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Ravenheart Reviews: Archived

Reviews S cont (4)

SNOVONNE..'IT'S SNO BABY - NOT SUGAR'

(Magic Minds Records) Reviewed 28th November 2010

Snovonne is a gorgeous, glamorous, gothic miss, educated in America, she lives variously in Slovakia, where she was born, London, where the album was recorded, and Hamburg, where she currently resides. The music stretches from delicate gothic beauty to full bore metal, taking in Danny Elfman, Hole, Evanescence, Lacuna Coil and the orchestral grandeur of Within Temptation on the way, all sung with her unique, tremulous, emotive voice, a mix of Courtney Love and Siouxsie Sioux is the closest I can get. Her brutally honest lyrics strip her soul to the bone, and are not for more sensitive ears. She is also multi-talented, as well as writing and producing all the music she also does all the stunning visuals and artwork as well, including an important member of the band, Simon the one eyed teddy bear who symbolises her hand-crafted art. The opening title track, the pounding 'It’s Sno, Baby – Not Sugar', makes a mighty statement of intent, a grooving, head-banging monster of a song (video on Female Voices Blog). Thundering gothic symphonic metaller 'Dressed in White (the Last Supper Song)' keeps up the momentum, '2 Damn Years' climbs from haunting piano to a powerful visceral climax, followed by a trio of cracking catchy gothic rockers packed with superb synths, including the bouncing, infectious 'Things I Can't See'. The piece de resistance is the mini epic 'Cradlesong' which starts with an orchestral waltz before building and soaring. Next up are a belting brace of groovy stomping industrial metallers, then the dramatic, immense, emotional, terrific twosome 'Life Needs Fools' and 'Tired', and finally the awesome symphonic rocker 'Not Me'. On the physical release you also get no less than four fantastic bonus tracks for your hard earned cash and production and sound is of the highest professional standards, despite being recorded in her own home studio. This is a young lady who is really going places, there is a massive international market of gothic and alt rock/metal fans who will devour this alive, to experience this yourselves ski to http://www.snovonne.nfo.sk/news.html, a bitter-sweet 9.5/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

SNOVONNE..'THE NIGHTMARE BRIDE'

(Rogue Records/Sore Media) Reviewed 16th March 2012

Snovonne Drake from Moldovia via London, America and Germany returns with a second serving of her extraordinary music. This is a concept album based on her nightmares and her struggle to deal with them so she can to come to terms with her inner demons, in other words marrying her nightmares, hence the title. It sees a departure from her début as she heads more towards theatrical gothic metal, in the struggle to come up with parallels for her highly unique music I would offer bands and artists like Dakrya, Diablo Swing Orchestra, Vic Anselmo, Marilyn Manson, Emilie Autumn, My Chemical Romance and Tim Burton. After the creepy intro 'Bedtime' with the sound of crying babies, German psychiatrists and various other noises that are enough to give anyone the collywobbles, you are going on one hell of a restless ride through the night with these 16 concise vignettes, each one swirling from tinkling atmospherics to cabaret piano to mighty riffing. She really strips her mind and her soul to the bone, her voice full of raw emotion, sounding at times suitably manic. This is not for those of you with a nervous disposition, scary clowns, headless dolls, demonic puppets, bullies, enemies, bogus businessmen (she was ripped off early in her career), zombies, fake friends, asylums, dangerous liaisons, in short all the stuff of sleepless nights. Notable songs along the way include the two singles 'Puppets Lyric' and 'The Difference' (both with videos on the Female Voices blog), 'Christine' with it's deranged 'House of the Rising Sun' organ motif, the duet with Bjorn Strid of Swedish death metal giants Soilwork in the dramatic 'Ill Will', and her band endorsed version of Sick of It All's 'Evil Schemer', which is done in Snovonne's style and nothing like the original. This is a challenging, emotional and offbeat album, but with a melodic sensibility and sense of the theatrical that makes it accessible. Bedtime awaits at her website here, a nocturnal 8.75/10 (Phil)

NATASCHA SOHL..'DIRTY LITTLE WORD'

(Granite Music) Reviewed 18th March 2010

UK Rock singer, NATASCHA SOHL, has an extensive profile of excellent shows, from intimate private parties to sold-out arenas. Born in Paris and a twin, she showed musical promise from childhood (writing her first song at 8 years old), but formed her first band LITTLE ENTITY while at Sixth Form college. I have Natascha's debut album in my collection, 'Strange Fascination', that I purchased a while back now for a silly cheap price on Amazon. 'Strange Fascination' alerted me to the fact that we have a talent here in the UK that should not go un-noticed. Fast forward to 2010, and 'Dirty Little Word' continues the good work, offering the listener a mix of gut-wrenching ballads and full-on stadium anthems, and it is damn good. Check out the title track as one cool rockin' track, and 'Beauty In Silence' that is so so catchy! Other goodies amongst a host of goodies include the rocking 'I'm Not Listening' & 'Yesterday's Rain' and the ballad 'Fade'. This is one for fans of pop/rock who are into Alanis, Kelly Clarkson, Avril and the like. Natascha is a real pro, an awesome lass and this album is well worth checking out when it gets released (12th April I believe). Check out her myspace, www.myspace.com/nataschasohl for more info. Good stuff indeed! 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

GRACE SOLERO..'NEW MOON'

(Wohone Records) Reviewed 12th May 2008

Grace Solero offers up 12 tracks of accoustic driven melodic modern rock, and this record is a very fine effort indeed. I know very little about Grace, but vocally (and powerful vocals they are too), I am sort of reminded of Skunk Anansie, and indeed to a small extent Ayin Aleph and Alanis Morissette aswell. The musicians that make up this band have come from far and wide, and have made London their home. There is not really a filler on 'New Moon', so my advice is to track it down and listen to the excellent tunes and lyrics on the album. You will not be disappointed. 8/10 (Reviewed by Dave).

GRACE SOLERO...'HUNDRED YEARS APART'

(Self Release) Reviewed 17th October 2013

We have here one helluva talented lass who goes by the name Grace Solero and she is based here in the UK. This is her second album, her previous 'New Moon' having first appeared in 2007 I believe - certainly the copy I have has (c)&(p) 2007 on it, although I believe the debut may have been officially released in 2009. And Grace and her multi talented and multi national band on this her latest record serve up a healthy dose of raw and explosive rock music, with the opening salvo of 'Riptide' and lead single 'Electro' showcasing this to a tee - a great way to kick off a great album. And that continues with tracks like the powerful 'We Don't Wanna', the Alanis Morrisette sounding and very catchy 'St Ives', the thundering 'Once Again', the massive sounding 'Yard Of Blonde Girls', the power ballad 'Far Away' and the acoustic 'The Woman By The River'. But having said that, the whole record is premier league stuff! I suppose one could compare Grace at times to the aforementioned Alanis Morrisette, but with a little more ooommmppphhh in the ooommmppphhh dept. However, I will say that this is a Grace Solero album through and through and is damn frikin' awesome. Take a trip to her website www.gracesolero.com/store/ to buy the album or get it from all the usual digital outlets. This is very good, very good indeed and I must whole heartedly recommend it... 9.5/10 (Dave)

SOLISIA..'ORDINARY FATE'

(Underground Symphony) Reviewed 7th May 2010

When this Italian quintet started cooking up the idea of Solisia in 2006, they took the finest ingredients to create their signature dish. Take a power metal band like Holyhell at full throttle, add a portion of Ayreon prog, a pinch of Dream Theatre and Rick Wakeman, mix in some AOR Asia type songs, top off with some Cher style rock vocals, cook well in an immense earthquake inducing production, et voila, you have Ordinary Fate. The platter is ram packed with goodies. Singer Marilena Stigliano has an awesome set of pipes with crystalline enunciation, sadly she left just after recording, and the new vocalist Medea has a massive set of boots to fill. The musicianship from the lads is top drawer, while the production by Simone Mularoni is of the highest professional standards. It is all wrapped in a lovely digi-pack with artwork by Alexandra V Bach who has worked with Kamelot, Adagio, Operatika and many others, his company is called Ravendusk, so they must be good! If you love power metal, symphonic metal, or any old sort of metal, then you will be by now stampeding your way to their Myspace site, www.myspace.com/173638483 , to order a copy, just form an orderly queue. 9.5/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

SOLISIA...'UNIVERSEASONS'

(Scarlet Records) Reviewed 15th October 2012

Formed in 2006 in Rome by keys man Wilson Di Geso and drummer Marcantonio Quinto, Solisia debuted with their awesome 2010 release ‘Ordinary Fate’. Now they have really engaged the turbo boosters on this new collection of earth shaking melodic prog power metal with symphonic flourishes, marked with a shift towards Gianluca Quinto's guitars. However, brand new singer elegant Elie Syrelia (she's so new, she's still XXX on their Facebook) gives them a very different, more expressive, almost Evanescence/Lacuna Coil esque alt-metal slant, she's something like Sy Armonight mixed with Amy Lee and Christina Scabbia, not the usual operatic or semi-operatic singer you normally get in this genre, which puts them out on their own. It's certainly an unusual mix of Elie's emotive vocals and the bands guitar driven powerful metal, put the two together, and you get Solisia. All the songs are tied together with a theme based on the condition of the human race, and propelled along once again by Simone Mularoni's thunderous production. They would make great James Bond themes, they have that instrumental dynamism coupled with Elie's belting vocals, pummelling the speakers to within a inch of their lives. They don't mess about, you are catapulted into the opening salvo of title track 'Universeasons' and the tumultuous 'The Guns Fall Silent'. But the bands falls anything but silent as they then hit you with massive stomping tunes like 'Kiss the Sky' and 'All I Want', which has a hint of Phantom of the Opera, full throttle thrill rides such as 'Mind Killer' and 'Dirty Feeling', and the humongous power ballad 'Betrayed by Faith'. Solisia will leave you shaken and stirred, this is powerful emotive metal that will blow your socks off. You will uncover them at this location, an explosive 8.75/10 (Phil)

SOLNA..'SENT FROM HEAVEN'

(Wild Recordz) Reviewed 7th January 2009

World tours with Queensryche and now with "SOLNA", Ms. Pamela Moore has been there!!! 'Sent From Heaven' is a 6-track EP featuring songs that are taken from the soon to be released full album 'Eurameric'. This EP also includes 1 exclusive bonus track, 'I Light A Candle Too', and limited to only 2,000 copies worldwide. And what an amazing 26+ minutes this is, featuring: Mr. Ralf Scheepers (Vocalist with "Primal Fear"), Alex DeRosso (Guitarist for Don Dokken and Kelly Hansen's "Perfect World"), Fabrizio Grossi (International Recording Artist/Tony Harnell's "Starbreaker"/Steve Vai), Eric Ragno (Pink Cream 69's David Readman/Ted Poley), Tim Harris (Malicious) and Zane Petersen (China Blue). 'Sent From Heaven' is the hardest rock that Pamela has ever backed, and this release will leave you wanting more. This is prime Heart meets Ratt, and was mixed by Fabrizio Grossi (known for his works under Europe's Giant "Frontiers Records" label), mastered by Greg Reierson (Powermad) and produced by Zane Petersen. Go to cdbaby.com, and get it. I love it and if this is a taster of what the full cd will sound like, I cannot wait. What a start to 2009!! 9/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

SOLNA..'EURAMERIC'

(Wild Recordz USA) Reviewed 6th February 2009

On January 7th I reviewed an EP by Solna...a project by Zane Petersen (China Blue/Malicious) and fronted by Pamela Moore. This EP being a taster of what is to come (and can be bought from cdbaby.com by the way). I am now very proud to be able to review what is to come! This being the full album (USA version) which will pick up a release Stateside April 23rd, with European and Japanese release dates to be confirmed. Solna not only features the aforementioned Pamela Moore, but also has within it's ranks Alex De Rosso (Dokken) and Rob De Luca (Sebastian Bach). And the whole lot is mixed by Fabrizio Grossi (Starbreaker/Steve Vai), who also took up bass duties on some tracks. And there are other top class musicians featured aswell. The music on offer here is awesome melodic hard rock of an extremely high calibre, with top notch production to boot. Pamela's vocals are totally mind blowing, as is the musicianship in general. I cannot speak highly enough about this release. Check out 'Blinded By The Rain', the hideously catchy 'Where Are You Running', 'Woman In Love' and 'Sent From Heaven' to prove my point. And the ballads..listen to 'Feel Alive', being a duet between Pamela and Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear), 'Light A Candle' and the awesome 'Dreams'. We have melody on this record, heaviness, ballads and guitar solos to get your teeth around. This is a melodic hard rocker's sexy dream, and it has to be a must buy for any fan of melodic hard rock. Okay, it is not released yet, but do not worry, Ravenheart Music will remind you music lovers out there when the release is due. I so happen to like this record if you haven't worked that one out by now. Get the EP from cdbaby to tie you over, while the full album has to be a 10/10! Powerful and stunning!! (Reviewed by Dave).

SOLREID...'Цена Открытий/Cena Otkrytiy' (The Price of Openings)

(MUSICA Production, Moscow) Reviewed 8th May 2016

This is the second review from a Russian band today, proving that Russia is becoming a hotbed of Rock and Metal. Anyway, female fronted sympho power metal band SOLREID has just released this their debut album “Цена Открытий/Cena Otkrytiy» (The Price of Openings in English). The band was founded in 2010 in Smolensk, Russia and is fronted by the awesome voice of Victoriel Filth, who is also a professional soprano singer. On this album, they bring us 7 numbers sung in their native tongue, that would appeal to fans of early Nightwish or Edenbridge. This is a short album of around 25 minutes, but there are some corking numbers here that hammer along rather nicely, nothing here over 5 minutes in length, so all short and sweet. One of my fave tracks is the power ballad 'Wechnost' together with awesome guitar solo. Although a rather short album, I do rather like this record and it is well worth looking into for fans of this style of music. View an album teaser here.. 8.5/10 (Dave)

SOLSIKK..'VOLATILE TERRITORY'

(Klotho Records) Reviewed 9th September 2010

Fronted by Vykki Turner, this London based Metal Band has until now avoided my radar screen. But if a band is not promoted properly, then how the hell are people inc myself (especially if you live outside London) gonna pick up on them and take notice! That is a message for bands, promoters and labels everywhere by the way!! Anyway, this 4 track EP has come to me via Carrie at Femme Metal, and I am glad she sent it to me. What we have here is a dose of Melodic Metal, with opener 'Razored Cell' being an in yer face aural assault as it hammers it's way out of your speakers. Next up 'Volatile Territory' ups the ante even more as does 'Your Blistering Tongue', while the awesome ballad 'Cut A Little Deeper' closes this little platter, and I am a sucker for the occasional power ballad. Great vocal harmonies on this track by the way! This mini cd mixes all out aggression with plenty of melody, while I do wonder if I would ever have even noticed this band if it wasn't for Carrie Sharp at Femme Metal. Check Solsikk out at www.myspace.com/solsikk, while it deserves a good 8/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

SOLSIKK..S/T

(Femme Metal Records) Reviewed 6th March 2011

Solsikk is a London based hard rock band fronted by Vykki Turner, and last September, I reviewed their EP 'Volatile Territory'. The 2nd May will now see the release of their debut self titled album featuring the four tracks from that EP plus 6 unreleased gems. Fancy Relishing in Nervous Delights? Well the opening track invites you to do just that, as it fires out of the speakers like a turbo charged Rhino :) And if that hasn't made you feel nervous, then 'Viridescere' screams your attention...and listening to the lyrics, it is qute likely to get one's attention too :) No let up in pace as 'Keep Pushing Me' and 'Freefall' keep the momentum thundering along. 'Cut A Little Deeper' slows things down showcasing the more sensitive side to the band. This being an awesome power ballad that could quite easily go down well on mainstream radio - great guitar solo too from Chris Webb. Ballad over with and now back to business with 'Your Blistering Tongue' kicking off the second half of the cd, and a blistering track it is, as are the remaining four that remain for your listening pleasure! With exceptional delivery ranging from gutteral roar and smooth vibrato through to high screams, Vykki is every bit as stunning as her voice suggests, providing the perfect compliment and contrast to Chris Webb's dense and furious fret-work. This is hard rock at it's finest and the band are worth checking out at their Myspace...Do British Music a favour and buy this one.....8.25/10 (Dave)

SOLSKUGGA..'GARDENIA'

(Independent Release) Reviewed 9th January 2009

"Enter my garden, where you will find only the truth". Solskugga is a very lovely lass and she hails from Sweden. 'Gardenia' can best be described as ambient electronic rock. And it is pretty cool to my ears. Not the sort of music you head bang too, but certainly the type of music to sit down and have a good chill out. The record kicks off with the cool 'Intuition', while third track in 'Love and Affection' picks up the pace a bit. 'Empty Street' and 'Blind' proves what an awesome voice Sol has. The voice of an angel! I have 145 tracks by Evanesence on my iPod at home, lots of demo stuff etc, and Sol kinda reminds me of very early Amy Lee/Evanescence. There are further tracks that show that this girl has what it takes, including the title track. I understand that Sol has signed a deal with the new US based label Cauldron Soundwerx. With the right promotion, she could do well. Check out her myspace site at www.myspace.com/solskugga and then place an order. 8/10

SOL SKUGGA..'FAIRYTALES AND LULLABIES'

(Independent Release) Reviewed of 26th August 2009

SOL SKUGGA is a Swedish act whose 'Gardenia' cd picked up an 8/10 review here at Ravenheart in January (2009). Now it is time for the lovely lass to unleash her 'Fairytales and Lullabies' record onto the public. And what a cool laid back offering this is. Certainly an album to chill out to with a glass or six of wine! Now what about the music itself. The cd kicks off with 'Say It' and this is possibly one of the rockier numbers on the album, and it screams hit single. This track is followed by 'So Strange' which to me would go down well in the clubs, especially as a remix. Thereafter, things slow down a wee bit, and what I like about this album is this girl's awesome vocals, and the generally laid back vibe of her music, that includes the use of violin etc. Her cool vocals are showcased on many of the tracks including the folky sounding 'Burn Her', the lovely 'I Wanna Know', and the awesome 'Simply Me'. Like the recent Mojave album, it is a refreshing change when something like this comes my way, and it proves that we at Ravenheart are not just a bunch of metal heads. I have known Sol for somewhile, and to be honest, it is a real pleasure to know her and she deserves huge success. The album gets released 1st October, so get it! 8/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

SOLSTICIO..'WINTER SOLSTICE' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 14th February 2012

Solsticio fronted by Caro who also takes care of keyboards, hail from Argentina and offer up on this EP, three tracks of tasty Gothic Metal. This EP so happens to be a taster for their full length album, that should appear later this year. 'Free' opens proceedings with an orchestral feel to things, and shows the direction this band is travelling. Quite a catchy chorus in-fact with some tasty keys. Next one up 'Lost Souls' reminds me a little of Evanescence, while the closer 'The Mummer's Dance' is a cover by the Canadian singer/songwriter Loreena McKennitt. This is not a bad effort from this band, and it has me looking forward to the full length album later in the year. Check them out here - this is a good effort..8/10 (Dave)

SOLSTICIO...'LOST SOULS'

(Self Released) Reviewed 26th April 2013

Solsticio fronted by Caro hail from Buenos Airies and I suppose you would put them loosely into the Gothic Metal category. I reviewed their EP 'Winter Solstice' in February 2012 and I knew then that this band were going to be "one to look out for". Now I have the honour of being in Possession of their debut full length album 'Lost Souls', and this should certainly go down well with fans of the female fronted Gothic Rock and Metal scene. If I had to complain, there are only eight tracks, but what the hell, no filler all killer applies quite nicely here. 'Triumph' kicks the album off and is a quirky upbeat number, one of those songs that bounces around in your head long after it has finished. The title track is a piano led power ballad that still maintains a certain quirkyness about it, coupled with some awesome orchestration to give it a certain epic feel. 'Fairytale' is another quirky eccentric number with a masquerade feel at times, but it is a very powerful song with further majestic orchestration to boot. This is a very good start to this record and the impressive work continues with the track 'Greed' that offers up a slight progressive edge to proceedings. The second half of the album is equally impressive, 'Free' and 'Far Away' being up tempo and grandiose numbers and a couple of faves of mine from a rather good album. 'Celtic' and 'Mummer's Dance' close proceedings down, and it has to be noted that although the whole album is good, the second half seems to be a little more upbeat with perhaps more of an appeal to Gothic Metal fans out there. For a relatively unknown band in these parts, this is very good and I would very much recommend this. Their facebook is here ....8.75/10 (Dave)

SOMNIA...'SHADOW' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 1st May 2015

Somnia from Israel began their career in 2013 as a duo project, when the musicians Orr Didi and vocalist Noa Gruman wrote a rock opera called Gates of Dawn. The opera was arranged for a full symphony orchestra, choir, and metal ensemble. A demo was fully recorded at a home studio quality, but due to technical reasons was not recorded professionally and officially released. In Summer 2014, the band then began performing at local clubs, with a choir of four singers dressed in black hooded cloaks. In the fall of 2014 they recorded this Shadow EP at Cast Iron studios. There are four tracks here of Symphonic Metal, 'Tantibus' is the opener, a catchy pounding opener, while next up 'Shards - PtI: Birds' is a slower rather more mellow number at the start, before it kicks in big time exibiting progressive influences together with great vocals from Noa.'Shards - PtII: Shadow' has a symphonic and indeed a folky feel at times with further progressive influences coming to the fore, while closing track. 'Shards - PtIII: Gravity' pounds its way to the finishing line. This EP is rather good from a band that I must admit is unfamiliar to me, so check them out for yourselves - their website is here... 8.25/10 (Dave)

SONIC CATHEDRAL..'A WORLD OF SIRENS'

(Sonic Cathedral.com) Reviewed 4th September 2008

This is the first compilation I would have reviewed for Ravenheart Music. 'A World Of Sirens' has been released by Sonic Cathedral. 32 tracks of awesome Femme fronted Rock and Metal spread across 2 cds, including tracks by After Forever, Sylver Mist, Anadies, Epica, La-Ventura, Skeptical Minds and Ayin Aleph. This is a very good buy, and is a good mix of music across the rock/metal genre. Check out www.soniccathedral.com/ and then buy it! 8/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

SONIQUE SANCTURY...'RESILIENCE' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 16th January 2015

It is not very often we get music from Bermuda, in-fact this release will be the very first one I believe :) The band was started in 2011 by drummer Nick Wadson and guitarist Ace Cepeda as an instrumental band, to display a high level of musical technical proficiency. Then singer Dr. Tracey Lynne Harney came into the equation and Sonique Sanctury entered a new gear. The band with this EP throw at the listener five tracks of very well done Progressive Rock - deep and dark music in-fact that relates to human experiences. Dr. Harney likes to call it "concious rock" and maybe she is right. All the tracks here are technically perfect with a spoken intro to each track from Tracey Lynne, there is great musicianship throughout from the band, this is Progressive Rockers heaven! The final track which so happens to be the title track to this EP is possibly the most commercial number here, but they are all good. Tracey Lynne's vocals are strong and powerful and really drive this music along together with the band. This is worth looking into if you feel this music is up your alleyway, cos it should be. So show some resilience and check the band at their website: www.bermudaguitar.wix.com/soniquesanctuary. And furthermore, a full length album is in the pipeline.. 8.75/10 (The Nugget)

SORRONIA...'WORDS OF SILENCE'

(Bakerteam Records) Reviewed 1st October 2013

First conceived in 2011 by vocalist Anna Király and keyboardist István Biró, Hungarian band Sorronia released a promotional video for the song 'Enemy Of Yourself' in January 2013, soon attracting a very strong response. And now on this their debut album, the nine tracks combine a wide range of influences, resulting in a striking Symphonic album made of grandiose melodies and hard rockin' riffs, neo-classical solos and gothic elements. The lyrics offer references to delusion, love, tragedy, anger and anything a human being can possibly experience throughout life. This is a consistently good album and has even attracted the attention of Tuomas Holopainen (Nightwish), or at least someone who is/was blogging on his website. It is difficult to pick out any fave tracks as they are all damn good, but the mid tempo folk influenced 'Seranade of Memories' is a good one to my ears. Sorronia is a band for all melodic and symphonic metal fans and they are well worth checking out. The album is released 28th October, but meanwhile, why don't you check out the video to the track 'Enemy of Yourself' here... 8.75/10 (Dave)

SOULECK...'GAME OVER'

(Self Released) Reviewed 29th June 2015

I see on some sites that this is being listed as 'Gothic Metal'. Okay, a band fronted by a female does not necessarily mean to me that it is 'Gothic Metal'. I would myself call this Alternative Metal and boy, this Spanish band is rather good. Sounding vocally at times like Amy Lee (Evanescence), this is 40 minutes of some rather awesome music. After a brief intro, the album gets going good and proper with the track 'Pull Off My Skin' a catchy track and a good way to kick of this record. 'Flying Alone' sounds a little like Evanescence vocally, but is another awesome track with such a catchy chorus. And it all continues with great sounding numbers like the ballads 'Weak Dreams' and 'All The Lies' and rockers like 'Back To School' and 'Don't Open Dead Inside'. This is good - their Facebook is here and well worth looking into as to my ears, the game is far from over regards this band.. 8.75/10 (Dave)

SOULGRIND..'THE TUONI PATHWAY'

(Femme Metal Records) Reviewed 24th August 2010

The Femme Metal Record label has served me with two real tasty morsels today. The first was Ancestral Legacy, and now we have Finnish maestros Soulgrind, who are fronted by Azhemin on male harsh vocals and the wonderfully named Miss W Lilith on female vocals. This album offers up a good dose of Gothic Black Metal being topped off with plenty of melody, that of course seems to be a feature of everything that comes out of Finland at present. Kicking off with the awesomely titled 'The Call Of The Dancing Waters', I am liking this already, with both male and female vocals complimenting each other so well. 'Rain Before The Dawn' maintains momentum, while I am totally blown away by the melodic 'March Butterfly'. Totally spellbinding! 'Song Of Tomorrow' is the song of today, and I am enjoying every moment of this album, while 'Farewell To Misery' and the epic atmospheric closer 'Vuoret La Metsanmaa' are other faves amongst other faves! :) Like the Ancestral Legacy album I also reviewed today, I am finding it difficult to find fault with the nine tracks that we have here, as they all pound along quite nicely with both vocalists complementing each other very well indeed. This is good, so do yourself a favour and treat yourself! :) 9/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

SouLost...'THE WAY I FEEL pt 2'

(Self Release) Reviewed 15th Augsut 2014

The band SouLost come from London and I have here an EP of three tracks. They offer the listener a heavy and rather melodic sound. Opener 'Bring You Down' is very catchy with a melodic/industrial feel, while second track in 'Without Me' is slightly heavier and more Metallic in its feel although still very catchy, think a heavier Paramore. Third track 'Save me' is an acoustic number, this track originally appearing on the band's previous offering 'The Way I Feel Pt 1'. This little EP is rather good and the band is well worth checking out. Their Facebook is here..8/10 (Dave)

SOULSLIDE...'AMAUROTIC'

(Self Release) Reviewed 3rd June 2015

This album by German band Soulslide (www.soulslide.net) has actually been out for around a year now, but better late than never. The story of the band begins in September 2002 when a handful of young musicians from different local bands got together in order to pursue a new path apart from the caved ways of Black and Death Metal. Encouraged by good reviews of their debut record, 'Dreamshade', the band soon gained high publicity - even as far as Mexico! Fast forward to current time, and this is a very good recording, although vocalist Silenia who took part in the record is no longer in the band - current leading lady Juliane not joining until Sept 2014. There are nine tracks of Symphonic Metal with hardly a duff track to be found. If the band has not found it's way onto your wants list, well put it there now - damn cool! 9/10 (The Nugget)

SOULS OF DIOTIMA..'MAITRI'

(Casket/Copro, Alkemist Fanatix) Reviewed 16th March 2011

Souls of Diotima were founded back in 2004 in Sardinia, Italy, with captivating Claudia Barsi joining the band in 2007. Their songs head for humongous symphonic gothic metal but then take all sorts of detours into power, prog and neoclassical metal, making them impossible to tie down accurately, they run the gamut from Delain to Therion to Edenbridge to Nightwish to Amberian Dawn to Angra. Claudia has a truly remarkable voice, bringing to mind striking singers who can belt it with controlled power like Anette Olzon, Lulu and Duffy. This helps her to cut through and rise above the raging riffage, a lesser singer would get drowned out because this bunch really give it some hammer, the force of the sound coming out of the speakers hits you like a hurricane. After the orchestral intro they put the pedal to the metal and rarely ease off as they thunder through eight mega mighty melodic monsters and a closing instrumental. A quieter song in the middle would have been a good idea just to give everyone a break from the storm, it can get a bit relentless, but this is a massive grower, I have lived with it for several days and enjoyed it more and more as I have become acclimatised to their immense sound. Plus this is a growl free zone apart from a brief snippet. Top tunes include the bracing grooving driving 'Limit', the more symphonic 'Freedom Inside You' with its hint of Broadway, the rocking title track Maitri with its appropriate touch of the mystic east, the towering monumental and far from unlovely Anti Asceticism, the pummelling pulverising punishing 'Killing My Enemies (video on Female Voices blog) and my personal fave, the rousing romping rampaging 'For Getting Back'. This is top quality metal, well produced, expertly performed and superbly sung that is perfect for symphonic, gothic and prog metal fans, so pound your way to their Myspace, a massive 8.75/10 (Phil)

SOULS OF DIOTIMA...'WHAT REMAINS OF THE DAY'

(Revalve Records) Reviewed 3rd July 2012

Souls of Diotima were founded in Sardinia, Italy, and released their début Maitri last year, which was a dense, heavy and complex progressive gothic metal album that took a fair few spins to get you your head around, but once you did you were rewarded with a mightily impressive body of work. They are now another addition to ever growing Revalve stable of outstanding Italian bands, following top quality recent releases by Sin Deadly Sin and Serenade. Anyone who has heard Maitri will be in for a surprise, even the lead single and title track from this new one, 'What Remains Of The Day', is very much a follow on from their début, and gives little hint of their evolution. That evolution sees the easing of the heavy density as the band take off at times towards Nightwish, Ancient Bards and Amberian Dawn, which allows Claudia Barsi's mega powerful soulful rock voice, the real orchestra, the superb song writing, Andrea Pinna s rippling keys, and Renato Pinna 's terrific grunting bass to really shine through. They really show off Andrea's orchestral arrangements on the truly tremendous opening twosome, the rocking full blown symphonic 'Pandora' and the power metal anthem 'The Battle Of Marduk And Thiamat'. 'Von Braun' appropriately rockets towards turbo charged neoclassical metal, 'Children Of The King' rumbles along menacingly with a super prog and bluesy breakdown, followed by the towering power ballad 'The Flight Of Sandy' and another power metal anthem, the soaring 'Rising Soul'. Next up is that title track I mentioned earlier, 'What Remains Of The Day', (with the only brief growls on the whole album) which seems oddly unrepresentative, and they end with two more power metal esque thumpers, the boundless 'Endless Sky' and the unholy 'Secular Comedy'. This new more power metal direction is allied to their trademark gritty gothic metal sound, prog quality musicianship and skilful instrumental flourishes, with superb production courtesy of the suitably titled Massive Arts Studios. Souls of Diotima have stepped up a level with this new release, producing an album that will shake the world of symphonic metal. With what remains of the day, head to their Facebook here, a rocketing 9/10 (Phil)

SOULS OF DIOTMA…’THE SORCERESS REVEALS – ATLANTIS’

(Rockshots Records) Reviewed 6th June 2016

Welcome to Atlantis! SOULS OF DIOTIMA fronted by Claudia Barsi is an Italian metal band with a unique style featuring recognizable elements of progressive and symphonic metal, as well as unconventional elements, combined together in a powerfully expressive new way. This being their third album is a 20 track 70 minute + ambitious concept album concerning the legendary story of Atlantis, going back in time to more than 10,000 years. With spoken word dialogues by Connie Yerbic, these words tell the story, but also directly through the voice of the protagonists themselves, as if we were in a real film. It starts with the description of the Atlantean society overviewing all the characters of the story, a utopian society where it reigned since the beginning of peace and well-being, a land freely self-managed from the inside in a very perfect harmony. The love between Poseidon and Clito, a love between a god and a common woman, will lead to the birth of 10 twins. Between them Atlas will become the one true king, after promising his people and family to rule the land of Atlantis without war intentions, but keeping peace and harmony. But Atlas, half man and half god, will begin to experience an inner conflict, so he decides to ignore the promises made in order to stifle his divine part creating a never existed army, going to the conquest of new spaces and invade new territories. But in the first war against the ancestors of the Athenians, Atlas and his warriors were defeated hard with the loss of many men. All of this and the broken promise of Atlas, unleashed the wrath of his uncle, Zeus, who called in collecting all the gods, to unleash on the land of Atlantis a tremendous storm and a destructive earthquake. So coming to this day, what is left of the land of Atlantis, and especially if it never existed, where is it? This will be revealed in the last song of the album. Musically, this is epic, ambitious and damn awesome! The concept of the album is told above (via the label’s press release), but SOULS OF DIOTIMA with this album have propelled themselves well and truly into the premier league! This is an album of film score proportions that will not grab you first time, but upon each listen, new layers are peeled away to further enhance the quality of the listening experience. With some rather cool cover art, this adventure of Atlantis is certainly a must buy for fans of female fronted progressive and symphonic metal and more. Indeed, I was so engrossed with the music, I forgot that it was a bedtime story actually being told to the little girl! I will reveal no more!! Well recommended... 9.5/10 (Dave)

SOUNDWITCH..'GROTESCA'

(413 Tracks) Reviewed 13th December 2010

This is the brand new second album by these groovy gothic metallers from Japan, and judging from the quality of their video for 'Frustrate Me' (on the Female Voices Blog) they must pretty successful. With the stunning looks of Twin, their ultra commercial sound and perfect English they are tailor made for a launch onto the international market. They put on their sandwich a tasty meaty selection of Lacuna Coil, Elysion, We Are The Fallen and I:Scintilla producing groovy gothic metal with tons of electronica. Joining Twin and her Cristina Scabbia type voice are the lovely May on guitar and the delightfully named twosome of guitarist Drug-On and drummer Sack. After the clanking weirdness of the intro, opener 'Frustrate Me' bursts out of the speakers like an erupting volcano, full of technical rhythms, special FX, and thundering riffage, whilst remaining as catchy and groovy as hell, quite a combination, setting the template for the rest of the album. Each song has fascinating variations from burbling atmospherics to emotive alt-rock to kaleidoscopic psychedelia to throbbing industrial to dance filling groove to full on head-banging metal. Every song is awesome but particular faves include the pulsating transcendental 'Misty', the glorious emotional 'Turn Over', the driving pounding 'Masquerade, and the terrific closer 'Empty Phrases'. On the angry thrashing 'Jesus' they even verge on hardcore punk at one point, showing they are not just pretty faces, but can also really hammer it. The premier league Production has a mega mighty but clear as a bell sound with fantastic FX, and the musicianship and vocals are outstanding. The only oddity is the cover art which looks like it's taken from some sort of weird pagan folk metal album. If you like highly sophisticated but groovy gothic metal then this will send you into raptures, their Website is here (mostly in Japanese) and it can be purchased from shops like CD Japan. This bunch have blown my socks off, mega mighty 9/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

SOVEREIGN COUNCIL…’LANIAKEA’

(Self Released) Reviewed 28th April 2016

Sovereign Council from Canada is comprised of five members: Alexander MacWilliam (vocals), professional vocalist and vocal coach Lisa Thompson , Chris Thompson (guitar), Shaun Vanhooser (bass guitar) and Brandon Schneider (drums). The group’s blend of male/female vocals has earned them comparisons to Lacuna Coil, Evanescence, Delain, Nightwish, and Kamelot. On this their 2nd album released last year, they have throttling guitar riffs, intense bass lines, driving drums and fluctuating vocals that are at times guttural and at others more mellow and introspective. Their unique and at times Progressive sound has been influenced by a wide array of artists, from Chopin and Mozart to Slipknot, Metallica, Slayer and Epica, and they find inspiration for their song writing in lost loves, betrayals, deaths and other hardships in life that many of us sure experience at one time or another. Like many US bands that embrace this style of metal, the use of keyboards is subtle, preparing a more in yer face guitar sound for the listener. And one sure gets their monies worth on this record with 14 tracks to wrap your ears around. This is a consistent and a very accomplished release, although no one track actually jumps out and grabs ya. However, the band was able to acquire the services of Timo Somers from Delain who features on the heavy and metallic sounding track ‘The Human Condition’, Delain of course not too long ago released the similarly titled album ‘The Human Contradiction ‘. There are not many Symphonic Metal bands coming out of Canada at the moment, but Sovereign Council is certainly one band from that country to watch out for! Their Facebook is here - this is a grower and well recommended..8.5/10 (Dave)

SPACE ELEVATOR…’SPACE ELEVATOR 1’

(Self Release) Reviewed 2nd September 2015

Space Elevator fronted by a young lass who goes by the name of The Duchess (who also takes care of Backing Vocals and all Vocal Arrangements) features among others Neil Murray (Whitesnake, Black Sabbath, The Brian May Band) on bass. There are 12 tracks here of AOR/Melodic Rock inspired by the likes of Queen, Genesis and The Darkness to name a just a few. And furthermore, I would like to add that this is a release that hits the awesome category. If you like your metal heavy with a large dosage of “ooommmppphhh”, this may not be to your liking, but if you are open minded regards the music you listen to, and enjoy a good helping of Melodic Rock inspired by the above mentioned bands, with the occasional ballad thrown in for good measure, this is an album well worth checking out. Check out the website at www.spaceelevatorband.com/, jump on the Space Elevator and enjoy... 8.5/10 (Dave)

SPACESHIP UNDERGROUND…’EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF’

(Self Release) Reviewed 22nd February 2016

Spaceship Underground is an Alternative Rock band that was conceived in 2013 and they come from Israel. To my ears, it is refreshing to hear something that differs from the run of the mill Gothic/Symphonic music that very often comes our way. Fronted by Grace M (Chen Mogzamov), who also is the main lyricist within the band, they throw at the listener 10 tracks of rather good Alternative/Indie Rock, that could quite easily cross over into the mainstream if given the chance. I must admit when I listen to music that is sent my way, I sometimes never quite know what to expect. This is one of those albums that when being played then offers a pleasant listening experience. Plenty on offer here from the rocky catchy opener ‘Clay’, through the quirky ‘Circus’, the heavy ‘Here It Comes Again', the laid back ‘I Wish I Didn’t Know’ and the bluesy 'Goodbye'. Although the music has its roots in Alternative Rock, this debut also welcomes elements of hip-hop, modern rock and atmospheric electronica into the band’s music. Spaceship Underground’s Bandcamp is here…recommended.. 8.5/10

SPEKULUS...'TERRORISTIAN'

(Self Released) Reviewed 18th October 2013

Yay - a UK band with attitude fronted by a young lass who goes by the name of Amanda Amorphic. Having chatted on Facebook she seems ever so nice, but on record she spits venom and has loads of that aforementioned attitude! Indeed, this is a totally mind blowing release we have here from the Leeds based band. If you are expecting Nightwish or are of a nervous disposition, then I suggest you turn away now, as what I am reviewing here is a total awesome slab of Industrial Rock and Metal that should be played real loud to let's put this politely, piss off the neighbours! With awesome tracks that have titles like 'Skin & Tonik', 'Dirtier', 'Spit' and 'Pain Junkie', you will not find any soppy ballads here. They list their influences as "NIN, Ministry, Rammstein, Genitorturers, Depeche Mode + a shit load of others". And it has been pointed out to me by a member of the Ravenheart team based in the USA that at times vocally, Otep springs to mind, although there is also an occasional sexier and poppier side to Amanda's vocals. The production is top notch for an indie release and this style of music makes a change from what I normally review. Amanda and the gang has nailed it with this record - I am highly impressed. Their website is at www.spekulus.co.uk, and the last track has an interesting band conversation tacked onto the end, plus a brief quirky musical outro ... 8.75/10 (Dave)

SPEKULUS...'SEALED WITH A FIST'

(Self Released) Reviewed 13th February 2016

I reviewed 'Terroristian' from Leeds (UK) band Spekulus back in October 2013, and that was a really good album - a young lady called Amanda Amorphic fronted the band on that album, and I stated in that review that she spat venom with loadsa attitude. Well Amanda is still here on the awesomely titled 'SEALED WITH A FIST', the band's most recent release. And she still spits venom, making the African Black Mamba (a highly venomous snake) look quite a friendly character really. This to be totally frank is a completely awesome album, as the band hurl at the listener 7 tracks of highly charged Industrial Metal, with Amanda screaming like a honey monster craving whatever honey monsters crave (erm, honey I suppose)! Talking about monsters, there are some monster cuts here in-fact, but I at the moment do particularly like the title track - 5 mins of Industrial Metal heaven that would even leave Isane Bolt gasping for breath. And the pounding 'Disposure' is rather good too! This record is heavy, it should be played loud and it is damn good. The band's website is here where you can download the album. Well recommended, but a word of advice, do not get this for your Grannie for her Birthday :) ..... 8.5/10 (Dave)

SPIELBANN…’IN GEDENKEN’

(Trisol) Reviewed 17th December 2015

Spielbann is a band that is fully committed to singing in their native tongue - German and kudos to them for that! The band is centred around the duo of Seb Storm and his female partner in crime Nic Frost. And add to that the front man of ASP (Alexander Spreng), who contributed to the album and also contributed to the production process. Musically, this is your typical catchy Gothic Rock/Metal that the Germans love so much and do rather well too, with the vocals of both Seb and Nic complimenting each other well, and no growls either! Also add subtle electro elements and that more or less puts the icing on the cake. Some corkers here like the tracks ‘In Alle Ewigkeit’, the rather nice ballad ‘Aquarell’, the metallic ‘Haus des Vergessens’ with its catchy chorus, another rather awesome ballad ‘Lebewohl’ and the atmospheric and rather haunting ‘HeimSuchung‘. This record overall certainly hit’s the good category and as a consequence is well worth getting hold of…. 8.75/10 (Dave)

SRDJAN BRANKOVIC'S EXPEDITION DELTA

(Prog Rock Records) Reviewed 16th August 2009

After listening to the Roswell Six I had a look at the Progrock Records website and found this gem. Srdjan Brankovic is a Serbian musician who is a very busy man, playing guitar on, and producing, a vast number of records. This prog rock project is not technically female fronted, so don't sue me under the trade descriptions act, but does feature a number of guest female singers, including my favourite singer on the planet, Sabine Edelsbacher from Edenbridge. The music is big melodic rock, Asia. Journey, Foreigner, Heart, with strong Ayreon and Dream Theatre influences. There are a host of guest keyboard players, many of which will be very familiar to you, including Joost van den Broek (After Forever), Eric Norlander (Roswell Six, Lana Lane), Rene Merkelbach (Kingfisher Sky, Mother Earth by Within Temptation), and Richard Andersson (Angtoria). A very enjoyable listen and if you like the Roswell Six, big melodic songs, and lots of fantastic synth solos (and I do!) this is also worth seeking out. 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Phil Wooldridge)