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Ravenheart Reviews: Archived

Reviews R cont (2)

RISEBACK...S/T

(Self Released) Reviewed 6th September 2013

Riseback fronted by Riella Eskenazi is a Rock-Metal band from Turkey. The band was founded in Istanbul Feb 2010 and is influenced by and large by contemporary rock and metal music. What I must say about this release is that this is frikin' good, has a European Melodic feel and I am sure would go down a storm in Europe and the USA. The music is tuneful, it rocks and there are liberal use of keys throughout, that to me drives the music and gives it that 'x-factor'. There are nine numbers here and they are all rather pleasing to the ears, fave numbers currently being the opener 'Game Powered', the heavy and rather good 'My Treasure', the hard rockin 'Fake Numb Face', the power ballad 'Try To Say' (and it is well known that I am a sucker for the occasional power ballad) and 'Flowerstar' that to me screams mainstream radio airplay. Okay guys and gals, this is another female fronted release well worth spending one's money on, so check them out here and consider making a purchase. I whole heartedly recommend this...9/10 (Dave)

RISING SUNSET..'EQUINOX'

(Self Release) Reviewed 30th March 2012

This Maltese band were formed way back in 2001 by guitarists Carlo Calamatta and Mario Camilleri Brennan and opera singer Christa Calamatta, releasing an EP 'Rhema' in 2005, but this is their long awaited début album. Their style is an amalgam of lively uplifting galloping gothic/power/folk/traditional opera metal, a mix of bands like Evil's Desire, Avariel, Cassandra Syndrome, Adrana and At The Lake, producing these seven historical epics, all beautifully illustrated in the booklet, and the instrumental wig-out 'Opus VII'. Christa Calamatta has a good operatic voice with a distinctive trill, and she tells the tale of the various legends in the style of a medieval singing storytelling troubadour. Fine examples include my favourite song 'Emperor of the North' which tells of King Canute who famously tried too turn back the tide, not out of arrogance as is commonly believed, but to prove to his sycophant couriers than he was not superhuman, just a wise king. Christ's sacrifice is the subject of 'Crux Sacra Sit Mihi Lux' (be the holy cross be my light), 'Immortal Devotion' is about the Egyptian legend of Osiris, and 'Parousia', probably my other favourite song, is based on the Greek New Testament's prophecy of the second coming, it all creates fascinating lyrical concepts. The original intention was to have a third guitarist, an idea pinched by Iron Maiden, but now they have violinist Oriella Casha harmonising with the guitars and forming a key component of their sound. Production has a live feel, as if the band are playing in your front room through a top quality PA system with the band dead tight, the product of years practising together, but perhaps some extra keyboards or orchestrations would have made it more grandly symphonic. There are some concerns about the pitch nuances of Oriella's violin, maybe some vibrato would soften and sweeten it, however she will grow into her instrument. A fine album for fans of operatic traditional and power metal. Their website is here, a rising 8.5/10 (Phil)

RIVERLUST...'INNOCENCE'

(Self Release) Reviewed 23rd October 2012

Riverlust hail from Hungary, and this 6 track EP of epic Symphonic Power Metal is a must for fans of the genre. What I like about this style of music from these Hungarians, is the vocals from Zsizsu are not necessarily Symphonic, but are more akin to a Pop/Rock style. As I previously mention, there are six numbers here, with the EP kicking off with a brief instrumental before the whole affair kicks in good and proper - upbeat Power Metal from 'Edge of Innocence' through to closer 'Passage'. The EP can be downloaded from their FACEBOOK so what are you waiting for - good stuff! 8.75/10 (Dave)

RIZON.. 'SUDDEN LIFE'

(Karthago Records) Reviewed 10th February 2010

Whilst traversing the vast oceans of the WWW, one of my elite spies gave me reports of a rock/metal combo that had managed to remain hidden, deep in the mountainous snow wastes of Switzerland, so I sent out a crack team of agents to check them out. Two great singers, male and female, tick. Catchy rock/metal and ballads, tick. Excellent keys player, tick. Recent release easily available, tick. Having fulfilled all the criteria, I now I sit with this beauty before me. With a history going way back to 1997, this is the follow up to their debut, 2005’s Evolution, and the first to be released internationally (although their debut can be purchased on CD Baby). Fronted by Matthias and the luscious Franzisca, both blessed with powerful rock voices, this is melodic power rock/metal with more hooks than a fishing tackle shop. The closest parallels are with Sonata Arctica, especially with the vocal style of Matthias, who reminds me of the great Tony Kakko. No need to pick out highlights, all the songs are first class, from rockers like ‘Endless Journey’, to lighter wavers like ‘Angel of Affection’, to symphonic anthems like ‘Surrounded’. The superb lyrics are inspired by a veritable who’s who of great writers, JRR Tolkien, Anne Bronte, Joseph Cotter, Emily Dickenson, John Bunyan, Robert Browning and Oscar Wilde, makes a refreshing change from ‘ooh baby I wanna luv ya all nite long’! This should sell by the truckload, appealing to a broad church of melodic rock/metal fans, from Nightwish to Bon Jovi, from Sonata Arctica to Rainbow. Easily available from all the usual outlets, CD Baby, and from Karthago records, http://www.karthagorecords.de/index.php?ID=19big896qumfh0als4oavo0ur5. 9/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

RIZON...'MASQUERADE'

(Karthago) Reviewed 20th April 2012

As befits their name, Swiss band Rizon have been on the rise through their 2005 début Evolution and the 2008 follow up Sudden Life (my review is in the archives). This new album sees a significant increase in power, with their Sonata Arctica / Statovarius esque powerful melodic metal fittingly mixed in Finland by Nino Laurenne (guitarist wth Thunderstone) in the equally appropriately named Sonic Pump Studios, they have really pumped up the sonic output. Leading out front is the perfectly matched dual vocal attack of Matthias Götz and scintillating Seraina, sounding like Tony Kakko and Doro as they trade verses and bridges, then belt out the choruses together. Opening power metaller 'High Flyer' throws down the gauntlet as they rip through a classic collection of high octane humongous rockers all equipped with immense choruses that you will be singing for weeks, but with enough variety to stop it becoming tiring, an important factor in an album with 13 tracks weighing in at a whopping 72 minutes. You will discover songs like the title track 'Masquerade' with its burst of blues, the awesome swaying anthem 'Tears of the Sun' (video on Female Voices), the dramatic 'Remotion' that takes off into the stratosphere, if they went any higher they would break orbit, the rousing eastern infused 'Same Same', the mega power ballad 'Cold Winters Night', the superb multi-faceted prog tinged 'Lost in Silence', and they finally let their hair down with the party song 'Bells' which humorously compares one of the band's choices of music, Iron Maiden, to that of his girlfriend, The Bee Gees. There are a couple of tracks from their début album that have been rerecorded by special request, the stomping Spanish 'El Dios', originally just a bonus track it has become a big favourite, written in Spanish by Matt because, in his own words, “"Soy el Dios de la noche" sounded better to my ears than "I'm the Lord of the night"”, and a new version of the epic 'Out of Nowhere' which was chosen by their fans. Rizon perform songs that in lesser hands would be good catchy melodic metal numbers, but the sophistication of their songwriting, premier league sound and musicianship that even the most ardent of prog fans will admire lifts them onto a different level. In a nutshell, this is top quality metal. Their masquerade awaits you at here, a rising 8.75 /10 (Phil)

ROAD TO CONCIOUSNESS..S/T

(Fakto Records) Reviewed 28th January 2011

From mastermind Bernard Daubresse comes this epic metal opera with no less than 20 guest artists. It is a theme album rather a concept album piece so each song stands on it's own, with thought provoking lyrics based on the human condition - ambition, regrets, failure, separation, fear of death, lies and deception, religion, self actualisation, spirituality etc., experiences we have all had in our lives. Featured singers include Kristell Lowagie (ex Skeptical Minds, now Lovelorn), Marja Supponen (Rhinestone Lives), Jamie-Lee Smit (Azylya), Justine Daaé (Ellyose), Lauryn Gaet (ex Aedden, classical solo artist), and Laura Crowet (ex Before Silence), plus an extensive cast of gentlemen and soloists. The singers are carefully chosen to suit the mood of the music and the character they are playing. Although some are not well known, all the vocal performances are outstanding, and they have at least a song or a duet each. Musically you can reference Delain, Therion, early Epica, Ayreon, Lacuna Coil and Evanescence leading in broad terms to symphonic gothic metal, but with influences from other genres including prog and alternative rock/metal. Talking of Epica, their bass player Yves Huts created the orchestral arrangements that grace many of the songs. After meeting during the recording of the album Bernard and Kristell have formed the new group Lovelorn who are about to release their début EP 'An Intense Feeling of Affection'. The album is packed with catchy symphonic metal tracks 'The Middle Path', 'Mirror Mirror' and 'Starchild'; belting gothic rockers 'The Wait' and 'In a War'; melodic prog numbers 'I Am God' and 'The Naked Ape'; and the immense symphonic piledriver 'Jennifer', all featuring terrific choruses and loads of excellent instrumental solos. It all culminates with the four part 'Road To Consciousness', starting with the ballad 'Even a Rose', the violent 'The Limbo' featuring some black metal screaming, the only extreme vocals on the whole album, the orchestral 'The Choice', and lastly 'Consciousness' which starts as a prog metal workout featuring the guest soloists before becoming a sing-along with all the performers, the delightfully named Hangover Choir, bringing the album to a fitting finale (a preview is on the Female Voices blog). All I can say is WOW! what a record, a project like this doesn't come along very often with this quality of songwriting, performance and production. It all comes beautifully packaged as well and is available from their website http://www.roadtoconsciousness.com, a must buy 9.5/10 (Phil).

ROADHOUSE..'DARK ANGEL'

(Self Release) Reviewed 8th Sept 2011

Roadhouse is one of the UK's most established big stage Blues/Rock acts, offering a collaboration between experienced musicians and much younger talented female vocalists. 'Dark Angel' is the latest in a long list of albums that have been released since the band's formation in 1991. The band is centred around permanent members Gary Boner (guitar and vox), Bill Hobley (Bass), Roger Hunt (Drums), Danny Gwilym (guitar) and Mandie G on vocals. Add to this the female vocals of Suzie D, Rachel Clark, Kelly Marie Hobbs and Samantha Richards, to secure one awesome line up. The music on this release has a Rock/Blues/Gospel feel with influences from Lynyrd Skynyrd to Creedence Clearwater Revival. I also detect a country feel too, more so on the 7 minute plus 'Rainmaker'. The male vocals remind me a little of a laid back Alice Cooper (believe it or not), so if you could imagine Alice Cooper making a Rock/Bluesey sounding album, this could be it. There is no song shorter than 4 mins and six songs exceed 6 mins, but you find yourself never getting bored with what you hear. The title track is an awesome 8+ minute ballad, with some dark lyrics..."The Devil Took My Brother, Drunken driver took my Son"...."My Dark Angel, she's looking down, She's looking down on me". This is one of my faves from this album together with the bluesey 'Stormy Monday' and the Stevie Nicks sounding 'Play With Fire'. Overall, this release is very good, so for further info about the band go to www.roadhousegb.co.uk and check them out. A pleasant release...8.75/10 (Dave)

ROBYN...'DESIRE'

(Self Released) Reviewed 10th December 2012

This 8 track 30 minute album is as far as I am aware the second release from songstress Robyn, her previous offering 'Who I Am' being released in 2006. 'Desire' is full of delightful pop/rock songs, the occasional heart felt ballad, coupled with an acoustic flavour that pops up on some numbers. Great stuff and I would say this release would please fans of Heart, Melissa Etheridge and Sheryl Crow. The record is available from cdbaby, and is worth checking out if you prefer your music on the lightweight side. This is her website, so why not pay her a visit..8/10 (Dave)

ROCK & LACE...'PREY'

(Final Touch/Universal) Reviewed 21st August 2013

ROCK & LACE is a female fronted band from Greece that plays music comprising of energetic, intriguing melodies with driven guitars, crashing drums and alluring bass lines. Their seductive yet dynamic female vocalist Gale Petrou, gives colour to their dark and heavy riffs capturing a distinct sound that sends a shiver down your spine. With influences ranging from Halestorm, Within Temptation and Guns n Roses, you know you are in for a treat when listening to this album. There are ten tracks of hard rocking contagious tunes here, with the catchy 'Upon My Lips' setting the scene rather nicely. The equally catchy single 'Midnight Madness' (complete with squealing car tyres) follows and is a treat to my ears. Hardly a filler in sight on the cd, but there are standout tracks such as the title track 'Prey', the rather seductive sounding 'No Exception' (also released as a digital single), the ballad 'Sorry' and 'Breathe'. And let's not forget a rather good cover of the hit 'Bang Bang', originally made famous by Sonny and Cher. This is a very good offering from this Greek band and well recommended. Their Facebook is here and a video can be seen to the track Midnight Madness here. Great stuff, awesome musicianship and well worth the purchase... 8.75/10 (Dave)

ROCKSTAR FRAME...'ROCK N ROLL MAFIA'

(Musicarchy Media) Reviewed 20th May 2015

Rockstar Frame fronted by Faith Blurry, is a Milan five piece whose spontaneous approach to songwriting lends to their heavy rock style. With influences from the likes of Guns 'n' Roses and Aerosmith, they've already won the national 'Rock the Road Contest' where they had to compete with 70 other bands. Rockstar Frame was started when founder member and drummer Max Klein was in a coma after falling from a cliff. His family played him rock music while he was unconscious, and he woke with the belief that the music helped to bring him back, this in turn inspiring him to write and record music. There some real belters here on this rather tuneful 15 track album and some interestingly titled tracks too, such as the melodic and catchy 'Cherry Boobs' and the ballsy vibe of 'I Don't Give A Fuck'. 'The corking track 'Guilt' kicks things off while other rather good songs include the mid tempo 'Addictions' with its melodic chorus, the ballady 'Song For You', the pounding 'Lie', and the tuneful 'Years Gone'. On this showing, the band could well make a name for themselves, their Facebook is here - a great melodic Hard Rock album... 8.25/10 (Dave)

ROMEO'S DAUGHTER....'RAPTURE'

(RD Records) Reviewed 25th April 2012

Here we have an album from a band that hail back to the late 80s'. Their debut was partly produced by 'Mutt' Lange (who also worked with Def Leppard) and partly by John Parr (St. Elmo's Fire). It presented a melodic AOR style with refreshing originality. Their second album 'Delectable' from 1992, did not quite hit the spot to my ears anyway of the S/T debut, but was and still is worth checking out nonetheless. So what about this newie from Leigh Matty and the band. It to my ears is a stunning return, with opener 'Trippin' Out' a stunning track with an anthemic chorus and a strong melody. 'Bittersweet' follows and almost has a country feel to it, but still with a hideously catchy chrous. 'Cannot Be The One' is a mid paced number, and proves that vocally, Leigh remains on top form, ably backed up by the band. An admirable opening threesome to this record I must admit, while the whole album continues in a similar vein, with some catchy and melodic tunes, and slower ballad type numbers. Okay, they may not offer the in yer face melodic rock assault of the debut, but this is awesome stuff full of catchy guitar based Melodic Rock goodness. Any fan of Heart and FM (amongst others of the AOR/Melodic Rock genre) should get this album and appreciate what it has to offer. An impressive return from a band who have been away for around 18 years...9/10 (Dave)

ROMEO'S DAUGHTER...'SPIN'

(RD Records) Reviewed 29th June 2015

Romeo's Daughter has been going for a wee while now. Fronted by Leigh Matty's crystal clear vocals, here we have an album of 10 tracks of enjoyable Melodic Rock, and possibly one of the best albums the band has released. However, I still rank their s/t debut that appeared in 1988 as one of the best AOR/Melodic Rock albums ever released! Some awesome tunes here however, including 'Already Gone' and the gem of a tune 'Love Will Come To Those That Wait', both scream "hit single" and should be played on mainstream radio. There are many other jewels to be found including 'Enemy', the acoustic driven 'Tonight' and the bouncy 'All Because Of You'. To summarise: This is radio friendly Pop/Rock at its best and yet another album that is well worth the purchase price, so go see your Bank manager now! Their website is here.. 9.25/10 (Dave)

KIM ROSE..'YEAR OF SEVERED TIES'

(Independent Release) Reviewed 20th April 2010

In the last ten years, Kim Rose has fronted several rock bands, graced the stages of the legendary CBGB’s and The Elbow Room, recorded at Quad Studios and the (now-defunct) Hit Factory, gone to countless auditions and rehearsals, and endured a shelved album. It was then that she decided to take matters into her own hands, and thus, the notion of releasing a full-length album was conceived at the beginning of 2007. And this is it - hard rocking and melodic. So if you will, imagine Flyleaf, Garbage, Fuel and Incubus, mix it up with just a little Evanescence and add doses of classic rock with a little Seattle era Grunge. All that equals Kim Rose! 12 totally awesome tracks on offer here including the catchy 'Reason Behind You', the equally catchy and heavy 'Made' with it's cool synths, and the memorable 'Fall Out' with great guitar solo to boot! Other faves include the impressive 'Final Resolution' and the accoustic 'Angels'. Overall, this is a great listening experience - check out www.myspace.com/kimrose and then consider spending your hard earned cash. I like it! 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

ROSE AVALON...'NORTHERN STRENGTHS'

(Self Release) Reviewed 24th September 2014

Rose Avalon is an awesome outfit from Barcelona and 'Northern Strengths' is their debut. The band takes their name from their awesome vocalist and lyricist, and this release together with its occasional flute, bagpipes and violin, I must be frank and say is totally awesome. Okay, this style of Symphonic Operatic Metal may have all been done before, and will continue to be done over and over again, but when it is this good, to be honest I do not frikin' care. There are 12 great tracks here which kick off with 'Capio Mea Fides'. What a start, a bombastically catchy tune, which is followed by the Tarja Nightwish sounding 'Earth'. I am in seventh heaven! There are further awesome tunes which include just about everything on this cd. I just love the folky ballady vibe of 'Life', the bouncy 'Seven Hundred Mile', the emphatically wonderful 'Empty Hearts' and the sheer beauty of 'Sharing The Path Through Time'. There is nothing I can really fault here, I love this and it is continually being played here at Ravenheart Towers and in my car too. Do yourselves a favour and check the band out here. If you are into this style of music, you will find that listening to this album will give you a damn big fix! - 9.75/10 (Dave)

ROSWELL SIX..'TERRA INCOGNITA : BEYOND THE HORIZON'

(Prog Rock Records) Reviewed 16th August 2009

The Roswell six isn’t a gang of bank robbers or terrorists, but a new metal project fronted by Eric Norlander and his wife, ‘the Queen of Symphonic Rock’, Lana Lane. This is a concept album that ties in with the new epic fantasy book by Kevin J Anderson, and indeed the author and his wife have written all the lyrics, whilst Norlander looks after the music. Joining them are a stellar cast of vocalists, James LaBrie (Dream Theatre), Michael Sadler (Saga), and one of my favourite singers, John Payne (Asia, guest vocalist on last 2 Lunatica albums). The story is based on ‘sailing ships, sea monsters, a clash of religion, and a love that will reach to the end of time’. The music is a mix of epic symphonic metal and lovely ballads, all with glorious melodies and superb vocal performances. Ayreon with a touch of Dream Theatre, Magnum, Asia and Heart. Every song is outstanding, in particular ‘Here Be Monsters’, which is utterly wonderful. The musicianship is excellent, with Eric Norlanders keyboards recalling Rick Wakeman in his pomp, and Gary Werhkamp’s (Shadow Gallery) guitar giving a metallic edge. So settle yourself down with a tot of rum, your cutlass at hand, and a box of tissues, and sail away on a fantastic adventure. 9.5/10 (Reviewed by Phil Wooldridge)

ROSWELL SIX - TERRA INCOGNITA..'A LINE IN THE SAND'

(Prog Rock Records) Reviewed 14th August 2010

Last year I reported on the first episode of author Kevin J Anderson’s Terra Incognita project that tied in with his accompanying novel. This instalment is about the war between Tierra and Uraba that broke out in the first chapter and has totally new characters. Fittingly the music is darker and heavier, written by Henning Pauly (Frameshift, Chain, Shadow’s Mignon) who also incredibly plays all the instruments. Lyrics are again by Kevin and his wife Rebecca Moesta, with Grammy winning Janis Ian contributing to two tracks. Vocalists this time include Michael Sadler (Saga, playing a different character), Steve Walsh (Kansas), and the mighty blues/soul lungs of the sexy Sass Jordan. There are obvious parallels with the history of the Middle East, the clash of two very different cultures and beliefs over a city that is sacred to both sides, leading to a never ending spiral of war and hatred, ‘’You killed our fathers, so we kill your sons”, this may be a fantasy story but its basis is grim reality. The music is a mix of Ayreon, Dreamtheater and classic melodic rock, fittingly Arjen Lucassen and the first Dreamtheater vocalist Charlie Dominici make appearances. The quality and diversity of the material on offer here is quite staggering, this is immaculately recorded premier league prog. Highlights include the towering humungous opening track ‘Barricade’ with Steve giving a lung bursting performance; the monster blues metal ‘The Crown’ with Sass really letting rip, sounding like a funked up, suped up Led Zep; Sass’s bluesy power ballad, with the emphasis on the power, ‘Need’; and Michael’s bittersweet anthemic closer ‘Victory’, “But all blood is red, and the dead ask me why, In a war that won’t end, was it worth it to die?” If you like you prog heavy, technical, but extremely melodic then this is a must buy. Available from all good stockists, their Myspace is www.myspace.com/roswellsix, this is darker, different, but just as good as their first, 9.5/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

ROTT..'OUT OF TIME'

(Independent Release) Reviewed 11th October 2007

ROTT is from Idaho, and are an awesome outfit fronted by Molly Sirenne. They have just released this little piece of plastic, and what a great piece of plastic this is, featuring slow and mid paced rockers. We have the distinctive and somewhat haunting vocals of Molly, coupled with Dan Profitt's crunching guitar riffs. I myself really love Molly's vocal style, which seems to mix in so well with the music on offer here. There are eleven superb songs, and I immensely enjoy what I hear, with my fave tracks being 'Eternal', 'Clearly Blind', 'Drowning', 'Just Like You' and the foot tapper 'Out Of Time'. I actually woke up one night with 'Out Of Time' swimming around in my head! This cd may take two or three plays before it hits you, but it is worth it when it does. Rott are yet another independent band that has blown me away, and it shames me to think that a band like this can remain unsigned. However, Molly informs me that Rott may be attracting interest from a London based label, with another label in Greece keen on this band too. If you like Lacuna Coil and similar female fronted bands, plus may be Tool aswell, then check this out. It can be purchased at cdbaby.com. Also for band info..catch them at www.myspace.com/rottband and www.rottband.com . Roll on the next album. Meanwhile, I have said it before and I will say it again..support independent female fronted rock/metal. BUY!..8/10 (Reviewed by Dave).

ROUGE..EP

(Self Released) Reviewed 16th December 2011

Born and raised in 2011 with great love and care by three men and their frontwoman, Dutch band ROUGE bring us a three track EP that delivers a strong mix of modern american rock, sweet pop harmonies and a touch of electronic music with high energy performances, a sexy bite and a pinch of heaviness. They rock with style! Just like the lemon after your tequila! 'On A Ride (All Summer Long)' is the kinda track you wanna hear while riding along the highway with the sunroof down and the warm summer wind blowing through your hair. 'Innocent' kinda reminds me of Paramore on a good day, with male vocals similar (just a little!) to those on 'Going Under' by Evanescence, while 'Opposite Directions' screams hit single. To be honest, there is a lot on offer here that suggests this band could quite easily cross over into the mainstream with the correct backing. Check them out here and support good independent music. 8.5/10 (Dave)

MARYA ROXX..'PAYBACK TIME'

(DR2 Music) Reviewed 2nd January 2011

Maarja Kivi was born in Estonia and used to be one of the singers in Estonian Pop/Rock Band Vanilla Ninja. In-fact I very much liked their innocent brand of pop/rock, and the band were even Switzerland's representative in the Eurovision Song Contest of 2005. After having departed from the ranks of Vanilla Ninja in 2004 due to her pregnancy, the end of 2007 saw Maarja's change of name to 'Marya'. Fast forward to the present day (she now resides in Los Angeles by the way) and we have the debut full length album from this young lass. And if you are expecting Vanilla Ninja Mark II then forget it. This album rocks from start to finish and will leave you reeling from the hard rock onslaught of opener 'Time To Run' to the closer 'Boneyard'. And there is some catchy stuff on offer here too, '21?' being one such example, although the chorus on this track does seem a little repetitive! Overall this effort is pretty good, having teamed up with top producer Kevin Shirley. For anybody into female fronted hard rock, this has to be worth a listen, and could well be the springboard to bigger things for this gal. Good stuff - 8/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

BARBARA RUBIN..'UNDER THE ICE'

(Independent Release) Reviewed 19th August 2010

Barbara Rubin is lead singer with Italian prog rockers LoreWeaveR, but here she presents her own debut album. You know all those lovely piano ballads you get in melodic rock, prog and symphonic metal albums? Would you like a whole album packed full of them? Then look no further. Marianna is not only a fine vocalist, in the style of singers like Anne Wilson and Lana Lane, but she is also a highly talented pianist and songwriter. There’s none of the ordinary plonking chords, but proper classical arrangements. Although they are all ballads, there’s a lot of diversity in moods and textures, with lovely string arrangements (she also plays violin), and some nice Moog moments. ‘Under the Ice’, ‘A Place That Nobody Knows’, ‘Music and Love’ and ‘No More Tears’ are more up-tempo with full band accompaniment, whilst ‘Angel Heartbeat’, the dreamy ‘Stupid Day’, ‘Ero e Sono’, and the brief ‘Orange Roses’ are gentler. ‘Liar’ starts with Keith Emerson esque Moog vamping before turning into an angry power ballad. This is the perfect music to chill out to with a drop of wine or for a romantic meal for two (apart from ‘Liar’, the crockery might start flying!). A gorgeous, but slightly brief, album available for download from Amazon and iTunes and the CD can be purchased through the BFT online shop link or at www.myspace.com/barbararubinmusic, a far from icy 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Phil).

Kari Rueslåtten...'THE COLLECTION'

(GMR Music/Border) Reviewed 26th November 2014

Kari Rueslåtten has been celebrating 20 years in music in 2014! She sums up her solo career so far by releasing this, a Collection of songs from all her solo albums, including her 2014 version of The 3rd and the Mortal’s 'Why so lonely', featuring Nightwish’s Tuomas Holopainen on piano and keys. Kari began her musical career as one of the founder members of the progressive doom metal band The 3rd and the Mortal. The band was a source of inspiration for many other bands worldwide, among them Nightwish and The Gathering. After leaving The 3rd and the Mortal in 1995, she released five solo-albums. There are 12 amazing tracks here showcasing Kari's amazing musical and distinct vocal ability - 'Wintersong' and 'Make Me A Stone' are two such numbers, totally beautiful. Indeed, Kari’s natural talent combined with classical training and roots in the Norwegian folk music tradition has resulted in a voice that is difficult to describe. Her music has been compared with artists like Tori Amos and Kate Bush, maybe not necessarily because the music sounds very similar, but because these are artists who sing with their own distinct voices. This album is damn good, okay it is not metal, but it is certainly ideal for those cold winter evenings in front of the fire! Check out this video.. www.youtube.com/watch?v=wA8l8QM0gow&feature=youtu.be... 8.75/10 (Dave)