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Reviews S cont (2)

SERENITY..'DEATH & LEGACY'

(Napalm Records) Reviewed 27th February 2011

This is the third album from this Austrian Symphonic Metal Band. The album embarks on a journey to discover the historic figures of ages past. Embellished in Symphonic Metal garb, Christopher Columbus, Giacom Casanova, Sir Francis Drake, Queen Elizabeth I and many more prominent figures take center stage. Cool me thinks! Okay, although technically a male fronted band being led by the awesome vocals of Georg Neuhauser, this release sees contributions from Ailyn (Sirenia), Amanda Somerville (who needs no introduction) and Charlotte Wessels (Delain). We also have choral arrangements courtesy of Lanvall (Edenbridge). Generally for the uninitiated, Serenity offers the listener a Symphonic mix of Melodic Metal, and would appeal to many fans of the genre (male and female fronted). Ailyn from Sirenia duets with Georg on 'The Chevalier'. This track being a reference to good old Casanova, and we all know who he is! The slower 'Changing Fate' features the lovely Amanda Somerville, and marks Queen Elizabeth I and Sir Francis Drake's 'debut' on the record. The pounding and catchy 'Serenade of Flames' sees young Charlotte from Delain putting in her appearance, on a track that I believe is a reference to Heinrich Kramer. I must say that I have immensely enjoyed 'Death & Legacy', and the album rarely relents in quality over it's 16 tracks and close on 70 minutes duration (Digi-Pak version). You sure get your money's worth and I whole heartedly recommend this release to fans of the genre. 9/10 (Dave)

SERENITY...'WAR OF AGES'

(Napalm Records) Reviewed 18th March 2013

On their fourth album, the Austrian Symphonic Metal band dives deep into long forgotten centuries and draws the listeners attention to historical personalities like Henry VIII of England, Napoleon or Alexander the Great. Numerous concerts have matured the band’s songwriting skills and the interaction between the individual musicans. This is the reason why 'War of Ages' is filled with excellent and characteristic compositions and world-class refrains, for which the term "catchy" would be an understatement. The mixture of remarkable riffs, perfect timed variations from symphonic passages up to ballads, shows SERENITY’s ability to write haunting songs. The band has reached their musical and lyrical height and in particular Georg Neuhauser impresses with what could be his best vocal performance so far! And for all you female lovers out there, and that is why you are reading this (is it not?), Clementine Delauney guests on vocals. Some cracking numbers here including 'Wings Of Madness', 'Shining Oasis', the bombastic 'Age of Glory' and the catchy 'Tannenberg'. We then have the ballads 'For Freedom's Sake' and 'Royal Pain', both duets featuring Georg and Clementime. Friends of AVANTASIA or KAMELOT should lap this up, and therefore have to make sure to give this album a spin! But there again, everybody should go get this too - a great release!... 8.75/10 (Aimee)

SETANERA..'SPETTRALIA' EP

(Independent Release) Reviewed 14th January 2011

I am totally fascinated by what the genre is throwing at us at the moment, quite simply an onslaught of female fronted bands, and I am enjoying it. This little lot hail from Rome and are fronted by Valentina Setanera. They have given us 5 tracks of Symphonic Gothic Metal in the process, and pretty good it is too. The six minute plus 'Black River' gets proceedings underway, and is a monster Symphonic Metal song, this being followed by the bombastic title track, sung in Valentina's native tongue. Third track in 'Lie' has a cool atmospheric intro before guitars, drums and the keys kick in big time, an awesome in yer face catchy melodic tune, with excellent vocals and great guitar solo to boot! 'Journey to the Freedom: Prelude' is simply that, leading us into the final track, 'Journey to the Freedom', a Nightwish style rocker of the highest pedigree. I am beginning to hear rumblings from some quarters of the industry that the female fronted genre is simply saturated with too many bands. Okay, there may be quantity, but there is plenty of quality too, and this band are quality. Check them out for yourselves at www.myspace.com/setaneraband.. 8.5/10 (Dave)

SETANERA...'NEW ERA'

(7HARD Records) Reviewed 5th June 2015

Here is yet another album to grab ya by the doo dahs! Setanera come from Italy, and from 2004 to 2009 they played as an Evanescence cover band. A wee while ago (Jan 2011 to be precise), they released a five track EP that was rated highly here at Ravenheart Music. So now in 2015, the band at the end of May released their debut offering and this is another album that has completely blown us away here at the Towers - the tracks that featured on the EP are also on this recording. This Symphonic Metal album gets going with the oh so catchy title track, and if that doesn't have you bouncing around your house, well nothing will. With subtle electro elements popping up at times throughout the record, next up 'Bring Me Back' is a heavier but equally melodic offering, and I love the vocals of Valentina Setanera, and the choral symphonic bits - awesome! 'Spettralia' was featured on the EP and is just another great offering sung in the band's native tongue. 'Dance Floor' is a pounding bouncy number as the title may suggest, the first four numbers of this album having blown me away! 'I Must Go' enables you to catch your breath and is a breathtaking 5+ minute piano led power ballad, while the 6+ minute 'Black River' is a bombastic and yet another catchy Symphonic tune, which appeared as the opening track on the EP. 'Oltre' is a slow but powerful atmospheric track again sung in Italian I believe and all this is leaving me breathless - totally overwhelming!!! 'Heroes' is not David Bowie but is another impressive track from these Italians, while the Evanescence sounding 'Lie' (again from the EP) just maintains the awesome momentum of this album. With closing duo of the Folky/Symphonic Metal of 'Meadows Of May' and the Symphonic 'Journey To Freedom', I am having big problems finding fault with this impressive album. It is a wholesome band effort led by Valentina, some great guitar work too from Alex Merola, but all I can say is get it and listen for yourselves, you will not be disappointed... 9.75/10 (Dave)

SEVERNICA...'LONG LOST LONGING'

(Self Release) Reviewed 15th July 2014

Another interesting release from Finland and a band that is showing promise from what is on this EP. Fronted by Maarit Nieminen, ' Long Lost Longing' from Severnica (www.facebook.com/SevernicaOfficial is a mini cd of four crafted tracks of Symphonic/Melodic Metal, which although following a tried and trusted formula, are still worth a listen if you ask me. Maarit's vocals take on a poppy style bordering at times with the operatic without really becoming operatic if that makes sense. 'My Journey' sees the addition of gruff male vocals, which indeed enhances the listening pleasure. I would like to hear more from this band in due course, but this is not bad for starters... 8/10 (Dave)

SEVEN KINGDOMS..S/T

(Nightmare Records) Reviewed 25th Sepember 2010

Seven Kingdoms is a young band that hail from the USA and they are fronted by Sabrina Valentine. A departure from the band's debut in-fact, as the debut had a certain Mr Bryan Edwards as their singer. This latest release of theirs can best be described as catchy Melodic Power Metal. After a short intro, 'Somewhere Far Away' blasts it's way out of my speakers with it's catchy chorus to boot, as the band lay their cards on the table as to what to expect on this release. Get your swords out folks as next one up, the equally catchy 'The One Who Breathes The Flame', maintains the momentum, also featuring some harsh male vocals. 'Open The Gates' and 'Vengeance By The Sons of a King' are powerhouse songs, and after listening to 'Open The Gates' a few times, it is becoming an album fave of mine. Other fave tracks include the commercial and rather catchy 'Wolf In Sheeps Clothing', the piano based ballad 'A Murder Never Dead' and the epic closer, 'Seven Kingdoms'. I have not heard this band's debut with Bryan Edwards at the helm to make comparisons, but what I like about new vocalist Sabrina's vocals is they are good without being overdone, and she seems to suit the songs rather well. A release that is well worth checking out for fans of the Power Metal genre, 8.25/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

SEVEN NAILS...'FACTORY OF DREAMS'

(Self Release) Reviewed 8th February 2013

This German band were founded in 2010 by singer Daniela and have grown into a septet with a three voice attack, she is joined by violinist/vocalist Marion and clean gothic rock singer Julian. Their male/female vocal combination and the use of violin draws comparison with fellow German gothic metallers Regicide, but there is also a strong gothic rock, doom and prog rock tinge to their style as well. The well recorded sound has an earthy live feel to it, as if they are kicking up storm in your living room, with drummer Johannes beating seven bells out of his drum kit. The songs develop organically, almost psychedelic at times, with the singers combining with Marion's violin, guitarist Mathias and keyboardist Tim to stir up a swirling maelstrom of sound featuring creepy sound effects, it's accessible but daring. The album is roughly divided into three parts, although every song is expansive and goes through several moods. After the spooky intro the opening trio starting with title track 'Factory of Dreams' really rock along menacingly, before the album becomes darker, more dramatic and more brooding with tracks such as 'Pfaraos Call' and 'The Way To The Butterflies' with the use of gothic flanged guitars. 'Let Me Breath' picks it up for the final third which includes the splendid 'Phantoms' and the last track 'Eyes of Medusa' has an eerie hidden instrumental finale. I would have liked to have heard more use of three part harmonies, and Julian's somewhat monotone voice can drag the music down, he should take more of a back seat and let the girls shine. Seven Nails have produced a most intriguing and adventurous gothic rock/metal album with a unusual melange of styles. You will find their factory of dreams here - a daring 8.5/10 (Phil)

SEVEN WATERS...'HUNTER'S PREY'

(Self Released) Reviewed 9th July 2015

Here is what can best be described as a rather cool band from The Netherlands. This by all accounts is their 2nd EP and needless to say, as with most bands from Holland, the music here is rather good. I would class it as Melodic Metal with subtle Progressive tendencies. Fronted by Karen, there are four numbers on this EP, all of which tick all the right boxes! The opener and title track commences instrumentally and briefly sounds like something from Gustav Holst’s ‘The Planet Suite’, before the band kicks in and ups the ante - awesome. Second up ‘Weight of Loss’ maintains the momentum carried by the opener, and is sheer evidence why the Dutch are good at this game. The 7+ minute ‘Mother Egypt (All For Love)’ is a totally epic and majestic tune, the EP closing with the bouncy ‘Broken Images’. Advice: Why not check out their website at www.sevenwaters.nl/, where you will find the video to the title track - this song and video is also a booktrailer for the fantasy books "Hunter and Prey" from Kim ten Tusscher. Well recommended... 8.75/10 (Dave)

SEVENTH SEEKER...'ANGEL'S TEMPTATION'

(Self Release) Reviewed 14th May 2013

Seventh Seeker (FaceBook) fronted by the angelic vocals of Daisy Brookman is a new female-fronted band taking the South Coast of England by storm, playing a melodic mixture of hard rock and metal. Full of powerful guitar riffs, technical rhythms and resonating lyrics, Seventh Seeker takes you on a journey through good and evil showcasing their talent for creating catchy and melodic tunes. Four tracks on this EP, all awesome Melodic Hard Rockers, and to be honest there is some corking stuff here. This is the second review I have done today relating to a band from the south coast of England and with Vampyre Heart already established in that part of the world, is this area of the UK becoming the new mecca of Rock & Metal? Cool stuff and a band well worthy of checking out...8/10 (Dave)

SEVENTH SIN...'WHEN REALITY ENDS'

(Self Released) Reviewed 30th January 2014

Holland throw another beast at us and it would be a sin to ignore this lot! They are Seventh Sin and this is another band that cannot and must not be ignored - they could well be the next big thing to emerge from The Netherlands and you read it here first. Fronted by Monique Joosten with occasional grunts by Roy Geelen, this release deserves to be massive. And furthermore they are looking for a label. With powerful lyrics, Symphonic tunes and a beautiful voice, this is right up my alleyway and there is very little I can fault here. Just listen to the opening salvo of 'Hysteria' and the melodic thumper 'Alone Again' and you will be hooked, guaranteed. The remainder of the album continues in a similar vein, so if the opening duo does not have you hooked, just listen to the catchy 'Wings Of Despair', the power Symphonic balladry of 'The Well', the Power Metal feel of 'The Choice', the Edenbridge sounding 'Silent Tears' or the Within Temptation'ish balladry of 'Just An Ordinary Day' and I am sure you will feel there is something special on show here. Having shared the stage with (among others) Epica, Delain, Leaves Eyes, Asrai, Kamelot, Revamp and Stream of Passion, this has given the band a comfortable headstart to what should be on this showing predictable success. A tour in February on UK soil with Edenbridge is one of the things in the near future to look forward to. Their website is here and this is well recommended by the Ravenheart team,- so if you like Within Temptation, Delain, Edenbridge amongst many others, then go for it, you know you should... 9/10 (Dave)

SHADOWGARDEN..'ASHEN'

(Napalm Records) Reviewed 2nd August

Here we have a Gothic Rock/Metal album full of longing, tragedy and melancholy. Shadowgarden's debut is characterized by somber riffs, driving rock grooves and catchy melodies. Mastermind Johan Ericson (Draconian), who formed the band with Andreas Hindenas sure has come up with a winner here, enlisting the help of his Draconian colleagues Lisa Johansson and drummer Jerry Torstensson along the way. The cd gets underway with 'Shadowplay', this track starts quietly, before the band kicks in, and this track pounds along with a slight progressive feel as well. 'Last Summer' rumbles along at a steady pace, while third track in, 'With Love and a Bullet' features Lisa on lead vox and is another pounding anthem with a hideously catchy chorus. The catchy choruses pop up throughout the album with the mind blowing 'Sorrow's Kitchen' and 'Way Down Low' being further fave tracks of mine. The pace actually doesn't really relent from the beginning to end, and perhaps the only resemblance to anything Draconian is last track, the epic 'Slowmotion Apocalypse'. Although Lisa Johansson is in the fold, most of the lead vocals (clean) on this release are done by Johan, so not strictly a total female fronted release, but this record will appeal to fans of pounding Melodic Gothic Rock and Metal. I like it!! 9/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

SHADOWS' GREY..'BONJOUR TRISTESSE'

(Twilight Records) Reviewed 4th March 2011

Say bonjour to the debut album by this Austrian quartet featuring the dual vocal attack of Albert Gruber, who reminds me of Michael Stipe, and the beautiful Martina Penzenauer with her rich, powerful, soulful, and very versatile voice, with music by bassist Martin Moser and guitarist Dominik Sebastian. They produce unique symphonic metal with elements of gothic, prog, melodic, classic, soft and alternative rock/metal, what they concisely call Prothic Metal. I could say that this bit sounds like Within Temptation, that like Evanescence, that like Ayreon, that like Asia, that like America, etc. etc. etc. but the review would end up 10 pages long. This is a band that refuses to follow a formula, so expect anything and everything - lovely piano, delicate acoustic picking, terrific guitar solos in a multiplicity of styles, superb instrumental passages, piledriver riffs, soaring refrains, catchy hooks, deep emotionally charged lyrics, children's choirs, rich orchestrations, etc. etc. etc. But remarkably it all fits seamlessly together. When reviewing I put a star by the outstanding tracks, I ended up with a star by every song, my jaw was sore from hitting the floor. They range from the powerful 'I Search For Your Hand', to the anthemic 'Gone' (video on Female Voices blog), to the catchy 'Worlds Collapse', to the moving acoustic 'The Promise', to the more prog 'Love is Suicide' (co sung by Martin), to the sensational ballad 'Farewell', and the last track 'Scargod' is the best song that REM have never recorded. Scargod, by the way, was the original name of the band. Strangely the first track 'Cold' has some Cookie Monster by Robert Bogner (In Slumber/Olemus), a bit worrying for an anti growler, but thankfully it never reappears. Robert's band mate Wolfgang Rothbauer also contributes his deep dark gothic tones to the epic 'Lust'. Production is excellent, and it hasn't been over polished so you still have all the dynamics and oomph. This is like a compendium of all my favourite music packed into 60 minutes of pure listening pleasure, this is so far up my symphonic, prog and classic rock/metal street it's sitting with it's feet up watching my telly. Their Myspace is here and it's available from all the usual places, a jaw dropping 10/10 (Phil)

SHADOWICON...'EMPIRE IN RUINS'

(Self Release) Reviewed 25th July 2012

Showing that symphonic metal is spreading across the world, this Slovenian band were formed by guitar playing friends Tomaž Lovšin and Bojan Kostanjšek in 2006. This début album shows colossal ambition, a historical epic that tells the true story (not the Shakespeare version) of the war between Anthony and Cleopatra against Octavian (born Octavius, later called Augustus) who became first emperor of Rome, which resulted in the destruction of the Egyptian Empire, hence the title of the album, and you can read about it in great detail in the booklet. Fittingly their music is also epic symphonic metal, taking elements of bands like Rawkfist, Ideas, Edenbridge, Wildpath and especially Lunatica to create their cinematic soundtrack to this classic tale of love and war. Jule's drumming uses double peddling very sparingly, when it is used is the light French fluttering galloping style buried in the mix, and their Queen of the Nile Ana Prijatelj has a lovely angelic voice somewhere between Ailyn and Andrea Datwyler, so their music never gets into full power metal Ancient Bards/Rhapsody territory, but is just as gladius waving epic. The album is comprised of thirteen towering mighty multi-faceted blockbusters packed with Tomaž and Bojan's intricate inspirational guitar work and decorated with Peter Smrdel's majestic orchestral keyboards and florid synths, it's all extremely lively, melodic and catchy, but also adventurous, imaginative and creative, with a suitably mystic eastern vibe and fascinating lyrics. The scene is set with Caesar's treacherous assassination, 'On The Ides of March' (great song), as Caesar himself so succinctly put it, “infamy infamy, they've all got it in for me”. A series of terrific tunes including the splendid 'Eastbound' takes you through the events leading up to 'The Alliance' (superb number) between the lovers Anthony and Cleopatra, and the pivotal 'Battle of Actium', a massive and dramatic 4 parter as befits a conflict that involved a staggering 400,000 soldiers. The repercussions are portrayed by the final songs, resulting in the tragic deaths of Anthony and Cleopatra in the 'End Of Days' (another outstanding track), and we end with their legacy, 'Immortal', which includes a hidden reprise of 'Battle of Actium' to round things off and it is a worthy testament to the mind boggling amount of time, creativity and effort put into it by the whole band. Their forum can be found here, a heroic 9.25/10 (Phil)

SHADOWICON...'SMOKE & MIRRORS' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 28th January 2015

Born and raised in Slovenia, ShadowIcon fronted by the sexy poppy vocals of Ana Prijatelj Pelhan, is a six piece Melodic Metal band with a heavy impact and a compelling vocalist. Their previous album ‘Empire in Ruins’ picked up excellent reviews around Europe and the US (inc this site), now they’re back with a brand new EP totalling six epic songs. Taking elements from metal and thrash, but marrying them to a tuneful vocal and a great appreciation for a stylish groove, the band serve up a potent blend of heaviness on this new EP. And this is immediately brought to the fore on opener '(Now I See) Through A Mirror Darkly'. Great powerful Melodic Metal with subtle symphonic elements - cool!! 'If I Was The One' is a catchy rather bombastic number which bangs around in your head long afterwards, as does following track 'The Edge'. 'The Beauty Of A Rose' is a fave track of mine that has the beauty of a rose, a compelling 5 minute power ballad that gains momentum to become a melodic thumper - awesome! The closing duo of the oh so good 'My Plea' and the reprise of the opening number do not disappoint, so in summary: Building on the new Melodic Metal sound of the debut, the songs are a fusion of different tastes and styles from the band’s three songwriters, all blending into a great cocktail of pounding drums, searing guitars and piercing vocals. This is also in-fact an innovative double CD release, featuring a 2nd CD of instrumental versions, and it all gets released March 16th. The band's website is at www.shadowicon.com - mixed and mastered by Charlie Bauerfield and Thomas Geiger (Helloween, Blind Guardian) this is well recommended .. 9.25/10 (Dave)

SHADOWRISE...'ESCAPE FROM SHADOW ISLAND' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 24th May 2016

From the south of the Netherlands in Eindhoven; the metal capital of the Netherlands, Shadowrise is born; a Symphonic Power Metal band inspired by heavy melo-death. Fronted by Laura Guldemond (Ayreon – The Theater Equation Choir, Robby Valentine) and with male grunts courtesy Roman Potasse, Shadowrise I am sure will release a storm on the metal scene as we know it, with this their debut EP! Opener 'Rise' pounds out of the speakers knocking you against the wall, offering up heavenly clean vocals and those dirty grunts, giving the music a much heavier feel. And that opener sets the scene rather nicely - 'Django' is a melodic Symphonic belter, while 'Monsters' is a monster of a track! The pounding title track closes this rather cool EP, the album itself being a melodic yet heavy record, with beautiful guitar harmonies and riffs, heavy blast beats, thundering bass together with clean and harsh vocals, not forgetting loads of neo-classical influences added by Shadowrise’s Daniël Boomsma. The band can be checked out at www.facebook.com/shadowrisemetal... worth looking into.... 8/10 (Dave)

SHADOWSIDE..'DARE TO DREAM'

(LCM/SkyBlue Music) Reviewed May 1st 2010

Even though these four metallers come from different origins (Lithuanian, German, Portuguese and Italian), they were born and raised in the land of soccer legends, Brazil. And with one full album already under their belt, in 2009, Shadowside's second studio effort 'Dare To Dream' was considered to be one of the best releases of that year by the Brazilian Media. Now us Europeans and indeed the rest of the world, has the chance to make our own minds up when the album sees the light of day across the globe on May 28th. Fronted by the rather lovely Dani Nolden, her voice may give you an idea as to what Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden) may sound like if Brucie was a lass :) This is pretty tasty melodic power metal, with the emphasis on melody and a little less on the power.'Nation Hollow Mind' comes out of the blocks however, quicker than Eugene Bolt on steroids, which is then followed by 'In The Night' with it's catchy chorus. 'Last Thoughts' showcases Dani's awesome vocal prowess, and indeed, for such a pretty petite looking lass, she has one helluva powerful voice. The melodic 'Hideaway' follows and this ranks as one of my fave tunes on the album. 'Baby In the Dark' with it's subtle use of synths keeps the momentum going, while 'Ready Or Not' is another catchy melodic track, taking advantage of Dani's powerful voice. The second half of the album does not relent, producing further excellent catchy melodic metal including the title track and the rather cool ballad 'Time To Say Goodbye'. Recorded, produced and mixed by Dave Schiffman (Audioslave, System of a Down, Six Feet Under) and mastered by Howie Weinberg (Iron Maiden, Metallica, Pantera, Rush, Aerosmith and several others), 'Dare to Dream' is sure worth checking out. 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

SHADOWSIDE...'INNER MONSTER OUT'

(Inner Wound Recordings) Reviewed 25th May 2012

Brazilian based band Shadowside fronted by the rather nice Dani Holden, serve up another platter of blistering tracks with enough energy to light up the streets of Rio! This is their 3rd full length offering, and they do not hang around, as the numbers here move along like a herd of buffalo, that has no intention of stopping. Blistering tracks like opener 'Gag Order' and closer 'Waste of Life' will leave you reeling, while what is in between will leave you breathless but wanting more! And furthermore, we have guest appearances from Soilwork vocalist Bjorn Strid, Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquility) and Niklas Isfeldt (Dream Evil). With their sheer power, energy and in yer face intensity, Shadowside continues to keep Brazilian Heavy Metal on demand internationally. Great stuff so buy it, up the volume and annoy the neighbours - go on, I dare you! 8.75/10 (Dave)

SHARKMUFFIN...'1097'

(Self Release) Reviewed 28th April 2014

Want a band with a shark like attitude? Sharkmuffin was born when Tarra Thiessen awesome shredder and vocalist discovered bassist/vocalist Natalie Kirch at the Jersey Shore and joined forces on July 4, 2012 only months before the very beach house in which they met was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. After a run with a few various drummers, Janet LaBelle stepped up to complete the sonically-crushing trifecta. There are four tracks here on this EP offering up a raw punk like sound, with Thiessen not only wailing on guitar and vocals, but incorporating a Theramin. Seven and a half minutes of playing time - imagine The Ramones having fun with The Slits - these girls don't give a f**k. 'Ten Ten' will blow your mind and the final number 'Soft Landing' rocks in a hard rockin'sorta way - great guitar solo and rather good I think. Their Facebook is here... 8/10 (Dave)

SHAYTAN...'HARDSHIP WASTELANDS' EP

(Self Released)

This to me is festival music - muddy fields, people forgetting about the troubles in the World and enjoying themselves etc. And I would imagine this band is good live as a consequence. Shaytan in-fact, is a hard rock/heavy metal band from Italy and this offering gives us seven tracks of hard rock/metal music, with a strong retro feel to my ears. The production is a little muddy but has that raw texture and indeed, I honestly believe it gives the music that 'live feel'. The vocals of Maria D' Urzo are possibly more from the Amy Lee school of vocals which suit the music fine. Shaytan define their style as 80's hard n' heavy, with elements (subtle) of Psychedelic Music and Electronica, rather cool and I tend to agree. Check them out here - 7.75/10 (Aimee)

SHEAR..'IN SOLITUDE' EP

(Self Released) Reviewed 22nd September 2010

Shear is a 6 piece band from Helsinki, and when this turned up at Ravenheart Music in an envelope from Finland, my anticipation overwhelmed me, bearing in mind the awesome music that comes out of that country. And I have not been disappointed. What we have here on the band's first official release are 4 tracks of totally absorbing Melodic Metal/Power Metal, featuring Alexa Leroux on vocals, with excellent all round contributions from the other band members. The title track gets things underway, a powerhouse of a song, with a cool guitar solo and great harmony vocals. 'Scorched' hammers it's way out of the speakers - great intro to this song courtesy of Lari Sorvo on keys and with another great chorus, together with another awesome guitar solo. This EP is good! 'Trapped In A Shell' follows with yet another rather cool synths intro and the pace does not slacken, and neither does the high dosage of melody coupled with the great musicianship that prevails throughout the CD. The powerful 'Mistakes' end this little offering, and this 4 track EP I must admit has got me rather interested in this band. Shear I understand is currently writing material for a new album. I can't wait - check them out at www.myspace.com/shearofficial. 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

SHEAR..'BREAKING THE STILLNESS'

(Lifeforce Records) Reviewed 30th January 2012

Finland do it again, what do the Scandinavians put in their water? You have seen a lot of female fronted metal bands over the past few years. While most of them tend to drift into a gothic like direction with angelic female voices, SHEAR and especially the voice of Alexa Leroux is different from the competitors in the sometimes all too similar sounding bands of the genre! Hailing from Helsinki, this sextet is finding its own path by bringing you a fresh approach to a sound in between melodic metal, symphonic power and classical rock. We have 10 superb tracks on 'Breaking The Stillness', which is the band's debut. The obligatory power ballad is there, 'Stillness' is still a powerful number however, but brings a little calm to proceedings, great guitar solo too. The album showcases well arranged and dramatic songs, with catchy hooklines that many listeners will find very enjoyable. Each track offers it's own distinct feel, with great all round musicanship coupled with the superb vocals from Alexa. Anybody who loves heavy guitars compliments of Mikael Grönroos and Lauri Koskenniemi, great keyboard atmospheres from Lari Sorvo and the catchy vocals courtesy of Alexa of course, then they will love this! Well recommended when it gets released on March 26th. 8.75/10 (Dave)

SHEAR...'KATHARSIS'

(Lifeforce) Reviewed 17th April 2014

There is some really good music coming my way at the moment and Shear is no exception. Indeed, they could well be the next big thing to come out of Finland, with Katharsis being their second full length offering. Fronted by Alexa Leroux who I must add has one helluva set of pipes, the band hurl at us 11 tracks of what can best be described as awesome Melodic Power Metal with subtle Prog, Gothic and Symphonic undercurrents. OOhhhh, this is so good and thunders along at some pace. I am struggling to dig out any highlights as all the tracks are that good, with some damn good performances from all the musicians involved. But tracks I currently do dig are 'Hollow, Black & Cold', the melodic 'A Hopeless Tragedy', 'For The Restless', the powerful and melodic 'Not Myself' and the dynamic closer 'Turmoil'. This is a very good record from a very promising and fine band and should be lapped up by fans of the genre.. 9.25/10 (Dave)

SHINE IN ASH...'No Way Out'

(Jetglow Recordings) Reviewed 2nd July 2015

Shine in Ash is an Italian metal band born in Padua in 2007. The band was founded by the bass player Enrico Coi, the guitarist Paolo Braghetto (who is also the main composer) and the singer and lyricist Eleonora Sattin. The final line up was acquired when the keyboard player Giorgia Alfonsi and the drummer Giovanni Renzini joined the band. Shine in Ash play a genre characterized by a mix of prog, metal and gothic elements coupled with symphonic influences, and that is well characterised by the nine cuts here. Certainly the prog and symphonic elements shine through which makes Shine In Ash a little different from the major players in this field. The band's Facebook is here....well worth checking out even though the album was released some months back... 8.25/10 (The Nugget)

SHINY BLACK ANTHEM...'UNBREAKABLE'

(Self Release) Reviewed 10th May 2016

Shiny Black Anthem is an Italian band featuring the glamorous fashion model Sarah Moon (recently featured in Playboy Magazine) on vocals. They offer the listener an alternative rock/metal sound inspired by bands like Paramore, Pvris and the like. And to be honest, this is another album that has dropped in here that we find rather cool. Thirteen tracks of captivating melodic tunes, that to be totally honest are all damn good. After a brief instrumental opener, fist track proper 'Fade Into White' kicks in with its catchy chorus, although I did begin to find the chorus a little repetitive as the tune wore on. Some interestingly titled tracks too like 'Your Lips Are Cocaine', which offers up another catchy/melodic chorus as do most of the numbers here. Other highlights include 'Let Me Out (I’m A Monster)’, the powerful ‘Your Enemy’, the catchy ‘Give Me More’, a fave of mine being the belting ‘Chasing Shadows’, with another great chorus and the awesome power ballad ‘Alone In My World’ that features Daniele Tofani. All out headbangers may wish to steer clear of this album, but for fans of the aforementioned bands (Paramore etc), then this 13 track radio friendly alternative rock release is well worth checking out when released 8th July, and is recommended as a consequence by the Ravenheart team. The band’s Facebook is here, the recording being produced by Daniele Ingrati and Becko (Universal Italy) @ Skie Studio... 9/10 (Dave)

SHIVERBURN...'ROAD TO SOMEWHERE'

(Self Release) Reviewed 21st June 2016

Shiverburn from The Netherlands was launched by vocalist Sanne Heuyerjans and guitarist Erwin Jongenelen in 2013, releasing their 4-song 'One Step Closer' EP in 2014, before finalizing their current five piece line-up. With a successful crowdfunding campaign behind them, the band has now released this their full length debut. This newie is the expected and very necessary step up from the EP. Shiverburn has maintained their mainstream sound – some people have called it pop – but have branched out from their working formula for what the band calls “a more original approach to the music”, resulting in an album best described as American rock oriented. They cite bands such as Nickelback, Paramore, Halestorm and Alter Bridge as the artists that influenced Shiverburn‘s direction. Certainly those influences are not far from the mark within the 12 uplifting tracks on this album - Alternative Rock with a Gothic subtleness. Holland sure seems capable of producing the musical goods and this is another fine offering from those shores. The band without any label backing has recorded a frikin' goodie here, and has also attracted the attention of Within Temptation guitarist Ruud Jolie (who guests on the new album), manager Menno Kappe (Graviton Music Services), and co-manager Sander Gommans (ex-After Forever) in the process. I well recommend this record, the band's website is here.. 9/10 (Dave)

SIEGFRIED..'NIBELUNG'

(Napalm Records) Reviewed 1st January 2010

Seeing as the album is entirely in German, I had better explain what it is all about. Shortly after the Roman Empire crumbled legend tells us that a Burgundian royal family called the Nibelung settled in Worms, Germany. Their most famous descendants were King Siegfried and his Queen, Brunhilder. This legend then got so mixed up with countless different Germanic and Norse tales that it is impossible to tell fact from fiction, and unlike the contemporary King Arthur, they never coalesced into a consistently coherent story and cast of characters, no one can even agree on the spelling of Brunhilder, let alone who she was. The main crux of the saga was a ring of gold that gave the owner world domination, and the various battles fought for its possession (where’s Indiana Jones when you need him?). The most famous adaptations are Wagner’s ‘The Ring’, and of course, ‘What’s Opera Doc’ with Elmer Fudd’s immortal, ‘Kill the Wabbit, Kill the Wabbit, (all together now) KILL THE WABBIT!’ However, this Austrian warband certainly take these legends seriously, creating an almighty, epic, symphonic metal soundtrack to these stories. Three singers help to portray the various characters, Werner Bialek – melodic male, Bruder Cle – aggressive male, and the undoubted star of the show, the seductive Sandra Schleret (Elis) with her rich, soaring, semi operatic vocals. Alex Krull (Leaves Eyes, Atrocity) supplies his customarily exemplary production job, and indeed the closest parallel is with Leaves Eyes, only with more menace, power metal and drama. I’ll put it like this, in a punch up between the Vikings and the Nibelung, my money’s on the Nibelung. The album is made up of nine epic anthems that swirl from terror to soaring refrains to orchestral gothic grandeur. They conjure up images of battles, knights, maidens, castles, blood, despair, greed, power, love and hate, helped by the excellent artwork. ‘Brunhild’ (see what I mean about the different spellings) and ‘Totenwacht’ (please excuse the pronunciation) are choir drenched melodramatic showcases for Sandra’s extraordinary voice. This album batters the brain with its aural assault, in the nicest possible way, and is a damn site more fun than sitting through 15 hours of Wagner. Being on Napalm there is no need to go on an epic quest to Valhalla and battle Wotan, King of the Gods, to get a copy; it is easily available from all the usual outlets. 9/10 (Reviewed by Philip Wooldridge)

SILENCE THE ARIA...'YANYEU FAREWELL'

(Self Release) Reviewed 17th Feb 2015

Progressive Metal group Silence The Aria is the effort of Ian Brush (composition, instruments,scream/growl vocals) and Meghan Alvis (singing/lead vocals). Originating in Denver, Colorado as a solo endeavor, this latest release has unleashed Meghan’s angelic vocals into the foreground. I admit to not knowing much musically about this band and Ravenheart Dave sure doesn't either, but nonetheless, lets have a crack at the whip and get the review done for the site. There are six tracks here, clocking in at roughly around the 33-34 min mark, so not a lengthy effort by any means. Opener, the awesomely monickered 'Let's Just Not Call This What It Is' seems to be divided into two parts, a good deal of instrumention within the opening track and it is well executed Progressive Rock/Metal, awesome vocals from Meghan too. 'Giant Dead God' follows which features deathly growls from Ian, while 'True Position' has a kinda Middle Eastern vibe coupled with some rather good technical wizardry, which propels this song into the very good category. 'Silence of the Aria' is a slow atmospheric number clocking in at a little under three minutes, this gently leads into 'There's Life In Here' which ups the ante somewhat, becoming a hammering Progressive Metal creation. Closing track from this cd is titled 'Onward Outward' and closes the album on a fine note. The cd lands March 12 2015 so I believe and although this may not be everybody's cuppa tea, it is well worth checking out for fans of technical and progressive rock & metal, the record offering a metal sound of movement and ever changing soundscapes. More info about the band's music here... 8/10 (The Nugget)

SILENTIUM..'AMORTEAN'

(Dynamic Arts Records) Reviewed 10th February 2009

Slipping quite nicely into the Symphonic Gothic Metal/Progressive genre, here we have a half decent release that has recently found it's way into Ravenheart Towers. Silentium hail from Finland (no surprises there) and can trace their roots back to the 90s, and this I think will be their fifth full release. 2009's 'Amortean' is an awesome slab of plastic that should grace any femme lover's music collection. Uptempo opener 'Leave The Fallen Behind' does exibit some Nightwish influences, but is an awesome openener nonetheless. 'The Messenger' slows it down but at the same time showcases Riina Rinkinen's lovely voice. 'A Knife In The Back' is a great atmospheric track, and yep, I am a sucker for the awesome female voice, and this gal has just that. Other faves on what can best be described as a beautiful record include 'The Fallen Ones With You Tonight' and 'La Fin Du Monde'. Great stuff, and what I want to know is how our Scandinavian friends keep coming up with the goods? Worth checking out!! 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

SILENT DELUSION…’IN STATE OF DELUSION’

(Self Release) Reviewed 31st March 2016

The Silent Delusion project led by Gonçalo Antunes, with collaborators Duarte Cruz and Daniel Pereira is a music project rooted in heavy metal, but with a strong melodic sense and a pop sensibility, resulting in an accessible and very captivating sound. This release contains interpretations by female vocalists of recognizable value within the Portuguese metal scene, reinforcing the innovative and unique character of this work at the national level. The guest artists are: Sara Freitas (Monolith Moon), Diana Rosa (11th Dimension), Rute Fevereiro (EnChanTya, BlackWidows) and Célia Ramos (Mons Lvnae, Red Rose Motel, Candymoon). There are eight tracks here and pretty good they are too. We have the standout up lifting melodic opener ‘Traveling In Time’, the equally as awesome but slightly heavier ‘Equilibrium’, the seven minute majestic ‘Come Fly With Me’, and the heavy but equally as catchy ‘War Within’. But there’s more! The pace does not slacken as further pounding melodic tracks blow your mind… there’s the occasional power metal within the number ‘Hollow’, the mid-tempo ‘Hurricane’, the operatic folk influenced ‘Return of the King’ and the awesome progressive influenced closing track ‘Delusion’. Everything on this album drives along as smooth as a well driven formula one racing car, and as previously stated, is very accessible and should appeal to all fans of the female fronted melodic metal music scene. View a video taster to the record here…this is well recommended when released in May… 9.25/10 (Dave)

SILENT DIVIDE...'MASTER OF DISGUISE'

(Self Released) Reviewed 14th January 2015

Silent Divide fronted by Marianne ('M') Harrington, is a 5-piece and very good original rock band hailing from Essex (UK), formed in 2014. January sees the release of this, their eagerly anticipated debut EP 'Master Of Disguise', and they have already been offered stax of airplay from numerous radio stations in England, America and Europe upon its release. This is a good rocking album that will please fans of in yer face Metal. No frills here, no Operatics, no Gothic shenanigans, just good old Rock 'n Metal that should be played loud, taking no prisoners in the process. I would imagine this Essex band is totally awesome live, especially with tracks like the opener 'Pieces That Bleed' and closer 'Broken Name' and the three tracks sandwiched in between :) Totally awesome. The musicianship here is from the top drawer, but you can find out for yourselves here... 8.5/10 (Dave)

SILENT ELEGY…’GONE WITH THE WIND’

(Self Release) Reviewed 29th May 2016

‘Gone With The Wind’ is the Chinese Symphonic Metal band Silent Elegy's debut full-length album, which they put a lot of immense effort in. The band has gone famous in China due to their unique and epic composition, and the beautiful and totally magical voice of their vocalist Gabrielle Li. Hoping to take a step further - to step out of China into the international music scene, they hired the Canadian producer James Zhan from James Z. Productions to handle the production of the album. The whole production process lasted nine months, during which the songs were further refined in both composition and production aspect. The result of everyone's hard work is for all to hear and it is hard to believe that they are actually from China. By saying that, I am not being disrespectful to China, but this album has a strong European feel to it and is damn awesome! The opening track ‘Reborn’ is a bombastically catchy song that will have you humming the chorus long after it has finished, while ‘Valkyrie’ has a Tarja era Nightwish feel to it, like many of the numbers here in-fact. The amazing album continues with tracks like the pounding ‘Indelible Memory’, while tracks like ‘Redemption’ sees Gabrielle literally letting rip with those awesome operatic vocal chords of hers. ‘Never Meet Again’ is a thundering number with pounding guitars, and again we have those amazing vocals. Then we have the ballad, the lovely ‘In My Dreams’!! Everything here from track 1 to track 10 is magical and this album I know will appeal to many if not all fans of female fronted Symphonic Metal. This is a real corker and if there are more bands in China like Silent Elegy, I would like to hear those too – well recommended and it can be purchased where I bought it from – CDbaby…9.5/10

SILENT LIE...'BLOOD UNDER SNOW' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 20th June 2013

Italian Band SilentLie was conceived in 2005 from an idea by Giorgia (vocals) and Luigi (guitar). Fast forward to 2013, and on this 5 track EP, they offer the listener a mix of Hard Rock and Metal coupled with a dark atmosphere to boot. In-fact, I am finding this EP a rather pleasant listen, with the songs not only offering up a good mix of Rock and Metal, but with a fair dose of melody too which adds to the musical experience. 'Regret' and 'While I Hurt Myself' is a great up tempo way to start the cd. The rather good music continues with the massive sounding title track that has a great verse and chorus with a subtle progressive undercurrent, and I am sure will be begging for airplay on my radio show (www.rockindocradio.net). With three awesome tunes under the belt, I wondered whether maybe the quality would drop regards the closing two numbers, but no way as the formidable 'Cruel Look' hammers out of the speakers, followed by the 6 minute plus atmospheric but rocking 'Any Emotion In You'. This is a very good EP from a band who are hoping to release a full length album in 2014. Their Facebook is HERE. Recommended... 8.75/10 (Dave)

SilentLie...'LAYERS OF NOTHING'

(Bakerteam Records) Reviewed 17th March 2015

Established in Trieste, Italy in 2005, SilentLie fronted by Giorgia Sacco Taz, were initially influenced by the rising male-fronted Gothic Rock movement. After their first EP 'Behind My Face', which includes songs being used in several compilations, one of them, 'River of Torments', becoming part of the soundtrack for the movie 'Blood Sisters', they released in 2013 the awesome EP 'Blood Under Snow', soon followed by the video clip for the song 'Regret'. In 2014 SilentLie settled for what are the songs for this their debut album, a mix of modern Hard Rock & Metal with dark atmospheres. And rather good it is too offering ten tracks of Melodic and very catchy Gothic Metal for the listener to enjoy. The album was recorded and mixed at Fear Studios (Extrema, Blaze Bailey, DGM) in Ravenna, Italy and mastered by Mika Jussila (Nightwish, Apocalyptica, Children Of Bodom) at the magical Finnvox Studios in Helsinki. There are highlights everywhere on this album (just listen to the title track!), by and large too numerous to mention, so just get it folks and enjoy - due April 14th.... 9.5/10 (Dave)

SILENT NIGHTMARE..'AWAKENING'

(Self Release) Reviewed 3rd August 2011

Here we have the début release from this American symphonic trio which is either a long EP or a short LP depending on whether you are a glass half full or a glass half empty type of person. They are fronted by tantalising Tara Duhan who has an authentic operatic voice à la the Finnish diva with the extra J, Tarja, and their music falls somewhere between her solo output and that other band she used to be in. However American bands tend to have an essence of traditional heavy metal in their music, such as the bluesy touch to the guitar solos, which differentiates them from their European counterparts. They awaken with 'Changing' which has a start so sudden it made me fall out of bed, a dramatic folk tinged song that alternates between vocal verses and a rousing guitar motif, in fact the guitar sound reminds me of bagpipes. 'Sleep' is suitably entitled as it sways and waltzes with a spiralling guitar solo by Aleks Jectic, and then they pick up the pace with the lively bouncing 'Nightmare' followed by the towering Nightwish esque ballad 'The Key' and the catchy rocking 'The Piper'. They are the first band I can think of who have been brave enough to attempt a Within Temptation song, in this case 'Angels', which becomes more operatic and heavier, more Nightwish than WT. The bonus track is a piano and voice version of 'The Key' which when stripped of it's backing becomes almost like a madrigal. The production by Dan Clark makes it all sound most professional, and should mention Tim Aujo's excellent drumming before I have to get a crash cymbal surgically removed. A highly promising opening gambit by this trio that well work getting out of bed for, it's easily available from CD Baby and their Facebook is here, an awakening 8.5/10 (Phil)

SILENT OPERA..'IMMORTAL BEAUTY' (Italian Band)

(Ravenheart Music) Reviewed 12th Sept 2011

Back in the far mists of dragon time, Lady Victoria, at the peak of her powers but fearful of growing old, stole a sacred lily and created an elixir that gave her the gift of immortal beauty, saving just one drop for someone she found worthy. The gods were angered and cursed her, anyone she fell in love with would perish. After many years of seeking gratification she met a charming young man named Rain who shared her lust for life's pleasures, thus she gave him the last drop of the potion and he too became eternal. Although forbidden to become lovers by the curse, they trod the ages enjoying the fruits of their desires, but their one true passion was music. In their quest to find kindred spirits they encountered the handsome young knight Sir Alexandre, who is half man, half ice, then a mysterious stranger called Shadow, and so, sayeth the legend, Silent Opera was born. Fittingly their music is ageless symphonic metal, traversing the terrain between the rhapsodic romance of Mother Earth/Silent Force era Within Temptation, the dynamic drama of Nightwish and the theatrical thrill of Phantom of the Opera. Equally dramatic is the unique voice of Lady Victoria, imagine if you will Cher after taking opera lessons, she is a singer born in symphonic metal heaven. Appropriately the lyrics are steeped in lore and fable, with a suggestion of bodice ripper, in 'Always With You' Lady Victoria seductively swoons “Our flesh entwines, Our souls touch in this hot breath, No inhibitions, Only wild instinct”, phew, it's getting warm in here. This song is a Kamelot esque epic duet with producer Michele Guaitoli from the power metal band Overtures who is a highly trained and qualified singer, musician and engineer, and his skills shine in the superb sound that he has achieved. Rains shows that equally adept with the guitar and keyboards, powering the music along with his riffage and solos as well as supplying the suitably grand orchestrations, spine tingling pipe organ and rippling piano. They never let up in the quality, whether it's the more gothic 'Mask Manor' and 'Hidden Lies' or those with a touch of power metal like 'Chapter 7' and 'Selene', or the towering ballad 'Farewell'. A particular favourite is the rousing 'Morningstar', featuring a guitar solo by Michele's Overtures band-mate Marco Falanga, and another highlight is 'Lilium' (video on Female Voices blog) which tells the tale of the lily. I love albums that end with an epic, and they certainly don't disappoint with their immense nine minute signature tune 'The Silent Opera'. This is classic symphonic metal with a timeless beauty that will enchant all who treasure this most enthralling of genres. Their website lies beyond the fields we know in the land of the Ravenhearted at www.silentopera.it, a legendary 9/10 (Phil)

SILENT OPERA...'REFLECTIONS' (French band)

(Massacre Records) Reviewed 7th January 2014

The French Epic/Melodic Progressive Death Metal Band Silent Opera have been known to me for a while. I even had a promo copy of this album long before many other people had heard it, and even chatted to the band on Skype some months ago. This is in-fact their second album following 'Act One' which was released in 2010. Fronted by the female voice of Laure Laborde and the death growl of Steven Schriver, this brand new album from the band consists of nine tracks full of rawness and strength, enlightening all inner troubles that people can suffer throughout their lives. Some thumping stuff on this record, the opening five numbers show no mercy as they hammer their way out of your speakers, mixing up a recipe of aggressiveness, plaintive melodies and effective riffs, the vocals of Laure and Steven combining together really well. Apart from the slow, beautiful and brooding 'Chronicles Of An Infinite Sadness', the remaining numbers including the 11+ minute closer 'Sailor Siren and Bitterness' carry on the momentum, offering the listener totally uncompromising raw death metal, perfectly blended with a pure and epic atmosphere, gothic music and melodic symphonic elements. This cd will be well worth checking out when it gets released on 21st February by Massacre...9/10 (Dave)

SILENT PROPHECY..5 track EP

(Self Released) Reviewed 6th June 2012

Silent Prophecy hail from Bournemouth, and with my mates Vampyre Heart also from that seaside town, maybe Bournemouth is secretly becoming the mecca of all things Rock and Metal here in the UK. Fronted by Theresa Smith on vocals, this band has given us five tracks of pumping hard rockin' music on this EP. There is enough uuummmppp here to keep the metal fan happy, but couple this with platefuls of melody, and we have a rather interesting five tracks of music. The opening salvo of 'Collision' and 'Failed Remorse' sure sets the standard, and third one out, the thumping 'Break These Chains' maintains the uptempo momentum. You won't find any ballads here, as the progressive tinged 'Beings Within' shows absolutely no let up! Closer 'My Silence' brings the cd to an end, and begs you to press 'play' again. All the musicians involved with Silent Prophecy sure give it their all, and this band has with this release set a benchmark for other new bands to follow. Check out their Facebook here. Great hard rock from this UK band and as a consequence a rather cool 8.5/10 (Dave)

SILVERCAST...'CHAOS ENGINES'

(Self Released) Reviewed 16th December 2012

Russia throw at us another impressive band who go by the name of SilverCast. Fronted by the attractive Veronica 'Alternica' Moguilev-Volskaya, this Saint Petersburg band deliver Melodic Metal at it's finest, with varying degrees of Gothic and Power Metal to be found within the eleven tracks that the band has to offer on this release. The vocals are strong with more of a pop/rock vibe than the in yer face operatics that we have come to expect from some acts within the genre. 'The Steps Of Perfect Silence' kick things off rather perfectly, a great choral intro, and a thumping Melodic Power Metal number to boot togther with a great choral back drop! This is the kinda opener that makes me think 'Wow and this band are unknown?' And the pace does not let up as second up 'Mechanical Heart' kicks in - great keys on this one. 'Labyrinth' is sung presumably in the band's native tongue and is a great melodic rocker, while the 'Name of Chaos'sees keyboardist Max Kazunka being let loose on the piano, and continues the high standard set by the previous numbers! In-fact the quality by and large does not let up with further awesome numbers like 'Alexandrite', 'Crystal Flowers' (again sung in their native tongue) and the catchy and rather good closer 'Last Flight'. This album is a very good effort from this band and for anybody into Lacuna Coil, Within Temptation and Nightwish to name just three, this album just has to be checked out. Rather amazing if I may say so from this relatively unknown Russian band, visit their website... 9/10 (Dave)

SINCERITY GREEN..'THE OCEAN OF DREAMS'

(Black Listed Records) Reviewed 14th August 2010

Sincerity Green is a nearly all female (guitarist Mark is the lucky odd man out) symphonic gothic metal group from the Land of the Rising Sun who sound nothing like Japanese (apart from the one number in their own tongue). Attractive singer Michi has a sweet semi operatic voice which floats over their brand of up-tempo gothic music which lies somewhere around Within Temptation and Nightwish, full of cavorting strings and with a soft, warm, fuzzy sound. Keys player Miseana also contributes some rather alarming growls on ‘Dark Moon’ and ‘Invoke’, she looks too sweet and innocent to be capable of such noises! The picks for me are the two epics, ‘Dark Moon’ and ‘Concerto of the Sea’; the moody ‘Wicked Invitation’ built around Erica’s stalking bass line; the piano ballad ‘After Leaving All’; and the romping ‘Blaze Out’. The last track is a version of ‘Deck the Halls’ of all things, quite surreal listening to it in the middle of what passes as a British summer. I’have put a live video on the Female Voices Blog, poor old Mark is stuck up the corner! All in all a very pleasant and easy listen for symphonic metal fans.

SINCE EVER...'ISOLATION'

(Self Release) Reviewed 11th September 2015

Formed in 2012, Since Ever is a 5 piece Symphonic Metal band from Stockholm fronted by Linda Lundberg, and to be honest, anything out of Scandinavia and the surrounding regions will attract my attention. To be released on 2nd October, this is a massive mix of metal with a huge dose of Hans Zimmer-esque film-scores, which creates what we here at Ravenheart like to think is a very epic listening experience. Indeed, I must say that The Murder Of My Sweet (also from Sweden) springs to mind as a comparison, although Since Ever do have a sound of their own. I have already used the words "epic" and "massive", but those two words do sum up everything that is here, you can add bombastic to that as well. For a debut offering, this is absolutely superb, and I can honestly say that there is not a filler to be found among the 11 monster tracks! And with the final track which so happens to be the title track running in at over 10 mins, this is so damn good - the closing epic taking the listener on a great journey through the last days of our civilisation. I am finding it hard to fault this - great production, great musicianship from all involved. The band say that they are ready to embark on their quest for world domination, on this showing, they are almost there, not a bad start eh?! More info here... 9.5/10 (Dave)