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Ravenheart Archives: Archived

Reviews S cont (3)

SIN.SIN….’FAIRYTRONICS’ EP

(Alfa Matrix) Reviewed 17th February 2016

Here we have the first 6-track EP by the rather enchanting project SIN.SIN. This album invites us into Kristell L.’s magic supernatural world located on clouds up in the heavens. An intimate and almost introspective world made of rainbows and bright nights and only accessible through the magical power of mixing fantasy with electronic music. Known for her work as lead singer of the goth rock/industrial metal band LOVELORN DOLLS, Kristell L., literally opens herself up on this new SIN.SIN project of hers, through which she spreads her butterfly wings and reveals a more colourful side of her personality. This six track EP offers rather cool and danceable electronic–alt pop– ethereal wave, including various re mixes, all accompanied by the awesome angelic vocals of Kristell L. This is not Metal but it is rather kool, and would go down a storm in clubland!! It also screams mainstream radio airplay. It was released on 26th January and is well worth checking out… 8.5/10 (Dave)

SIN DEADLY SINS...'FALL FROM HEAVEN'

(Revalve Records) Reviewed 24th May 2012

Sin Deadly Sins were formed by lovely Roberta Staccuneddu and keyboardist Max Boi in 2009 out the ashes of the death/gothic/atmospheric metal band Evenfall, who had released a couple of albums back in 1999 and 2002. This album is a departure in style, they have taken elements of classic Italian gothic and symphonic gothic metal, Dama, Maledia, Domina Noctis, etc, then added some Silent Force era Within Temptation, Stream of Passion, Delain, Hanging Doll and Noctura to create a very romantic, melodious and melodic musical blend. This perfectly suits the vulnerable fragile quality to Roberta's voice, at time she does remind me of Marcella Bovio duetting with her sister Diana, which is laid on a bed of warm fuzzy guitars and lush strings, with Max's synths, electronica, and tinkling piano to the fore, and ornamented by Mattia Mariotti's stylish guitar work. This a collection of unified quality and sound, from the more rocking like 'Take My Pain' and 'Moon Darkened Silence' to the swaying soaring sweeping ballads such as 'Don't Sleep Anymore' and 'White December', featuring the superb lead song 'Your Heaven' (video on Female Voices), the awesome 'Left Alone', the dramatic 'Q.O.T.D', and the touching final song 'From Your Lips'. In short, 50 minutes of pure listening heaven. I don’t mind admitting that I have fallen for this style of music, and if you like any of the bands I mentioned and you are a true romantic at heart, then it would be a deadly sin to miss out on this alluring album. You can find their Arcadia here, a heavenly 8.75/10 (Phil)

Sin7sinS..'PERVERSION LTD'

(Massacre Records) Reviewed 6th November 2010

Pounding drums, blazing guitars and breathtaking vocals. Both clean and pure as well as distorted and perverted, Sin7sinS is a Dutch female fronted band that distinguishes itself with it’s rather unique heavy, but melodic sound. Fronted by Lotus, with male vocals from Gen Morphine, the band offers up a dose of Gothic/Industrial Metal, that shifts along at quite a pace. And with song titles like 'Rape & Take', 'Portrait in Blood (Braindead)' and 'Sexual Predator', this may give you an idea as to where this band is coming from. However, despite some of the 'perverted' song titles, there is some catchy stuff here, in particular fourth track in, 'Dead World' with it's catchy chorus. 'Between Broken Dreams' slows things down a touch, showcasing the angelic vocals of Lotus very well, a nice song indeed! 'Perversion Ltd' is certainly worth checking out to my ears, and should be fairly easy to obtain from your rock/metal retailer, being on the Massacre Records label. Recommended! 8.75/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

Sin7sinS..'CARNIVAL OF NO TOMORROW'

(S7S Records) Reviewed 1st May 2012

Back in November 2010, I reviewed the debut album by this Dutch band, that album went under the moniker 'Perversion Ltd', and was a record well worth checking out. Then just a few days ago, their follow up dropped into Ravenheart Towers. Like the debut, some of the song titles like 'Sick of You', 'Pornstar Love' and 'Cyanide Symphony' had me wondering what was to be expected when the cd hit the death deck. But again, the band deliver a very good album of catchy Industrial Gothic Rock/Metal, offering great diversity and variety, with never a dull moment in sight. That variety highlighted in tracks like the aggresssive opener 'Brimstone Ignition', the catchy foot stomper 'Carnivores at Carnival', the accessible and rather good 'Pain Induced Craze', the heavy and thumping 'As Romance Dies', featuring Mark Jansen and his growls and the very good 'Cyanide Symphony', feat Dan Swano (who also produced and mixed this little epic). And vocalist Lotus is a very good singer I hasten to add, and she can cut it on the ballads too, just listen to 'Shadows and Dust' to hear what I mean - totally awesome! The debut was released on Massacre Records, and this cd appears on their own label, but Massacre or no Massacre, this is a very good release from this band and deserves to do well when it gets released on May 11th! Take a trip to their website here - great stuff from this Dutch Band 8.75/10 (Dave)

Sin7SinS...'PURGATORY PRINCESS'

(S7S Records/Suburban Records) Reviewed 28th October 2014

Don't you just love it when you live in Essex, and a lovely guy 150 miles away sends you a stream of decent releases to review for his website (thanks Dave). Okay, being a lover of the female fronted rock and metal scene, may be we show a little bias here at Ravenheart Music, but come on, it is all good anyway! Sin7SinS come from Holland and can we say we are surprised? Not really as the Dutch produce a steady flow of hot female fronted metal bands for our ear drums to enjoy. The lovely Lotus leads the vocal assault with some help from guitarst Gen Morphine. There are ten tracks here of catchy melodic metal on this, the bands 3rd release, that will have you dancing around the room like a happy little bunny on acid. And if you want stern proof of what I have said, listen to tracks like 'Stronger', the pounding 'Take Your Hands Off Me' (such a flippin' catchy chorus!), and the high powered up tempo tracks 'No Tears Left' and 'Different Place, Different Stage' as examples - so good! And after all that, let us not forget the orchestrated ballad 'Bittersweet Dreams' - the title says it all. If you do not like this record, you are a miserable so and so as all ten tracks here are of the highest quality, being another worthy purchase from your well earned dosh when it gets released 24th November. Need I say anymore? I don't think so... 9.25/10 (Natalie Gold)

SINHERESY...'PAINT THE WORLD'

(Bakerteam Records) Reviewed 20th Feb 2014

SinHeresY officially came to fruition in May 2009 in Trieste when the bassist Davide Sportiello met the guitarist Lorenzo Pasutto and the Friulian singer Cecilia Petrini. In the following months, the drummer Alex Vescovi and the male vocalist Stefano Sain joined the band. This indeed is their first full length effort believe it or not, and what we have here is ten tracks (inc bonus) of solid Symphonic Metal music in a style not too disimilar to Tarja era Nightwish, together with the added benefit of clean male vocals to compliment those of Cecilia. And this is a real treat to the ears I can assure you! 'Last Fall' is an epic way to start the record and it continues with second up, the bombastic 'The Gambler'. Awesome with the opening salvo packing a real punch! The title track is hideously catchy and if you are able to sit still during this song, you have a real problem! The ballad 'Roses & Thorns' is simply great while 'Made For Sin' is a pounding heavy number. The highlights continue through the second half of the album with the massive 'Breakpoint' (great use of keys) and 'Our Angel', which are other stand out tracks in what is a very impressive release throughout. I well recommend this, a very strong album indeed...9/10 (Dave)

SINNERS MOON...'ATLANTIS'

(Inverse Records) Reviewed 17th June 2015

And yet another corker, this time we have Sinners Moon from Slovakia. Fronted by the awesome and clear vocals of Simona, this is your typical Symphonic Metal fare, incorporating cool female vocals with male growls from Derick. There are eleven tracks of pounding metal and boy, this is rather good. I know we have a lot of people saying that it has all been done before, but personally I do not give a toss. Some well crafted numbers here that define the style of music very well. And we even have Tony Kakko from Sonata Arctica popping up on the track 'My Servant'. And I am always a sucker for a good power ballad, so check out 'Pray For The Child'. Everything on this record is damn good and overall it is a very solid melodic effort - well recommended... 9/10 (Dave)

SIRENADE...'WISH TO FLY AWAY'

(Self Released) Reviewed 29th May 2015

OMG, the quality of music being sent our way doesn't seem to subside. Sirenade fronted by leading lady Simona Janovičová come from Slovakia, and this album throws at the listener 9 tracks of rather good Melodic Metal. 'Fallin' opens the record, a mid to high tempo melodic tune which in turn is followed by the equally as good 'Master Of Pain'. There are other goodies to be found here including the catchy and Gothy sounding 'No One Hears You', the track 'Treasure' featuring male & female vocals, the heavy and pulsating 'One On The Other Side' and the mainly mid tempo title track. The band's Facebook (link here) lists their music as Gothic Metal, but a band fronted by a lady should not immediately bring the word "Gothic" into the equation. I would call it catchy Melodic Metal with perhaps a Gothic and Progressive current bubbling under the surface, but we here do wholeheartedly recommend the album being checked out - some good stuff here.. 8.5/10 (The Nugget)

SIRENIA..'NINE DESTINIES AND A DOWNFALL'

(Nuclear Blast) Reviewed 26th February 2007

Certainly a lot more accessible than their earlier material, if AOR went gothic,this CD by Sirenia may be a good example as to what that genre may sound like! The vocals of Monika Pedersen are a joy to behold as she belts out some of the catchiest songs I have ever heard on a gothic album. She is helped on occasion by the vocals of Sirenia's master mind Morten Veland. The Sirenian Choir is featured on many of the tracks to help to add that gothy feel. All the tracks on this cd are awesome, while the European single 'My Minds Eye' would I am sure not sound out of place on UK radio! Although perhaps not appealing to the hardest gothic metal fan, I can only plead to anybody impressed by this review to check this cd out. Ravenheart Music's album of 2007! It's in the reckoning. We shall see!! 9.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

SIRENIA..'THE 13th FLOOR'

(Nuclear Blast) Reviewed 22nd January 2009

Sirenia pull it off again. Their last effort 'Nine Destinies and a Downfall' picked up a 9.5/10 review here at Ravenheart HQ, being a catchy piece of gothic pop/metal - Goth goes AOR I think I called it. 'The 13th Floor' carries on where 'Nine Destinies' left off. Kicking off with 'The Path to Decay' I know right away that I am going to enjoy this release. Then we have the pop metal sensibilites of 'Lost in Life' followed by the gothic sounding 'The Mind Maelstrom'. Once again, The Sirenian Choir features on this release, and yep before I forget, they have a new vocalist. The angelic Ailyn replacing Monika Pedersen in the vox dept, although their styles are similar. 'The Seventh Summer' continues the good work, being another catchy and somewhat heavy gothy track. 'Beyond Life's Scenery' keeps the momentum going, and I have to say that I cannot criticise this release at all. Other fave tracks are 'The Lucid Door'...damn it, they are all that good. BUT just listen to the track 'Sirens of the Seven Seas'. Cool! Anyway, JUST BUY THE ALBUM! I suppose fans that enjoyed Sirenia's earlier heavier stuff (and I did too by the way) may well still feel a bit chuffed, but I am sure given airplay on UK rock radio, this band could and should break the metal market here. I would like to see the label really get behind them here. Once again the genius who calls himself Morten Veland, contributes the male vox throughout, plus bass, keys and programming, etc. This is a good listen, it is accessible and and is sure worth a 10/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

SIRENIA..'THE ENIGMA OF LIFE'

(Nuclear Blast) Reviewed 17th January 2011

The mastermind behind Sirenia is a busy man. Since the last Sirenia album, Morten Veland has been busy with his solo project, a Gothic Metal masterpiece called 'Misere Mortem'. Now we see the release of Sirenia's fifth full album 'The Enigma of Life' which follows in the Pop/Metal mold of the band's previous two releases, 'Nine Destinies and a Downfall' and 'The 13th Floor'. As previously mentioned, this is Pop/Metal of the highest calibre, although I believe that this style of music the band has adopted, is still alienating some of their fans that yearn for the heavier stuff of their first two albums. However, gothic elements do surface by way of orchestral pieces, choral passages (by The Sirenian Choir) and the odd flirtation with Morten's harsher male vocals. And talking vocals, ex Spanish X Factor contestant Ailyn's are so angelic! Most of the songs on this platter are catchy little numbers. Check out 'Fallen Angel' and 'This Lonely Lake' as just two classic examples, while 'Seaside Serenade' despite the title suggesting a smooch in Brighton, is actually a cool gothy number. I personally like 'Fading Star', a great catchy track with The Sirenian Choir in full flow, while the title track is an awesome ballad. The album gets released on the 24th January - if firstly you are a lover of Gothic Pop/Metal, and are a Sirenia Fan who is open minded regards the bands releases, this is a must buy with the special edition carrying two bonus tracks. Good stuff..9/10 (Dave)

SIRENIA...'PERILS OF THE DEEP BLUE'

(Nuclear Blast) Reviewed 20th Feb 2014

This review is a little late as we here thought it had already been done, but I am tying up a few 'loose ends' so better late then never I suppose! Morten Veland is a genius! Sirenia fronted by Ailyn who has been their vocalist since 2008 came together in early 2001, when Morten parted ways with his former band Tristania due to musical disagreements and personal differences. Fast forward to current time and after a few personnel changes together with some musical ups and downs, Morten and Sirenia throw at us their 6th studio release. Fans of Sirenia's early output will possibly still not consider this as quite their "cuppa tea", but come on peeps, one has to be open minded regards the music they listen too. This record is good, a little on the long side but good. My copy has thirteen tracks which include 2 bonus numbers and fave tracks that have emerged over the weeks are 'My Destiny Coming To Pass' which incorporates all the elements of a Gothic Metal song - awesome, the rather good and catchy 'Ditt Endelik' (sung in Norwegian) featuring Joakim Næss on vocal duties, the heavy 'Cold Caress' and the industrial sounding 'Profound Scars'. There are other highlights too which to me make this a good album, although I feel that the haunting 'Stille Kom Doden' again sung in Norwegian is a little on the long side at nearly 13 minutes, but it is cool nonetheless. Many of you who are reading this would have already purchased this album and you would already have formed your own opinions (good or bad). To me this may still not be the Sirenia of old, but it is good! 9/10 (Aimee)

SIRENIA...'THE SEVENTH LIFE PATH'

(Napalm Records) Reviewed 5th May 2015

Among the tsunami of Female Fronted Gothic/Symphonic Rock and Metal bands that seem to be gracing our presence at the moment, quite a few stand out, some rather more than others. Sirenia is one such band that graces the Premier League of this style of music and quite rightly so as well. Without going into too much detail, Sirenia have released a gem of an album here, we have 11 tracks and nearly 70 minutes of golden nuggets to grace your cd player or mobile device, depending on your preferred mode of listening. But I do have faves, the extremely catchy 'Elixir' being one such tune from this record of awesome stand out cuts. Ailyn's clean poppy vocals alongside Morten screaming at times goes together so well, a factor that some bands fail to achieve in this Beauty & Beast style. To summarise, fans of the Female Fronted Rock & Metal music scene will need no introduction to Sirenia, so my advice is to buy this awesome epic upon release, you will not regret it one little bit! ... 9.5/10 (The Nugget)

SIREN'S CRY...'SCATTERED HORIZONS'

(Self Released) Reviewed 13th June 2012

An immaculately balanced fusion of complexity and symphonic finess: That's probably the best way to describe Austrian band Siren's Cry's music. The band is a unique and offers a techical creative force that unifies the best of all worlds: progressive virtuosity, enchanting melodies and powerful riffing, ingeniously combined to a perfect circle of spectacular music. Every Song takes the listener on a thrilling journey through a picturesque landscape painted by the band’s unmatched sound. Prepare yourself for an incredible journey through the ethereal spheres of Scattered Horizons. A rather spectacular intro 'Introitus' gets the ball rolling, with next up 'S3V3N' showcasing the superb vocals of Katie Joanne, who on this performance is right up with the best of them, vocally reminding me of Sabine from Edenbridge. We have touches of Dream Theatre, Serenity, Ecliptica and Edenbridge to my ears here, with some great musicianship from the whole of the band throughout. The cd requires repeated listens, but on every listen, the record will peel away layers of further hidden gems. There are songs that are more immediate than others, 'Elegy of R'lyeh' being one song, and although a technical and progressive number in many respects, it does however carry an awesome and rather catchy chorus. We also have a dynamic ballad, 'Cold Amber & Scalding Tears', which is full of emotion, while 'Sahara Sagas Pt 1' is split into five segments offering up close on 10 mins of Progressive Metal ectasy verging at times on the classical. The 9 minute 'Controversial Mind' closes this epic recording from this young Austrian band. This Album takes progressive metal to a totally new and unexplored level that will conquer your heart from the first tune to the last! Convince yourself by checking them out HERE and witness a new form of metal! 8.75/10 (Dave)

SIRGAUS...'SOFIA'S FORGOTTEN VIOLIN'

(Self Release) Reviewed 13th August 2013

Italian band Sirgaus was founded 2011 by bassist and composer Mattia Gosetti with his wife Sonja on vocals, and Massimo Pin on guitar. They released an EP last year called Sofia Returns, and then Mattia started work on this concept album based on a gothic fantasy drama. As I have the only English copy of the story, and it's download only at the moment, I had better explain the story briefly. Sofia is an orphan living in an orphanage covered by creepers, which have a special significance, when a mysterious violinist starts playing outside. Sofia is drawn to discovering her past and her half forgotten memories of how her and her family were cured of sickness by a magical violin melody played by her grandmother. A mad priest had tried to play the melody, but he kept getting it wrong, causing terrible events, Sofia must find a way to free herself from the enchantment. The music fits the story perfectly, dark, dramatic, haunting but rocking symphonic gothic metal with a gritty, windswept, reverberating sound, if you start somewhere between The Gathering, Materdea and Therion, and then add some classic heavy rock and a touch of prog, then you will be roundabouts. Sonja has a very expressive sexy voice, she is inspired by American grunge singers which gives their music a distinctive vibe, with the superb violin of Elvingking's Lethian a key feature, as befits the subject matter. This is a consistent set of songs that reflect the mood of the unfolding story, exemplified by the opener 'The Orphan's Letter', but I will highlight a few notable tracks. The powerful emotional 'Through the Creepers' is a duet with Mattia showing he too has a fine rock voice, and he accompanies Sonja on several numbers. 'Evening Lessons' has a nice prog grove, like Under Heaven the drums are programmed, but it's very difficult to tell (in fact I asked Mattia who the drummer was!), they do their job perfectly and never over elaborate or intrude. 'Believe in You' is a classic arena anthem, like a gothic Bon Jovi, and it ends with the rocking 'Real Angel' and the bright funky 'Sofia's Memories'. Mattia has produced a hugely imaginative and atmospheric album that is a distinctive take on symphonic gothic metal, and it's a real grower, you cannot capture it's full essence in one take. It's available of various download platforms, and you will find their Facebook here - a beguiling 8.75/10 (Phil)

SISTER SHOTGUN...'FOR THE LOVE OF HATE'

(Self Release digital EP) Reviewed 25th June 2013

Sister Shotgun is a five piece female fronted Rock band based in the West Midlands UK. On this EP they create a furious yet catchy mixture of hard rock and metal. 'Riots' is an up tempo rocker with a kinda 80s retro feel to my ears about it. Next up 'Saving My Soul' is a melodic hard rocker with a great chorus, while 'Dirty Minds' is another pounding rocker with Chloe Ozwell getting down and dirty singing "I've got a dirty mind, you've got a dirty soul'. 'Interlude' is simply that really, an instrumental break from proceedings before the title track, a gentle ballad ends the show. This little EP is good and should appeal to fans of Melodic Hard Rock with an 80s sheen. I would very much imagine that this band are good live, but check the music out first here at their reverbnation.. 7.75/10 (Dave)

SIX MAGICS..'BEHIND THE SORROW'

(Coroner Records/Code7) Reviewed 10th February 2010

Let us now enter the realms of powerful Melodic Bombastic Metal. And this is what these Chilean rockers offer up on this, their third release. Who are Six Magics I hear you cry? Well actually, they have been at the forefront of the Chilean metal scene for 10 years or so, and have shared the stage with such greats as Nightwish, Blind Guardian and Rhapsody. Fronted by the brooding sultry voice of Elizabeth Vasquez, the band's sensational new lead vocalist, and enlisting the services of multi platinum producer, David Prater (Dream Theater amongst others), this album is totally mind blowing. We have 10 tracks and close on 50 minutes of some unbelievably catchy metal...just listen to the title track to see where I am coming from. The whole album rocks, and will surely please fans of the aforementioned Nightwish, Blind Guardian and Rhapsody amongst many others of that genre. Six Magics on this offering deserve to be not only heard, but they should become huge within the genre too. Tracks like 'Run' (with it's 9/11 references), 'Lies and Rules' , 'Hands Of Time' and the power ballad 'They' will leave you gasping for more. And the track 'It's Not The Way'. Unbelievable and totally captivating! Indeed, after the cd finishes, you will be reaching for the repeat button. Buy it when it gets released on 15th February and then...play it loud! In summary- this is a totally awesome record that demands one attention! This is major label material...enough said! 9.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

SIX MAGICS...'FALLING ANGELS'

(Coroner Records) Reviewed 18th July 2012

After serving as the vanguard of the Chilean Metal scene for more than 12 years, Six Magics is without question one of the most important musical exports from this remarkable country. Anyway, back in February 2010, I reviewed the previous release from this Chilean Band, that album was titled 'Behind The Sorrow', and that release blew me away. That was indeed Six Magic's 3rd album, but my first taste of their music. I now have the pleasure of reviewing their 4th release, and this is as bombastic as the previous one. Leading lady Elizabeth Vasquez is sensational with her powerful and so dynamic voice, backed up ably well by a band that should be playing all the major arenas around the globe. This is uptempo and rather powerful Melodic Metal music and throughout the 13 tracks on offer we are treated to an album of epic proportions. Some Progressive stuff creeps in at times, some Symphonic, some choral elements too, even an instrumental, so there is a helluva lot happening on this release to keep the Metal fan extremely happy. I have listened to this in the car, in the home and you know what, I cannot get fed up with it. You get your moneys's worth here, over 60 minutes worth of music and no fillers, I tell you what, when you listen to tracks like 'Rolled' and the power ballad 'Do You Remember', you are simply left screaming for more! Great stuff! 9.5/10 (Dave)

SKARLETT RIOT..EP

(Self Released) Reviewed 1st November 2011

Skarlett Riot released this 4 track EP last year, and although I have known about this band for a while now, I have only just got around to obtaining this EP and reviewing it. Fronted by Skarlett (Chloe), they are a 4 piece touring rock combo from the North Lincolnshire area, who blend uptempo hard rock music with extremely catchy hooks and infectious melodies. And catchy hooks are well apparent on this little platter, just listen to the track 'Never Believe It'. Next up 'The Answer' is one of the best hard rock tracks I will hear in a while too, and I would put good money on this track being a live favourite! Skarlett's vocals are clear and powerful and there is no reason why this band should not be going places. There is some new material due in 2012 and on this showing, I cannot wait. Check out their Facebook here. Good stuff... 8.75/10 (Dave)

SKARLETT RIOT..'VILLAINS'

(Self Release) Reviewed 17th February 2012

I can hear it now..."Do You Wanna Rock, Do You Wanna F*****g Rock", and then Skarlett Riot hit the stage. This band are quite a dab hand at the touring mallarky, but as yet, I have not seen them live myself. That is going to have to be addressed I am sure. I reviewed not too long ago, their debut EP, and I was mightily impressed, and this 4 track EP 'Villain' continues where the previous EP left off. We have some great hard rocking tunes from this 4 piece Lincolnshire based combo, and I am just a little puzzled why they are not signed by one of the bigger labels, which confirms to me the sad state of the UK music business, thanks to Simon Cowell and the like. Opener 'Party Hard' will have you doing just that as it pounds out of your speakers, while the pace never slackens with next up 'Read My Lips'. 'You're The Enemy' and the title track brings the EP to an explosive end, and will have you reaching for the replay button. This is pounding hard rock at it's finest with stax of melody, totally amazing stuff from a band so so young. Check out their facebook here and buy this immediately..9/10 (Dave)

SKARLETT RIOT...'TEAR ME DOWN'

(Factory Music) Reviewed 25th April

I have known about Lincolnshire band Skarlett Riot for some while now, and for a band so young, they show a musical maturity that not only belies their young years, this maturity is going to propel them into the big time, and by all accounts they are well on their way there as well. 'Tear Me Down' is one helluva release that although will have some people comparing them to a heavier Paramore, there is no doubt that Skarlett Riot are simply Skarlett Riot, and indeed there are no comparisons to other bands within their field, simply no comparison. This 10 track debut full length release from this band is totally mind blowingly awesome. 'Faded Memory' and also the first single kicks this mighty record off, and the cards are laid on the table right from the onset - no fillers, just all killers as further up tempo and awesome melodic punchy hard rockers continue to hammer their way out of the speakers. Take a listen to 'Rock n Roll Queen' and the title track as just two examples from a cd chock full of them, and you will know what I mean. This band just has to be big and all I can say is bring on the big guns from the USA, as I am sure Skarlett Riot will beat them hands down any day! Stunning!! 9/10 (Dave)

SKARLETT RIOT…’WE ARE THE BRAVE’ EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 18th August 2015

Quality exists within this band as they continue to release awesome music, as demonstrated within the music on this, their latest offering. This young and very confident band from Lincolnshire here in the UK is fronted by Skarlett, and they continue to mature like a flippin’ good wine. ‘We Are The Brave’ was released earlier in the year, but due to various circumstances totally beyond my control, coupled with illness, I myself have only just got around to reviewing this rockin’ masterpiece. There are five tracks here of blistering melodic tunes, and surely this band is going places if they continue to release music like this. There is not a filler on this EP so my advice is just go and buy the damn thing. It rocks and certainly will not disappoint!... 9/10 (Dave)

SKARLETT RIOT...'SENTIENCE' EP

(Factory Music) Reviewed 2nd May 2016

The new EP from Lincolnshire (UK) rockers Skarlett Riot is now available, and is another awesome record from this band that like a good wine seem to mature with age :) 5 tracks of melodic alternative hard rock with the signature Skarlett Riot sound that offers huge verses and catchy addictive choruses. This hugely talented UK band continues to push out awesome music at an alarming rate, and surely world domination must ensue. Everything here on this little EP is impressive, well recommended and available from today on iTunes and the like.... 9/10 (Dave)

SKEPTICAL MINDS..'SKEPTICALIZED'

(FYB Records) Reviewed 17th January 2011

Skeptical Minds is a Brussels based multi national band fronted by Polish lass Karolina vel Death (or Karolina Pacan in real life). I am the proud owner of their previous full length effort, 'Rent To Kill' when Kristell Lowagie was their singer. Kristell now having moved onto pastures new with her project Lovelorn. What we have to bear in mind here that this is no Nightwish or Epica record, Skeptical Minds being a completely different kettle of fish! 'Rent To Kill' was a hard industrial rocking affair, and although Skepticalized maybe a little harder to categorise at times, it does retain plenty of electro and industrial elements, with perhaps a slightly more laid back electro vibe at times - 'Command Me' one example. However, the album still rocks and 'Haman' and 'No Way Out' is the perfect opening salvo to this solid album. The songs vary widely throughout this release and therefore one can never be bored. The cream on the cake though is the prominent cello on the 5+ minute 'Broken Dolls', while I found the brief intro to 'Inertia' rather haunting. There is a high standard of musicianship on this recording, and it will not disappoint. Highly recommended...9/10 (Dave)

SKEPTICAL MINDS…’OMEGA THANATOS’

(FYB Records) Reviewed 19th July 2016

Skeptical Minds fronted by the angelic vocals of Karolina Pacan was formed in 2002 and since those days, the band has released three full length albums (inc this one), a couple of EPs and a live album. So a reasonably productive CV then. Their style of music can best be described as Industrial Metal with hints of Gothic Metal thrown into the mix. The album starts with angelic style of Karolina on the track 'Balcony Of Dreams', this shows the band's more Gothic side being basically a guitar orientated melodic number. Next one ‘Alone’ ups the pace and is a more industrial sounding track, while ‘Fears’ keeps the industrial feel going being a melodic pounder. There are further up tempo numbers like ‘The Sign’, then there is ‘Horror Show’ with its cello intro, the dark mainly instrumental ‘Thanatos’ that would make a great opening number at a live gig and the mid paced and rather kool ‘Last Friends’. The pen ultimate tune ‘Escape’ is a total belter, while the band do slow it down with the closing haunting ballad ‘Hopeless Hope’. This is a good album from Skeptical Minds in keeping with their previous releases, but to be honest, I do feel it betters those. The bands Facebook is here…worth checking out if not already done so… 8.75/10 (Dave)

SKEW SISKIN..'PEACE BREAKER'

(Monongo Music) Reviewed 8th December 2008

"Peace Breaker" by Berlin based high octane rockers Skew Siskin (fronted by Nina C Alice), hammers you in places where you never thought you would ever get hammered, and is a hard rocker's sexy dream! What more can I say. Kicking of with the awesome 'Metal In Your Face', and yep, that sums up this awesome piece of plastic. It is metal in your face. I defy anybody to tell me otherwise. The record features 13 hard hitting, hi energy and melodic songs, with an appearance on guitar from Wolf Hoffman (Accept) and song writing contributions from Lemmy (Motorhead) and Ivan Kral (Iggy Pop and Patti Smith). And if you thought the opener was great, you barely get a chance to recover your breath when 'We're An Institution' blasts out of the speakers. This high octane pace continues throughout the 50+ minutes, with barely time to pause for thought. Get those air guitars out (you will need them), turn up the volume, annoy the neighbours and rock. Aimee, my Ravenheart partner in crime (who arrives back from Australia next weekend) has seen Skew Siskin live in Germany. Her words..."Awesome", which sums up this album! Get it!! 9/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

SKIES BELOW...'APHELION'

(Self Release) Reviewed 18th August 2015

Skies Below from Seattle consist of Liz Porcayo on vocals, Dan Sides on guitar, Ryan Akin, bass, and Tim Strovas, drums. Recorded and mixed at Witch Ape Studio with Tad Doyle (Tad, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth), 'Aphelion' is the much-anticipated follow up to their 2013 debut EP 'Prologue'. Their music conjures elements of progressive rock, metal, doom, blues, and jazz. Evoking awe-inspiring vistas and glimpses of eternal darkness, the haunting melodies and lyrics will draw the listener in, guiding them through tales of wonder and despair. The album may not be to everybody's liking, but if you think that industrial prog served amongst a doomy atmosphere will be up your alleyway, then check this out. Okay, this is an intense journey musically with no ooohhh lala choruses, but it is good and highlights very well what this band is capable of! They ply their trade with seven tracks of the aforementioned style of music, with the band TOOL being I suppose a major influence style wise to what they offer the listener. Ending with the epic and haunting 9 minute plus ‘Doorway_Descent_Dissolution’, you will find the band’s Facebook here. The album meanwhile, is worth checking out, is due August 29th and it can be pre ordered here!... 8/10 (The Nugget)

SKUNK ANANSIE...'ANARCHYTECTURE'

(Spinefarm) Reviewed 31st January 2016

Skunk Anansie is a British band whose members include Skin (lead vocals), Cass (guitar, bass, backing vocals), Ace (guitar, backing vocals) and Mark Richardson (drums and percussion). They formed in March 1994, disbanded in 2001 and reformed in 2009. The name "Skunk Anansie" is taken from Akann folk tales of Anansi the spider-man of Ghana with "Skunk" added to make the name nastier and more sinister. Their last studio output was in 2012 with the album 'Black Traffic' and the awesomely titled 'Anarchytecture' is what greets 2016, and an interesting album it is too. Kicking off with the danceable and catchy 'Love Someone Else', this may set the benchmark for what is to come, but the album in-fact does offer an interesting mix of music. ‘Death To The Lovers’ for example is simply a beautiful ballad, while the dance vibe returns with the number ‘In The Back Room’. ‘That Sinking Feeling’ does not have a sinking feeling at all, a great foot tapper if ever there was one, while following track ‘Without You‘ is damn cool. Everything on this release is top quality, may be lacking the big choruses of the past, but this album comes from the top drawer from a top band British band. The record is worth a punt from a band described by Skin as a ‘Clit Rock Group‘ and mentions Sex Pistols, Blondie, dub, reggae, electronica, hip-hop and world music as significant influences! 8.5/10 (Dave)

SKYLARK..'DIVINE GATES PART III - THE LAST GATE'

(Renaissance Records) Reviewed 15th June 2008

Italian rockers Skylark (pictured) is one of these bands that has been around some while, and has escaped my radar, that I admit does on the odd occasion malfunction. They are a metal band fronted by the lovely lass Kiara, and have released a hat full of albums, and have even toured with Nightwish. 'Divine Gates Part III - The Last Gate' is their latest offering and is a cool metal release. Kiara's vocals are so angelic that you have to wonder whether you are actually with the angels when listening to her. The cd contains faster metal tracks like 'The Scream' and 'All Is Wrong', the slower and awesome ballad 'Believe In Love', and more mid paced rockers like 'Dying Inside' (a song I swear I have heard before) and 'Time'. This album is awesome, it is totally melodic and it is right up my alleyway. Renaissance Records are sure releasing some awesome titles at the moment and this is one of them. If like me, this band is unfamiliar, then it may well be worth checking out 'In The Heart Of The Princess', which is a best of package 1995/2005. As for 'Divine Gates Part III'. Support Femme Metal and buy it! You will not be disppointed! I wasn't!! 8/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

SKYRION..'BEYOND CREATION'

(Irond) Reviewed 12th April 2010

This Brazilian bunch produce no holds barred, full throttle, hook laden, classic heavy metal. Leading lady Vitoria has a seriously fine set of metal pipes, with a touch of the Janis Joplins about her, and she is joined by a couple of guest gentleman who also possess seriously mighty metal voices, Renato Tribuzy (Tribuzy) and Guilherme Sevens (Reckoning). ‘Hiding My Hate’ reminds me of Alice Copper, while ‘Born For Metal’ is the ultimate call to arms for all you metalheads out there. ‘Burning Temptations’ start out bluesy and groovy, before turning seriously heavy, and the Eastern flavoured ‘Innocent Eyes’ rampages and soars, this calls for some serious headbanging folks. ‘What If’ rises into an inspiring lighter waver, then the seriously catchy melodic rocker ‘Blind Faith’, time for some serious air guitar (hang on, my G strings out, just a tweak, that’s better). ‘Beyond Control’ is another good melodic song, ‘Liars’ sounds like AC/DC jamming with Metallica, this gets seriously angry, and the penultimate tune ‘Future’, which is rather Nightwishish (try saying that after a couple of pints). The real ace in the pack is the last number ‘Alone in Darkness’, the finest song that Yes have never written, a total revelation that shows a totally different side to the band, this tune could be a smash in the USA. If you were born for metal, and you love your Maiden, Priest, Metallica, power metal, or indeed any old sort of metal, then you cannot argue with the quality of music on offer here, this is seriously good stuff. The only problem is getting hold of it, especially for people outside the Americas, but a good starting point is their Myspace site www.myspace.com/skyrion. 9/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

SKYTAH..'GYPSY MENTALITY'

(Independent Release) Reviewed 7th Sept 2007

This album is a pleasant surprise. Adrienn Pastzor's powerful vocals remind me in places of Anneke Van Giersbergen, formerly of The Gathering. But there again, like The Gathering, Skytah is from that rock mecca they call Holland. This cd is a mix of mid paced and slower accoustic based tracks, although with some strong electric guitar work aswell by Ben Humpig. Just listen to the awesome title track...I hear Boston influences there. The momentum is carried through 'I'm Not' and one of my favourites 'Chi-Flow'. Ben Humpig (who so kindly got this cd to me) it seems is a pretty decent guitarist by all accounts. The album varies in pace throughout, with the slower 'Iron Solace', the reggae influenced 'Liberation' and the rockier Te Vagy Nekem being other faves of mine. I do very much like this cd. It may not be one for you 100% metal heads out there, but it is yet another strong independent rock release, together with a decent production. 8/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

SKYTAH..'BREATHE'

(Self Released) Reviewed 10th February 2011

Dutch rockers Skytah can best be characterized as a crossover rock band with a distinctive style of their own. The brainchild of Hungarian Songstress Adriënn Pásztor (vocalist, composer) and Ben Humpig (guitarist, composer), developing their own musical presence was key to unifying these two individuals. I very much liked their debut 'Gypsy Mentality', and this album very much continues where the debut left off. 'Lover's High' gets things going, a great rock track with a super cool chorus. The momentum continues with 'Give It Up', while 'Angel' is a cool up tempo melodic song with some rather heavy guitar riffs, even flirting with metal I hasten to add:) The album continues in this similar vein, some good rockers like 'Beneath The Ruins Of Parting' and some slower numbers like 'Ilona's Last Whisper', the latter part of the cd actually dropping the pace slightly, but still very good nonetheless. The songs here are certainly radio friendly and a band like Skytah would do well touring with the likes of Austrians Cornerstone. This release continues to prove to me the unsigned rock talent that can be cruelly ignored by the major record labels, whilst those very labels continue to try and find the next hugely overrated pop sensation! Visit their myspace at Skytah Myspace or Skytah Website and then spend your hard earnt cash on buying this cd. 8.75/10 (Dave)

SLEEPCRIME..'Everything Secret Degenerates'

(Independent Release) Reviewed 22nd October 2010

SleepCrime fuses potent melodies with downtuned riffs inspired by classic heavy metal and the ramshackle spirit of grungy, hard-driving rock. The band formed in Astoria, New York at the end of 2008 and is fronted by Michele Lombardo with Andy Marino on Guitars and Vox, Matt Lambert on Bass and Vox and another lass, Lauren O'Reilly on Drums and Vox. 'Everything Secret Degenerates' is the nine-song result of more than a year's worth of recording in such exotic locales as Brooklyn's Savaria Studios, the living room of an upstate ski lodge, and Lauren's bedroom, where she functioned as the sole engineer and arbiter of bad takes. A good little release, that will appeal to the hard rock crowd that like their music mixed in with some downtuned guitars. Fave tracks include the thumping opener 'Automaton', 'Bass Amp', the hard rocking 'Slave' and the cover 'Black Velvet' (Alannah Myles). By the way, the album's title is taken from a declassified FBI file documenting the use of murderers as informants. The album can be downloaded from http://sleepcrime.bandcamp.com/ and is worth checking out. 8.25/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

SLEEPING ROMANCE...'ENLIGHTEN'

(Ulterium Records) Reviewed 22nd November 2013

Formed in Modena Italy, Sleeping Romance (once known as Enlighten) is another rather fab Gothic Symphonic Metal band to hit the airwaves. An epic cinematic intro to the cd takes us into the title track that kicks this cd into gear in a way I have not heard in a while. An absolutely massive start to what to me is a very good record. And then having barely recovered from the opener, 'The Promise Inside' comes along. A bombastic Symphonic song with a huge chorus and this could be one of my tracks of the year - great cello too. The upbeat and melodic 'Soul Reborn' and the Symphonic 'Free Me' maintain the tempo, and at the halfway point, I know we are onto a winner here! Great stuff!! 'December Flower' is a beautiful and heavily orchestrated power ballad, again showcasing some rather lovely cello work within it's framework. There is no let up during the final stages of the cd - four further awesome songs that will leave you gasping for more once the album has finished. Fronted by the emotional vocals of Federica Lanna and the epic songwriting from the very good guitar player Federico Truzzi, Sleeping Romance has created something really special here, that I know will appeal to fans of this style of music - Nightwish, Xandria and the like. Their Facebook is here and to my ears, this is a must buy!.. 9.25/10 (Dave)

SLEEPING SIN..'ENGEL'

(Self Release) Reviewed 9th November 2010

This is the debut album ('Engel' meaning Angels in English), from the new melodic rock/metal band from Hamburg. They specialise in stately swaying symphonic rock/metal with majestic refrains, in the same vein as Within Temptation’s ‘Our Farewell’ and Nightwish’s ‘Sleeping Sun’. The first three numbers ‘Engel’ (video on female voices blog), ‘Was Bleibt’ and ‘Spieluhr’ (all the lyrics are in their native language) gently lull you into a dreamlike state, before they pick it up with ‘Sundenfall’ and ‘Heirate Mich’. Angelic Steffi has a sublime light pure semi-operatic and occasionally operatic voice that fits the music like a velvet glove. The second half continues with more swayers, but occasional bursts of power to keep your attention and to stop it becoming soporific. With all this swaying and lighter waving by the end I’m so chilled out I’m almost horizontal and I’ve used up all my gas and having to use matches. It would be a sin to sleep through this album, rarely have I come across a band and album so appropriately named, this is heavenly, entrancing, relaxing, romantic, deeply moving and dreamy music. Available to download from their dreamland http://sleepingsin.de/, I am swayed to give it a blissful 8.25/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

SLEEPTHIEF..'LABYRINTHINE HEART'

(Neurodisc) Reviewed 9th August 2010

Sleepthief is in fact American composer and producer Justin Elswick who uses a raft of top female singers on his albums. This is the follow up to 2006’s ‘The Dawnseeker’. He has been compared to groups like Delirium and Baligomingo, melodic, ethereal, emotive, electronic, orchestral music, with a touch of New Age, within pop based song structures, similar to Madonna’s earth mother William Orbit period and artists like Enya. Some of the better know artists are Zoë Johnson (Faithless, Delirium), Kirsty Hawkshaw (Opus III), Kristy Thirsk (Delirium), and Caroline Lavelle whose 1995 album ‘Spirit’ with William Orbit introduced Madonna to the producer. Beautiful, mystic, Celtic, dreamy songs like ‘Here I Confess’, ‘Skimming Stones’ and ‘Reason Why’ (video on Female Voices Blog), are interspersed with more toe tapping electronica numbers like ‘World Gone Crazy’ (featuring the sole male singer Coury Palermo), ‘A Cut From The Fight’ and ‘I Know There’s Something Going On’. Perfect chill out music, draw the blinds, light some scented candles, and drift away. If you want this perfect antidote to the stresses of modern life then the CD is available from most fine retailers, and his website can be found at http://www.sleepthiefmusic.com/. Lovely stuff, 9/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

SLIPPING TONGUE..'MY KINGDOM FALLS'

(Finest Hour Records) Reviewed 15th February 2011

I know little about Slipping Tongue except they are from New Zealand and this album was released in 2008. From what I gather, it has been rather difficult to get hold of, so now it has been re released and is now available for free download from their facebook site. The band fronted by Jennie Skulander actually called it a day in 2008, but Jennie now fronts a band from Hamilton NZ called DEVILSKIN. Slipping Tongue list their influences as Coheed & Cambria, Tool, Pantera, System of a Down, Guns N Roses, 36 Crazy Fists, Killswitch Engage, Chimera and Sevendust. This release certainly would appeal to fans of these aforementioned bands, and would certainly not look out of place on alternative metal radio stations as a consequence. As the download is free, it has to be worth checking out their Facebook, or take a look at a video of theirs on youtube....8/10 (Dave)

SLOT…’Septima’

(Sliptrick Records) Reviewed 8th May 2016

SLOT come from Russia and is fronted by a young lady by the name of Nookie, with male mainly clean vox from Cache. Together with Korn, Slot performed at Saint Petersburg's Ice Palace and at MSA in Moscow in 2006. Indeed, they have released six studio albums, two remix albums, one live DVD, several singles and several soundtracks, so the Russian hit makers have quite a pedigree, and are now about to release this their seventh album via Sliptrick Records, in July 2016. They had a major setback however in early 2014, when female singer Nookie was stabbed multiple times in her neck during an autograph session with the band’s fans in St. Petersburg. She was rushed to the hospital, where the doctors said that she was "moderately grave", but her life wasn't in danger. Thankfully she has recovered and together with the band throw at the listener 13 tracks of Alternative Metal with a strong melodic sensibility coupled with cool electro influences. The tracks are sung in Russian, but I have English titles to the songs. The opener ‘Reincarnation’ is a real belter and sets the scene for what is a totally awesome album. Nookie belts them out like a good un with fave tracks a plenty. Just listen to the corker ‘As He Wants’, the totally magical and rap influenced ‘Russian Soul’ with its catchy chorus (I really love this one!) and the metallic, pounding and interestingly titled ‘Ctrl+Z’, with yet another awesome chorus. Damn it I am only 4 tracks in, so I may as well just say that the whole shebang is superb including further tracks like ‘Where, There The Sky’. If you love melody, subtle electronica, male and mainly but not exclusively clean vocals, and belting tunes, this is for you! I have known about Slot for some while, but have never really got into any of their music big time. This is rather damn good and well recommended – check out www.facebook.com/theSLoT/ and put 8th July into your diaries!... 9.5/10 (Dave)

SLOWGOLD...'Stjärnfall'

(Gaphals) Reviewed 19th may 2015

Slowgold is Amanda Werne, and can be described like a vague dream hovering over the western parts of Gothenburg. The music brings to mind the Swedish archipelago in the earliest hours of midsummer eve - sitting alone, gazing at the horizon while your loved one is leaving. This album having already been praised by Classic Rock magazine here in the UK, is sung in Amanda's native tongue. There are 10 tracks here of laid back relaxing music for those coming Summer evenings, where you can lay back with the odd beer (or indeed wine) or six! But warning: This is NOT Metal, but it is rather good - facebook here. Imagine Mazzy Starr crossed with early Fleetwood Mac... 7.75/10 (Dave)

SLYCHOSIS..'MENTAL HYGIENE'

(Independent) Reviewed 19th January 2011

American Band (from Brandon Mississippi) Slychosis featuring amongst others Gregg Johns of Proximal Distance, is a progressive/psychedelic rock band that began their foray into the music scene during the Fall of 2004. Mental Hygiene being their forth album, that offers basically what it says on the tin - a mix of psychedelic/progressive rock, that features both male and female lead vocals spanning the 8 tracks on this record. The female vocals being offered compliments of Ceci Whitehurst and Bridget Shield. I certainly like the psychedelic/progressive vibe on opener 'Geistly Suite' that features Todd Sears on lead vox. Certainly a late 60's/early 70's feel on this track, taking me back to my much younger days. The progressive 'Importance' is fronted by Ceci, while Todd Sears re-appears on 'Fallen Tiger', and this harks me back to the time I used to listen to early Pink Floyd and even early Bowie influences appear too! Oh, they were the days :) Todd's vocals on this track alternating with those of Ceci. 'Things Unsaid' is a catchy little number with Ceci taking the mic, a folky feel to the vocals, with a kinda Asia feel at times in the keys dept too. 'Odessa' sees the band wandering into instrumental territory, showcasing the musical ability of the band as a whole, while 'Angelus Novusaum' again features Todd and Ceci sharing the mic and is an awesome atmospheric number! Closing duo of 'When The Fog Lifts' (Ceci lead vox) and the rather cool 'Midnight' featuring the powerful bluesy vocals of Bridget, finish what to my ears is a surprisingly good album. I say surprising as I was not sure what to expect, although I had done a little homework on this band before the cd arrived at Ravenheart Towers. Check out their website http://slychosis.com/index.html.....some awesome all round musicianship here - great listening! 8.5/10 (Dave)