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Ravenheart Reviews: Archived

Guy Band Archived Reviews

A LIFE DIVIDED...'HUMAN'

(AFM Records) Reviewed 26th March 2015

For about 5 years straight, German electro-rockers A LIFE DIVIDED has literally spit out one hit single after another. From mainstream to electronic rhythm-dominated songs, the band achieved great success on radio as well as in rock clubs. With this album to be released on April 10th 2015, the band not only unleash 13 new songs, each with the definite potential to become a hit single, but also a brutally honest journey to the core of the human being. “It’s like a critical look in the mirror”, frontman Jürgen Plangger explains. “Maybe you don’t always like what you see, but in the end you gotta live with it.” The 36 year old singer got his inspirations for the album lyrics not only from personal experiences, but also from looking deeper at the subject of self-reflection and the dilemma of his generation. “We live in a time that gives us the impression that we always have to strive for something more, something better. It’s like an obstacle course which is impossible to win. Accepting imperfection might be the key to happiness". On to the album itself, and briefly, there are 13 tracks here of amazingly addictive electro rock that will leave you screaming for more when the album has finished. As mentioned above, this band has a habit of spitting out song after song with hit single potential, and 'Human' is no exception! I will not add anymore, but if you feel that this may be right up your alleyway, then buy it in April when it gets released. An album that is a dynamically good, sexy and totally orgasmic all killer no filler release, f**k, I am already getting withdrawal symptoms - where is the repeat button?... 9.75/10 (The Nugget)

A TEAR BEYOND…’MAZE OF ANTIPODES’

(House of Ashes Production) Reviewed 24th August

A Tear Beyond from Italy gives to their audience not a simple performance, but a quite unique show full of emotions and meaning. Their repertoire goes from industrial and electronic sounds to gothic metal arrangements. Theatre is the main theme of their live performances, involving the audience in a new reality that oversteps the sound, merging disguises, entertainers, lighting effects, set designs and Venetian masks. Fronted by Claude Arcano, this album offers up seven tracks of Industrial/Gothic Metal, mixed in with some Theatric Metal (is there such a style? - there is now!). After an instrumental intro track, the album (the band’s second) gets going good and proper with the bombastic (using one of Dave's fave words) 'Flies and Raven's', a metallic and melodic track with subtle touches of gothy sounding electronica. Rather kool if I may say so, this track then being followed by ‘The Human Zoo’, a mid tempo pounding track that to be honest has blown my mind, who needs drugs when music like this can give you that high! All seven tracks here are highlights in their own right, heavy, gothy, melodic and theatrical, listen to ‘Forgiveness’ and ‘The Colors Of Sky and Earth’ (with operatic female vocals popping up) as further examples from this very good record. This album is a little on the short side, but it is a no filler all killer cd. The band’s website is here…9/10 (The Nugget)

ABSOLVA…’NEVER A GOOD DAY TO DIE’

(Rocksector Records) Reviewed 20th October 2015

ABSOLVA is a British metal band (from Manchester), and offers an inspired & modern take on the proud traditions of this genre. Formed in May 2012 by Chris Appleton (lead vocals) & Martin McNee (drums), both of Fury UK, this is the band's latest effort having been co-written by Luke Appleton (Iced Earth), brother of Chris. We have 11 tracks of traditional hard rock and metal played how we are all used to hearing it. And there are highlights galore on the album. If you thought the pounding opener 'Disguise' was good, then next up 'Killer Within' with its catchy chorus will have you screaming for more. And more you get - 'No One Escapes' is a thumping rocker with a fist pumping chorus as is ‘The Light’. The title track maintains the awesome momentum that the record so far has gathered, although the epic and rather cool power ballad ‘How Black Is My Heart’ slows things down a bit, until half way through the tune when the ante sure is upped, a great number and a fave of mine from the cd. ‘Transform’ cranks it up again and that is how it continues until the awesome closing number ‘All Alone’. This is a massive and enjoyable release from the band– great musicianship from all the musicians involved and well recommended to rock and metal lovers out there. Absolva’s website is here… 9/10 (Dave)

AlogiA...'ELEGIA BALCANICA'

(Miner Recordings) Reviewed 9th April 2015

Very often suggested as the greatest Serbian metal band, Alogia have played many tours all over the Balkans during the last decade, and also performed on many huge festivals, such as Exit and Beer fest. They also had a couple of very successful huge solo concerts in Belgrade, SKC hall, and they have also opened for Whitesnake, Apocalyptica and Savatage. After 3 studio and one live album/dvd, the guys have released this their fourth studio album last September in their home country, and it will see a worldwide release this year (2015). Basically the band play melodic power metal and this album of 9 tracks showcases this style rather nicely. Sung in their native tongue, this is a consistent release across the 9 tracks if you like this style of music. A favourite track of mine from the album being 3rd one up, 'Galija', and indeed the catchy 'Ona Zna (Lilith)' is rather good too. The melodic 'U Tisini' I am sure I have heard somewhere before, while closing bonus track 'Intentionally Blind' features SILENT KINGDOM. This record is a reasonable effort and worth checking out - website is here ... 7.75/10 (The Nugget).

ANGER MANAGEMENT..'OUTSIDE THE ASYLUM'

(Self Release) Reviewed 18th November 2011

I am always interested in music that comes my way, and here is another little gem. This band is called Anger Management and come from Kent. They offer up 5 tracks of music with attitude - Punk Rock to be precise. I have always liked the Punk scene with bands like The Sex Pistols and The Ramones striking a chord with me. Some hideously catchy stuff on this recording, with some interesting and thought provoking lyrics...'APATHY' for example - "IT'S NOT MY PROBLEM THAT YOU'RE STARVED WITH NO MONEY, GO GET A FUCKING JOB YOU USELESS LAZY SLOB". Come on guys & gals, have we not looked around at some of the dossers that roam our streets and thought just that, I know I have. That is in-fact a fave track of mine. The acoustic driven 'The Pursuit of Happiness (Leads To Sadness)' and 'And Then There Were 3' are other goodies. This EP is damn cool and will appeal most certainly to the bods out there that are into the Punk Rock scene. Their Myspace is here - recommended! 8.25/10 (Dave)

ANURYZM...'ALL IS NOT FOR ALL'

(Melodic Revolution Records) Reviewed 29th June 2015

Coming from the U.A.E this is a very interesting release we have here at Ravenheart Music. Anuryzm is a Progressive Metal quintet fronted by Nadeem Michael Bibby. They was formed in Lebanon in 2003 and now reside in Abu Dhabi. And they have a pedigree too, having shared the stage with the likes of Black Sabbath, The Scorpions, Epica and Nightwish among others. The album is divided into two sections, SEQUENCE I and SEQUENCE II with the songs according to the band spanning a variety of topics including humbleness, nanotechnology, illness, astral projection, extraterrestrial encounters, love, longing and remorse to name just a few. And it will be of no surprise that Dream Theater is one band that offers clear influences within Anuryzm's music. This is an intense release combining elements of Power Metal, Thrash Metal, Death Metal, Prog and even a little of the symphonic on the intro to the blistering title track, and it all keeps your ears glued to the cd player until the end. There are some awesome guest collaborations here including Michael Lepond (Symphony X) and interestingly the son of Charlie Chaplin, Christopher Chaplin who plays the cello on the laid back and rather nice instrumental track 'Oceans Apart'. Being a fan myself of Dream Theater and UK Prog Metal masters Threshold among others, I do rather like this Progtastic release (with its nice artwork too) as should anybody out there that is into this style of music, so check the band out here and give them your support... 8.75/10 (Dave)

ASTORIAN STIGMATA...'BONES and MEMORIES'

(Standby Records) Reviewed 6th August 2015

I was born in 1984 and grew up with parents that loved the Rock and Metal music scene. So I know about many bands including some of the well established bands that my Dad used to listen too (and still does). So I know about the band Rush. What you are asking is, what has Rush to do with this band from the USA? Well nothing really as far as I know, but vocalist Dennis Condusta does sound a little like Geddy Lee, well to my ears anyway, and that cannot be a bad thing. Astorian Stigmata offers up dissonant synth driven sounds of early hard rock, blending musical influences from bands like The Cure and H.I.M, and with an attitude and unique fashion sense, the band has created a world all their own. It all started in 2009 as a solo project by front man Dennis in a place called Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. After years of touring and line up changes the band finalized in 2013 with DJ Laury (guitar), Kyle Drevenik (Bass), and Matt Gobbler (drums). There are 13 tracks on this impressive just released album, their 3rd full length by all accounts, offering up some rather commercial, radio friendly and very catchy Rock music, and they have the image to boot as well. I must say that this is a pleasant surprise as I was not totally sure what to expect. But you have 13 golden cuts of rockers and ballads, so I would suggest checking this one out, as there is a hidden gem in those parts of Pennsylvania waiting to take on the world! Their website is at www.astorianstigmata.com/home/...9/10 (The Nugget)

AWAKE BY DESIGN...'CARVE THE SUN'

(LMC Records) Reviewed 27th August 2015

Awake By Design from the UK (Midlands) is very pleased to announce that their second album 'Carve The Sun', is now available, and has been for a few weeks now and furthermore, we have the pleasure of reviewing what is a very good album! The cd features 10 brand new tracks, including the singles, the pounding ‘Tired Of Angels’ and the power ballad ‘Falling On Me’. I have to be honest and say that I liked their impressive debut offering 'Sentiment', but this release does up the ante somewhat, propelling this band towards the Premier League if they are not now already there. Adrian Powell's vocals are top class, and I have to say that this record has totally blown me away. There are further awesome cuts in addition to the two singles mentioned above, including the power ballads 'Yesterday's Rain' and 'Surface', and the rocking 'Moments Of Fame'. This so happens to be a Melodic Metal masterpiece throughout the 10 numbers, and that alone must surely get the band a wider recognition across not just the UK, but across Europe and maybe beyond. Check out the band's website at www.awakebydesign.co.uk/. Using Mr Bon Jovi's words, "Keep the faith" guys, this is damn awesome!.. 9.25/10 (Dave)

BEAUVOIR/FREE...'AMERICAN TRASH'

(Frontiers Records) Reviewed 14th May 2015

Do you remember Crown of Thorns?, an American AOR band that issued a totally awesome S/T album on Now & Then Records in the UK back in the early 90s. They continued to release further albums that although very good, never quite hit the quality that made the debut the awesome release it was. Anyway, the two stalwarts of that band have come together again - Jean Beauvoir (Lead and background Vocals, Bass, Guitars, Keyboards, Drums) and Micki Free (Lead Guitars, Rhythm And Acoustic Guitars) to give us an album of killer guitar riffs and major melodic choruses, to have you hopping around your living room in no time whatsoever. Eleven tracks of Melodic Rock heaven. In brief, this is an all killer no filler album that is up there with the best of them, including the Crown of Thorns debut. Quite simply buy - gets released 5th June... 9.25/10 (The Nugget)

BEDPAN FIGHT...EP

(Self Released) Reviewed 17th August 2015

Bedpan Fight hail from Brooklyn NY and this is a 4 track EP that came our way back in June. This four piece consist of Brandon Bujnowski (Producer, Songwriter, Guitar, Vocals), Tim Van Rosenberg (Songwriter, Guitar, Vocals), Allison Betus (Bass, Vocals) and Chris Barreto (Drums). They offer up the classic punk rock sound, four tracks under three mins with one running in at just under 2 minutes, so get the drift? To be honest this is good with the track 'Brooklyn Baby' being one of my faves from this little EP. The bands Facebook is here and the video to the closing track 'Final Breakdown' can be seen at www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgJIl08FUQQ. This is classic Punk and it is rather good! 8/10 (The Nugget)

BOREALIS...'PURGATORY'

(AFM Records) Reviewed July 17th 2015

Canada is not really a country that springs to mind when it comes to high-class melodic metal. This could possibly change a bit now with BOREALIS (fronted by Matt Marinelli) from Ontario. So far this young and extremely talented band may mostly be known to insiders and to a smaller devoted fanbase, but this their new (3rd) album 'Purgatory' proves that BOREALIS could be one of the best metal bands to emerge in recent years on to the international scene via a top label, AFM Records. There are 12 tracks here of some rather classy melodic metal and I do hear female vocals compliments of Sarah Dee, on the track 'From The Ashes'. The opening cut 'Past The Veil' comes blasting out of the speakers, while the second track, the previously mentioned 'From The Ashes' maintains the blistering pace! There are further jaw dropping numbers including 'The Chosen One' with its great chorus, the classy acoustic string driven ballad 'Darkest Sin', the power ballad 'Rest My Child' and the melodic closer 'Revelation'. Already released in Europe (June 19th) and due in North America July 21st, this is an essential 12 track listening experience for any melodic metal music fan!.. 9/10 (The Nugget)

BRAINDANCE...'MASTER OF DISGUISE'

(Dr.Music Records) Reviewed 12th January 2016

After more than ten years, it is finally happening: New York's BRAINDANCE is about to release a conceptual album 'Master Of Disguise', which sees the light of day on 29th January via Dr.Music Records. – and it is well worth the wait. The Progressive Darkwave veterans return with an enormous, artful epic about ancient times, which virtually catapults its audience into a parallel world similar to the age of ancient Egyptians and Mayas. The band's main vocalist Sebastian Elliot’s distinctive vocals mingled with dark beats make the perfect mysterious sound backdrop for this extraordinary story. He is ably supported by his partner in crime Vora Vor, who takes care of female backing vocals together with Guitar, Keyboard, Programming & Orchestration. 15 energetic and elaborate songs tell the story of a ruler of this world, who makes contact with the netherworld ('Eye Of The Storm'). This encounter, however, entails serious consequences ('The Silence', 'The Game'), whereupon the monarch is forced to begin to search for his own identity ('Master Of Disguise'). At all times he is haunted by his past and insecure about what the future holds ('Lost', 'More Than A Moment'). The record itself is awesome and at times almost touches film score proportions, with pinpointed atmospheric instrumental passages rounding off and completing this epic album. While awaiting the release date, how about viewing a video to a track of the album here, that track being 'LOST'... 8.75/10 (The Nugget)

CAPTAIN HORIZON..'RADIOSTASIS' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 22nd June 2011

Birmingham based Captain Horizon I suppose you would class as a Melodic Rock Band. The type of Americana style rock music that the record labels were throwing all their bucks at in the 80's, before grunge came along and ruined it! I have seen this band live and I must say that that in itself is an experience. Vocalist Steve "Whitty" Whittington moves all over the place, and I am sure if you had a stage as big as Wembley Stadium, it would not be big enough for Steve. Anyway, the music on offer should grace any self respecting rock fan's cd player. Whitty's vocals offer a cool gravelly style that suits the music well. All four cuts on the EP are good melodic cuts, but the fave to my ears are 'Anxiety Breaks Us All' and the title track. Anybody into the Melodic Rock/AOR scene will do themselves no harm in checking this band and their music out. Their Facebook is here. Throw down the sunroof, hit the highway and play Captain Horizon, loud. 8.5/10 (Dave)

CAPTAIN HORIZON...'IMITATION SUN'

(Rocksector Records) Reviewed 19th May 2015

Like the previous review I have just done (Carl Grocutt-Clarke), I have known the Captain Horizon guys for a wee while now, having seen them live on a couple of occasions, and this is their debut full length offering. The band has previously released 3 EPs, followed by a debut album 'The Lights Of Distorted Science' which was re-released as a digital-only bonus edition when they signed with Rocksector Records in 2014. The Birmingham (UK) guys give us here 10 tracks of Rock music similar I suppose to that of U2 and the like. Melodic, tuneful, radio friendly and totally inoffensive. This is an energetic and articulate release with passionate vocals from Steve 'Whitty' Whittington, backed up by an able bunch of musicians. Of the tracks on offer that are all consistently good, I am beginning to like the title track, 4+ minutes of total magic! Captain Horizon will be performing 2 sets at SOS fest this summer acoustic and electric. SOS fest is over three days this year 17th, 18th and 19th July @ Radcliffe Civic Hall, North Manchester. For a taster, check out some of their music here - recommended... 8.5/10 (Dave)

CHALCEDONY...'CHAPTER III'

(Rusalka Records) Reviewed 9th December 2015

Eveshka, formerly known as Dano, started the band around 2005. The first album, Chapter One, was released in 2007. Originally a classical pianist and the drummer for a UK band, Confusion, he decided to take matters into his own hands by combining his love for classical music and film scores with the energy and drive of rock and metal. He thus became 'Chalcedony' and has not looked back since. His brother, Chris Wilson, former front man of Confusion, accompanies Chalcedony (who takes care of drums, piano and of course vocals) on this album, with his superior guitar skills, giving it that gritty rock edge that the music needs. Chalcedony communicates his story through dramatic means, venturing through the complexity of Progressive Rock, Celtic and horror, coupled with plenty of melody. It is a tale of agoraphobia through his own eyes, battling through adventures of love, hate, failure and success. As a result, we get 12 tracks and 68 minutes of awesome and at times emotionally charged music, just listen to 'The Old Convent' and ‘Left Side Of The Pier as just two awesome examples, while 'Mother Gaia' and 'Fifth Conquest' highlights the instrumental skills of Eveshka. At least five years in the making, Chapter III was produced in a loft-conversion studio in Chalcedony's home entirely, and mastered by Kevin Paul, who has worked with well known artists such as Nick Cave and Depeche Mode - and it comes well recommended from the Ravenheart team. Check facebook out here... 9/10 (Dave)

CHARM DESIGNER…’EVERLASTING’

(Inverse Records) Reviewed 7th March 2016

Charm Designer is a Colombian Doom/Gothic Metal band with a Samael, Tiamat, Rotting Christ and Moonspell vibe going on (think of all those bands at their softest/most Goth influenced/experimental eras). The whole album is a palindrome between soft but heavy soundscapes that contrast with some harsher passages, coupled with raspy harsh vocals giving way to some smooth Pop/Gothy vocal tones, in a combination that seems to work rather nicely thank you. This is a rather good album to be perfectly frank offering plenty of atmosphere among all the heaviness. We even have an unknown female vocalist on the melodic but equally as heavy 'Never After' and needless to say, this is one of my fave tracks, but there are others that include the mega heavy but amazingly tuneful 'The Replicant', the awesome and epic tracks ‘Inertial Drain’ and ‘By The Unmasked’. Then we have the rather good melodic and pounding closer ’Policy of Truth’ featuring the backing vocals of that unknown lady again. This is a surprisingly good album from a band that comes from a country more known for its drugs culture than for its Metal music. The more I listen to this cd the better it seems to get, being damn good and well worth checking out! Take a look at the lyric video to the opening title track here….8.75/10 (Dave)

CHILD OF CAESAR...'LOVE IN BLACK'

(Inverse Records) Reviewed 16th June 2015

We have another rather good guy fronted Gothic Band to get our teeth into. And as I said in a previous review, these people that send us this music sure know we have an ear for melody. The band this time is Child of Caesar (www.childofcaesar.bandpage.com/) who come from Germany, and within this cd are 9 tracks of prime time melodic Gothic Metal for the listener to take a glorious romp through. Fronted by Daniel Mitchell from the USA, it all kicks into gear with 'Defector' and there are another 8 golden nuggets to follow the awesome opener. Second track in 'Red Sun' is as equally as good as the opener, and so is the rest. If you like your Metal Gothic and very melodic, my advice - buy this! Bloody marvelous!... 9/10 (The Nugget)

C.O.P…’STATE OF ROCK’

(AOR Heaven) Reviewed 1st October 2015

I stole this review from Dave as I do kinda like this Melodic/AOR style of music. Boasting Grand Illusion’s Peter Sundell, together with his younger brother Christian, Swedish band C.O.P play 80s style Melodic Rock as if the 80s had not gone away. There is some blistering stuff on this album, imagine those warm summer days, car roof down, music playing loud, I just wish (for the car I mean). This is kool! Only a brief review, but fans of Journey, FM and the like, take note, this ain’t ‘arf bad so check it out,..8.5/10 (The Nugget)

CORVUS...'CHASING MIRACLES'

(Lynchburg Records) Reviewed 19th March 2015

UK band Corvus fronted by Birmingham based Ciaran James, came into existence as the result of a completely unexpected scenario, that saw the members working as session musicians on another project. Happily they stayed in touch and an original band Corvus was formed. The result is this album - the corking “Chasing Miracles” being a superb slice of melodic rock/AOR. Recorded at Arkham Studio’s under the guiding hand of Alex Cooper (Hanging Dolls), Alex also lends his not inconsiderable skills on the drums to the album. There are 13 tracks here of music that takes us very nicely into the aforementioned AOR/Melodic Rock territory, the band having a sound, not unlike bands such as FM, Journey & Shy, but with a very modern feel. This is very good and well worth checking out if this kinda music is your cuppa tea, when it gets released June 1st. The band's facebook is here - well recommended!!... 9/10 (The Nugget)

CRYSTAL BALL...'LIFERIDER'

(Massacre Records) Reviewed 24th April 2015

Crystal Ball fronted by the awesome vocals of Steven Mageney, started in 1995 as a cover band (named "Cherry Pie"). These years of stage experiences became the foundation of CRYSTAL BALL, under whose banner the band has become one of Europe´s major forces in the Hard Rock genre.Tentatively entitled 'In The Beginning', CRYSTAL BALL started their crusade in 1999, but fast forwarding to 2015, and this is the new and 8th album by these Swiss melodic metal gods. We have the digipak version here and that gives us a massive 15 tracks and nearly 70 minutes of melodic hard rock for the coming Summer months. The extremely catchy 'Mayday' gets things going in tremendous fashion, and if you are able to keep still during this number, may I suggest you call the paramedics! Second up 'Eye To Eye' is another bouncy melodic tune that features a guest appearance by Battle Beast’s Noora Louhimo! And there is no let up with crunchy hard rock numbers like 'Paradise', 'Balls Of Steel', the pounding mid paced 'Hold Your Flag' and 'Sacred Heart' (Bonus cut) hammering their way out of your speakers for close on 70 minutes. And the band can do power ballads like the best of them - the 6+ minute 'Memory Run' being one such track. This exceptional album chock full of exciting melodies, is available as limited digipak with three exclusive bonus tracks as well as a jewel case CD, and is well worth the purchase - released 22nd May... 9/10 (The Nugget)

CRYSTAL BALL…’DEJA-VOODOO’

(Massacre Records) Reviewed 15th July 2016

Hardly a year after the release of their highly successful album 'LifeRider', CRYSTAL BALL who have been around in one form or another since 1995, present this their 9th record 'Déjà-Voodoo'. And what a corker these Swiss Metalheads have produced here. I have the digipak bonus version offering up 13 totally bombastic and hideously melodic tracks for the listener to enjoy. The wonderful gravelly vocals of a certain German gentleman named Steven Mageney together with the rest of the band, drive the music along at an uplifting pace, and I challenge anyone listening to this album to keep still! It is impossible! Just listen to the opening title track 'Déjà-Voodoo', the bombastic 'Suspended', the melodic and bouncy 'Never A Guarantee', the tuneful and powerful ‘Time and Tide’ and the mid paced melodic thumper 'Fool's Parade'. And they can slow it down with power ballads like ‘Home Again’ and 'To Be With You Once More' – awesome!! If you like Gotthard, Shakra and the like (got the idea?), you will most certainly like this record – dynamic and consistent stuff! It hits the stores on September 2nd - well recommended by these ears and not a filler to be found among the 13 cuts!.. 9.5/10 (Dave)

DAMNATION ANGELS...'THE VALIANT FIRE'

(Massacre Records) Reviewed 12th March 2015

Dave has given me the task of reviewing most of the guy bands that come our way, and this 63 minute + album is a delight to my ears. Damnation Angels is an English based band fronted by the clean and powerful vocals of Norwegian Per Fredrik. Formed in late 2006 by Will and John Graney, DAMNATION ANGELS set out to create a new benchmark in Symphonic Metal and to that extent, they have totally succeeded. Nine tracks of music that will blow your mind, with the number 'Icarus Syndrome' totally orgasmic as is the nine minute plus Symphonic power ballad, 'The Frontiersman', coupled with just about everything else here. There is not a lot I am going to say except that no matter where your allegiances lie, female fronted Symphonic Metal or otherwise, this is an epic & masterful album and is a must buy. Mixed and mastered by Scott Atkins at Grindstone Studio, Ipswich here in the UK (Cradle Of Filth, Sylosis), this album which sees the light of day on 27th March is awesome and I am now going to check out their earlier album 'Bringer Of Light' (2013)... 10/10 - no question! (The Nugget)

DARK MOOR…’PROJECT X’

(Scarlet Records) Reviewed 16th January 2016

Dark Moor is a Spanish Neo-Classical Metal and Symphonic Power Metal band from Madrid. Formed in 1993, they produced three full-length albums before undergoing a line-up change in which three members left the band to form their own project, Dreamaker. Afterwards, the band continued under the same name, recruiting suitable replacements in time for their eponymous 2003 album. Since 2002, guitarist Enrik Garcia has been the band's sole remaining founding member, this being the band's tenth full length release. And what 'Project X' tends to do is ditch the Power Metal for a more modern Melodic Progressive Rock sound. Indeed, the word 'ditch' is quite appropriate as that is where the Power Metal sound has been left. A concept album about space and aliens, Queen influences spring to mind in-fact - just listen to the melodic 'Beyond The Stars' as just one example. Then there are ballads, ‘I Want To Believe’ with gospel choral influences, being a totally awesome tune. Everything on this album is good, it is extremely melodic, has catchy choruses, and I would even go as far as to say that it even flirts with AOR territory on the odd occasion. ’Imperial Earth’ however, does up the ante, one of the heaviest more bombastic numbers on the cd, possibly the one track that exhibits Power Metal traits, while closing track ‘Something In The Skies’ is a 7 minute plus epic. Dark Moor fans of old may not be too sure, but this is worth checking out… 9/10 (Dave)

DARK STARES..'TELL YOUR FRIENDS' EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 9th March 2012

Dark Stares hail from St Albans in Hertfordshire here in the UK, and after having sat on the 4 track EP for a while now, I have finally got around to reviewing this little epic. My apologies to the band for the rather lengthy delay with the review, but what I must say is that this is good!! Opener 'Whisky' is a hard rock song that has been given a 21st century makeover, while second track in 'Long Live The King' is one of those songs that when you hear it after the first time, it sticks to you like glue - awesome! The "King theme" continues with third track in 'We Are The Kings Tonight', which is a slightly slower acoustic based number, while closer 'Invaders' returns to the hard rock theme. It is very hard for any rock/metal band to make it in the current musical climate, but if Dark Stares become the preverbial pain in the back side and start to pester some of the labels out there, someone just may sit up and take notice. Good stuff - check the band out here.. 8.5/10 (Dave)

DARK VICTORY..'DYSTOPIA'

(Self Release) Reviewed 8th March 2011

Guitar based rock music from the East Midlands. That part of the Midlands seems to be a hot bed of melodic metal at the moment. A four track EP here from Dark Victory (fronted I understand by Paul Trevithick) that I am reviewing, with openener 'All I See' exploding out of the speakers in a wall of sound. Next up 'The Manufactured Truth' chugs along and is a fave of mine and to my ears in the strongest track on the EP. 'Memories of Amnesia' you do find yourself sub conciously tapping your feet too, whilst closer 'Mortal Coil' keeps the standard up. My only gripe, it sounds rather trebly to my ears and could do with a tad more bass. Would be interesting though to see this band live. Anyway, check them out at Dark Victory - Myspace. Not a bad effort at all... 7.75/10 (Dave)

DARK VICTORY...'ATTACK OF THE SHEEPEOPLE' EP

(Digital self release) Reviewed 6th July 2012

Dark Victory is a UK technology based alternative Heavy Metal project with Simon Bell as it's main man. The band's previous release 'Dystopia' (see somewhere below) was recorded with Paul Trevithic on vocals, but in August 2011, Simon and Paul parted ways. Now having re located to Birmingham, Simon has been joined by Rick Willock (formerly of Snakebite) on vocals. This EP is a three track affair that was released onto the digital platform last month. Rick's vocals kinda give the music a 'punk vibe' reminding me a little of Pete Shelley from the Buzzcocks. So if you think Buzzcocks go metal, then this may give you an indication as to what is on offer. Kicking off with the pounding 'Plutonomy', this track is not a bad effort, while 'Fade' maintains the momentum started by the opener. Closer 'Sensuous Touch' as the title suggests is a slower more emotional number. Keep hard at it guys, I am sure fame will beckon. Their myspace is here, and also check out their Facebook. 7.75/10 (Dave)

DEATHSTARS...'THE PERFECT CULT'

(Nuclear Blast) Reviewed 6th August 2015

Deathstars latest was released around a year ago, but I felt it good enough to stick a review on this site, before I take myself off to work this afternoon - better late than never as they say. Deathstars come from Sweden and are frikin' cool! This album piles at the unsuspecting listener 13 awesome tracks, the band taking on board electronic, industrial, gothic and metal influences. Couple that little lot with some hideously infectious tunes, and you have one helluva hook laden album! Well worth checking out, so go out and get it if you have not already done so!...9/10 (The Nugget)

DEF LEPPARD…S/T

(EarMusic) Reviewed November 3rd 2015

Oh yes! Okay, Def Leppard are one of my fave bands, more particularly with their earlier stuff, and this is their first album since the 2008 record ‘Songs From The Sparkle Lounge’. Def Leppard has sold over 100 million albums since their conception, and although this new one may not quite reach the heights of their earlier material, this sure has that classic Leppard feel, while at the same time appealing to a more modern and perhaps younger rock audience. The classic Def Leppard sound is sure there in the opening salvo of ‘Let’s Go’ and ‘Dangerous’, the latter in particular surely sending old school fans into raptures of delight - marvellous! Third up ‘Man Enough’ has a kinda Queen ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ feel to it - great bass line. And the awesomeness continues….’We Belong’ is the first ballad from the album, a great number and a chart smash if ever there was one, while the bouncy ‘Invincible’ proves how invincible this band is! There are other greats within the 14 jewels here, including the rocking tracks ‘Sea Of Love’ (great chorus) and ‘Broken N Brokenhearted’, the acoustic ballad ‘Last Dance’ and the classic sound of ‘Wings of an Angel‘. This is a damn fine album from this awesome British band who certainly are the biz…enough said…9.5/10 (Dave)

DESCENDING CHAOS...'HAUNTED SOULS'

(Self Release) Reviewed 20th August 2014

Death Metal may not be Ravenheart Dave's cuppa tea, and even though he is rather taken by this recording, he nontheless has got me to review it. Despite being a blond that occasionally likes to wear pink, I do rather like this style of music as Dave knows, and particularly this cd by Descending Chaos. Featuring Roy Ekelund on vocals, the band deliver 11 tracks of pure melodic Death Metal to completely blow your mind, and in turn will give you an idea what the Gothenburg Metal scene is really like. Roy is ably backed up by the rest of the band, and I really think this is a fine debut from a band destined to go places. Tracks I rather like are the opener, the melodic sounding 'The One Within', the 5 minute + mid paced 'So Far Away', the robust 'No Resistance' and the epic 6 minute + 'Breathe'. Nine of the eleven numbers run in at under five minutes so are short, sweet and totally raw with hard hitting riffs. Their Facebook is at: www.facebook.com/descendingchaos/, so if this could be up your alleyway, check 'em out..8/10 (Rachel Louise Smith)

DEVIL'S DICE...'LIBERTARIAN'

(D-Force Records) Reviewed 27th July 2015

Birmingham UK to be perfectly honest is the heartland of British Rock and Metal. And it continues into the 21st century and if band's like Devil's Dice are anything to go by, then it is going to continue a lot longer too. Having been in the recording process for a wee while now, what we have here are 11 tracks of pounding Rock music that will set the heartland and beyond a rockin' Fronted by Matt Gore, who is known as the front man in fellow Birmingham rockers THE MIGHTY WRAITH (of whom I have seen live more than once), Devil's Dice serve up a massive helping of hard rock. There are some massive sounding numbers here... 'Passive Resistance' takes you on a journey back to the rockin' 70 and 80s, while the catchy and anthemic 'I Walk Alone' is simply awesome! Then there is the bouncy ballad 'Forbidden Memory', totally majestic! There are further awesome cuts including the pounding title track and closing number 'Matter Of Faith', and that faith we need to keep. To summarise, this is an album that reminds us of the style of music that originally put England and the UK as a whole on the Rock and Metal map back in the late 70s/early 80s. This album will hopefully keep us there for a lot longer - the bands website is here... 8.5/10 (Dave)

DREAMBLEED...'BEAUTIFUL SICKNESS'

(Self Release) Reviewed 14th July 2015

Dreambleed is a Symphonic/Modern Metal band from Greece. Formed in 2009 by Manolis the lead singer, this is a rather interesting debut that features both Mark Jansen From EPICA, John LeCompt from We Are The Fallen (ex EVANESCENCE) and Christiana from ELYSION. Listening to this album, the Symphonic and Modern Metal influences are there for all to hear. And this record is also a very listenable experience, packing loadsa melody into the 13 tracks as well, coupled with some electro elements and two or three rather nice ballads to boot. 'I Will Forget' is a rather cool catchy opener while 2nd track 'Hopeless' features the unmistakable Mr Jansen. There are other coolio numbers here including the ballad 'Underneath My Mask' (feat Mr LeCompt), the bouncy & melodic 'Alone With Myself', another nice power ballad 'Hide and Sick' (feat Elysion's Christiana) and the Symphonic 'Hopeless'. Dreambleed's Facebook is here..the album is well worth checking out if this style of music floats your boat... 8.75/10 (The Nugget)

DREAM OF ILLUSION...'EVOLUTION'

(Self Release) Reviewed 20th February 2016

The Dream Of Illusion project started in 2003 with a very young line-up. They grew up with covers of the most famous hard-rock bands. The first line-up had a female voice, but she left the band in 2007. In June 2007 Francesco Valentini, the new singer joined the band giving them a new found stability. In 2010 they released their very first album 'Decadence', distributed worldwide via SG Records. Since 2012 the band has worked on the writing and recording of this their second full-length which was released on 15 January 2016. A self financed project, this record it has to be stated is rather good. The band's music to my young tender ears falls into the Melodic Metal category, with some progressive elements creeping into the mix from time to time. The vocals from Francesco are clean and powerful, backed up by a competent band of musicians to complete what is a fine collection of tunes. This is a consistent release from the opening duo of 'Intro/Regrets' to the closing number 'Gatherin' Shapes'. For anybody that likes good old inoffensive Melodic Metal that would not even offend your Grandad, then check this one out. Their Facebook is at www.facebook.com/dreamofillusionband/... 9/10 (The Nugget)