful Thinking' and 'Roles Are Reversed' were featured on the EP. Overall, all ten numbers here are damn good and deserve to be heard on any radio station across the planet. Okay, the all out Metal fan may disagree and not be too keen on this album, but for anyone who is open minded regards their music, and loves catchy, modern and melodic Pop/Rock music, check WISE GIRL out, as to me the young Abby is a very wise girl indeed writing stuff like this. Their Facebook is here ...8.75/10 (Dave)

WITCHCRAFT..'ASH'

(Ravenheart Music - Digital Release)

The Russian metal-band Witchcraft began to exist in 2005. It was initially just a gothic band, but some time later, Witchcraft started to mix different music styles and created a new experimental style, that they now call Dark Progressive Metal. Indeed, to be fair that would sum the music of Witchcraft up quite nicely. Fronted by Angel with clean male vocals by a guy called B. Golik, this their second release is an impressive record with liberal use of keys throughout the album. The keys kinda giving the record that Progressive feel. Some awesome songs here including the title track, the haunting ballad 'Frail Rime' (showcasing Frontlady Angel's impressive and angelic vocal style), the epic near 7 minute long 'Alive' and the beautiful 'Eternity'. Overall, this record is very consistent throughout it's 12 tracks, excellent all round musicianship and is well worth checking out, with a Worldwide release expected digitally via the Ravenheart label very soon. The band's myspace site is here. Great stuff..8.75/10 (Dave)

WITHHELD..SOLILOQUY

(Independent Release) Reviewed 22nd May 2008

Heavy rock music, including thick distorted guitars, squealing solos and a continuous low end - all of this layered by an angelic female vocalist - Shelby Standley. Welcome to Withheld. A very good modern rock/metal album we have here. Comparisons can be made to Flyleaf, with a vocal style similar to Amy Lee of Evanescence. The album rocks along quite nicely thank you, and is a consistent effort throughout - my best tracks being 'Astray', 'Thoughts Of Yesterday', 'Pity you', 'Fall Away' 'Goodnight Misery'. and 'Ideal Dream'. And check out the guitar solo on 'Somewhere The Sound'. The album is a well produced independent release and it can be purchased at cdbaby.com. 7.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave).

WITCHBREED..'HERETIC RAPTURE'

(Ascendance Records) Reviewed 5th July 2009

Witchbreed are a Portugese metal band featuring the powerful female vocals of Ruby and it would probably be a safe bet to say that 'Heretic Rapture' is one of the heaviest and darkest metal records ever recorded with female vocals. Witchbreed display a musical dimension of blackened guitar riffs and progressive song structures, underlined by subtle, cinematic keyboards and dramatic, haunting vocals. Proceedings get under way with the atmospheric intro 'Atheos' followed by the powerful but equally melodic 'Symphony for the Fallen'. The excellent 'The Eclipse' follows and it is obvious we have a monster album on our hands here. Standout tracks are a plenty including 'Rebel Blood', 'Firethrone' the atmospheric 'Ruby Light of the West' and 'Eternal Exile'. Terrific stuff. To sum it all up - this record offers fiercely aggressive song verses with memorable epic choruses, coupled with enough power to light up the streets of Lisbon. And thanks to Steve at ST Records in Dudley for a complimentary copy of this cd - 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Aimee)

WITHIN TEMPTATION..'THE HEART OF EVERYTHING'

(Roadrunner) Reviewed 8th March 2007

Close on top of Sirenia's awesome offering, we now have this!! Like buses, you go ages, then 2 come along together!!! Now, I will get straight to the point. Dutch rockers Within Temptation are one of my favourite bands. No question. So I myself am so pleased to have my paws on this, their latest offering. This album WILL please all W.T.fans, and many others too. 'The Heart Of Everything' kicks off with 'The Howling', a collaboration with the fantasy game 'The Chronicles Of Spellborn'. A heavy track that then leads us into the band's first single from the album, 'What Have You Done', feat Life Of Agony's Keith Caputo. Perhaps a nod towards Evanescence, but see if I care. W.T were around first anyway! 'Frozen' is totally mind blowing, as is about EVERY other track on this cd. 'Hand Of Sorrow' and 'Final Destination' being such tracks! Within Temptation are being pushed hard in the UK by their label, ROADRUNNER, and to be honest, the WORLD is now their oyster. With Nightwish still on hold, all I can say is, Within Temptation are now top of the league with this cd. It's great stuff, I love it. Sharon and her fellow band of musicians are totally mind blowing. It is our first 10/10 (backed by Aimee and Rachel), and worthy of it too!! (Reviewed by Dave).

WITHIN TEMPTATION..'BLACK SYMPHONY'

(Gun/Roadrunner) Reviewed 3rd October 2008

I am not going to say much as the music should and will do the talking. Within Temptation has released the album of the decade here. And for those that buy the cd/dvd package. The dvd has been filmed with fourteen high definition cameras, while the concert itself features the 60 piece Metropole Orchestra and a 20 voice classical choir. The whole thing is breath taking. Within Temptation are Premier League. Sharon Den Adel is one helluva of a front lady too, and this girl oooozes charm and charisma. I shall make a bold statement here - no band on this planet (male or female) comes anywhere near WT. Within Temptation are in-fact in a league of their own with the competition well out of sight. Enough said..10/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

WITHIN TEMPTATION..'AN ACCOUSTIC NIGHT AT THE THEATRE'

(Roadrunner Records) Reviewed 1st November 2009

I will not hide the fact that Within Temptation are one of my fave bands, and in my eyes, they can do very little wrong. I think signing with Roadrunner was a very good move, and the label has got behind the band over here. The last offering from WT, 'Black Symphony' took my breath away, and this latest release meanwhile, should keep all WT fans happy until a new studio album appears - it has sure made me happy. All the biggies are here, being given the acoustic treatment, with strings etc. So much atmosphere on this record that you would be able to walk on the moon without a moon suit! Like one or two others in the biz, I did wonder whether this 'unplugged' treatment of their hits would work well, but rest assured, it does. And the unreleased song, 'Utopia', a duet with Chris Jones, a Liverpool guy now living with his girlfriend in Edinburgh, is really cool! Not perhaps a record to listen too if you are missing a loved one, but I will be honest and say that I like this record a lot. But as Ravenheart Aimee has just told me - "no surprises there then my dear" :) Get it! 9/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

WITHIN TEMPTATION..'THE UNFORGIVING'

(Roadrunner Records) Reviewed 18th March 2011

WIthin Temptation...need I say anymore. A fave band of mine without a doubt, and a new direction? Maybe, but it works, although some will argue with that assumption no doubt. Certainly to my ears it does anyway. The brief 34 second intro 'Why Not Me' takes us onto the totally cool 'Shot In The Dark' showcasing the band's new Rock direction. And as catchy as hell I might add too. And you have no time to catch your breath when 'In The Middle of the Night' hits ya! Great guitar intro, and this track almost flirts with Power Metal Territory, certainly a high tempo number and with a great catchy chorus! Next track up 'Faster' is certainly well publicised now and needs no intro - a great track and now becoming one of my fave WT tracks. 'Fire and Ice' is a gothy super cool 4 minute ballad, possibly dipping their toes into more familiar Within Temptation territory, great piano and strings throughout. 'Iron' ups the ante, and the band sure pump some with this track, super cool! 'Where is the Edge' will be familiar to fans, and a rather typically sounding Within Temptation tune to boot, while 'Sinead' is a cool and very catchy sounding rock number, a highlight of the album. 'Lost' is another awesome sounding power ballad together with great guitar solo. The closing trio of 'Murder', 'A Demon's Fate' and the ballad 'Stairway To The Skies' are three totally dynamic rock numbers to finish on. To summarise, real fans don't have to like the new direction of WT's music, but real fans should also have the decency not to bitch about it. The band are on top form, Sharon has never sounded better, and to my ears this record is cool, has a rock edge for sure, but it is still unmistakebly Within Temptation. This is a sure fire winner and will get a 10/10 (Dave)

WITHIN TEMPTATION...'HYDRA'

(Dramatico) Reviewed 10th February 2014

I have stalled reviewing this album until I got a second opinion from my partner in crime, Aimee. I will make it common knowledge that to my ears (and to Aimee's as well) this band can do no wrong. However, is that about to change? Well a "yes" and a "no". This record is good, indeed very good. Within Temptation seem to be steering away to an extent from the Symphonic Gothic Sound that has put them where they are and the sound that I so adored. But to the band's credit they are are moving on, leaving a void that other bands now seem to be filling. Sharon Den Adel is on top form although to be honest, I am not totally sure about some of the vocal collaborations, but that may change in due course. 'Let Us Burn' is a powerful and pounding way to kick the cd off, together with it's hideously catchy chorus and showcasing Sharon's fine vocal prowess. Next up is vocal collaboration number one - the galloping 'Dangerous' featuring ex-Killswitch Engage frontman Howard Jones - indeed that collaboration does work rather well and I like the synths. Some rapper called Xzibit (never heard of him) pops up on 'And We Run' - rap ain't quite my thing, but overall this track is good. Symphonic Metal Queen Tarja (ex Nightwish) appears on 'Paradise (What About Us)', and this is one of the better numbers from the album - a Symphonic Metal blaster. The next five tracks are Sharon and Within Temptation through and through and as one would expect, are damn good. These five include the atmospheric and powerful ballad 'Edge Of The World' - wonderful. The closer 'Whole World Is Watching' featuring Dave Pirner from the band Soul Asylum finshes the album on an awesome note - this in-fact being another fave of mine from the record. 'Hydra' is a slick piece of commercialism and a very good record, but I think I perhaps just may prefer the Within Temptation of old - the jury is out on that. And my edition has a bonus cd, tracks 1-4 being covers being featured on 'The Q Music Sessions', coupled with four 'Evolution' tracks of numbers featured on the main disc. 18 tracks - I wholeheartedly recommend this, a top drawer release... 9.5/10 (Dave & Aimee)

WITHOUT A WHISPER..'CAUGHT IN THE FIRE'

(Independent release) Reviewed 9th Sept 2006

Without A Whisper (pictured above right) from the USA, have dragged melodic hard rock into the 21st Century with this album, and have taken no prisoners! Pamela David's vocals are awesome, and the musicianship and production would put some major labels to shame. Which does beg the question...why are this band unsigned? This is a cd that has not left my cd player since it arrived at Ravenheart Music a couple of days ago. I am not going to sit here and review each track, the whole cd rocks, and there is not a filler in sight. I like the bonus track too..a nice atmospheric instrumental piece. And if you want to hear a power ballad to end all power ballads, then listen to 'In Your Eyes' (track 5). Subtle use of keys, awesome vocals, and a guitar solo to die for! In an emotional moment, one listening to this track could even find themselves shedding a tear! I love this album...The music biz is not my day job, because if it was, I would sign this band.. NOW!! All I will say though, is that if any record company bods do come across this review, then please start to form an orderly queue, and do it NOW, because this band have what it takes to be big..in Europe and the USA...buy it via cdbaby.com 8/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

WOODSCREAM..'PENDRAMA'

(Self Release) Reviewed 25th May 2011

Fronted by Valentina Tsyganova, Woodscream is one of the brightest young bands on the underground scene of Saint Petersburg. The music performed by Woodscream is a harmonic composition of the various genres of modern metal, which includes the elements of European folk traditions and the atmosphere of the dark middle-age tales on which the lyrics of majority band’s songs are based. This five track EP is very representative of what I have said above. Sung in their native Russian, the tracks here are rather quirky and terribly cathcy from the opener Равновесие (Equilibrium) to the closer Аконит (Aconite). Pop to their Myspace here, whilst I can whole heartedly recommend Woodscream as a band to be watched. Very good! 8.5/10 (Dave)

WOODSCREAM...'OCTASTORIUM'

(Self Release) Reviewed 2nd October 2014

I was initially a little wary when I was given this release to review, but what I can say is that Woodscream from Saint Petersburg (Russia), presents a tuneful union of different styles of contemporary metal, incorporating elements of European folk traditions and gloomy atmosphere of medieval legends, which is the solid basis of Woodscream's lyrics. And all this is well showcased in this stunning 8 track offering from the band. Female vocals are courtesy of Valentina Tsyganova who also plays the recorder, with harsh vocals and growls from Alexander Klimov and Ivan Budkin. As with this style of music, we have a violin (Anastasia Smelova) and well, what can I say? The album is chock full of very catchy up tempo Folk/Metal sung in the band's native tongue, not too disimilar to the eastern Russian band Grai, who play a similar style of music, and who have recently been reviewed on this very site. The tunes here bang around in your head long after they have finished and to sum it up, this is a splendid release. Get more information on the band here... 8.5/10 (Natalie Gold)

WORMHOLE..'THE STRING THEORY'

(LadyMusicDistro) Reviewed 27th January 2012

Italian Band Wormhole was born in April 2003. The original line-up included Domenico (bass), Francesco (guitar), Paolo (drums) and Marfa (vocals), replaced by current vocalist Valentina in 2006. The band aimed at starting a project with female vocals, in which the dark mood of the musical structures and vocal melodies would have melted with the typical dissonant post-rock style and the entangled prog-rock rhythmic patterns. Indeed a wormhole stands as the metaphor of a link between ideas, sounds, words and contrasts which at first sight may appear too distant from each other, and which are connected in the same way as parallel dimensions are connected. Anyway, with this their latest 9 track recording, the band has taken their music towards a more simple plainer Gothic Metal sound, imagine if you will a mix of Evanescence, Lacuna Coil and The Gathering, and that should tell you perhaps where this band is travelling. Some good numbers here, mainly floating between Rock and Metal but melodic and accessible. Further information can be obtained from their Facebook site, whilst I am totally gobsmacked at the amount of good music that is floating around at the moment. The band has recorded two EPs, this is their first full length offering, and I wholeheartedly recommend this to our readers..8.5/10 (Aimee)